It’s that time of year again as E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo and one of the most exciting times for news as a gamer, is upon us. Over the next few days, countless publishers and developers will be unveiling a large portion of what’s to come in the next two to three years. Last year on my small WordPress blog, I started what will now be a yearly tradition of detailing my personal highlights of each major conference (EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Sony, and Nintendo). So pull up a chair and take a sweet seat because, today, we’re diving into my personal highlights from the EA and Microsoft conferences.
EA’s Press Conference
A Way Out
Of everything EA showed during their Saturday conference, A Way Out from Hazelight, the creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, was arguably the biggest standout and, by the end, the only thing I truly cared about. Following the idea set by Brothers, A Way Out capitalizes on the idea of a meaningful cooperative experience with the use of “Forced Splitscreen”. Taking on the roles of Leo and Vincent, you and your partner will tackle a variety of dynamic situations that happen simultaneously for each player. Even if one player is in a cutscene, the other may not be as they interact and change the world around you. A Way Out attempts to push the boundaries of a story-driven two-player experience like never before, all in a 70s “Prison Break” package. The game is aimed to release in early 2018 so start scoping out which friend you want to take with you on this insane adventure.
(More or Less)
Sea of Thieves
With Gears of War and Halo in their off-seasons, Microsoft’s conference had a real lack of AAA 1st Party games to show off. Despite no new IP to unveil this time around, Microsoft showed off two known games in development, one of which was Sea of Thieves, the pirate-based cooperative adventure game announced last year from Rare, Ltd. Sea of Thieves may not be a juggernaut IP to carry the Microsoft conference but it represents something that our obsession with military or futuristic shooter games lost back in the 360 era and that is pure, zany fun. Sea of Thieves is a colorful breath of fresh air that implores you to grab a friend and get lost in the sandbox pirate lifestyle. The esteem that Rare once had fell hard after their development with Kinect and I’m not sure they’ll ever be able to get back what was lost. That being said, if anything could change their course, I like the idea of it being a new IP in a sea of Xbox games that have been forced past their original life-cycles. To me, Sea of Thieves is exactly the takeaway of what my highlights are from Microsoft this year, games that arn’t just the known quantity. I hope to be setting sail with my own pirate crew when Sea of Thieves releases early 2018.
Super Lucky’s Tale
With the revitalizing of the 3D platformer genre, Super Lucky’s Tale, a console version of the Oculus VR exclusive, gives players a chance to play through this Mario/Banjo inspired game from Playful Corp. At the moment, I’m currently going through a 3D platformer phase so games like reminiscent of the once retired genre like Snake Pass, A Hat in Time, Psychonauts 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and now Super Lucky’s Tale are big targets on my radar. With it’s cute art style, seemingly smooth gameplay, and “collectathon” objectives, I’ll be excited to give this game a go (right before Mario’s rumored release) when it launches on November 7th, 2017.
The Last Night
Among the many smaller titles Microsoft showed, The Last Night from Odd Tales simply blew me away in aesthetic alone. While not much was revealed about the gameplay thus far, the game manages to capture the cyberpunk feel of Blade Runner in incredibly stylized 2D pixel art. The creators describe the game as a “cinematic platformer” with open environments to explore. As one of the most gorgeous indie game I’ve seen out of E3 and maybe even 2017 thus far, I intend to keep a close eye on The Last Night when it launches in 2018 on Microsoft platforms and Steam.
Continuing the streak of artistically stunning indie games, Cuphead once again rears its head at Microsofts E3 conference, this time reinvented and officially launching on September 29, 2017. What started out as a “Boss Rush” indie game in the classic style of Steamboat Willie and other cartoon classics, has evolved with the addition of 2D platforming sections. Cuphead‘s original unveiling back in 2015 was enough for me to award it my game of Microsoft’s conference through it’s masterful artistic style. I can’t wait to finally play this game when it makes its away to Xbox and Windows this fall.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Our last stop on the Microsoft artistic indie train is the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, titled Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Ori is a 2D Platforming Metroidvania game, one of my favorite examples of a modern Metroidvania since Shadow Complex. As the sequel, it can be assumed that The Will of the Wisps will retain the original game’s smooth and fast paced gameplay that makes you, the player, feel as though they are gracefully and seamlessly traversing the levels. While the combat was one of the weaker portions of the original game, I have high hopes that this new entry will capitalize on all the successes of the previous while also improving upon any lacking aresa to create what could be the next modern masterpiece of the genre. Sure, maybe I’ve set my expectations too high but Ori has proven itself to the Microsoft fandom once already and I’d be surprised if the developers weren’t prepared to deliver once more. There’s currently no release date or window for Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
3rd Party Premiers at Xbox’s Stage
Metro: Exodus is the latest installment of the Metro franchise based on the book Metro 2033 and its sequels by writer Dmitry Glukhovsky. The Metro franchise consists of 1st person survival games where you explore a post-apocalyptic Russia as you fight off mutated monstrosities and attempt to fight for the future of the remaining world. Normally tackled as sequence-based action/stealth games, Metro: Exodus aims to revolutionize the series by evolving into an open-world sandbox survival game, hopefully in the vain of a high quality S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game. Not much has been shown of this new title outside of the Microsoft conference but as a big fan of the survival genre and Metro 2033, I was pretty pleased with what I saw. Expect to see Metro: Exodus hit shelves some point in 2018.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Lastly, on this games highlight list, is the Life is Strange prequel, Before the Storm. Taking the role of Chloe as the main protagonist this time around, Before the Storm aims to the flesh out the sequence of events that led to the final mystery of the original game, of which some details were never truly uncovered. Life is Strange, in my opinion, took the modern formula of the Graphic Adventure game genre set by Telltale and gave it a second chance with a fresh set of eyes. The one question on my mind, however, is how they intent to deal with the lack of time travel abilities that gave the original its uniqueness this time around. Will Life is Strange: Before the Storm lose some of its originally that what made the first one so great? Or, will the story we’ve invested ourselves in be all we need for this three episode run starting on August 31st? Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading our E3 2017 coverage and for more gaming related articles, keep checking back in with theDigiQuest.com Oh, and if you expected me to talk about Xbox One X in this article, my apologies as my eyes were more focused on Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility,the more interesting announcement.