E3 is perhaps the most important event in the gaming calendar for news and reveals, and the 2019 iteration provided the usual bittersweet mix of excitement, hype, awkward stage presentations and slight disappointment that the expo has become notorious for.
This year’s event was historical in that it did not feature Sony PlayStation for the first time since the very first E3 in 1995 – on account of a switch in Sony’s marketing strategy – so the spotlight was firmly fixed on Microsoft and Nintendo. Here we bring their biggest announcements and let you know when you can get your hands on each upcoming game in Phuket.
Halo is Microsoft’s most important exclusive gaming franchise, and as it’s been four years since the last mainline entry in the series, the announcement of Halo Infinite was huge.
Although the trailer was a cinematic and showed no actual gameplay, expect the usual high-stakes sci-fi shooter action revamped with stunning visuals provided by Microsoft’s newly revealed Project Scarlett console, which will replace the Xbox One next year.
Start saving your baht for Christmas 2020 now, as Microsoft are aiming to release Halo Infinite as a Project Scarlett launch title in the holiday period.
As you can imagine from the title, Cyberpunk 2077 will be set in a gritty, neon-lit city in a dystopian future. Think Blade Runner but with more mohawks. Polish developer CD Projekt Red are famous for their massively popular Witcher games, all of which had a fantasy setting based on medieval Europe. Fans are therefore intrigued to see the developer leaving their comfort zone and trying their hands at sci-fi.
The new trailer reveal was accompanied by one of the most memorable moments of this year’s E3: Keanu Reeves, who currently seems to be revered by a cult-like fanbase as some kind of demigod, took to the stage to rapturous applause and announced that he will be voicing and appearing in the game via motion capture. Anyone who has seen the John Wick movies will tell you that Keanu will be a perfect fit for a gritty action game, and the news has sent hype for the game to dizzying heights.
Although shown at the Microsoft conference, Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One and Microsoft Windows PCs, and be available in Phuket games stores on April 16, 2020.
Whatever your feelings on the final season of Game of Thrones, its ending has left many of us yearning for more dragons, swords and northern accents. Fear
not: in a collaboration that seems almost too perfect to be real, it was announced that George R.R. Martin (who wrote the books on which Game of Thrones is based) is teaming up with FromSoftware, the developer behind the deliciously difficult Dark Souls fantasy action games.
Although bookworms will be furious to hear that Martin has once again put off finishing the Thrones books to pursue other projects, gamers will be frothing at the mouth at the prospect of a game written by such a renowned fantasy writer.
Elden Ring will release on PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One and Microsoft Windows PCs, but the release date is unconfirmed at the time of writing.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (tentative title)
The biggest and most exciting surprise from Nintendo at this year’s E3 was the news that they are working on a direct sequel to 2017’s hugely successful Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The original Breath of the Wild was a hit both in terms of sales and critical reception and is considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time, so Nintendo will be feeling the pressure as they attempt to deliver a game on par with its predecessor.
The reveal clip plays almost like a horror movie trailer as Link and Zelda venture into underground caverns and discover an evil aura emanating from a desiccated corpse which seems to have been imprisoned in the caves for centuries. This horror vibe is in stark contrast to the original Breath of the Wild, which featured a warm and colourful aesthetic.
Many fans are delighted to see Nintendo drawing inspiration from darker entries in the series’ history, and social media is abuzz with theories of who the evil corpse is, how it ended up there and what will happen when it inevitably wakes up.
No release date was given, but since Nintendo is smartly reusing the game engine and assets from the original, we could get our hands on this Nintendo Switch game as early as 2021.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 has of course been available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles since 2015, but the news that it will be coming to Nintendo Switch is still exciting from a technical viewpoint.
The game contains one of the most vast and detailed open worlds ever created and places a high demand on gaming hardware. Even the PlayStation 4 Pro has the odd hiccup when running the game, so the idea of it running on Nintendo’s little home console/portable hybrid has been considered laughable by many.
In order to pull it off, sacrifices will have to be made graphically. When docked to a TV, the Nintendo Switch version will output at a 720p resolution, a far cry from the stunning 4K output available on other platforms. In handheld mode the resolution will drop to a sub-HD 540p, although thankfully this drop may be hard to notice on the Switch’s small 6.2 inch portable screen. But what is lost in visuals will be made up for in ease of play – being able to take such a massive game with you on the go was once possible only in dreams.
Look forward to slaying griffins as your taxi slogs through Phuket traffic when the Witcher 3 arrives on Switch later this year.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield
E3 2019 saw the first full gameplay demonstration of the next pair of Nintendo Switch Pokémon games, Sword and Shield. It was confirmed that the childhood dream of many a ’90s kid has been realised: for the first time, these Pokémon games will feature a fully 3D open world, as opposed to the top-down fixed camera setup of previous games.
While Pokémon hid in grass and appeared randomly in older games, Sword and Shield features a ‘Wild Area’ full of Pokémon crawling, swimming and flying in their natural environments, ready for you to battle and catch as you traverse the most detailed world ever seen in a Pokémon game.
A bizarre new battle mechanic called ‘Dynamax’ allows trainers to temporarily supersize their Pokémon and have battles as they tower over the crowds below, which looks just as mental as it sounds.
Pick up Pokémon Sword and Shield at your local Phuket games store on November 15, 2019.
Chris Brown is a perpetual manchild attempting to pass off playing video games as a real hobby. Originally from England, Chris has been living and working in Phuket for four years.