Bethesda’s Todd Howard introduces Starfield at E3 2018 trade show.
Christian Petersen | fake images
The video game industry’s annual trade show went virtual this year, giving publishers a new format to showcase upcoming titles.
The E3 gaming expo started on Saturday and runs through Tuesday, when Nintendo is expected to showcase its new releases. Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Square Enix were among the big publishers presenting over the weekend.
E3 has lost steam in recent years, as Sony pulled out of the event for the first time in 2019 and host Geoff Keighley skipped the event for the first time in 25 years in 2020.
Still, E3 is often used as a platform for major video game companies to build buzz for their new blockbusters. And there were several highlights from this year’s event.
Microsoft mocks Starfield
The biggest reveal of the weekend was without a doubt Starfield, an upcoming sci-fi epic from Microsoft’s Bethesda.
Microsoft bought the parent company of iconic publisher ZeniMax Media for $ 7.5 billion in an industry-shaking deal announced last year. One of the main results that analysts expected from the acquisition was Xbox exclusivity for some Bethesda titles.
Microsoft was quick to shed light on the big shots, and in a joint press conference with Bethesda on Sunday announced that Starfield would launch on November 11, 2022, exclusively on the Xbox Series X and S consoles and PC.
Microsoft has long been considered to lag behind Sony when it comes to exclusives – games that only run on one system. AAA franchises like The Last of Us and God of War were key to the success of Sony’s PlayStation 4, and the company is adopting a similar strategy with the PS5.
Here are some other highlights from Microsoft’s E3 exhibit:
- We take a first look at the online multiplayer mode of Halo Infinite, the latest installment in the Halo series; Microsoft also announced that the game will launch in the 2021 holiday season, after being delayed last year due to criticism of its graphics.
- There was an official trailer for the Forza Horizon 5 racing tile, as well as a November 9 release date.
- Microsoft introduced Redfall, a new multiplayer shooter from the developers behind Dishonored and Prey, announcing a release window for Summer 2021.
- Some popular titles, including Hades and Among Us, are coming to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s Netflix-style game subscription service; Starfield will be available to play on Game Pass from the day of its launch.
- Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life is an expansion pack for the original game inspired by “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and even features the beloved protagonist of the series, Captain Jack Sparrow, thanks to a partnership with Disney; The expansion will arrive as a free update on June 22.
- A new cooperative zombie survival shooter from the creators of Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood, will be released on October 12 this year.
- Age of Empires IV, the fourth entry in the real-time strategy game franchise, comes out October 28.
Ubisoft reveals Avatar game
Ubisoft made some big announcements at its E3 show on Saturday. The French publisher gave fans a closer look at the history of Far Cry 6, the sixth major installment in the popular Far Cry series. The game, which features Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, launches on October 7.
But a big surprise from the Ubisoft storefront was a game based on James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi movie “Avatar.” It’s called Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and it features colorful creatures and environments from the Avatar universe.
Ubisoft also showed off Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Extraction, the newest entry in the Rainbow Six tactical shooter series. The game would initially be called Rainbow Six: Quarantine, but Ubisoft changed it due to controversy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The extraction debuts on September 16.
Another big reveal was a new mix of Nintendo’s Mario and Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids, called Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. A sequel to 2017’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, the game comes out next year on Nintendo Switch.
Elden Ring and other great reveals
Geoff Keighley may have parted ways with E3, but he’s not done with streaming video games yet.
The host hosted his new digital-only Summer Game Fest last week, which ended with a revealing trailer for Elden Ring, the long-awaited role-playing title made in collaboration with “Game of Thrones” creator George RR Martin.
Elden Ring is out on January 21, 2022. The publisher of the game will be Bandai Namco.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Square Enix revealed a new game based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It will be a single-player title, unlike another Marvel Cinematic Universe-based game, Marvel’s Avengers, which had a mixed reception when it released in September.