This year’s E3 showcase has plenty of announcements designed to tempt gamers, but I have only that much time and money to spare. From what has been revealed so far, I’ve picked four games that I’m definitely interested to get. This is by no means a list of “best” games showcased at E3. It’s just as far as my wallet can go. You’re welcome to share your own top picks in the comments.
1. Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
A second season of the award-winning Life is Strange was confirmed three weeks ago, sending the fandom into a frenzy. It was then revealed to be a prequel. In Life is Strange: Before the Storm, we play from the point-of-view of Chloe Price, who was Max’s (former) best friend years before the events of season 1. The timeline is set three years before season 1, when Chloe first met the mysterious girl named Rachel Amber, whose face is all over missing person posters in season 1. The story covers her friendship with Rachel, likely up to the point before Rachel’s disappearance.
Chloe represents a teenager going through transitional stress and a sense of loss when chaos is thrown into her life. I loved Chloe’s voice acting in season 1 and look forward to her expressing the range of emotions required for this story. Will we learn why Chloe decided to dye her hair blue? Will we get to see Rachel’s interactions with the people of Arcadia Bay? Will we get to witness the actual moment of the crime? Life is Strange: Before the Storm will feature a total of three episodes, with the first episode releasing on 1 September 2017.
2. Assassin’s Creed Origins
Hype is an understatement, considering the amount of leaks everywhere about the next edition in the Assassin’s Creed series and the number of media outlets jumping on the information. Finally, it was officially confirmed that Assassin’s Creed Origins will take place in Egypt. It will feature the very first assassin, Bayek, and the beginning of the Brotherhood.
Aesthetically, you can’t go wrong with Assassin’s Creed. In the trailer for Origins, Bayek looks badass sliding down the side of pyramids, fighting hippos underwater, shooting arrows in mid-air, and of course, a faceoff with a giant snake that got everyone’s attention. There seem to be a lot of angry wild animals this time. This may mean that we can’t simply jump into the water to escape pursuers because everything in it wants to kill us. *insert your own reference to Australian wildlife joke here*
What long-time fans really want to know is what fresh gameplay features and story Origins can bring to this long-running series? From gameplay trailers, we can tell there is a different weapon customization system, new weapons such as a homing arrow, and a shield. You also get a hawk that behaves like a drone for literal Eagle Vision. Not much else has been revealed but I’m excited to explore. Assassin’s Creed Origins is planned for release on 27 October 2017. Pre-ordering the game grants an extra mission, and players can also choose from several special editions for extra goodies.
3. Skull and Bones
(Note: This is the first AAA game with Ubisoft Singapore as the lead!)
Skull and Bones was a surprise announcement at Ubisoft’s panel as their newest IP, and looks like it may blow other pirate games out of the water this year. The game trailer is thrilling, especially with the haunting singing and exciting action shots. And who can miss the cool female pirate taking charge? We don’t know yet if any of the characters in the trailer will appear in the actual game, but I hope that we get to meet them again.
I was originally planning to get Sea of Thieves (gameplay trailer here), another pirate-based multiplayer game by Microsoft. How do you decide when you love the idea of sailing the seas with a crew but you can only pick one pirate game? There are many similarities between Skull and Bones and Sea of Thieves, but the obvious difference at this point lies in the graphics and ambience. Sea of Thieves uses a cartoony, goofy style, where players can even shoot themselves out of the cannons. Skull and Bones uses a realistic, serious style, reminiscent of pirate movies and Ubisoft’s earlier work, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. This is entirely intentional as the game is based on the popular naval combat system of Black Flag, which was ground-breaking for its time. Sea of Thieves looks set to be an excellent game in its own right, but I personally prefer the style of Skull and Bones.
Knowing Ubisoft’s not exactly stellar record with multiplayer PVP games (*cough*For Honor*cough*), the success of the game depends on whether they can get the PVP mechanics right from the start. It’s a gorgeous-looking game and all I ask is for it to be as fun as it looks. Skull and Bones is planned for release in Fall 2018 and you can register for closed beta via the official website.
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Vampyr is a new title by the same developers of Life Is Strange. You play Dr. Jonathan Reid, a doctor tasked to cure the hapless citizens of London of the flu. Oh, you’re also a vampire so everyone looks tasty. And if you don’t feed on their blood, you will grow weaker. You have to fight against vampire hunters, other monsters, and your own vampire instincts, all while trying to do your job. How much of your dark side will you choose to embrace in order to survive? Decisions, decisions. On the plus side, you get really cool powers.
This is a narrative-driven game, which means your choices will affect the future and decide the final outcome. If Life is Strange is anything to go by, we can expect a great story and enough conflicted emotions to keep us up late at night as we question every choice we make. I’ve been on the lookout for a great vampire-based game for a long time now, and Vampyr seems right up my alley, especially with the narrative aspect. Vampyr will be released in November 2017.