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E3 2019 Recap: Surprises in Nostalgia and Next-Gen

Gamers were entertained this year with the promise of next-gen consoles, cyberpunk Keanu Reeves, and a healthy dose of nostalgia. After a week of announcements, E3 2019 has rejuvenated my excitement in the video game industry. Here's what grabbed my attention.


E3 is one of the biggest gaming events of the year and while attendance dropped slightly compared to 2018, this one was no exception. Over 66,000 people braved the crowds at the Los Angeles Convention Center to get their hands on the latest games and learn about what's to come. Countless others tuned in to livestreamed press conferences.

To be be honest, I've been indifferent about E3 for years, but this time it was different. It could be the timing - after all, this is a magical point in for gamers where titles have finally taken full advantage of the current gen console technology just as we're about to get next gen console releases.

Our reaction exactly. Source: GFYCAT

Keanu's 'Breathtaking' Intro Steals the Show

Microsoft generated a lot of buzz during the Xbox press conference when Keanu Reeves took the stage for CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. His surprise appearance was made even more surprising when he announced that he plays a character in the game. When Keanu described the gameplay experience as "breathtaking," a member of the crowd yelled, "YOU'RE breathtaking!" The actor's reaction spawned countless memes and gamers have now petitioned CD Projekt Red to have "You're Breathtaking" be the name of an unlockable achievement.

I’ll definitely be picking up the game but to be honest, I’ve been sold on the game since the reveal trailer in 2013.

Microsoft also released performance details for its new console, Project Scarlett, along with a scheduled release timeframe. This is their most ambitious console to date, which will fit into the ecosystem Microsoft is building through Xbox Pass. The publisher is investing heavily in first party releases after seeing the success that the Playstation 4 has had during this console generation.

Sixty games were showcased during the Xbox press conference including a five-minute cinematic trailer for Halo: Infinite. Another game that caught my eye was 12 Minutes, made by Luis Antonio and published by Annapurna Interactive. It's a mystery game where you’re stuck in a twelve minute time loop during which time you have to figure out what's going on.

Honorable mentions to Blair Witch, Gears of War 5, and Battletoads. Overall, I think Microsoft had a great showing this year and in the process, laid the groundwork for their future plans very well.

Bethesda Says 'Sorry' for the Rocky 'Fallout 76' Launch

Bethesda's press conference started off by showing a video that paid tribute to their fans which is great, but the only thing I really wanted to hear about was their plans for Fallout 76.

Director of Bethesda Games Todd Howard did concede and acknowledge that they had "difficulties" at launch. As someone who purchased it day one, I appreciate that a lot. Bethesda announced the return of NPC characters in the game and making it a free downloadable when it releases. A battle royale mode was also announced. I’m not really a fan of the addition, but I’ll be checking the content out regardless.

Behind the scenes of Fallout 76 launch day... Source: GIPHY

Doom Eternal was also showcased, and piqued my interest even though I’m not really a fan of the Doom franchise. I may not pick it up right at launch, but it’s something I can see myself purchasing if it goes on sale.

Assassin's Creed Symphony, 'Ghost Recon,' and Killer Grannies

Ubisoft was the first show I watched on Monday which began with a really cool Assassin’s Creed Symphony performance.

I haven’t really been a fan of the Watch Dogs franchise, but watching the Legion gameplay made me want to play it. Being able to have a seemingly infinite number of NPC recruits is an interesting concept...killer granny ftw!

Ubisoft also released more trailers for Ghost Recon Breakpoint. As a big fan of Ghost Recon Wildlands, the sequel is something that I’ll be picking up and playing as well.

'Final Fantasy' Freak-Out and Avengers 'Meh'

Square Enix was the last conference for Monday, and if you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you were anxiously waiting for it to begin. Once it did, we were treated to cinematics that appeared to be from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, extended gameplay footage and a reveal for Tifa's character model. I’ve been waiting for them to remake this game since they showed off the PS3 technical demo. I’ve already pre-ordered the 1st Class Edition!

A remastered version of Final Fantasy 8 was also revealed. This one took me by surprise. Honestly, I’m very excited for FF8 since it was the game that introduced me to the franchise.

Square Enix finished their presentation with a cinematic trailer and character models for the Avengers game. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this game yet. Maybe because I’m still fresh from Endgame closing out 10 years of Marvel cinematic movies. It just didn’t have as much an impact on me as I thought it would.

Well, Time to Buy a Switch

I told myself that the only reason I’d buy a Switch is when Nintendo announces an adventure-style Pokémon game. Well, Pokémon Sword and Shield got a new release date, slated for November 15, so there ya go.

During the company's E3 Nintendo Direct livestream, Nintendo also announced two new DLC characters for Super Smash Bros: Banjo-Kazooie and the hero from Dragon Quest XI.

Animal Crossing got a new trailer and a delayed launch date of March 2020. They also showed Luigi’s Mansion 3, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, and No More Heroes 3.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening gameplay was also shown during the stream, and I know that there are a good amount of people who are excited for that to come back.

I think the biggest news that came out of the Direct, however, is a sequel to the highly successful Breath of the Wild.

First look at Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 Source: GFYCAT

Overall, I think Nintendo did really well with bringing back old franchises, and announcing upcoming ones.

All About That Nostalgia

Now that I’ve had a chance to actually reflect and write about it, E3 2019 seems to be pulling on our heart strings with nostalgia. There are a lot of franchises either getting remastered, remade, or getting a sequel. I am completely OK with the video game industry going this route. Some may argue that they’re running out of ideas but to be honest, I’d rather have them remake older games than release another battle royale game.

Next year’s E3 is going to be exciting because the developers will have a working knowledge of how new hardware like Project Scarlett will perform. It’s a great time to be a gamer with all the choices we’re being given. Personally, I know that my wallet is going to be hurting for a while.

Header image source: Reddit

What did you think of this year’s E3 conference? Any games that you’re excited for? Let us know on Twitter: @SteelSeries!