The Top Five Moments From E3 2019, Analyzed In-Depth

1. Xbox: “Available Day 1 on Gamepass”

Microsoft's press conference at E3 2019.
Microsoft’s press conference at E3 2019

     It isn’t often you can witness the industry changing in front of your eyes. At this year’s E3, Microsoft showed off 56 games, of them, 40 currently are or will be available day one on Xbox Game Pass. Unlike other publishers trying out the “Netflix” model of gaming, Microsoft can do something special with the astronomical amount of cash they have to throw around. From leveraging their established studios (see Gears 5, Halo: Infinite, etc.), tossing cash at AAA games (see Metro: Exodus), funding indie studios (see ID@Xbox) to straight up buying out studios (see The Outer Worlds, Bleeding Edge, etc.).

     Microsoft is laying the foundations for a new and exciting model for gamers to get content, and at a steal. As we continue into the next generation, there is really no reason to doubt that Xbox will have a stellar lineup of games to play under their Game Pass banner. The diversity and sheer number of games available on Game Pass is a solid reason to be excited for Project Scarlett, Xbox’s next-generation console. With the launch of Game Pass ultimate which includes Game Pass & XBL Goal for Xbox consoles and PC Microsoft seems to have a perfect formula to take on Sony’s superb first-party line-up. 

2. Breath of The Wild 2

Zelda & Link in the Breath of The Wild 2 Reveal Trailer
Zelda & Link in the Breath of The Wild 2 Reveal Trailer at E3 2019

     Many claim that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, released on Wii U and Switch in 2017 is the greatest open-world games of all time. Surely there are some flaws many harp on, however no matter you’re stance it’s hard to argue against it being considered one of the greats. One interesting point I believe often goes overlooked is that Breath of the Wild was designed around the Wii U, development started well before any plans of the Switch were beginning. Even the Sheikah slate from the game resembles the Wii U tablet. The game features, mechanics and game design was built with the Wii U in mind leaving the Switch release as more of a “port” to their newest console. 

     The sequel to Breath of the Wild will be fully designed around the Switch’s capabilities and functionalities. How they decide to use these features is up to Nintendo. That being said, take a look at Mario: Odyssey (not to mention all the ingenious first-party titles on the Wii and Wii U), you know Nintendo has what it takes to innovate in unexpected ways with unique game mechanics built around their consoles.

     The E3 reveal trailer screams “sinister”. The eerie music, the dark gloomy environment, and the characters appearing to be stuck in a dungeon with a horrifying creature. The trailers hinted the game will play in the same world as Breath of the Wild with a new dungeon system or underworld. Others have speculated Zelda will be a playable character however I have some hesitancy believing that. What we do know is that a sequel to one of the best games of all-time is in development and there is no reason to doubt Nintendo will give it all they have to continue to uphold the “Zelda-tier” quality we expect.

3. Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Cloud & Tifa looking badass in the Final Fantasy 7 E3 2019 Trailer
Cloud & Tifa looking badass in the Final Fantasy 7 E3 2019 Trailer

     Final Fantasy 7, not much more needs to be said to entice many gamers who have fond memories of this masterpiece. But this isn’t a remaster, this is a full on remake which has been in development for 5 years already. Brand new graphics, altered story beats, audio, and of course brand new gameplay, marrying the old turn-based style with the new action style gameplay. 

     During the presentation we got a nice long peak behind the curtains following quite a lengthy wait. Firstly let’s discuss the trailer, off the bat the one thing that stands out is the beautiful 3D models. Cloud, Tifa, their weapons, and just about everything else looks so visually pleasing. During the gameplay demo we saw what we had hoped for. The perfect union between fast-paced action and turn-based style of combat, this comes in the form of being able to slow time to a near stop to cast spells or abilities if your “ATB” bar is full. If you lean more towards the fast-paced arcadey type combat you cast bind abilities or spells to hotkeys allowing you to seamlessly perform these abilities or spells without slowing down your game.

     Final Fantasy 7 remake is looking visually spectacular, with a rehauled combat system, a deeper story, and all the classic FF7 elements we come to expect. With the release date announced to be March 3, 2020 we are excited to replay this classic in an all new way!

4. Banjo Kazooie In Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Everyone is here! Yes that includes Microsoft's Banjo Kazooie. Revealed at Nintendo's press conference at E3 2019.
Everyone is here! Yes that includes Microsoft’s Banjo Kazooie. Revealed at Nintendo’s press conference at E3 2019

     Personally I am not huge on fighting games, but I must concede this. Nintendo has kicked the bar up for all other fighters coming out in the future and have made a game for all to enjoy. 

     They were able to make a fighting game which not only appeals to the traditional fighting game fanbase but also the casual audience by making it one of the easiest fighters to pick up and screw around in. Not only from the gameplay perspective is smash enticing to the casual fans, but from the insanely diverse lineup we see in the game is something foreign to any other fighter released previously.

     At E3 2019 we saw something rare (see what I did there?) thanks to Nintendo and Microsoft, the inclusion of Microsoft’s character Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Banjo-Kazooie was originally released on the N64 in 1998 but since then the rights had been obtained by Microsoft. Die-hard Smash fans have been dying to have Banjo added to the already exceptionally diversified line-up found in Smash Bros Ultimate. If you haven’t already seen the trailer, you should most definitely check it out, the marketing team working on Super Smash Bros Ultimate is unparalleled.  

     This reveal just excited me even more for the future of the partnership between Nintendo and Microsoft. Master Chief in smash? Halo: MCC on Switch? Xcloud? What will Nintendo throw back at Microsoft? Maybe I am being a little bit too enthusiastic but this is the first “solid” piece of the rumor cake we have been able to eat.

5. Keanu Reeves “You’re Breathtaking”

Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2019
Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2019

     After last year’s E3 (2018) the hype levels for Cyberpunk 2077 were astronomical. Following E3 we were able to see the full behind the closed curtains demo. At that moment the top blew off, this game was on the top of pretty much any gamers list for most anticipated games. 

     Although this year we haven’t seen nearly as much as we did last year we did learn something very interesting. Keanu Reeves will be featured in Cyberpunk 2077, and not in the way most celebrities are. Keanu will be a character which persists along the course of the whole game, being one of the main characters you will encounter in the world. Seeing Keanu come out to the stage was easily one of the most exciting and unexpected moments from E3, there were some rumors the day before that he would appear, but they were brushed aside by most people. He came out and gave a charismatic spiel. But it just wouldn’t be the same without the iconic “No, you’re breathtaking!” response to a heckler who called him a breathtaking. 

     As much as I enjoyed this moment from their presentation, I am still dying to hear more about the game, the systems, the city, the characters, and just about everything from this game that I know will be a deep experience. 

Written by: Yousuf Shad, Edited by: Assud Shad

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