The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, returned to Los Angeles recently for its 25th year and offered up a wide selection of game footage, announcements and activities to satisfy even the most casual gamer.
E3, according to its website, is the “world’s premier event for computer and video games and related products.” Each year, game publishers and software developers such as Nintendo, Activision and Microsoft showcase their latest and future creations, teasing upcoming titles, devices and merchandise while dazzling the audience through trailers and highly visual presentations.
Prior to the inaugural event, game developers displayed their products at various electronics trade shows, including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the European Computer Trade Show.
However, the maturing video game industry during the early 1990s caused these developers to outgrow trade shows that focused on the broad category of electronics, so E3 was founded out of the necessity for a collective video game exhibition.
The first E3 was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 11-13, 1995 and saw roughly 40,000 industry attendees. Later, after almost two decades, the expo became open to the public in 2017 and experienced a surge of attendance, with approximately 68,400 people flocking to the event.
Though this year’s expo at the convention center began on June 11, many companies hosted press conferences before opening day to premiere new material. Electronic Arts (EA) organized a fan event on June 8 and presented Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay along with special looks at FIFA 20 and Madden 20.
Microsoft held its conference the next day and unveiled plans for a new console launching winter 2020. This console, an upgraded Xbox model, is dubbed “Project Scarlett” and will debut alongside Halo Infinite.
“With a custom-designed AMP processor, high bandwidth GDDR6 memory and a next-generation solid state drive (SSD), Project Scarlett will give developers the power they need to bring their creative visions to life,” the Xbox website states. “Thousands of games across four console generations will look and play best on Project Scarlett.”
Cyberpunk 2077, a new entry in the Cyberpunk franchise, was also given new light. A new trailer featuring impressive cinematics and a character portrayed by actor Keanu Reeves was unveiled during Microsoft’s conference, and Reeves himself appeared on stage to announce that the game would be available to the public on April 16, 2020.
Later that day, Bethesda Softworks confirmed that non-player characters (NPCs) were going to arrive in their much-maligned Fallout 76 along with a new battle royale mode subtitled “Nuclear Winter.” The company also previewed the first-person shooter Doom Eternal (releasing Nov. 22) and announced the upcoming availability of The Elder Scrolls: Blades (previously a mobile-only game) on the Nintendo Switch.
During their Monday presentation, Ubisoft showed off a new season of Rainbow Six Siege entitled Operation Phantom Sight (which is currently available) as well as Just Dance 2020 (releasing Nov. 5) and Watch Dogs: Legion (debuting March 6 of next year). Ghost Recon Delta Company, an official assembly designed to assist players of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, was also introduced.
Meanwhile, Square Enix, the developer behind the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series, went in-depth about their upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake for the PlayStation 4, a video game so massive that it will be included on two Blu-ray discs.
The game, which includes a revamped combat system, is expected to release in March 2020. Another game revealed during their time slot is the highly-anticipated Marvel’s Avengers, set to hit store shelves next May.
Nintendo was the last notable developer presenting, and the company brought a lineup that many outlets say won the expo. A sequel to The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, the latest entry in the Zelda series, was announced with a short teaser followed by a statement that the game was currently in development.
Other titles that were unveiled include Luigi’s Mansion 3, two Resident Evil entries and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, all for the Switch. Gamers also received new information about Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, including the polarizing announcement that trainers would be unable to transfer creatures from other generations into their new Pokédexes (which encompass the Galar region).
Finally, the company announced two brand new characters joining Super Smash Brothers Ultimate later this year. The unnamed protagonist from Dragon Quest will be added to the game via downloadable content (DLC) this summer and Banjo-Kazooie from their eponymous game will be available to download in the fall.
Sony was the only major developer not to attend this year’s expo. The news came as a surprise to many, since the company had previously attended every E3 since the inaugural event.
“As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” a statement Sony gave to the magazine Variety read. “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
The total number of attendees for the 2019 E3, according to GameSpot, was around 66,100, falling short of the 69,200 that journeyed to Los Angeles for 2018’s expo. About a quarter of the 200 exhibitors who showed up at this year’s E3 were there for the first time, according to the event’s organizer, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
Though E3’s contract with the convention center ran out this year, the ESA was able to renegotiate their space at the center until 2023. Next year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo will be held in its current venue from June 9-11, 2020.