E3’s press conferences are now officially done for 2019. A host of new games got announced, and we learned about some fantastic updates coming for existing ones. Along the way, we had plenty of surprises that happened during the show, and many of them blew us away.
These moments came from a classic franchise making a comeback, or a star guest making an appearance. This year, several of those iconic occasions turned the 2019 show into a standout entry in E3’s history. Let’s take a look at the top five moments that stood out to us at this year’s E3.
We want to give honorable mentions to the excellent showing for Animal Crossing New Horizons, and the PC gaming conference for the surprising number of quality indie games shown at their venue.
5. Doom Eternal delivers
Bethesda’s E3 showing was a somewhat mixed bag. It’s been a year since Fallout 76’s disastrous appearance, and the game’s horrible launch. Still, Bethesda seemed to pull a few punches with a number of their new games they showed off during the conference. The company is renowned for not highlighting a game at their shows unless it’s likely to be released within the next year. When Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 made their appearance in their respective conferences, they released shortly after, so the fact we did not see Starfield or Elder Scrolls VI shows that they probably won’t be launching until at least fall 2020. We expected this.
Regardless, Bethesda saved the best for last as Doom Eternal’s demo showed up at the end conference. We got an in-depth look at Doom guy taking out demons left and right, with plenty of exploding heads and tons of gore to accompany it. The showing was a straightforward experience, though. But that’s Doom, and that’s all they needed to show to their fans to ensure they remember the game is coming out later this year on November 22. It was brutal and looked fun as hell (pun intended). It was one of the best gameplay showcases at the conference. Everyone’s response to the footage proves that Bethesda doesn’t need an elaborate story to make a game fun and exciting.
4. Final Fantasy VII Remake’s stunning showing
It’s happening. The game that was teased way back in 2015 when Sony brought what looked almost like a tech demo to their E3 conference, merely confirming the game’s development. This year’s E3 though, Square Enix showed more than just a demo. They brought a boss fight to the show with heaps of gameplay footage. Even without having played it, the game looked like it has the potential to be something quite special.
The hands-on previews for the game from the show are also very positive. The combat system is a mix of modern day real-time combat from recent Final Fantasy games combined with Active Time Battles in slowed down segments. It’s a seamless blend of two different worlds. The Remake is going to combine the material system of the original with fast-paced, stylized real-time action.
The fact that the developers don’t know how many games that the Remake could be is a cause for slight concern. Square Enix will need to make sure they take some time to avoid uneven pacing. Ensuring that you have a sense of perspective throughout the original’s story helps to clarify that they don’t intend to draw out the series over too many games. But these are the types of things that you expect them to have at least in planning. The more we see it, the more we want to play it.
3. “Banjo-Kazooie are Raring to Go!”
It would be harsh to say that the introduction of Rare’s most famous adventure duo Banjo-Kazooie to Smash is merely a shot of nostalgia, but in a way, it’s true. The characters have languished for years with Rare in Microsoft’s hands, with only Nuts and Bolts having released to show the value of the IP. We’re willing to bet that it’s stock only went down from that somewhat shocking game. But even if it was what a great way to bring back a loved long-lost character.
There has been speculation for a while that Banjo-Kazooie would return. Recent new merchandise and subtle hints from the original game’s composer, Grant Kirkhope, fueled rumors that a Banjo remake was on the way. However, putting him in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a much smarter idea. Because Rare, and subsequently Microsoft, own the rights to the character, they would have had to greenlight to the concept. Given how positive Microsoft and Nintendo are with one another, it works out well for both of them. If the characters sell well as DLC, it could encourage Microsoft to give Rare a second chance at a line-up of Banjo games.
The fact that it isn’t a new game is why this only makes three.
2. Breathtaking Keanu Reeves
Everyone at this year’s E3 conference has already established that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a fantastic game. It looks phenomenal, has a fascinating premise and setting, and it’s getting made by CD Projekt Red, one of the best studios for action RPGs in the business. Nothing was going to surprise us that would make the game better (or worse). Until Keanu Reeves walked out.
Phil Spencer and Microsoft’s Press Conference made a smart choice having CD Projekt Red bring their new game to their conference, but to bring out a new, previously unknown character to the stage played by Keanu Reeves was an incredible PR move. Fresh off the release of his latest movie, John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Reeves has always been a hit with moviegoers due to his fantastic roles in the Matrix films, Bill & Ted and of course John Wick. He’s also widely regarded as being an all-around great guy.
When Reeves came out on stage and engaged with the crowd as joyfully as he did, a member of the audience replied to his comments about the game’s breathtaking moments with “YOU’RE Breathtaking!” Reeves couldn’t help himself but respond in kind, which made the crowd go wild. According to Phil Spencer, Reeves was ‘blown away’ by the kind response. It goes to show you that the smallest gesture from the right guy can create that little bit of magic that makes an E3 Press Conferences so unique.
1. Breath of the Wild 2: Ganondorf Strikes Back
Nintendo played us well. As their conference began to wrap up following their Animal Crossing New Horizons presentation, and Banjo-Kazooie Smash reveal, they threw a sucker punch at us. Nintendo took the beautiful memories of the adventures in Hyrule for Breath of the Wild and confirmed that Calamity Ganon, or more accurately, Ganondorf still has plans for Hyrule.
The fact that a Zelda game is in development is not the surprise. The producer of Breath of the Wild Eiji Aonuma had already confirmed that a new Zelda game was in development as early as 2017 and there were suggestions that a Zelda game was imminent in late 2018.
What we didn’t know is what direction they were taking the game. Despite the universal praise regarding Breath of the Wild, some fans were negative towards changing the traditional dungeon structure. However, with its unique art style and potential to mix it up a bit more in a direct sequel, a follow-up title makes perfect sense. The new entry could build upon the foundation of one of the best games in years. Additionally, Nintendo won’t get held back by having to optimize it for the WiiU.
The teaser for the new game and the confirmation that it’s a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild was an excellent way to wrap up the E3 Conferences. There were several games that they could have ended with, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons or the Banjo reveal. Bayonetta 3 wasn’t at the show either as Platinum held the title back and this could have served as a great finisher. We also did not receive any additional information about Metroid Prime 4. Regardless, this was a perfect way to round off what had been a very successful showcase for Nintendo. The announcement of a brand new Zelda game is always incredible; we cannot wait to learn more.