For years now, the video game industry has descended upon Los Angeles for a week in June. E3 is a show filled with an overwhelming number of games and announcements, and 2019 is no exception. Though PlayStation won’t have a presence this year, there are still big names showcasing the future of interactive entertainment, including Xbox, Epic, Bethesda, EA, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and a whole lot more. You can keep up with all of the latest developments right here.
Nov 11, 2019
Google’s cloud gaming platform, Stadia, will launch on November 19th. Initially, you’ll pay $130 for a hardware kit and $9.99 per month for a subscription plan called Stadia Pro, but you’ll also need to purchase most of the games from a storefront. In 2020, Google will launch a free tier where you’ll only need to pay for games.Read Article >
Google has been announcing Stadia games throughout 2019. Its big titles include Destiny 2, Cyberpunk 2077, and Baldur’s Gate III. But as Google recently revealed, the selection at launch will be more limited, with more games rolling out over the coming year. Some of these games will get Stadia-specific features: Destiny 2 takes advantage of cross-save support that Google is bringing to Stadia, allowing players to share their progression between Xbox, PC, and Stadia.
Google has revealed the key details that were conspicuously missing from its March announcement of the new Stadia game streaming service. Namely, what the heck we’re going to be able to play, how much we’ll pay, and when we can get started with the exciting new service — which beams high-end console and PC games to any Chrome web browser, Chromecast Ultra TV dongle or Pixel 3 smartphone from beefy new Google servers.Read Article >
The short version: Google Stadia will launch on November 19th, in 14 different territories including the US, UK and Canada, with at least 22 games at launch, for an initial price of $130 for a hardware starter kit with three months of premium service, and $10 a month afterwards. There’s a separate free tier coming in 2020, and 42 confirmed games in total so far.
Jun 25, 2019
Developer Respawn is giving Star Wars fans a deeper look at its upcoming story-driven video game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, after viewers came away from this year’s E3 conference somewhat confused about the type of game the studio is making. That means you can now watch the full 26-minute E3 gameplay demo that was previously only shown behind closed doors in Los Angeles earlier this month.Read Article >
The goal, according to game director Stig Asmussen, is to help alleviate concerns that Respawn is making essentially an Uncharted-inspired linear action game. Instead, Asmussen says Fallen Order will include elements from a number of different RPG and action-adventure titles, most prominently, Metroid and Dark Souls.
Jun 20, 2019
In the cult 2004 role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, vampires love to dance. Your protagonist can show up at a nightclub and jump into the center of the action, throwing their limbs wildly with an enthusiasm that’s not generally credited to the undead. And in a demo of Bloodlines’ upcoming sequel from Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive, dancing is one of the first things you see, courtesy of a team member who did “extensive research” into the game’s original animations.Read Article >
Developer Hardsuit Labs seems to be building a lot of these little, familiar details in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. But in an interview at E3, its creators also talked about how to translate the original game’s tone and ideas into a new era and a new city — in this case, a dark and supernatural reimagining of Seattle, due for release early next year.
Jun 20, 2019
Last year, the Yakuza series wrapped up with its sixth and final entry, which bid farewell to lovable hero Kazuma Kiryu. Given the strong attachment fans had to the character, the team behind the series realized they had to go in a different direction for their next game. Judgment, which launches next week on the PS4, is similar to Yakuza in a lot of ways, but it’s also a hard-boiled detective story. It’s something that producer Kazuki Hosokawa, who directed both Yakuza 5 and the prequel Yakuza 0, has been thinking about since 2012.Read Article >
“It starts with personal preference,” he told The Verge during an interview at E3 last week. “I really love thrillers and detective stories.”
Jun 19, 2019
Journey creator Jenova Chen is drawn to making positive game experiences. Thatgamecompany’s latest title, Sky: Children of the Light, is an exploration into altruism and kindness, wrapped up in a beautiful mobile experience.Read Article >
But just as Journey made Chen eager to create something players could share with their less video game-inclined friends, Sky has taught him an important lesson as well: people sort of suck.
Jun 19, 2019
In the early ‘90s, Street Fighter II was everywhere. It dominated arcades and became a best-seller on home consoles like the Super Nintendo. It was this overwhelming success and cultural impact that made Kaname Fujioka want to work at Capcom. He got his wish a few years after SFII launched, and during his early years at the company he witnessed yet another breakout hit with the original Resident Evil, which went on to spawn a massive entertainment franchise.Read Article >
Fujioka eventually shifted his focus to the Monster Hunter franchise, which historically had been one of Japan’s biggest game series, but also one that failed to garner much global attention. But that all changed with last year’s Monster Hunter: World, which to date has sold more than 12 million copies, making it Capcom’s best-selling game of all time. “To be honest, it still doesn’t feel like it’s real,” Fujioka told The Verge last week at E3 in Los Angeles. “The fact that, all these years later, I’ve made this game that goes beyond all of those, at some level it feels unreal to me.”
Jun 19, 2019
In many ways, Fortnite still has a lot to prove as an e-sport. But exactly one year after the game’s first officially sanctioned tournament and just one month ahead of its $30 million World Cup event in New York, the battle royale hit is starting to look like it can hold its own as a competitive game. Developer Epic Games hosted its second annual Pro-Am celebrity tournament this past weekend in Los Angeles, which happened right at the tail end of E3 and capped off a weekend fan celebration it called Fortnite Summer Block Party.Read Article >
It felt like a preamble to the World Cup, if only because the charity event highlighted key elements of Fortnite’s competitive community and live production chops. Those will be on full display, and determine the popularity and success of what will be the world’s biggest e-sport competition by prize money, come July.
Jun 18, 2019
One night, game designer Mike Bithell and a friend went out to see a largely forgettable action movie, and afterward the conversation shifted to what, exactly, made John Wick so engrossing. Bithell’s friend, Ben Andac, who previously worked as a producer at Sony, then asked Bithell an exciting question: what would he do with the John Wick license? After thinking about it, Bithell realized he’d want to create a strategy game as opposed to a first-person shooter, giving players a chance to occupy Wick’s fast-moving analytical brain.Read Article >
“I thought we were just bullshitting about cinema,” says Bithell, whose previous work includes the charming platformer Thomas Was Alone and the stealth strategy game Volume. What the designer didn’t know was that his friend was working with Lionsgate and game publisher Good Shepherd to find an indie developer that would be a good fit for the John Wick license. “They were looking for a collaboration with someone who wouldn’t just give them the easy option,” Bithell explains.
Jun 17, 2019
During Microsoft’s keynote at E3, we learned that The Blair Witch Project — which helped revolutionize horror in 1999 — will be getting a new video game tie-in. The PC and Xbox game, known simply as Blair Witch, debuts in a couple of months on August 30th. But with a short trailer that just barely revealed its connection, it left a lot of questions unanswered. So what exactly is going on with Blair Witch?Read Article >
As the trailer mentions, Blair Witch is set primarily in 1996, which is a couple of years after the original film’s events. You’ll play a former police officer named Ellis who joins a search party for a missing boy in Maryland’s Burkittsville woods, home of the notorious Blair Witch. Before long, Ellis gets lost in the woods with only his dog Bullet for help. He has to find a way out while exploring the world and solving puzzles, including ones involving the camcorder from the trailer.
Jun 16, 2019
Harvest Moon: Mad Dash is not your typical Harvest Moon. Instead of settling in to farm and starting a family, Mad Dash has you racing to harvest crops, catch fish, or milk cows alongside another player. It’s a frenzied version of a franchise that has long played with long-term player investments.Read Article >
If Mad Dash seems outside the realm of what Harvest Moon can be, producer Yasutaka Maekawa has a counter — Mario. There aren’t just traditional platformer Mario games, he says, but also sports, racing, party games, and more. “Traditional Harvest Moon is more of a long game,” Maekawa says. “How about we go opposite, make it a really quick game, but have that Harvest Moon feel to it — the crops, watering, taking care of animals?”
Jun 14, 2019
Retro consoles are bittersweet little gadgets. They pack a ton of nostalgia, must-have-it miniature console design, and properly licensed software into a mostly affordable package that will, inevitably, mostly go unused sitting on your shelf. That’s because they are often cumbersome to play, and as gadgets teetering close to the edge of becoming cash grabs, they’re not really designed to be more robust than the emulator solution a teenager could hack together on a cheap laptop.Read Article >
The Sega Genesis Mini, on the other hand, is a great example of how a company can do its best to avoid those pitfalls. Sega brought the device, slated to start shipping in September for $79.99, to E3 this year, and I got to have some hands-on time with it at the company’s show floor booth. I came away impressed, especially for a device that will be cheaper at launch than competing official retro consoles.
Jun 14, 2019
Despite its title, Final Fantasy VII Remake won’t actually be a straight retelling of the original game, but instead a deeper exploration of its world and characters. During a closed-door presentation at E3, producer Yoshinori Kitase said that simply recreating the game with new graphics wouldn’t have been enough to get the team — which includes many of the developers from the original Final Fantasy VII — excited enough to come onboard. “Our goal here is to remake this genre-defining RPG for a new audience, for a new era, and not just to make a straight one-to-one copy or a remaster,” he said.Read Article >
The first game is set in Midgar, a dark, steampunk-inspired city dominated by the evil corporation known as Shinra. As in the original, players control Cloud and a group of mercenaries known as Avalanche as they bomb reactors and fight to stop Shinra from draining the planet’s energy. According to Kitase, the development team chose to set the entirety of the first game within Midgar because “it really is the most iconic location in Final Fantasy VII’s world.”
Jun 14, 2019
At E3 2019, there are two versions of Cyberpunk 2077. First, there’s the version that developer CD Projekt Red — best known for the Witcher series — is teasing in interviews, presentations, swag, and posters lining the walls of its promotional booth. It’s a narratively deep role-playing game set in a cutthroat world where people change their bodies radically according to the whims of employers and cultural fads, trying to survive in an economic system that objectifies and exploits them in surreal ways.Read Article >
Then, there’s the thing that CD Projekt Red is showing behind closed doors: a good-looking but generic shooter-RPG hybrid with an ‘80s retro-futuristic sensibility and a grab bag of William Gibson references. The closer Cyberpunk gets to its release date next April, the more likely it seems that this will be the game’s final form. It also seems increasingly less likely to earn the moments that critics at E3 have called racist or transphobic — but that the developers say are just depicting a gritty future.
Jun 14, 2019
E3 2019 has come to a close, and it’s been another wild week of gaming news. There were big reveals, flashy press conferences, cool trailers, and even a glimpse of how the future of gaming could change in the years to come. And whether you were out on the show floor or watching from home, there was a ton of news to try to follow. So, in case you got lost along the way, here’s the most important stuff that was announced.Read Article >
With Sony skipping E3 and Nintendo doing its usual pre-taped Direct, Microsoft was the only one of the three major console makers to hold a tradition press conference. And the biggest news there was the first details on Project Scarlett, the company’s next-generation Xbox console, set to launch holiday 2020 with 8K gaming, support for 120 fps frame rates in games, ray tracing, and an optical drive, along with backwards compatibility for the last three generations of Xbox consoles. Oh, and a new trailer for Halo Infinite, which will launch alongside Scarlett.
Jun 14, 2019
In most Fire Emblem games, your biggest decisions are about tactical strategy. But in the upcoming Fire Emblem: Three Houses for the Nintendo Switch, you’ll have much more pressing dilemmas: like what you should do on the weekend.Read Article >
The new game features the core experience fans have come to love for nearly three decades. That means huge turn-based battles, and units you can customize with a dizzying array of skills, special abilities, and class types. And, as per usual, those units are more than just generic soldiers; they’re characters that you’ll grow to care about over the course of a lengthy campaign, and they can build relationships with each other over time. In the standard mode the game still features permadeath, so you have to be careful. It’s possible to fall for a character, only for them to die in battle and never come back.
Jun 13, 2019
With the first details coming out around the next Xbox and PlayStation, you might expect those upcoming consoles to be the buzz of this year’s E3. But instead, subscription services have become the talk of the show, as seemingly every console maker and game publisher looks to shift the way that games are sold.Read Article >
Every major publisher is racing to offer the first real “Netflix for games,” selling games to players via a monthly subscription service. Ubisoft is launching its own subscription service, UPlay Plus, and Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix is also looking to launch one too. That’s on top of Microsoft spending millions of dollars acquiring game studios in an attempt to fill out its catalog for Game Pass subscribers; EA’s Origin Access for PC players, which offers games for a monthly cost; and Nintendo introducing Nintendo Switch Online last year which comes with classic NES titles for a monthly or annual fee.
Cloud gaming is the undeniably industry-altering shadow looming over this year’s E3 video game conference. Paired with the rise of subscription services, the idea of running games from remote servers could not only change how they’re are played, distributed and sold, but even how games are developed, thanks to the promise of running software off the equivalent of multiple consoles strung together.Read Article >
The two frontrunners in the race are Google and Microsoft, two of the tech industry’s most powerful companies and two of the largest players in the existing cloud computing market. Both have the infrastructure, the expertise, and the resources to get cloud gaming off the ground, and we’re seeing that right now as Microsoft’s xCloud and Google Stadia transition from fledgling prototypes into full-blown products. Both platforms were here at E3, and I got to try them both — theoretically letting me give you insight into the cloud gaming future.
Jun 13, 2019
Supermassive Games has a unique problem. As with its horror game Until Dawn, where every character could die a horrific death, Man of Medan — the first in its Dark Pictures Anthology — will carry on that tradition. Keeping those deaths fresh, however, keeps the team on its toes. “It’s s a real big problem because killing people — it’s easy to just kill people,” says game director Tom Heaton. ‘We have to kill people in really entertaining ways.”Read Article >
Man of Medan is a riff on ghost ship stories, in which a group of friends wind up trapped on a haunted vessel in the South Pacific. The choices players make will decide who survives the trip, and who dies in one of the developer’s unique gruesome deaths. That may sound slightly deranged, but Heaton — who noticeably lights up at the subject — explains that people are coming to them for a specific experience. “They want horror,” he says of players. ‘They want really horrible deaths. They’d be disappointed if they don’t get that.”
The latest game to come to Tesla’s massive touchscreen infotainment center is Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter, the free-to-play post-apocalyptic spinoff title that came out for mobile devices back in 2015.Read Article >
The announcement was made this afternoon by Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard, the director of Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 and the executive producer of Fallout Shelter. The game joins indie platformer Cuphead, announced for Tesla earlier this month, and a series of Atari classics that came to the electric vehicle last August.
Playing through a brief demo of Sayonara Wild Hearts is like riding a motorcycle through a Carly Rae Jepsen album.Read Article >
At E3 2019, I had a chance to check out around 10 minutes of the game, which is being developed by Swedish studio Simogo, the same team behind titles like Device 6 and Year Walk, and published by Annapurna Interactive. It’s like nothing the studio has done before: bright, vibrant, and absolutely bursting with energy.
One of this year’s weirdest, most unexpected collaborations in gaming reinvents a classic Nintendo formula with killer music, dance-infused combat, and a healthy nostalgia trip back to the pre-3D era of Zelda. It’s called Cadence of Hyrule, from Crypt of the NecroDancer developer Brace Yourself Games, and it’s a rhythm roguelike game where your fighting ability is dependent on how well you can move to the beat of the music. The game is out today on Nintendo Switch for $24.99.Read Article >
I got to spend some time with Cadence of Hyrule earlier this year, and the game is a satisfying crossover that should win over longtime Zelda fans, while giving the roguelike crowd something truly one of a kind. It’s not so much a true Zelda game as it is a Zelda remix of Crypt of the NecroDancer, the 2015 indie hit that first included a metronomic meter that rewarded you for staying in time and punished you for bad tempo.
When the team behind the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 3 decided they wanted to add co-op play to the game, they realized they needed a new character. And they came up with something novel: a strange, gooey version of Luigi appropriately called Gooigi. Many of us got our first glimpse of the slimy double during Nintendo’s E3 presentation this week. But, despite being designed with the third game in mind, Gooigi actually made a brief appearance in last year’s re-release of the original Luigi’s Mansion on the 3DS. For producer Yoshihito Ikebata, it was meant to be a tease.Read Article >
“I wanted to put Gooigi in the 3DS version with no explanation whatsoever,” he says. “My hope was people would see him and be like: ‘What is this?’”
Single-player Star Wars games have a long history, but a poor track record. Not since the critically acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic titles, which were helmed by legendary studios Bioware and Obsidian Entertainment roughly 15 years ago, has Lucasfilm and its partner Electronic Arts produced a narrative Star Wars game that managed to capture the magic of the films and the richness and depth of the series’ expansive universe.Read Article >
That could finally change this November, when Titanfall and Apex Legends developer Respawn releases Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The game is the first proper, big-budget single-player Star Wars game since 2008’s The Force Unleashed, and it’s telling a canonical story set during the events after Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, when the Jedi Order is disbanded and the Galactic Empire supplants the Republic. You play as Cal Kestis (played by Shameless’ Cameron Monaghan), a Jedi Padawan on the run from the empire after his identity as a surviving Force user is revealed.
Jun 12, 2019
Nintendo’s E3 presentation was filled with exciting announcements, with a surprise sequel to Breath of the Wild and a pair of new fighters coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But that was tempered somewhat by news that Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ launch has been pushed from later this year to next March. The animal-filled life-sim was expected to be a major part of the Switch’s always important holiday lineup. But it might not be as big of a blow as it first seems. After playing through a trio of upcoming Switch games here at E3, it’s pretty clear that, even without Animal Crossing, Nintendo has a strong slate for the end of the year. Tom Nook can wait.Read Article >
Of course the biggest name is Pokémon Sword and Shield, which represent the first proper console releases in the series’ long history. At their core, the new releases aren’t a drastic change. You still catch pokémon in the wild and raise a team of fighters; the increasingly complex rock-paper-scissors combat remains in tact, and even the menus will feel familiar to longtime fans. I played through an early gym, and it was the typical blend of battles and simple puzzles. In order to get to the exit, I had to use a series of valves to divert water, clearing a path. Along the way, I came up against other trainers to battle. This all culminated with a pokémon battle against the gym leader.