The last big video game event of the year has brought with it a host of new game revels and the latest looks at much anticipated releases.
If you want to make the biggest splash possible with a new video game announcement the traditional venue is E3 in June. In recent years though it’s The Game Awards that has been increasingly taking over that role and was last year used by Microsoft to unveil the Xbox Series X.
There were no reveals of that magnitude this year, in part no doubt to the coronavirus, but there were still lot of interesting trailers making their debut, even if it all took place in the small hours of Friday, from a UK perspective.
Unfortunately, the two most anticipated games – Elden Ring and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 – were no-shows, although Elden Ring did win Most Anticipated game and the way host Geoff Keighley referred to it seemed to hint that it had come close to getting a reveal.
Companies often change their minds about this sort of thing at the last minute though and while Sony had instructed fans to watch the show their highest profile trailer was merely a new look at Housemarque’s Returnal.
As always, there were a lot of indie games in amongst the AAA blockbusters and we’ve lined up the most interesting below, for your perusal.
Or you can skip to the biggest news of the night via these links:
- New DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- New Perfect Dark game on Xbox Series X
- Mass Effect 4 gets official reveal trailer and so does Dragon Age 4
- Master Chief from Halo is available in Fortnite now, The Walking Dead next week
- Among Us new map The Airship breaks cloud cover this spring
- Dead Space spiritual sequel The Callisto Protocol aims to be scariest game ever
Century: Age Of Ashes
Although it was relegated to the pre-show this free-to-play game had some impressive visuals that obviously owed a lot to the Panzer Dragoon games. Unlike Sega’s classics this is a multiplayer game though, essentially a dogfight game – except with dragons instead of aeroplanes (or dogs). There’s a closed beta starting in January, which you can sign up to here.
Back 4 Blood
This spiritual sequel to Left 4 Dead, from the series’ original creators Turtle Rock, was announced a way back and this first gameplay footage looked like pretty much exactly what you’d expect. That’s no slight though – it’s a mystery to many why Valve hasn’t continued the franchise themselves – and the graphics look really good, especially the 20ft tall giant zombies. There’s a closed alpha starting next week and the game itself will be out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on June 22.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Straight after Back 4 Blood came a run of four-player co-op games, including the sci-fi Scavengers and the historical Hood: Outlaws & Legends, but it was this new Warhammer tie-in that looked the most promising. Darktide is by the creators of Vermintide and seems to be basically the same idea but set in Warhammer 40,000’s bizarre heavy metal sci-fi universe, instead of the fantasy one. It’s due out sometime next year.
The creators of Gone Home failed to find much of an audience with sci-fi follow-up Tacoma but this third game from The Fullbright Company looked promising, with an interesting mix of normal 3D graphics and 2D animation. It also has some big name voice talent behind it, with Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever voicing a mother and daughter team trying to get to the bottom of some unsuspected family secrets.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Console versions of ZA/UM’s cult role-playing game were announced a while back but it wasn’t clear until now that this’ll be a significantly changed version of the original game, with new quests and full voice acting for every line – and considering how much text there is in the game that’s a lot of lines. It’ll be out on PlayStation formats in March and Switch and Xbox in the autumn. The extras will be available as a free upgrade for anyone that already has the PC version.
Arguably the best-looking game of the night, in terms of graphics alone, was this follow-up to MMO Black Desert. The landscapes really are gorgeous, although we’re not entirely convinced by the combat, which already looks a bit repetitive from just the trailer. The game is being classed as an ‘open world action adventure’ rather than an MMO, although there is both co-op and PvP. It’s coming to PC and consoles next Christmas.
The new game from the makers of Darwin Project was another indie title with a considerably more interesting visual style than most of the bigger budget games. We have to admit we’re not 100% clear on the story but apparently it involves exploring the world by bicycle and ‘collecting artefacts and memories before a cataclysm washes everything away’. We’re not sure what the context for that is exactly but it all looks rather beautiful. There’s no release date yet but it’s coming to PlayStation consoles and PC.
For the longest time we thought this was going to turn out to be a new Turok game but it’s not, it’s a sequel to online survival game Ark: Survival Evolved. The original’s an acquired taste but the bonkers trailer featuring Vin Diesel and a man-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex was definitely one of the most enjoyable of the night. There’s also going to be a cartoon tie-in featuring an unexpectedly star studded cast that includes not only Mr Diesel but Russel Crowe, Karl Urban, Gerard Butler, Malcolm McDowell, Elliot Page, David Tennant, Michelle Yeoh, and Alan Tudyk. Which either cost a stupid amount of money or everyone is working for peanuts because they think dinosaurs are cool – we’d like to think it’s the latter.
Evil Dead: The Game
There have been plenty of Evil Dead games before now but none have really done justice to the classic horror comedies. A modern take, that includes characters from the films and TV show, seems like a dream come true for fans but the footage reveals it to be a multiplayer action game, again not dissimilar to Left 4 Dead. We’re really not sure that was the way to go, when a slower paced survival horror would’ve offered the opportunity for more wisecracks and gore – the two staples of the franchise – but World War Z developer Saber Interactive are reasonably capable, so we’ll have to see when it’s released next year.
Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection
The problem with bringing back Ghosts ‘n Goblins is that while everyone has happy memories of it, mostly thanks to the iconic soundtrack, the staggering difficulty of the games tends to make modern incarnations all but unplayable for mere mortals. We’ll have to see how this Switch remake tackles that problem when it’s released on February 25. That same month Capcom will also release Capcom Arcade Stadium which allows you to buy individual coin-ops as DLC, with 1943 bundled in for free.
We’re still not entirely sure what’s going on with this PlayStation 5 exclusive but Housemarque’s experience with arcade shooters like Resogun and Nex Machina is enough to pique our interest. Returnal seems a substantially more complex experience: a third person shooter with what appears to be survival horror elements, as you’re stuck in a Groundhog Day style time loop on an alien planet (or at least we think that’s what’s going on).
We really liked the look of this one, a procedural road trip from the makers of Valiant Hearts and Memories Retold which seems to be, at least in part, a commentary on the Trump presidency, as you try to escape to the border by hitching a ride with a variety of dubious looking people. Being procedurally generated suggests it’ll be easy to die, so that’s going to be interesting to see mixed with a proper narrative.
It Takes Two
The new game from the creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and A Way Out also looks very promising and as with his other games it focuses on co-op action as you play a squabbling couple who have been turned into dolls and have to settle their differences – and take part in lots of fun looking video game activities – before they’re allowed to turn back into humans. It looks great and is out relatively soon, on March 26 for Xbox One, PlayStation, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.
Monster Hunter Rise
Due out on the exact same day is Capcom’s Nintendo exclusive Monster Hunter game, which does look remarkably good for a Switch game. The real news here though was that there’ll be a free demo in January, which should be interesting.
This is the new game from Flying Wild Hogs, makers of the Shadow Warrior reboot. Since it was only a pre-rendered trailer it’s not clear if it’ll play at all similarly to that game but cowboys versus supernatural monsters is usually a fun mix and the game seems to, sensibly, not be taking itself too seriously.
Although Bandai Namco seems to have a marketing deal with Microsoft this is actually a multiformat game, that’s also coming to PlayStation and PC. The anime visuals look cool but we’re still not clear exactly what’s going on, other than it’s a third person action role-player that’s out next summer.
Ruined King: A League Of Legends Story
Despite being one of the most popular video games in the world League Of Legends is largely unknown to most console gamers and this role-playing spin-off seems to be an attempt to change that. It looks pretty good whether you know what LoL is or not, with turn-based battles and some nice visuals when you’re running about exploring. It’s due out next year.
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