Hello, and welcome to a special edition of Replay, WIRED’s videogame news roundup. This week we’ll be doing a series of recaps of all the news coming out of E3, the massive gaming expo currently going down in Los Angeles. Each installment will bring you all of the announcements, trailers, gameplay, and leaks in one cozy, digestible format. Let’s get started.
Microsoft Shows Off a New Halo
After a fairly uneventful Electronic Arts event on Saturday, the first big news out of E3 came on Sunday, when Microsoft took to the conference stage to unveil a bunch of new games, and finally, its next-gen console Project Scarlett, which is set to hit stores in the winter of 2020. We didn’t see much of Scarlett, but we know it will utilize an SSD to achieve new speeds, and work to support high frame rates and incredibly high screen resolutions (8K!), and that it will launch with the sixth mainline Halo game, Halo: Infinite.
If that news doesn’t seem exciting, you have probably already heard the best news out of the Microsoft presser, which is that Keanu Reeves is delightful. But also of note is Elden Ring, the new game by Dark Souls developer From Software, created in collaboration with George R.R. Martin. Guess we know what he’s been up to when he’s not writing books.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake Looks, Frankly, Incredible
Last night, Square Enix streamed its E3 press confab, which turned out to be an eclectic mixture of games from the East and West divisions of the studio that was at times rousing and at times pretty dull. The new Avengers game, a big-budget exercise with heavy action and online co-op, looks OK enough. But the real star was the remake of Final Fantasy VII, which we’ve learned is actually going to be released within a decade of its announcement, coming out on March 3, 2020.
Square Enix showed a lot of the game, and it looks absolutely stunning. The combat system is a hybrid of real-time and turn-based action, and it’s loud and pretty and fast. After just one presentation, this game has gone from moderately on my radar to my favorite of the whole expo so far.
Everyone Is Launching Subscriptions or Getting Cloud-y
The biggest trends of the show so far are subscriptions and the cloud. Ubisoft is launching UPlay Plus, a subscription service for its games; Microsoft is expanding Xbox Game Pass onto PC; and EA, Bethesda, and Microsoft are all working on being in the cloud. We’ve already detailed Xbox’s ideas, which are testable at E3 this week. There’s also Bethesda’s Project Orion, a set of engine-based tools that look to make games more compatible with cloud streaming from the development process on up. There’s Google Stadia, too, which has received occasional talk throughout the conference and seems to have a fair amount of mainstream support from publishers. Will these trends continue? We’ll know in a few short days.
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