Sprinkle a dash of Journey’s whimsical aesthetic and exploration driven gameplay into a wide blue ocean and you’ve got Abzu, the first project from developer Giant Squid. No small wonder, as the game studio was founded by Matt Nava, art director on both Flower and Journey. There isn’t much word on what we’ll actually be doing in Abzu, but swimming alongside schools of fish to the Grammy-nominated compositions of Journey's Austin Wintory is convincing enough for us.
Assassin's Creed's particular brand of stealthy ultraviolence is headed to the French Revolution. The game's parkour-inspired acrobatics and stunning, open environments make a welcome return, alongside "classic" combat mechanics that are starting to look a little dated. But we won't be hunting along when Unity arrives in October: up to three friends can get in on the action for cooperative takedowns against well-protected foes.
The venerable Battlefield series is trying a slightly different warzone out for size, ditching the standard military theme for old-fashioned cops and robbers. Don't let the seemingly restrained setting fool you: in the gameplay we've seen thus far, these police are willing to rack up billions of dollars in property damage to stop the bad guys from getting away. Expect a multiplayer campaign rife with grappling hooks, ziplining, collapsing buildings and car chases, while the single-player campaign tackles the moral gray areas in Battlefield-style police work.
In the upcoming Arkham Knight, Batman wields all of the usual tricks of the vigilante trade, dispatching ne’er-do-wells with hand-to-hand brutality, flying about all-too-improbably with his trusty cape, and darting about the entirety of Gotham City. And then there’s the Batmobile, which now turns into a tank. So the caped crusader has got that going for him. Expect lots of hand-waving about how you can non-lethally takedown anything with a heavily armored vehicle, but also much fun as we take on Batman’s perennial foes.
In a land cursed by illness, a city plagued by nightmarish creatures contains your only hope for a cure. Death and destruction abound -- par for the course for your average gothic horror game. But then you take a peek at the developer -- From Software, the minds behind Dark Souls -- and your blood runs cold. All manner of despair is in store, as you’re brutalized again and again by unforgiving game mechanics and ruthless enemies. Good times.
So it may not be the next-gen Borderlands we were asking for, but this next game in the ultra-popular shoot and loot series looks to be a love letter to fans of the franchise. New weapons, playable characters and features round out what's hot in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Say what you will about the first Dead Island game, this series really knows how to pull off an excellent trailer. When this sequel arrives in the spring of 2015, it'll bring its handcrafted weaponry and zombie extermination to sunny California. Dead Island 2 also boasts a new multiplayer experience that promises cooperation (or not), dedicated classes and a new developer: Yager, the minds behind the flawed but compelling Spec Ops: The Line.
There was a time when you could just say "developed by Bungie" and get wallets cracked open, folks ready to spend their hard earned ducats on whatever those wunder-developers had dreamt up next. Actually, that's likely still true: Destiny offers a sprawling, lore-heavy world to explore, loot to collect, and gameplay that's heavy on impromptu social experiences shared between friends and foes, whether you're stumbling into a public event, or looking to engage in a bit of PVP.
I wouldn't ever condone violence against animals, but watching a "weaponized pachyderm" dole out some swift justice on your enemies is a bit special. The Far Cry series has always flirted with exploration and time spent in the great outdoors -- usually for violence-related reasons -- and Far Cry 4's trek into Kyrat is no less gory, or graphic. Or fun -- elephant rides, crossbows, and wingsuits in the same game? Sign me up.
Halo’s Master Chief is a household name at this point in his career, so his fifth appearance (though ninth game in the series, depending on how you count) shouldn't need much in the way of introduction. Which is good, as aside from a bit of teaser art detailing a new character we don’t really have much of anything to go on.
That isn't going to stop fans from getting excited, though: if you pick up a copy of the upcoming Master Chief Collection for Xbox One you can relive all of the Chief’s adventures, and secure yourself a spot in the Halo 5 multiplayer beta in December.
Suda 51's game are bizarre. Let it Die, the developer's upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, isn't doing much to change that perception. There's a giddy, almost maniacal approach to gory violence coupled with a calm, almost analytical aesthetic, all numbers and data points as you hack and slash and shoot foes.
Who says Nintendo needs to hold a monopoly on whimsical platformers? The third installment in the LittleBigPlanet franchise adds new sack-critters with their own special moves and new tools to exploit. Better still, there were over 8 million levels created in the first two LittleBigPlanet games, and every single one of them will be available for our perusal in LittleBigPlanet 3 -- with spruced-up visuals, of course.
Mario Maker will allow players to design and built Mario Bros. levels from the 8-bit era and warp them into their Wii U. We're still not sure how this will all work in terms of sharing levels, but the Wii U's GamePad seems like the perfect tool for crafting levels.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (PS4/Xbox One)
Metal Gear Solid 5 is going to be huge: a massive world to explore, hordes of enemies to dispatch or avoid, and a sprawling narrative that sees private military forces sparring in war-torn countries for power and profit. If the last few Metal Gear games are any indication, it’ll also be chock-full of lengthy cutscenes, bizarre sight gags, and large, angry robots leaping about spewing hot death.
It's hard not to get excited about a game that's literally offering us an entire universe to explore. Granted, it's a procedurally generated universe so that's technically cheating, but while you're arguing semantics I'll be inspecting varied flora and fauna, going for deep sea dives, and then hurtling through space looking for that next adventure.
Werewolves get a bad rap. Sure, a penchant for feeding on the flesh of innocents isn't likely to make you especially popular at parties, but is this what we've come to, hunting them outright? The Order says yes. And we won't be limited to eerily articulate beastmen, as you'll have plenty of human foes to tackle with in this alternate take on London's history.
There was no shortage of ways to shoot things in the face at this years E3, but few games are bothering to do it with as much style and panache as Sunset Overdrive. It’s like a gun-happy lovechild of Borderlands and Ratchet & Clank, coupling an insane arsenal with frenetic action and an open world to explore.
It's been a long time since we've had a Rainbow Six game to test our tactical mettle, and the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege doesn't look like it'll disappoint. At E3 we sampled a sort of capture-the-flag mode, taking turns holding a hostage and fighting off their would be captors. This means cooperation and strategy will rule the day -- something sorely missed from most of the frantic pray-and-spray shooters this E3 has lined up for us.
What is it about apocalypses that brings out the worst in people? After a pathogen takes out much of the US in the span just a few days, it's up to you and your squad of hardened agents to bring some semblance of order to a war-torn New York City. This third-person shooter couples tactical firefights with cooperative and competitive combat, and after a troubled development that's seen some delays, it's predicted to be arriving next year.
Nathan Drake might not be quite as much of a household name as Halo's Master Chief, but the Uncharted series has held a treasured place in many gamers' hearts for years. Fortunately, it looks like our days of freerunning, frenzied gunplay and witty one-liners aren't behind us. We saw little more than a ghost of a teaser trailer at this year’s E3, but it's enough to keep the dream alive.
We still have no idea when The Witness will finally be available, but we do know that this exploration game will let us explore an seemingly deserted island, solving puzzles and unravelling mysteries. It's the brainchild of Braid-developer Jonathan Blow, so we can all but expect fiendishly clever puzzles wrapped up in a gorgeous, singular style.