E3 2019 highlights: Xbox Project Scarlett, Zelda sequel, Star Wars, Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal

The next Xbox and PlayStation may not be here till next year, but some big games are coming.

Ian Sherr Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
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The next Xbox is coming. 

Microsoft said on Sunday, during its scheduled press conference ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, that its next Xbox, called Project Scarlett, is launching in 2020. The new device will also launch Halo Infinite, the company's blockbuster space war game, to help promote the console.

"A console should be built and optimized for one thing and one thing only: Gaming ," Xbox head Phil Spencer said during the company's presentation.

The announcement brought drama to E3, the video game industry's biggest trade show. Unlike previous years, there aren't as many blockbuster new games or consoles launching, in part because the industry is waiting for Microsoft's and Sony's new consoles. There's hype over several big games, though.

One of the games attendees were sure to talk about is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, shown off during EA Play, a fan event put on by Electronic Arts before E3. During a 15-minute demonstration, the company showed how you can control the Force while playing as Cal Kestis, a Jedi in training. The character can push and pull objects, run on walls and throw his blue light saber like a boomerang.

Fighting with the light saber is "really satisfying," said Vince Zampella, head of EA's Respawn Entertainment, the team behind the game.

Among the big-name titles at E3 this year: Bethesda's shooting game Doom Eternal, CD Projekt Red's sci-fi epic Cyberpunk 2077, Nintendo's Pokemon Sword and Shield and Ubisoft's dystopian hacking game, Watch Dogs: Legion.

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One of the most highly anticipated games, however, is a new take on one that many people have already played. The mention of that game in 2015, Square's Final Fantasy VII Remake, was enough to make the crowd at Sony's press conference hysterical. Some people were brought to tears. You may scoff, but the game is frequently near the top of all-time-best lists, despite having been released in 1997. Now, Square Enix says its remake will be landing on store shelves in March, 2020.

There's also new blood in the game industry too. This year, internet giant Google announced its Google Stadia game-streaming service, which is launching in November.

Meanwhile, there were a host of new game announcements, from Square Enix's upcoming Marvel's Avengers game for 2020 to Nintendo's planned sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Bethesda announced new updates to its online postapocalyptic game Fallout 76 for later this year. And Ubisoft announced a new installment in its hacking adventure series, Watch Dogs: Legion, coming next year.

You can read wrap-ups of each press conference below.

The 17 most anticipated video games of 2019

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All the big news from E3's press conferences

Saturday, June 8

Sunday, June 9

Monday, June 10

  • PC Gaming Show -- This annual PC Gaming Show is held at a theater a short walk from the Los Angeles Convention Center but still draws a large crowd, filling the 1,700-person capacity Mayan Theater. Inside, the usual suspects, from Halo to Doom, were nowhere to be found. Instead, the crowd cheered for PC-centric games including Zombie Army 4, Baldur's Gate 3 and Terraria: Journey's End. (No, the game sequel problem isn't any better on PCs.) The highlight was a brief onstage appearance by legendary game designer Yu Suzuki, responsible for classics such as Hang-On and Virtua Fighter. His long-awaited Shenmue 3 is expected in November, 18 years after Shenmue 2. 
  • Ubisoft -- The French gaming giant announced its next big dystopian hacking adventure game, Watch Dogs: Legion, launching March 2020. The new game is set in near-future post-Brexit London, where the economy is failing and the government is breaking down. The company also announced a new television show, called Mythic Quest, that'll launch on Apple TV Plus. And it celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Just Dance party games. 
  • Square Enix -- Aside from the Final Fantasy 7 remake release date announcement, Square Enix also showed off its new comic book tie-in, Marvel's Avengers: A Day. Though the new game is different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some fans criticized the characters' looks. It's coming in 2020.

Tuesday, June 11