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 SherrFormer 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.
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.
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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.
Microsoft/Xbox -- The gaming giant's biggest news was Project Scarlett, its next-generation Xbox, coming in 2020. The new device is up to four times more powerful, the company said, and like the next-gen PlayStation, it'll include a fast nonmechanical SSD hard drive, and it'll be powered by custom innards built with the help of chipmaker AMD. The company also announced that Halo Infinite will launch alongside Project Scarlett next year. Meantime, Microsoft is starting public tests of its Project xCloud streaming service in October, promising people the ability to play high-end games on their mobile devices while away from home. While fans wait, Microsoft announced an update to its Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 as well as a slew of new games. And action star Keanu Reeves, fresh off the success of John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, was on stage to announce his involvement with Cyberpunk 2077, which is coming next year.
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.