The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has taken the gaming world by storm with a slew of game announcements in various platforms, either for PC, mobile or consoles from the flashy press conferences of the video game giants like EA, Bethesda, Square Enix, Ubisoft, PlayStation and Nintendo. The biggest gaming event of the year has finally ended after a smashing week of trailers, announcements, booth show-offs, demos behind closed doors and more.
Other than that, we couldn’t help but notice that there is something special about this year’s E3, especially since E3 has opened its doors to the public for the second time. But that’s not all, here are the six upcoming video game trends that have come to light from the pandemonium that was E3 2018:
Women are leading the games
The upcoming war game Battlefield V features female soldiers on the front lines of the World War II for the first time. The reveal of Gears 5 broke the mold as this will be the first game to feature female lead protagonist, Kait Diaz, who was previously introduced in Gears of War 4. PlayStation opened up the conference with Ellie and her girlfriend, Dina, sharing an intimate kiss on the dancefloor during the gameplay reveal of The Last of Us Part II. The next Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will allow players to choose between a male or female character to venture through Ancient Greece.
Female characters are no longer justs the sidekicks or the co-stars to their male leads. Instead, women are taking the spotlight in games. Despite the prominent issue of gender imbalance in the workforce, as well as the endless, irrational uproar from fanboys, the introduction of female characters at the front of triple A games is a significant step that will shape the experience of players in the future.
Battle royale extravaganza
It didn’t take too long for the battle royale genre to be brought up in E3 2018. Six minutes into the EA conference, DICE announced that Battlefield V will get a ‘royale’ mode. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 embraced the trend with the ‘Blackout’ mode serving as the battle royale mode in the upcoming game. The famous battle royale game, Fortnite, hosted the first major charity competition in E3 featuring top Fortnite streamers and celebrities, with a USD$3 million charity pot won by celebrity players Ninja and DJ Marshmello. On top of that, Fortnite is making its first big entry into competitive esports tournaments with Epic Games backing up the prize pool up to USD$100 million. If that isn’t enough, the Fortnite craze has also infiltrated on to the Nintendo Switch.
The phenomenon caught up to the PC Gaming Show conference. Among them are changing the standards of battle royale games, like Maverick’s Proving Grounds, where you track and hunt 1000 players in the huge environment, as well as Rapture Rejects, a top-down isometric battle royale placing the players in the apocalyptic settings fuelled by the dark humour webcomic from Cyanide & Happiness. It seems like nearly every game developer in the world is brewing up their own battle royale mode these days.
Be gone, lootbox
After all the commotion over lootboxes, perhaps the biggest lesson was learned by EA when the whole conference worked as damage control to curb the dreaded mechanics that pressured players to spend real money to buy in-game items and rewards. In order to avoid history repeating itself (cue Star Wars: Battlefront II horrible lootbox flashbacks), DICE changed the game from top to bottom, with no more lootboxes that influenced the game’s progression, only limiting it to cosmetic items. Although lootbox mechanics are still apparent in FIFA Ultimate Team and Overwatch, the hubbub has slowly started to die down in this year’s E3, which signals the era of lootboxes coming to an end.
Shared open-world games for all
It seems that everyone wants to jump on Destiny’s wagon and try out what they do best, online shared-open worlds. While Destiny 2’s Forsaken content looks sharp and promising, BioWare is trying to get their market share of this new endeavour, by moving away from its traditional single-player RPG, to their all-new, shared open-world game Anthem. Following the shared open-world trend is the upcoming Fallout 76. Also moving away from Fallout’s single player narrative, this new game has players rebuilding West Virginia after the nukes drop on the world. This new way of playing games is not only being implemented in open-world shooters. The new Forza also adapts the same method, along with their new weather changing system, changing the landscape to every player around the world as they race to be the best.
Weird console to mobile leap
While it's no surprise to see games being ported on mobile, the surprise this year came in what sort of games were coming to mobile. Soon, you’ll be able to play Elder Scrolls one-handed and on-the-go on a mobile device. Traditional PC RTS Command & Conquer is desecrated into a competitive mobile strategy game like Clash of Clans. The weirdest one of all would be the Xbox exclusive Gears of War getting a Funko Pop crossover game in Gears Pop. There are tons of franchise under Funko, was Gears of War really the best they could come up with?
Samurais are the way to go
Ghosts of Tsushima, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice and Nioh 2 are leading the pack in bringing about a wave of samurai games coming in 2019. While Nioh 2 has the leg up with its predecessor being one of the highest rated games of last year, Nioh 2 has hopefully evolved even further beyond the initial premise of it being a Souls game set in Feudal Japan. Sekiro Shadows Die Twice on the other hand, is an actual game by Souls developer From Software, and is their take on what a Souls game in Japan should be. Ghosts of Tsushima is the only one of these new games not made by a Japanese developer, instead by the Infamous developer Sucker Punch Productions and features the studio’s trademark open-world design.
As always, trends come and go and only time will tell if any of these new waves brought in this year may last. Maybe the weird mobile ports, but just like the 3D platformers, it’s always possible that battle royales will go extinct as well. Regardless it was a pretty good year for E3.