Games: E3 adds up to a bright-looking future, particularly for Japanophiles
E3 – GAMING'S annual shindig that promises all the sweaty excitement of, well, three Es – took place this week in LA, offering a lurid peephole into what we'll be feeding our greedy consoles in the next 12 months.
Sony kicked things off with The Last of Us: Part 2 and a trailer that, to quote Hot Chocolate, started with a kiss – a proper, full-on snog between Ellie and Dina. Post lesbian lip-locking, it's back to shanking business, with Ellie stabbing necks in a brutal display of ultraviolence that still has no release date. Stylish Samurai epic, Ghost of Tsushima, is a weird open-world actioner set during the Mongol invasion of Japan while Metal Gear maestro Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding finally has some gameplay to show, with The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus hiking through Scandi scenery using tech seemingly powered by a foetus.
Fans of Microsoft's dead certs Halo, Gears and Forza weren't disappointed. In fact, three new Gears of War titles were announced – Gears of War 5, Gears Tactics and Gears Pop, while the Chief's back with "his greatest adventure yet to save humanity" in Halo Infinite, which promises to take the well-worn franchise in “new and unexpected directions." My money's on a Battle Royale with loot boxes. Forza Horizon 4, out on October 2, is set exclusively in the UK, with a fully online, shared world and classic British rides. Another apocalyptic game set in a dystopian society, then. Other Xbox highlights include Delicious Last Course DLC for the Hanna-Barbaric Cuphead while Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a sequel to the original charmer.
Despite building a head of steam with Switch, whimsy buccaneers Nintendo eschewed any new Zelda, Mario or Metroid news, instead focusing heavily on Super Smash Bros Ultimate, due on December 7. It looks great, with a bulging roster of fighters, but after teasing a new Metroid Prime last year, this was a cripplingly disappointing conference, saved only by the news that online phenomenon Fortnite is now available on the Nintendo hardware.
EA announced a release date for its exo-suited Anthem. Landing on all formats on February 22 2019, it looks like the misshapen lovechild of Destiny and Titanfall. And for fans of kicking virtual balls through apparatus, FIFA 19 has nabbed the Champions League licence.
Landing on the November 14, Fallout 76 is "entirely online", cocking a snook at the series' traditional solo desolation while Doom Eternal is a straight-up sequel to the brilliant 2016 reboot. Square Enix teased a curious blend of live action and CGI with The Quiet Man, which, unlike the Catholic VHS collection mainstay, won't feature a retired boxer punching Mayo drunks.
As a convicted Japanophile, though, the most exciting prospects were Capcom's remake of Resident Evil 2 –a darker take on the series' high point with a modern over-the-shoulder camera which launches on January 25 2019 – and Fist of the North Star, a festival of fisticuffs from the team behind Yakuza. The future looks fun...