The last few weeks have seen even more game companies host livestreams announcing upcoming games instead of at their regular Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, conferences. Here are a few highlights from Xbox, Ubisoft and more.
Developer: 343 Industries
Release Date: Holiday 2020
Platforms: Windows PC, Xbox Series X and Xbox One
The next installment in the science-fiction first-person shooter Halo series is Halo Infinite. A new cinematic trailer and campaign gameplay demo shows the green power-armor-clad Master Chief crash-land on a halo ring. Halo Infinite will have an open world to explore on the ring and take on objectives.
Little of the story was revealed but it appears Humanity’s United Nations Space Command is losing a war against The Banished, a faction of alien Brutes introduced in the real-time strategy halo spinoff series, Halo Wars 2. Other Covenant alien enemies are present including Grunts, Jackals and Elites.
The gameplay looks very similar to the last game, Halo 5: Guardians with the ability to aim down sights and the inclusion of hit markers. There are some cool new guns such as the three-burst Ravager launcher as well as reimagined designs of series mainstays such as the Assault Rifle. Everything a Halo fan expects of a new game in the series is here, even the good old Warthog vehicle.
A big new feature that seems like it will complement the addition of an open world is a grappling hook which allows for more traversal options. Players can also hook objects like fusion coils that will explode on impact and throw them at enemies or hook an enemy and reel themselves in for a quick melee punch.
The first look at the competitive multiplayer is coming in the next few months.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: Nov. 17, 2020
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Xbox One
Before I go into details on any Ubisoft games, I feel compelled to mention the series of widespread sexual misconduct allegations at the company. Several high-level employees have been put on leaves of absences, fired or resigned as a result. Recently reported by Kotaku on July 22, during a call with investors the CEO, Yves Guillemont refused to take any accountability.
Before Ubisoft Forward livestream, Ubisoft tweeted that nothing in their video would address the scandal. It’s worth noting that the livestream was a pre-recorded video and it would’ve been entirely possible for Ubisoft to edit in a short segment addressing the misconduct.
The time-hopping role-playing game Assassin’s Creed series is traveling to 9th Century Norway and England where players will control a male or female Viking raider named Eivor. Together with a clan of other Vikings, they’ll raid and establish settlements and raid fortresses.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will have less of a focus on traditional side quests than previous games according to a Gamespot interview with narrative director Darby McDevitt. Instead, players will stumble upon “world events” to complete during their adventure.
If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed Origins or Odyssey, you’ll feel right at home with the gameplay. Players have light and heavy attacks and must dodge out of the way of enemy attacks while activating some abilities from an upgradeable skill tree. There will also be a main storyline to complete when not checking off icons on a large open-world map, loot to obtain and dialogue choices to make.
What is new is less of a focus on traditional side quests according to a Gamespot interview with narrative director Darby McDevitt. Instead, players will stumble upon “world events” to complete during their adventure. Another new feature shown during a 30-minute gameplay walkthrough was the ability to dual-wield any two weapons like axes, flails and shields.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Release Date: Oct. 29, 2020
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Watch Dogs: Legion is set in a dystopic London where state surveillance, private military and organized crime have run rampant. Players must recruit people to their resistance group, DedSec to fight back and retake the city. Intriguingly, Watch Dogs: Legion won’t feature a main protagonist. Instead, players can recruit and control anyone they find in London.
Everyone the player finds will have unique abilities to them. Such as a construction worker having access to building sites and a big wrench or a drone expert being able to control a flying drone. Players can even recruit an old woman who’s a retired assassin.
In their weekly podcast, the Giant Bombcast, Alex Navarro, a senior editor at Giant bomb, cited a potential lack of character archetype variety based on a gameplay demonstration given to members of the press.
“Using essentially a procedurally generated series of protagonists feels novel. I don’t know how long that’s going to last,” Navarro said.
Shadow Warrior 3
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Release Date: 2021
Platforms: Windows PC and unannounced consoles
Shadow Warrior is a first-person shooter series starring the wise-cracking assassin Lo Wang as he slashes and blasts his way through copious amounts of demons with a variety of weaponry. Think Doom and Wolfenstein for gameplay references. It’s a lot of fast-paced high-octane action and Shadow Warrior 3 looks to be no different.
In the gameplay trailer, Wang wall-runs across floating walls, uses a grappling hook to get across a crevasse and makes a bloody mess of a few demons for good measure. New weapons include a quick-firing revolver, multi-barrel automatic shotgun and an exploding fireworks launcher.
On a side note, the Devolver Direct livestream where Shadow Warrior 3 was announced is its own piece of incredible entertainment that pokes fun at the games industry culture. Fair warning: there’s a decent amount of fake blood and swearing involved.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Release Date: Aug. 4, 2020
Platforms: Windows PC and PlayStation 4
Fall Guys is a colorful 60-player battle royale where competitors must make it through a series of challenges and obstacle courses to be the victor. What makes this game stand out from other battle royales is it’s light-hearted and colorful art style. The characters look suitably blobby and can wear tons of different wacky outfits such as a hot dog or dinosaur costume.
It looks like it’ll be a decent bit of family-friendly fun.
Other video game announcements
There will no doubt be a few other online events and announcements before the end of the year including the prices and release dates of next-generation consoles. For trailers and information about the latest video game announcements, 2020.e3recap.com is a handy site to have bookmarked.