E3 2018 Recap: The Big Three

NOTICE AS OF 8/18/2020: This is a revised edition of the E3 2018 Recap video that we did years ago. For the website, we decided to convert it into an article only, along with adding some tidbits here and there to make it a bit more of an interesting read. Hope you guys enjoy this as we continue to make more content for both our website and YouTube channel. 😉

Introduction

Hello everybody, Sage here, and today we’ll be recapping everything that was announced at E3 2018—well…not everything, just the big three: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. (EA, Bethesda Ubisoft, and Square Enix, among other presentations will not be covered in this article.) And like with my other event recaps, I’ll be covering what enticed me and probably what will entice you.

So anyways, without further ado, let’s get to the rest of this article.

Microsoft

First, we’ll start off with Microsoft. There was no new hardware announced (as expected), but lots of new games were announced during their press conference.

New Third-Party Studios

But first, during the conference, Microsoft announced the addition of 5 new first-party studios:

  • The Initiative, founded by former Crystal Dynamics head Daryl Gallagher.
  • Undead Labs, the creators of the State of Decay series. Acquired by Microsoft.
  • Playground Games, responsible for the Forza Horizon series. Acquired by Microsoft.
  • Ninja Theory, makers of the Hellblade series, and the developers behind the first Devil May Cry game. Formerly owned by Argonaut Games (known for Star Fox) in 2000 as Just Add Monsters, before going independent in 2004 as Ninja Theory. Acquired by Microsoft.
  • Compulsion Games, the developer behind the puzzle platformer Contrast, and an upcoming action-adventure survival horror game called We Happy Few, set for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 10th, 2018. Acquired by Microsoft.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with the game announcements…

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Image Credit: Microsoft

Halo Infinite

First off, a new Halo game, Halo Infinite, was announced. For E3 2018, we only got a teaser, and the only information we knew was that it’s being powered by the Slipspace game engine, and that it’s going to be Master Chief’s “greatest adventure”. No release date was set for this one at the time of its announcement, although we could get more details next E3.

And much like with the other recent Halo games, the game is being developed by Microsoft game studio, 343 Industries.

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Image Credit: Moon Studios / Microsoft

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Then we’ve got Ori and the Will of the Wisps, a direct sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, developed by Moon Studios.

Now this one was already announced at last year’s E3, but for 2018, we got a new gameplay trailer, along with more details such as new NPCs, new bosses, and new abilities.

At the time of it announcement, it was scheduled for a 2019 release. (It would eventually come out on March 11th, 2020 for both Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms.)

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Image Credit: FromSoftware

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Developed by FromSoftware (the same guys behind Dark Souls) and published by Activision, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a third-person action-adventure game where you play as a warrior looking to rescue his master and seek revenge on his arch nemesis. The game takes place in a fictionalized ancient Japan setting, and contains various gameplay elements from Dark Souls, with some RPG elements added.

The game was scheduled for a 2019 release. (It would be released on March 22nd, 2019 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.)

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Image Credit: Bethesda

Fallout 76

Announced before E3 2018, Fallout 76 is considered a prequel in the Fallout series, and is Bethesda’s first online multiplayer game. Because of this, the worlds are going to be open and “four times the size of Fallout 4”, according to Bethesda.

While there was no release date confirmed during Microsoft’s conference, Bethesda would later talk about it during their E3 conference, with a release date of November 14th, 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms.

Sage’s Fun Fact: Fallout 76 was released to mostly mixed reviews from critics, but the game received far more harsh criticism from players; the game was riddled with numerous bugs upon release, and contained microtransactions, allowing players to buy cosmetics and items…even ones that give the player an unfair advantage.

Because of these reasons, sales of the game weren’t impressive. The game would also be involved in numerous controversies, the most well-known being one of the items in the Power Armor special edition.

The special edition was supposed to come with a canvas bag, but instead players got a nylon bag. After some complaints, Bethesda gave all players affected 500 atoms as compensation: in-game currency equivalent to $5 USD. Due to the heavy criticism afterwards, the real bags would eventually be delivered…8 months after the game was released.

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Image Credit: Dontnod / Square Enix

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

Set in the Life Is Strange universe, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit depicts a young boy named Chris, who thinks of himself as a superhero that fights evil forces.

The game was released on June 25th, 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and is free.

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Image Credit: Sumo Digital / Microsoft

Crackdown 3

The third installment in the Crackdown series: Crackdown 3 has an interesting development story: It was announced way back in 2014, with some gameplay shown at last year’s E3.

For E3 2018, we have yet another gameplay trailer with Terry Crews of Old Spice yelling all sorts of stuff.

And after numerous delays, the game finally has a set release date of February 2019. (It would be released on February 15th, 2019…to mixed reviews.)

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Image Credit: PlatinumGames / Square Enix

Nier: Automata Become as Gods Edition

Nier: Automata, an action RPG first released as a PlayStation 4 console exclusive back in early 2017, finally comes to the Xbox One as the “Become as Gods” edition on June 26th, 2018.

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Image Credit: Deep Silver

Metro Exodus

First announced at E3 2017, Metro Exodus is the third installment in the Metro series of games, and we got more details about the game for E3 2018, with one of them being the story set in a vicious Russian wasteland.

The game had a set release date of February 22nd, 2019, for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Sage’s Fun Fact: The game was released a week early, on February 15th, 2019, and was going to be released on Steam as well for PCs. At the last minute however. Deep Silver signed a 1-year exclusivity deal with the then recently-launched Epic Games Store. (This was most likely due to Epic having a bigger revenue split to the developer compared to the industry standard 70/30 split that Steam has.)

This, as you would expect, caused controversy amongst the gaming community, resulting in its previous games getting review-bombed. Despite this, the game would go on to receive positive reviews, and sales were good despite the Epic Store/Windows Store exclusivity on PCs (though Steam pre-orders were honored). The game would eventually get a Steam release the following year.

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Image Credits: Square Enix

Kingdom Hearts III

As the 12th installment in the Kingdom Hearts series, the new gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III introduces new and existing worlds that were announced prior to E3, such as Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Hercules, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Pirates of the Caribbean.

And after being in development for quite some time, it finally gets a release date of January 29th, 2019 for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms. (It was released 4 days earlier in Japan.)

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Image Credit: Rare Ltd. / Microsoft

Sea of Thieves DLC

Rare’s Sea of Thieves, a open world pirate-themed adventure game, is getting two new expansion packs: Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores.

Cursed Sails, released on July 31st, 2018, brings in a new story campaign with skeleton ships, while Forsaken Shores, released on September 27th, 2018, brings in another new story campaign with dangerous regions to explore.

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Image Credit: Electronic Arts

Battlefield V

This game, the 16th installment in the Battlefield franchise and developed by EA DICE, was unveiled a month prior to E3, and (as some of you may know) got a considerable amount of backlash for its historical inaccuracy, primarily the main female character in a World War II-style game. (Some video game journalists however, pointed out examples of female soldiers in real-life WWII scenarios, and suggested that the backlash was partly due to misogyny.)

Sage’s Fun Fact: While we’re on the topic of Battlefield V backlash, EA’s chief creative officer Patrick Söderlund stated in response: “We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game; I’m fine with either or.”

And it seems like people took that quote literally, as the game did not sell well compared to its predecessor, Battlefield 1. The game would go on to receive average reviews from critics.

It was also confirmed at E3 that Battlefield V was to receive a Battle Royale mode, to compete with the likes of Fortnite and PUBG. The game was released on October 19th, 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms.

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Image Credit: Playground Games / Microsoft

Forza Horizon 4

And then there’s probably the most interesting game out of all the others announced at Microsoft’s E3 press conference…Forza Horizon 4, developed by Playground Games.

Why? Because not only does it looks absolutely gorgeous (it is set in a beautiful and historic Britain), but it also introduces a welcomed addition to the game: Dynamic seasons. The game also contains a shared open-world environment with multiplayer, and for those who own an Xbox One X, there’s a 60 FPS mode.

The game was released exclusively on Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms on October 2nd, 2018.

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Image Credit: Bandai Namco

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

Tales of Vesperia, a JRPG released way back in 2008 by Bandai Namco (2009 outside of the US and Japan, and published by Atari of all companies), is getting a Definitive Edition for not just the Xbox One, but also the PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch platforms.

It was scheduled for a Winter 2018 release. (It was eventually released on January 11th, 2019.)

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Image Credit: Ubisoft

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Tom Clancy’s The Division, an online, open-world action RPG shooter game, is getting a sequel, simply titled The Division 2. The game takes place in an apocalyptic Washington D.C. in an America on the brink of collapse, thanks to a virus pandemic. (Does that sound familiar?)

The game was released to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms on March 15th, 2019.

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Image Credit: Square Enix

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The third and final game in a Lara Croft origin series, and the overall 12th game in the Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is another one of those darker takes on the Tomb Raider franchise—Lara Croft must race to stop a Mayan apocalypse from happening.

The game was set for release on September 14th, 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms. (It would later be ported to macOS and Linux more than a year later.)

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Image Credit: Crea-ture Studios

Session

Developed and published by indie game studio Crea-ture Studios, Session is a skateboarding game, often referred to by some as the “spiritual successor” to EA’s Skate series.

It was set for release in 2019; it was eventually released through Steam Early Access for Windows on September 17th, 2019, followed by an Xbox One release through Xbox Game Preview on June 17th, 2020. It is currently still in development as of August 2020.

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Image Credit: Capcom

Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry, an action hack-and-slash franchise, is getting another game, developed and published by Capcom…and that’s really all I have to say.

The game was scheduled for a Spring 2019 release—it was eventually released on March 8th, 2019 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms.

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Image Credit: StudioMDHR

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Cuphead, an artistic but challenging run-and-gun platformer developed by StudioMDHR, is getting DLC in the form of “The Delicious Last Course”. (Get it?)

This add-on, by the looks of the teaser, contains a new playable female character: Ms. Chalice. It also contains new bosses, new worlds, and much more.

It was set for release in 2019, but was eventually delayed to avoid the “crunch time” nature some developers such as Naughty Dog and Rockstar became infamous for.

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Image Credit: Finji

Tunic

Developed by Andrew Shouldice and published by Adam Saltsman under his Finji label, Tunic (originally announced as Secret Legend) is an isometric action-adventure game featuring a link-esque tiny fox set in a Legend of Zelda-esque world.

The game currently does not have a set release date.

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Image Credit: Bandai Namco

Jump Force

Developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco, Jump Force brings together famous anime franchises, such as Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Naruto, and Death Note, and puts them in a fighting game adventure.

The game was set for a 2019 release; it was eventually released on February 15th, 2019 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms. (The PlayStation 4 version was released in Japan a day earlier.)

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Image Credit: Techland

Dying Light 2

A sequel to the critically praised Dying Light, this survival horror game will be set in the modern-day Dark Ages brought on by the zombie apocalypse, and will feature a fluent, parkour system.

No release date was specified for this game yet.

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Image Credit: Rare Ltd. / Microsoft

Battletoads (Reboot)

Battletoads is coming back, with a reboot developed by Dlala Studios and Rare. There was no gameplay in the teaser, but it did claim that it would have “4K hand-drawn 2.5D graphics” and “3-player couch co-op”.

The game was originally scheduled for 2019 at the time of its announcement. (It was eventually released on August 20th, 2020 as a Microsoft platform exclusive.)

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Image Credit: Square Enix

Just Cause 4

Then we got another Just Cause sequel developed by Avalanche Studios…and that’s all you need to know. The game was released on December 4th, 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms.

Gears POP! / Gears Tactics / Gears 5

Next, we come to three new Gears games: A mobile game, a turn-based tactics spin-off, and another major sequel.

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Image Credit: Microsoft

The mobile game, Gears POP!, is a Funko Pop-themed real-time strategy spin-off developed by Mediatonic, that was set to come out in 2019. (It was eventually released on August 22nd, 2019.)

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Image Credit: The Coalition / Microsoft

The turn-based tactics spin-off, Gears Tactics, is what you’d expect: A turn-based tactics game developed by Splash Damage in cooperation with The Coalition (the current developers behind Gears), that was set to come out in 2019 as a Windows 10 PC exclusive. (It was eventually delayed to April 28th, 2020, and it was also confirmed an Xbox One version was in development.)

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Image Credit: The Coalition / Microsoft

But the most notable new game in the Gears franchise announced was a new Gears of War title, Gears 5. This sequel contains a new storyline featuring a female lead, along with local and online co-op features as well. The game was set for release in 2019. (It was eventually released on September 10th, 2019 as a Microsoft platform exclusive.)

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Image Credit: CD Projekt

Cyberpunk 2077

Finally, to wrap up Microsoft’s E3 press conference, we have CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, a narrative-driven open world RPG. Judging by the trailer, it looks like that it’ll take place in a futuristic cyber world with futuristic-looking buildings, cyber humans, and all that jazz.

The game did not have a set release date at the time of its announcement. (It was initially going to be released on April 16th, 2020, but was delayed multiple times until it was scheduled to its current release date of November 19th, 2020. In October of 2018, Warner Bros. acquired the North American publishing rights.)

Overall, Microsoft’s conference was…okay. It had some interesting games, but most of them didn’t really interest me at all.

Sony

Now, let’s move on to Sony’s camp.

Sony unveiled a lot more mature-oriented games than Microsoft did. Let’s take a brief look at them, shall we?

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Image Credit: Naughty Dog / Sony

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us is getting a part 2, and they showed off a bunch of pretty neat gameplay, featuring new stealth sequences, different ways of using your ammo, etc. (Oh, and there’s two lesbians kissing in one scene…but that’s all I’ll tell you.)

Sage’s Fun Fact: The game was eventually released for the PlayStation 4 on June 19th, 2020 to critical and sales success. However, it wasn’t without its controversies:

Before the game was released, several major portions of the game including the plot and cutscenes were leaked online, and were subject to negative reception by the gaming community for being “too politically correct”, among other things. When the game was released, it was review bombed almost immediately, resulting in mostly negative to mixed user reviews on various gaming websites.

The game was also subject to another controversy: crunch time—developers were essentially forced to work longer days and excessively in order to get a game out on schedule. Companies like Rockstar Games and the now-defunct Telltale Games were also subject to this.

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Image Credit: Bungie

Destiny 2: Forsaken

Destiny 2: Forsaken, a story expansion to Bungie’s Destiny 2, gets a new trailer, along with a release date of September 4th, 2018.

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Image Credit: Sucker Punch / Sony

Ghost of Tsushima

Developed by Sucker Punch (not the Zack Snyder film), Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world samurai game, with some sword-fighting gameplay shown off, along with some pretty dang good graphics.

No release date was specified at the time of its announcement. (It was eventually released on July 17th, 2020.)

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Image Credit: Remedy / 505 Games

Control

Made by Quantum Break developer Remedy, Control is a third-person action-adventure game, starring a young woman (who kinda looks like Black Widow) who can take control of dreamlike situations.

It was scheduled for a 2019 release; it was eventually released on August 27th, 2019 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC (through the Epic Games Store) platforms.

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Image Credit: Capcom

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2, a classic survival horror game from the PlayStation era, gets a remake for the PlayStation 4 and other platforms, with a set release date of January 25th, 2019.

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Image Credit: Squanch Games

Trover Saves the Universe

From Justin Roland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty, comes a 3D platformer, starring the titular character, whose face consists of two eyes…with faces on them. (Go look it up if you don’t believe me.)

There was no release date set at the time of its announcement. (It was eventually released on the PlayStation 4 on May 31st, 2019. A PC port would come 4 days later, followed by other console ports later that year.)

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Image Credit: Kojima Productions / Sony

Death Stranding

An original project from Hideo Kojima (known for his work in the Metal Gear franchise) and his production company Kojima Productions, Death Stranding follows the story of Sam Bridges, as he embarks on a journey to reconnect a fractured world.

The game did not have a release date at the time of its announcement; it was eventually released for the PlayStation 4 on November 8th, 2019 to positive reception—a PC port would be released through 505 Games (on Steam and the Epic Games Store) on July 14th, 2020.

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Image Credit: Team Ninja / Koei Tecmo / Sony

Nioh 2

Developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo (in Japan), Nioh 2, an action RPG, is a prequel to the first Nioh.

No release date was specified at the time of its announcement; it was eventually released for the PlayStation 4 on March 13th, 2020. (It was released in Japan a day earlier.)

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Image Credit: Insomniac Games / Sony

Spider-Man

Finally, we have a new gameplay trailer for Insomniac’s Spider-Man game (which was announced at E3 2017), featuring a whole bunch of famous Spider-Man villains coming together at the end.

The game was released exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on September 7th, 2018. (The game would go on to be a major success, even prompting Sony to acquire the developer less than a year later.)

So overall, while I wasn’t interested in most of the games Sony announced, I should at least give them credit for showing off some kickarse gameplay and new exclusives.

Nintendo

Finally, we’ve saved the best for last: Nintendo.

Now in my opinion, they didn’t really dominate this year’s E3 in terms of what they showed, but in terms of what interested me, well…that’s a different story.

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Image Credit: Marvelous / Nintendo

Daemon x Machina

First, Nintendo showed off Daemon x Machina, a fast-paced mech action game of some kind. It was set to a 2019 release; it was eventually released on September 13th, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. (A PC port would be released through Marvelous themselves under their Xseed Games label on February 13th, 2020.)

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Image Credit: Monolith Soft / Nintendo

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country

Next, we’ve got an expansion pass to Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country, which contains a new story, taking place before the events of the second game. It was released on September 14th, 2018.

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Image Credit: Nintendo

Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! / Eevee!

Both of these games are spin-offs to the Pokémon franchise, mostly catering to newcomers. Catching Pokémon in this game is rather similar to that of the hit mobile game Pokémon Go, and there’s even a Poké Ball Plus that’ll claim to “bring your Pokémon anywhere”. Both games were released on November 16th, 2018.

As for a true Pokemon game, well…that’ll have to wait for a little while longer.

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Image Credit: Nintendo

Super Mario Party

Now here’s something that came out of nowhere: A new Mario Party game for the Switch…and it looks quite fun. The gameplay contains some cool features, such as the use of 2 Switch consoles to create a map with different configurations, and it has some new minigames as well.

The game rolled out on October 5th, 2018.

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Image Credit: Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

A new trailer for a previous announced Fire Emblem RPG game was unveiled, showing off some new gameplay elements (while sticking true to the series’ core mechanics), as well as some pretty nice visuals.

The game was set for a Spring 2019 release; it was eventually released on July 26th, 2019.

Games with Confirmed Release Dates

Now before we move onto the final Switch game for this conference, other Switch games that were announced before and during E3 were unveiled. Let me give you the quick rundown on some of them:

  • StarLink: Battle for Atlas (Ubisoft) – October 16th, 2018
  • Minecraft: Switch Edition (Mojang Studios) – June 21st, 2018
  • Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle: DK Adventure (Ubisoft) – June 16th, 2018
  • Just Dance 2019 (Ubisoft) – October 23rd, 2018
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ (Bandai Namco) – Later in 2018 (It was released on September 28th, 2018 worldwide, and a day earlier in Japan.)
  • Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion (Nintendo) – June 13th, 2018
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch Version) (Nintendo) – July 13th, 2018
  • Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy (Activision) – June 29th, 2018
  • Carcassonne (Asmodee Digital) – Holiday 2018 (It was released on December 6th, 2018.)
  • FIFA 19 (EA Sports) – September 28th, 2018
  • Fallout Shelter (Bethesda) – June 10th, 2018
  • Dark Souls: Remastered (Bandai Namco) – Summer 2018 (It was delayed to October 19th, 2018.)
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Bethesda) – June 29th, 2018
  • Mega Man 11 (Capcom) – October 2nd, 2018 (It was released two days later in Japan.)
  • Mario Tennis Aces (Nintendo) – June 22nd, 2018

Oh, and Fortnite (Epic Games) is now on the Switch…yay?

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Image Credit: Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

And now to end off this E3 2018 recap, let’s talk a little bit about the new Smash Brothers game for the Nintendo Switch: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Is it a port? Is it a new game? Well, as I predicted, it’s sort of an in-between.

This is essentially the “Ultimate” edition of Super Smash Bros., so all of the characters and stages from the previous games are in this one, along with 3 new fighters: the Inklings (as we saw in the first teaser), Princess Daisy, and let’s not forget Ridley of Metroid. We also got a new Breath of the Wild themed stage: Great Plateau Tower.

Some characters have also gotten changes, such as the addition of Mario’s Cappy hat from Super Mario Odyssey, as well as Link’s Breath of the Wild outfit. 8 player matches have also returned in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Bomberman makes a cameo as an assist trophy, and there’s other additions and changes to the move sets that we won’t get into for time constraints.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will also be compatible with your Amiibos, like with the previous installments, and it’s also compatible with the GameCube controller—speaking of which, a new Smash Brothers branded GameCube controller was also revealed.

But the most important question of all is this: When are you going to get your hands on this Ultimate Edition of Super Smash Bros.? Well, it came out during the Holiday season on December 7th, 2018.

However, there’s one more piece of the puzzle left if I were to get a Nintendo Switch… I really hope Mario Maker comes there soon.

(Luckily, I would get my wish… I just had to wait another year.)

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Who Won E3 2018?

So that concludes my take on E3 2018, at least for the big three. So now the brief moment you’ve all been waiting for: Who won?

Well, in terms of showing off new exclusives and gameplay, Sony definitely won in that area. But in terms of what games interested me, I’m going to have to go with both Nintendo and Microsoft, but your opinion may differ.

And thus concludes this recap. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉

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