The Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 anything but typical. With nearly every major public event cancelled, it's no surprise that E3 would be among the casualties. Yet, despite there not being an actual Electronic Entertainment Expo this year, that didn't stop the big players from still making their obligatory mid-year gaming announcements. So, E3 or no, I've still got plenty of great information to round up for you.
- PlayStation 5 (Sony) - Back on June 11th, Sony presented a showcase dedicated to all things PlayStation 5. This Included finally sharing actual official images of the console. Though it may look somewhat like a confusingly sexy future-monolith, I sure can't wait to cram one of these into my entertainment center. They also used the event to announce some major upcoming titles for the system, including a couple of particularly notable announcements from Sony's own Insomniac Games. The first of which was...
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac) - A PS5-exclusive expansion to their well-received 2019 Spider-Man game on the PS4. The story will be a continuation of the events from the original, allowing you to play as Peter Parker's newly-empowered protege. This title alone would have been enough to get fans of the celebrated studio excited, but it was further revealed that they are also currently working on...
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac) - A long-awaited, brand new entry to the beloved Ratchet & Clank series. This will be the first proper sequel it has received since 2013's Into the Nexus on the PlayStation 3. New features appear to include the ability to play as a female lombax, as well as a very cool-looking dimensional-rift traversal mechanic. The desire for this title must surely be universal.
But wait, there was more! Other massive PlayStation 5-exclusive announcements included...
- Horizon II - Forbidden West (Guerrilla) - A sequel to Guerrilla Games incredible 2017 hit, Horizon: Zero Dawn! Considering that the original was so good I even felt compelled to include it on my Best Games of the 2010s list, you can bet that I'm pretty stoked about there being a Horizon II. As should you be (in case you weren't, for some strange reason).
- Gran Turismo 7 (Polyphony Digital) - Yes, Gran Turismo is back, and like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Gran Turismo 7 will mark the first proper series installment to make an appearance since the PlayStation 3. To say that it was overdue is a bit of an understatement. But as with most things, it's certainly better late than never.
- SackBoy: A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital) - Sony is also giving us a new entry in the LittleBigPlanet franchise! Though it may be a spin-off and not an actual sequel, it will be nice just to be able to scratch that crazy Sackboy multiplayer platforming itch once again. Additionally, even though the game isn't being developed by series creator Media Molecule, you could do a lot worse than Sumo Digital. After all, they are only responsible for what is arguably one of the greatest kart racing series around. I know I certainly can't wait to check it out.
- Fable (Playground Games) - Following the Sony conference, Microsoft waited a good long while before deciding to show their upcoming console's first-party hand. Six whole weeks, in fact! But, finally, on July 23rd, they presented a title showcase of their own.
Among the most interesting (and unexpected) of these announcements was the return of Fable, Microsoft's previously celebrated, yet inexplicably abandoned (until now), fantasy franchise that first appeared on their original Xbox console. What's possibly even more surprising is that Playground Games, the makers of Microsoft's incredible Forza Horizon racing series, is the studio they tapped to make the game. Little else is know about the title so far, but this return to the long-absent franchise should hopefully be a welcome one.
- Forza Motorsport (Turn 10) - One of the most unsurprising (yet still pretty welcome) announcements of Microsoft's event was that of a new Forza Motorsport title. The absence of a numeral in the title is unusual, however. Though despite the expectation of a new Forza entry now becoming somewhat commonplace, I'd say that the gameplay of each series title is still uncommonly good enough to continue to warrant a fairly considerable amount of excitement over.
- Avowed (Obsidian) - Now that Obsidian has successfully reconfigured the unique stylings of Bethesda's popular Fallout series into their very own property with The Outer Worlds, it is apparently time for them to give the same treatment to Bethesda's other huge franchise, The Elder Scrolls. That's what looks to be the goal anyway, upon first glance at their newly announced title, Avowed. In fairness though, there's really not much that's even known about the game as of yet. If that is indeed their aim, however, consider me fully on board.
- Star Wars: Squadrons (EA) - Though Sony and Microsoft's respective events may have contained some of the biggest pieces of gaming news of the summer, those weren't the only announcements made. EA revealed a brand new Star Wars title for the current generation of consoles. Like classic franchise entries such as Rogue Squadron, Starfighter, and X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter, Squadrons will focus solely on spacecraft combat. Here's hoping this game winds up closer to Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order than Star Wars: Battlefront II on the EA quality spectrum.
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX (Merge) - You may have noticed that over the last few years, several classic Sega properties have been revisited in one form or another. Wonder Boy, Streets of Rage, and ToeJam & Earl have all seen refreshes, and/or stylized sequels recently, and the results so far have been mostly superb. It seems that Alex Kidd in Miracle World, one of the little-known gems of Sega's criminally underrated pre-Genesis Master System console, is next in line for the makeover treatment. All I can say is, yes, and please keep them coming!
- Resident Evil VIII: Village (Capcom) - The remakes aside, I've actually been a bit disappointed with the overall direction that the Resident Evil series has gone in recent years. That being said, I'm still at a point where I'd be willing to give another new installment a shot. That's why I welcomed Capcom's announcement of a Resident Evil VIII with cautious optimism. Here's hoping that this next installment manages to be a return to form for the once great franchise.
Well, that wraps up my non-E3 roundup for this very crazy and atypical year that is 2020. Let me know what I missed and what upcoming games and hardware you guys are most excited about.
[Images: Sony, Guerrilla, Xbox, EA]