This year, the annual game fest E3 was nowhere to be seen. The event has been going strong for nearly 30 years and has served as the annual celebration of all things gaming. Developers and publishers alike have taken to the event’s massive stage to showcase their upcoming titles and get players hyped for the future of the medium.
However, the event has been a bit spotty lately. Heavy hitters like Sony and Nintendo have abandoned the expo in favor of announcing their upcoming titles through their own bespoke digital events. Meanwhile, E3 has reportedly become geared towards press insiders and journalists, a far cry from the player-focused energy it had in prior years.
Following the chaos in March 2020, E3 was canceled that summer, and most developers simply turned to digital events like Geoff Keighley’s annual Summer Game Fest. While the event returned in 2021, it was barely a blip on the radar in the busy summer announcement season. E3 isn’t even hosting an event this year, and, instead, it’s up to other events to pick up the slack. So, did Summer Game Fest deliver this year? Here are some of the biggest announcements from this year’s show!
Fans got their first good look at the upcoming Marvel title Midnight Suns during the show. The game is based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, a darker affiliation made up of characters like Blade, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Black Cat, and Doctor Strange. The new game will utilize a tactics-based gameplay system like XCOM, a beloved (if niche) form of turn-based combat. That’s not an idle comparison, either: the game is being developed by XCOM’s developer, Firaxis Games.
In the trailer, we see Venom battling against denizens of the night before succumbing to the villainous Lillith’s mind control. This can only mean one thing–Spider-Man is joining the battle to help take his archenemy down, too! Notably, Yuri Lowenthal returns to voice the character, just as he does in the Sony-exclusive Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Notably, Midnight Suns is not console exclusive.
Even with help from the Amazing Spider-man, the Midnight Suns will have their work cut out for them. Lilith has corrupted many heroes and villains from the Marvel universe, including the Incredible Hulk. Will they have what it takes to stop the tides of darkness from overtaking the world?
The Last of Us
Naughty Dog announced two big bombshells regarding The Last of Us. For one, the team is making a standalone multiplayer game set in the series’ post-apocalyptic world. Characters in the setting have survived the emergence of a fungus-like disease that can infect people and turn them into shambling zombies. The multiplayer title will see player characters battling each other and NPC infected as they vie for control of the remains of society.
Series director Neil Druckmann confirmed during the event that the multiplayer game started as downloadable content for The Last of Us Part II, but ballooned into a large enough project to merit a standalone release. However, it will likely still use many assets from the original game. The upcoming title will reportedly release sometime next year.
In other Last of Us news, Naughty Dog is also remastering the original title for the PlayStation 5. The game first appeared on the PlayStation 3 nearly ten years ago, so it’s due for a facelift. This updated entry, titled The Last of Us: Part I, will be out sooner than you might expect: it’s hitting the PS5 on September 2, 2022.
A surprise hit from the show is the upcoming indie game, Neon White. The game is the latest outing from developer Annapurna Interactive, the studio behind the critically-acclaimed Donut County. While that title was downright relaxed, this game looks to have a more frenetic pace. It also looks more stylish than anything else we saw at the Summer Game Fest, and that’s saying something!
Neon White takes place in the afterlife, and players control White, an assassin from the underworld who slays demons in an effort to earn his way into heaven. The gameplay will feature first-person combat elements as well as platforming, with an emphasis on speed. In fact, the game’s developer hopes players will enjoy it enough to engage in community-driven speedrunning efforts.
The game also has a few unique wrinkles under its buttery-smooth action. For one thing, it’s part collectible card game–White’s weapons are cards that he can discard for alternate firing modes. For another, the game will also include some light dating sim mechanics. No, seriously! Neon White is out on June 16, 2022.
Warhammer 40K Darktide
Warhammer fans are likely already familiar with the core gameplay loop of Vermintide, a survival-shooter title set in the Old World. That high-fantasy setting is a far cry from the sci-fi world of Warhammer 40K, the setting of the upcoming Darktide. If Vermintide is “Left 4 Dead, but with rat people instead of zombies,” then Darktide is “Vermintide, but with demons.”
Players will take control of one of four playable classes: Veteran, Zealot, Ogryn, or Psyker. While the first two are pretty self-explanatory, the latter two are more 40K-flavored. Ogryns are essentially ogres in the setting, hulking humanoids who can dish (and take) plenty of punishment. Psykers, meanwhile, are mutants who can tap into another dimension to manifest psychic powers.
Like Vermintide and Left 4 Dead before it, Darktide will feature first-person combat and plenty of weapons. If you’re looking for a straightforward co-op survival game you can play with three friends, this is the game for you. Darktide will launch on PCs and Xbox Series X and S systems on September 13, 2022.
Street Fighter 6
Capcom’s classic fighting game series Street Fighter is back and better than ever in its sixth mainline entry. The upcoming title features gorgeous graphics, stunning new character designs, and awesome combat. The game looks absolutely stunning from the footage we’ve seen so far! If you’ve been itching for a new fighting game fixation, Street Fighter 6 might just have what you’re looking for. It will almost certainly become a mainstay at fighting game tournaments for years to come following its release sometime in 2023.
In earlier announcements, Capcom revealed that the upcoming sequel will feature an open-world story mode that will allow solo players to explore the game’s world and learn more about its characters. Of course, the one-on-one combat is the star of the show. Several returning characters to the roster have been leaked online, but the Summer Game Fest trailer gave Capcom a chance to officially reveal a few returning favorites.
For instance, longtime series mainstay Guile is back in action in the newest trailer. He’s showcasing all of his classic moves, like the long-range Sonic Boom and the devastating Somersault Kick. If you’re a fan of giant hairdos and over-the-top American action heroes, Guile’s your guy.
One Piece Odyssey
The long-running manga series One Piece is finally entering its last arc this summer. However, fans will still have plenty of new content to sink their teeth into when One Piece Odyssey lands on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X later this year. The upcoming turn-based RPG looks visually stunning, featuring original character designs from series creator Eiichiro Oda himself.
The game is being developed by ILCA Inc., the studio behind the recent Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remasters. One Piece Odyssey will tell an original story, unconnected to the ongoing narrative in the popular manga and anime series. Fans have noted that it’s essentially an interactive version of the high-profile anime movies that the series produces every few years, which tell isolated stories with no bearing on the ongoing narrative.
Odyssey looks like a downright delightful romp through the bizarre world of One Piece. Players will control Straw Hat Luffy and his crew of rowdy pirates as they adventure through the high seas of the Grand Line. If you’re a fan of pirates, turn-based RPGs, and general mayhem, then you should check this game out when it sets sail later this year.
One of the most colorful games showcased during the Summer Game Fest was Highwater, an upcoming indie title from developer Demagog. Despite its colorful color palette and playful-looking blocky character models, Highwater doesn’t have a cheerful storyline. It focuses on a group of survivors who navigate a world ravaged by the effects of climate change and struggle to maintain peace in a flooded landscape.
The strategy-heavy title will feature turn-based combat and plentiful exploration. Fans of Demagog’s other titles, like Golf Club: Wasteland and The Cub, will be delighted to hear that Highwater takes place in the same continuity. Demagog and publisher Rogue Games have confirmed that the studio will show off the game’s turn-based tactical combat at a later date.
Keep your eyes peeled for Highwater when it launches on PC later this year. The cheerful-looking indie title promises to be one of the most unique games coming out in 2022, and we can’t wait to see what lurks just below the surface.