E3 2016: 5 Games That Got Our Attention
The Electronics Entertainment Expo, or E3, the annual sensory-overloading video-game orgy in downtown Los Angeles, just wrapped up the 2016 edition last week. Per tradition, E3 puts a premium on hype, trying to blow away fans, media, and industry types with Oscar-worthy trailers, celeb stunts, and a dispiriting supply of “booth babes.” Months, sometimes years, later when the title finally arrives, it can bear little resemblance to these cinematic promos engineered to titillate gamers. But we’re going to embrace the razzle-dazzle and reveal the five games with movie ties that sent us to nerdvana.
Untitled Star Wars
Star Wars games have always been a mixed bag, but the saga seemed to get back on track last year with the release of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, a reboot of the old series that put fans into iconic scenes from the movies as either Rebel or Imperial. EA made a splash early in the E3 show with its sizzle reel (watch above) of in-development Star Wars games, including updates to Battlefront (there’s a new Bespin level starring Lando Calrissian, Bossk, and Dengar coming Tuesday) and The Old Republic MMO. There was also behind-the-scenes peek at a project from Respawn Entertainment (at the 1-minute mark) that takes place in a different timeline from previous Star Wars games and features lightsaber duels. But the one new game that really sparked our interest was an untitled third-person multiplayer adventure from Visceral Games (at 2:15) described as an original story taking place in a unexplored era that is at least partially set on Tatooine with Lucasfilm concept artist Doug Chiang serving as an expert consultant.
Concept art for untitled ‘Star Wars’ platformer set on Tatooine (EA/Visceral Games)
Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission
The other Star Wars preview that raised the roof was a virtual-reality version of Battlefront (below) that borrows from the classic X-Wing game. If EA pulls off the technology, this would be the closest yet to channeling your inner Wedge Antilles (or Jess Pava), strapping into a Incom starfighter and taking on endless waves of TIE fighters.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
VR was all the rage at this year’s E3, with the technology getting us closer to a completely immersive, visceral experience in a way that film cannot replicate. One of the buzzy titles was Star Trek: Bridge Crew, which recruited Karl Urban (Star Trek Beyond), LeVar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) to demo this multiplayer game giving your crew full command of a starship and coming this fall from Ubisoft to PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Now, Trek-based games have had an even iffier history than Star Wars games, but Bridge Crew could give the 50-year-old franchise a much-needed jolt in the video-game arena if the game delivers on its promise.
Batman: Arkham VR
This clip is all tease, but the folks behind the Arkham series have consistently delivered eye-popping games with stellar storylines and excellent physics, so the prospect of a VR trip through Gotham is almost enough to wash away the disappointment of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Batman: Arkham VR is slated to hit PlayStation 4 this October.
Like the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, this game is a Marvel-Sony joint heading to PlayStation 4. Not many details were announced, like when the title will be out, but the game story is unrelated to the film. While not offering the VR gimmick, the latest Spider-Man could keep us occupied until Homecoming arrives, provided developer Insomniac can finally figure out how to translate Spidey’s web-slinging powers into a video game. But we’re still not sold on that new-look suit.