Sony Interactive Entertainment (2); Bioware; Nintendo; Ubisoft
June 15, 2018 at 05:47 PM EDT

Another E3 has come and gone, and the gaming expo has left us with a lot to chew on in the coming months. Titles that have been years in the making are now coming to fruition, while fledgling works seek to chart their own paths in a landscape flooded with veteran brands, sequels, and prestige games. We’ve seen glimpses of them all over the past few days at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Now it’s time to make sense of it all.

Here are the games coming out of E3 2018 to watch for:

The Last of Us Part II

The latest trailer for The Last of Us Part II shows off the contradiction that made the first game in the franchise so great: a beautiful, subtle bond taking root within a brutal and unkind world. The relationship between Ellie and Dina, to the extent that it’s been shown, is a sweet teenage love story, and the extended gameplay footage proves that Ellie has matured to be capable of the kind of rough and tumble, visceral combat Joel mostly handled in TLOU. If the Paris Games Week trailer from 2017 left some fans cold, this E3 footage was a solid recovery to get hype for the game back on the right track. —Evan Lewis

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

We don’t have to craft one of those “Super Smash Bros. characters we want to see in the new game” lists because everyone — yes, everyone — is coming for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch. Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that all characters who appeared across the franchise, even if they “only appeared once in the past” or through a DLC, will be featured. Metal Gear Solid’s Snake will mingle with Mario, who can do battle against Pokémon’s Pichu, who can electroshock Inkling, and so on. The new game will drop on Dec. 7. —Nick Romano

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

FromSoftware fans had high hopes that the new game the studio teased at December’s Game Awards would be Bloodborne 2, but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has the potential to be even more exciting. Set in late 1500s Sengoku period Japan, the game takes the thrilling fights of a Souls game airborne with light stealth mechanics, grappling hook mobility, and an array of special gadgets housed within the player character’s Shinobi prosthetic. Victory in close combat will come down to careful tactics, judicious stealth executions, and a new timing-based system of blocks and parries used to upset enemies’ posture to open up devastating executions. —EL

Kingdom Hearts III

The “It’s been 84 years” Titanic meme comes close to the wait Kingdom Hearts gamers have endured for the third installment. There’ve been multiple delays since the news was first announced five years ago, but now we actually have a specific release date of Jan. 29, 2019. We also have confirmation of worlds based on Frozen, Tangled, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Square Enix can’t delay it again, right? Right?! —NR

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Just as it was refreshing to see a moment of LGBTQ inclusivity lead off a major E3 press briefing in The Last of Us Part II, it was also nice to hear the phrase “f— Nazis” uttered on an E3 stage with such enthusiasm during the reveal of Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1980, Youngblood allows players to team up for two-player co-op as series star B.J. Blazkowicz’s twin daughters. Because if there’s one thing better than a Blazkowicz tearing up Nazis, it’s two Blazkowiczes tearing up Nazis. —EL

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Something sinister is going on in Marvel’s Spider-Man, Sony’s upcoming romp with the comic book web-slinger. This Peter Parker is a little further into his tenure as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, which is good because the new trailer revealed the Sinister Six (this rogues’ gallery featuring Vulture, Rhino, Scorpion, Electro, Mister Negative, and a mystery figure) who play a part in all of this. The developers also released 10 minutes of gameplay, showing off this wall-crawler’s open world a la Grand Theft Auto and Infamous. Virtually anything can be webbed and flung around as a weapon, or you can go the sneakier route and slink through the shadows. —NR

Fallout 76

Fallout 76 will be the biggest game in the series, outsizing 2015’s Fallout 4 by a factor of four. Set in a wasteland-ified swath of West Virginia, 76 will be a multiplayer experience in which a few dozen players share the same world, teaming up with or against other vault dwellers to brave the great outdoors. There will even be nukes that players can launch at other factions, if they can manage to collect a full launch code. Most exciting of all is that 76 will have a thorough beta, so hopefully all those Bethesda bugs Todd Howard joked about at the briefing will get squashed before the final release. —EL

Death Stranding

Metal Gear Solid‘s Hideo Kojima showed off the first game through his new Kojima Productions, Death Stranding. It’s a title years in the making with The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus giving life to Sam Bridges, a futuristic delivery man trekking through a world scarred by the mysterious Death Stranding with the remnants of the future. “Herein lies our challenge,” Kojima said of the game, “to create both a new form of gameplay and a hero that has never been done before.” The intriguing cast also includes Spectre Bond girl Léa Seydoux, Bionic Woman star Lindsay Wagner, television’s Hannibal Lecter Mads Mikkelsen, Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, and more yet-to-be-announced figures. —NR

Cyberpunk 2077

After CD Projekt Red finished the last of The Witcher 3’s DLC, the company dropped the mic on the beloved franchise, ostensibly for good, leaving fans to wonder how the long-gestating Cyberpunk 2077 could be a worthy follow-up to one of the greatest fantasy RPGs ever made. At the tail end of Microsoft’s E3 briefing, CD Projekt Red finally showed off its vision for Cyberpunk, and it is a slick one. The gritty neon-lit world and uncanny valley cyborgs have piqued our interest on strength of stylistic vision alone. —EL

Anthem

Bioware is claiming its own Destiny. Anthem visually channels Bungie and Activision’s ever-popular sci-fi franchise, but with a few twists. This game takes players to a brutal world left unfinished by gods known as the Shapers, whose instruments used to create life were left behind. Donning Javelin exosuits, colossal beasts roam the landscape as “Freelancers” fighting to tip the balance in mankind’s favor. The demo showcased at the EA Games press event focused on combat and the expanse of this third-person shooter, which involves sprinting, jumping, and flying. (Watch the cinematic trailer here.) —NR

Doom: Eternal

Not much was shown about Doom Eternal at Bethesda’s conference, with id Software saving gameplay reveals for QuakeCon in August, but just the fact that it exists is enough for now. The breakneck gunplay and, well, neck-breaking of the 2016 reboot of Doom was one of that year’s great guilty pleasures, and creative director Hugo Martin promises Eternal will have twice as many demons to brutalize. The new game will also bring the action down from Mars to a Hell-infested Earth. —EL

Halo Infinite

“When we started this project, the team’s vision for the game was ambitious — so much so that we knew we had to build new tech to fully realize our goals for Halo Infinite,” 343 Industries studio head Chris Lee wrote in a blog post. “The E3 demo showcases some of the exciting potential of this technology — everything you see is running in-engine.” The teaser announcement for Halo Infinite, a follow-up to 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians with a refocus on the Master Chief, wasn’t reflective of the game it’ll eventually become. But the first details and the added tease from Lee about “making changes to how we approach things” are tantalizing. —NR

Ghost of Tsushima

Samurai action isn’t exactly a new concept to the video game world, but Ghost of Tsushima may very well be the most visually stunning example of the genre to date. The lighting effects over the gameplay trailer’s windswept Japanese grasslands would be enough to keep Ghost on an E3 shortlist, but with an open world designed by Infamous studio Sucker Punch, this game’s sure to have more going for it than just good looks. —EL

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes place during the Peloponnesian War, and you play as either Alexios or Kassandra, Spartan mercenaries. There may not be traditional assassins, but it’s the most RPG the franchise has ever been. Jonathan Dumont, the game’s creative director, said it’s “full RPG,” including multiple choice responses for dialogue, multiple endings depending on your actions, and inclusive romancing options — no matter what gender you choose. Between the same-sex kiss in The Last of Us Part II and LGBTQ representation in Odyssey, this is turning into a great Pride month for gamers. —NR

Devil May Cry 5

The story of the Devil May Cry series — if it can be said to have one — is unabashed, stylish nonsense, but nobody does mindless twitch hack-and-slash quite like Capcom’s white-haired sword boys, Dante and Nero. Both are set to return in this over-the-top sequel to 2008’s Devil May Cry 4 (not 2013’s Ninja Theory-developed reboot, DmC). —EL

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