If there’s one statement that was often heard repeated at last week’s E3, it was how games were featuring worlds that were bigger than ever before. It seems as though almost every major publisher showcased an open world game, with a vast land for players to fully lose themselves in. Even Bethesda, still enjoying the success of last year’s release of Fallout 4, announced the upcoming release of Skyrim Special Edition—a fully remastered version of the 2013 game for current consoles and PC.
Huge games need an equally big presentation, and here’s how some of the most expansive games were shown to the world.
Although Battlefield single-player campaigns have historically been straightforward stories, with little opportunity to explore, the upcoming addition to the series deserves a mention. EA made a big show of Battlefield 1‘s dynamic game systems during its EA Play press event last week. The game promises to focus on three distinct pillars that make up the Battlefield experience: destruction, dynamic weather, and a variety of weapons and vehicles. These guarantee that no two matches ever play quite the same way. So, even though Battlefield 1 probably won’t be an open world game in a technical sense, no one is going to remember that when they’re flying a behemoth—a massive war zeppelin—around.
To fully demonstrate how large the game is, a 64-player multiplayer match was livestreamed at the press conference’s conclusion. Attendees joined celebrities Jamie Foxx and Zack Efron in trying the game for the first time from the EA Play floor.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
With hits like the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series, it’s probably safe to say that Ubisoft loves developing open world games more than any other company. This is evidenced by how there were three upcoming open-world games showcased at its E3 press event last week, not counting the two The Division expansions, the puzzle-oriented Grow Up, or the brutal melee combat of For Honor. Chief among them was Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which boasts the largest world Ubisoft has ever created.
Ubisoft emphasized the real world influences that went into developing Wildlands, with Dominic Butler, lead game designer at Ubisoft Paris, explaining to viewers that, “In Bolivia, the coca leaf is core to the culture. It’s found in every gas station, every hospital, and every town square.” Then he showed a lengthy gameplay demonstration video, where four players came to together to execute a mission. They needed multiple vehicles, including a helicopter, to traverse the vast landscape. E3 attendees were invited to try the game out for themselves from the show floor to help build up anticipation for the game when it launches next year.
Watch Dogs 2
Watch Dogs 2 is a game that’s so big that it took two separate events to showcase what it has to offer. The first was a livestreaming debut, where viewers were introduced to the new hacker’s playground: San Francisco. It also introduced the new main character, Marcus Holloway, and the tools he has at his disposal to take control of the city’s electronics. Considering how San Francisco is considered to be one of the country’s largest tech hubs, there’s a lot to play with.
The second presentation was at the Ubisoft pre-E3 press conference, where host Aisha Tyler’s introduction was “interrupted” by a hacker who took over the lights and screens. The hacker’s message transitioned straight into a quick recap of some of the features introduced during the livestream, followed by a mission demonstration. Furthermore, Jim Ryan, Sony’s president of global sales and marketing, took to the Ubisoft stage to remind audiences that a Watch Dogs movie was in the works, showing that the world is just too big for one type of medium. He also announced that PS4 players will have access to all Watch Dogs 2 DLC 30-days before they released for other platforms.
Considering how Assassin’s Creed fans will be treated to a movie in lieu of a game release this year, Watch Dogs 2 may be than enough to satisfy the need for an open world adventure when it releases this fall.
Extreme sports come to life like never before in the newly announced game, Steep. Inspired by the Alps, players can take on snowboarding, skiing and wingsuit challenges, compete with other players in events, and take in the snowy mountaintop view.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda was first introduced to the world in 1986, and it is arguably one of the first open world games. Now Nintendo wants to recapture that sense of adventure with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Reggie Fils-Aimé, president and COO of Nintendo of America described the game as “one of the biggest experiences ever created by Nintendo,” and the company practically dedicated its entire E3 presence to showing it off.
Of all the games shown at E3 last week, Breath of the Wild was perhaps the one game with that left the biggest impression. That’s because its 30,000 square foot booth was designed as a real world recreation of Hyrule, the game’s setting. This included real grass on the ground, the smell of pine, and other ambient features to fully immerse attendees into the world. Meanwhile, Nintendo played Breath of the Wild for all three days of E3 on a livestreams, so that online viewers could get a look at what the game has to offer. Even with all that was shown, the E3 presentation was only a small part of what players can explore when the game releases next year.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Featuring multiple solutions to practically every situation, the Deus Ex features choice and creativity as a critical part of its gameplay. Players need to figure the best way to navigate dark vision of the future by solving missions with combat or stealth, using a variety of cybernetic augmentations, weapons and gadgets. Among some of the announcements made during a livestream broadcast a week before E3, the developers at Eidos Montreal revealed the city hub where players would spend much of their time.
Furthermore, Square Enix’s booth was augmented using robotic arms. A person named Daniel Melville wore the world’s first Deus Ex-inspired prosthetic arm (created by Open Bionics), and he showed it off to attendees. Furthermore, attendees could control a separate robot arm contained in a transparent box using the Razer Stargazer motion-sensing camera.
One of the biggest themes of this year’s E3 was bringing the game worlds to life. That’s exactly what 2K did by recreating a 1960s-themed New Orleans-inspired block on the show floor to promote Mafia III. The publisher also revealed story and gameplay from the open world organized crime game to get viewers to pre-order the game.
Perhaps it’s cheating to include an augmented reality game, but when you think about it, the real world is about as big and open as it gets. Players will be encouraged to go outside and explore far outside of their neighborhoods with their mobile devices to “catch” all the Pokémon hiding out there when the game releases next month. The developer, Niantic, has stated that the game is designed to get players active and take in the world around them. It’s a task that will become even simpler when the Pokémon GO Plus accessory launches sometime later, which will let users catch Pokémon without having to pull their phones out.
Pokémon GO is currently undergoing field testing across multiple countries, and developers—including the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo—demonstrated the game live from the E3 show floor.