SAN FRANCISCO (HARDWAREZONE, AFP, BLOOMBERG) - The world's premier video game trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), kicked off online on June 12 and ended last Tuesday with announcements aplenty.
The expo that each year turns the Los Angeles Convention Center into a players' paradise was cancelled last year because of Covid-19, and went virtual this year with a streamed event.
Here are some highlights from the annual game fest.
Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment announced that Elden Ring will be out on Jan 21 next year. This is one of the most anticipated video games due to the talent behind it. The open-world game is a collaboration between FromSoftware, the Japanese developer behind the beloved Dark Souls series, and George R.R. Martin, the author whose fantasy novels were turned into the TV series Game of Thrones.
FromSoftware is mixing the Souls formula up with Elden Ring.
Players can now ride horses around the map and attack enemies on them. They can even catapult themselves into the sky by riding into vertical wind tunnels.
The title will be out on the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, and PC through Steam in South-east Asia.
New Zelda, but no Switch
Japanese video game titan Nintendo said its highly anticipated next game in the Zelda franchise, a sequel to the open-world Breath Of The Wild, will be out next year.
Nintendo did not share a final title or many other details, although a brief trailer showcased the game's hero, Link, using abilities that were not in the first game.
Link can now reverse time on objects to send them rocketing back where they came from.
He can also phase through solid walls and floors, which has huge implications for the dungeon-crawling gameplay the Zelda franchise is known for.
Series producer Eiji Aonuma said the sequel, a Switch exclusive, will take place in the skies above the first game's world.
But Nintendo disappointed fans looking for a new model of its Switch console. Rumours of a new version of the Switch - a beefed-up "pro" model with richer graphics and capabilities - had fuelled anticipation ahead of the company's streamed presentation on E3's closing day.
Nintendo tried to tamp down hardware expectations, stressing ahead of time that the presentation would be devoted exclusively to game software. It kept to its word.
The Switch, a wildly popular handheld game console, was first released in early 2017.
Bethesda Softworks, which was purchased by Microsoft last year for US$7.5 billion (S$10 billion), teased science-fiction game Starfield. The game will be out on Nov 11 next year and will not be available on rival Sony's PlayStation consoles, Microsoft said.
It will be out for the Xbox Series X and S, as well as PC.
It is also Bethesda's first original intellectual property in 25 years.
Details are scarce on the open-world role-playing game for now, but if its teaser trailer is anything to go by, Starfield's story appears to take place in the far-flung future - one where humans have colonised planets with the help of robots and massive starships.
Developer Dice and publisher Electronic Arts showed off a gameplay trailer for Battlefield 2042, a futuristic new entry in the first-person shooter franchise.
With this new multiplayer-only title, Battlefield is going from 64-player battles to 128-player battles, and its maps are expanding to accommodate that.
Battlefield 2042 will have only six maps at launch. The trailer spotlighted some maps, including a desert with skyscrapers and a tornado, icy plains and a muddy battlefield with rolling tanks.
The game has no story campaign and it comes with a paid-for season pass and battle pass for additional content down the line.
Instead of character classes, players can now take control of specialists to diversify their play styles and access a wider array of weaponry.
Battlefield 2042 launches on Oct 22. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions support 64 players. The Xbox Series X and S, PC, and PlayStation 5 versions support 128 players.
Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios and developer 343 Industries finally announced a release date for Halo Infinite after a long delay: Holiday 2021, a year after its original launch date.
The game is said to have an expansive multiplayer mode and a big story campaign.
Halo series protagonist Master Chief will not be alone in the new game - a version of his old companion Cortana is returning.
343 also revealed a gameplay trailer for Halo Infinite's multiplayer mode, which included classic scenarios like Capture the Flag returning alongside the Warthogs vehicles.
New to the series are grappling hooks that allow players to grab things out of reach, grapple on to other players or passing aircraft, and slot them into guns.
Halo Infinite's multiplayer will be a free-to-play standalone title.
The game will be out for the Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One and PC.
New Avatar game
French video game powerhouse Ubisoft Entertainment gave a first look at an upcoming game based on James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar movie.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a first-person, action-adventure game developed by Ubisoft in collaboration with Disney, according to the company.
Ubisoft described Frontiers of Pandora as a "new, standalone story" that lets players embark on a journey across a never-before-seen part of Pandora: the Western Frontier.
A trailer for the game, set for release next year, showed an open world in which players take on the role of the tall, blue Na'vi characters from the film that won an array of Academy Awards in 2010.
The game will be out for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, PC, Stadia, and Luna.
• Additional reporting by Tim Augustin