Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… E3 is right around the corner, and I couldn’t be more jazzed! But that isn’t stopping some of the biggest names in gaming jumping in and getting things kicked off in a really big way already!
The week before E3 is almost always this major calm before the storm for gamers everywhere; a week where we can get some rest, relax, maybe get caught up on some TV shows or finish that book you’ve been reading while you wait for the biggest week in gaming. But oh ho ho, not this year! 2019’s Pre-E3 has been pretty killer and some of the newest announcements are hot off the presses getting the gaming hype at a fever pitch well before E3 even starts rolling. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest things I’ve seen so far!
Google Stadia – This is a no-brainer, as it’s arguably one of the biggest new additions to the gaming scene since Microsoft made the original XBox. There’s been some serious Stadia buzz since it’s initial reveal in March, but as of this week, we’ve got the full scoop on what we can expect from the launch of this brand new cloud-based gaming service. We got breakdowns for the price on the Founder’s Edition, which includes a rad limited-edition controller, Chromecast Ultra, three months of the subscription plus three-month buddy pass for a friend, and first crack at your “Stadia Name”. This is the best way to set up and play right from the start, and it also affords you quite a bit of early access compared to regular Stadia users.
The base Stadia will be available to everyone for free when it launches, as long as you have compatible devices, but it’s the $10 subscription that will get you access to the whole kit and kaboodle that Stadia has to offer, including its over 30+ game library at launch, which features some of the biggest titles around (and some new ones coming soon). Like previously mentioned, people who purchase the Founder’s Edition will get access this November, with the rest of us getting access sometime in 2020. But when we do get access, we’re going to see some pretty incredible games at our disposal. Titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, DOOM, The Elder Scrolls Online, Metro Exodus, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and so much more. BUT, we also will get access to brand new games like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and even the much-anticipated Borderlands 3.
Baldur’s Gate III – This is a big personal excitement moment for me, as I am an absolute nut for the old school classic RPG feel that you get from games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc. Fortunately for someone like me, we’ve had more high-quality cRPG experiences coming our way than we have in a long time with games like Pillars of Eternity, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and Larian Studios Divinity: Original Sin series. Larian appears to have outdone themselves though, and they’re ratcheting their strategy RPG game to another level as they’re taking their talents to the world of Dungeons & Dragons as it was officially announced this week that Larian Studios is making Baldur’s Gate III, a sequel people like me have wanted for years but never thought we’d get.
Not only are we getting it, but hot damn we are getting it soon, as it was also announced as a launch title for November’s Founder’s launch of Stadia. Don’t fear, if you aren’t a Stadia founder you can just buy it for regular PC as well. This is probably the most hyped I’ve been for a game in a long time, not even going to lie, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this bad boy come the holiday season. And if the dark and honestly pretty horrifying trailer is any indication, I’m getting the feeling we’re going to get a far more intense and dark RPG out of Larian than some of the more lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek affairs in Divinity: Original Sin and Divinity: Original Sin 2.
The Future of Destiny – Whooo boy, this one was a doozy this week! Destiny 2 has been under some scrutiny since it launched in 2017 – it was mostly the same amazing universe Destiny 1 players like myself knew and loved, but there was a great deal of the game’s heart and soul that just felt… A bit off, I guess? A bit commercialized and too tied to business models and plans? Well, it seems like the assumptions were correct that Bungie felt a bit constrained by their relationship with Activision when it came developing this massive universe, and the two parted ways earlier this year. And since then, the Destiny community has been waiting and wondering: What’s going to change? How soon? What can we expect from Destiny in the near and faraway future? Well, during a nearly two-hour live stream this week, Bungie gave us a look at just that.
Not only are we getting the start of Year Three of Destiny 2 with the Shadowkeep expansion, which sends us back to the Moon, a fan-favorite destination, to take on some really nasty bad guys that have been hunkering down and just generally preparing to do some bad guy stuff. The expansion and everything that comes along with it looks amazing, but it was all the other massive philosophical changes that give me more hope for Destiny than I’ve had in years. We’ve got the new Cross Save functionality, which means you can take your Guardian to any console you want to – PS4, Xbox One, PC, or the new Stadia – and play. This isn’t quite the Cross Play we want, but what it means is we can play with our PC friends, or vice versa, without losing progress, our characters, our gear, etc. The game is also getting a new “Action MMO” moniker and is going to be an ever-evolving game in a singular world moving forward (which I hope is a nod to the fans that were upset that Destiny 2 more or less completely scrubbed everything we did in Destiny 1). There was obviously so much more than all of this, but I have to say… Destiny is finally going in the direction the fans want it to – now it’s just up to Bungie to deliver the goods. Eyes up, Guardians… I think we’re onto something good here!