We’re at the back end of the biggest video game event of the year E3. For the uninitiated, this event marks the time of year where many game companies come together to make some of the biggest announcements in gaming for the year.
Heavy hitters like Sony, Microsoft, EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft and Nintendo all have their own shows where they give gamers all over the world a glimpse at what they’re working on.
Esports don’t make up much of the show but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing on offer for competitive gaming. Here’s a roundup of some of the announcements from the conferences that might affect the esports scene.
One of the biggest new games to hit E3 this year is Nintendo’s latest iteration of its popular arcade brawler Super Smash Bros: Ultimate. Smash has had a competitive scene for as long as I can remember, and while new games have come out since, none have usurped the GameCube’s Super Smash Bros: Melee as the game of choice for competition.
Ultimate may be able to take the throne as it was announced to include every character released across the series as well as the fan favourite request inclusion of Ridley, Samus’ nemesis. This means no matter who competitors main, they’ll have their choice in this new addition of Smash. It could swing the other way with balance on such a large roster causing an issue, but tournament bans should alleviate any troubles.
GameCube controller support has also been announced for the new game, making it one less hurdle the current scene would have to traverse in changing to a newer game. Calling it Ultimate is also a pretty big call on Nintendo’s part and could also be hinting at a more iterative title with DLC updates moving it into the future rather than being replaced by a new game. If it plays as good as it looks, this could be the change the scene has waited nearly 20 years for.
Arguably the biggest game in the world at the moment, Fortnite, also released some esports news at the conference before its celebrity tournament. The first Fortnite World Cup will happen in 2019 with $1 billion being poured into its various prize pools. Qualifiers for the competition will begin later this year with the finals expected to be held towards the back end of 2019.
Epic is determined to have this competition be a game of skill and has said neither itself nor third party companies will be able to sell teams or franchises. This means absolutely anyone can enter the qualifying matches and attempt to prove themselves to win the big leagues. Expect this to be one of the biggest esport spectator events in history – regardless of whether or not Drake decides to enter.
Speaking of battle royale games, the next Call of Duty title, Black Ops 4, had some more reveals before its release coming in October this year. Not only is it getting its own battle royal mode called Blackout but, four community favourite maps Jungle, Slums, Summit and Firing Range are being remastered for the game’s release. As far as new maps go, E3 attendees got to go hands-on but the rest of us will have to wait for the game’s release.
For console shooters, new Halo and Gears were announced at this conference, which means tournaments for those will likely start popping up again with fresh games. Nothing about either game’s competitive sides was revealed, but with esports being far wider broadcasted and more accessible than the last time these titles had big games out, expect big PvP modes.
Ubisoft announced a new update for For Honor, which it also made free to download until 18 June. The competitive action fighting game has a dedicated esports despite so many troubles on launch, and it looks like Ubisoft is stepping up to the plate for support. New DLC called Marching Fire will add a China as a new faction, which brings four new heroes to the current roster.
The update also brings a new 4v4 mode called Breach, pitting players against each other in siege-style battles. Hopefully it also helps to address the bug exploits which have tainted tournaments in the game’s competitive past.
E3 is always a slew of new games and information bringing excitement to almost every corner of the gaming community. Whether you’re a casual gamer, spectator or a die-hard pro, there’s something to excite everyone if you look for it. It misses some of the heavy esports players, like Valve and Blizzard, who prefer to announce things on their own stage, but even these showings are already enough to make the year to come an exciting one.