E3 2019 is officially in the books, and we've already awarded our Best Of E3 2019 picks to the winners of the show. Microsoft revealed the future of Xbox with Project Scarlett, while Bethesda and EA showed off hot upcoming games like Doom: Eternal and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that have us wishing it was fall already.
Ubisoft showed us the incredibly ambitious Watch Dogs Legion, while Square Enix got crowds cheering with the incredible-looking Final Fantasy VII remake as well as the long-awaited Avengers game.
Here's everything we know about E3 2019, including details from every news conference, major exhibitor and even notes from our hands-on experiences at the show floor.
The Top 5 E3 2019 Stories
- Marvel's Avengers are assembling for A-Day, previewed in one of the top E3 trailers.
- We’ve finally seen Final Fantasy VII Remake in action.
- Cyberpunk 2077 is bringing Keanu Reeves to your console.
- We got a deeper dive on Project Scarlett from Xbox's gaming leads.
- Breath of The Wild 2 is coming.
EA kicked E3 week off with EA Play 2019, which served up deep-dive gameplay presentations of some of the company's most hotly anticipated games. We got a meaty Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay reveal that showed just how much fun well have tossing and slicing Stormtroopers as runaway Jedi Cal Kestis. We also got our first look at Apex Legends Season 2, which will introduce a new ranked mode, a new battle pass with fresh gear, and a new defensive legend named Wattson. Additionally, EA debuted some fresh gameplay for Madden 20 and FIFA 20, and introduced some new content coming to The Sims 4.
Missed the big show? You can see EA's entire EA Play 2019 presentation below:
Xbox started E3 week proper in a big way, providing new looks at games like Gears 5 (now with the Terminator!) and Cyberpunk 2077 (now with Keanu Reeves!), and dishing out a brand new Xbox Game Pass for PC as well as a version 2 of the beloved Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. We also got our first look at the Battletoads remake, a stunning new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, and new Xbox Game Studios titles like The Outer Worlds and Bleeding Edge.
We got time with Gears 5 at the show, which we spent kicking the tires on its new co-op Escape mode and confirm that Gears of War 5’s cover-based gunplay still feels fantastic, with smooth, satisfying gameplay. This new mode looks like it should have a good shot at shaking up the franchise to avoid staleness.
But the real kicker of Microsoft's E3 event was Project Scarlett: the next-generation Xbox that promises four times the power of the Xbox One X complete with features like ray tracing and 120fps gameplay while support all existing Xbox games and accessories. Look out for it by the end of 2020.
Additionally, Microsoft is not going to quietly allow Google Stadia to own the entire conversation on cloud-based gaming. On the show floor, we experienced Microsoft xCloud on an Android phone paired with an Xbox controller, and saw the best performance during time with Halo 5: Guardians, which had "barely" any latency. Microsoft's system was not as fluid during time with Gears of War 4 and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Bethesda's E3 2019 show had a something for everyone, from promising new IP like Ghostwire Tokyo and Deathloop to new content for Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Blades. The company showed off more Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and even revealed the return of desktop classic Commander Keen. But the real star of the show was Doom: Eternal, which looked as beautifully brutal as ever in its latest gameplay reveal. November 22nd can't come soon enough.
PC Gaming Show
At the PC Gaming Show's fifth show at E3 2019, we saw a ton of game footage, including a new trailer for Shenmue III that showed off the game's exploration (via a chase scene) and combat gameplay with a martial arts scene. If you're more into strategy, you're probably looking to check out the news about Baldur's Gate 3, whose developers were interviewed at the big show, which will be based on 5th Edition D&D (we talked to the folks behind Baldur's Gate 3 to learn more about why it took so long and its connection to D&D). And in the first quarter of 2020, the long-awaited Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 will arrive and look to take something as valuable as your blood: your free time.
Looking for something wilder? Maneater was explained as Grand Theft Auto, but for sharks, a descriptor that our hands-on time with the game revealed to be a bit on the nose. Yes, this open-world RPG (or SharkPG, as one presenter said) places you in the fins of a shark tangling with the nefarious fisherman Scaly Pete, and you'll upgrade and "evolve" your shark's stats to better beat your nemesis.
Also, to fuel the burgeoning platform wars between the Epic Games Store and Steam, two Epic Store exclusives — Chivalry II and Auto Chess — were announced at the PC Gaming Show. Disclosure: The PC Gaming Show is run by Tom's Guide sister site PC Gamer.
The star of Ubisoft's E3 show was Watch Dogs Legion, an ambitious new entry in the open-world action series that lets you take control of any person in the game's vast dystopian London. Check out how it looks on our E3 2019 trailers hub. We also saw an intense new Ghost Recon Breakpoint trailer starring Jon Bernthal, and got a taste of exciting new IP like sports game Roller Champions and colorful adventure title Gods & Monsters.
Ubisoft announced big updates for ongoing games like The Divisoin 2, Rainbow Six: Siege and For Honor, and even made some entertainment announcements in the form of a new TV show about game development called Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet and a Netflix movie adaptation of The Division. Ubisoft is also jumping into the game-subscription arena with Uplay+, which gets you a library of 100+ Ubisoft titles on PC for a monthly $15 fee.
Square Enix delivered a snappy, bombastic showcase of great-looking games from both its eastern and western divisions, starting with a breathtaking gameplay reveal of the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake. The game's mix of real-time and turn-based combat looks incredibly fluid, and during his hands-on time with Final Fantasy VII Remake, Tom's Guide editor Marshall Honorof found this remake to be surprisingly good, turning up his interest level from doubter to optimist. The title's stunning visuals make this classic RPG look entirely new, and you can see its epic trailer for yourself here.
We also saw new looks at Life is Strange 2, Dying Light 2, Dragon Quest Builders 2, a brand new nostalgic shooter dubbed Battalion 1944 and a huge expansion for Final Fantasy XVI called Shadowbringers. People Can Fly's Outriders looks like a great co-op shooter for folks that miss Bulletstorm.
But the real star of the show was Marvel's Avengers, an intense third-person co-op action game that looks heavily inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The game's story seems surprisingly grim, as Tony Stark, Thor and crew must battle to Avenge a fallen Captain America. Avengers' all-star cast includes Nolan North, Troy Baker and Laura Bailey. Look for it on May 15, 2020 on PS4, Xbox One, Stadia and PC.
At Nintendo's big show, we saw a lot of games that were previously announced — big titles like Super Mario Maker 2, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening — and some new surprises for Smash Bros. Ultimate as well. Plus, Nintendo dropped a tasty tease for one of its hugest upcoming games.
During our hands-on time with Pokemon Sword and Shield at the E3 show floor, we were grinning as we watched Grookey grow to his kaiju-sized Dynamax form. It was the kind of experience that has us eagerly awaiting this next huge (pun-intended) chapter in the Pokemon series.
The Nintendo Direct for E3 featured footage of Luigi's Mansion 3 and introduced us to the slimiest new character: Gooigi, a green gummy version of Mario's brother. Our hands-on time with Luigi's Mansion 3 proved particularly impressive, and demonstrated how the title was a show-stealer for Tom's Guide managing editor Mike Andronico.
A gameplay trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening gave us even more reason to be hyped for this Switch remake. Also, footage of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order showed that this game has something Avengers A-Day doesn't: Hawkeye.
At the end, though, three bits of highly awaited news delivered. First, an Animal Crossing New Horizons trailer showed how Tom Nook is now hand delivering his bills — so you better find his money in 2020 when the game finally arrives. Next, Banjo-Kazooie must have found a time machine to jump into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where they're going to be a DLC character arriving this fall.
Lastly, and most seriously, Nintendo brought us down, underwater, to a dark and murky scene to show that not all is well in Hyrule. Yes, Nintendo has confirmed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is getting a sequel.
What about Sony?
Sony typically has one of the biggest presences at E3, which is why the gaming world was shocked when the company announced it would be skipping E3 2019. Speculation has run rampant ever since Sony confirmed the news in late 2018 — does Sony not have enough to show this year? Or is the gaming giant simply biding its time for its own stand-alone PS5 launch event?
"Sony only focused on a handful of games last year and got some blowback for that, so I suspect they looked at what they were going to be able to show off this year and didn’t think they had an excellent story to tell," Ward said. "I think they'll be back in force at E3 2020, though."
Whatever the case may be, Sony could still be part of the E3 conversation without physically being at the big show. The company recently kicked off its State of Play livestreams, an online-only, Nintendo Direct-style series of broadcasts in which Sony shows off a handful of new PS4 and PSVR games. The first State of Play kicked off in March 2019, so don't be shocked to see another one pop up around E3 season.
Netflix and Google Stadia
Netflix entered the E3 fray this year, hosting a panel where they talked about the upcoming Dark Crystal game as well as the Stranger Things mobile title, which is a puzzle-RPG hybrid. They also revealed that the Stranger Things easter egg in Fortnite is only the prelude of more crossover between the two worlds.
During much of our time with Google Stadia, we saw Doom Eternal run 'beautifully,' which is to say there were bumps in the road. Yes, it did manage to spend a lot of the demo at 1080p and 60fps, but it disconnected twice and during the start of the demo dawdled at 480p and 720p (but for no more than a minute combined).