People remember E3 for the marquee titles, but quite often there’s a wealth of smaller games to try out and see. Some games are so early in development that the builds you’re shown will routinely break and catch fire.
Seriously. I have been in sessions where the hardware has overheated.
Here is a list of some of the games I saw that either couldn’t support a full preview, or were just interesting to see.
Created by Iron Galaxy – better known for their work on the later seasons of Killer Instinct, and Street Fighter: Third Strike Online – Extinction is a departure for the small Chicago-based studio.
The demo was walked-through by producer Victor Hugo and QA lead Geoff Mendicino. While the reveal trailer evoked feelings of the Attack on Titan anime, it’s clear that Iron Galaxy has their own vision here – and some of that comes from their fighting-game roots.
Players can attack different pieces of armour worn by their giant foes, exposing the weak-points underneath. By cutting off limbs, you can momentarily stagger an enemy – leaving them open to strikes to more vital areas, like their neck. Frame data looks to play a very important role here; knowing when your hitbox will just collide with the enemy, and when when your dodges grant invincibility.
This stuff is important, as I’m told that bigger enemies will kill you in a single swipe.
From the team that brought you Sniper Elite and Nazi Zombies, their latest game takes the tight shooting from the former, and the ridiculousness of the latter – but with even more of a pulpy, comedic skew.
The game is a co-op shooter, where players pick one of four characters. Aside from aesthetic differences (including ancient tribal warriors to treasure hunters), each one has their own unique skill. Killing waves of monsters will let you activate it, with some skills including area-of-effect blasts, to melee charges.
There is a solid rhythm to the game too; firefights are short, and interspersed with light moments of puzzle solving.
This was a strictly eyes-on demo. If you’re familiar with the beats of a Monster Hunter game, then Worlds should be instantly recognisable to you.
Playing a hunter, you don yourself with different suits of armour and weapons, and take off into the wilderness in search of your prey. Worlds doesn’t seem to be messing with the core formula of Monster Hunter; you’ll still gather resources, eat food to increase stamina, and take valuable materials from your fallen foes.
It seems like Capcom have been focusing on quality of life improvements though. To determine a monster’s location, you no longer have to read long-winded prose in your quest log. Instead, you’ll find tracks of your prey and feed them to a host of fireflies that accompany you. As you do this, they will form a trail in front of you leading to your mark.
This process also works the same when your prey has eluded you – meaning no more clumsily having to throw paintballs to identify their position on the map.
Combat controls also look to have been improved, thanks to an arm-mounted slingshot. With it you can freely target creatures or pieces of the environment, and also use it to mount your prey should your first attempt see you thrown off.
Mix all this with some cool new ways to use the environment – like crushing enemies with rockslides, or getting them tangled in vines – and Monster Hunter Worlds might be the most experimental entry in the franchise to date.
Created by a team of ex-Hitman and Spec Ops: The Line devs, Genesis Alpha One that tasks players with running their own space-ship, and managing the crew. The game also features rogue-like elements - if your expeditions into the unknown end poorly, you’ll have to start from scratch.
The game is incredibly dense in mechanics. From within a randomly generated universe, you can send your ship out to planets to scour them for resources. Upon return, your runabout could be carrying Alien-style face huggers, to bandits – all of which can have short or long-term repercussions on the state of your crew and ship.
If you do get some resources, you can then build different wings for your ship. The game seamlessly zooms out to a floor-plan view, which lets you drag and drop select tiles however you wish. When you’re done tinkering, the game then zooms back in, and you can explore your efforts in first-person.
Genesis Alpha One is ambitious, and I’m fascinated by it.