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E3 2016: The Surprise Announcements of the Press Conferences

We're only two days in, and it's already been an interesting E3. Many major announcements were leaked prior to the debut of the conferences, leaving the actual shows feeling a bit like a spoiled Christmas morning with no surprise presents. 

But there were still a handful of announcements that snuck through, successfully avoiding the prying tentacles of the internet and revealing themselves as interesting and unexpected. Here's a brief rundown of the surprise highlights. 

Quake Champions

Bethesda kicked off their conference by revealing an all-new Quake. Focusing on multiplayer, this looks like a return to the classic id shooter whose multiplayer legacy has cemented it as one of the most important PC games in history. 

The reveal was a surprise, but it's hardly surprising, given the success of other revivals like the all-new Doom and Wolfenstein: The New Order, it was really only a matter of time before we saw Quake make a return. 

Prey

Rumors of Prey showing up at the conference started popping up on the internet a few weeks prior to E3, but the state in which we saw it was genuinely a surprise. 

Many expected it to be the resurrection of Prey 2, but the developers at Arkane studios revealed something entirely different from Prey or what we had seen of Prey 2. Rather than a sequel or a straight reboot, this Prey is more of a re-imagining combining elements of science fiction and horror, and it looks glorious.

Steep

A passion project for Ubisoft's Annecy Studios, Steep is an open world action sports game in which players can participate in a handful of different extreme sports including snowoarding, base jumping, and hang gliding as they explore the slopes and rocky terrain of the Alps. 

Steep's main hook is its partnership with GoPro, which will allow people to use different camera angles to capture images and clips of their adventures on the slopes and share them with their friends. 

God of War

Sony kicked off its conference with a sirring live orchestra performance leading directly into a live demo into an all-new God of War

Not only had we not heard about this prior to the event, it also introduced a number of new elements never seen in the God of War franchise before. Rather than the ruins of Greece, it took place in a forest, with a young boy and an older, bearded Kratos teaching the young one how to hunt. It also was presented as a third person over-the-shoulder game whose combat seemed a bit more methodical than before. 

Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima has been mired in bizarre legal struggles with Konami over the past year leading into unfortunate occurences, not the least of which was the sudden cancellation of Silent Hills and the disposal of the popular P.T. demo. 

Kojima took to the stage and showed off a brief, bizarre trailer for Death Stranded, a game that looks an awful lot like recovered ideas and concepts originally included in Silent Hills. Norman Reedus stars alongside what looks like a more fully-formed version of the sink embryo from PT, and the surreal nature of the trailer evoked a Silent Hills-like vibe. It will be interesting to see how much of this is related to the former brainchild of Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. 

Resident Evil 7

One of the most interesting reveals of the night was Resident Evil 7, which looks like a solid return to the horror roots of the franchise. Although we don't know much about the actual story, the trailer had a healthy dose of creepy atmosphere, garish zombies, and--of course--an abandoned, decrepit old house. 

It was also announced that PSVR owners would have the option of playing this in VR once it becomes availble. 

Days Gone

Days Gone is an apocalyptic third-person action game combining elements of The Last of Us, The Walking Dead, and Sons of Anarchy. Starring a character with memory of the world before the fall, Days Gone appaers to be a game centered on biker gang members as they attempt to survive a world gone to hell. 

Crash Bandicoot

Crash is back...sort of. Sony's Shawn Layden announced nearly halfway throught the show that PlayStation and Activision had reached an agreement freeing up Crash Bandicoot to return to his original home on Sony gaming platforms. In what I assume to be a testing of the waters for Crash's popularity, several of the core Crash games are being remastered and bundled together for release on the PlayStation 4. 

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