6:00am PT by Patrick Shanley
E3: Game Developers Reveal What They're Most Excited for at This Year's Convention
E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, has returned to Los Angeles to showcase the latest and greatest in gaming and interactive tech.
With hands-on exhibitions and massive displays from the industry's top brands adorning the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center from wall to wall, the spectacle of E3 can feel like a wonderland for gamers and techies eager to try out the latest hardware and software from their favorite developers. It's not just the fans, however, who are excited to see what the event has to offer.
Id Software studio director Tim Willits, whose development team unveiled an extensive look at their upcoming Rage 2 during Bethesda's E3 showcase on Sunday, told The Hollywood Reporter what he was most excited to see at this year's convention. "I have always been a Call of Duty fan. I love every game, every year, and I want to learn more about their new approach to multiplayer in Black Ops 4," Willits said. "That team always makes great games and with the new format, it should be amazing."
As for his studio's game, which brought down the house Sunday with a raucous live musical introduction from rocker Andrew W.K., Willits says, "The game is awesome and a ton of fun to play. See you on the show floor."
Tymon Smektala, lead game designer at Techland, which unveiled plans for the sequel to its 2015 open-world survival horror game Dying Light at Sunday's Microsoft press conference, tells THR, "On top of open-world, survival and story-heavy games, we are definitely keeping our eyes peeled on all things from our neck of the woods. It will be interesting to see all the completely new ideas, something nobody has done before. In the end, though, E3 is first of all the biggest celebration of gaming in the world, so we’re keeping fingers crossed it’ll be a great time for everyone."
Smektala was, of course, also eager to show off his game at the convention, promising lots of additions to the 2015 original. "We’re adding lots of innovations to the core of Dying Light 2, especially a brave new way for the players to influence the game world: how it looks, how it plays and how it reacts to story decisions. We hope players will be excited about all the new possibilities they are getting, and we are anticipating their reactions with modesty."
E3 not only serves as an entry for gaming fans to new titles and hardware, but also as the biggest gathering of the year for those in the industry. As such, excitement about other developers' titles abounds.
"I’m looking forward to seeing more from BioWare," Steve Bristow, lead designer at Rebellion for the new co-op action game Strange Brigade, tells THR. "Anthem looks spectacular and I can’t wait to hear more about its evolving shared world and how that’s going to affect play."
Bristow and his team will be showing Strange Brigade, which he describes as a "kind of antidote to more serious, grim, dark stuff" that other developers are showing off. "It’s funny, kind of weird and just a blast to play so I’m looking forward to seeing people come away smiling and, if previous shows are anything to go by, coming back for another go," he says.
Jerk Gustafsson, executive producer at MachineGames, which showed off Wolfenstein Youngblood, an expansion to last year's Wolfenstein II, at Sunday's Bethesda showcase, was excited to see what his fellow Swedish game-makers are bringing to E3. "It will be both exciting and interesting to see more stuff from our fellow countrymen at Avalanche Studios and Massive Entertainment."
Avalanche is behind the recently announced Just Cause 4, shown Sunday at Microsoft's E3 event, where Massive showcased its sequel The Division 2.
For Robin Hunicke, co-founder and CEO of indie game studio Funomena, there's one studio that stands out. "The thing I'm most excited to see at E3 is the Nintendo booth, because I just know they will have strange, interesting designs for Switch," Hunicke tells THR. "I'm a game design nerd, so I'm always curious to see what unique mechanics Nintendo has devised for its platforms, both for first-party and ported titles."
Funomena teamed with Annapurna Interactive for the local co-op adventure game Wattam, which they will showcase at this year's E3. "Wattam is a whimsical, same-couch multiplayer experience where you collect and play with a variety of incredibly unique, fun and silly characters... testing out how they interact to see what emerges. We're always delighted by how fans react to this imaginative interactive playground full of wacky characters, which is especially colorful and lighthearted thanks to Keita Takahashi's striking visual style."
E3 officially opens Tuesday and will run through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.