The E3 bulletin: Monday

Mass Effect! Dishonored 2! Xbox Slim! Football!

This year, we are once again posting daily bulletins from E3, rounding up all the news from the show. If you wish, you can receive them via email every morning by signing up for the Eurogamer newsletter.

E3 is about games, but more specifically about marketing games, and the industry has grown fearful of announcing too many at once in case you miss any of them. Thus the Sunday before the show, previously the media's one day in which they could reliably experience sunlight and fresh vegetables, is now a conference hoedown like Monday and Tuesday. This new console generation is hard on all of us.

Still, day aside it's entirely business as usual, including the bit where all the announcements leak early. And even by E3 standards, we've had a particularly rich crop this year: we saw details of the new Xbox One S, a ReCore release date, a first look at Dead Rising 4, along with the first Titanfall 2 trailer. There was even a tiny bit of Nintendo news, with the revelation that Zelda probably features climbing. Which we'll admit doesn't sound like much, but with no new console and not even the succour of a Nintendo Direct, the faithful must take any scraps they can find.

On the offchance that there was anything left to reveal we went to the EA conference anyway, even in the face of industry espionage. It was a strong lineup but quite a weak show, because we already knew everything existed and we didn't really learn much beyond that. The highlight was an extended trailer for Mass Effect Andromeda, which was big on potential and short on which aliens you get to have sex with. A close second was Jade Raymond's Star Wars Montage, which combined a creepy cult-like view of various EA studios with glimpses of future Star Wars releases, the most exciting being the briefest glimpse of an Uncharted-a-like from Amy Hennig and Visceral. Here's hoping it fares better than Star Wars 1313.

The only all-new game was Fe, which closely followed last year's Unravel as EA's self-consciously indie release fronted by a terrified Scandinavian who presented as if directed by the kidnappers of his family. EA now has a dedicated label for indie publishing, EA Originals, although it wasn't clear if this was a) just a front for all the people trapped in Patrick Soderlund's basement b) going to last any longer than Activision's short-lived resuscitation of Sierra or indeed EA Partners.

Otherwise Titanfall's multiplayer looked as good as you'd expect and thus wasn't really surprising, even if we hadn't already seen the single-player trailer. EA, to its credit, abandoned secrecy and posted the official version ahead of the show rather than let the ratty-looking leak endure, although it didn't have enough time to engineer a decent joke about it into Vince Zampella's presentation. Fans of on-stage bants were instead treated to a virtuouso performance from master of the form Peter Moore, who was joined by an openly disdainful Jose Mourhinio for a brief skit to mark the news that FIFA now contains realistically-modelled managers.

It's got a story mode too, introduced with toe-curling emphasis by the actor who plays the protagonist. Madden players, meanwhile, get a new mode which enables them to skip the boring bits and only play the exciting parts of the Super Bowl, although we were sad to discover that this doesn't involve just watching the trailers.

VR didn't feature beyond a tantalising promise in the Star Wars section, but the unsettling sci-fi vibe was covered with the news that EA is getting into esports of its games based on real sports, which feels like a deliberate attempt to make exercise redundant and beat Mark Zuckerberg to the punch of making everybody doughy, screen-obsessed blobs like the humans in Wall-E. Proceedings were closed with a new Battlefield 1 trailer and hands-on for all attendees, which enabled Martin to discover that it's actually really good. Meanwhile, the livestream deteriorated into an hour of awkwardly-hosted babble interspersed with trailer repeats and shots of visibly bored celebrities playing against YouTubers through the fog of Snoop Dogg's medical cigarette smoke. E3 had truly begun.

There was just enough time for some Injustice 2 footage and a new and jolly impressive Mafia 3 trailer before it was back into the conference grind with Bethesda. It had managed to keep more of its powder dry, opening with a new Quake called Quake Champions. Given the publisher's recent sterling work on remaking Doom and Wolfenstein, you sort of have to be excited about this, although the package isn't all that ambitious - it's PC-only. That was followed by news on Hearthstone-a-like Elder Scrolls Legends, and more of that dreaded 21st century substance, Content, for The Elder Scrolls Online. At least one person in the audience was alarmingly excited about this, although in fairness being able to explore the whole world regardless of level is quite appealing. If you'd rather retread old ground then you're covered with the expected debut of the Skyrim remaster, all prettied up and with mod support on console, arriving this Christmas to plug the Elder Scrolls gap in your life.

Also filed under previously ruined surprises was a first look at the Prey sequel, made by Arkane Austin and called, er, Prey. The age of the anonymous sequel rolls on. It looks quite good, inasmuch as it's possible to tell from a completely pre-rendered trailer, although little seems to remain from Human Head's intriguing and acrimoniously cancelled Prey 2.

Star of the show was a look at Dishonored 2 gameplay. This featured an actual developer showing the actual game which looked actually really good, an event of unicorn-like rarity at E3, and set a bar that other conferences will struggle to top. More surprising but equally welcome was the announcement of Fallout 4 for Vive, and a still more ridiculous Fallout 4 Pip-boy for the more obsessive fan. We will strive to test this on Johnny if employment legislation permits. That was it for game announcements, although there was a sneaky suggestion of Wolfenstein 2 - let's see if QuakeCon adds to that.

Proceedings closed with another rebooted throwback, Blink 182, and that was it for day Minus Two of E3 2016. Join us tomorrow for day Minus One, in which the industry will continue to do its best to undermine the news value of its own product showcase. All details are on our E3 2016 guide.

For now, the UK team has retired for a short break to contemplate all that we've learned today, like that Major Nelson is better at Battlefield than Terry Crews. These are the lessons that only E3 can teach us.

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About the author

Jon Hicks

Jon Hicks

Audience Development Director

Jon has been writing about video games and technology since 2002, during which time he contributed to dozens of publications and spent seven years as Editor-in-Chief of Official Xbox Magazine. He has a terrible addiction to shonky open-world games.

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