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The E3 Bulletin - Thursday

Fortnite! Pokemon! Cyberpunk!

Our E3 bulletins run every day this week. Previous entries: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

It's the penultimate day of E3, which means that the assembled exhibitors have got through everything they wanted to talk about and are now being unwillingly coerced into things they don't want to talk about. Chief among these is, as expected, Fortnite. The shadow of Epic's late-blooming hit looms large over the show: a vast, flossing colossus bestriding the Ozymandian remains of PlayerUnknown.

The chief surprise is that we are talking less about half-baked attempts at taking its crown and more about Sony's devastingly effective attempts to stop PS4 players using their accounts on Switch, which is being received as well as we predicted. Microsoft is of course being a model of support.

Epic seems to be doing just fine, thanks, with two million Switch players, the The E3 Fortnite Pro-Am tournament reclaiming the record for the world's most-watched live broadcast, and the inevitable esports angle coming via the punters-only Fortnite 2019 World Cup. Ninja won the Pro-Am but lost 20,000 subscribers, a tradeoff that society is not yet able to judge. Activision's trying its best to get attention back on Call of Duty with some good old-fashioned map pack controversy, and Reggie said that loot boxes are fine, but they just didn't stand out.

The tradition of conference games not living up the hype is alive and well, with showfloor demos revealing that Switch's first Pokemon is disappointingly basic and Spiderman's spectacular webslinging is paired with ropey boss fights. The horrible violence in The Last of Us 2 is supposed to make u think, so that's all completely fine then, and BioWare says you can totally have relationships in Anthem but they just have to be action ones, which suggests we can look forward to "mash X to perform Predator-style handshake". Assassin's Creed Odyssey has no such restrictions.

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Proper E3 hype can of course only be applied to games that barely exist and won't be playable for years yet, and Cyberpunk 2077 is still very much in the lead here thanks to its loving rendition of "asymmetrical haircuts, exposed buttocks, golden prosthetics and plentiful drugs". The first-person perspective is because you just can't be as rad as Geralt, a realisation that we resigned ourselves to many years ago, and it may yet add multiplayer, too, although that seems like yet another step towards going full Star Citizen. Star Citizen was at the PC Gaming Show but nobody was really paying attention. Death Stranding isn't playable because Kojima doesn't make that sort of elementary mistake, although people are gamely attempting to understand it despite.

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Elsewhere, Netflix is going to publish a version of Minecraft Story Mode, which is yet another platform for Telltale's creaky tech so maybe it will work perfectly this time. Stranger Things have not happened, but they will.

The new Yoshi game for Switch from E3 2017 was quietly delayed into 2019. FIFA for Switch will get proper online play in 2018, brought forward from 2005. Financial analysts confirmed that they're really more into Street Fighter than Smash Bros by selling off Nintendo stock after its announcement, which might be trouble. Reggie was quick to point out that analysts rarely get things right where Nintendo is concerned, which is true but a bit rich coming from someone who signed off on the Wii U.

Rare is totally chill about moving Sea of Thieves to Xbox 2, which is apparently codenamed Scarlet. Microsoft is bang up for State of Decay 3 being that persistent online world that Undead Labs always wanted it to be. Off the show floor, there's a memorial to Cayde-6 outside the convention centre, Prey's Mooncrash DLC is worth a look, and you can listen to the Smash Bros Ultimate soundtrack.

Here endeth the fourth (sixth) day of E3 2018. We'll have one more roundup tomorrow, when everybody has fled the LA Convention Center and the risk of further news is finally past. Catch up on everything we've covered so far on the E3 2018 news archive.

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