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The E3 bulletin: Wednesday

Endless Zelda! Interminable Pokemon! Unchanged Xbox!

Today, finally, after two days, six conferences, more announcements than we care to remember and much less sleep than is healthy, E3 actually started and we could start judging it in earnest. There was just one more thing to cover before the doors opened: the Nintendo conference, which was actually two things, spread out with marvellous inefficiency across two hours and an acre of E3 booth that was presumably booked back when NX was still on the agenda and couldn't be refunded.

The first was the new Zelda, which suggested that the developers misinterpreted the note about being "the last Wii U game anybody will buy" and created one that'll take months to finish: it's a vast, beautiful and highly ambitious sandbox. It also has a surprising survival focus, which Nintendo cleverly integrated as a conference theme by wowing everybody with the trailer and then cutting to 45 soul-shrivelling minutes of blather about Pokemon Sun and Moon instead.

Things improved still further by cutting to ten minutes of hold music before finally getting to Zelda, which was played using a showfloor demo that timed out every fifteen minutes and in which the player blew himself up after ten minutes' play. This is the sort of glorious ineptitude that makes E3 conferences worth staying up for, and the game itself was excellent: crafting, loot, loadouts and Dark-Souls-but-cuddly-vibe. If you end up buying a Wii U for it, you'd probably get your money's worth, although we can't get past the notion that Breath of the Wild sounds like a Lynx ad campaign for mouthwash.

Then it was done and we were into the show, ready to play some games and grill some spokespeople and, because Chris is there, stalk major executives. First up was Phil Spencer on why you should buy an Xbox One S despite Scorpio on the horizon. Then it was over to Activision to discover that Call of Duty's ground+space campaign looks more interesting than you'd expect from Call of Duty. Microsoft accidentally announced a Bulletstorm remaster via the USB sticks at its showcase event, which is a nice physical-media twist on the old accidental-press-site-listing classic and shows that we're really seeing innovation on new console platforms.

There's a new gameplay trailer for Nier. Sniper Elite 3 is going to battle with Sniper Ghost Warrior 2, a rare example of the metaphor being exactly as dull to watch as the reality. Microsoft explained that the latest Xbox updates will add virtual safe spaces and that there will never be any Project Scorpio exclusives, a topic which looks like it'll be this year's hardware talking point after Sony and Nintendo churlishly denied us a head-to-head throwdown. Sony, not wanting to be entirely left out, warned that it's probably going to sell out of PSVR so whatever.

Resident Evil 7 is light on weapons but it does include herbs. Following the well-received debut of Insomniac's Spider-Man Marvel has said that it's going to start doing more good games, which counts as startling innovation after a decade of Activision-published dreck but might prove harder than expected given that all of E3's biggest games already include implausible powers or daddy issues or both.

XCOM creator Julian Gollop showed off his return to the genre, Phoenix Point. Volition showed off its return to Saints Row, kind of, with the set-in-the-same-universe Agents of Mayhem. The Elder Scrolls Special Edition will work with existing mods, you can play Dishonored 2 without powers, and you can play Final Fantasy XV as a beat-em-up.

Back at home Jeffrey tried the Resident Evil 7 demo and wasn't all that impressed, but we saw a game in which you can shoot your way to giant legs and were definitely impressed. Digital Foundry pored over the Xbox Scorpio specifications and concluded that, yes, this probably will be the most powerful console but it'll probably cost you quite a lot to get hold of. Blizzard rolled out some Overwatch nerfs, establishing what will doubtless be a long and grand tradition.

Mark Cerny was noted in the credits for Kojima's Death Stranding, further guaranteeing its status as the next mythically perfect Playstation game, which is handy because The Last Guardian has just left a gap. And Rock Paper Shotgun decided that we don't need E3 anyway. Still, we're there now, so we'll keep telling you about it for the rest of the week. You can find all the coverage on our E3 guide page.

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About the Author
Jon Hicks avatar

Jon Hicks

Audience Development Director, ReedPop

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.