Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. Today, we mourn the death of a giant. While the name E3 may not command the same respect it once did, its cancellation and (likely) permanent demise is a pretty significant development nonetheless. Let’s get into it!
E3 2023 cancelled
There was a time, not so long ago, when E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) was the event of the gaming year. Publishers and developers would flock to the LA Convention Centre every June to subject their games to the scrutiny of hundreds of journalists. It was where the biggest games were dramatically announced, where new consoles were finally revealed. But E3’s power started to wane in recent years, and now its influence may have met a permanent end: IGN reports, E3 2023 has been cancelled.
E3 has been cancelled before, of course. The 2020 E3 was called off because, well, y’know. And while E3 returned as a digital event in 2021, the 2022 event was cancelled with little explanation. We’ve got slightly more information this time: Global VP of Gaming for ReedPop (an events company co-organising E3 2023) Kyle Marsden-Kish cited the fact that ‘interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready’ as a key factor in the decision.
The truth that Marsden-Kish is skirting around is that this has been something of a death by a thousand cuts. Sony announced way back in 2018 that they wouldn’t be presenting at the following year’s E3. And one by one, major industry players announced this year that they had no plans to appear at E3 2023. The reality is that this far into the internet age, publishers simply don’t need the marketing opportunity presented by E3 in the same way they used to. Why would you have your game to compete for attention with hundreds of others in one summer week when you could livestream an announcement trailer whenever you want?
The ESA claims that E3 will return in 2024, but I dunno, man. This feels pretty definitively like the close of a chapter of gaming history.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gameplay footage revealed
Speaking of major games companies being able to show off their games whenever they want: Nintendo released new gameplay footage for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom this week. Amazingly, this is actually the first clear look we’ve ever had at how the game plays. That might normally ring alarm bells considering the game is coming out in a couple months. But this is the sequel to Breath of the Wild, one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed games of all time; Nintendo can probably afford to play things a little close to the chest.
The footage shows off a range of new features including a robust crafting system, new physics powers, and floating islands. Players can combine a range of items to imbue them with special effects: a boulder attached to a tree branch turns it into a mighty club, while a monster eye attached to an arrow turns it into a homing projectile. The new Fuse ability lets players construct makeshift vehicles from raw materials, while the Recall ability lets them turn back time and ride falling rocks back up to landmasses in the sky.
There’s much more to see, so be sure to check the footage out for yourself. I think it looks absolutely incredible; I was waiting for actual footage to make a decision on how quickly I’d buy the game, and it absolutely just became a Day 1 purchase. I can’t wait to explore this game’s Hyrule, and to build an overelaborate flying machine that immediately falls apart.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will release for Nintendo Switch on Friday 12 May.
Forspoken DLC coming in May