9 Promising Games You Missed at E3 This Year

9 Promising Games You Missed at E3 This Year

E3 is always a showing of the biggest and best things to look forward to in gaming. It’s a chance for everyone to puff out their chests and peacock around the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center in hopes of gaining the attention of the 50,000 or so attendees. Every year the big studios and publishers get a ton of attention as they bring their AAA game with big booths, giant screens, and flashing lights. Often left in the dust, or unintentionally ignored, are the smaller indie developers and publishers who strain to be noticed over the glitz (and budgets) of the big guns. This year, with a couple notable publishers missing from the floor, there was a chance for some of these indies to shine and we were able to give them the attention they truly deserve. Over the course of the three days, we were able to take in a few games that might have been glossed over in years past. They show a ton of promise for the development teams and the publishers backing them up. Let’s take a look at what we saw and what you may have missed at E3 this year.

Focus Home Interactive

Missed at E3 Focus Home Interactive

Focus Home Interactive has a ton going on this year. As publishers go they are paddling furiously towards shore just about to catch that wave that puts them into ranking with the big boys. Ok, well not the biggest of the big boys but into the role of a publisher that people know about, care about and want to support. They’ve got a stable of pretty solid games behind them (Divinity: Original Sin, Contrast, Cities XL, Blood Bowl II) and helping them along into 2017 are a number of strong titles that are poised to be big successes if they turn out like we hope. We got a look at three games that are shaping up quite nicely that you might have passed over.

Vampyr – PC, PS4, Xbox One (2017)

The developer of Vampyr is a studio you might already know, Dontnod Entertainment. In particular, you might know them for the absolutely fantastic episodic adventure game Life is Strange. Diving into the Action RPG genre they’re readying up Vampyr for a 2017 release date and from what we saw the gloomy streets of 20th Century London are going to make for a darkly entertaining game.

The Spanish flu has ravaged the city, the districts are falling apart piece by piece and you are a doctor sworn to protect the people under your care, who just happens to be faced with his recent affliction of vampirism. The classic tale of good versus evil is thrust into one character and you must precariously balance the welfare of the city and the people with your own survival. It’s hard to help people when you need a steady supply of their blood to keep going.

In the demo, we were shown some of the RPG skill trees that will shape your character but what really stuck out was the characters and their interactions. The animations seemed just a little stiff but the voice work and the actual conversations themselves were truly interesting. Picking and choosing who he wants to target, the good doctor is able to feast upon those who are unworthy to keep on living over those he desperately wants to help. Of course, the option is there to take whomever you please, but be aware, as you neglect the people and the streets of London the districts will fall further and further into sickness and disrepair. This looks to be an important part of the overall gameplay and narrative of the game.

With a solid chunk of development time to go and the pedigree of Dontnod behind it, Vampyr is a game you should be watching closely for 2017.

Missed at E3 Vampyr


Styx: Shards of Darkness – PC, PS4, Xbox One (Q4 2016)

Cyanide Studio ran on a tiny budget and a lot of good old-fashioned heart when it brought Styx: Master of Shadows to life. A small developer working on a game with big ideas that had a lot of strong competition in its chosen genre of stealth. Stealth games are finicky, requiring a lot of perfectly tuned gameplay mechanics to be successful and while Master of Shadows did a fair amount of those well, it didn’t excel at any of them either. Luckily, the game garnered enough attention and praise (going free on PS Plus couldn’t have hurt either) to be warranted a second chance at life. The goblin Styx returns in a bigger, and undoubtedly more refined adventure in Styx: Shards of Darkness.

Moving onto the Unreal 4 engine is the obvious first step in improving everything that makes up Styx. This will allow the developers to capitalize on the ideas in their head in a much better fashion than they could have with Unreal 3. In the demo we saw, not only does the game look better it responds better too. Movements and reactions seem much more precise than they did in Master of Shadows which is something sorely needed.

New mechanics such as climbing up ropes, grappling around corners and ripping down a conveniently placed zip-line make the environment and traversal of Shards of Darkness much more open than its predecessor. Leaving the dingy Akenash tower for the streets of Korrangar, the city of the Dark Elves is also a marked improvement for the game’s environment.

The challenge factor is still high as even the game’s developer had a hard time navigating through the various paths available without being caught. In comparison to its predecessor, however, none of the inevitable deaths seemed cheap or unwarranted. You have to be careful to succeed in Styx’s latest adventure. Aiming for a Q4 release of 2016 we should be seeing the crass little goblin sometime in the holiday season.

Missed at E3 Styx Shards of Darkness


The Surge – PC, PS4, Xbox One (2017)

Heading to PC and consoles in 2017, The Surge is being developed by Deck13 Interactive, the same team that brought Lords of the Fallen to life. Similar to Styx and Cyanide Studios, Lords of the Fallen operated on a much smaller budget than its comparative title Dark Souls 2. While a bit clunky at times with some odd camera bungles here and there, it still saw success as a solid RPG. Now, here we are two years later with a bigger budget and bigger ideas.

The Surge is set in a dystopian future where the Earth is on its last legs and faces over-population alongside the drastic damages done to its environment. Featuring some innovative combat mechanics and some top notch graphics (it’s pretty, like REALLY pretty), this is what Deck 13 can do with a few extra dollars in their pockets.

The demo on display took us through the environment showing some interesting traversal via elevators and your characters exoskeleton, but the most interesting part of the demo was a boss battle of sorts that took place towards the end. Defeating this hulking robot was no easy task and took nearly ten minutes for the demonstrator to complete. The combat was tight and absolutely visceral. Funny thing is those are the two words included in the press information describing the combat and they couldn’t be more perfectly suited. Raining in shots from the distance and massive blows in close quarters, it was a pulse-pounding race to the finish and thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

We still don’t know as much as we’d like about the narrative but based on what we saw on display at E3 this is a title we’re keen to keep an eye on as it continues its development cycle.

Missed Games at E3 The Surge

Click on thru to page two for more games you missed at E3…