#7. A Farewell to Reggie and Kaz
When 2019 started no one expected that Reggie Fils-Aime and Kaz Hirai of Nintendo and Sony respectively would announce their retirements. These two industry legends have done so much for the video game community and it feels as though their tenure was cut short. No doubt they will both remain integral parts in some capacity but can we really enjoy a Nintendo Direct on the same level as when Reggie’s smiling face greeted us every time? They will be sorely missed and we of course thank them for everything they did for their respective companies and for the video game industry as a whole.
#6. Surprise! Here’s Apex Legends!
Everything about Apex Legends and its success is a pretty wild story. EA pumped all of their advertising and marketing into Anthem, only to drop a high-intensity free-to-play battle royale game RIGHT before launch with redefining features that change the game. Not only that, it was made by Respawn who also gave us Titanfall, an iconic cult-hit first person action shooter about mobility and badass mechs. Apex popped onto the scene like a last-minute addition to EA’s lineup and managed to break the mold on battle royale games to the point of seriously challenging Fortnite for the top spot. In less than a year it’s spawned merchandise, Funko POP! figures, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The public did not think another battle royale was going to be a big deal and oh how wrong we were.
#5. Link will Return to the Wild
Nintendo is not big on direct sequels to their games. Sure, there are iconic franchises, but these are often new adventures with the same heroes. There are of course exceptions to this – not many – but this year at E3 we learned that Breath of the Wild would be getting a direct sequel in the form of Breath of the Wild 2. The first game completely changed what it meant to be a Legend of Zelda experience. Inspired by the likes of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Breath of the Wild broke new grounds with an open world, survival mechanics, and a heavy reliance on crafting and equipment. Taking that incredible world and giving us a sequel is not only huge due to how iconic the game has become, but is also a huge undertaking for the development team. How do you successfully make a sequel to a game so incredibly massive and nuanced? Regardless of the challenge, the resounding response to a sequel has consistently been “uh, yes please!”
#4. “Wake the F*ck Up, Samurai…”
Could there have been a larger, louder pop at E3 this year than Keanu Reeves? No. Flat out, no. I was there live when Cyberpunk 2077 revealed their new trailer, ending with Keanu as he stood on stage and began that now legendary phrase “No, you’re breathtaking!” This was THE ‘holy shit’ moment of E3 and the standing ovation he received on stage was riotous. He wasn’t the only celebrity to appear at E3 but this sure was the biggest surprise of the event. Keanu Reeves has already cemented himself as a legend not only for his acting but for being quite possibly the nicest human on the planet. You HAD to know this was going to make the list, and if we weren’t already over-the-moon excited to jump into Cyberpunk 2077 you can bet your ass every gamer alive is ready for CD Projekt RED’s latest masterpiece.