E3 2017’s surprises were as diverse as the games and genres that we already knew about. From remakes to brand new properties, there were more than enough interest-piquing reveals. Even established properties like Skyrim and Monster Hunter had surprises worthy of the oohs and ahhs they received. Here are the top 12 unexpected announcements.
For a deep for a deeper dive at what was announced at this year’s show, take a look at all the news and announcements from each press conference. You can also check out our lists of all the games at E3 coming out in 2017 and 2018!
For our complete coverage, head to GameSpot’s E3 hub for all of our news, videos, and impressions. And be sure to check back often as more stories and videos get published.
Shadow of the Colossus Remake
When Sony announced that PS2 classic Shadow of the Colossus was getting the remake treatment, it almost felt like it came out of left field. The game had been remastered in 3D once before as a part of the ICO and Shadow of the Colossus collection on PS3, so it was surprising to hear that the game would be getting a complete overhaul built from the ground up on a new engine. And the studio behind the remake is actually Bluepoint Games, the team that remastered the game originally.
While none of the story content in Shadow of the Colossus will be changing in the remake, what will be changing is the addition of a modernized control scheme, which is being included to accommodate new players. These adjustments and updated visuals should make for an interesting way to re-experience Shadow of the Colossus even after all these years.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Afters years of silence (apart from some teases), Ubisoft finally re-announced Beyond Good & Evil 2 during its E3 2017 briefing this week. Creator Michel Ancel took the stage and, with tears in his eyes, finally confirmed that the game is indeed happening. While we did not see any gameplay, the first cinematic trailer was delightful and in-depth, providing the first glimpse at the highly anticipated sequel and its world and tone. We still have so many questions about what the game actually is and how it plays, but now we at least know it is coming. From what we’ve heard directly from Ancel, Beyond Good & Evil 2 is an incredibly ambitious-sounding game, even if it’s not the sequel fans might not have expected. Development on Beyond Good & Evil 2 has barely started (it’s still at “day zero,” according to Ancel) so don’t expect it anytime soon.
After the disappointment of Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare fans were eagerly awaiting news about what the studio would be making next. And at E3 this week, we finally learned that this game is called Anthem and that it’ll be coming out in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A first trailer and some gameplay was shown, revealing that Anthem is a “shared-world” action RPG where you play as a Freelancer. These brave soldiers leave the safety of this home and venture out into the dangerous wild to help ensure the safety of the planet. We’re excited to learn more about Anthem in the weeks and months ahead.
A Way Out
The long awaited new game by Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons developer Hazelight did not disappoint. When you think about it, the story of two convicts making an elaborate escape from prison as well as their life on the run has been been played out in TV and film, but it’s a relatively underexplored premise in games. We did see a prison break in last year’s Uncharted 4, but don’t expect a Naughty Dog style AI-assisted experience. A Way Out is a co-op experience that feels like an evolution on the story-focused designs popularized by Telltale Games. It offers more freedom of movement without shifting focus away from the story. It certainly breaks from the limiting confines of Telltale’s ‘playable cutscene’ blueprint.
OG Xbox Backwards Compatibility
The Xbox One’s backwards compatibility catalog for Xbox 360 games is really popular and a fan-favorite feature for the console. So it was very exciting this week when Microsoft out of nowhere announced during its E3 2017 briefing that original Xbox games will join the lineup later this year. Only two have been confirmed so far, Fuzion Frenzy and Crimson Skies, but more are on the way. The lineup will not be as extensive as the Xbox 360’s backwards compatibility catalog, and even if you don’t plan to use it much, it’s a cool feature to know is there.
Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
That Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was announced at E3 was no surprise itself–the game’s existence had been leaked repeatedly in the lead up to the event. That included the appearance of a piece of key art for the game featuring Rabbids dressed up like Mario characters, including one who looked like Peach and was taking a selfie. Suffice it to say, the reaction was less than positive from many people, who presumed Kingdom Battle would be a childish game that wouldn’t be of much interest. Instead, what we got was the reveal of essentially XCOM with Mario characters and Rabbids. It sounds like a bizarre premise, and yet it’s genuinely fun and challenging.
Xbox One X Name And Price
Microsoft was expected to announce the name and price of Project Scorpio during its E3 2017 briefing, and it delivered. We learned that the super-powerful console is called Xbox One X and that it will cost $500 in the US. That’s a higher price point than many, including a number of analysts, thought it would cost. It is the most powerful console ever made, so a premium price point was to be expected, but being $100 more than the PS4 Pro this holiday could make it a tough sell. Time will tell.
Two Metroid Games
Going into this year’s E3, bets on even a single Metroid announcement seemed far fetched. The definition of “surprising,” Nintendo smartly countered skeptics with a one-two punch by announcing multiple projects: Metroid Prime 4 and Metroid: Samus Returns. We can’t say for certain what Metroid Prime 4 looks like, but assuming it follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, Metroid fans can now look forward to two games that are poised to revisit the beloved series’ best eras.
In the case of Metroid: Samus Returns specifically, we’ve seen a little over 30 minutes of gameplay and spent some time playing the game at Nintendo’s booth. By all accounts, it’s shaping up to be a great remake of a game that’s up until now eluded many Metroid fans: Metroid II: The Return of Samus. And despite the fact that it’s being developed by a third-party studio, Mercury Steam, what we saw at the show has us excited for the future of the franchise. Without a doubt, it’s a great time to be a Metroid fan.
We already knew that Bethesda was working on VR versions of Fallout 4 and Doom, but Skyrim VR totally caught us by surprise. Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that it would be launched as a timed exclusive for PlayStation VR. Bethesda did tell us that a Vive version would be coming next year, however.
The trailer revealed that the VR port would would allow you to shoot arrows, fireballs, and swing swords with Sony’s PlayStation Move controllers. We also learned that the game will support a teleport mechanic and VR snap turns, both of which should mitigate VR nausea.
No specific release date was revealed, but you can expect Skyrim VR to debut sometime this year.
Monster Hunter: World
Having only just announced a new (or revamped) Monster Hunter game for Nintendo Switch, the notion of seeing another new title at E3 seemed unlikely. And yet that’s precisely what was revealed during Sony’s E3 press conference. After recent entries all came for Nintendo platforms, we’re now getting a gorgeous new Monster Hunter game for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. This features larger areas with a day/night cycle and support for drop-in multiplayer. Maybe even more surprising than the existence of the game itself–as exciting as it is–is the fact that World will be released in the West at the same time as Japan.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
A Dragon Ball fighting game isn’t surprising on its own, but the announcement came out of left field during Microsoft’s press conference. And for fans of the anime, it’s especially exciting to see just how great this one looks. The characters are faithfully re-created, from Goku and Vegeta to Frieza and Majin Buu, and it’s shaping up to be a great way to reenact your favorite fights from the series (though hopefully not spread out over several episodes). After a series of underwhelming Dragon Ball fighting games, this one is definitely a nice surprise.
Skull & Bones
Ever since the release of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in 2014, there existed an audience of fans who yearned for the series to return or iterate upon the fantastic naval combat from that game. While Assassin’s Creed Rogue expanded on those mechanics to some capacity, it wasn’t the true successor everyone craved. Enter Skull & Bones, one of the biggest surprises from Ubisoft’s E3 2017 press conference. The game sports a focus on 5v5 multiplayer modes where you fight and four others fight other player-controller ships for loot. It can also be played as a single-player experience, though not many details have been revealed.
While the reveal of Skull & Bones is an exciting step towards a new series that follows in the tradition of Black Flag, it also represents a divorce of naval combat from the expectations of future Assassin’s titles. Seeing Ubisoft deliberately decide to split the two into separate franchises is certainly one the biggest surprises about seeing Skull & Bones.