The Biggest Game Announcements from E3 2023’s Replacement Showcases

E3 2023 has just ended! Wait, no it didn’t. It never even happened! Nevertheless, there were several big showcase events — namely Sony’s PlayStation Showcase 2023, the Xbox Games Showcase 2023, Ubisoft Forward, Capcom Showcase 2023, and of course, Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest 2023. 

In E3’s absence, the various events were on hand to deliver all the big news to fans as the companies divulged what they had been working on behind the scenes. We round up the most notable game announcements and reveals that grabbed everyone’s attention during this period.

Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater announced

After many rumours, Konami has finally lifted the lid that the remake of the iconic 2004 game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is indeed a reality.

In truth, though many expected it to appear at Sony’s PlayStation showcase after reports from journalists, the announcement still caught many by surprise. The teaser saw a whole predator-prey cycle occur before revealing the familiar face of Naked Snake at the end, accompanied by the triumphant tune of Snake Eater.

Konami later confirmed that it would be officially called Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater (or Metal Gear Solid Δ: Snake Eater), with delta representing difference without changing structure. That fits into the premise of the remake project, which the company says will have overhauled visuals and user experience but will retain the same story and voice characters. 

In addition to PlayStation 5, Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater will launch for Xbox Series Consoles, and PC on Steam. While no release date was revealed, we should be able to hear more this year, especially considering that Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 (due this fall) was announced alongside it.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 gameplay and release date revealed

The last we saw of Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2 was all the way back in early September 2021. Needless to say, fans have been hungry to see and hear more, and luckily we were given a feast during this not-E3 2023 period.

PlayStation ended their showcase with a bang as they unveiled a meaty look at Spider-Man 2’s gameplay. Within the reveal, we were granted a glimpse at their version of Kraven the Hunter, Lizard, and the Black Symbiote Suit. The suit in particular, seems to focus more on power and uses tendril attacks during fights. Also teased were new gadgets and abilities to complement stealth.

Outside of combat, wingsuits are now incorporated into the traversal, allowing you to stay in the air longer and travel faster — both Peter and Miles will be able to utilise them. While we are on the subject of both characters, Insomniac confirms that players will be able to switch between the two Spider-Men at any point while exploring the open world, with character-specific content being created by the developers.

After the PlayStation Showcase, Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest 2023 managed to get the scoop that Spider-Man 2 will release on 20 October 2023. Pre-orders will go live on 16 June, where fans can choose between various versions of the game, including a Collector’s Edition, which comes with a 10-inch statue depicting Peter and Miles fighting Venom.

Phantom Blade Zero surprises with its showcase

While understandably Spider-Man 2 will take most headlines, the reveal of a new game called Phantom Blade Zero is one to keep an eye on, with its premiere at PlayStation Showcase 2023 being highly impressive. 

Players take on the role of Soul — an elite assassin that serves the mysterious but powerful organisation known simply as “The Order”. After being framed and getting grave injuries, a mystic healer brings him back from the brink of death, though it will only sustain him for 66 days. The story follows his quest to find the mastermind before time runs out.

The game is set in a “bleak and punishing” semi-open world, with various monstrosities out to get players. A myriad of genres is seen converging within the world, such as steampunk, the occult, and Chinese influences. The combat is also shown to be fast-paced and frenetic, with a heavy emphasis on swordplay and Kung Fu. 

Made by Chinese studio S-Game, the game forms part of the Phantom Blade franchise, currently only available in China. While no release date was revealed, it is another game to look out for from China, which seems to be a burgeoning area for game development.

Mortal Kombat 1’s visceral new gameplay

Mortal Kombat 1 was announced early in the middle of May, and as we headed into the period where E3 2023 would have been, we were treated to a gameplay showcase for the title.

No surprises, but the series’ brutal fighting system returns once again, and it isn’t any less gory. During the extended gameplay showing at Summer Game Fest 2023, we were shown new Fatal Blow attacks and Fatalities as characters get maimed in creatively gruesome ways. The difference in the new game is that other fighters will be joining in the melee.

Kameo fighters are the new addition, acting essentially as assist fighters during fights. They have their own roster and character select screen, and players can combine them with any of the main fighters after making their pick. Kameo fighters can be summoned with a tap of a button, helping to create unique combinations for combos.

Given that Mortal Kombat 1 is launching very soon, on 19 September 2023, we can expect more details and gameplay to be doled out in the lead-up to its release.

First look at Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

With Final Fantasy XVI arriving soon, it is sometimes easy to forget that there is another Final Fantasy that fans are eagerly awaiting. At Summer Games Fest 2023, we were given a surprise look at the second part of Final Fantasy VII to end the show.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth picks up from the first part of the remake trilogy, following Cloud and the team outside of Midgar. A decent chunk of the gameplay showed the gang exploring the vast new world, even featuring Chocobo-riding. Combat was also showcased in the new trailer, with Red XIII and Yuffie now confirmed to be playable characters. 

The last surprise from the trailer was the reveal of the release period for the game. It will be aiming to launch in Early 2024. Besides the release window, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was also announced to come as two discs for the game’s physical edition—highlighting the title’s scale. 

With the releases of Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Final Fantasy fans will be eating well in the next 12 months. 

Ubisoft’s Star Wars Outlaws unveiled

You may have forgotten, but in 2021, Ubisoft announced a partnership with Lucasfilm Games to see them make a new Star Wars game. We finally get to see what that game is, called Star Wars Outlaws

Star Wars Outlaws follows Kay Vess, an outlaw who, alongside her companion Nix, will be fighting and stealing from the galaxy’s crime syndicates as part of their journey. First revealed at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023, the game got an extended gameplay walkthrough at the Ubisoft Forward event.

Here, we see Kay infiltrating a base to steal an item as part of her mission — one of many players can undertake in the game. Players can go the stealth route, with Nix available to help with tasks within the game. If things get messy, Kay can shoot her way out with her blaster. As Star Wars Outlaws is a narrative-driven title, you’ll be able to pick between different options for dialogue. A glimpse of the open world was also shown, with Kay piloting her ship to different planets.

Ubisoft confirmed that Star Wars Outlaws will be released in 2024 and will be available for  PlayStation 5, Xbox Series Consoles, and PC. Being the first big Star Wars title that’s not from EA, it will be interesting to see how it will turn out.

Persona 3 Reload revealed

By the time it made its appearance in Xbox Games Showcase 2023, many had known about the existence of Persona 3 Reload. Still, it nevertheless remains an exciting announcement for Persona fans to savour.

As the name suggests, Persona 3 Reload is a remake of the original 2006 game Persona 3. A massive graphical overhaul is showcased for the game, with environments and character models now revamped with modern graphics. Likewise, the UI has also changed and now features a more flashy Persona 5-style menu system.

While the remake has been modernised for audiences, unfortunately some features will not be making their way over to this game. Both “The Answer” epilogue and the Female Protagonist option from Persona 3 FES and Portable will not be included. But there will also be new things within the game to look forward to, such as new scenes, events, and music.

The game is set to release in Early 2024 worldwide on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series Consoles, Xbox One and PC. 

PROJECT Re FANTASY re-emerges as Metaphor: ReFantazio

Speaking of Persona, the creative mind behind the series returns with his newest game. Katsura Hashino, Director of Persona 3. 4, and 5, created Studio Zero back in 2016 to make a new IP — then teased as PROJECT Re FANTASY. It has been mostly silent regarding news on the title as the years passed, but it finally made an appearance at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023.

Now known as Metaphor: ReFantazio, the game departs from the real-world setting of the Persona series and delves into full high fantasy. Little is known about the game’s premise, but it features a new protagonist and party to journey alongside. 

Still, many features from the Persona franchise have been brought over. Persona staples like the calendar and relationship system are present in some form in the trailer, with small glimpses of combat appearing to be turn-based as well. Aesthetically, the stylish menu system also appears to be incorporated into the game.

Metaphor: ReFantazio is announced to be launched in 2024, and at the time of writing, only  Xbox Series Consoles and PC — though we expect this to release on PlayStation as well. The Persona Stalker Club talk show is set to talk about the announcement on 20 June 2023, where more details may be unveiled. 

Starfield gets a big deep dive look into the game

We’ve been waiting a long time for Bethesda’s Starfield, and even though it is coming out relatively soon in September, the deep dive showcase of the game will surely make the wait even harder for people anticipating it. 

Shown after the Xbox Games Showcase, Bethesda’s Starfield Direct revealed a considerable amount of details about the game that players can experience once they get their hands on it. To reiterate the game’s scale, Bethesda mentions that there are over 1,000 planets for players to visit. While the planets themselves are procedurally generated, there will still be hand-crafted content when players explore the terrain. 

Much of the focus was also made on the customizability of the game. For one, character creation comes with backstories that give players three unique skills and factor into the game’s dialogue. There are also optional traits that players can equip at the start that bring both advantages and disadvantages. Ships also are highly customisable, with the deep dive showing one made to look like a Gundam. 

There is much, much more covered within the deep dive, so be sure to check it out if you want to know more about the game. In the meantime, you can expect Starfield to come out on 6 September 2023 for Xbox Series consoles and PC.

Clockwork Revolution brings Bioshock Infinite vibes

If you loved Bioshock Infinite, this next game might catch your attention. Xbox Game Studios’ inXile Entertainment revealed their newest game that they’ve been working on after Wasteland 3 — Clockwork Revolution.

Set in the Victorian city of Avalon, Clockwork Revolution features a steampunk world to explore as you rebel against the rule of a character known as Lady Ironwood, who uses a time travel device to stay in power. Your character also has a similar device called the Chronometer, which lets you travel back in time.

The game is a first-person RPG, featuring a full character creator and a branching dialogue system for players to make this their own story. Various steampunk weapons were teased in the trailer, as well as some of the time-based mechanics hinting at how your past actions will have a butterfly effect on the world. 

As the game is still in early development, no release date or window was announced. Nevertheless, its intriguing trailer means that this is one of the games that players should keep tabs on,

Dragon’s Dogma II gets a proper showcase

Dragon’s Dogma II had a soft announcement last June with just a logo reveal, but during the E3 replacement period, fans could finally enjoy a first proper look at the game.

Appearing at the PlayStation Showcase 2023, Capcom unveiled a new trailer for the game, giving a glimpse of the world players will explore for the sequel. While old monsters from the original are back, there are also new threats like the Medusa. Climbing monsters also look to be a returning mechanic for the game.

More information was detailed at Capcom’s own showcase event. In terms of size, Dragon’s Dogma II’s map will be four times that of the first game, ensuring more exploration opportunities. Two important characters will also be at the fore of the game’s story. First is Ulrika, a bow wielder with a deep connection to the Arisen. The other is Nadinia, who is a high priestess of the Beastren.

While no release date was announced, Dragon’s Dogma II is confirmed to be on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series Consoles, and PC. We should be able to expect more details to come out as the year progresses.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora shows off first gameplay

Avatar 3, 4, and 5 may have gotten delays for their theatrical release dates. Still, at least fans can look forward to the new Avatar game relatively soon, which showed off a first look at its gameplay at the Ubisoft Forward event.

Alongside a new trailer for the game, Ubisoft also gave an extensive look at the gameplay for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Players will play as a Na’vi kidnapped by the RDA as a child and trained as a soldier. After awakening from cryosleep lasting 15 years, you return to your birthplace to reconnect with your lost heritage and defend your home against the RDA.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora functions as a first-person game, with players able to switch between traditional Na’vi weapons and RDA guns from their human training. As a Na’vi, you’ll enjoy more agility to traverse the world and mount Ikrans to fly through the sky. Hunting animals and cooking also feature within the game to upgrade your skills. Interestingly, Ubisoft also confirms that you can play the game with another player through online co-op.

It won’t be long before we’ll be able to experience Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, with the game launching on 7 December 2023. It will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series Consoles, PC, and Amazon Luna. 

Those were the biggest game announcements from the showcases that replaced E3 2023. Which one of them are you excited about? Or did you think we missed one? Let us know through our socials on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

In the meantime, for more tech-centric news announcements, you can check out our Tech Bytes monthly series detailing the biggest news stories from Tech and Gaming. 

Cover Photo Visuals courtesy of Bethesda, Capcom, Atlus, and PlayStation.

Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

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