4 games to look forward to this year

Every year video game publishers come together in Los Angeles for the biggest press event in the industry: the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

Well, it’s supposed to be the biggest. This year Sony and its PlayStation decided to skip the show, and in general there were fewer exhibitors and fewer exciting announcements than in previous years.

The 2019 showcase offered some exciting games, but with new consoles coming from PlayStation and Xbox next year, I got the sense that a lot of the more interesting titles were held back for the next generation of these platforms.

There are still at least four titles coming out this year that I’m excited for, most of which gave a good show at E3.

‒ For me the next six months of gaming begin and end with fast-paced, exciting and very gory shooters from Bethesda. In just a couple of weeks, we’ll get “Wolfenstein: Youngblood,” the latest in the alternate-history sci-fi shooter series that dates back to the earliest days of video games. Set in a 1980s where the Nazis won World War II, players take on the roles of Jess or Soph Blazkowicz, daughters of the series’ traditional hero BJ Blazkowicz. The E3 demos showed off some exciting cooperative gameplay and an exuberant story about shooting Nazis in occupied Paris. Set to be released July 26.

‒ The “DOOM” franchise has an even stronger legacy in gaming history (I spend a whole lecture on the original “DOOM” in my History of Game Art class at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida). The series has had its ups and downs, but the 2016 version of the game was an ultra-violent masterpiece of game design, and the sequel “DOOM Eternal” showed well at E3. Not only is the frenetic yet tactical action back, but the hellish world rewards exploration and puzzle solving, allowing the game to alternate between harried and thoughtful modes. “DOOM Eternal” will release Nov. 22.

‒ Just a week before that, “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” comes out — a new, big-budget, single-player action adventure game from Respawn, creators of “Titanfall” and “Apex Legends.” There’s a demo video and a trailer out, both of which look just fine. By all accounts from the E3 show floor, the actual gameplay is much more interesting than the staged demo suggested, and the game promises a more immersive, open world to explore. I’m encouraged by those more nuanced reports and so yes, of course I’ll pick it up when it’s released Nov. 15.

‒ Oct. 25 brings a bit of a wild card, a brand new game franchise from developers with some beloved titles in their past: “The Outer Worlds.” This first-person RPG from Obsidian Games offers a whole new sci-fi frontier setting for players to interact with. Obsidian made “Fallout: New Vegas,” an open world RPG that rewarded many different play styles. Beating the final fight of “New Vegas” by talking my way into peace rather than having a bloody battle remains one of the highlights of my gaming life. I hope “The Outer Worlds” allows for that level of player agency.