43 must-see PC games at E3 2018: Watch every trailer
We've sifted through the major events to find the most noteworthy new games.
By Brad Chacos and Hayden Dingman
E3 may have a reputation as a console-centric gaming show, and it definitely still is on the surface. But between AMD’s APUs infiltrating the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Microsoft cross-platform Xbox Play Anywhere push, and the continued rise of PC gaming, many of the blockbuster games announced at E3 2018 will wind up coming to PCs, too.
We’ve sifted through all the new games at the E3 events from EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Sony, and (of course) The PC Gaming Show to find the brightest PC gems hidden among the console rubble. While you should hit up our coverage of each of the events to sniff out some smaller games, these are the E3 reveals that PC gamers need to know about, from a new Doom to CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 to Madden NFL’s long-awaited return to the PC—and dozens (and dozens, and…) more.
Editor’s note: This article originally published on June 12, 2018, but has been updated to add hands-on videos of our experiences with some games as E3 2018 winds on.
The rumors were true: Fallout 76 is an online game designed to get you wandering the West Virginia wastelands with your friends, though you can also play the game solo. To compensate for the size of your crew—and the other players you’ll encounter, friendly or otherwise—the game’s map is four times the size of Fallout 4’s littered with nuclear arsenals, monsters inspired by local lore, a more expansive settlement system, and more.
Bethesda teased us with all sorts of glimpses of Fallout 76, which will conduct a preorder beta ahead of a November 19 launch. The sneak peeks included a look at a pristine vault…
…a Pip-Boy-infused multiplayer trailer…
…and a general trailer for the game.
Microsoft dropped the mic at the end of its Xbox E3 event with a long-desired look at Cyberpunk 2077, the new sci-fi RPG by the makers of The Witcher. The trailer below contains pretty much everything you’d want and expect from a game called Cyberpunk. We also spent an hour with Cyberpunk 2077and it was the most impressive demo we’ve ever seen, full stop.
EA showed of more of Anthem, the forthcoming shared open-world shooter by Bioware, during its EA Play event. We’ve got a new cinematic trailer…
…and a release date: February 22, 2019. While the game’s been called a Destiny rival by some, the gameplay video above looks more like a blend of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s open-world action with a more methodical Warframe, complete with swappable suits of armor called Javelins that offer different capabilities. EA’s promising a full campaign (without Bioware’s signature romance options) and seamless multiplayer if you want it, but the smooth-playing demo was disappointingly void of storytelling.
The Division 2
Speaking of looter-shooters, after taking a couple of years to polish the original Division from meh, to magnificent, Ubisoft unwrapped The Division 2 at E3 2018. This one’s set in a lush, overgrown version of Washington D.C., with more open, sunny vistas than the original’s crowded New York streets.
The gameplay teaser showed some pretty interesting environments, including what appears to be Air Force One crashed into a pool outside the capitol building, which has been fortified into an enemy bunker. We got the opportunity to go hands-on with the same section but it didn’t reveal much new in The Division 2 yet. Here’s hoping Massive and Ubisoft apply the lessons from the first game to this one.
The Forza Horizon series dominates arcade racing, and the latest entry adds a new twist to the mix: seasons. As you race through “historical Britain” in Forza Horizon 4 the weather turns from falling leaves to falling snow and back to sunny weather. And maybe there’s motorcycles? That’d be cool.
In addition to the formal trailer above, we’ve also captured extended gameplay footage from our Forza Horizon 4 E3 demo. Check it out below.
Doom is coming back. That’s about all we know about Doom Eternal, though the phrase “hell on Earth” was tossed around, but that’s all we need to know. The new Doom kicked all sorts of ass. Hopefully Eternal focuses on the reboot’s strength—frenetic, fast-paced singleplayer action—rather than the multiplayer snoozefest that dominated id’s post-launch support for the game. Look to hear more at QuakeCon this summer.
Rage 2 basically looks a lot like Avalanche’s open-world Mad Max game from a few years ago, mixed with Doom’s super-agile shooting and tunes from party hard rocker Andrew W.K. That’s a hell of a combo, with a hell of a pedigree. Hopefully it turns out as fantastic as it looks in this gameplay trailer when it launches next spring. Rage 2’s hands-on E3 demo was a maelstrom of Doom-inspired guns, grenades, and gore.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
No surprise here after Ubisoft teased it just a week or so ago: Assassin’s Creed is going to Ancient Greece in Odyssey. Like the superb Curse of the Pharaohs expansion for Origins, the new game looks like it’ll blend history and mythology for a more exciting setting.
The long gameplay demo below also touted the ability to change history with your actions—say, by sparing a thief instead of killing him. It looks pretty rudimentary compared to a full-fledged RPG, but could be interesting. It’s scheduled to release on October 5.
We got to go hands-on with Assassin’s Creed: Odysseyat E3. Check out the full article to see what happens when you finish the thief quest a couple of different ways—and our impressions of the new large-scale battle scenes.
Next page: Battlefield V, Elder Scrolls VI, Halo Infinite, and more.
DICE revealed Battlefield V in the weeks before E3 2018, but at the big show, it took the wraps off a bolder, more ambitious Grand Operations multiplayer mode that shifts from map-to-map and scenario-to-scenario to a larger story. Here’s the fancy-schmancy cinematic trailer for the mode:
With PC gaming exploding, so many consoles running on AMD hardware, and development costs rising, there’s more incentive than ever for big, platform-agnostic publishers like Ubisoft and Bethesda to spread their games far and wide to make as much money as possible. That reality led pigs to fly at E3 2018.
Get this: After over a decade of living room exclusivity, the legendary Madden NFL football games are finally coming to the PC. (We’re running out of reasons to own a console every day!) It’ll also be included as part of Origin Access Premier, an incoming subscription service that allows you to play EA’s latest and greatest PC games as well as a selection from the publisher’s backlog.
Microsoft didn’t say, well, anything about Halo Infinite outside of what you see in this trailer. (Looks like Master Chief is back!) But now that all of the company’s first-party games come to the PC as Xbox Play Anywhere titles, that means the game is likely to come to Windows 10 the same day it launches on Xbox—a first for the series.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Will we ever get to play Beyond Good & Evil 2? I honestly don’t know. This year we got another CG trailer, another look at some pre-pre-pre-alpha footage, and…that’s about it. Hell, Ubisoft even announced it’s going to crowdfund artwork and audio from HitRECord. What even is this game? It might be years before we find out. But hey, Jade’s back. Surprise!
Gears of War 5
Gears of Wars 4’s protagonist J.D. Fenix snoozed up the game, so we’re excited to see Gears 5 shift focus to Kait Diaz—though this reveal trailer plays up whether or not she’s trustworthy as she delves deeper into the Locust mystery.
Microsoft also announced Gears Tactics, which looks kind of like a Gears and XCOM matchup. Hopefully we’ll hear more details soon. There’s some sort of Funko Pop mobile game coming too?
Elder Scrolls VI
Bethesda didn’t say much about the next Elder Scrolls proper during its E3 blowout, focusing instead on a new Elder Scrolls mobile game and fresh features coming to the Elder Scrolls card game and MMO. But fear not: Elder Scrolls VI is coming.
Also coming: Bethesda’s long-rumored new IP, Starfield, though the all-too-brief teaser trailer didn’t reveal much of anything.
Dying Light 2
The original Dying Light’s parkour-meets-open world-meets-zombies-meets-secrets gameplay proved wonderfully enjoyable when it released all the way back in 2015, especially since up to three buddies could play with you in co-op. Dying Light 2 ups the ante by adding a reactive story altered by your gameplay choices to the mix, penned by none other than RPG legend Chris Avellone.
Metro Exodus was one of our most anticipated games coming out of E3 2017, but it’s back this year due to a delay for more polish. Exodus is scheduled for February 22, 2019, and in the meantime, the new trailer splits the bleak dystopian post-apocalyptic gameplay pretty evenly between the wide-open outdoors and claustrophobic interior spaces. It looks like Metro 2033 and Last Light fans will be right at home in this one. We loved our Metro Exodus demo—it mixed the series’ grim story with a Stalker-like feel.
Next page: Hitman 2, Devil May Cry 5, Just Cause 4, Warframe, and more
IO Interactive announced Hitman 2leading up to E3—complete with racecar assassinations and a new co-op mode—but during the PC Gaming Show, it revealed a new gameplay trailer teasing the sequel’s Miami level.
We got to play Hitman 2’s Miami level at E3 2018. Here’s the full gameplay footage of our demo, complete with us dressing up as a pink flamingo and knocking people out with frozen fish.
Destiny 2 didn’t show up until Sony’s press conference on Monday—although Bungie did hold its own event last week to reveal this fall’s huge Forsaken expansion. The story-heavy trailer showed Prince Uldren of the Reef shooting fan favorite Cayde-6 stone cold dead (though this is Destiny, so who knows if he’ll stay dead). Whoa. After Uldren’s disappearance in the first game, lore nerds speculated that he wound up in charge of the Fallen, and Forsaken has you tracking down Fallen barons in The Reef.
But there’s also the new PvP/PvE hybrid “Gambit” mode coming in the September expansion, plus a complete rework of the weapon loadout system. We went hands-on with Destiny 2’s Gambit at E3. Check out the direct gameplay footage we captured at the demo below, and read the full article for deeper impressions.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 looks like it blends the reworked Dante of DmC into the mainline Devil May Cry universe. We’ll have to see how it goes—and which game it handles like.
Square Enix teased Shadow of the Tomb Raider yet again at E3 after holding a dedicated reveal event for the game back in April. The story trailer unveiled during Microsoft’s Xbox press conference mostly rehashed the story that was introduced in those earlier previews.
During Square Enix’s E3 showcase, the publisher followed that up with an extended video of some actual gameplay.
Just Cause 4
So far, Just Cause 4 looks like more Just Cause—the appropriately over-the-top trailer ends with Rico driving a motorcycle into a tornado? We’re extremely okay with that.
A separate trailer took at deeper look at what you’ll find in the world around Rico.
Finally, here’s one for you graphics nerds.
Warframe: The Sacrifice
Digital Extremes teased its next Warframe big story expansion, called The Sacrifice, during the PC Gaming Show. The trailer didn’t show much, but it did show the long-awaited Umbra armor set.
Crackdown 3 made yet another E3 appearance since it’s been delayed (yet again) into February 2019. There wasn’t much new shown in the trailer but fingers crossed this game stays true to the series’ ridiculous spirit when (if) it comes out.
A stand-alone expansion to the superb Wolfenstein II, Youngblood stars BJ Blazkowicz’s twin daughters. And yes, since they’re twins, the entire campaign can be played co-op with a friend. Oh yes. Look for it in 2019, along with a mysterious VR entry called Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot.
Next page: The Crew 2, Prey: Mooncrash, Star Control: Origins, Ori, and more
The Crew 2
The Crew 2 launches in just a couple of weeks, so it’s no surprise the game earned a slot at Ubisoft’s E3 2018 showcase. Check out the land, sea, and air racing antics in the trailer below, and sign up for the PC open beta that begins on June 21 if you’re curious about the game. Sloppy handling was our biggest issue with the first game, and if it’s back, you’ll know right away in the beta.
“Infinitely replayable.” That’s the gimmick behind the new Prey DLC, Mooncrash. The trailer makes it look almost like a Prey roguelike, with you attempting to escape the moon over and over. Death means starting over from scratch, with enemies and weapons randomized. And get this: It released the same night it was announced.
Bethesda also announced a new “Typhon Hunter” asymmetric multiplayer mode. One person hunts five others playing as mimics, complete with the ability to shape-shift into everyday objects like cups and chairs. Sounds fun… and it will be available in VR when it launches later this year.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps carries on the spirit of The Blind Forest, and really, that’s all we wanted. This time around, the breathtaking art is augmented by customizable combat capabilities and abundant movement options. Provided Ori and the Will of the Wisps can deliver the same joy in the rest of the game as it did in the Windswept Wastes region we played at E3, we’re sold.
Check out extended gameplay footage from our Ori and the Will of the Wisps E3 demo below, too:
Star Control: Origins
Star Control is a name with a long legacy for PC gamers, and now it’s in Stardock’s hands. Star Control: Origins is an RPG that drops you in a galaxy with hundreds of worlds to land on, ships to design, and aliens galore—not all friendly.
Skull & Bones
When we saw Skull & Bones at E3 2017, the ship-to-ship combat game gave off a strong “multiplayer-only” vibe. But a gorgeous new teaser trailer unveiled this year suggests there might just be a single-player mode after all, which is sure to please swashbucklers who want a game devoted to the best part of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag.
Ubisoft also showed extended gameplay footage of a massive naval battle—complete with an alliance amongst thieves collapsing once treasure started shimmering.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
One of the first full-length trailers during Microsoft’s Xbox event, From Software’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice basically looks like Darks Souls meets feudal Japan, a.k.a. Nioh. And hey, did you see that the main character has a grappling hook for an arm?
If the trailer’s anything to go by, it looks like Square’s finally getting a Souls-like game of its own. The twist? It’s being made by Platinum, the for-hire masters of the beat ‘em up. We’re intrigued.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a game about a kid and his relationship with his dad. It looks very much in the same spirit of Life is Strange, even if it’s not a direct sequel, and apparently you can grab the first episode for free starting on June 26. Expect soft indie music.
Next page: Sea of Thieves, Dragon Quext XI, a Jaws sim, and a Cyanide & Happiness battle royale
Rare promised a steady stream of free DLC for Sea of Thieves post-launch. The Hungering Deep kicked things off with a massive megalodon last month, and The Cursed Sails (July) and Forsaken Shores (September) DLCs are the next to come.
Dragon’s Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Yep, Echoes of an Elusive Age sure does look like a Dragon’s Quest game.
Ubisoft’s dirtbike stunting game is a known quantity at this point, but I’m still looking forward to delving back into it again with Trials: Rising. And if you’re on the fence, there will be a closed beta later this year. You can find the sign-up details here.
The Goat Simulator devs over at Coffee Stain are finally moving on to a new project, Satisfactory. And in case the pun isn’t clear enough: It’s a factory game, sort of a blend of Infinifactory’s 3D puzzling and Factorio’s logistics simulations. I’m not sure what to think about it, except if history’s any indication I’ll get hopelessly addicted to building out conveyor belts again.
Okay, so it’s basically a Jaws game—except you play as the shark. Ruin people’s vacations by jumping out of the water and biting them, in this “SharkPG,” complete with a whole shark-oriented skill tree. It’s like Goat Simulator, but maybe even weirder?
We have no idea what Raw Fury’s Sable really is, but the gorgeous Moebius-inspired art alone is enough to pique our interest.
Don’t Starve: Hamlet
Don’t Starve is the survival game that keeps going and going. The latest entry? Hamlet. From the DLC’s Steam store page:
“In Don’t Starve: Hamlet, Wilson discovers a lost town of aristocratic Pigmen nestled within a foreboding tropical jungle. Reacquaint to city life with pig shops, houses, new items, biomes and more, or delve into the ancient pig ruins and try your hand at treasure hunting in this new single player expansion.”
I don’t know why Ubisoft didn’t bother showing off Anno 1800 during its own press conference, but luckily the PC Gaming Show had our backs. Not much to go on in this trailer, but it looks like the typical Anno blend of trade, resource management, and city building, except obviously set during the Industrial Revolution. Expect lots of big ships, coal, and windmills here.
A Cyanide & Happiness battle royale game? The premise alone perks our ears up, and this trailer’s hilarious.
Mavericks: Proving Grounds
Finally, let’s end with the most E3 2018 announcement of all the E3 2018 announcements. Mavericks: Proving Grounds is a battle royale game with not 100 players dropping in, but one thousand.
That’s it. We’re calling this a wrap, folks. Stay tuned for more E3 2018 coverage all week long.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.