This week, Los Angeles played host to the first ever Keanu Reeves expo. The turnout was great, as many flocked to see The Lake House star on stage for two minutes. Best of all, nobody actually knew it was a Keanu Reeves expo, as the ticket guys kept on saying that it was a conference to raise awareness for Google's recently inflicted rare disease called Stadia. However, upon entering the mammoth event, with huge advertisements of Avengers and this new movie called DOOM Eternal (so glad they're making a sequel to The Rock's movie) lining the streets, attendees were shocked to find video games on the show floor. It was then revealed that Keanu Reeves bamboozled the audience, and recently picked up an Xbox One. As it turns out, the Always Be My Maybe star did motion capture for CD Projekt Red's new unofficial Blade Runner spin-off, Cyberpunk 2077.
So while the Keanu Reeves power hour was going on, we thought we'd might as well watch what the gaming companies had to offer with their own conferences. Xbox's E3 briefing was the first major conference to kick off the expo. Naturally, Reeves took the stage to announce that he'd be playing a Winter Soldier-enhanced John Wick named Johnny Silverhand in the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. I'd like to think that's where the conference ended, but apparently Xbox's Phil Spencer had more to show... right after telling the audience - still jacked up on Reeves adrenaline - how much he loves us. I heard from a close source that Xbox's E3 shows every year were great for driving PlayStation 4 sales.
Speaking of PlayStation, the biggest gaming company on the market right now didn't have anything to show. This was sad news for a lot of fans, but at least they got a release date for that bizarre Hideo Kojima game where Norman Reedus uses a baby to avoid invisible monsters and Mads Mikkelsen. Weird. Anyway, it does look exciting enough as Hollywood seemingly becomes more and more drawn to doing motion capture for video games. To think we had E.T. on the Atari 2600 once upon a time.
On the topic of Xbox again, the biggest gaming company of the show didn't have much in the way to show of actual gameplay. This is something that hindered a lot of conferences at the Keanu Reeves expo, save for Square Enix who built a time machine and traveled ten years into the future to grab a semi-completed version of Final Fantasy 7 Remake for us. The gameplay looks breathtaking, and certainly evolves the turn-based combat of the original in a meaningful and flashy way. Sadly, Cloud was never shown crossdressing, which would've almost upstaged Keanu Reeves' cameo. Ubisoft also deserve credit for presenting a fine demonstration of Granny Murder Simulator: Legion. Gone are the days when we can play as one protagonist as Ubisoft promises that we'll be able to play as any NPC with a British accent. I don't know about you, but that sounds lovely.
DOOM Eternal was finally unveiled, and to everyone's surprise, it turned out to be a video game, and a sequel to the 2016 rebooted demon genocide extravaganza. id Software delivered yet another spectacular blood-splattering gameplay showcase, and we're incredibly excited after the developers told us to go to hell in the most satisfying way possible. At Bethesda's conference too, we also got our first glimpse of The Avengers game. Turns out this prequel to Endgame puts us in the shoes of Hawkeye hunting down ghosts in Tokyo post-Thanos snap. The best part about this reveal was Ikumi Nakamura, the game's absolutely adorable director who almost gave Reeves a run for his money on the likable meter.
EDIT: I'd like to correct the information above. Marvel's Avengers was actually shown at Square Enix's conference. The title of that Hawkeye game is GhostWire Tokyo. Either way, it looks damn cool.
From Software, the sadists behind games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, announced that they'd be teaming up with A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin to make a new punishment to mankind, titled Elden Ring. The game is From Software's first open world game, an action-RPG set in a dark fantasy era with magic, knights, swords, and people longingly looking up into a burning sky. I find it kind of hilarious that they're teaming up a man known for killing off characters, with a studio famous for killing us. There's just some bittersweet irony in that.
Devolver Digital had the most normal conference of the show. It was a delightful, family-friendly showcase of great indie titles like Carrion and My Friend Pedro (I was informed that it's not related to Napoleon Dynamite, which is disappointing). Devolver once again demonstrates how to do a captivating conference right, not resorting to any crazy, over-the-top theatrics to make their show stand out. On the other hand, Nintendo's Direct went off the rails. They announced their new terrifying survival horror game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, among many other horror games. The most terrifying of all was the inclusion of Banjo Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a DLC character. Super Smash Bros. is a game renowned for its violent content, single-handedly creating the ESRB as we know it today. It has gained a cult following, though, being prominently cited as one of the most influential fighting games of all time to feature mortal combat.
To round off the Keanu Reeves expo, I'd like to say that the video games shown off had a lot of exciting potential. Final Fantasy 7 Remake, DOOM Eternal, GhostWire Tokyo, Gods & Monsters, Elden Ring, Carrion, Watch Dogs Legion, Cyberpunk 2077, and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening were all standouts. The biggest announcement of the show was obviously the Point Break star, but if anything, it has made me excited for the potentially awesome, stacked schedule ahead of us over the next 10 months.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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