All eyes will be on E3 this weekend as the world’s biggest gaming convention gets going online, with some exciting announcements expected.
The industry event has taken place every June (except last year, for obvious reasons) since 1995, and is hotly anticipated by gamers around the world.
Fans can usually look forward to new games, sneak previews, updates to old favourites, and sometimes even fresh consoles – with this year looking no different.
One gaming giant that is notably absent though is PlayStation maker Sony – who ditched the convention a few years back in favour of making announcements elsewhere.
With video games having become ever more popular during the pandemic, as much of the world’s population was ordered to stay at home, plenty of players are chomping at the bit for new experiences.
Here is a round-up of some of the biggest announcements we’re expecting.
Halo Infinite should emerge from its COVID-enforced hibernation
Microsoft revealed some new gameplay footage of the latest Halo instalment last year – but it was largely criticised by fans and the press, forcing a delay to its release.
Fans believe Halo Infinite will be at the heart of Microsoft’s showcase on Sunday (6pm UK time), and is set to pick up the story of Master Chief on a mysteriously damaged Halo (the ring-shaped planets that have been a staple of the series since it debuted on the original Xbox in 2001).
The launch of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles was overshadowed by the PS5, which has boasted exclusive games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart, adding to the pressure on Halo Infinite to deliver.
Hopefully we get a new release date on Sunday – at the moment the game’s only pencilled in for a vague 2021.
Fans could finally learn what Starfield is – three years after its announcement
Microsoft has made a big deal in the last 12 months of buying Bethesda – as they darn well should.
That’s the studio behind iconic and long-running franchises like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, so you can see why Microsoft shelled out an eye-watering $7.5bn (£5.3bn).
There are very scant details on the studio’s next big release, Starfield. We do know it will be a sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) but we’ve only seen one image since the announcement that is was being made in 2018.
Bethesda have managed to attract some Hollywood talent to their games in the past, including the likes of Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart, and there are rumours that one Tom Cruise may be involved this time.
A 2021 release seems unlikely given how little we know about Starfield, but we should find out more at the Microsoft showcase on Sunday.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2’s release date may be revealed
Breath Of The Wild’s sequel is one of the most anticipated games in YEARS – and it’s expected to get its release date this weekend, as well as a rumoured first gameplay trailer.
The multi-award-winning Breath Of The Wild was a runaway success when it was released at the launch of the original Nintendo Switch in 2017 (emphasis on original, more on that later), with fans of the franchise begging for a sequel to the first truly open-world Zelda game.
The Zelda games celebrate their 35th anniversary this year, and it shows no sign of slowing down. With titles including Ocarina Of Time, Twilight Princess and Link To The Past, it is one of the most highly regarded game franchises ever.
Earlier this year, Nintendo revealed it was remastering Skyward Sword for the Switch console, after getting its initial run out on the Wii about a decade ago.
Eagle-eyed fans have already spotted some major gaming retailers taking pre-orders for the second instalment of Breath Of The Wild – so we may not be waiting much longer.
Ubisoft will give us more on Rainbow Six and Far Cry 6
Although not new announcements, we’re expecting more information on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction (just renamed from Rainbow Six Quarantine because of you know what) and Far Cry 6.
A few bits of gameplay have previously leaked for both, but we expect to get the first official look at the new games in action at Ubisoft’s event on Saturday (8pm UK time).
Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian star Giancarlo Esposito stars in Far Cry 6 as villain Anton Castillo, and players will be able to unlock a number of different endings.
Ubisoft will have plenty else to show, and there’s nothing to suggest that everything will involve the number six. A new Assassin’s Creed seems unlikely, though, given that content is still arriving for last year’s Valhalla.
Nintendo could… switch up the Switch
Nintendo is adamant that its convention slot will be purely focused on games – but that hasn’t stopped rumours of it announcing a new beefed-up version of the Switch.
Reports have had it named as everything from the Nintendo Switch Pro to the Super Nintendo Switch, but industry insiders seem to agree that it’ll feature a bigger screen (seven inches to be precise) and be able to output at 4K when hooked up to a TV – bringing it in line with its Sony and Microsoft competition.
What better way to show off Breath Of The Wild 2 than with a shiny new console, after all.
We’ll know about both either way at Nintendo’s event on Tuesday, broadcasting at 5pm UK time.
Harry and Meghan’s documentary series trailer released by Netflix
The trailer for Harry and Meghan’s new documentary series has been released.
The one-minute preview, released by Netflix, features previously unseen black and white photographs of the couple set to music.
They are heard being asked “Why did you want to make this documentary?” to which Harry replies: “No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors.”
He adds: “I had to do everything I could to protect my family” before Meghan is seen wiping away tears.
The trailer ends with Meghan saying: “When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?”
Images of William and Kate with Harry and Meghan at the Commonwealth Day service in 2020, the Sussexes’ final public appearance as senior working royals, feature among the images.
There are also joyful pictures of the couple kissing while Meghan sits on a kitchen counter, as newlyweds dancing at their wedding, cuddling in a photobooth, and Meghan cradling her baby bump.
But the duchess is also pictured in sadder moments, wiping away tears and sitting with her hands covering her face.
Netflix describes the documentary, titled Harry & Meghan, as a “global event” and says it is “coming soon” – reports say it will land on 8 December.
It says the show “explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution”.
It features commentary from friends, family and royal historians.
It adds: “The series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other.”
The director, Liz Garbus, is a two-time Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning director.
Harry and Meghan signed lucrative deals – thought to be worth well over £100m- with Netflix and Spotify after quitting the monarchy and moving to the US.
Squid Game actor O Yeong-su to stand trial on indecent assault charges in South Korea
The Squid Game actor O Yeong-su will stand trial on charges of indecent assault after a woman accused him of inappropriately touching her.
The trial of the Golden Globe winner, 78, was set for February at the district court in the South Korean city of Seongnam last week.
Specific details about the case could not be confirmed at this stage, Kim Myeong-un, an official in the district prosecutors’ office, said.
O allegedly made unwanted physical contact with the woman, who has not been identified, at a meeting five years ago.
He denies any wrongdoing and has claimed he only held the woman’s hands to “show her the way” as they walked around a lake, according to a local television channel.
O said he had offered the woman an apology, not because he accepted the accusations against him were valid, but because the woman allegedly told him she “wouldn’t raise an issue” about the incident if he did, according to JTBC.
O became the first South Korean actor to win a Golden Globe in January after he was named the best supporting actor for his role in Squid Game.
The violent Netflix drama follows a group of severely indebted adults competing in a series of deadly children’s games for a share of a cash prize.
O was also nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Oh Il-nam, a mysterious elderly contestant who joined the games after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
O has not yet commented publicly on the allegations.
Jake Flint: US country star, 37, dies just hours after getting married
US country music star Jake Flint has died unexpectedly at the age of 37, just hours after getting married.
The Oklahoma-based singer/songwriter died in his sleep after he tied the knot with wife Brenda on Saturday.
His heartbroken bride posted on Facebook: “We should be going through wedding photos but instead, I have to pick out clothes to bury my husband in.
“People aren’t meant to feel this much pain.
“My heart is gone and I just really need him to come back.
“I can’t take much more. I need him here.”
She also shared a picture of the couple dancing after their nuptials on Facebook, writing “I don’t understand.”
Mr Flint’s publicist, Clif Doyal, said the musician died in his sleep in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, 27 November.
“Flint had exchanged wedding vows with Brenda Wilson on Saturday. He was 37.
“No official cause of death has been determined.”
In a statement shared by Mr Doyal, Mr Flint’s family said they were “broken” over the “tragic loss” of their beloved son, brother, uncle and partner, known to them as Jacob.
“He valued his family, friendships and living life to the fullest, which was evident in his songwriting.
“Every person who knew him has a story of his wit, charm, talent and compassion.
“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support and the many beautiful tributes that have been shared about the impact Jacob had on many lives.
“While we grieve what we know could have been, we are grateful that his talent and love live on in his songs.”
A service for Mr Flint will take place on Monday at Cedar Point Church in Claremore, Oklahoma.
Instead of flowers, the family have requested donations to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, an organisation which provides emergency assistance funding grants to musicians in need.
A fundraising campaign has also been launched to raise money for the family of Mr Flint, described as a “great man in our music community.”
The musician was in the middle of a multi-state tour and had been scheduled to perform in Claremore on Friday.
His former manager, Brenda Cline, said she “loved him much like a son”, hailing him as the “funniest, most hilarious, hardest working, dedicated artist I have ever worked with in my career.”
“Jake has a million friends and I’m not sure how everyone will cope with this tragic loss,” she wrote on Facebook.
“This is going to be incredibly difficult for so many. We love you Jake and in our hearts forever.”
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