E3 esports: the biggest competitive takeaways from the Expo
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E3 is one of the biggest shows for game announcements, content reveals and bits of news for the esports community. This year was more sparse, with many companies experiencing slowdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there was still plenty of news that trickled down to impact competitive play for games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Rainbow Six Siege.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is a shell of what it used to be with major players like Sony splitting from the show to hold their own reveals. Companies like Nintendo, Square Enix and Bandai Namco still host presentations on E3 weekend from June 12-15. Last year’s E3 was cancelled due to COVID-19 while that of 2021 has been entirely online.

E3 is also for esports

This year was light with announcements for multiplayer games that we love, but there is still plenty of news for fans of Battlefield, Halo, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and other games.

Tekken’s Kazuya Mishima is coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Kazuya joins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as another character from a third party fighting game, alongside Ryu and Ken Masters from Street Fighter and Terry Bogard from The King of Fighters and Fatal Fury. His move set is slow, deliberate and powerful, based on what was showcased in Nintendo’s E3 Direct on June 15.

Kazuya holding Kirby at E3
Kazuya sacrificing Kirby in the recent Nintendo Direct. | Provided by Nintendo

The Tekken antagonist is the second to last character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s second fighter’s pass. We’ll get more info on him, his move set and other additions coming to the game in another live stream on June 28 at 10 a.m. ET.

Halo Infinite Multiplayer will be free-to-play

Fans from across the FPS genre have been waiting to see whether Halo Infinite will usher in a new era for competitive Halo. We have no way of knowing if this game will bring new life to a competitive scene, but free-to-play multiplayer for Halo Infinite is a good start. Microsoft and 343 Industries made the announcement during their E3 showcase over the weekend.

Halo has always carried a premium price tag, but the shift to free-to-play is a sign of a greater change within the franchise. Most major esports, like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, have dropped the initial price tag to help build a robust player base. It will also feature cross-play and cross-progression between both PC and Xbox. Halo Infinite is launching in 2021.

Rainbow Six Siege gets cross-play

While Ubisoft’s upcoming Rainbow Six Extraction isn’t PVP, there was a bit of news for Rainbow Six Pro League fans. Both cross-play and cross-progression are coming to the six-year-old Rainbow Six Siege for various PC platforms on June 30. It’ll come to consoles sometime in 2022. This should hopefully help keep the player base happy, shorten matchmaking times and give incentive to committed players to check the game out on other platforms. It’ll do nothing but help the competitive community.

However, it doesn’t look like PC players will be able to play against console users. But, players will be able to compete with one another no matter what PC platform they are on, including Google Stadia and Luna.

Battlefield 2042 is coming on Oct. 22

EA and DICE showed off the first gameplay trailer for their new futuristic Battlefield game. It includes futuristic weaponry like robot drone dogs, crazy locales like a frozen lake top, and the franchises famous trademark: a huge game with 128 players. It won’t feature a battle royale mode but fans of other shooters are hoping that it’s a return to form for standard Battlefield multiplayer.

The Battlefield franchise has been in a slump after Battlefield 5 flopped in late 2018. EA and DICE will need to exceed fans’ expectations for 2042 when it launches on PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Xbox Series X on Oct. 22, 2021.

Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.
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