Best E3 game reveals

The best E3 game reveals are the ones we still think about to this day. Whether it be because they caught us entirely by surprise, wowed us with their spectacle, or did something memorable, there have been plenty of game reveals over the years that have sent our hype levels soaring. The ESA confirmed the news that the main digital E3 event has been canceled this year, and even though we’re still expecting to see an E3 2022 schedule made up of digital showcases from publishers, it’s not going to be quite the same. While there are plenty of moments that live in infamy, it feels like an apt time to reflect back on some of the very best game reveal moments that serve as a reminder of just how impactful E3 events can be. So settle in as we take on a journey through the best E3 game reveals of all time. 

10. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Year: 2004
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For those who watched E3 back in 2004, you’ll no doubt remember one reveal starring Link. Yes, this was the year that Nintendo revealed The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. With a shift towards a more realistic look, Twilight Princess starkly contrasted the divisive look of Wind Waker. During the showcase, Nintendo showed off various locales, with Link on horseback taking swings at foes with his signature sword and shield. Of course, it was all topped off with the appearance of Miyamoto wielding the very same sword and shield to the delight of audiences everywhere. 

9. Ghostwire Tokyo

Ikumi Nakamura

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Year: 2019
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During the Bethesda E3 2019 showcase, Tango Gameworks debuted its latest game Ghostwire Tokyo for the first time. After an introduction with studio founder Shinji Mikami, Ghostwire’s former creative director Ikumi Nakamura took to the stage to give us our first proper glimpse at the “spooky” new game. Nakamura completely stole the show with her on-stage presence and charmed everyone watching by overcoming her nerves with enthusiasm. With the mention of conspiracies, the occult, and a mystery at the heart of Ghostwire Tokyo, the presentation certainly has us all manner of intrigued about the latest project from Tango, which eventually went on to release this year in March 2022. 

 8. Cyberpunk 2077

Xbox E3 2019

(Image credit: AP Images)

Year: 2019
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There was already an overwhelming level of excitement surrounding Cyberpunk 2077, but that only intensified thanks to the Microsoft E3 2019 showcase. A cinematic sequence gave us another look at Night City and after a system reboot appeared on screen, a very familiar face appeared. Yes, we were first introduced to Johnny Silverhand played by none other than Keanu Reeves. What better way to follow that reveal than by handing the stage over to the man himself. Reeves appeared from behind a smoke-filled entryway to a very excited welcome from the audience. Speaking of his involvement in the game and even finishing up by announcing the first release, Reeves became part of now-famous interaction with an audience member. It was all rather, well, breathtaking

7. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Year: 2017
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It’s always exciting when two series crossover, and in 2017, Rabbids found themselves meeting with Nintendo’s famous plumber with the reveal of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot was joined by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto wielding life-size replicas of the weapons you can use in the game. While the showcase went on to show off the very beginning of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, what happened moments prior is what really tugged at everyone’s heartstrings. Miyamoto spoke of working with creative director Davide Soliani who was shown in the audience shedding some tears during the overwhelming occasion. It was a touching testament to how much it meant to Soliani to be working on this game with Miyamoto, and served as a reminder that behind every game are people who care about their projects. 

6. GTA 4

GTA 4

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Year: 2006
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All the way back in 2006, Microsoft’s Peter Moore went on stage to reveal what was then the latest instalment of Grand Theft Auto in quite a memorable fashion. Moore began by alluding to the dedicated fan base of the GTA series and said that what he was hinting at was so exciting that he had to take his jacket off. Of course, this turned out to be a precursor to the famous sleeve roll. Saving the “big guns for the big guns”, it was then that Moore lifted up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of GTA 4 and announce its release on Xbox 360 on October 16, 2007 in North America and October 19, 2007 in Europe. Yes, it was certainly one unforgettable way of unveiling an upcoming release. 

5. Fallout 4  

Dogmeat

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Year: 2015
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In 2015, Bethesda put on quite a show with the first official reveal of Fallout 4. Game director Todd Howard took to the stage and began by showing off reams of concept art before introducing us to the opening of the game, complete with character creation, stats, and more. In the lead-up to this moment, the studio had been quiet for years on the next Fallout, and the showcase gave us an in-depth look in one fell swoop. Not only that, Howard went on to reveal the surprise launch of the mobile game Fallout Shelter before confirming to a cheering crowd that Fallout 4 would be releasing the same year as the announcement – November 2015. It certainly was a lot to take in, but the excitement of stepping back into the wastelands for a new adventure was undeniable, and the presentation certainly created all the hype we needed. 

4. Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy 7 Remake reveal

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Year: 2015
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Remember when Final Fantasy 7 Remake was first revealed all the way back in 2015? What a memorable moment it was. As the cinematic trailer played out, it was impossible to hold back the excitement at the first sight of the signature weapons of the influential JRPGs characters. With Barret’s gun first appearing, the sequence ended with Cloud and his iconic Buster Sword. It was the first confirmation that Cloud and co were officially returning in a shiny new remake of Final Fantasy 7. Despite the fact that we would end up having to hold out for a number of years to return to Midgar, the initial reveal delighted fans everywhere. And as the first part went on to prove, Final Fantasy 7 Remake was certainly more than worth the wait.  

3. God of War

God of War

(Image credit: Sony)

Year: 2016
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There’s nothing quite like opening a game reveal with a live orchestra, especially when it’s led by composer Bear McCreary. During the PlayStation showcase in 2016, the goose bump-inducing score led us into a curtain raise where we first saw Atreus. When Kratos appeared on-screen shortly after declaring “I am hungry”, the excitement was palpable. The God of War was officially back. As if the sequence and music weren’t enough already, we were then treated to gameplay footage of the reboot. Controlled live by game director Cory Barlog, we got to see plenty of axe-throwing and a rather epic battle against a giant before an emotional scene played out between father and son. Oh, and it ended on quite the high. With the promise of a new beginning, the pair looked out across the realm of Midgard as a dragon flew across the sky. We still get chills just thinking about it. 

2. Halo 2

Halo 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Year: 2003
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Back in the day, there was already a lot of excitement about the prospect of a Halo sequel. If it’s understandable, then, that even after all this time, many still think about the Halo 2 gameplay demo Bungie debuted during E3 2003. It turned out to be an early version of certain levels of the game made for the showcase, and much of what was shown didn’t quite make it into the final game – with designs and aspects changed or altered. But there’s no denying just how exciting and impressive that first showing was. The crowd went wild when Master Chief was shown dual-wielding – a new feature introduced in Halo 2 – and using a portable machine gun to take down enemies. While it may not have been the final product we got to play exactly, it still lives on as one of the best E3 game reveals, and one that remains in many a Halo fan’s hearts. 

1. Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7 reveal

(Image credit: Capcom)

Year: 2016
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The reveal for Resident Evil 7 back in 2016 caught just about everyone by surprise. Not in the least because the gameplay shown in the build up to the reveal of the title for Resident Evil 7 was unlike any game we’d seen in the series to date. For starters, it was shown from a first-person perspective – a shift away from the classic third-person view of Resident Evil games past. The footage took us through a dimly lit, decidedly creepy house, complete with rotten food, cockroaches, and mannequins. After inspecting an old VHS tape, the screen transforms into several fuzzy images showing parts of the game, until finally, the number seven appears along with the reveal that what we’d just witnessed was in fact Resident Evil. The reveal was effective, signalling a new direction for a series that had lost its way. 


Here’s a look back at the most memorable moments in E3 history.

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