E3 2018: Eight of the Biggest Surprises That Could be on Show

E3 2018 is set for its annual ‘take the video game industry by storm’ event when the biggest names in gaming descend on Los Angeles between 11th and 15th June.

The juggernauts of the industry – Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo – will all be on hand to show off the latest titles and updates to their consoles, while other notable names such as Bethesda, Square Enix, EA and Ubisoft will be showcasing some keenly anticipated games too.

As ever, E3 won’t be without its surprise announcements or demos to set tongues wagging  – but which upcoming or rumoured titles can we expect to hear about this time around?

Here’s eight who could be huge waves at the L.A Convention Center:


Halo 6 (Microsoft)

halo6

Microsoft needs a big win from its biggest video game franchise, particularly with the lacklustre reception to the fifth installment – Guardians – over three years ago now.

What better way to bring the house down at their press briefing, then, than to announce the next chapter in Master Chief’s story?

A job posting on Microsoft’s site on 19th March for a Lead Graphics Designer hinted that something could be in the works, while Brian Jarrard – Community Director at 343 Industries – tweeted that work had begun on Halo’s “next console game” as recently as 17th May.

Further news about a new Halo game – apparently labelled Halo: Infinity – is reportedly set to be announced by Microsoft during their briefing according to Twitter user Brad Sams, but whether it’s the next installment in Master Chief’s story or a standalone – possibly an MMO type game? – title remains to be seen.

Could a small teaser for Halo 6 be done in time to show off at E3? It would give Microsoft something to up the hype levels at their conference.


Fable 4 (Microsoft)

fable

Could a former Xbox stalwart be about to be revived in the shape of Fable?

A January report from Eurogamer suggested that a new Fable game was in the works, and Playground Games – the guys behind Xbox’s Forza Horizon series – are believed to be silently developing it.

Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer tweeted recently that he had “nothing” to announce regards a new Fable game – but is that merely smoke and mirrors ahead of a possible tease?


Bloodborne 2 (Sony)

bloodborne

This one is a huge left field rumour, but it’s been three years since the original was released and fans of FromSoftware want their next fill of the Dark Souls-esque series.

A teaser trailer at last December’s Game Awards hinted at what FromSoftware were working on, but there have been mixed reports over whether their next game is a follow up to Bloodborne 1 or a new IP.

With nothing else in the works – Dark Souls Remastered launched on 24th May – it could be that Bloodborne 2 is FromSoftware’s next video game venture and may be teased at E3.


Metroid Prime 4 (Nintendo)

mp4

Not one word has been uttered by Nintendo about Samus Aran’s next adventure since they shockingly teased Metroid Prime 4 last summer, and we could be about to see some early gameplay footage if quotes from Nintendo’s Norway affiliate is anything to go by.

They alleged, back in January 2018, that Nintendo were “looking forward to 2018, including games like… Metroid Prime 4“.

Coupled with Eurogamer’s February report that Bandai Namco were helming MP4, we could be treated to actual gameplay this month.


Splinter Cell (Ubisoft)

splintercell

It’s been five years since Sam Fisher donned his famous goggles for the last addition to the SC franchise – Blacklist – but leaks aplenty have seemingly let the cat out of the bag over a new installment to the series.

Amazon’s Canada section accidentally listed ‘Splinter Cell 2018‘ on its website back in March, while a massive leak earlier in May from Walmart listed a placeholder for the game too.

It’s high time Sam Fisher made his debut on Xbox One and Playstation 4, and it’s only a matter of time until we get to see a trailer or gameplay based on the above.


Elder Scrolls VI (Bethesda)

skyrim

With sequels to Doom, Fallout and Rage supposedly set to play a major part in Bethesda’s E3 conference, the chances of anything ES6 related are extremely slim.

Back in September 2017 Peter Hines stated that it would “eventually be made”, and not before time given that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released almost seven years ago.

What gives us hope of some form of announcement or teaser then? The fact that Bethesda have said that “big announcements” will be made and that Todd Howard was quoted as saying “Even my son doesn’t know what’s coming” during an interview in March.

Let’s cross our fingers for something come E3.


Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 3 (EA)

pvz

With previous entries in this humorous franchise launching in February 2014 and 2016, it was surprising to see the third iteration not even announced by February this year.

However, an IGN report in March suggested that a leak over a comic book – that would bridge the gap between the second and unannounced third game – was around the corner.

That’s a good indication that work is being conducted on the next PvZ game, and it wouldn’t be remiss of EA to reveal it at their briefing.


Marvel Avengers Project (Square Enix)

avengers

Despite the announcement of a Marvel-Square Enix collaboration over the Avengers franchise coming in January 2017, not much has been spoken about it since.

All we know is that Crystal Dynamics – the boffins behind the Tomb Raider reboot – are developing it and, with Avengers: Infinity War hitting cinema screens earlier this year and Avengers 4 to come next spring, it would be a good idea to capitalise on this hype in the next 12 months with the release of the game.

IGN reported last September that job postings for Lead Level and Combat Designers were listed on Crystal Dynamics’ website, and that the game would be an online third-person action adventure game set in a universe separate to that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With Square Enix set to hold their first E3 briefing for three years – likely with plenty of Final Fantasy VII remake footage to show too – now would be a good time to update gamers on their Avengers title too.


What major announcements or surprise reveals would you want to see at E3 2018?

Advertisements

How Tacoma Proves That Not All Adventure Games Need to be Action-Packed Affairs

It takes something special for a video game to explore the relationships between humans in such a succinct way, particularly if that game is itself fairly brief in nature.

For The Fullbright Company it’s become a norm though, with their Bioshock 2 DLC ‘Minerva’s Den’ and first major title Gone Home receiving critical acclaim in 2010 and 2014 respectively despite the ability to complete both in a single sitting.

Suffice to say, then, that their follow up – Tacoma – was keenly anticipated upon both its unveiling and subsequent release last summer.

Tacoma2Though it may not have hit the heady heights of its predecessor, Tacoma does a valiant job at once again at exploring the connections that make humans, well, human.

It should take just five hours for a player to complete the entire game – achievements and trophies included – but, considering its short-lived affair, it’s easy to be drawn into the survival of the six-person crew on board the Tacoma Lunar Transfer Station.

A key aspect of the gameplay is the ability to rewind time via the use of the game’s ARDware – an augmented reality device that allows Amy, the protagonist, to review past conversations and actions between the crew to determine what went wrong onboard the space station.

It’s from this that Amy is able to delve into both the story itself and the interactions between the crew, and helps each personality to be expressed so eloquently despite the shortness of the game’s run time.

In an adventure game with nothing in the way of first-person action to deal with, atmosphere, story and humanitarian elements are required to fill the gap and Fullbright have certainly capitalised on the last of that trio.

There are clear bonds between the Tacoma’s crew, and it’s hard not to will them on in their quest to a) get to the bottom of what happens to them, and b) to fight back against the fallout from the incident that puts them in grave danger.

Tacoma3

It’s a determination to survive, to find a solution to the problem and inquisitive mindset that helps you feel empathy towards the crew – foundations which are all laid as we learn more about them individually and collectively.

Rooting for those onboard becomes second nature all thanks to Fullbright’s ability to write and design characters that we eventually care for greatly, and proves again that not all adventure games need to be action-packed, blockbuster affairs.

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 7

With 2017 fading into the sunset and 2018 showing itself in via the back door, there was little let up in the fixture list for Everton.

A daunting December had offered up a mixture of results and, whilst most were positive, we needed to bounce back from two expected losses against two elite sides.

Our first game of the New Year saw West Ham host us at that there London Stadium with the opportunity to put that Chelsea defeat behind us:

everton38Well stalemates are always likely, and neither side could break the other down in a even contest. I guess our upcoming FA Cup third round game would be the game to end our mini goal drought.

Fleetwood Town were the opposition we’d be facing on home soil and the prospect of a giant killing at Goodison Park didn’t bear thinking about:everton39It’s a good job we did a decent enough job to prevent that then. Sandro and Gylfi Sigurdsson bagged first-half goals to put us into the hat for the next round, though it would’ve been nice to score more.

But we must plow on, and another long trip down to the south coast is in order to face recently promoted Brighton at the Amex. We hadn’t been playing well but I still expected a win:everton40And a win is what we got, albeit in late fashion. They were the better side but, like any good Manchester United knock-off team, we grabbed the decisive goal to leg it back up the north west with three points in the bag.

Speaking of United, how about we host them next in the Premier League? I’d prefer not to either, but we might as well get the formality that is a loss to them out of the way:everton41I was joking, lads, we can end this run you know. Not this time around evidently as the Red Devils’ class told once more. We’ll find a way to beat you one day, Jose…

Croydon called next and the chance to move on swiftly from that Goodison defeat was in order. Would we reign supreme against royalty in the form of Crystal Palace (see what I did there? No? Oh blow you then…):everton42Hmph. I don’t know what was more baffling. That both of our goals were own goals from the same guy or that we drew because our nemesis Christian Benteke nabbed himself a brace. Curses and what have you.

No matter. A fourth round FA Cup encounter with Championship side Wolves would get us back to winning ways, even if it is at Molineux:everton43Double hmph. It seems we just can’t hold a lead of late and, even more annoyingly, they outplayed us for much of the contest. We’ll have to do the deeds at Goodison instead.

I’m not tempting fate by saying “Blah blah we’ll beat Spurs blah” as I’m starting to learn that not everything is rosy in our camp… but I remain hopeful. We’re at home after all and beat them in north London back in October. What could possibly go wrong?everton44That. That’s what could go wrong. Uuuuurrrggggh.

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 5

After an outstanding October, the bitter winds of November could have heralded something of a downturn in Everton’s fortunes.

The wind was certainly behind us and, with a Merseyside derby win fresh in the minds, it was time to take advantage of our confidence levels and continue to perform above expectations.

A trip to Sparta Prague was first up as we looked to book passage to the next round of the Europa League:everton24And the disappointment of failing to hold a lead away from home continues. We weren’t bad as the stats show but, ultimately, a goal on the stroke of half-time for our Czech opponents did enough to throw us off our game. Qualification for the last-32 would have to wait.

A draw away from home is never particularly a bad result, especially on the continent. Or when compared to this absolutely out-of-nowhere scoreline as we travelled to face a Leicester side struggling in the Premier League:everton25Go on, laugh it up. I certainly did. Once I’d stopped crying into my coffee and resisted the urge to launch my laptop from my bedroom window.

I’m still at a loss to explain why we were so bad. We genuinely couldn’t handle Kelechi Iheanacho or Jamie Vardy. I’m still having nightmares about them now.

We couldn’t out-battle the Foxes, but maybe we’d have more look against the Magpies. They’re much more squishable, right?everton26Right. The perfect response after a drab first half with super-sub Cenk Tosun showing his class against a team we should be beating – and did beat – on home turf.

Back to Europe and another chance to throw our name in the hat for the last-32 stage. Rosenborg secured an unlikely draw in our first encounter but, with a strong team out there, I had every expectation of securing a vital victory to all-but-confirm our progression:everton27Bish, bash and bosh. A stunning display of attacking verve, unrelenting tempo and clinical finishing -let’s not talk about our lack of clean sheet again eh? – ensured we’d at least finish runners-up in the group.

And still the games come. Another journey away from Merseyside, and this time our team bus trundled up to surprise top flight package Stoke City, who were lying in fourth at the time. Could we ‘do a Spurs’ and secure a priceless three points?everton28This is starting to smart. They weren’t lethal but we were second best throughout the game and deserved to fall to defeat. It’s not as if we were resting players either. A return to the drawing board for our away tactics was long overdue.

But that would have to wait as, a mere 72 hours later, Arsenal rolled into town. This would be a true test of our mettle. Beating the Gunners would surely send out a massive message to everyone else, despite our terrible record on the road:everton29What. The. Absolute. F*ck. Just take that screenshot. Take in all of its majesty, its awe and realism.

A quite amazing 25-minute hat-trick from Sandro blew the visitors away as we scored our first three main goalscoring opportunities and, in spite of the north Londoners’ valiant fightback – which did make me bite a few nails down to nothingness – a fourth for my Spanish hero and one for Gylfi Sigurdsson handed us the points.

A rollercoaster of a month brought to a close, it was time to draw breath before heading into the madness that was December. Though how much more crazy could it get? Wait, don’t answer that.

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 4

October. The month of colourful leaf shedding, the sugar-laden holiday of Halloween and the time of year that I celebrate my birthday.

Would Everton, then, hand me a four-week celebration to savour or make me so mad that I spend it drunk and crying about why we’re so guff?

A visit to Wembley – the temporary home of Tottenham Hotspur – could show whether the latter would prove to be binge-drink inducing. I was expecting the worst:everton19In the words of Ron Burgundy: ‘By the beard of Zeus!’

I don’t know how they did it, or what I said, or what we collectively did, but somehow we were celebrating a first away victory in the Premier League at one of the best teams around.

Even more impressively the lads came from behind to win, with Cenk Tosun in particularly fine form as he nabbed another brace to continue his decent start. Hip hip and, dare I say it, hooray.

With that result in the bag, the FM gods would, by the powers of balance, decide to hand us a shock home defeat to newly-promoted Huddersfield off the back of that surprise triumph:everton20Huh. I guess they’d all been partying the night before and were too hungover to intervene.

The customary ‘rocket at half-time’ team talk at the interval thanks to an underwhelming first 45 performance and, the good lads that they are, elected to smash the Terriers and leave them with their tails very firmly tucked between their legs.

A home tie against Sparta Prague in the Europa League followed those two domestic clashes, and another win would do very nicely indeed:everton21It’s a relatively easy thing to state, but it’s pleasing to see us rack up three successive wins. It was a deserved victory and, coupled with our earlier results, had us sitting nicely in second place in our group.

A potentially tricky trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley was next up. Given how well we’d done against Spurs, had we finally turned a corner with regards to our away form?

In a word, no:everton22It was to be expected. We’re not the tallest team in the Premier League and, in Chris Wood, Burnley have a powerful striker who dines on whipped crosses into the box. That’s something to bear in mind for next time we play the Clarets.

Those are the kinds of matches that will put paid to our hopes of finishing as high as possible in the top flight and, with a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park fast approaching, those two dropped points could be something that bites us on the arse.

Could I become the first Everton boss in almost eight years to lead the Toffees to victory over them lot across the park? I guess there’s only one way to find out:everton23I’m not sure what’s more incredible. That we actually beat Liverpool, that ‘Mr Snake’ himself Mo Besic scored his first ever goal for us or that it proved to be the winning strike in a Merseyside derby.

Theo Walcott got us off to a storming finish inside 30 seconds – the best way to start any game, let alone against your rivals – and, while Daniel Sturridge’s late goal led to some squeaky bum time, Besic’s maiden Everton goal proved to be the difference.

I take it all back, Mo, play as many games as you damn well like from now on.

Unbeaten in five matches and fourth in the league standings, October seemed to finally be a turning point in our season.

Next time: Into the crunch domestically and continentally…

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 3

The long summer days of August make way for Autumnal winds in September, or Fall if you’re of an American disposition.

There could be a hilarious joke about ‘falling’ down the league table here, given how wildly inconsistent we’ve been this season, but things have actually appeared to be looking up.

With the international break providing a much needed break for those not in action for their countries, a return to action against Manchester United was the perfect setting to get domestic proceedings back underway he said through gritted teeth:everton13And that, ladies and gents, is how frustrating we are on the road. Luke Shaw’s sending off just minutes after Anthony Martial’s opener gave us huge hope of actually winning a match outside Merseyside but, no, we fell further behind instead.

Matters were further compounded when Muhamed Besic received his own marching orders, because 10 vs 11 wasn’t annoying as it seemed  and, after yet another blast in the dressing room at half-time, an improved showing saw Davy Klaassen grab a consolation.

Not content with serving up a ‘early bath’ performance at Old Trafford, Besic had also elected to induce a changing room mutiny when he was dropped from our 25-man Europa League squad in favour of loan signing Daley Blind.

What? I didn’t mention that? Well, we’ve got Blind on loan for the season as Garbutt’s, well, garbage and Baines needs cover.

Despite being told it was necessary to cull a midfielder for much-needed defensive cover, the Bosnian threw a wobbly not unlike that of a child being denied its favourite bedtime story for the fifth night in succession.

Editor’s note: This is where that conversation with Besic would have gone if Tom had elected to, you know, print screen it before – well, this would spoil things now wouldn’t it?

Given that Besic wasn’t too influential in the dressing room, I was informed by my assistant that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. He was wrong.

Editor’s note 2: And here. Sort it out Tom, for goodness sake!

With morale down among my stars and a revolt just two months into my reign, it wasn’t a surprise to see us stupidly throw away a 2-0 lead away to Rosenborg in our first Europa League group game days later:everton14Two late goals from Yann-Erik de Lanlay robbed us of all three points and Besic any opportunity to feature for us for a loooooong time to come. The dickhead.

Four games without a victory and a home encounter with recently-promoted Brighton offered a huge potential banana skin to us. How would we fare with almost everyone against me thanks to Besic-gate?everton15It was crap, we were crap, but a vital win was picked up thanks to Sandro’s solitary strike. Bless you, you wonderful Spaniard.

A tricky Carabao Cup home contest against Arsenal was thrown up three days later and, with injuries starting to mount and the games coming fast again, the chance to play some fringe players wasn’t to be passed up. Hopefully they could do the deed and send us into the fourth round:everton16Eh, there’s always next year. And at least Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his first of the season…

One win in six. Ugh. But, with two more home matches to come against ‘easier’ opposition, we had a grand chance to get some positivity rolling. Crystal Palace were up first:

everton17

Keane as mustard! Hahaha…haha…ha.

Much like Brighton it wasn’t pretty, but Michael Keane’s first Everton goal proved to be the difference. Coupled with yet another home league clean sheet and we were looking good at home. If you forget that Arsenal loss. Ahem.

It was time to round September out with a Goodison meeting against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League. We need a win here. Nothing else will do:everton18That’s more like it. Tosun and a Walcott brace – though it should have been a hat-trick – in a commanding display not seen since Norrkoping. Back-to-back wins again and things were looking rosy ahead of *gulp* an away trip to Spurs…

Next time: Obscene October has Evertonians dreaming of success?!

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 2

It’s all come down to this. Pre-season preparations done and dusted, squad assessed, a couple of decent Europa League matches to get us to speed and the bread and butter of the season is ready to get underway.

The start of a new Premier League campaign is always a fun-filled romp of hopes and expectations either beginning in scintillating style or being dashed within 90 minutes of a new term.

You don’t need me to tell you, then, which one Everton chose to kick off the season with an away trip to Southampton:everton8Standard Everton. Just when you expect them to deliver and usher in a new dawn they go and toss your dreams aside like that time in secondary school when a teacher laughed at me for wanting to take up medicine. But I digress.

To be fair to the hosts, they completely deserved it. Two assists for Cedric setting up goals for Charlie Austin and Steven Davis, a display to forget for Leighton Baines’ stand in – in the form of Luke Garbutt – and a curious case of Wayne Rooney being played on the right wing. Yeah, I don’t why either.

What better way to brush aside that huge disappointment, then, with our Europa League Play-off round first leg clash with IFK Norrkoping:

everton9

Norr-koping chance of us throwing this one away, am I right?

Hat-trick heroics from Cenk Tosun and a maiden goal for talented winger Nikola Vlasic and the tie is as good as over. Supposing we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot a la Odd…

Only three days had passed – and that was something we may have to get used to – before we entertained former Blues boss David Moyes and his merry band of West Ham stars at Goodison Park. It seemed our home form would be key to enjoying a decent season, so it was imperative to get points on the board and truly put that sloppy Saints display to bed:everton10A laboured first-half performance gave way to a much improved second 45 showing after a rocket was shoved where the sun doesn’t shine, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first Blues strike and an own goal from Aaron Cresswell sealing a first league win of this gaffer’s reign.

There’s no let up in the number of fixtures, and no time to rest on our laurels, with an away trip to try and prevent Norrkoping from pulling off – stop sniggering at the back – a shock come from behind victory, however, but how did we fare given we’d lost our other two away games so far this campaign?everton11Hmm. It wasn’t vintage by any stretch, but Sandro’s goal just before half-time really put us in the driving seat before they nabbed a late consolation. I’m getting the feeling that our trips away from Goodison may become something of an issue.

Maybe it’s because I’m an Evertonian and I’ve been taught to expect the worst. Or just because we generally are guff on the road:

everton12Yep, it’s definitely an issue. Le sigh.

Next time: Ordering a main course of a rack of wins, and discontent in the changing room…

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 1

Pre-season. The time of year when hopes and expectations are renewed among fans and players alike. Until the inevitable sorry start leads to pessimism, obviously.

With two Europa League qualifying rounds to navigate ahead of even booking our place in the group stages, the 2017/18 pre-season campaign was wrought with friendly encounters interspersed with those competitive fixtures – which is always nice when your team doesn’t have a clue how you expect them to play.

Thankfully, a few fitness-driven matches were to come before a showdown with Norwegian outfit Odd saw us perfectly primed to face off against even opposition. Shit joke, don’t care.

everton4

Look at that lovely green patch ended by that horrible red colour. I never liked red.

A drab defeat to Argentine Primera Division club Tigre being the only blot on an otherwise solid start, then. Time to take on Odd.

Thankfully, we were drawn at home for the second leg, so a lovely easy victory, with a couple of crucial away goals, would be the perfect way to start off my reign in L4 with my beloved Blues, wouldn’t it?

everton5

Club captain Phil Jagielka with his best Titus Brambell impression there, the utter pillock

You stupid bastards.

3-0 down after 47 minutes and I was raging. We hadn’t even been that bad and, like a Slaven Bilic West Ham side caught in European headlights, we were staring into the ‘third round exit’ abyss.

On came Ademola Lookman and Sandro who, presumably because Odd thought they’d done enough, gave us a sliver of hope of progression with a goal apiece to set up the return fixture nicely. The lads weren’t getting off that easily, however, and a stern telling off had them well aware of what was expected next time out.

A 4-0 friendly thumping of Hungarian team FC Ludogorets got us back on track before the return leg of our third qualifying round tie against Odd. Surely we couldn’t mess this up?

everton6.jpg

A sea of Blue as far as the eye can see

You’d be right, we didn’t. A pulverising display of attacking verve – not seen since my protein pancake mix was decimated by my Nutribullet last week – was much deserved and sent us into the next round, with a Sandro hat-trick and Theo Walcott goal on their home debuts doing the deeds.

It wasn’t all good news as Leighton Baines and Walcott both succumbed to ankle problems, but we were through. Huzzah and hooray!

Transfer wise, not much had happened by comparison. Jonjoe Kenny and Shani Tarashaj were packed off on loan to earn them regular minutes – the latter laughably suggesting he should have stayed and fought for a first-team place, bless ‘im – while Saint Etienne opted to give Oumar Niasse some regular football with the caveat that we’d haul him back here if our strikers ever became short of a leg or two.

everton7

Nice that Saint-Etienne decided to pay us Theo Walcott’s weekly wage for the privilege of temporarily taking Niasse

A slender 2-1 home win over Turkish side Akhmat set us up perfectly for an opening day trip to the south coast to face Southampton… or so I thought.

Next time: The proper season starts, and transfers galore! Maybe…

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 0

Managerless Everton. ‘Trophyless in 27 years’ Everton. “What the p*****g hell are you playing at!?” Everton.

This English giant has slept for too long. Now, a new challenger emerges from the shadows to bring back the glory days to this wildly inconsistent club.

Step forward ‘Couldn’t Even Make it at Sunday League Level’ internationally renowned fledgling boss Tom Power…


NB: Before we begin this journey, a couple of alterations have been made ahead of this Football Manager save.

Firstly, the squad has been updated to reflect the incomings and outgoings during the January transfer window. Hola Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott, ‘Ta-ra’ Ross Barkley and a hearty farewell Aaron Lennon, Gethin Jones and Liam Walsh.

Secondly, Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen will be kept at Goodison for the time being as this journey begins ahead of the closure of the winter window. Should either depart by the end of transfer deadline day – or anyone else for that matter – well, a decision will need to be made about keeping them.

Everton1.jpg

Nothing like an Everton squad without the customary ‘legs falling off’ injury crisis.

Thirdly, the club’s staff has been modified as best as possible to remove anyone brought in by Ronald Koeman before his departure last October, enabling us to have a clean slate to work with backroom staff wise.

And, finally, Everton will be moving to Bramley-Moore Dock in time for the 2022/2023 season in line with the club’s current vision to be their new world-class stadium. Because why wouldn’t we be?

Okay, housekeeping done, let’s press on!


Goodison Park and its fans have suffered long enough in recent times. Managers, players, the dawn of a new century and countless pints have come and gone since the Toffees last tasted success. It’s high time we change that.

A brief welcome from owner Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenwright, first-team coach Duncan Ferguson and director of football Steve Walsh – alright, so not so brief – and it was time to run the rule over the squad.

Everton2

The usually mild mannered Roy Hodgson has taken an immediate dislike to me, so there’s that.

And a bloated squad at that. A creaking defence with no alternative to the heroic Leighton Baines at left-back, a glut of centre midfielders despite Ross ‘snake man’ Barkley’s departure, not many stars in the peak ’25-30′ age bracket and two new strikers who would need more time to bed in than someone who’s just returned from a week-long bender at Glastonbury.

Oh, and the youngsters. So. Many. Talented. Youngsters. At senior, Under-23 and Under-19 level. It’s a good job they aren’t all ready to play now.

Everton3.jpg

I don’t care if Susan’s devastated that you have to leave, Jim. You’re going to North America and that’s final.

Pre-season friendlies were set up, training sessions, individual foci and coach assignments were given an overhaul, scouts sent off to various backwaters of the globe, staff job vacancies were posted in the window of the nearby Post Office (that’s still a thing, right?) and tactics were whipped into shape.

A long first day completed and it was time to move this story on. And that, dear readers, is where our story truly begins…

Yeah, not this episode. It’s the next one you want. Whenever you’re ready.

Next time: Pre-season matches, an injury crisis circa ‘the David Moyes era’ and an emotional rollercoaster of an Europa League third play-off round…

Why Reducing Clementine’s Role in Telltale’s Walking Dead: A New Frontier Was the Right Decision

When news broke that fans of Telltale’s Walking Dead series wouldn’t be reprising their role as Clementine in the third outing of the critically-acclaimed franchise, people weren’t happy.

The character that everyone had fallen in love with during the first season, and who they had been able to take charge of for the second, had been wrested from their hands and handed a supporting role instead.

Cue plenty of backlash, outcry and negative reactions all over the internet.

twd2With the third season – or to give its proper title: ‘The Walking Dead: A New Frontier’ – now all wrapped up, however, Telltale’s decision to make Clementine a supporting character this time out was the right decision to make in the end.

Of course, fans of the series have become accustomed to the narrative-based games being built around her experience of the zombie acopalypse, and seeing her grow from a frightened little child into a teenage stone-cold killer with her own baggage and survivor’s guilt.

In reducing Clementine’s – or Clem for brevity reasons – role and allowing her to take a step back in proceedings, Telltale managed to provide players with a new dilemma that would pose them other problems in taking up the reins of a new character.

twd3Javier Garcia – or Javi – is the character that gamers now take up in the absence of being able to control Clem, and his introduction poses a new complication in the Walking Dead‘s over-arcing story and gameplay.

Those players, who will have already played season one and two, have grown up alongside Clem as they have played through her travels, and will have a greater connection and sense of who she is – particularly having controlled her in season two.

twd4By forcing the player to guide Javi’s actions and choices in-game, especially those interactions that concern Clem, a new predicament is introduced whereby the player is conflicted by their previous allegiance to Clem and what they, as an individual, would do if they were Javi himself and had only just met Clem for the first time.

It gives rise to a new perspective within the narrative of A New Frontier, and adds an interesting plot point into the game’s style of play that could have become a tad stale if Clem had been the person that the player controlled.

Of course, Clem is not just a mere spectator to proceedings in A New Frontier. (Warning: Spoilers for A New Frontier from this point on!)

twdajBy way of a series of flashbacks, gamers are given the opportunity to play as Clem on a few brief occasions – glimpses that help to fill in the gaps between season two and her introduction to Javi in A New Frontier.

In doing this, Telltale very cleverly give gamers what they want (playing as Clem) in small chunks to tide them over and placate the baying mob who had cried foul when word spread that she would not be the primary character in this season.

Changing this format up prevented Telltale from re-telling a similar story arc to that of season two and, whilst it can be argued that players would not have grown tired of playing as Clem by the end of A New Frontier, freshening up proceedings with a new playable character helped to keep their franchise up-to-date and original.

twd1It would appear that Telltale will hand the reins back to Clementine when season four is put in the hands of gamers, and a season away from her as the main protagonist will switch the format up once more.

Telltale have a knack for this type of narrative-gaming by now, and it’s reasonable to suggest that they should be given credit for sticking to their guns and making players control Javi for much of their latest veture.

Clementine will always be their Walking Dead poster girl, and fans will always want more of her. In reducing their role in A New Frontier, though, Telltale did the right thing to keep things fresh and interesting.