The most exciting gaming event of the year is almost upon us. In just two weeks, the doors to the Los Angeles Convention Centre will open and the game industry’s biggest companies will unleash their plans for the next couple of years (or next decade, in Sony’s case). Ubisoft and Activision have already put some of their cards on the table, with the likes of Destiny 2, CoD:WWII and Far Cry 5 announced long before the convention officially begins.
There’s still plenty to look forward to, however. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what may be shown off, and what probably won’t be.
It’s an important year for Microsoft, and they sure as hell know it. Project Scorpio, the direct competitor to the PS4 Pro, is due out at the end of the year and will undoubtedly be shown off at the E3 press conference. But whilst we know that Scorpio will be significantly more powerful than Sony’s 4K console, this will mean very little if Microsoft can’t back it up with a strong software line-up. It has already been confirmed that neither Halo 6 or the next entry into the Gears of War saga will be shown off, so this begs the question; what else does Microsoft really have?
Forza Motorsport 7 is a pretty safe bet for E3 – when Microsoft teamed up with Digital Foundry to announce the Scorpio specs, Forza was the game they used to display the new console’s shiny graphics. It makes sense to launch the new entry in the series alongside the Scorpio to truly show off its power without worrying about console parity.
Similarly, this may finally be the year we see the new Crackdown in a somewhat tangible form. Even if it’s not yet playable, a new gameplay trailer is looking likely. Its heavy delays are no doubt attributed to a focus on developing for the Scorpio, so hopefully we’ll have a glimpse of a truly 4K open world with plenty of destructible environments.
Finally, 343 Industries have confirmed that they will show off something at E3, although it will have nothing to do with the upcoming Halo 6. Perhaps we’ll see another update to The Master Chief Collection to support 4K? Or maybe a standalone Halo experience specifically for the Scorpio (similar to the Battlefront and Infinite Warfare missions on PlayStation VR)? We’ll have to wait and see. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s apparent lack of a huge AAA first party release on par with Halo is a concern.
And where is Cuphead?
Sony have a lot to live up to this year after their stellar display at E3 2016- not much will compare to the announcement of a Crash Bandicoot remake, or the extravagant introduction of Hideo Kojima on stage after his turmoil at Konami. It was called ‘the year of dreams’ for a reason.
The problem is, many of the games announced at last year’s conference have yet to see the light of day. Some of them have not even been shown off again in the year since their initial announcement. Sony have built an unattractive reputation of announcing their games far too early, with both The Last of Us 2 and Death Stranding still years away from release. This year, Sony will need to announce some concrete release dates, or risk facing severe backlash.
The zombie survival game Days Gone is the most obvious candidate for release date confirmation. The game admittedly pales in comparison to the hype surrounding The Last of Us 2, so Sony would do well to get the game out sooner rather than later. The game will get a new trailer, be fully playable on the show floor, and be out towards the end of 2017.
God of War and Detroit will also likely be given firm release dates, although I doubt either of these will launch in 2017. They’ll more than likely launch in 2018, with God of War coming in Q1 and Detroit landing in Q2.
Otherwise, it’ll be business as usual for Sony. We’ll see the first gameplay footage of Call of Duty: WWII from Activision, with specific announcements tailored for the PS4. PSVR will also enjoy some stage time, although it won’t be as much of a focal point for Sony going forward.
With the Nintendo Switch enjoying a monumentally successful launch, the company are in a fortunate position where they can seemingly do no wrong. They have already mapped out the rest of 2017 with Arms, Splatoon 2, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Super Mario Odyssey all set to launch throughout the year, broken up with a sprinkling of quality indie titles. It has already been confirmed that Super Mario Odyssey will be given a significant presence at the event, with the game set to be fully playable on the show floor. Nintendo will no doubt show off the other titles with new trailers and demos (including Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle), however E3 will be the perfect opportunity to give some information on 2018 and beyond.
It’s time to find out what Retro Studios are up to, Nintendo. It’s been over three years since the launch of Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, and they’ve certainly not been sat twiddling their thumbs. The general hope is that they’re working on a new Metroid title, but I personally doubt this is the case. Metroid, despite its dedicated fan base, is not a particularly big seller for Nintendo. An adaption of another franchise, or an entirely new IP, is more likely. I do hope I’m wrong, though.
An announcement trailer and a release date will be given for an updated Switch edition of Super Smash Bros with full Amiibo compatibility. It will also come with optional Joy-Cons based on the Gamecube controller design, complete with analogue triggers. Expect the game in early 2018 after the January sale rush.
Finally, Nintendo will announce Animal Crossing for both Switch and mobile, with the ability to link the two versions for bonus unlockables. The game will feature stunning graphics on Switch similar to the Animal Crossing track on Mario Kart 8, and will double down on the City concept first seen in Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii. It will also be fully compatible with current Amiibo, and more will be launched in addition.
Ubisoft have little in the way of surprises for this year’s E3, with the company already confirming Far Cry 5, a new Assassin’s Creed entry and The Crew 2 prior to the event. Assassin’s Creed will the star of the show – Ubisoft will show off an initial trailer, a healthy helping of gameplay footage and a release date for the tail end of 2017, likely around mid November.
Far Cry 5 will also be shown off significantly – we’ll see a decent chunk of gameplay featuring both single player and co-op modes, plus an announcement of about twenty different Collector’s Editions of the game (not really… maybe three!). Similarly, South Park: The Fractured but Whole will be shown off once again ahead of its release later this year.
Ubisoft will likely announce Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle at their own conference for the Switch, along with one or two eShop titles featuring the UbiArt engine (possibly ports of Child of Light and/or Valiant Hearts).
Battlefront 2 will be playable, along with various sports games. Fifa 18 will feature tremendous grass. The best grass.
Bethesda have been teasing two new titles recently, both of which are undoubtedly ready to be revealed at E3. The most likely candidates are The Evil Within 2 and a new entry in the Wolfenstein series. Both will be developed specifically for current gen machines (the first games were held back by the Xbox 360 and PS3) and will feature support for 4K. We’ll see trailers, gameplay footage and they will both launch in 2018, most likely within Q1.
Other than that, I wouldn’t expect too much from Bethesda. A new Elder Scrolls is still a long way off, though we might see more content for Elder Scrolls Online.
And that’s it! What are your predictions for E3? What are you hoping to see? Let me know!