Every time I’ve looked at my calendar over the last few months, a feeling of unexplainable joy rushes to me. It’s the closet feeling to excitingly ripping open Christmas gifts–having not peaked prior–that can be emulated. It’s the moment every industry enthusiast eagerly awaits, year-round; it’s almost time for E3. There seems to be a million games on the horizon, but not everything can make a splash at the expo. Without further ado, here are my predictions for what the show entails.
Monday 5:30 PM PST
Sony’s has led the charge of this generation with PlayStation and there’s not much standing in their way. Yet, with the system’s big games having slowed down a little since Bloodborne, and The Order: 1886, the PlayStation 4 has got some major space ahead to fill. While smaller indies will absolutely fill the cracks for Sony, support for already existing games such as Destiny, will also help owners and newcomers feel like PS4 is the place to be. This year’s conference is bound to be an interesting one, considering all the known, upcoming projects in the works for both hardware and games. Here’s all the big stuff that’s got me interested for what Sony has in store.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End + Collection
Sony’s going to want to start with a bang, and nothing screams PlayStation more than Uncharted. We’ve already got to see a good bit of the project, thanks to last year’s beefy PlayStation experience demo, but this E3 is where A Thief’s End will shine. You’d be safe to expect a fairly lengthy demo, encompassing a good chunk of single player highlighting new features and such. Also, considering this generation’s endless infatuation with online components, in-depth coverage of its multiplayer offerings are guaranteed to make an appearance as well. The previous two entries in the series offered both stellar multiplayer options, and with the PS4 better suited to offer multiplayer, Sony’s guaranteed to push the online aspect of the game.
It was no secret an Uncharted Collection was in the works. Unveiled just last week, The Nathan Drake Collection will package together one of the best game trilogies of our time, bringing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception together in one convenient place. A demo will surely makes its way into Sony’s presentation come conference time, where we’ll finally get to see what Bluepoint has cooked up.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky was one of the most interesting titles that came out of last year’s E3. Since then, the small studio behind the project, Hello Games, has gone fairly quiet. It’s undoubtably going to make big news at Sony’s 2015 press conference, likely highlighting exactly what it is. We know the essence of the project, but aside from the dynamically generated, space-based exploratory nature of the game, we don’t have much to go off of. An in-depth walkthrough on-stage and a release date (more than likely 2016) are close to a lock considering all the excitement Sony generated with the game last year.
Ratchet & Clank
Simply titled Ratchet and Clank, Insomniac’s reboot of the beloved 3D platformer plans to introduce the witty little Lombax to a new era. Set to release in spring 2016, somewhere near the upcoming movie of the same name, Ratchet and Clank is a re-imagining of the first game in the series. It will compile a variety of gameplay elements from different entries in the series over the years. Announced last E3 on Sony’s stage, Ratchet and Clank will certainly be given time to boast its gorgeous visuals and eye-grabbing gameplay during this year’s presentation.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
The world has come to an end in, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, an upcoming PS4 exclusive, first-person, exploration-based adventure game. In development at The Chinese Room and SCE Santa Monica Studio, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture looks to tell the story of a small, rural community shortly after the events of what presumably was the rapture. It’s a game that has me very interested, despite not having a lot of gameplay to showoff. The dedication to an emotionally affecting narrative is clear, and likely what’s got me so sure I’m going to love it. From what’s been shown, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is going to be a special game, one I believe will resonate with many.
A genuine scare seems to be few and far between these days, and a creative one even more. It’s why 2012’s film, Cabin in the Woods, was such a refreshing, self-aware take on the horror genre. For games, there’s a little more room for developers to creatively expand on horror and Super Massive Games looks to do just that in their upcoming interactive survival horror game, Until Dawn. From what we’ve been shown, Until Dawn fits a similar vibe to the aforementioned Cabin in the Woods, following a group of teenagers staying in a secluded cabin being hunted by a crazed killer. It’s a game designed to be played multiple times resulting in different outcomes during each playthrough. Considering Sony’s looking at a pretty sparse exclusive lineup, Until Dawn has a lot weighing on its success, but I’m not worried.
The Witness comes from the one man team behind the 2008 platformer Braid, Jonathan Blow. Made part by Braid’s massive success, Blow, using the money made off that game, started his next title known as The Witness. It’s a 3D, first-person puzzle game in which the player is stranded on an island, tasked to solve various thought-prevoking puzzles. From what’s been shown of the game it’s truly different and abstract in comparison to anything else on the market. In terms of presentation it’s coated with a simple approach, but what secrets are to be uncovered on the island are sure to offer something much more. If I were to bet, The Witness has earned itself stage time at Sony’s conference where we’ll get to see gameplay along with a confirmed 2015 release date.
The Last Guardian
This is the year we’ll finally get a look at The Last Guardian. It’s been said for many years now, as the the game that started development way back in 2007 at Team Ico, the studio behind Shadow of the Colossus, still remains prevalent nearly eight years later. I have Shadow of the Colossus to thank for opening my eyes to the awestruck wonder of games, therefore The Last Guardian has always carried a great deal of interest for me, personally. It’s really anyone’s guess if The Last Guardian will make its way into Sony’s conference this year, but in the case it dose, be prepared to witness the biggest similes the expo has mustered in quite some time.
VR seems to be all the talk in tech these days. Video games and virtual reality are one in the same, so the fact that PlayStation is going forth with Morpheus is no surprise. It’s still fairly up in the air whether or not VR currently has the merits to propel itself into something more than a gimmick. We’ve seen plenty of attempts to expand how we fundamentally play games, but nothing has fully broken through. The Kinect and other motion controls of its like haven never caught on, but VR seems to have a better chance. The whole pitch seems initially less awkward than flinging your body every which way to register with a sensor, but there’s still a lot for Sony to prove. A lengthy presentation is in store ranging from anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, showing just why it’s the future. I, myself, am not yet a believer, but this year’s conference has the ability to change that.
Monday 9:00 AM PST
While Microsoft is still in the process of playing catch-up, the console’s fall lineup is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with. Yet, Microsoft still finds itself falling behind in the Xbox One vs. PS4 sales race. This E3 is a chance for Microsoft to rise again and hopefully bring the fight to Sony, heating up things for the holiday. The fact that Scalebound, Crackdown, and Quantum Break will skip the conference this year definitely lessens the impact Microsoft had going with their extensive upcoming catalog, but isn’t too much of a red flag. Improvements to the console’s interface, along with more enticing perks for Gold members is going to play a big “make it or break it” part of the conference for both new and returning consumers. Above all else, I’d like to see Microsoft try to give me a reason to buy an Xbox One.
Halo 5: Guardians
Like Sony, Microsoft is going to want to start with a bang. There’s no bigger game release this holiday season for Xbox One than Halo 5: Guardians. Taking into consideration we’ve already seen a good chunk of multiplayer by way of the beta at the beginning of the year, Microsoft will most likely boast the game’s much awaited campaign component. A 10-15 minute campaign gameplay demo is a given, showing off what 343 Industries has been hard at work on. It is also very possible Microsoft will announce a second multiplayer beta for sometime this summer to tide fans over before the game’s October 27 launch. A more risky prediction would be the announcement of a Halo Reach remaster to add to The Master Chief Collection campaign. Plus, there’s always that Spielberg TV show.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider has been a bit of a mess since its formal announcement last E3. It’s being published by Microsoft Studios, but developed by Crystal Dynamics, and is a property of Square Enix that’s coming to Xbox One, first. This means the action-adventure title will likely make an appearance at both Microsoft and Square Enix’s conferences. Just this week a possible release date slated for November 13 was leaked for the next chapter in Lara Croft’s journey and, though not confirmed, it’s very likely. We’ll defiantly get a good look at the game running as well, and considering it’s one of Microsoft’s bigger games this fall, an extensive demo is surely in the works. Out of all of Microsoft’s announced exclusive games lineup, Rise of the Tomb Raider has me the most intrigued.
Forza Motorsport 6
Turn 10 Studios has turned the Forza series into one of Xbox’s biggest franchises between their work of Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon. This year Forza Motorsport 6 is up and stands as one of Xbox’s biggest games this fall. Both Horizon 2 and Motorsport 5 sported beautiful graphics that showed off the potential power the Xbox One is capable of, and Forza Motorsport 6 will be no different. A demo showing off what the new entry has to offer will defiantly find it’s way onto Microsoft’s stage this year.
Gears of War 4 + Remaster
Now with a few years into the generation behind us, it’s about time for a new Gears of War. While the leaked remaster is almost certainly coming later this year, the next main entry in the Gears of War series should be on its way sometime in 2016. Gears of War 3 offered a satisfying closure to the story of Marcus and Dom, meaning Gears of War 4 would likely pick up with a completely new cast. I’d expect to see some sort of cinematic trailer clarifying what the team over at Coalition (formerly Black Tusk) are up to. As for the leaks surrounding a remaster of the original Gears, a gameplay is all but confirmed. The strange thing with the remaster is that it’s rumored to be only the first, leaving out the two following, and more superior, installments in the series. A Gears’ remaster without 2 or 3 is rather pointless, leading me to believe the port will actually contain all three main entries in the series. Regardless of the specifics, Gears’ will defiantly have a strong presence at Microsoft’s conference in the coming days.
Hardcore fans of the Fable franchise might not be fully down with the direction the upcoming free-to-play cooperative title is heading, but Fable Legends will definitely be shown off this year. We got a pretty good look at the game last year, along with a release window slotted for this year, with not much word since. Going into this E3 expecting a full release date announcement, as well as more details surrounding the game, wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility by any stretch of the imagination.
Windows 10 Integration
We can sit back an critique Microsoft’s many missteps with the Xbox One all day, but have we all forgotten they own the most popular gaming platform in the world, Windows? They seemed to have forgotten themselves, just recently announcing Windows 10 looks to finally unify the Microsoft ecosystem, from the consoles, to PCs, to tablets, to phones. It’s an ambitious step that may totally backfire, but it also might be big enough to give Microsoft the boost they so desperately need. E3 is as good a time as any for Microsoft to lay it all out, giving both Xbox and PC players insight into the OS’s new features.
Not every game at the show falls under the category of a console exclusive, in fact most of the games that really have me excited are third party titles. Though you’ll find games listed below that will appear in their own specific conferences as well as Sony and Microsoft’s, these games will appear on multiple platforms.
Fallout 4 will undoubtably be the game to beat at this year’s show. Leading up to E3, Bethesda has everything going in their favor. Fallout’s passionate and dedicated fan-base have been waiting for anything surrounding the now confirmed project, for years. Thanks to last week’s detailed announcement trailer, we know the the game takes place in Boston, approximately 200 years after the nuclear blasts in 2077, roughly the same time as the events of Fallout 3. There’s not much I can say about Fallout 4 that’s not been hyped up already, other than this game is going to hit harder than anything this generation has seen. The title is set to ship on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and has quickly become my most anticipated game of the year.
We’ve known a new DOOM has been coming for quite sometime now, since May 7, 2008, to be exact. Now, nearly eight years later, we’re about to get our first comprehensive look at the game. We’ll surly see the game in-action, along with a bunch of other details. Those who pre-ordered last year’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, were promised access to a beta version of DOOM 4, now just simply tilted DOOM. We’ve heard no news surrounding the project since, leading me to believe Bethesda will clear all that up during their conference, possible making the beta available shortly thereafter.
The latest in the seeming endless string of leaks leading into E3 has uncovered a possible sequel to 2012’s Dishonored. During a test open-mic broadcast to Twitch, the word “Dishonored” and “Harvey” were audible, perhaps alluding to Dishonored 2 or even a remaster for current-gen consoles of the critically-aclaimed original. We’ll certainly find out what’s going on with the Dishonored series at Bethesda’s first E3 conference ever, this Sunday night.
Rainbow Six Siege
Competitive online multiplayer shooters have been at the forefront of this generation from the very jump. The latest in the constantly growing catalog of first-person multiplayer focused shooters is Rainbow Six Siege. In development at Ubisoft Montreal, Siege will put a heavy emphasis on teamwork and realism. From what we’ve seen, Siege will primarily focus on strategic multiplayer in efforts to capture unpredictable fast-paced and tactical gameplay. My only concern being just how much content will be packaged in at launch. There’s a reoccurring issue for multiplayer titles of its ilk suffering from lack of longevity. Siege will surely have to separate itself from the pack and what better time than E3, to do it. Those who pre-ordered Rainbow Six Siege are guaranteed access to a unspecified beta before the game’s October 13 launch.
Post-apocalyptic games are a dime a dozen these days. Yet in a market overrun by zombies and aliens, The Division brings a more realistic and graspable scenario to the table. A catastrophic disease spreads across the country during Black Friday, in turn causing the United States government to collapse in just five days. Players assume the role of a member of an classified unit known as “Strategic Homeland Division”. A group trained to operate independent of command when all else fails to restore what’s salvageable of society. Though we’ve seen a good bit of gameplay over the last few years, it’s still a bit vague as to just what the project has in store. The silence will surly be broken during Ubisoft’s conference, as more details will definitely emerge. Currently in development at four different studios, The Division is said to launch early 2016 after having gone through numerous delays.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has a lot of weight on its shoulders following the lukewarm reception of its predecessor. This time around, the game will be set within London during the height of the Industrial Revolution. The game will follow twins as they take part in an uprising dedicated to overthrow an established order controlled by Templars. The game features a plethora of new features, ranging from the ability to switch between the two protagonists to the inclusion of vehicles in the form of carriages. Syndicate will forego the multiplayer component that’s shown up in previous entries, entirely, this time gearing their vision fully towards a single player experience. The fresh setting along with various other new features announced, really has me optimistic about this entry. It’s no secret the Assassins Creed franchise has had it stumbles, but Syndicate is coming at a point where developers have had time to adjust to the new hardware meaning they should get it right. Syndicate is available October 23 on current gen hardware, with a PC release following shortly thereafter.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
For me, Call of Duty represents reliability. The annual first-person shooter has seen its fair share of iterations of the last few years as its grown into one of gaming’s most recognizable and wide-spreading franchises. Yet, through all its reworking and refinements, for the most, Call of Duty has kept in-touch with what makes the series constantly great. Treyarch is back in charge, this time leading the third installment in the Black Ops series. Sticking with the futuristic setting, Black Ops III takes place in a dystopian future set in 2065, forty years after the events of its predecessor. As usual the game will come packed with campaign, multiplayer and the Zombies mode. The biggest change here being the campaign will support 4-player co-op. Players can take control of a customizable soldier (male or female), and make their way through more open areas that allow for an increase in replayability. Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set to be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 6, this year.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
There’s just 79 days until Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain hits shelfs and I can barely hold myself together. Everything we’ve seen leading up to its September launch indicates nothing but sheer and wild enjoyment. It’s the Metal Gear I’ve always dreamed of, set in a massive collection of open-world environments where the game’s focus aligns with everything that makes the long running series such an outstanding prospect. I absolutely loved last year’s Ground Zeroes for what it was worth, and knowing The Phantom Pain is on course to go above and beyond that, has me more excited than any other upcoming title confirmed for this year. The game will make a guaranteed splash at this year’s E3, as more on the multiplayer and various other features are laid out. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a game everyone should have their eyes on.
Dropping the very same day as The Phantom Pain, Avalanche Studios’ Mad Max has a lot to prove in the next few months. Based on the Mad Max film series, the game presents players a desolate, post-apocalyptic playground to galavant about, engaging in gritty vehicular combat. According to the publisher, Warner Bros. Interactive, up to 60% of the game’s campaign will take place behind the wheel, while the remaining 40% will take place on-foot. In classic Mad Max fashion, ammo is scarce, so hand-to-hand combat will play a big part in Max’s unforgiving journey. Those accustom to Rocksteady’s Arkham series and last year’s Shadow of Mordor combat system, know what to expect. E3 marks a vital point for the game, as it’s the best time to get people on-board. The massive success of Mad Max: Fury Road will surly gain the game more eyeballs; whether that’s a good thing or not is still to be determined.
Just Cause 3
Who doesn’t like having crazy fun? The answer is no one with Just Cause 3 on their radar. The open world, action-adventure series continues with Avalanche Studios once again at the helm, bringing more elaborate explosions our way this Holiday season. Heading into E3 we don’t know a lot about the title, aside from what was shown in the first gameplay reveal and some plot details here and there. Set once again on a fictional island, Rico Rodriguez will make his return this time faced against a brutal dictator. Signature features from the previous two entries, such as the grappling hook and parachute, will be re-appearing as well. Since Just Cause 3 is published by Square Enix, it’s bound to make an appearance at multiple conferences this year. I have high hopes for the third installment and restlessly await to get my hands on it in the coming months.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Square Enix’s Deus Ex series continues with Mankind Divided. Set in the year 2029, two years after the events of the last game, Human Revolution, Mankind Divided will follow-up with similar themes such advanced technology and body augmentations. Announced in early April, Mankind Divided will surly surface during Square’s conference this coming Tuesday morning. A gameplay demo is highly likely to happen, showing off 10-15 minutes and laying out the direction developer Eidos Montreal plans to take the series. Considering this fall is already overflowing with games and we only got an announcement a few short moths ago, Mankind Divided is looking like a fall 2016 title.
We’ve known developer IO Interactive has been hard at work on the next Hitman title since last January, but have very little actual details surrounding the project, aside from the fact it will depict a globetrotting Agent 47 in the prime of his career. Square Enix will have their own conference this year and will surly mention, if not officially reveal, what IO Interactive has in store with next Hitman game. Hitman Absolution, last triple-A instalment in the series, was released back in 2012, leaving enough time to have a fully operational product to launch somewhere in 2016. I’d guess Square Enix has plans for Hitman this E3, considering the confirmed absence of FFXV.
New Mass Effect + Remaster
EA’s in need of a Mass Effect title for the current generation of consoles. A new entry into the main series wouldn’t fall under the label “Mass Effect 4” as it would cause confusion, according to BioWare community manager Chris Priestly. Whether it’s a completely new entry or a remaster of the first three games, more Mass Effect isn’t too far off. Taking into consideration the very popular trend of porting successful last-gen titles to the PS4 and Xbox One, it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the original trilogy follow suit. In fact, the Mass Effect trilogy is on the very short list of games I’d actually love to see get the enhanced treatment. If I were to bet, we’ll get a remaster of the original games sometime next year, with the new project following the year after.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
The original Mirror’s Edge is a game that flew under the radar for a lot of people. Years later, standing in the face of its sequel, the out-of-the-box style approach and polished presentation of the first, still sticks with me. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst in not necessarily a continuation of Faith’s story in the form of a sequel, rather a reboot, that will revolve around her past. After seeing what the first game was able to accomplish with what was offered, knowing what a longer, more fully-featured title could do is very promising. EA will surly show off a lengthy demo of Catalyst as it draws closer to its confirmed release window of early 2016.
Space is a mind-boggling thing and Three One Games looks to capitalize upon its intrigue with Adrift. Seen through a first person perspective, Adrift will take players on a journey through space where the inevitable goes awry. It’s an environmental exploration game that forgoes combat entirely, as you make your way through a destroyed space station in search of oxygen. Adrift is set to launch this September on all current platforms and is one of the first games ever to really push Oculus Rift support.
Guitar Hero Live + Rock Band 4
Music games have gone fairly silent over the last few years, with the exception of various dance related titles, until now. Both coming this fall, Guitar Hero and Rock Band will make their return, with Live and 4, respectively. Live, will serve as a reboot of the Guitar Hero franchise, being the first new entry in the series since 2010. Developer FreeStyleGames plans to introduce major changes to the core gameplay that’s been synonymous with the franchise, thus far. Players will jam-out with a revamped guitar controller sporting a new, 6-button layout, to an all new, in-game presentation style that will simulate a real-world concert setting from the perspective of the performer. Rock Band 4, on the other hand, looks to bring more of the same to the table. The big selling point for Harmonix’s latest is the promised compatibility with the over 2,000 already existing songs that have been released as downloadable content for prior installments. We’ll get a good look and both titles during the show, with my money on Guitar Hero to deliver a more promising pitch.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead
Aside from Telltale’s outstanding take on the license, we’ve yet to really get a stellar Walking Dead game. Overkill Software, best know for their work on the Payday series, is leading the latest project surrounding the highly successful multimedia franchise. The game’s said to put a heavy focus on co-op, as well as introduce new characters and storylines. Multiplayer centric zombie titles aren’t anything new, but the creative mesh between the recognizable license and developer have enough potential to standout.
In conclusion, E3 is one of my favorite times of the entire year. It’s not everyday something as big and grand brings game enthusiasts together on the massive level this expo does. Sharing the bubbling excitement surrounding all the compelling upcoming games with a congregation of passionate fans is a feeling quite unlike any other. E3 has always been a magical time for gamers, brimming with an undeniable sense of flourishing energy, and this year’s indicates no different.
Note: Be sure to check back each day after the show for my written coverage of the expo. I’ll be going over everything, in-depth, that caught my eye over all three days, along with other exciting content that you’re not going to want to miss!
To keep up with my thoughts on all things E3 as they go down LIVE along with a whole bunch of other nonsense follow me on Twitter @BraxHaugen