While most of the mainstream world has probably still never heard of it, the fact is that E3 is one of the biggest entertainment events of the year. The Electronic Entertainment Expo brings with it a slew of major new game announcements, hardware showcases, and gameplay reveals that set the tone for the entire game industry each year.
Almost as exciting as the now five-day-long event itself is the preceding build up to it. Traditionally, as E3 draws near, industry folks begin to offer their predictions about what we can expect to see at the various conferences, press events, and game booth presentations crammed into the convention schedule.
Some of the guesswork can be fairly obvious, playing out exactly as everyone anticipated. Much of the time, though, speculation and rumors can get pretty wild; to the point that they don’t stand a snowball’s chance of coming to fruition.
Shotgunning your hopes all over the wall is part of what makes the anticipation before E3 so fun, however. With that in mind, I’m going to run you through my theories about what will show up at the event this year. Some of my guesses are a lock, falling right in line with everyone else’s. I also have some pretty unlikely Hail Mary conclusions that could be really interesting if they hit the mark.
To keep things simple, I’m just going to talk about the events in the order they’re scheduled to appear. Just like last year, E3 unofficially begins with Electronic Art’s EA Play event on Saturday, June 10.
For the most part, we know what to expect from EA’s offerings. Among the confirmed titles to appear are Star Wars Battlefront II, Need for Speed Payback, Battlefield 1’s new DLC, and EA’s usual sports game lineup. There’ll also be a considerable amount of time spent talking about mobile games, whether we like it or not.
It seems pretty apparent to me that Star Wars Battlefront II will open EA’s show with a cinematic trailer and some extended gameplay footage. It’s the biggest name on the company’s list of confirmed games, and they’re looking to really drill it into our heads that this one has a single-player campaign which is canon to the Star Wars universe.
From there, it’s sports, sports, sports, capped with FIFA 18. Interestingly, this will be the first year back for NBA Live 18 after an extended hiatus. Next, I think we’ll get some gameplay of Need for Speed Payback; probably a look at one of the early heist sequences in the game. After that, EA will show off the In the Name of the Tsar DLC for Battlefield 1.
The closing of their showcase is where EA has the potential to whip us all into a frenzy. A lot of people are hoping that Visceral’s third-person action adventure Star Wars game will be shown. It’s been almost three years since we first caught wind of it, and the 8-second glimpse we saw of the game a year ago looked pretty far along in development.
I’m going to call it, and say that EA will absolutely give us an extended look at the untitled Star Wars game to bookend their show with Star Wars. It won’t be just a trailer, either. We’re looking at a good 10 minutes of gameplay, a la Uncharted 4 at E3 2015. That’s all the big stuff for EA.
Next on the chopping block will be Microsoft. They’re trying to get way out ahead this year. It’s understandable, given Bethesda’s strong presence over the past two years. It’s been triple-confirmed, so it almost doesn’t need to be mentioned, but Xbox Project Scorpio is going to take up a huge chunk of Microsoft’s allocated time.
We know almost everything about the console at this point. All that’s left is for Microsoft to show us what it actually looks like, and then crush our dreams by telling us how much it costs. Phil Spencer has emphasized repeatedly that the Scorpio, or whatever it ends up being called, is a premium product for hardcore enthusiasts. To spell it out, that means it will be accompanied by a premium price tag too. I predict no less than $549.99.
What’s strange about Microsoft’s conference this year is that they’ve confirmed nearly as much about what won’t be at their show as what will be. 343 already revealed that they would have nothing to show for Halo 6. They did clarify that they would have something related to Halo for us, however.
Microsoft doesn’t think this E3 is the time to show off their VR plans either. We know that State of Decay 2 will be there. Crackdown 3 hasn’t been confirmed, but I’m going to say with certainty that it’ll be featured pretty prominently since Microsoft’s first-party lineup of exclusives has dwindled as of late.
That’s why I think they’re going to hit us with more than one huge new game announcement towards the end of the show. I predict no fewer than three brand new Microsoft exclusive AAA games will be revealed. I also expect one or more classic Microsoft properties to return as reboots. Though, I’m not certain which they would be. Hell… Brute Force, maybe. That’ll wrap up the Xbox show.
Bethesda will follow Microsoft on Sunday, June 11. They’ve already said that Fallout 4 VR will be demonstrated, so there’ll probably be at least 15 minutes devoted to that. I think it’s safe to say that Quake Champions will have a pretty in-depth showing too. I actually think we’ll get a look at a full match from the game. The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind update just hit, so you can bet they’re going to be talking for a while about that too.
So far, Bethesda’s been pretty quiet about whatever else they’ve got planned. Here’s the thing; we know that they’re working on a brand new IP. It’s likely that it is a ways off still, and Bethesda saw with Fallout 4 that waiting to announce a game until it’s almost ready can be super beneficial to its performance.
Fallout was already a huge brand for Bethesda, though. They didn’t need to market the crap out of it to get people to pay attention. Whatever this new IP is, it doesn’t have the same luxury. So, I’m going to call it right here:
Bethesda will reveal their newest game to close out the last twenty minutes of their conference. We won’t get any gameplay, but there will be a cinematic trailer, as well as some concept art shown while they discuss the project.
Ubisoft’s conference will get the ball rolling on Monday, June 12. They’ve already confirmed a whole bunch of games that will be present at the event. We’re going to see quite a bit of Far Cry 5, as I think the show will begin with an extended look at some gameplay. They’re going to have some gameplay from South Park: The Fractured But Whole for us too.
Most of us probably don’t care about Just Dance; I’ll say it. Still, it’s one of Ubisoft’s most successful franchises. Because of that, you can thank the mainstream audience for the 10 minutes we’re going to have to endure of the game. The Crew will be at the conference in some capacity as well, but I don’t have the foggiest idea how they’re going to showcase it.
The Ubisoft conference will end with a trailer and an extended look at gameplay for the next Assassin’s Creed game. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this one, as it’s the first game in the series to not be beholden to the annual release schedule established following Assassin’s Creed II. That’s not to mention the fact that the game is all but confirmed to be set in the ancient Egypt, which has been one of the top locations requested for years.
Aisha Tyler won’t be hosting Ubisoft’s event this year. Because of that, I have to wonder whether Ubisoft will have many talking heads at their conference at all. That makes me think that Ubisoft has got something up their sleeve; something like a huge new AAA IP to announce, perhaps. We shall see.
That brings us to the PlayStation conference. Sony’s already told us about many of the games that’ll be present at the show. From what they’ve implied, however, those are just the tip of the iceberg. Sony’s also promised to let the games speak for themselves this year, allowing only for short opening and closing remarks from Andrew House to the tune of something like 90 seconds total.
So, here’s how I think the conference will go. After a sizzle reel, we’ll get a brand new trailer for God of War. House will then step on stage to welcome us and usher in the rest of the show. We’ll then see more gameplay from an as yet unseen section of God of War followed by the reveal of the game’s release date.
From there, we’ll get a new look at Days Gone. There will be a new trailer as well as a walkthrough of the game’s systems and mechanics. It’s a toss up as to where Gran Turismo Sport and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy will fall on the schedule. They’ll all be there, though. So will PlayStation VR. They’ll just show a couple of games to remind us about it, but there won’t be a tremendous amount of time dedicated to the device.
It’s been a while since Detroit made a big splash back when it debuted. My thinking is that we’ll get a release window for that. I also feel like the timing is right for Sucker Punch to tell us about what they’ve been working on.
You know we’re going to get another look at Death Stranding too. The game is still a long way off, I’m sure, but Kojima loves to show his progress. There’s also Shenmue 3. The game has been quiet since Sony launched its Kickstarter campaign onstage at E3 2015. It’s certainly time for a trailer at the very least.
They’ve got a lot of games to get through. Many of those are exclusives too. Sony will definitely highlight Call of Duty and Destiny, both of which have timed exclusivity offers on PlayStation thanks to Sony’s arrangement with Activision. Destiny alone is sure to get the crowd going. Regardless of whether you feel it’s really a sequel or not.
What’s really got me excited about Sony’s conference, though, is the stuff we don’t have any clue about. How many new big budget games will be announced for the PlayStation this year? What’s Sony’s “…and one last thing” moment going to have in store for us? Which reminds me; I should mention Bloodborne 2. There are rumors swirling about the game being announced at E3, and I have to agree. The first was too big a hit not to reveal it’s sequel at the show.
In total, I actually think we can expect four brand new AAA titles to be announced. That seems like a lot with an already crowded list, but Sony is surely going to be banking on their games to offset the buzz surrounding the Xbox Scorpio reveal.
I’m fairly certain Sony will finish up the conference with an extended look at the new Spider-Man game. I also think we’ll get a hard release date for it. I’ll even go so far as to predict that it’ll be scheduled to arrive in March 2018. That’ll conclude Sony’s show.
Nintendo will close out the console press events on Tuesday morning at 9 am. They’ve already announced that Super Mario Odyssey, Pokken Tournament DX for the Switch, ARMS, and Splatoon 2 will all be there. They’ve given no hint at any additional games being shown.
That said—I mean, c’mon… It’s Nintendo. They’re so weird and unintuitive that they may hold the biggest surprises of the entire expo. For that reason, I don’t feel confident even guessing what they might have for us. Super Smash Bros. for the Switch, maybe; who knows? I do think we’ll see some gameplay for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle as well.
When all’s said and done, I think I can say yeah; this will, in fact, be the best E3 we’ve ever seen. I’m talking; better than E3 2013, when Sony raked Microsoft over the coals with the news that PS4 would be cheaper than Xbox One. The sheer number of games being shown has my hype level at a fever pitch, and I’m usually pretty good at maintaining an even temperament about E3.
Looking back at this article, I realize that most of my conclusions are safe bets. There are a few wild cards in there, however. I could easily make this twice as long to account for all my craziest theories and wishes, but none of us really has the time. E3 is right around the corner, after all.