The battle for our nerd eyeballs is about to begin. What could the big guns have set for E3 2018?
Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox are about to go war. It’ll be a largely nice war, of course, fought with over-wrought platitudes to players and practiced soundbites to the media – but the fight is on. Most important are the games, obviously. They speak louder than any words.
On this page, we’re going to run down what could be coming from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony at E3 2018. We’re just dealing with the first party, in-house output here (we’ve got a separate page for third party speculation, coming soon), and we’re only considering known properties – hopefully all three companies have some all-new stuff for us to get excited about too. Anyway – let’s kick it off with PlayStation.
PlayStation: The Last of Us Part 2 and dreams of Bloodborne 2
Does anybody else get that feeling that we’re winding towards the end of the console generation? The Last of Us Part 2 certainly feels like the kind of massive, searing exclusive that tends to herald the end of a generation, and with rumors and expectations pointing to next year being the year for a PS5 reveal, that means we should really see more of Naughty Dog’s brutal continuation of its apocalyptic series at this year’s E3.
There’s a lot of questions to be answered about The Last of Us Part 2, including its setting and who you’ll play as. Based on the name of the game and the two trailers – one featuring Joel and Ellie and the other some unknown survivors – we’re betting on a Godfather Part 2 style structure where the game flashes back and forth between two different time periods – the earlier possibly featuring Ellie’s mother. We’ll see, mind – and we know The Last of Us Part 2 gameplay is coming as director Neil Druckmann confirmed as much back in December.
That’s not even the only zombie game on their slate, of course. Days Gone is still yet to come out, but with that game getting a huge information drop this month and slipping to 2019 perhaps Sony will leave it at home this E3 to avoid undead over-saturation. Then there’s Spider-Man, which come E3 will be in the final stages of development as it pushes towards its September release.
Aside from the expected smattering of continued PSVR development, we’ve also got a few announced Sony titles that we might expect updates on at E3 – though some may not appear as they may be further out…
- God of War is confirmed to be getting downloadable content, and E3 will be just far enough removed from the game’s release that Sony may choose to detail what it’ll be.
- Ghost of Tsushima, the awesome-looking samurai title from Infamous series developer Sucker Punch, is still a complete unknown. We could see this title remaining a mystery for a while longer, but it’d be great to see it at E3.
- Classic PS1 adventurer MediEvil is getting a PS4 release – but we still know little about it. It’s probably time to learn how large a do-over it is.
- Patapon 2 Remastered still lacks a release date as well, while we’re talking remasters.
- Wild, the PSN game from Rayman creator Michel Ancel, was announced all the way back in 2014. News has been quiet on it since 2014. With Ancel working on Beyond Good and Evil 2, is this project still proceeding at full speed? An update is needed.
- Dreams, Media Molecule’s creation suite has been long in development but having produced such innovative work before, Sony is clearly letting it do its own thing to get the game in-line with its ambitions. It’s due for release in 2019 and another arty showcase at E3 will be enough to keep us all interested in its potential.
- Finally, the big one – Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. Kojima loves a good, long trailer, even if his game is probably quite a way out – and so it’d be no surprise to see another bizarre, clue-laden teaser at E3.
Of course, the major question on many lips pertains to Bloodborne. With the Dark Souls series finished – at least for now – Bloodborne remains the final hope for FromSoftware making another Souls-like game. Will we get a Bloodborne 2? Back in December at The Game Awards FromSoftware teased a project known as ‘Shadows Die Twice’ but offered no further elaboration. Persistent fan speculation has insisted it could be Bloodborne. Others think it might be a Tenchu or Kuon revival. One thing is certain: FromSoftware promised more information this year. Venues don’t come much bigger than E3…
While we’re discussing Souls, it’d be remiss not to mention the ongoing kerfuffle around Bluepoint. BlupPoint Games are a regular partner of Sony, having developed the remasters of Gravity Rush, Uncharted 1-3 and Shadow of the Colossus. We know they’re working on a significant new remake that’s bigger in scale than Shadow of the Colossus. Many think this is likely to be Demon’s Souls, which would be a great E3 crowd pleaser.
Nintendo at E3 2018: it’s the year of Smash Bros – but will Pokemon help Switch maintain momentum?
Even though Nintendo gave up on the actual live press conference events at E3 a few years ago, they’re still a major staple of the show. Nintendo’s booth is always one of the most rammed regardless of what it shows, but this year we expect it to be particularly busy: Super Smash Bros. for Switch is sure to be one of the biggest games playable at the show.
As such, you can expect a lot of additions to the Smash Bros for Switch character roster, as well as confirmation of what the final name of the game will be. Smash is due out later this year. Beyond Smash, however, what else is to come?
For a start, there are a few Nintendo games due out very soon that Nintendo is likely to drop updates on at E3 in order to promote hype. Expect to hear more about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Mario Tennis Aces, all of which are due out quite soon after E3.
On top of that, Nintendo has a number of announced Switch games we know next to nothing about:
- Fire Emblem is already confirmed to be heading to Switch with a full-fat strategy RPG title. Last year Nintendo said the game was slated for 2018, so it’s time for the game to emerge or get a delay. We’re hoping for the former…
- Bayonetta 3 was only recently announced, so it might be too soon to show it, but it’s a tantalizing unknown in Nintendo’s announced line-up.
- Metroid Prime 4 was announced to cap off last year’s E3 presentation. It’s been quiet since. It seems unlikely it’ll launch this year, but a year later seems ripe for a check-in. Rumors suggest Bandai Namco are helping to make it, though Nintendo is yet to confirm a developer.
- Yoshi doesn’t even have a final title yet, though we have seen screenshots of Yoshi exploring a cute papercraft world. This one doesn’t have a tentative release, but it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see it this year.
What about ports? Nintendo has been aggressive in porting its Wii U titles to Switch – so will it port more? Super Mario Maker is the most obvious Switch port, but a strong case could be made for others like New Super Mario Bros, Super Mario 3D World and Xenoblade Chronicles X, among others.
The Bayonetta titles prove Nintendo isn’t above re-releasing games in order to build hype for sequels, too – meaning something like a re-release of Metroid Prime Trilogy or Yoshi’s Woolly World might make a lot of sense this year.
Also – and this is a big one – Retro Studios (Metroid Prime, Donkey Kong Country) hasn’t released an all-new game since 2014. Whatever they’re working on, it’s going to be a big deal and surely has to be far along now.
The real Donphan in the room (hur hur), however, is Pokemon. Here’s what we know: a main, proper, full-blown Pokemon game is in development for Switch. The Pokemon Company and Nintendo have made that clear. We don’t know much beyond that, however.
Early rumors suggested that an enhanced version of Pokemon Sun and Moon would hit the Switch as Pokemon Stars. The broad concept there later surfaced, but for 3DS as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Since then we’ve seen all manner of leaks, including convincing but ultimately fake Pokemon Switch starter Pokemon designs.
Piecing it together, it appears that The Pokemon Company was caught off guard by the runaway success of the Switch and made the call to change direction from a cheaper spin-off to a full-on all-new game. Many rumors swirl around Pokemon for Switch including the suggestion that it’ll see players return to Kanto (the region of Pokemon Red and Blue) and many suggestions that it’ll be out this year. If that’s to be the case, E3 is one of the places we’ll be most likely to find out.
The special E3 Nintendo Showcase/Direct will air on June 12 at 12pm Eastern (5pm UK / 9am Pacific).
Xbox: Crackdown leads, but Microsoft needs to deliver more
It’s probably fair to say that Microsoft has a lot to prove with Xbox this year. Hardcore fans might not like to admit it, but Xbox has had its back against the wall for a good chunk of this generation, and while it has released some really invigorating, exciting games like Sea of Thieves lately, it has still got a way to go as it seeks to steer off what could be the final Xbox One focused E3 with a bang.
Absolutely key to that effort will be Crackdown 3, a game which has been hotly anticipated for years but that appears to have had a bit of a difficult development. Three years ago we saw a truly incredible Crackdown cloud tech demo, but then at E3 last year it left us very, very cold. In the wake of that weak showing it was delayed into 2018, and so now this year at E3 there’s a chance for Microsoft to set the record straight and get everybody pumped for city-destroying, gang-eradicating action again. We hope.
We’re also due an update on Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which was announced at E3 2017 but has remained relatively quiet since. A sequel to an indie darling, it’s perfect for bolstering an E3 showcase.
Microsoft is of course big on additional content, and so you should go into E3 expecting to hear more about how the lives of State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves will be extended with post-launch content. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is Microsoft’s other big bet – while it’s still in early access it is getting regular content updates and eventually will be working towards a full-blown launch.
Expect to hear the Xbox team talk more about PC and generally continue to position themselves as the more friendly option by touting solid features like cross-platform play with PC, mobile and Switch in games like Minecraft alongside further updates to their impressive, expanding backwards compatibility effort.
Crackdown alone cannot carry an E3, however. People want new games. Xbox is sitting on a some classic franchises – the question is if Microsoft will revive any of them. After a cancelled sequel, Phantom Dust got a remaster re-release – could the sequel return? Rumors have also suggested that Perfect Dark could be in for a revival from a new studio with Gears of War developers The Coalition assisting. It’s also worth noting that Rare is a pretty big studio – it’s difficult to believe it has been working on Sea of Thieves alone all this time. Also, with the success of Crash Bandicoot’s remaster, Banjo-Kazooie or even Conker making a return surely must have been at least discussed.
Then there’s Fable, probably the most significant dormant Xbox franchise. Fable developer Lionhead was much-loved, and its demise seemed a consequence of the disastrous, service-driven early years of the Xbox One. Rumors suggest Microsoft has found a British developer to carry the torch, with Forza Horizon studio Playground Games hiring up for an open world RPG. Could it be? Oh, and speaking of Playground – a new Forza Horizon is a given, and rumors point to it being set in Japan.
We still haven’t mentioned the big guns, of course. What of Halo and Gears of War? It only seems natural one of the two will show up – but which?
Halo appears to have undergone a serious soul-searching phase. Halo 6 completely skipped last E3 even though it’s been in planning since 2015. This is needed, though – for our money 343 never got Halo right, nailing single-player with Halo 4 and multiplayer with Halo 5, but in both games botching the other side. 343 is still updating The Master Chief Collection in a surprising show of dedication, and Phil Spencer recently suggested a PC-based alternative to the copyright-stricken Halo Online fan mod is incoming.
But, honestly, Gears of War 5 could be just as likely. While not given the rapturous response the original trilogy received, the fourth Gears game did well, and was two years ago. The series could be ripe for a quick, iterative sequel if Microsoft so choose. On top of that, Gears 5 showed up as part of that insane Walmart screw-up/leak – so maybe there’s some indication there, if true.