Brace yourselves, because E3 is almost here. What games might we see? Well, we’ve got some ideas…
Aside from the rhetoric of media briefings and the hilarity of furious or joyous fanboy meltdowns on social media, E3 is ultimately all about the games. Forget everything else.
While the first-party publishing houses of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will all have some tricks up their sleeves, much of the hype at E3 will be driven by what games third-party publishers bring to the table. But what might we expect at the show?
On this page, we list off all of the major third party publishers showing up in Los Angeles next month and run down what we might expect from them – from updates on announced games to rumored reveals and distant hopes. Let’s get to it.
EA: Battlefield 5 and Bioware’s big shot at redemption – plus the other stuff
After the struggle and ultimate disappointment of Mass Effect Andromeda, Bioware is on a mission. Arguably, with EA’s history of acquired studios, Anthem needs to be good for the studio’s very survival – even though we know that Dragon Age 4 is also in development there. Speaking of Dragon Age, we’d be surprised to see the fourth entry fully announced at E3 in the wake of Anthem’s delay into 2019 – the show will probably be all about Anthem for Bioware. EA has already been teasing gameplay footage and the game’s box art ahead of the show. Expect a beta to be announced, too, since EA confirmed that last year.
Battlefield 5 will be the other major staple of EA’s E3 showing – and it’ll all be building on what we saw of Battlefield 5 a few weeks ago. From that we now know that Battlefield 5 will have a single-player mode (unlike Call of Duty), and the rumours that it’d take place in World War 2 have now been confirmed. E3 is likely to all be about multiplayer, however, and we know EA Play will feature a showcase of the large-scale Grand Operations mode.
EA being EA, we can also expect a smattering of the usual around its E3 conference and event; sports games aplenty (the World Cup is kicking off, so expect lots of FIFA), plus DLC for existing games including Star Wars Battlefront. In the case of Star Wars it’ll be especially interesting to see if they have the stones to address the loot box drama, as a chunk of their announcement of Battlefront 2 was dedicated to directly addressing fan feedback from the first game.
EA Play and EA’s E3 conference will be aired on June 9 at 2pm Eastern Time (7pm UK / 11am Pacific time).
Activision: Black Ops Royale, Destiny DLC, Spyro Returns and… surprises?
While Call of Duty Black Ops 4 has been officially announced and even given an October 12 release date, Activision still has a lot they can show of the game. Kirk has played it and was impressed with the tactical approach it takes, but Activision has a lot to explain in more detail around the latest COD, including about the various modes that replace the single-player options.
Elsewhere, Destiny rages on with the upcoming release of the newly-announced Destiny 2: Forsaken, a full-blown expansion pack for year 2 of the game. E3 will be a good place for that, with its new gambit mode playable. Activision is also set to reveal a little more on the return of Spyro in in Spyro the Dragon: Reignited Trilogy – that’ll be playable on the show floor.
Spyro isn’t alone, either – there’s a tease for news around Crash Trilogy, too, which is coming to Switch, PC and Xbox One soon. But could Activision have more than this? There’s a notable gap in their schedule that in the past has been filled with all manner of things, from music games to toys-to-life to Tony Hawk. If they’ve a new game in the pipes, E3 would be a good place to lift the curtain.
Bethesda: Rage and Fallout 76 – but will we get Doom 2?
Up until a few days ago, Bethesda only had one major release set for 2018 – the pretty solid-looking Nintendo Switch version of Wolfenstein 2. There’s an official Besthesda E3 2018 press conference, and the publisher wouldn’t be having that just to show off a port of a game from last year.
A Wal Mart Canada screw-up listed Rage 2 as an upcoming game available for pre-order, and that’s now confirmed – and we’re surely going to see more of it at E3. But there’s a lot else that Bethesda could potentially show. In one interview Bethesda boss Pete Hines suspiciously described E3 preparation as being ‘hell on Earth’ – an innocuous phrase for such a busy work time until you consider that the subtitle of the original DOOM 2 was Hell on Earth. Hmm!
Then there’s Fallout 76, the big game that’s taken over the largest advertising space around the LA Convention Center where E3 was held. It’s been announced with a simple trailer, but Bethesda’s E3 conference is the perfect place to offer a deep-dive on the mechanics of the game as the company previously did with Fallout 4.
DLC for recent releases is also likely – Prey is still quite recent, and lunar-themed DLC has been teased for the game in recent months. There’s also the question of the Switch – after the success of DOOM and Skyrim, it follows that Bethesda might port more of their titles over there. Could Fallout 4 be next?
Whatever they show, Bethesda has promised variety, and there is one specific elephant in the room: Starfield. Starfield was rumored for E3 last year but ultimately never materialized, and is said to be an all-new science fiction open-world RPG from Bethesda Game Studios, the team behind The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. There seemed to be an awful lot of smoke around that rumor last year, so it doesn’t seem crazy to suggest the fire might still be burning…
Bethesda’s E3 conference takes place on June 10 at 9:30pm Eastern Time (6:30pm Pacific / 2:30am June 11 UK time).
Square Enix: will Avengers and Final Fantasy 7 show at E3?
We already know that Square Enix has two absolutely massive games for 2018 from each of the sides of the company: Kingdom Hearts 3 from Japan and Shadow of the Tomb Raider from the Western arm of the business. Both are pretty much certain to have a significant presence at E3, and we’ve already had hands-on sessions with Kingdom Hearts 3 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider ahead of the show. There’ll also be showings from the likes of Dragon Quest 11 – but what else will Square Enix have to show?
Two ongoing projects for the company dwarf all others: Final Fantasy 7 Remake and The Avengers Project – once again one each from East and West. These are the projects people are dying to hear from.
Final Fantasy 7 is of course much-loved, and ranked highly in our definitive Final Fantasy ranking (don’t even bother disagreeing). We know that FF7 remake recently shifted development studios to come entirely in-house and Square is still hiring for it, but given that we haven’t heard from it in years it may be time for an update. The question is… will fans be able to stomach how different this game is sure to be? And how deep into the iconic story will ‘part one’ go?
Crystal Dynamics’ The Avengers Project is another unknown, to the point where we don’t even know what kind of game it is, though rumors have pegged it as being some sort of Destiny-style co-operative experience. It was announced back at the start of 2017, but Square said all the way back then that more would be announced in 2018. There’s no bigger venue than this, and in the wake of the huge success of Infinity War and Thanos’ guest turn in Fortnite, the iron seems rather hot.
There are other projects that seem obvious for Square Enix to announce. A Just Cause movie is in production and set for release next year, and it’s been quite a while since the last game. Further, a listing for Just Cause 4 showed up on Walmart Canada – could it be time for Just Cause 4? Elsewhere in Square Enix’s Western operations we know that a Life is Strange 2 is in the work now Before the Storm is over – that’d be an announcement that’d make fans melt down.
It’s also been suggested that we’ll hear more from the new Luminous Productions this year. Luminous Productions is a new Square studio made headed up by FF15 boss Hajime Tabata with top-tier talent from FF15’s staff. If they want to make a splash this year, E3 would be the venue for it. There is, of course, the matter of a Final Fantasy 16 and Nier 3, too – but those seem a pipe dream for now – but you never know with Square, what with their love of announcing games five or more years before they’re ready – and there’s a lot of teases going around in little broadcasts and interview snippets out of Japan that suggest Square isn’t quite done with Final Fantasy 12’s Ivalice universe…
Square Enix’s pre-recorded E3 presentation will be aired on June 11 at 1pm Eastern Time (6pm UK / 10am Pacific time).
Bandai Namco: Soulcalibur still burns, but what else is planned?
Last year Bandai Namco announced one of the biggest surprises of E3 with the Xbox Conference appearance of Dragon Ball FighterZ (which rumors now suggest is coming to Nintendo Switch – an E3 announcement), and that game went on to become one of the biggest critical successes of this year so far. While the home of Pac-Man currently appears to be laser-focused on the upcoming Soulcalibur 6, it does also love a big E3 announcement or two.
So, yes, while you should certainly expect Soulcalibur 6 character roster reveals and more information on the ‘anime souls’ game Code Vein (which just got a release date), it doesn’t seem entirely unlikely they’ll have something all-new.
Namco usually always has a couple of different fighting games on the go, plus it has made a very vocal commitment to putting more games on Switch, so both of those could be safe bets. Remember Dark Souls is Namco’s thing, too, and while it’s been said that Dark Souls 3 is the end of the series, it’s always hard to let go of such a strong money-maker… or there’s From’s tease of Shadows Die Twice – that could quite easily be a Namco game.
Ubisoft: is it Sam Fisher’s time to shine again?
After a cameo appearance in Ghost Recon Wildlands, the number one question on everybody’s lips for the Ubisoft show at E3 is if it’s finally time for Sam Fisher and Splinter Cell to return. This isn’t a rumor entirely without precedence either: the Canadians have been all over it. First Amazon Canada listed a Splinter Cell 2018, then Walmart Canada did the same. Hmm.
The Walmart listing also nodded to a new, as-yet untitled Assassin’s Creed game – and a few weeks later it leaked as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Oops! That’ll surely form the backbone of Ubisoft’s E3 showing alongside Splinter Cell. Ubisoft still has plenty else to talk about, however: The Division 2 is already announced, Rainbow 6 Siege continues as a live service game, and upcoming piracy ship combat game Skull and Bones has been quiet for a good few months now. There’s also the matter of Beyond Good and Evil 2, which just had some new footage released.
The remaining question is if Ubisoft has any further surprises. The company has said it’s definitely going to show off The Division 2, Beyond Good & Evil 2 and toys-to-life game Starlink and narrative experience Transference. We also know there’ll be new content for For Honor and continued promotion for The Crew 2. They’re busy folks! Finally, last year it announced a major exclusive for Switch that went on to be hugely successful in Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and the above list is surprisingly Nintendo-light. We’ve also already had little teases for Watch Dogs 3, though for our money it’s a tad early for that one yet.
Ubisoft’s often crazy E3 conference will be aired on June 11 at 4pm Eastern Time (9pm UK / 1pm Pacific time).
Capcom: Dante’s time to shine?
Capcom has had a good few years. Resident Evil 7 and Monster Hunter World are a hell of a combo, both released early on in the next year following an E3 announcement. It makes sense that the company would do that again – so can we expect new games from them?
In fact, if you look at Capcom’s release schedule for the past few years, the Japanese publisher has managed two major releases from its most significant series’ every year for the last few years, always in similar slots to bookend the year, with the rest of the year filled out with smaller titles. In 2016 we got Street Fighter 5 in February and Dead Rising 4 in December, then in 2017 we got Resident Evil 7 in January and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite in September. 2018 has seen Monster Hunter in that early slot… but what’s next? It seems unlikely they’ll break this bi-yearly pattern of big releases.
Rumors have swirled lately of an Onimusha revival, with Capcom renewing trademarks. But a Devil May Cry 5 seems more likely, with the director of Devil May Cry and Dragon’s Dogma reminding people he was hard at work on a new game as recently as January. We’d rather it was Dragon’s Dogma because we have impeccable taste, but it could very well also be a continuation of Dante’s adventures. Capcom has even registered a Devil May Cry 5 domain name – it can’t get much more transparent.
There are also games we already know about – fans really want to know what’s going on with Resident Evil 2 Remake, and that could easily slot into one of those major game positions – especially now Capcom is enjoying record profits thanks to the record sales of Monster Hunter World – and we’re still waiting for more information on a PC version of that. Speaking of Monster Hunter, a Western release Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate has finally been announced for Nintendo Switch, so there’ll be news on that at the show.
And hey, how about a new Ace Attorney, or an Ace Attorney Collection for Switch? It’s time, right?
Warner Bros: Mortal Kombat returns, and Hitman finds a new home?
Late last year Warner Bros released Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the latest entry in its Lord of the Rings series of games – and WB’s upcoming release slate is now surprisingly bare. We know that they have Lego The Incredibles and Lego DC Super Villains on the way, but beyond that there’s nothing on the slate for 2018 beyond a couple of mobile projects based on WB movie franchises. At the very least, it’s safe to expect more LEGO games.
We have an idea as to what they’re up to beyond that, however. For one, Batman Arkham series developer Rocksteady have been hard at work on something new since 2013’s Arkham Knight and 2016’s Arkham VR. Rocksteady’s game must surely be nearing announcement time. Fan theories have suggested it could be a range of things including a Superman game or a new Batman adventure, while a solid report from Kotaku suggests after a Suicide Squad game was cancelled a Batman title went into full development at Warner Bros Montreal.
More predictable in its output is Netherrealm Studios, the creator of Mortal Kombat. It has maintained a steady back-and-forth of MK and Injustice for the better part of a decade, and it seems likely that means Mortal Kombat 11 will be up next. A rumor even surfaced detailing the game’s character list last year – which sounds far fetched until you remember that the entire Injustice 2 cast was also unceremoniously posted to 4chan months before release.
Warner Bros also has one nice new acquisition to celebrate: they’re the new publishing partner for the newly independent IO Interactive – the guys behind Hitman. The relationship is off to a flying start, as Warner already accidentally leaked Hitman 2 on their own website. Welp! Hopefully at Warner Hitman can find a success it deserved but never quite managed at Square Enix.
CD Projekt RED: 2077 beckons
The Witcher is done. For now. Gwent is continuing to rage on, a hugely successful online card game. That only leaves one thing for CD Projekt RED to do with its E3 presence: finally lift the veil on Cyberpunk 2077, the massive new RPG based on the world from the classic pen-and-paper RPG of the same name.
Its announcement trailer was all the way back in 2013, with CD Projekt making clear it wouldn’t show the game until it was really ready, and probably quite close to release. With the Cyberpunk twitter account stirring and the E3 exhibitor portal suggesting CDP has a RPG to show, it really does appear to be happening.
Take Two: could a return to the vault be on the cards?
Here’s the thing – Borderlands 3 is hardly a secret. Randy Pitchford, boss of the Borderlands developer Gearbox, openly admitted that once the company was done with Battleborn it would move on to Borderlands. Battleborn was a bit of a commercial disaster – what else are can it do but move on to a sequel to its most successful, much-loved franchise?
Borderlands isn’t 2K’s only property that’d fall into that category, however. Bioshock is also due a new entry, and just a month ago we heard that one was underway.
2K being 2K we can also expect basketball, and probably something new from Firaxis Games – which tend to have something new practically every year, and both Civilization 6 and XCOM 2 are both now one expansion pack deep. XCOM 2 has a pretty wicked tease for a third entry in the series in it, too…
Deep Silver: nuclear war and kung-fu revenge murder
Deep Silver’s E3 showing is likely to be defined by the same game as its Gamescom last year: the new publishing deal to put out the next chapter in Ryo Hazuki’s kung-fu revenge murder saga, Shenmue 3. It seems pretty likely that Shenmue creator and industry legend Yu Suzuki will be on the ground to talk about his latest, which was recently delayed into 2019.
Also big for Deep Silver will be the upcoming release of Metro Exodus, which promises to be a game that offers a more open experience in an equally brutal world. As its release is coming up pretty soon, E3 will no doubt be a key promotional period.
Deep Silver is also likely to showcase the next of the yearly F1 games, and they’re also publishing kickstarter success Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night from ex-Castlevania boss Koji Igarashi, so that could also appear on their stand.
Atlus & Sega: Kiryu, Mighty, Ray and the Three Kingdoms – plus possibly more from Japan
Deep Silver will of course have Shenmue, but that likely won’t be the only Hazuki adventure at E3: original publisher Sega is incredibly likely to show the recently-announced Shenmue 1 & 2 HD Remaster package. It should also have more news on the Western release of Yakuza Kiwami 2, a remake of the PS2 cult classic – making for quite a lot of Shenmue and Shenmue-like games on its stand.
Sega also has Sonic Mania Plus launching just a few weeks after E3, so it seems likely that’ll show up – we’re due a full playable reveal of new characters Mighty and Ray. Sonic will also appear in Team Sonic Racing, plus we’ll get other Japanese projects like Valkyria Chronicles 4, Catherine: Full Bodyand Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night.
Theme Hospital Spiritual Successor Two Point Hospital is also due out this year, so expect more on that, as well as Total War: Three Kingdoms, the beloved strategy franchise’s first foray into Chinese history. Total War was just delayed, but it’ll likely still appear.
…and the rest: Focus Home, Rebellion, XSEED and more
Aside from the larger publishers above, a bunch of other companies will also be at E3. We’re not going to go into as much detail, but here are some things to look out for…
- Epic Games & Fortnite will be at the show for the Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am, and it’s possible we’ll get announcements around the future of that now absolutely huge game. Leaks have already spoiled that Nintendo Switch version is on the way. And hey, what about cross-platform play? Time will tell…
- UK-based Rebellion will also be at the show. It’s likely to be showing off the upcoming Strange Brigade, but it’d be nice to see something new from them, or catch a first glimpse of Evil Genius 2.
- Devolver Digital will rock up to the parking lot outside E3 once again with a selection of slick independent games. They’re also hosting a conference – and the recently-announced Serious Sam 4 will be a staple there, but there are sure to be new game announcements too…
- We already know that Focus Home Interactive is preparing The Surge 2 for 2019 – and that’s likely to show – but the company also has Insurgency Sandstorm, A Plague Tale, Call of Cthulu and Werewolf The Apocalypse all due this year. It’ll probably be a busy booth…
- Team 17 is at the show once again, and in the wake of announcing plans to take the company public it has things to prove. Team 17 has a solid slate of upcoming games including the fascinating-looking Genesis Alpha One, so those will surely be demoed at E3.
- ArenaNet will be at the show, so upcoming developments for all things Guild Wars 2 are sure to be present.
- Konami is present, though if it’ll be just Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 or anything more is a question mark.
- Indie publisher Kalypso Media will likely be showing off Tropico 6, a sequel to its most beloved franchise. Tropcio is brilliant, so that deserves more attention than it’ll get, inevitably.
- For fans of niche Japanese games, XSEED Games is at the show. They’ve got a few Senran Kagura games, Fate/Extrella Link and a new Ys all due out this year.
- THQ Nordic is skipping E3 “due to the world cup” (in reality, they probably realize E3 is a real challenge to not get drowned out by bigger games), so there won’t be anything from Darksiders 3, Biomutant or any of its other games. Those games will be at Gamescom come August.