E3 2016: What games will Sony, Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft and EA show this year?
Holy guacamole, how can it be that time again? E3 2016 will take over L.A. next month, with the biggest publishers so excited they hold their own showcases before the entertainment expo even starts. It's a glorious pissing contest of games, sideswipes, self-love and showmanship. We wouldn't miss it for the world.
Which is why we've put together this list of games we're expecting - and hoping - to see from the big boys; Sony, Microsoft, Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft, Activision, Take-Two, Capcom and few others. This isn't a definitive list of every game at the show, rather the reveals that can blow the roof of the LA Convention Center and have the fans dropping to their knees.
Place your bets...
Main image credit: reckoner.com.au
Sony: a return to hardware with PS4.5 and VR
Sony's big show will be as much about hardware as it is software. With PSVR launching in October, expect details of the launch line-up and Christmas releases for the $400 headset. The problem is you just can't show off the VR experience in a packed auditorium, so it won't be until the industry goes eyes-on with it on the show floor that we'll get a better impression of the technology. Novelty hardware for a cool Xmas present or genuine advancement of interactive entertainment? We'll see...
We should also get the full lowdown on the PS4.5, aka Neo, aka PS4K. What Sony won't want to do is is confuse people with a hardware refresh that purportedly won't be getting any exclusive games. Expect a price and release date, and a bundle with the VR headset for those with money to burn.
Which brings us to games. Nothing will top the surprise of The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue 3 from last year, but footage of all three (and a release date for TLG) should be a close second. We'll see more of Guerilla's Horizon Zero Dawn, Media Molecule's Dreams, No Man's Sky (with a possible VR version) and a sizzle reel of lovely little indie games too. And if a certain Hideo Kojima walks on stage to just say hello 99% of those watching will shit themselves.
One Last Thing: A teaser for The Last of Us 2 from Naughty Dog after its success this year with Uncharted 4 would be a mic drop.
Microsoft: Xbox One slim and men shooting things
It's almost three years since the Xbox One launched, so a hardware refresh would be a pretty cool way of getting people to buy the same system again and appeal to those who've been holding off. Expect that and a round of budget hardware bundles to shift original stock.
You can criticise the Xbox One line-up for being about men with big guns but a big fat demonstration of playable Crackdown 3 along with a release date wouldn't get many complaints. If it blows the bloody doors off it can be Microsoft's biggest game of the show.
Expect familiar faces to take the stage: Gears of War 4, a new Forza, a better look at Inafune's ReCore, Rare's Sea of Thieves, more Killer Instinct and Platinum's elusive Scalebound. There will be some Xbox One apps and Windows 10 talk but that's your cue to nip to the toilet or make a quick cup of tea. And maybe another demo of HoloLens just so Microsoft can say it's working on new technology in the face of Sony's VR push.
One Last Thing: Halo Wars 2 closed out Gamescom and you should probably expect to see full-scale battles from Microsoft's system-selling franchise before the green lights go down on June 13.
Bethesda: how about that Skyrim remaster?
Bethesda goes first on the Sunday of E3 with its showcase, so it needs to have enough wow to rival the reveal and release date of Fallout 4 from last year. A company that takes it time with development, it's too early for The Elder Scrolls VI, but how about a remastered Skyrim for Xbox One and PS4? It would be the last of the last-gen to get the special treatment and Bethesda has already pushed out a Dishonored remaster, so it's a no-brainer to tart up the 20+ million-selling RPG. It's conspicuous by its absence at this point.
Bethesda does the single-player action game to perfection, so expect Dishonored 2 to be the big focus this year. But with Fallout 4's massive success, it wouldn't be surprising to see it feature prominently, perhaps with a focus on official console mods and quite possibly some surprise DLC. After the rapturous reception of DOOM, DLC for id's shooter should spill gore all over the stage and how about hints of a new Wolfenstein while Bethesda is on a roll? Elsewhere, Battlecry has probably been shitcanned but expect the reveal of at least one new IP. And maybe the return of The Evil Within...
One Last Thing: It's got to be the Skyrim remaster, right?
EA: likely to have its best E3 in years
EA will ride out on the good will surrounding Battlefield 1, but it also has Mass Effect: Andromeda and the big reveal of the reworked Titanfall 2 for all formats. That's a triple threat right there. Now add the first look at Star Wars Battlefront's Death Star map and EA could be on for its best E3 showing in years.
Sure, there will be the obligatory sports updates and awkward banter between pro athletes and execs, but I'm personally hoping Peter Moore gets his guns out again.
One Last Thing: Jade Raymond's Motive studios and Amy Hennig's Visceral are working on a new Star Wars game for EA. If we get a title and a teaser you all have permission to lose your shit.
Ubisoft: Watch Dogs 2 replaces Assassin's Creed
A proper reveal of Watch Dogs 2 set in San Francisco could take pride of place in Ubisoft's always lively showcase. Much like Titanfall, the first Watch Dogs was very much a test so expect a sequel to tackle criticisms and have bigger ambitions in gameplay.
The Division has been Ubi's 2016 success, and a big reveal of the three DLC packs will get the attention it deserves. Who knows, there might even be something Rainbow 6 related after the success of Siege. While we're on a Tom Clancy tip, last year's Wildlands reveal piqued our interest, so expect a deeper look and possible release quarter for the open-world project.
Those hideous Rabbids will probably turn up at some point, we'll get a better look at For Honor and there may even be a hint of Beyond Good and Evil 2 (yeah, right). Expect at least one new IP reveal from Ubisoft, a company that always manages to keep one quirky and unique concept under wraps until E3.
One Last Thing: There's no big Assassin's Creed game in 2016, but that doesn't mean a teaser for 2017's release wouldn't make a nice surprise.
Take-Two: Give me Red Dead or give me death
Take-Two/2K won't have a showcase this year, but that's not to say it won't represent at the show. Siding with a format holder for Mafia 3 would be very wise. It already looks strong for its October release, and it's a series with a lot of fan love. Having a deep look at gameplay from a technically accomplished series, with all the cool that the Mafia franchise can muster, could be a stand-out title that Sony or Microsoft would do well to put front and center.
And then there's the big rumour of the next Red Dead game. Rockstar likes to do its own thing every year and barely touches E3, but would it do any harm to have a reveal alongside Sony or Microsoft (or both?). Just a trailer would put it in the Game of the Show category, and send many into a frenzy, including me.
Activision: big business as usual
Activision no longer has the lavish parties it was once known for and this year it's not even having a proper booth at the show. But it will most certainly show up in the Sony showcase to pimp the next Destiny expansion, complete with new raid details. If it does that, don't expect any talk of Destiny 2 as it would only overshadow the autumn update.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare may have taken a kicking at reveal, but that doesn't mean it's out of the running. It always has a big showing at either Microsoft or Sony's showcases, and if we don't see soldiers rappelling down a building, double-jumping into conflict and rolling out the way of a collapsing building (in space) I'll eat my loadout.
And with the success of Overwatch, who wouldn't want to see some new heroes zipping across one of The Big Twos showcases? All that lively colour from Blizzard's unique shooter would make a nice antidote to the grizzly grey of the seemingly endless grumpy shooters we're served every year.
Capcom: the return of Resident Evil
Capcom has been talking about the return of Resident Evil, and that doesn't just mean a new line of t-shirts. Apparently Resident Evil 7 is going back to its horror roots. Although you should still expect some gunplay, how about a switch to first-person - much like Silent Hill prototype P.T. before it was so rudely cancelled? That's the kind of rethink that needs to be applied to Resident Evil if it hopes to get back fans lost in the wilderness years.
Is Deep Down still a thing? Three year's after it was initially released, we'd all like to see that crop up, no matter how different to the original vision. And how about a new Devil May Cry from a Japanese studio? We can but hope. Maybe it's one of the "three major titles" we heard about recently?
Poor old Nintendo
With no NX hardware and no showcase, it falls to a booth entirely dedicated to The Legend of Zelda to keep Nintendo's head above water. And even though it's a game that will appear on the NX, it's going to be shown on the Wii U, a console that's long since given up the ghost. Where's the sense in that?
Nintendo has been doing it's own thing for a long time now, all but retiring from the tiresome console wars. That's clearly taken a toll to the point that it has one game on offer at the world's biggest games show, for good or bad.
Best of the rest
There's a lot of games on show at E3, but we really wanted to focus on the biggies. Square Enix should team up with someone to showcase Deus Ex: Mankind Divided before we stop caring, and quite possibly drop a teaser for another Tomb Raider game with its new bed buddies Microsoft. With CD Projekt all wrapped up on The Witcher 3, will we finally get a peek at Cyberpunk 2077? Dead Island 2 will make a reappearance after Yager got axed and Namco is going to push Tekken 7 on homes consoles if that's your (punch) bag.
But what else are you looking forward to, and what's on your wishlist of reveals? Don't hold back, let us know.