Get this in your faces: the Everything Else We Care About at E3 2017 list
Assassin's Creed, Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty WW2 ... and some surprises. These are the games that matter at E3 2017.
Now it's time to look to the other big guns: Ubisoft, Activision, Warner Bros., Take Two, Square Enix, Capcom, Konami, Deep Silver and Nordic all have something important to show you this year.
Sure, there'll be surprises, and sure, this list isn't exhaustive - we have a hard time getting excited about Just Dance 47, or whatever it is (soz, Ubi.) But we're pretty confident that with this one last carousel, we've nailed down everything we ought to pay attention to at E3 2017.
Although Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor seemed like a pretty standard take on the open world action adventure stylings of games like Assassin's Creed, its tense and unforgiving action combat combined with a wonderfully compelling Nemesis system saw it scoop up awards on all sides, proving one of the most welcome surprises of the generation so far.
Although it boasts a stack of new features like followers and fortresses, we expect Middle-Earth: Shadow of War to be more of the same - but this time, getting the attention the mainstream, pre-release attention the first game deserved.
Shadow of War has just been delayed to October, which puts it dangerously close to serious release competition - and limiting press previews so far this year isn't a good sign that WB has confidence in it but we'll see about that later this month. We'd expect the publisher to push for a showing at either Sony or Microsoft's E3 2017 conferences; Xbox is hungrier this year, so may be the safer bet.
Look, honestly, Street Fighter 5 is good now. It was absolute rubbish at release, yes, and Capcom still can't manage basic chores of modern online gaming like completing server maintenance in less than 24 hours, but the fighting hardcore are pretty happy with the core game now - so we have high hopes for Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. Capcom says it has learned its lessons, after all.
Capcom's become increasingly cagey about its fighting games lineup over the past few years of financial squeeze but looking at Marvel vs Capcom Infinite's leaked roster makes it more than clear why at least one of its beloved franchises is ready to pup a sequel: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an incredible important license right now. Sadly, that means we won't see any X-Men this time around, which is a real shame; Wolverine was practically a mascot for this series. It also means a bunch of customisation features tied in with infinity stones, now that the MCU is finally getting around to progressing its ongoing meta-plot line.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite releases in September, so one or another of the platform holders will go big on it at E3 2017. We keep saying Xbox is the hungrier platform, and it probably doesn't want to repeat the mistake it made with Street Fighter 5 - but we expect PlayStation's stronger Japanese connections to swoop on this one.
South Park somehow remains culturally relevant - apparently? - after ten years and 20 seasons, and so we can only assume fans are still excited about South Park: The Fractured But Whole despite years of waiting and delays.
Since the first South Park game took forever to come out, apparently because creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker are absolute perfectionists, we expected The Fractured But Whole to be delayed even further, to be honest. Perhaps the change of developer sped things up?
Where Stick of Truth had a fantasy RPG vibe, this one's all about superheroes. You'll be able to create your own new kid protagonist (including opting to play as a girl) and secret identity to join the fun.
Now scheduled for October release, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is sure to get a bit of love from Ubisoft during E3 2017. The timing is pretty spot on for a ramp up in marketing.
It's been a long time since we had a new chapter in this story, but the vision hasn't changed since Vigil first conceptualised the setting: Darksiders 3 was always about Fury, the whipcracking mage sister of the four heralds of the apocalypse.
We're lucky this happened at all. The franchise was one of the casualties of THQ's collapse when, depressingly, nobody bid for Darksiders or developer Vigil Games. Later, Crytek hired the core of Vigil, but said it had no interest in a new Darksiders game, while Nordic Games got the Darksiders rights in a job lot auction. Happily, the core Darksiders creative team went indie when Crytek USA refocused on the CryEngine, and Nordic reunited the crew with their baby.
There's a fervent fanbase out there waiting to find out what happens next, so if Nordic has any sense it'll make sure we all get a good look at Darksiders 3 at E3 2017.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a thing that should not exist, and yet: it does. The rumour of it raised eyebrows, but it wasn't until we all saw that leaked Mario + Rabbids artwork that the Nintendo faithful started to wonder if the Big N had collapsed under the weight of its own whimsy, forcing Internet satirists into existential crises.
Stow your horror for a moment though, and remember that however much Ubisoft cherishes its Rabbids, modern Nintendo is a zillion times as protective of Mario. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which is apparently the closest we're going to get to a new Mario RPG, will not be utter shit; Ninty simply wouldn't allow it. The launch of Switch and subsequent drip feed release schedule has been very, very carefully managed and we cling to the hope that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will turn out to be another masterstroke in a plan that has so far proved very successful.
This is probably the new IP Ubisoft is teasing. Don't be hellishly surprised if Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is one of the hottest tickets at E3 2017. These things happen.
Ha ha, yeah - Destiny 2 is gonna be at E3 2017. No kidding, it's gonna be one of the biggest games of the holidays this year. Bungie has already shown Destiny 2 off for the faithful, but this is the time to put it in front of the much broader mainstream gaming audience and get those pre-orders on the table.
We're not really expecting that much. There'll be a trailer, probably details of the Destiny 2 beta, and maybe some pre-order or platform exclusive content info. But Bungie has already gone into serious detail on Destiny 2, so this showing will be more about spectacle than substance.
Oh, and PlayStation will almost certainly host Destiny 2's major appearance at E3 2017, thanks to Activision and Sony's sweetheart deal. We'll probably see it on Xbox's stage too, though.
Shooting at religious extremists is hardly a new thing for video games, but the religious extremist villains in Far Cry 5 are white Americans and boy howdy, has that caused a fuss. The fact that Ubisoft prides itself on making its Far Cry villains complicated and charismatic, that the ostensible good guys also include white Americans, and that you, the player, can also be a white American, has not tempered this reaction in the slightest, of course.
Everyone else is kind of looking forward to rocking around Far Cry 5's Montana setting, tipping over cows, driving pick ups and laying down the law in a "petri dish magnet for crazy" situation. For the first time in series history, Far Cry 5 will have a character creator and be fully playable in co-op, which is exciting.
Far Cry Primal fell a bit flat but Ubisoft seems determined to get back on track with a nice big hit in early 2018, so expect plenty of love for Far Cry 5 at E3 2017.
"Uhh, didn't Resident Evil 7 come out already?" It sure did, but we're expecting to see it again this year anyway, because it's now obligatory for everyone to have at least one "and you can download this right now!" moment.
PlayStation could easily build on its momentum as the home of Resident Evil by showing off the hotly anticipated Chris Redfield Resident Evil 7 DLC with a trailer or teaser, before announcing a release date of right now. It's a no-brainer. If Sony seriously hasn't thought of this, it can have the idea right now for free. Capcom will appreciate the cash, since it's apparently not content with making really terrific games.
The Not A Hero DLC is the last one Capcom has planned, as far as we know, so you'll probably want to hurry up and finish Resident Evil 7 so you can dive right in and see the end of the story as soon as possible. Or will Capcom use Resident Evil 7's E3 2017 appearance to announce a second season...?
On the off chance there's anybody left in the world who cares, Dead Rising 4 is coming up on the end of its one year Xbox One console exclusivity deal and will almost certainly come to PS4 this year with a stack of extra features to compensate for the wait - just like Rise of the Tomb Raider did.
There are a couple of differences, though: Tomb Raider is a highly recognisable brand, and Dead Rising is, uh... not. Tomb Raider is closely associated with PlayStation, and Dead Rising has always been an Xbox-first franchise. Rise of the Tomb Raider refined a successful formula, while Dead Rising 4 seemed to misunderstand its own appeal. But Dead Rising 4 got good reviews, so we expect there to be at least some interest from the Sony crowd. Another platform might get it the sales it deserves, too; it's pretty clear Dead Rising 4 under-performed on Xbox One.
In which case, you can expect Capcom to trade on the goodwill Resident Evil 7 generated and at least get Sony to mention Dead Rising 4 during E3 2017.
Call of Duty revolutionised shooters by leaving behind the tired default WW2 setting, but somehow here we are in 2017 and Call of Duty WW2 is considered a huge step forward. Maybe it's because the science-fiction stylings of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare disappointed. Maybe it's because the enormous muggle Call of Duty audience doesn't know Battlefield 1 exists. Maybe it's because 90% of you are too young to read our more creative swears, and we should definitely retire.
In any case, Activision is pretty confident it's got it right with Call of Duty WW2 - but Call of Duty's annual release is always the biggest game of any year there isn't a Grand Theft Auto even when it sucks, so it doesn't much matter if its wrong.
Call of Duty WW2, ladies, gentlemen and people who identify with different descriptors: it will be at E3 2017, because of course it will - it might even be there on Switch, for heaven's sake. The only surprise will be if Xbox manages to win timed exclusivity back from PlayStation, but we're not sure Microsoft has that kind of sway these days.
Way, way back when we got the first rumours of what would turn out to be Monster Hunter on Switch, the whisperers also said it might be coming to PS4. This makes sense: Monster Hunter has almost become a Nintendo franchise, but it first found major success on Sony machines.
Although the 3DS and Switch are a natural home for Monster Hunter XX, so are the PS4 and Vita - especially if Nintendo, Sony and Capcom support cross-play or at least cross-save between all platforms. (It's not impossible; Nintendo already allows cross-play with PC and mobile as in Pure Chess and Cubemen 2, and Sony supports a couple of PC and PS4 cross-play titles like Street Fighter 5.)
In any case, Capcom knows Monster Hunter can't go big in the west on handhelds alone, and although the Switch is doing very well indeed, if it can get onto PS4 it has a chance to woo the Souls fans who don't realise what they're missing. But even if we are talking Switch and 3DS only, Monster Hunter XX will be at E3 2017.
This is one we're honestly not sure about. On the one hand, if either Sony or Microsoft can get Red Dead Redemption 2 up on their stages, with or without exclusivities and bonuses, it will be a big deal. On the other, Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed, so marketing can pump the brakes a bit, and in any case Rockstar traditionally doesn't really do E3.
This is because it 100% doesn't have to. As with the astounding, perpetual juggernaut that is GTA 5, Take Two knows it can do whatever it likes, whenever it likes, because this is Red Dead Redemption 2.
We honestly expected to see Red Dead Redemption at last year's show and still secretly suspect it was subbed out at the last minute, whatever Sony says, so perhaps we're wrong about Rockstar smugly ignoring the biggest video game show of the year. You have to admit, given how hard Microsoft is having to work, if it did manage to talk Rockstar into letting it present Red Dead Redemption 2's E3 2017 showing it would go a hell of a long way.
A surprise from Capcom
Last time Capcom talked about its upcoming release schedule, it tipped us off to one more major release within the next year or so. Now, maybe it was referring to a new Monster Hunter game for consoles, which we've already covered, or maybe it meant something else.
Since we're always hoping for more and better, we're enjoying speculating on the latter possibility. Capcom has such a rich catalogue of titles that you can really let your imagination go wild. Is it time for another Devil May Cry? Will Alex's yearnings finally be answered by Dragon's Dogma 2? Will Capcom's vapourware Deep Down ever surface? Will the publisher lose its head and announce Resident Evil 8? Is there another fighting game coming out of retirement? Has someone at Capcom remembered it's possible to make Mega Man games that aren't total shit??
Any of these possibilities would be a tasty tidbit to chuck into either PlayStation or Xbox's conferences at E3 2017. Let's hope Microsoft or Sony take the bait.
It's a real shame Konami doesn't go big at E3 any more because it used to throw the most entertainingly awkward shows. On the other hand, that means Sony and Microsoft have a chance to make some sort of deal and get Metal Gear Survive on their E3 2017 stages.
Whether they want it or not is debatable; the reception wasn't great, and of course Sony is literally making eyes at Hideo Kojima's new team for Death Stranding, which may put Kon-Kon off a deal there. Is Xbox willing to do the hard yards and turn opinion around on this one? It really needs games for its E3 2017 show, so it wouldn't be a poor idea - if it can pull it off.
We're not really sure if Metal Gear Survive still exists, as Konami's had nothing to say about it since about a month after announce. But if it does, it'll probably turn up at E3 2017.
BioShock Infinite's DLC seemed to wrap up the series to date, bar Bioshock 2, which was produced without Ken Levine, and Levine himself disbanded his team and gave up blockbuster development. Does that mean the end of BioShock? Ha! Ha! No, 2K and Take Two know they're still sitting on a hot thing there, and if it was willing to make BioShock 2 while Levine was still active on the franchise, upsetting him more than a little in the process, it's probably okay with getting another team in to make another BioShock game.
The good news is that BioShock 2 was pretty good, and a talented crew could certainly do even better if it didn't have to worry about upsetting continuity and being conservative with existing themes. We don't know who could be making it - surely not Gearbox, or Randy Pitchford would have leaked it a couple of dozen times by now.
So, will 2K announce a new BioShock at E3 2017? It's possible. We feel like it might be time. We have zero evidence to offer at this time. Just sniff the wind. Is that - the brine and iodine tang of the sea? Or casual engagement with objectivism? The two smell very similar.
A September IGN interview confirmed one of those three new games is a new Armored Core title. One was described as a "dark fantasy" which will meet fan expectations, and we do wonder whether it might be a sequel to Bloodborne; if so, Sony will trot it out. (We don't really buy the Phantom Wail rumour).
The third game is supposed to be something a bit weird from Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, which is the one we're most excited about. Whether it's signed to Bandai Namco or whether Sony and Microsoft have been sensible enough to throw money at From Software now that its contract with the third-party publisher has expired, if the Souls team is ready to talk, we're ready to listen. Look for these mysteries to be solved on one stage or another at E3 2017.
From the makers of Saints Row, Agents of Mayhem is an over-the-top action game styled after Saturday Morning Cartoons - think, like, GI Joe, but written by and for adults.
Revealed at last year's show and barely mentioned in the interim, the new Volition IP is due for release in August and needs a good strong push to capture attention from the Saints Row faithful. Deep Silver would do well to get Sony or Microsoft to go big on Agents of Mayhem at E3 2017.
We've already talked about Final Fantasy 7 Remake possibly making an appearance at E3 2017, and Kingdom Hearts 3 is in the same boat: they're both just as good bets for hyping up the PS4 or Xbox One as they were on announce, but the knowledge that they may be a good few years away means dragging them out again now might not be the best idea.
"But surely this is the year," you protest, dreaming of a release date announcement. "After all, it's been four years since Kingdom Hearts 3 was officially announced, and 11 years since Kingdom hearts 2 released."
Yes, dear, we hear you, but offer this in counterpoint: Tetsuya Nomura, the man who took so long (11 years!) trying to make Final Fantasy Versus 13 happen that Square "Patience" Enix took it away and got someone else to finish the bloody thing. Besides, Square Enix is having a lovely time re-releasing and collecting the old games. Maybe we won't see Kingdom hearts 3 at E3 2017. Maybe we'll never see it again.
Ubisoft has confirmed the new Assassin's Creed will be on show at E3 2017. Fans of the franchise are really excited to see where this one goes, after Ubisoft suddenly cancelled its annual, multi-studio release schedule to give the franchise time to recover from the indignity of Assassin's Creed: Unity and better-but-not-breathtaking follow up Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
We're hopeful a full and proper reboot of the gameplay systems, if not the lore, will pay off. Rumours suggest it's a huge open-world affair with sailing, and there's good reason to believe them - heck, Kotaku UK is pretty sure the leaks are an orchestrated marketing exercise.
Potentially titled either Origins or Empire, the new Assassin's Creed is believed to have an Egyptian setting. It's pretty believable; Egyptian civilisation is so ancient and so well documented that Ubisoft would have literally thousands of years of recorded history to choose an era from. We've also seen links to Egypt in existing Assassin's Creed games, transmedia and marketing materials, so we know it's something Ubisoft has been considering for a while. Plus, it just keeps leaking.
All our questions about the new Assassin's Creed will be answered at E3 2017.