E3 is the world’s biggest gaming show. Every June, the video game development community and press gather in Los Angeles to learn about what the next year has in store for the world of video games.
It’s an exciting show. The big players in the industry, from Sony to Microsoft and Nintendo to Ubisoft, all compete to get the biggest headlines by saving their biggest announcements for the show.
In previous years we’ve seen the announcement of new consoles and new games, and with two new consoles being released this year (the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio), we’re expecting the major publishers to have something big lined up for the show.
But what exactly is coming? Read on for our top predictions for this year’s show.
It’s a big year for Nintendo. Last summer’s Pokemon Go reminded everyone how much affection there still is for Nintendo’s classic franchises, and consequently Pokemon Sun and Moon went on to be one of the fastest selling Pokemon games in some time.
But Nintendo wasn’t done there. Its NES Classic Mini, which bundled 30 classic NES games into a cute little chassis was one of the hottest presents of the holidays, and its Nintendo Switch reveal had us all very excited indeed for the company’s new console.
Nintendo has a lot to play for at this year’s E3. The Switch will be three months old at that point, and Nintendo will need to use its presence at the show to maintain the console’s momentum, and convince people that it has a lot of games coming for the console for the coming years.
At a minimum we expect the new Super Mario Odyssey to form a big part of Nintendo’s showing, but we’d be disappointed if we didn’t see at least one new big game announced, such as the rumored Pokemon Stars.
Every year we cross our fingers and hope that Retro Studios will be allowed to make another Metroid Prime game, or that Nintendo might see fit to resurrect F-Zero for another outing, but what’s more likely is that the company will be hoping to launch a couple of all new franchises with its new console.
We’ve already seen the company pushing its new games Arms and 1-2 Switch at the console’s hands on event, but we’re sure the company has a lot more in store for the new hardware.
If the response so far has been an indicator of anything, it’s that Nintendo could really use a game to show what the Switch is capable of, in the same way that Wii Sports perfectly showed off the capabilities of the Wii.
Sony has developed a knack for showstopping E3 presentations in recent years. Two years ago it stole the show by announcing a long-anticipated remake of Final Fantasy 7 alongside Shenmue 3, and last year it let games such as God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn speak for themselves alongside an appearance from legendary game designer Hideo Kojima.
It then went on to be a big hardware year for Sony. It launched a refresh of the PS4’s hardware with the PS4 slim, a new 4K console in the form of the PS4 Pro, and the first ever console virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR.
We think virtual reality will be a big focus for Sony at this year’s event. Its VR headset is out in the wild now, and people need big meaty gaming experiences to convince them it’s a worthwhile investment.
Announced at last year’s presentation, Star Wars VR ended up being an amazing experience whose biggest problem was its length. We’d love to see a full-length Star Wars X-Wing game that can be played in virtual reality in its entirety announced at this year’s show.
We also saw the announcement of a new Spider-Man game developed by Ratchet
Otherwise we expect Sony to be pretty much business as usual at this year’s show. It’s developed a comfortable lead over Microsoft in hardware sales, and it’s unlikely to want to upset this too much.
Last year Microsoft announced not one, but two new pieces of hardware – the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.
The former sounded at first as though it was going to be a traditional slimline console, but Microsoft then announced it would bundle in an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and support for 4K streaming for good measure.
Project Scorpio, meanwhile, is looking like it’ll be a much more major upgrade. Microsoft is promising it will bring native 4K gaming to consoles for the first time.
With Scorpio due out at the end of this year, we expect it to form a big part of Microsoft’s presentation at this year’s show. The company needs to show off exactly what the console will be capable of, and have a pile of games to demonstrate this.
We wouldn’t be surprised if some existing Xbox One games see Scorpio patches or re-releases as well. Flagship titles like Halo 5, Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 are obvious contenders, but we’re crossing our fingers that Microsoft finally gets around to fixing the Master Chief Collection for a 4K re-release.
We’re also likely to see more talk of Rare’s Sea of Thieves, but beyond that Microsoft doesn’t have many franchises that have been missing in action recently that it could do with resurrecting.
This leaves the door open for third-party publishers to make announcements at their show. Assassin’s Creed seems likely, and Call of Duty is an obvious crowd-pleaser, but we can always dream about some shock surprises from the home of Halo.
EA, Activition, and the rest
It would be great to see a Half Life 3 reveal. At this point it’s basically not going to happen, but it’s become a tradition to half-heartedly hope for it to make an appearance at E3.
From the rest of the publishers it’s going to be a bit of a weird year with a lot of different hardware combinations to support.
Developers now have around five different pieces of hardware to worry about supporting. There’s the PS4 and PS4 Pro, the Xbox One and the upcoming Project Scorpio, not to mention the Nintendo Switch and the sea of PC gaming combinations.
There’s also the three separate VR headsets to worry about supporting.
We imagine the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio will form the basis for most of their bigger games. These games will still come to the original PS4 and Xbox One, but we think publishers will focus on the more powerful hardware, while mentioning that games will also be available for the older hardware.
Will publishers embrace the Switch? They’ve been burned before with the Wii U, so we’d say it’s unlikely that they put all their eggs in Nintendo’s basket. Expect a couple of smaller announcements for the console however, such as ports from biggest franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.
The plans of specific publishers are a little harder to predict. Activision is unlikely to return to the show, and EA has already announced that it will be hosting its alternative EA Play event once again rather than exhibit at E3.
Last year EA used its event to announce Battlefield 1, which went on to be a very capable reboot of the franchise, but this year we think Star Wars is going to be a big hitter for the publisher.
After all, EA has its new studio, Motive Studios, working on a Star Wars game alongside Visceral Games. Between them the two studios have a formidable collection of talent including Jade Raymond (of Assassin’s Creed fame), Amy Hennig (Uncharted) and Kim Swift (Portal), so we’ve got high hopes for what they end up producing.
After giving its Assassin’s Creed series a year off, 2017 might be the year Ubisoft brings it back with a fresh coat of paint and some new ideas under the hood. The games haven’t gotten bad exactly, but the formula has worn thin over the years. Hopefully the year’s break will have been enough to reignite the franchise.
Finally, Konami will be in attendance. Will it have some new Metal Gear wares to show off now that Kojima has well and truly departed? Despite our curiosity, we have to admit that we’d be ok if it just let the franchise fade into obscurity now that its project lead has left the business.
Finally, outside of the big players there’s sure to be a couple of interesting indie games on show, and these might end up making an appearance at the PC Gaming Show, a conference dedicated to showing off games for the PC gaming market.