Despite a number of premature announcements earlier this week, E3 looks to be as exciting as ever. For gamers there’s no time of the year that is more anticipated and for gaming journalists (which I don’t qualify as yet) there is none hated more. While a few early leaks and reveals have surprised some, this offload ahead of the expo’s official start next week could be a sign that the major publishers have lots to show this year.
Nintendo seem to be the one exception – for the past few years they have moved away from the traditional press format and exclusivity of E3 (and it’s physical presence in LA).
Broadcasting ‘Nintendo Directs’, they have been able to bypass the cost and effort of a physical press conference. And with the slow death of the Wii U, Nintendo have decided to forgo even an online conference and will instead be focusing almost entirely on the latest Legend of Zelda game in a number of streams called ‘Nintendo Treehouse Live’. A few other previously announced games including Pokemon Sun and Moon, Pokemon Go, and _Monster Hunter Generation_s will also be livestreamed from the conference floor. Apart from that, don’t expect many surprises.
In more exciting news, Sony are set to reveal details of a more powerful, upgraded Playstation 4. New games will be able to take advantage of the reportedly large graphical processing power increase but will have to continue to support the original model. This is seen by many in the industry as a reaction to the smartphone sector’s model of yearly iterative hardware upgrades.
Not only will the console be capable of outputting 4K it will also be, as a result of improved hardware, a more compelling reason to purchase Playstation VR this autumn. Last year, Sony surprised fans with the announcement of Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue 3, and many will hope to be as blown away this time round. It’s likely we’ll see gameplay from Destiny: Rise of Iron, a release date and more gameplay for The Last Guardian, and a possible appearance from Rockstar (a new game in the Red Dead franchise is heavily rumoured).
The announcement of a new Xbox is less likely but a number of insiders have hinted that the new Xbox One will be targeting a performance of six teraflops (whatever that means). Microsoft will show more of the already leaked Titanfall 2, more from Halo Wars 2 which was teased at least year’s conference, and lots of Gears of War 4 gameplay. So basically lots of guys (and now girls) with guns. Rare will show off more of their open-world pirate game Sea of Thieves, finally free from developing the awfully dull Kinect Sports games. It’s amazing how quickly the internet, and gaming press, have forgotten that the Kinect was originally bundled with the Xbox One, much to the anger of gamers in 2013. Luckily, those terrible days are past us now and we’re now blessed instead with an endless stream of largely uninspired sequels. Don’t expect Microsoft to show any major new IPs this year.
While previous console generations seemed to rely more on exclusives, the success of the industry in the last few years has come about largely as the result of an increase in cross-platform releases. Third-parties just aren’t willing to take the risk, even when there are large financial incentives from the console makers. Ubisoft might finally deliver on the promise of the original Watch Dogs trailer with Watch Dogs 2 which will be set in San Francisco. And EA will show off their World War One first-person shooter Battlefield 1. Will Battlefield 1 be respectful of the horrific events of the the Great War? Probably not, but at least it’s set in an alternative universe. Bethesda will reveal more of Dishonoured 2 and the two new playable characters (this time you can choose your gender) and it’s rumoured that they will announce a definitive edition of Skyrim, making it playable for the first time on the PS4 and Xbox One. Outside of the larger publishers, a leak on Tuesday revealed that Injustice 2, the DC arcade fighting game, will be Warner Brother’s biggest showing. Other rumours have suggested that a number of titles based on Marvel properties (including Spider-Man) will also be shown off. Despite the success of the film franchise, so far there has been little effort to produce games based on the cinematic universe’s vast array of characters.