E3 2016 Expectations

And here we go again. Another E3 is upon us, with the industry’s heavyweights gathering before the show floor opens to lay their cards on the table. Starting tomorrow we’ll get to see what Electronic Arts and Bethesda will bring to the table in the following year, with Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sony and a repeat of last year’s PC Gaming Show to follow it up the day after. Here’s what I expect from the big guns.

Electronic Arts

Sports sports sports, another guest sports person, maybe even a guest sports car if Need For Speed has something new in the pipe. They may also take the opportunity to talk about future content for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, which went on sale last week.

One thing I’m surprised wasn’t held back for the E3 barrage of new content was the recent Sims 4 patch, freeing up a lot of new customization options previously gender-restricted. Fault them all you like on their dodgy business practices and buying and killing smaller names, but EA does make the extra effort to provide inclusive products. Perhaps they’ll touch on this at the presser, maybe even as a lead-in to a Sims 5

What I’ll be watching this show for, though, is Mass Effect Andromeda. We’ve heard very little about this title, and it’s getting to be the time where we should start expecting actual gameplay footage soon. It’s also about time we started seeing more of the game’s cast of characters; ME largely built itself on the strength of its cast in the original trilogy, and with them falling by the wayside we’ll need a new team to emotionally invest in.

Bethesda

Last year Bethesda had Fallout 4 with which to win over the faithful, and they did emphatically. That’s since released and was just as big as expected. This year there’ll still be Dishonored 2 to look forward to, along with potential content updates for Doom, a remastered edition of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Elder Scrolls-themed card game Legends, a new expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online.

As it is, though, all that by itself doesn’t feel like a lot. There are whisperings of an all-new entry to the mainline TES series, which may get a look in. I’m going into this one without much in the way of expectations, but knowing they might have what it takes to blow my socks off.

Microsoft

Despite announcing backwards compatibility for 360 titles on the Xbox One at last year’s more low-key presser, the rollout of 360 titles to the new platform has been frustratingly slow, and the news was blown out of the water by a certain rival’s presser later that day. MS will be looking to claw back some market share after being behind the eightball with the Xbox One, and has to bring something of substance to the party this year.

One thing to be expected will be Halo 5. The narrative behind the next instalment of Microsoft’s flagship shooter franchise has been kept tightly under wraps until now, and it just might be the time to show it off. Other big exclusives they’ll be looking to show off include Rise of the Tomb Raider, their next Forza title (expertly timed to rival news of Gran Turismo Sport) and Popcap Games’ Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.

Also expect time to be given to Electronic Arts, whose EA Access program still enjoys exclusivity on Xbox One. This might be used to show off some of EA’s triple-A titles, or simply to plug some of the upcoming EA Sports line.

Finally, last year’s MS presser delved heavily into Microsoft HoloLens, their take on the altered reality trend, showing off the gaming applications with a real-world Minecraft demo. Since then MS has been rather quiet on that front; do they have something big saved up for E3?

Ubisoft

The company behind Assassin’s Creed will have something different to show this year, pledging earlier that they’re giving the Assassins Guild the year off in 2016. Typically Ubi has a conference filled with strong titles interspersed with the typical developments in Just Dance, awkward sexual references from company mouthpiece Aisha Tyler (please don’t go you’re both intentionally and unintentionally hilarious) and animated rabbits.

This year we can safely expect more footage of upcoming titles For Honor, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and Tom Clancy title Ghost Recon: Wildlands. People are also clamouring to see more of Watchdogs 2, officially revealed only in this past week. Being set in San Francisco aside it looks like another compelling entry in what’s now a series.

Finally, despite this year being decidedly Assassin-free, there’s a very real chance we could get a sneak peek at the next game in the franchise, and also a fresh look at the brand’s upcoming movie, starring Michael Fassbender.

Sony

If I were to describe last year’s E3 for Sony, I’d compare it to the big reveal scene in Jurassic Park. The audience is rumbling along in a jeep through lush grassland, with Sony playing the role of excited John Hammond. Suddenly, the audience gets a look at something they long thought to be extinct; actual gameplay of The Last Guardian-osaurus. Then Sony, smug bastards they are, let slip they’ve got a remake of Final Fantasy 7-saurus Rex in the works. Finally, the camera pans out to a herd of Shenmue 3-asaura drinking from a nearby lagoon. There was a winner last year, and it was Sony.

But that was last year. Sony can’t possibly come up with a presser THAT badass again.

Sony still has first dip at content for Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, so expect that to get some time on the big screen. An unexpected delay in big new title from last year No Man’s Sky has led some to suspect it’s being rejigged to work with PlayStation VR, which will whet some appetites. Speaking of VR, it’s serving as a hotbed for Sony, with word that it’s being used as a vehicle to give some loved franchises a new lease of life.

As for the big items, FF7 will again have a presence for sure, with new gameplay footage and a more solid picture of the game’s structure. Decidedly former Konami guru Hideo Kojima will be making his new company’s game with the PS4 firmly in mind, and an appearance from the games legend isn’t out of the question. Let’s see if they don’t have another rabbit to pull out of the hat.

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Posted on June 13, 2016, in Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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