The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, takes place this year in Los Angeles from June 10-12.
It is always a big deal for gamers considering all the game announcements, trailers, and information revealed by the major gaming companies, but this year’s show is setting up to be particularly important as all the major players have something to prove.
Aside from Nintendo, no company needs to have a huge show more than Microsoft. The company has undergone radical change in the past year, with a new CEO, Satya Nadella, as well as a new head of its Xbox division, Phil Spencer.
Despite the successful launch of the Xbox One, as well as sales figures that are greater those of the Xbox 360 at the same point in time, Microsoft has been plagued by contradictory messages and poor policy decisions that it has had to reverse, suggesting that there is no succinct vision of what the Xbox One is supposed to be.
Spencer has stated that the long-term focus of the console going forward will be games, which is smart considering the major strength of the platform right now is its lineup of games. The only surefire must-have next-gen game right now is Titanfall, so look for Microsoft to build off that with new details about Halo 5, the next Halo Anniversary project, the next Gears of War, Forza Horizon 2, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Sunset Overdrive, a zany game that seems to be what would you get if you mixed Dead Rising with Crackdown and took on Big Energy Drink.
Speaking of Crackdown, do not be surprised if Crackdown 3 is announced. There is also a good chance we will get a sneak peek at the new Mass Effect game in the works as well as something about Fable.
Also, Microsoft should look to protect Xbox Live as the premiere online gaming service with more announcements about DLC arriving first on the Xbox One, probably in conjunction with new trailers for multi-platform games such as The Division and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Finally, expect to hear more about the upcoming Halo television project as well as something about the Kinect. With the recent decision to offer an Xbox One without the much-maligned peripheral, Microsoft needs to show something that will keep the Kinect relevant.
Do not expect to see Usher, though.
Sony has much to be proud of, but like Microsoft, it also faces some challenges. Sales for the PlayStation 4 have been strong, yet the console has suffered from a lack of quality games. Unlike the Xbox One and Titanfall, it does not have that “must-have” game yet. Sony needs to come out swinging while it has the advantage and demonstrate to gamers that there is plenty of awesomeness in the pipeline.
It stands to reason that Destiny will play a big part in that, as will Assassin’s Creed. Ubisoft has mentioned two AC projects, Unity and Comet. The former is for next-gen consoles and PC while the latter is a project for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
As far as exclusives go, expect to see more of Driveclub, Project Beast, and The Order: 1886, even after being delayed until next year. And while the game is still in the early stages of development, Uncharted 4 may make an appearance at some point.
Sony’s new VR headset, Project Morpheus, will likely feature prominently as well.
Like I mentioned above, no company needs a huge showing more than Nintendo. The company has fallen behind the past few years, and what was once the Big Three now looks more like the Big Two. To make matters worse, Nintendo posted a major loss last year, and the Wii U has not sold nearly as well as expected.
Mario Kart 8 offers a ray of hope, especially with Luigi taking names. A new Super Smash Bros. is coming to Wii U and 3DS, so expect more information about that, such as release dates and new characters. Hyrule Warriors has generated some buzz since it was revealed, and we ought to hear more about that title, as well, along with Bayonetta 2 and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby.
Since Nintendo needs to pull out all the stops, it would not be a surprise to see teasers for a new Zelda game and possibly even something like Metroid or Starfox.
On the non-game front, there is speculation Nintendo may reveal more details about its Nintendo Figurine Platform, a system of action figures that utilizes near field communication technology.
With more and more AAA titles going multi-platform, the major game developers are stealing more of the attention away from the console manufacturers. Ubisoft, in particular, is primed to have a huge show.
As was mentioned earlier, the company has not one, but two Assassin’s Creed projects in the works. Unity will get significant attention, as it is the first AC title on the next-gen consoles. Far Cry 4 is set to hit shelves this fall, and while it is not slated for release until 2015, expect to see more of The Division, a title revealed at last year’s E3 that is looking quite promising.
It may be too early to hear anything about another Splinter Cell considering Blacklist just came out last fall, but like Assassin’s Creed, that franchise does not have a next-gen title yet. Maybe a teaser trailer will be shown?
One franchise to keep an eye on is Rainbow Six. It has been years since the last Rainbow Six game. Rainbow Six: Patriots was announced in 2011, but little else was heard about it. At the tail end of 2013, it was confirmed to still be in the works, although it had to be retooled. It would not be a surprise if we learned more about what Patriots has become.
Electronic Arts is in a position to have a big show as well. Madden 2015 will release in August, and that is a key franchise for EA. The next Battlefield game, Battlefield: Hardline, already suffered a slew of leaks, so while the element of surprise is gone, we will likely learn more details about the upcoming cops versus robbers shooter.
It is practically a given that EA will devote significant time and attention to its upcoming Star Wars titles, Battlefront III and an unnamed project by Visceral, especially to coincide with all the news about the new movie currently in production.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will make an appearance, and it is likely that Mirror’s Edge 2 will as well. I already mentioned Mass Effect, but a peek at what BioWare is working on would definitely steal the show.
As far as non-Ubisoft and EA games go, be on the lookout for more on Batman: Arkham Knight and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I have a hunch that Bethesda, after teasing it for a long time, will finally reveal Fallout 4.
What are you most excited to see this year at E3? Will any of these games force you to finally purchase a a next-gen console?