For us game nerds, this time of year gets us a little restless. E3 – the biggest and best trade show for gaming – is just around the corner, and with it, the promise of much awesomeness to come.
I liken it to the excitement you would get as a kid coming in to Christmas, when game companies would start advertising heavily on TV a couple months out with all the latest and greatest home video games. You’d start annoying your parents the moment you saw the first commercial, and suddenly started doing any chore you could think of around the house in order to ensure that they would part with their hard earned moneys for the sake of your prepubescent pixel addiction. For the game publishers, the model worked perfectly: get the kids hyped with sugar-soaked commercials, get them nagging their parents on a daily basis, and then sit back while the sales start rolling in. KA-CHING!
The method of delivery has changed, but the hype is just the same. (Source: youtube.com/user/Monkster21)
Well, those kids are all grown up now, and for better or worse, we still love the hype machine; we still want to see what the latest and greatest is going to look like before we get our corn chip stained mitts on it. The model has evolved over the years though, with TV commercials taking a back seat to the bigger trade shows, where huge budgets are spent on wowing the crowd and getting us all salivating for the latest pixel based narcotics. It works extremely well, and we can’t get enough of it! And the hype doesn’t just start when the show does; it starts waaaaay before opening day, with a never-ending buzz of rumours and speculation from gamers the world over, whirring around on digital media.
So what’s the hype this year? Let us tell you, there’s quite the stack, and here’s all that we’ve been able to dig up so far. There’s something for everyone, and a lot to get through, so strap in team:
Will Microsoft and Sony make some kind of announcement about their upgraded consoles?
It’s unlikely at the moment that there will be an XBox One.5, but who knows. On the other hand though, the PlayStation 4K seems like it might actually see the light of day. The controversial manoeuvre to tweak and repackage the current platform is one that has divided the community, and has developers scratching their heads as they come to grips with the possibility of having to churn out an extra version of every game they release. We’re definitely keen to see what happens here, but it could go pair-shaped quite easily if not executed correctly.
(Fan-made rendition of what the 4K might look like)
Are we going to see Nintendo’s NX?
We’d really love to see this one! Having a Nintendo with proper power is something we’ve been wanting for a while now. Nintendo have sort of said they’ll be keeping tight lipped about it at E3, but most think this could be a fake-out to add extra punch to the delivery. We’ll see I guess. There’s also talk of the new Zelda being held back for the release of the NX, so we might see something about everybody’s favourite sword wielding elf, in shiny new high-res glory. And if we’re real lucky, we might also get a peek at the new Super Mario on NX. That would be awesome! Click here for our look at what the NX might be.
What games will Sony be showing off?
- There’s a very strong chance we’ll see God of War 4 revealed. Kratos finally makes the jump to the current gen and we’re hanging to see this one in action. There’s also rumours of a Nordic mythology setting for the fallen God, so it will be good to see that confirmed or not.
- Last of Us 2 is also strongly rumoured, and the flames are being fueled by the discovery of a Last of Us easter egg in Uncharted 4. If it’s one thing Naughty Dog loves, it’s a mind bending preview, and we say bring it on!
- Polyphony Digital are also set to show off the new Gran Turismo, named ‘Sport’. For the time being, it seems like it will be a stripped down version – much like the Prologue version before Gran Turismo 5 – featuring advanced damage and weather effects not seen in previous versions. We’ve been awaiting the GT franchise to jump up to the PS4, and we can’t wait to see what Polyphony have done with the new tech.
- We also expect to see a tonne of new stuff for PSVR, but the biggest rumour here is that Gran Turismo: Sport will be VR ready! So who knows, we might even see that in full swing.
- Also, expect to see something from Horizon: Zero Dawn and WiLD; two prehistoric themed games, coming from two completely different angles.
What games will Microsoft be showing off?
- We’re guaranteed to see Gears of War 4. This is The Coalition’s first shot at the popular shooter after taking the reigns from Epic, and the reactions to their beta were mixed at best. Many have said that for a current gen game, it felt very much like a last gen effort. Hopefully they can turn that perception around, because gear heads really want this to be awesome.
- Scalebound, the Japanese fantasy sci-fi action rpg, has been begging for a release date, having been on the radar since 2014. Everybody wants to know when they can get their hands on this awesome looking game, packed with massive bosses and the ability to use a Dragon companion for battle! Are we there yet? How about now?
- There will almost certainly be some type of reveal for the new Forza game, thought to be named ‘Horizon 3’. With more gameplay, more cars and deeper customisation options, this is set to be a must have for the series’ fans. Partnering with Lamborghini this time round, the new top end hypercar ‘Centenario’ will be the cover car for the upcoming racer – a true beast!
And for the PC gamers?
- Most importantly for PC heads this year, the return of the PCGamingShow. A show inside the show, dedicated purely to the PC gaming world. This event was a huge success last year and is back bigger and better. PC exclusives and New technology will be the main focus once again, with everybody keen to see the new Nvidia GTX 1080 in action.
- Probably the most anticipated PC release(s) on show this year will be Star Citizen and Squadron 42. The companion space sim games from Cloud Imperium will see would be space explorers eagerly climbing aboard their jump ships to set out for where no man has gone before.
- If you’re into sim games, then you may have been looking forward to Planet Coaster, the modern day descendant of Roller Coaster Tycoon. It seems we might see some more alpha gameplay and maybe even a mention of a release date? If you’re into theme park sims, this definitely looks like it’s the deepest and most detailed one to date.
What other new games might we see announced?
- Red Dead Redemption 2 – We all want this. Shut up and take our pesos!
- Resident Evil 7 – Back to pure horror roots? We bloody hope so.
- Kojima Production’s new game – What has the master got in store for us now he’s gone out alone?
- Destiny 2 – More Destiny? It’s definitely time for a refresh.
- Prince of Persia – The current gen leap for an old favourite?
- Watch Dogs 2 – Can they get it right this time round?
What/who won’t we see at the show?
- EA games has stayed out of this year’s E3 and decided to hold their own pre-show showcase the weekend before. Named simplistically, Play, the event will showcase EA’s latest offerings on their own timeline, separate to E3. Expect to see stuff for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, a new FIFA, and most likely something awesome about the highly anticipated Titanfall 2.
- Developers, Bioware, have confirmed Mass Effect: Andromeda will be showcased at the EA Play event too. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ve already been looking forward to this one! The announce trailer last year had gamers frothing, so it would be awesome to see some actual gameplay on the new Frostbite platform, and hopefully find out a little more about the new galaxy we’ll find ourselves in.
- Also missing are Activision/Blizzard, though they will be teaming up with Sony to rattle on about the new CoD, Infinite Yawnfare. Once again, PlayStation users will be granted exclusive early access to dlc maps, and the joint presentation from Sony and Activision is meant to reinforce this fact. Meh…
- Disney Interactive have also dropped out this year. Though they pulled out of E3 well before announcing they will no longer be developing Infinity, it would seem they anticipated this moment well in advance. I know many kids will miss Disney’s games. R.I.P. digital Mickey.
So, like the 8 year old kid I used to be, waiting anxiously for the latest barrage of cheesy video game ads to appear during my Saturday morning cartoon ritual, there’s an enormous amount to get excited about when E3 2016 finally starts hitting my news feeds. There’s some huge games coming out over the next year or so, and E3 always leaves you feeling like you’re going to need to take a second job to make sure you don’t miss out on a single one of them.
E3 16 is on from June 14-16, and we’ll be bringing you updates from the show as they happen. Keep an eye out for our thoughts and reactions as we board the hype train!