The annual E3 Hype Train has left the station and is barreling along towards its inevitable conclusion at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 16-18th. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the largest tradeshow in video games and is typically the outlet for the most exciting new gaming announcements. E3 is generally a good indicator of what the next couple years in gaming will look like, with most major publishers revealing their upcoming big titles and plans.E3 2015 is poised to be a very game-centric affair, as most of the new gaming hardware is now firmly established and now require significant software support. However, virtual reality is also poised to have a big showing, as hardware like the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus are arriving on store shelves in the next few years, potentially launching a revolution in how we play games.
With the increasing popularity of many disparate niches in the gaming community (indies, VR, mobile, to name a few) there are many observers who want different things out of E3. These are the 10 announcements that we hope E3 2015 has in store for us.
10. Clearer Messaging Surrounding The Oculus Rift
Virtual Reality continues to be the gaming industry’s biggest buzzword and there is no doubt that the technology will have a strong presence at this year’s E3. The team behind the Oculus Rift, the most popular VR headset right now, has already confirmed that the Rift is coming in early 2016 and what kind of PC specs will be needed to run the device, but more information needs to be provided at E3. The main problem with the Oculus Rift — and VR in general — is that the majority of the consumer market still don’t care about it or are unaware of what it can even do. It would be great to see the Oculus team address this issue and outline their marketing plan leading up the device’s release. If they can get Rift demos in every major retail chain across North America, it would give consumers a much better idea of why they should care about VR.
9. A New Game From Ubisoft
We already know some of the games that Ubisoft is going to talk about at E3, with Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, The Division, and Rainbow Six: Siege making up just a few of the company’s stable. The major Canadian publisher also announced in an early May earnings call that they would be revealing a new AAA game at their E3 press conference. The safe bet is that this unannounced title will turn out to be a sequel to one of Ubisoft’s already established franchises, like Watch Dogs 2. It would be refreshing though to see Ubisoft take a risk and reveal a brand new Intellectual Property (IP), much like they did with their Watch Dogs announcement a few years ago. That being said, a new Splinter Cell game would also be welcome.
8. Next Gears of War Title
The Xbox One probably has the best 2015 holiday line-up of any gaming platform, anchored by the highly-anticipated Halo 5: Guardians. Once Halo comes and goes though, it’s a bit of a mystery as to what Microsoft’s 2016 release plans are. We’re sure to see some big game reveals at Microsoft’s press conference, but a new Gears of War title is probably the most obvious card that the company could go with. We already know the game is in development at Black Tusk Studios and that a remastered version of the first game is on the way, but a formal reveal (with gameplay) could hit it big at E3. Honestly though, as predictable as it would be, a new Gears of War game would be a welcome sight. The series went a bit off the rails with the 2013 prequel title Judgment, but new hardware could be just the thing to breathe some new life into this once-innovative franchise.
7. Valve Announces New Game
This one’s pretty simple: Valve needs to make a new game. Even if it’s not Half-Life 3 — the game every gamer seems to want, even if it remains vaporware — a return to game development would be a popular move on Valve’s part. considering they haven’t shipped a new story-driven game since 2011’s Portal 2. Of course, Valve has their enormously successful online game distribution platform Steam and probably doesn’t need to make another game as long as that continues to make them money. Still, there is a lot of demand for a new Valve game and it would be nice to see the company respond with an announcement at E3.
6. Formal Mass Effect Reveal
Electronic Arts announced at last year’s E3 that the next entry in the popular space-faring RPG series Mass Effect was in the works for next gen hardware and would feature a whole new cast of characters from the previous games. That wasn’t much information to go off of though, so an official unveiling of the next Mass Effect game at this year’s E3 would be a great move for EA and developer Bioware. We’ve already seen what Bioware can do on new hardware with the Dragon Age series thanks to last year’s well-received Inquisition, so the logical next step is to see what kind of wonders they can dream up with a Mass Effect game made exclusively for new hardware.
5. Zelda Game For 3DS
Nintendo deflated fans’ expectations when they announced that the next Legend of Zelda title for Wii U had been pushed back to 2016. Nintendo almost always has a light year when it comes to major software releases, but the exit of Zelda from a 2015 window leaves things in particularly dire straits. Nintendo has to announce as many new games as possible at E3 to help ease the minds of fans and investors, and a new Zelda game for the 3DS would be a welcome part of that plan. The last Zelda title for the handheld, 2013’s A Link Between Worlds, was a total knockout, and it would be great to see another entry in the franchise with the same 3D top-down perspective. Yes, we’ve already seen a Zelda 3DS title this year in the form of Majora’s Mask 3D, but that was a remake of an older game. A wholly new Zelda title is always welcome.
4. New Metroid Title
As previously mentioned, Nintendo is going to have a rough year of releases if they don’t announce a few new major titles at E3. We already know that a new Star Fox game is in the works and is scheduled to release by the end of 2015. Nintendo should take the opportunity to address a neglected segment of their fanbase who are itching for a new entry in the Metroid series. The last game in the series, 2010’s Metroid: Other M for the Wii, was a disappointment to many and wasn’t even developed in-house by Nintendo. Fans want to see a return to the first person gameplay of the acclaimed Metroid Prime series (heck, even a 2D sidescroller would be celebrated at this point) and Nintendo needs to start paying attention to their dormant franchises. Speaking of which, a new F-Zero game would be appreciated as well.
3. A Slew of Sony First Party Games
Sony built a reputation for itself as the company with the best exclusive games during the PlayStation 3’s lifecycle thanks to their large stable of talented development studios. When it comes to the PS4 though, Sony’s first party offerings haven’t quite been up to snuff so far. Launch window titles Killzone: ShadowFall and Infamous: Second Son were pretty good, but Ready At Dawn’s The Order: 1886, released earlier this year, was a massive disappointment. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is coming in 2016, but what else does Sony have right now to really look forward to? Sony needs to make a big splash with their E3 press conference and the best way to do that is by doing what they do best: making great games.
2. Fallout 4
As far as E3 predictions go, this one is about as close to a sure thing as it gets, as Bethesda Softworks has scheduled their first ever E3 press conference, which means that the company is coming to L.A. with some exciting game announcements under their belt. A new entry in the popular post-apocalyptic RPG series Fallout would be the most obvious candidate for being the centrepiece of the conference, as it’s the most clamored-for title in Bethesda’s stable of franchises, and the series is due for a shiny new next-gen sequel.
1. The Last Guardian is Real and Coming to PS4
This is sort of an extension of the entry regarding Sony’s first party lineup, but it arguably deserves its own category. Sony has been torturing fans for years with the continued delays and mixed messaging surrounding Team Ico’s The Last Guardian, the follow-up project to 2005’s beloved Shadow of the Colossus. The game has been stuck in development hell since it was first revealed at E3 2009. Sony still insists it’s coming, but won’t reveal when or for what platform. It’s unlikely that any of this will change at this year’s E3, but at this point, Sony would win E3 automatically if they showed even a snippet of The Last Guardian; Even a release window and a confirmation of the platform would be enough.