All aboard! The E3 Hype train is at the station.
Ahh, smell that? The subtle aroma of hype mixed with the tang of anticipation and just a touch of hope. The scent of E3 is in the air again and I couldn’t be happier. The excitement of what is around the corner overrides my normal levels of cynicism. The grumpy old gamer that usually occupies my desk chair is replaced by an eager child, looking forward to seeing what gaming’s biggest companies will be bringing him. To put it plainly I just enjoy the whole E3 experience. Everything from the cheesy scripted dialogue of the presenters to the glitchy game presentations. This year is no different and I eagerly await the beginning of the festivities.
This year though I have a feeling that it is going to be a quieter event. Last year was an insanely good show. Microsoft and Sony both had excellent conferences and the third parties all brought some big surprises to the show. This year I have a feeling that it just won’t reach those giant highs. It seems that there is going to be quite a large focus on hardware. From VR headsets to new iterations of current consoles, shiny new gear is probably going to hold center stage for quite a large percentage of the big presentations. For me that is a slight bummer, I personally would much rather a focus on showing off new games as opposed to someone telling me how 4k video is the future.
But apart from the focus on hardware I still think we are in for a good show. Sony and Microsoft should both have some surprises up their sleeves. I would love for Microsoft to bring some new IP to the event As much as I love Halo, Gears and Forza (and I honestly do) some fresh ideas would do the company well. From Sony, I would love to see some solid release dates on their anticipated new titles. Last year the company had a dire shortage of first party titles, especially in the back half of the year, so I hope that they will have some big games locked down for the silly season. I also hope that both Sony and Microsoft can come to some sort of agreement over crossplay. I know it is probably wishful thinking but I can hold onto my utopian dream for a while longer can’t I?
As for the third parties, I think they will actually outshine the big two this year. In particular, I think EA and Ubisoft could be primed for big shows. EA should have a boatload of Star Wars stuff on show and I just know that will get the crowd pumping. They will also have the ever popular Battlefield as well as Titanfall 2 on display to keep my inner shooter fan happy. Add Mass Effect, the unannounced Bioware title and any surprises they may have tucked away (KoToR 3 please) and we have a party. I just hope they don’t spend 50% of their time talking about sports. Show the sports games for sure but interviews with past sporting legends are something that belongs on 60 minutes and not an E3 stage. Ubisoft’s lineup is a little more in the air. Sure they will have Watch Dogs 2, Wildlands, For Honor and South Park but apart from that, there is little else confirmed. Will Rayman make an appearance? Is it time for Sam Fisher’s return? Will Ubisoft finally give us Beyond Good and Evil 2? There is a lot that could happen in the Ubisoft conference making it potentially super exciting.
Square Enix should also be in for a big show. From the Japanese side of the company, there should be a huge focus on Final Fantasy. Both XV and the VII remake should get plenty of air time. There will also possibly be more information on Kingdom Hearts 3 but I don’t think there is going to be a release date for this one. On the American side of the company Deus Ex: Mankind Divided should get a huge push and hopefully we will see something new from Crystal Dynamics and Avalanche.
2k also has a potentially massive show in store. Mafia 3 will have a massive presence and I for one am excited. I think this game is a dark horse for Game of the Year. But let’s be real here. There is one thing we want from 2k and Rockstar and that is potentially the biggest announcement. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been rumored for years but those rumors have reached deafening levels in the lead-up to this year’s E3. Will we finally be returning to the old west? I really hope so.
Finally, I just want to spend a little time pondering Nintendo. Nintendo has basically thrown in the towel as far as the Wii U is concerned so it seems strange to me that they won’t be bringing the NX to E3. This could have been their chance to get back on the front foot but they seem to be content with being….well Nintendo. Strange business choices aside I am keen to see some open world Zelda action and possibly some Paper Mario footage.
In all, I think that E3 2016 will be an exciting show. The third parties should really kill it this year and Microsoft and Sony should excite with some new hardware. So I am going to kick back and relax, get my body ready for the onslaught and put my finely honed cynicism on the back shelf for a week. Monday is kick-off for the biggest games show on the planet and I just can’t wait. Do you know what? That is a wonderful feeling to have.