This is an odd E3 when it comes to hardware hype vs software hype. Nintendo has revealed and launched a new hardware platform between E3s, and Micrsooft is unveiling the first step in its plan for incremental hardware upgrades. Otherwise though it’s gonna be one of those E3s that’s mostly just about games.
With predictions about, all I can really do is talk about what I’d personally like to see from each company presenting there, what it would take to get me to buy into each platform being presented.
EA: What are those unannounced games? What’s BioWare doing?
I’m actually not huge on any of the confirmed games for EA’s conference. I’m a bit interested in what it might ever do for EA Sports on the Switch. FIFA on Switch seems to be some kind of test run thrown out there, but mainstream sports games have a lot of potential on the platform, and I hope EA follows it up with at least Madden.
I think GameSpot however is speculating that two unannounced games will show up at the EA conference. Glixel thinks it’s about time to show a new Dragon Age game, and I hope it’s that “Dragon Age Tactics” that series executive producer Mark Darrah tweeted about some time back. It would be an interesting and sensible side project for the franchise if done right. I imagine EA however would be tempted to influence it with free-to-play-style monetization. If it happens I see it being on at least PC and mobile, but such a game would make a lot of sense on the Switch too. I’m just interested in seeing whatever it is BioWare might be working on.
Microsoft: Scorpio can’t just be about 4k. And talk about Windows please.
Most discussions I’ve heard talking about Microsoft at E3 this year speculate on what Microsoft can do to recover its slipping market share from Sony. The main focus I sense is on Xbox’s lack of exclusives compared to PlayStation. Last week’s Glixel podcast is a good example. I don’t see Microsoft quickly closing that gap, if that’s even its priority. I’ve already written about how Microsoft is more focused on pushing the features of Xbox itself, and that’s the best I personally expect from its presentation this year. Eurogamer laid this out pretty well.
The main reasons I don’t see Microsoft suddenly pulling a bunch of exclusives out of a hat are 1: It doesn’t have as big a variety of first party studios cranking them out as Sony, and 2: Xbox is still mostly just successful in North America and the UK, meaning all those Japanese developers returning to consoles don’t care about it. More games would help but Microsoft’s real strength is in creating a better platform overall.
The centerpiece of that platform is going to be Scorpio, but just saying “we’ll have the nicest looking console versions of Call of Duty and Destiny 2 later this year,” won’t be enough. Scorpio is a long-term strategy really, and I struggle to imagine how Microsoft will communicate that at its conference. It’s about Xbox consoles being part of one ecosystem. Microsoft just needs to convince people to buy into it. The Xbox 360 got to where it was partly because it and Xbox Live felt like a superior platform to the PS3 and PlayStation Network. Microsoft needs to make that kind of leap forward again, and that’s going to require some innovation. Xbox Game Pass is a neat idea, and backwards compatibility has gotten me thinking about getting an Xbox One more seriously than ever.
Really though, the biggest reason I don’t have one yet is because of my Windows 10 PC. Microsoft is going to be at the PC Gaming Show, but whether it’s there or at its own conference, I want Microsoft to talk about how it’s making gaming on Windows better. It’s pretty safe to assume Forza 7 will come to Windows, but what about Halo games? What’s it doing to make the Windows Store distribution system better? Is it too much to hope for any truly significant upgrades to the Windows Store or the Xbox app? Microsoft will probably spend a bit of time hyping Game Mode.
Bethesda: Is it time for MachineGames to come back? Tango?
As far as I’m concerned Bethesda as a publisher has been on a roll these last few years, especially when you consider its hits have been singleplayer games in an age of Games-As-A-Service. Its two studios who haven’t shipped anything in a while are MachineGames (Wolfenstein: The New Order) and Tango (The Evil Within).
It’s easy to assume we’ll just see sequels to those studios’ previous games, and I’d welcome them. To be honest though I’m not sure how another Wolfenstein would top DOOM. Either way, whatever MachineGames and Tango are doing right now will be their first fully current-gen projects, and that alone has me interested.
Ubisoft: Splinter Cell would be cool wouldn’t it?
I’m not holding my breath but unveiling a new Splinter Cell would still be dope, maybe as the stinger Ubisoft usually does. I’ve been speculating about what Ubisoft would do with the franchise today.
I basically see two routes: The first would be making another Rainbow Six Siege-style game out of Splinter Cell’s Spies vs Mercs multiplayer mode. I’d potentially be all over that. The second would be mixing that with a singleplayer game where you build your own character who gets commands from Sam Fisher over an intercom while doing various missions to get XP. I’d be slightly optimistic about that. Games like Splinter Cell Blacklist, Far Cry, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands lead me to believe Ubisoft would go into the next Splinter Cell campaign with the right design mentality.
Other than that or whatever new thing Ubisoft unveils, I want to see how Far Cry 5 plays. Of course there’s the controversy over its subject matter, but I’m more interested in what the actual game is like. Is it going to be Far Cry 4 in a new coat of paint or a real next-gen leap for the franchise?
PC Gaming Show: ???
Even though PC is my main platform I’m ironically not hyped about anything we currently know is going to be there. I guess I want to see Arma 3’s upcoming new map “Malden 2035,” which goes public shortly after E3. The big issue I have is that I’m not really into most multiplayer games, and that seems to be what’s dominating the lineup here. Of course there’s what Microsoft plans to say about Windows, my hopes for which I already laid out above.
Though, it did just come to light that the indie project currently titled Secret Legend will be at the PC Gaming Show along with other indies, unveiling its new name along with some more footage. Maybe more indies I’m interested in will show up there (or any of the other conferences).
Sony: Focus more on what we’ll be playing this year.
This Waypoint piece lays out what I’ve been thinking about Sony’s conferences since 2015 — that they tend to be pinned on big announcements for things we end up not seeing for three or more years. Two of the linchpins of Sony’s E3 2015 conference — the Final Fantasy VII remake and Shenmue III, won’t even be out for at least another year. Death Stranding last year was pretty much a target render, and I’m glad it’s skipping this year’s E3 to focus on getting a tangible game to us. I get that Sony does this to push its main advantage — exclusives. I’m not saying Microsoft and Nintendo don’t also announce stuff really far out, but Sony seems to pin its E3 “victories” on these announcements, but to me most of them just feel like announcements.
Basically, I want to see games being played at Sony’s conference. I want to see real footage of something I know will be an actual product before next year’s E3, and I think enough is coming down the pipeline now for that to happen. I think the closest Sony product I’m hyped for is Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. I know Yakuza 6 isn’t until 2018 (and has been out in Japan since last year) but it’s one of the main PS4 games I’m excited for too. Oh, and things indicate From Software showing off its next thing at E3, likely along with Sony but who knows. I’m down whether it’s a Bloodborne sequel or a new IP.
Nintendo: What else other than Mario?
Super Mario Odyssey is gonna be the jam. Everybody knows that. But, it’s also pretty much the only thing that has me interested in getting a Switch this year (I bought Zelda on the Wii U). That’s just me though. I’m not all over Mario Kart, Splatoon, and Arms. I’d have to get a Switch for something else and then maybe check out Arms later. I want Smash and Mario Maker. People are laughing at that Mario + Rabbids game but the description actually sounds pretty interesting to me.
Possibly more than those, I want Virtual Console. Unlike seemingly most people I’m actually not to interested in the “Netflix” idea or the games packaged with Nintendo’s online subscription service. I just want to download and own some classic games, preferably keeping my Wii and 3DS VC backlog. Basically, I want a more concrete idea of what the Switch platform overall is going to feel like by next year.
When it comes to the games I’m actually playing this year, I’m not even close to done with Zelda. I haven’t really touched anything else that came out in the first half of 2017. That’s probably going to make it harder for any of the presenters at E3 to get me excited for the rest of this year’s games.
- A landscape designer analyzes some recent games: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-06-07-a-landscape-designers-take-on-the-witcher-3-mass-effect-and-dishonored
- Ancient Aztec temple and ball court unearthed in Mexico City: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/08/mexico-city-ancient-aztec-temple-ball-court
- Gamesindustry.biz defends Game Freak’s decision to do more Pokémon on the 3DS: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2017-06-07-3ds-is-the-right-move-for-pok-mon
- Story on how The Joy Luck Club got made: https://www.buzzfeed.com/susancheng/why-hollywood-bet-on-athe-joy-luck-cluba?utm_term=.qkYEkp391#.ywV3O90xd
- Interesting new Mega Man 2 rom hack: http://www.siliconera.com/2017/06/06/mega-man-2-hack-offers-new-stages-new-music-new-boss-mechanics/
- You can pre-order Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture on Blu-Ray now: http://www.rightstufanime.com/Fatal-Fury-The-Movie-Blu-ray
- Extreme-G 2 is on Steam now: http://store.steampowered.com/app/582260/ExtremeG_2/
- Pulsetense Games has something new coming along: http://store.steampowered.com/app/324060/Planet_Ancyra_Chronicles/
- I’d been wondering about this game ever since it was shown off at E3 last year: http://store.steampowered.com/app/514900/observer/
- This seems to be an interesting game about to go into Early Access: http://store.steampowered.com/app/573090/Stormworks_Build_and_Rescue/