E3 2016 Preview – Looking Ahead to the Year’s Biggest Video Game Conference
E3 2016 is almost here. Like Christmas for gamers, this time of year is chock-full of new game reveals, bombshell announcements, gameplay demos, etc. For several days every year, the biggest developers in the gaming world take the stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center to show off what they have been hard at work on in an effort to make everyone watching lose their minds. 2016 is no different: possibly more so than previous years, E3 2016 is poised to be one of the most eventful years in the show’s history, due to a number of innovations and potentially explosive reveals. So, what do we have to look forward to? Let’s break some of the big possibilities by conference.
EA may be one of the most hated companies in the world, but it is undeniable that they own a tremendous number of beloved franchises. Of these many franchises, there are several that new games in active development. Front and center at EA’s E3 conference will be Battlefield 1, the latest iteration in the not-Call of Duty military FPS franchise. Battlefield 1, which has the distinction of having the most up-voted trailer of a video game on YouTube in history (see below), is one of the first AAA shooters to make use of World War 1 as a backdrop to the carnage. Highly anticipated among fans, this looks to be one of the best entries in the franchise in recent memory.
Also on display will be Titanfall 2, the sequel to the popular mech-based FPS. The teaser trailer released a few months ago blew the minds of fans of the original (MECH SWORDS), and they have been clamoring for more information since. EA promised a live reveal of the game during their conference, so hopefully fans will be able to whet their appetite for some mech-action prior to the game’s release.
Other games that may be shown off at the show include Mass Effect: Andromeda, the highly-anticipated sequel to one of the most beloved game franchises of all time, that was first revealed at E3 2015. We haven’t seen or heard much from the game since the initial reveal, so hopefully EA will throw fans a bone in the form of a more substantial reveal. Also expected are expansions for Star Wars: Battlefront, Madden, FIFA, and more.
Bethesda is known for releasing the games that steal hundreds of hours of your life, such as Fallout and Skyrim. Having just released the widely-anticipated Doom reboot, Bethesda doesn’t have a whole lot of confirmed titles in the cards. One of the few confirmed games that we know we will see at their conference is Dishonored 2, the sequel to the steampunk stealth game released a few years ago. With the first Dishonored being as great as it was, Dishonored 2 is poised to be a massive release for the company, and a potentially very large presence at their conference.
Other than Dishonored 2, Bethesda has been pretty tight-lipped about what their conference may hold in store for fans this year. While there have been rumblings and rumors of a current-gen re-release of Skyrim, sequels to Wolfenstein and The Evil Within, and a Prey 2 reboot, we’ll have to wait until the conference for any official confirmations.
Microsoft has a number of intriguing games to show off at their conference this year. ReCore, the mysterious new IP from prolific game designer Keiji Inafune and the makers of Metroid Prime, was first unveiled at last year’s show. It is expected to debut in full force at this year’s conference.
Gears of War 4 is one of the most anticipated games that Microsoft currently has in the pipeline. The continuation of the massively successful franchise, this new iteration shifts focus from tree trunk-legged former protagonist Marcus Fenix to his son, J.D., as he continues his daddy’s fight against the Locust. We’ve already seen some gameplay from GoW4, so there probably won’t be many bombshell reveals regarding the game, but we may see some more gameplay or story demos.
Other games expected to be seen at the conference include Halo Wars 2, the sequel to the RTS spinoff of the Halo franchise, the long-awaited Crackdown 3, Cuphead, and Scalebound.
Ubisoft is known for franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, the Tom Clancy games, Just Dance, and more. This year, one of their biggest presences at the show will be Watch_Dogs 2, the sequel that nobody asked for of the game that nobody cared about. In all fairness, the sequel does seem to improve on some of the major complaints from the original, but only time will tell if it will be enough to make up for the lackluster original.
Based on the long-running TV show and serving as a sequel to The Stick of Truth, South Park: The Fractured But Whole takes the notoriously vulgar series into superhero territory. The game follows the children of South Park as they partake in a town-wide game of make believe where all of the kids pretend to be superheroes. The Stick of Truth was an excellent turn-based RPG that felt like a season of the show, so anticipation is high for its sequel.
Other games likely to be in attendance are the obligatory yearly update to Just Dance, the GTA-meets-MGSV Tom Clancy game Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and the multiplayer-centric, history teacher’s nightmare For Honor. Ubisoft has a history of surprising its fans at its E3 conferences, so a big reveal for Far Cry 5 may not be impossible, either.
Sony has almost too many games confirmed for E3 to count, so I’m not even going to attempt to cover them all. However, a large number of these games are in some way tied to their upcoming new virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR. Dreams, Ace Combat 7, Gran Turismo Sport, 100ft Robot Golf, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood… The list goes on. Hopefully Sony’s E3 conference will showcase not only gameplay from these games, but live demos of what these VR experiences are like.
Outside of VR, however, Sony also has an exciting lineup of traditional games. Revealed at last year’s E3, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a new IP from Guerrilla Games, the developers of the popular Killzone franchise. Think nomads in a post-apocalyptic distant future and you have an idea of what the game is like. Information has been light since last year, with only a trailer or two shedding some more light on the story. After last year’s gameplay reveal, however, I don’t even need to see more. I’m ready to kill some robot dinosaurs with a bow.
Sony will also be showing off the perpetually delayed The Last Guardian (maybe), Gravity Rush 2, and more from Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, despite the less-than-(inter)stellar response to its initial trailer.
The Big N has had some trouble in recent years. Once the untouchable behemoth of the video game world, the company has taken some hits in recent years with declining profits and a new console that nobody bought, the Wii U (except yours truly, and damn proud of it). While franchises like Mario, Pokemon, and Zelda will forever allow Nintendo to stay relevant, the company is going to have to make some changes, and soon, lest they lose even more of the lead they once had. Unfortunately… E3 2016 does not seem to be the place for that to happen. While they have confirmed that the NX, their next console, is in development and will be releasing next March, the company has confirmed that the NX will not be at their E3 show. The reason for this decision is beyond me, but what do I know?
What the company will have on display, however, is the long-awaited next installment in the Legend of Zelda series. The game has been in development for years, and fans have been eagerly awaiting news on when the game will be released. After the disheartening news that it has been delayed to March of 2017 and will launch on both the Wii u and the NX, fans were disappointed, but still excited. Nintendo has said that this E3 is going to focus almost entirely on this new Zelda game, so fans are going to get a wealth of information this week.
The games possibly most near and dear to my own heart that will be shown off at this year’s E3 are Pokemon Sun and Moon. As a lifelong, obsessive Pokemon fan, few things are more exciting to me than the announcement of a new generation of Pokemon games, and Sun and Moon are no different. Taking place in the new Alola region (heavily influenced by Hawaii), Sun and Moon mark the 7th(!!!) generation in the prolific series of strategy games. Featuring all new Pokemon, all new characters, and upgraded gameplay mechanics, Pokemon Sun and Moon will once again immerse Trainers in the World of Pokemon.
Other than Zelda and Pokemon, Nintendo doesn’t have a whole lot else to show at E3 this year. There is a new Harvest Moon and a new Monster Rancher, both for the 3DS, but other than that… Not much. This makes it all that much stranger that Nintendo won’t be showing the NX. Who knows, maybe The Big N will surprise us with a last minute NX reveal, despite what they said to the contrary. Crazier things have happened at E3.
What about you, NerdSpeakers? What are you most excited to see at E3 this year? Let us know in the comments.