We’re less than a week away from arguably the biggest gaming event of the year. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will take the stage (more or less), along with a few third-party publishers, and reveal to the world their plans for the future.
Sony is riding high on their wildly successful PS4 sales figures and an insane year for quality exclusives. Nintendo has finally managed to recapture their lost console magic in the Nintendo Switch after the abysmal reception and laughable marketing fumbles of the Wii U.
Microsoft is perhaps in the most interesting position. They’re currently suffering from a lack of desirable exclusive games and don’t seem to have much in the works to entice the gaming populace into shelling out for a more powerful version of their current Xbox that has the same (currently lacking) library of titles they can’t play elsewhere. Their messaging needs to be clear and they need to provide convincing reasons for the console’s existence, outside of “more power.”
I also fear that neither Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, or a new Forza title would be enough to draw people in, especially considering all of these games are likely to support Xbox Play Anywhere on PC and the current models of Xbox One. Don’t get me wrong — I want every game to succeed, but outside of Forza’s devoted audience I don’t see the others selling the Scorpio. If not their own library, then Xbox should probably focus their message on providing the best experience on all major cross-platform releases.
Xbox will need to reveal more than a release date to cater to anyone outside of the diehard “Scorpio emoji” Twitter followers, and for that alone, I think they’ll have the most interesting conference reveal. The ball is in their court and they’ve been known to drop a bombshell or two on the grandest stage of them all — not all of them good, mind you.
My predictions are a combination of wishful thinking, industry trends, and things that just make sense. It’s doubtful they’ll all happen, but hey, I like treating E3 like a giant Christmas list.
On that note, let’s stick with Microsoft. Here’s what I’m predicting.
1. Xbox Scorpio will be officially named “Xbox,” given that they’re set on transcending console generations. It will be priced at $499.99, with a $599.99 “Elite” bundle that includes the fancy Elite controller and a 1-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold. The console will release in early November, despite the current rumor of an October date alluded by a string of numbers in a recent trailer.
2. With EA’s FIFA partnering with PlayStation now, this is the perfect opportunity for another major publisher to step in — Ubisoft. Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry 5 will be shown running on the Scorpio, though the hindrance here is timing. Ubisoft has their own presentation scheduled for the following day and I’m not sure if they’d want to show off two of their flagship releases instead of premiering them at their own event. If this proves true, I predict that Xbox One copies of the new Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry 5 will contain free downloads for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and Far Cry: Primal (maybe the entire 360 catalog of Assassin’s Creed).
3. EA Access expands, adding more backwards compatible 360 titles, the most recent iterations of their sports lineup, and Titanfall 2 to the Vault. Star Wars: Battlefront II will be shown on the Scorpio, but won’t receive any form of console exclusive treatment due to the game’s marketing deal with Sony.
4. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will be shown and confirmed for Xbox Game Preview (their version of Early Access). A beta will be offered for pre-orders.
5. Sea of Thieves will be given a proper release date that will inevitably be delayed, but an open beta will be available the day of the presentation. The likely release date will be well before or after September to avoid Destiny 2.
6. Forza 7 will be shown on the Scorpio and launch alongside the console. Forza Horizon 3 will receive an update patch supporting improved performance on Scorpio (I’d guess Gears of War 4 and Halo 5: Guardians will also receive a similar update) and the game’s season pass will be heavily discounted on the Xbox store throughout the presentation.
7. Indies!!! Cuphead will finally fucking release immediately following Microsoft’s E3 presentation. Ashen is finally shown after a 3-year absence and given an early 2018 release window. Below won’t be mentioned for obvious reasons. Fullbright’s Tacoma will get an official release date.
8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic will see an exclusive remaster on Xbox One. Backwards compatibility coming soon for original Xbox games.
9. State of Decay 2 will be given an October release date. State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition will be given away as a free download during the presentation (similar to how Limbo was during Inside’s announcement).
Likely not to happen, but the Xbox Bombshell Moment will be the world premiere of Red Dead Redemption 2 running on Scorpio. Xbox needs to dig deep and center attention on why consumers should want to buy their new console. Sure, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be available elsewhere, but showing it in action first on Xbox Scorpio would be a huge confidence booster. Rockstar is likely to premiere the game on Sony’s stage, but hey, Microsoft has deep pockets.
PlayStation is definitely in the safest position at this year’s E3. They’ve already shown most of their upcoming exclusives, with Days Gone, The Last of Us 2, God of War, Detroit: Become Human, Gran Turismo Sport, Death Stranding, and Spider-Man, so most of what’s left is nailing down release windows and fleshing out the next twelve months. However, PlayStation is unfortunately known for announcing games far too early and delaying them to hell and back.
Sony holds a commanding lead (in terms of sales figures) over the competition and holds their own annual PlayStation-focused event in December, so they’re not in a desperate position to fire off unannounced projects.
Where Xbox will likely focus on the raw power and potential of their upcoming console, PlayStation fans have had an incredible year of stellar releases that you can only play on their platform (and sometimes PC). As a consumer, games are the priority and that’s where Sony has finally caught up and severely outpaced Team Green.
The question is: can they continue? They clearly have games on the horizon, but can they continue releasing them in a timely manner where there’s little to no lull between major third-party cross-platform releases?
Here’s my take. (Keep in mind it’s already been confirmed both Death Stranding and Shenmue III will not be talked about this year during the Sony presentation)
1. PSVR will be given a montage trailer showing off various Oculus and Vive games being ported to their headset. I expect only one or two new games to be shown, if any. They can’t seem to keep up with demand, yet the vocal hype surrounding PSVR died nearly as soon as it arrived. PSVR will now replace the Vita as the PlayStation step-child and won’t be given much real estate in this year’s presentation.
2. NieR: Automata’s success will lead to… something. Maybe a 2B cross-over in Tekken 7, exclusive to PS4? A story expansion?
3. Sony confirmed a strong Japanese presence at this year’s E3. I’d expect more information on Ni no Kuni II, the next Tales of… game, a “Super” version of Street Fighter V, and more gameplay/reveals from Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, Devil May Cry 5, Sega’s new Seaman game, Resident Evil 2’s remake, Resident Evil VII DLC, as well as a PS4 port of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy IX. I’d also guess they’ll capitalize on Persona 5’s success by porting Persona 4 Golden to the PS4. My hope is that they’ll release a Persona Collection with the PSP versions of Persona, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, the PS2’s Persona 3 FES, and Persona 4 Golden. A man can dream, can’t he?
4. Building on the hype of the Crash Bandicoot remakes, a Spyro collection will be confirmed but clarified to be in the early stages and nowhere near being ready to show.
5. God of War will receive a release window of “holiday 2017,” and likely be delayed until early 2018.
6. Call of Duty WWII will be premiered on the Sony stage and will get an exclusive beta on PS4, as well as exclusive content and first-access to DLC maps.
7. Destiny 2 will be shown in some aspect and PS4-exclusive content will be lightly detailed. My guess is exclusive strikes again with a one-year exclusivity clause, similar to the original game. Destiny: The Taken King will be given away as a free download, with its Rise of Iron expansion being heavily discounted throughout the event.
8. Detroit: Become Human will be given a February 2018 release date. Again, it will likely be delayed because that’s kind of PlayStation’s M.O.
9. Days Gone will be shown in a more robust capacity, detailing gameplay mechanics, world building, and story details. It will release in October. This seems sooner than anticipated, but the game has been in development for two and a half years. If it’s not given a 2017 release date, this could be a summer 2018 game to not only give the team more time for polish but pad out next year’s schedule.
10. Spider-Man will be PlayStation’s keynote showing, with a lengthy gameplay reveal and a vague “coming 2018” release window.
11. Horizon: Zero Dawn’s confirmed story DLC will be given a brief trailer with a “more details at PSX 2017” bookend. It’ll likely be Rost’s origin story.
12. Visceral’s Star Wars will get a decent-sized trailer and a vague “coming 2018” announcement.
13. The Last of Us 2 shows up in some capacity, but the game is still too far off to show much in the way of gameplay.
PlayStation’s inevitable “oh shit!” moment will either be Red Dead Redemption 2’s world premiere gameplay trailer (unless it’s either not shown at all, or snatched up by Xbox), Bloodborne 2, or a Sony-funded reboot of Silent Hill. The fun here is just wishing for the wildest shit and hoping something catches, and if anyone can pull it of it’s PlayStation.
Nintendo has seemingly captured lightning in a bottle once again with their new Switch console, but they don’t seem to be capitalizing on it very well. If any company refuses to do what makes sense, it’s them, and that’s been the case since the console’s release. They’re struggling to meet the console’s demand and are still guiding consumers to the aging 3DS by releasing exclusive games in the Fire Emblem and Pokemon series over there instead.
The Big N has already confirmed that their Nintendo Direct presentation will only run thirty minutes, which, while not long, has proven long enough for the company to deliver rapid-fire announcements.
Super Mario Odyssey is their major holiday release this year on the Switch, so expect that to be their primary focus (much like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was in 2016).
Here’s what I’m predicting.
1. A new Metroid will finally be shown in some capacity. My guess is that it’ll be first-person again, but not a game in the Prime series. I’d also guess it’s simply given an extremely brief confirmation trailer with a short glimpse of Samus and the game’s logo. Nintendo frequently provides fans with game-devoted Direct presentations, so a mere confirmation is all they need to have us frothing at the mouth. They can detail the game better in its own Direct in 2018. As an aside, the Metroid series doesn’t sell well in Japan and it’s likely the series won’t see the light of day anytime soon, barring pointless and shitty spin-offs. However, this is the #1 thing I want from any of the three presentations. If Metroid is ignored once again, I’ll likely cry myself to sleep.
2. From Software will be porting Dark Souls or Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin to the Nintendo Switch. Whichever version makes its way over, it’ll have exclusive Nintendo-themed weapons or armor styled after The Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem series. While Dark Souls III would make the most sense, the Nintendo Switch isn’t as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One, so it’d be more work than necessary to bring the third entry over to Nintendo’s hybrid console. This would allow From to test the waters without doing more than the bare minimum with their resources.
3. Mother 3 is finally being translated. Much to the dismay of Nintendo fans, it’ll not only be exclusive to the 3DS, but the New 3DS models, as it’s a SNES title and for whatever unbelievable reason SNES games don’t work on standard units. If there is a god, Nintendo will announce a Mother Trilogy with all three games coming to Nintendo Switch.
4. Virtual Console will be briefly confirmed and launched with the long-rumored GameCube titles Luigi’s Mansion, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mario Sunshine, and Animal Crossing.
5. A New Animal Crossing will be confirmed and will release simultaneously on Switch and 3DS because why not let the fucking thing die already.
6. Super Smash Bros Deluxe for Nintendo Switch (officially named, no less) will be confirmed for a July 21st release, coinciding with the release of the long-awaited Bayonetta, Cloud, and Corrin amiibo. It’ll introduce an Inkling, an Arms fighter (likely Ribbon Girl), and Breath of the Wild’s Zelda as playable fighters. The Switch version will include all previously console-exclusive content from Wii U and 3DS. Existing amiibo for the aforementioned characters will function within the Switch version of the game.
7. We’ll see a Nindies montage confirming Switch ports of Hyper Light Drifter, Crypt of the Necrodancer, and Axiom Verge. Undertale will be announced for the Switch.
8. A Netflix app will be confirmed.
9. We’ll see more Wii U ports on the Switch, like Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
10. To coincide with classic games and Virtual Console’s inevitable release, new JoyCon will be shown that will mimic the d-pad and button layout of the SNES and NES controllers.
11. Fire Emblem Heroes will be given a more detailed breakdown (although brief, considering the time limit) showing off series favorites (like Tharja) in action. We’ll get a concrete release date, which I’m guessing will be early October.
12. Super Mario Odyssey will be given an in-depth breakdown to show off the game’s unique mechanics, Mario 64-style open-world, and end with an early December release date.
13. The long-rumored Mario/Rabbids cross-over will finally be confirmed and release in early 2018.
Nintendo’s magic moment will be the confirmation that previous Virtual Console purchases on 3DS, Wii, and Wii U will transfer to the Nintendo Switch free of charge. Then again, this is pro-consumer and makes sense, so it’s not likely to occur. Nintendo’s gonna Nintendo.
What about you, folks? Excited for E3? What’s your wishlist?