Another year means yet another E3 conference to livetweet and make fun of. If you recall 2014, you'd remember it was painfully uneventful; rare were the moments of embarrassing shit, as were the legit "wow" factors. I think we already have one casualty--the now-cancelled Phantom Dust--from the small list of surprises initially revealed last year. Let me just say that nobody really "wins" a trade show; there are only losers who refuse to show anything except sports games (looking at you, EA.) However, in 2014 Nintendo proceeded to make everyone else look like shit by turning the tables on the "show 5 minutes of CGI cutscenes" standard and offered live on-the-floor demos of dozens of games,walking through their gameplay for an entire week. The Treehouse pretty much set a new bar for E3 activities by actually fucking bothering to show you how the actual games work and look. Such a discovery is usually done by scientists in labs, but here it was accomplished merely by a tall man in a suit and a cult of Japanese salespeople.
E3 2015 is also special because it's coming fresh off the hump of a year of Lost Hype. Big dumb blundering elephants like Unity, Destiny, and even the fetchquest hell of "GOTY" Dragon Age Inquisition are still etched into the monoliths, hopefully serving as a precaution. This year seems incredibly lush with diverse offerings for 2015 and beyond. My expectations--foolish as they may be--are possibly the highest they've ever been for an E3 in years. Enough time has passed since companies like EA, Square Enix, and Bethesda have had something to share, making this June a perfect time for their resurgance to prominence. We may possibly get to see the next generation of Deus Ex, Mass Effect, Mirror's Edge, and Fallout--and knowing there's a great chance of this occurring is wonderful.
Here's my own take on what we can likely look forward to:
Part-time dollmaker and RPG developer Bethesda is a significant addition to E3, as it is their first full-scale stage presentation ever. Naturally, they must have something huge to share, and that something is going to be Fallout 4. Thankfully confirmed to be past the last-gen woes of programming shit like Skyrim on PS3, I'm cautiously optimistic about how Bethesda is going to handle the franchise without Obsidian's benevolent hand or any tremendous improvements in their animations. The recent Fallout trailer revealed some grand new lighting tech and a general step up from the muddy garbage of last gen tech, but I'm still not completely convinced that this looks as good as it should be.
Bethesda's other ace in the sleeve is the debut of the new Doom, which may be simply known as "Doom." Following an incredibly positive reception and a standing ovation at a closed-doors reveal at QuakeCon, color me intrigued by what the Grandfather of FPS games can dish up. It sounds like the next Doom is going to be classic--fast, frenetic, and bloody as shit.
As much as I love Fallout and all its gimmicky, glichy nonsense, I'd still love to see Dishonored 2 make a surprise appearance--the first game was one of my all-time favorites in recent years. Likelihood of a Fallout 4 trailer wherein we are treated to an oldtimey 50's record playing over disturbing imagery is approximately 95% (or 50%, depending on your VATS rating.)
Formerly the "worst game company in existence" (not even fucking close, in my opinion), EA had the most inconsequential E3 press statement ever in 2014. I barely remember if they bothered to show Mirror's Edge 2 amidst an ocean of generic sports titles, as they put out a slight tease in 2013. I'm betting the farm on this being the year they set the sports shit aside and finally give us a bigger glimpse of the Best First Person Simulator Of All Time, Part Deux, as well as an early 2016 release date. Also in the box is Mass Effect Whatever, set for Whenever; nobody really knows whats going on with the next spaceman epic but I really miss that series, and have missed it even more while playing Dragon Age and picking up my hundreth fucking shard piece. My vote for "big shocker" would be either a tiny glimpse at Mass Effect, or some kind of Dead Space revival (which won't happen, ever, because EA sucks.) Really, when I watch EA this year, it will be for--as it has been for the past 2 fucking years--a preview of Mirror's Edge.
Ubisoft gave us two pieces of shit last year in the forms of AC Unity and Watchdogs. The latter came away without too much major scathing; the former wasn't so lucky. Unity has been maligned so much that it's useless to go in-depth about it again, so I'll just say that Ubisoft has a ways to go before regaining peoples interests. They wasted no time in making another goddamn AC game, though--this time, in Victorian England. A recent alpha demo of the newly crowned AC Syndicate revealed that this year's AC game was just as boring and worthless as the others, giving me virtually zero hope in Ubisoft's presentation for 2015. Things seem even more dire now that The Division has been bumped back yet another year, so we won't even see that until 2016. You can count on Aisha Tyler making tons of horrible jokes while we watch more trailers about the same goddamn Ubisoft games over and over, but if we're lucky then Michel Ancel will come out and reveal Beyond Good and Evil 2. If there is a god and he/she loves us, Ancel will go even further and give us another look at his beautiful pet project for the PS4, which was titled "Wild" at last year's E3.
I'm going to take a pager out on Ubisoft being the lamest part of E3; beating out EA purely because we're almost guaranteed the presence of Mirror's Edge.
Squeenix is an odd beast. On one hand, I've never given a shit about their crossover fanfiction fiesta KingdomHearts, or their consistently terrible Final Fantasy iterations. On the other hand, the Enix/Eidos side of things has been in charge of games like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Just Cause, and Hitman--an eclectic collection of genres and favored IPs. Although I'm sure FF15 and KH3 will be shown off, it's Deus Ex: Mankind Divided that has me the most excited. Human Revolution was a great game made better only by the Director's Cut edition, and with the studio developers taking what they've learned into a current-gen production, it's safe to say the next installment of Deus Ex is going to be even more amazing.
Opposite from the first person multigenre Deus Ex is Just Cause 3, a game that has been described by Avalanche Studios as centering around fun and chaos over storylines and boring exposition. Given the passionate take they've put forth with this third game, I'm extremely enthused about how much more they could cram in besides what we glimpsed in the explosive Just Cause 2. In a year dominated by so many open-world games, JC3 may be the most chaotic and frenetic when compared to even Arkham Knight, Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed, and possibly Mad Max.
Squaresoft by itself might have been centered on solely action RPG offerings, but the other side of the equation at Square-Enix is definitely going to be showing off some really fun games for 2015 and beyond.
The prodigal son for all these years, somehow the "doomed company" rises up once more for a non-traditional Direct followed by not only the Treehouse gameplay sessions, but a revived Nintendo World Championships--the first since the 1980s. I assume this is the counterpart to 2014's Smash Bros tourney, and I applaud Nintendo on making E3 such a big event for themselves without the use of a bunch of dorks onstage. That being said, what's in the bag for Nintendo with Zelda being upended to 2016?
Smart money is on Mario Maker, Star Fox, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and a nationwide release date for the long-awaited Xenoblade Chronicles X. Survey suggests we're also long overdue for some surprises, particularly from notably-silent second party titans Next Level Games and Retro Studios. With just 3 or 4 confirmed titles coming this year after Splatoon, Nintendo is going to need some powerful releases this holiday season, and that's a tall order; consider the fact that last year, we received Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and Bayonetta--a ridiculous collection of top-tier properties. There's little chance to match that kind of quality, but who knows? Nintendo quality is so pure and mythical that it may take only 1 or 2 new announcements to reel in the kudos. It's a cliche at this point, but as usual I'm hoping for a new Metroid to be unveiled. What I do think is a safer bet, however, is a renewed interest in supporting titles like Kart and Smash Bros with a slew of DLC; as per IWata's recent comments this spring, it appears that several existing titles will be supported for the long haul. And why not? The DLC for both has been promising and fairly priced thus far. Things can only go up from here.
After suffering a humiliating bitchslap / mic drop from Jack Tretton in E3 2013, Microsoft rebounded to present a solid assortment of stupid little wingdings and doodads for 2014. It wasn't anything too special, beyond fucking with everyone's hearts with a Conker tease and showing off a surprisingly fun Fable Legends. Well, it's 2015, and nobody gives a fuck about Project Spark, the now-F2P shitpile that Fable Legends is to become, or Sunset Tryharddrive. MS has been hanging on, and even weathered a false PT rumor that they had picked up the IP--no such luck. What does MS have to offer, then? Barring their usual social media bullshit and platform connectivity buzzword salads, there's Halo I guess. And Killer Instinct, which has been chugging along quite nicely. We've been lead to believe that Battletoads...fucking Battletoads is getting a revival, as well. You can count on their new Tomb Raider project to be shown off as the answer to the now-delayed Uncharted, and we'll probably see something about Windows 10, too. Probably the only exclusive I openly pine for is Scalebound, the new quasi-Devil May Cry dragonslayer game coming from His Holy Majesty, Hideki Kamiya. If there's one thing I have to applaud Microsoft for, it's landing the services of the man responsible for Bayonetta, Wonderful 101, Devil May Cry, Okami, and a good chunk of Resident Evil 2. He's a fucking masterclass developer and designer, so enjoy the fun that's coming to you, XBone owners.
I've honestly never been invested in MS exclusives, since they're few and far between--but MS still has a finger on the pulse of what people like. Buying Minecraft for a jillion dollars proved that they know what games are lucrative and how to make a splash, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt this year and say that they have a more exciting presentation than their past 2 years. Watch out for Cliffy B and some kind of Gears of War announcement, because what's the point of your Xbox if you can't play Gears of War!?
Sony, a company best known for getting exclusive DLC for every fucking game, reigns supreme in the land of consoles. Despite not having a plethora of exclusives and suffering drawback from the steaming garbage that was The Order 1886, Sony still had an ace in the sleeve with Bloodborne and a big indie hit with Helldivers. These supported it in the spring, but the wail of summer approaches and we need validation for why we should still buy consoles. Uncharted 4 is shelved until 2016 Q1, so Sony will probably turn to a Journey re-release and more info on No Man's Sky--a title they claim to be supporting as if it were its own. I'm really not sure what exclusives will be on Sony's plate this year, but I'm guessing it would be a really good time to tip their hand and mention Last Guardian, if it still exists. Look out for preliminary gameplay featurettes for their new golden child Street Fighter 5, as well as more ridiculous footage from the Spring 2016 release/Pixar movie, Ratchet and Clank.
As a person who has owned PS2, PS3, and now PS4, I have a good amount of confidence in Sony to keep rolling on successfully--although my current foray into PC gaming has me wondering just how necessary consoles will be for me in the future. The ball is in Sony's court to convince us whether or not we should look beyond the PC/Nintendo setups, provided that MS doesn't get to the answers first.
One of my more intruiging questions regards two games coming out on the same day in September: The Phantom Pain, and Mad Max. Both of these games interest me greatly for a number of reasons; MGS5 represents the be-all, end-all finale of the series as we know it. It is the last hurrah for Hideo Kojima's fruitful work with Konami, and possibly the last time he'll ever get to work with the IP. Following the bitter and tumultuous storyline of Konami's downfall this year, it will be interesting to see if Konami or Kojima show up to promote MGS5. I'm looking forward to the audience reaction to either possibility.
On the other side of the spectrum is Mad Max, a Warner Bros game that hasn't received a great deal of press besides an excellent cover feature in Game Informer. Mad Max is the opposite of MGS5 in so many ways: it's loud, it's brash, and it's the start of something new. Arkham Knight is the last Batman game, a series that pioneered a certain type of free-flowing combat. It looks like Warner Bros is looking to continue that kind of engine on not only Shadow Of Mordor, but potentially with the starkly different wasteland of Mad Max. Given how well the newest film has been received, I'd wager that Mad Max could be another stepping stone WB takes in their open world beatemup games, opening up the path for a new series to follow up Batman. Mad Max looks to be unique in its desert landscape and vehicular combat, and I hope the fact that it releases in the same timeframe as Kojima's magnum opus doesn't doom it as dead on arrival.
That's all for my predictions as of today. I will say that I have games like Battletoads, Dishonored 2, Agent, Metroid, and Advance Wars on my wishlist, along with The Last Guardian--I still believe! I'm also pretty stoked for whatever Platinum has in store for us; they've been teasing something new, and Platinum always delivers the goods.
In any case, I have reason to think it'll be a very solid week of game reveals and previews. 2015 is only half done and we still have quite a bit of content on the rise. The future is looking bright for the current generation. I'LL SEE YOU IN THE VR MOSH PIT, CHIPPIES.
Amazing and topical!