E3 Highlights

E3 has come and gone, and despite not having as many announcements or incredible moments as the previous years, it was a great show. And here I’ll talk about my favorite games that were part of the conferences.

A Way Out

Sometimes a new project comes with real innovation, and this is a perfect example of that. We always hear about innovation on games, but we rarely see it, and A Way Out brings it to not only storytelling but to gameplay as well. A couch co-op game in which you control two inmates willing to escape from prison.

The difference is that each player will control a different character at the same time with different perspectives, and ways to push the story forward. Creating scenarios that could be played in several ways, with each character having personalities that could make a situation easier or harder to deal with. It’s great to see EA bringing an experience with such an unusual approach to the market.

Anthem

Speaking of EA, here’s a demonstration of their range. From an indie game like A Way Out, to a colossus called Anthem, a huge AAA project from Bioware. Closing Microsoft’s conference, Anthem, a Destiny with an apparent bigger focus on story, impressed everybody with an incredible demo, showing what Bioware’s main team had been working on for years now.

The graphics looked simply breathtaking, to the point it was too beautiful to believe sometimes, we’ll hardly see it looking like that on consoles. What was very surprising was how easily the game could change from a jetpack, to ground combat, to water without hiccups or meaningful changes. They claim it will be released next year, let’s hope.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

A prequel to the franchise, Assassins Creed Origins looked to show how the franchise would shape up after taking a year off. And from what we could see, it looks like a soft reboot, telling the story behind the beginning of the brotherhood in ancient Egypt, a setting that allowed the team to make some interesting changes.

With a larger focus on the RPG aspect, Origins appears to be a lot more profound the previous titles of the franchise, something Unity tried to do before. Combat was revamped, taking notes from Dark Souls, with a slower pace, that requires players to think before attacking. The world looks beautiful, reactive, alive, the animations on the other side didn’t look like they were very improved. If they deliver on what they promised this could be not only an amazing AC game but an amazing game overall.

Far Cry 5

Beyond all the controversy surrounding it, Far Cry 5 has been getting a lot of attention for the changes that have been made. After Far Cry 4 and Primal’s underwhelming results, showing signs that the franchise seemed to exhaust its formula, Far Cry 5 feels like a real step forward, at least from what we’ve seen.

Instead of lush environments, Montana is the new setting, a change that can bring new gameplay experiences. The demo spotlighted the co-op experience, showing NPC options to assist you in your missions, as well as with other players. Like Assassin’s Creed Origins, the world around the player will react to your actions, assisting or fearing you. If the villain is great, and the new features work well, it can be a comeback.

Need for Speed Payback

The reboot was a good game that unfortunately didn’t really resonate with the fans of the franchise. The FMV cutscenes were criticized by many, personally, I found it strange and funny at times. When it came to gameplay, it was neither horrible nor incredible, the graphics were mesmerizing, on the border of becoming photorealistic. But the world felt lifeless, and the always online feature would punish those who wanted to play offline or that had an unreliable internet connection.

With all that baggage, I didn’t expect much from Payback, however, what we saw was a silly, fun, high-octane game with a heavy Fast and Furious atmosphere. And that can be a smart way to bring the franchise back, when it comes to simulators there are worthy competitors, Forza Horizon 3 was everything an arcade game needs to be. Feeling like a Burnout game with a story, charismatic characters, customization options and great gameplay can be what the franchise needed.

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Last year a trailer revealed an important exclusive for Sony, a Spider-Man game produced by Insomniac, and the hype train started. From that moment on, we heard nothing else about the project.

This year, an extended gameplay showed how the game runs, and in the end, it looks like an Arkham game with color. The combat resembles the Arkham series, but with flashier movements, a more acrobatic style. New York looks stunning, with traversal looking simple and loose. As we can expect from Spider-Man, there was a lot of bantering, jokes, a lighter tone. My only concern is with an excessive use of QTE’s, that if used wisely, only during action sequences can work very well, but if exaggerated can remind Resident Evil 6.

Sea of Thieves

At last, it looks like we finally know what Sea of Thieves is all about, after 2 years of demos that wouldn’t really show much. And despite being a little too long, the gameplay demo shown this year followed a crew on a mission, and it does look different, and fun.

Teamwork seems to be the best way to play it, as things can go bad quickly. Storms can affect the way the ship handles, special treasures can change gameplay, other crews can attack you. This might be the cause why the game won’t succeed, as it relies heavily on multiplayer, as we saw with Evolve, Battleborn. But Sea of Thieves looks like a much richer game than the examples above, with more things to do, a lot of features, and a unique style.

The Crew 2

This one was unexpected to me, when I saw that it was The Crew 2 I thought about checking my email or doing something else, I’m glad I didn’t do it. It appears to be another case of Ubisoft’s great improvement on the second title in a franchise. The first title was very underwhelming, wasting an immense potential. With The Crew 2, it looks like we’ll finally get what we were promised before.

Visually it is a lot superior to the first Crew, with New York looking amazing, the game also uses an effect that reminds Inception to change locations ocasionally. The fact that you can change from a car to a plane to a boat immediately is something we haven’t seen in a racing game, hopefully, it will be better implemented than it was in Steep. From an insipid title, we may get an alive one, much like the Watch Dogs to Watch Dogs 2 transition.

The Last Night

Sometimes a smaller game comes and steals the show, and The Last Night was one of those gems. An example that graphics aren’t everything, it has a special art style, pixel art, something I was tired of, in a futuristic cyberpunk world that looked like nothing else we saw this year. Whether it will be great we’re yet to see but it shows a lot of promise.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Crazier, more beautiful, with an improved story, an even bigger focus on the characters, that’s all that a sequel should have. And Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus looks like exactly that. The New Order was well-received but didn’t seem to explode as it should’ve, in part to some gameplay choices, in part to a very slow start in the campaign.

From what we’ve seen, MachineGames heard the criticisms and greatly improved on them. The story, that was very good in The New Order, appears to be even more interesting, bringing Nazis to America, making you fight them as part of the revolution. The characters are bizarre, the villain scary, if it is anything like the trailer it will be an amazing ride.

Those were my favorite games, did I forget one you liked? Comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

E3 Conferences Impressions

This year’s E3 conferences were quite different than past years, despite being good, there wasn’t one who stood out as remarkable or unforgettable. Without many surprising moments that would make the audience go crazy, most of them felt lukewarm, as if companies were keeping their cards close to their chests, or didn’t really have many novelties to show.

Here I’ll talk about them from worst to best, in my opinion, and some things I noticed about how companies are changing some aspects of how they approach their conferences:

EA

As last year, EA came up with the worst presentation, even though it certainly has improved. Many strange and cringy moments happened, mainly because it feels that the company is striving to look cool, trying to talk with the millennial generation without completely understanding it.

Youtubers that had problems with teleprompters,  feet out of place in a presentation willing to appeal not only to customers but also to stakeholders. Sports games would have overly long presentations at times, and yes, it is an integral part of the company strategy and finance, however, a leaner, more dynamic segment would work better for them. Jokes, long introductions, a trailer focusing on eSports also didn’t help the presentation, making it feel longer than it really was.

Battlefront 2’s multiplayer demonstration felt out of place, especially after EA’s focus on the singleplayer campaign ever since its announcement. Revealing that it won’t have a season pass is nice, and the multiplayer does look interesting, but showing just a little bit of the story would feel like a reward after the unimpressive Battlefront.

A way out

Although there were some problems, not all was lost. Need for Speed Payback looked amazing, with a truly great demo, showing a little bit of its mechanics, characters, mission structure, appearing to be a better game than we expected. And the best moment was A Way Out, part of the EA Originals program, a game that shows real innovation, with an unusual and unique gameplay mechanic. Becoming one of the best games to show at the event, with an effective trailer, and a very enthusiastic developer.

Sony

I might be too harsh on them, but after last year’s stellar presentation, this year’s just felt underwhelming. A repetition of the games seen last year, many still remaining without any release dates, a lack of new and exciting titles, and a feeling that something was missing, marked the presentation. By the way, I’m not considering the sound issues, these things happen.

Starting with Naughty Dog and Guerrilla was a smart move, but an Uncharted stand alone game and Horizon DLC doesn’t really hype up the audience. Destiny and Call of Duty being part of it isn’t a surprise, after all, both are expected to be the biggest sellers of the year, but none had an exciting showing.

The same can be said of Monster Hunter World and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, that looks very strange, with last-gen graphics, especially when compared with Street Fighter V and the superb Injustice 2. I have to say that I was surprised that they mentioned VR, with a good number of games, although they still feel more like tech demos than full-fledged games. Please, let’s stop releasing Skyrim on every platform, compared to more modern titles, it doesn’t look great, neither graphically, nor mechanically.

The one surprise of the presentation was the remake of Shadow of the Colossus, that looks incredible, but this one is on me, I can’t muster any excitement over a remake or remaster anymore. Detroit: Become Human is on the verge of saturation for me, it feels like I’ve seen this games more times than I needed too, and the lack of a release date doesn’t feel like a sign we’ll see it soon, probably next year.

God of War had a new trailer that highlighted the story and the relationship with Kratos and his son, what seems to be the part that the developers are giving the most attention to. The trailer itself was good, the story indeed looks intriguing, but the way it was cut was a little strange, I preferred last year’s gameplay chunk.

Days Gone

The best parts for me were the first gameplay reveal of Insomniac’s Spider-Man, and Days Gone, that after last year’s lukewarm presentation, they came out with an unexpected demo. Days Gone with a stunning demo finally gave us more on the background of the game, that may be very promising. God of War will be huge, but the prospect of a The Last of Us with an open world is something to look for. What looked like another zombie game that solely focused on action, now appears to one with a soul, highlighting human relationships, instead of waves of enemies. A game that I couldn’t care less about, became one I’ll keep my eye on, although Bend still hasn’t released anything that impressive.

Spider-Man is a beautiful title that based on the pedigree of the studio behind and what we saw, won’t disappoint. The combat is fluid, the world and the animations are beautiful, and the action set-piece was entertaining, reminding an Uncharted with a superhero as the main character. The high number of QTE’s can be troubling, but we’ll only find out next year, earlier than expected.

Bethesda

It started in a great way, with developers and their kids talking about what they did for a living and their excitement over games, something that was quite strange, as Bethesda’s game tend to be very violent, but it was fresh, funny and why not, cute. Then a video presentation started with great animation, showing the lineup of Bethesda, it was short, straight to the point, and very pleasant. However, the more I think about it, the less I like it.

Everything that was anticipated was there, Skyrim is coming out again, now in VR, Doom too, Elder Scrolls online, Legends were part of the presentation, but nothing that stood out. Quake legends appealed to the eSports side of the game. Dishonored DLC looked great, like every Dishonored trailer, with a very cool twist on the story, that may have some serious repercussion in the future of the franchise.

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The 2 surprises that ended up not surprising anybody, were the highlights. The Evil Within 2 had a very curious trailer that focused on the struggles of the leading character, the impact of his past on his life, and apparently, on his mind. With a beautiful soundtrack and a striking visual style, it showed great promise.

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus came with a long trailer that never ceased to amaze. The graphics are mesmerizing, the story fascinating. It’s nice to see that MachineGames appears to have improved on every area. The New Order was a great game, but The New Colossus may take the franchise a step further, with crazy characters, charismatic villains, and visceral action.

Microsoft

Unlike Bethesda, the more I think about Microsoft’s conference, the more I like it. When it ended I was completely deflated, mainly due to the lack of a massive AAA announcement of an exclusive for their new console, but pondering on what was presented, there were some very interesting games. Cuphead finally got a release date and a feature long awaited, OG Xbox backwards compatibility was announced.

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It started with the reveal of the Xbox One X, formerly known as Project Scorpio, that looks very slick in spite of being a lot more powerful than the original Xbox One, actually, it is smaller than the S model. The price is way too high, eliminating any chance to compete with the PS4 Pro, that may have fewer teraflops, but has better exclusives, let’s face it. Especially if multiplatform games don’t run that better on the X.

They promised to show more than 40 games, 22 exclusives, however many were timed exclusives, and others didn’t really impress the audience. Like The Newton Project and Lucky’s Tale, that felt generic and uninteresting. What was curious about the conference was that there were a significant number of good games, with a little bit for everybody, and that’s why I liked it.

First-party titles looked great, but nothing close to the size of a Halo or Gears. State of Decay 2 looks like an AAA title now, with many possibilities, although I would prefer a gameplay demo instead of the trailer shown, it felt a little long. Forza 7 is more beautiful than ever, it just didn’t make a lot of noise because everyone knew it would come out.

We saw Crackdown 3 after years of silence, bringing Terry Crews to the trailer, and the game, the letdown was that we didn’t see much of the title. Sea of Thieves had a much better showing than last year, with a mission that displayed the new features of the game, a little bit of the team aspect, finally revealing more about what it is all about.

Phil Spencer’s trip to Japan really worked out well for the company, a section was devoted to Japanese titles, with Dragon Ball Fighter Z standing out in a completely unexpected way.

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But the highlights for me were clearly The Last Night, an indie game that combines a beautiful world that resembles Blade Runner, using a pixel art aesthetic, attracting a lot of attention for its beauty and mysterious world. Assassin’s Creed Origins brought the franchise back to E3 after a year off, and it looked like that decision paid off, new features were shown, combat has changed, Egypt looks impressive, leaving some hope that the franchise might have a bright future ahead.

A Life is Strange prequel was revealed, and that was the moment in which I really got excited, in spite of the fact that Chloe’s voice actress has changed, it was nice to see the franchise being recognized on a big stage. And to finish things off, Anthem, the new Bioware IP had their gameplay reveal, and it looked amazing, maybe too beautiful at times. But the changes of gameplay that happened seamlessly were impressive, the world hypnotizing, it looked like a Destiny with a more fleshed out world and story.

Nintendo

I was baffled with how much I enjoyed Nintendo’s conference, given that I’m not somebody who really cares about their games or even consoles. The last one I had was a Super Nintendo, and for the first time since the SNES, I’m thinking about buying a console from them.

Their spotlight was short, effective, showed new games, and had a different feeling than the other companies had. The beginning was a little strange with a trailer focusing on the Switch, followed by Reggie Fils-Aime reflected on game and life, something that was funny, quickly proceeding to the games.

And here is where Nintendo always shines, their games don’t really have a story, but they have a trademark style. Starting with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a huge RPG that is exclusive to the console, looking massive, diverse and beautiful. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks like XCOM for kids, with a stunning art style, and a gameplay that genuinely looks fun.

New games of Kirby, Yoshi were shown, with different mechanics that work around the genre they’re in. They talked more about Breath of the Wild’s DLC, shedding some light on what could be expected from now on. Two projects stole the show, a Pokémon RPG is coming to Switch, and we expect for it to be a massive game, and Metroid Prime 4, that appears to be at the very beginning of its development cycle.

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The grand finale was the bizarre Super Mario Odyssey, and how crazy is that game. Taking the approach of bigger worlds, we managed to see the game running for the first time, and it reminds 64 and Sunshine, with open landscapes, a looser experience. And the hat, that we finally understand why was highlighted, allowing you to possess the body of any character in the world, creating endless possibilities for puzzles, representing something new to the genre. As I said, it was short, there weren’t dozens of games, but the ones that were shown were meaningful projects, in an E3 that felt lukewarm.

Ubisoft

I might be biased as I tend to enjoy their conferences, and the company as a whole, they make mistakes but they look honest, and I feel that this year they showed that. What an improvement when compared to last year, instead of overly long demonstrations, we saw a much better-structured show, if it was sports, it would’ve gotten the most improved player award.

Just Dance didn’t have a long dance routine that would bore everybody, it was short and swift. The way it started was brilliant, bringing Shigeru Miyamoto to the stage to talk about Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and to see the emotion and the passion of the developers was truly remarkable. Although the Rabbids can be very annoying at times, the presence of Mario balances that, in a game that looks delightful to play.

Assassin’s Creed Origins had a smaller presence, after appearing with an extended gameplay on Microsoft’s stage. Here was the strangest moment, when we were shown someone playing on a screen announcing a gameplay that would air after the conference, it just didn’t make any sense.

The Crew 2 was impressive, with many different styles of racing, planes, boats, cars, a beautiful world, and an Inception style effect. It feels like a much-improved title, looking like another case of Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs 2 syndrome.

Some moments didn’t land, South Park appeared again, an Elijah Wood project didn’t have a lot of details revealed, Steep has DLC, and a toys-to-life game was announced, long after the genre died.

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A new game based on pirate life, Skull & Bones, surprised the audience, looking like the Black Flag spin-off we were all waiting for. Naval battles with a multiplayer focus, in a beautiful world, and the possibility of creating a pirate squad, that’s not bad. Far Cry 5 continues to look like a significant improvement over Far Cry 4, that felt tired. More options to use NPC’s as part of the missions, hiring friends to help you, a world that responds to your actions, it appears to be a real sequel.

To end things off, they brought Beyond Good & Evil 2 back from the dead. With a new look, characters, feel, working as a prequel to Jade’s adventure. To see Michel Ansel tearing up on stage was truly special, it was nice to see that in such a rich industry you can see love for what they do. Whether we’ll actually play it we’re not sure, but it was great to see such a beloved franchise making a comeback, let’s hope that for good now.

A few things that caught my attention:

  • Every company is crazy to get their share of eSports.
  • Long gameplay demos became more scarce, it feels that companies are preferring gameplay trailers.
  • Microsoft didn’t talk about new features and Game Pass.
  • Companies are looking to make open worlds more responsive, reacting to your actions, like in GTA V.
  • Some are taking the Nintendo approach, making the conferences shorter, usually lasting less than one hour, with minimal presence from executives, like Bethesda and Sony did.
  • Speaking of Sony, it was strange to see that Hidden Agenda, the new Supermassive project, was part of the pre-show, especially when their VR projects, that looked much worse, took the main stage. And it is intriguing to see the downfall of Gran Turismo, that was too a part of the pre-show. We’re talking about the highest-selling franchise Sony has, and it is astonishing that it wasn’t part of the main show.

 

E3 Expectations: Sony

After last year’s stellar presentation, Sony is expected to show more of the games introduced in 2016 and bring new surprises hoping to keep the momentum going. In a year in which their biggest competitors have new hardware to show, and exciting games, they must bring their A game to keep customers interested. But what can we expect from Sony this year?

First-party

God of War

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Given the massive banner on a building near the conference area, we can be sure it will have a huge showing at the conference, as confirmed by a 1 hour presentation scheduled at E3 coliseum. The comeback of a beloved franchise, it feels like a soft reboot, changing the setting, gone are the Greek gods, in comes Nordic mythology. Kratos’ son will probably play a huge role on the story, looking similar to what Ellie did in The Last of Us.

It will be interesting to find out more about the dynamic between him and his son, especially due to his past, and what happened to his family before. Sounding like a departure from the angry character who would tear people apart for the joy of killing, we can hope to see a calmer Kratos, focusing on raising his son. We can expect to see a long gameplay demo on stage, showing more of the combat, the enemies, and a glimpse of the story. I’d bet it will be Sony’s main Fall game, coming out in October.

Spider-Man

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The first big project from Insomniac since the incredible Sunset Overdrive, and the suprising Ratchet & Clank remake, the exclusive Spider-Man game will make an appearance, as confirmed by the studio. We’ll hopefully see gameplay for the first time, after the interesting, but mainly empty trailer from last year.

After some low-quality titles in the past years, it’s nice to see this franchise in good hands again, especially if they adapt the fluid gameplay from Sunset Overdrive, that was its best feature. As God of War, this game will probably receive a major push, with more on the world, story, characters, villains. Since it isn’t connected to the MCU, it doesn’t have to come out this year, I’d guess it will be released in Fall 2018.

Days Gone

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After the attention received in last year’s conference, Days Gone must have another demo, this time focused on the characters and the world. Despite the great reception, some criticized the game for feeling formulaic, too similar to The Last of Us. Even though it was recognized by its beauty and the sheer impressive number of zombies on the screen, they’ll need to show more to keep the hype.

A very important project to Sony Bend, mainly because it took several years to be developed, Days Gone can represent a milestone for the studio. If it is a massive success, it can bring them to the first division of Sony’s studios, if it fails, it may be their doom. They need to highlight what makes it different in a market flooded with Zombie games, and here they’ll have the perfect opportunity to do that. I believe it will be released this year, as another Fall title, but if I were Sony, I’d do it Q1 2018, since we’re talking about a new IP that could use less competition.

New IP from Sucker Punch

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Since the release of Infamous Second Son, Sucker Punch has been completely quiet with no leaks regarding their new project. All we know is that Shuhei Yoshida has played a demo of it, but other than that, it’s a complete blackout. We can expect for them to completely leave Infamous behind.

There are talks about it being a third-person game with an open world, but I would love to see them follow Guerrilla and do something completely unexpected. From a hero to a horror, or a linear story-heavy game. Maybe a tease trailer will be shown, but a gameplay demo would be ideal. I think it may come out late 2018, early 2019.

Horizon DLC

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Announced after the astonishing success from the title, that has sold more than 3.4 million copies so far. No details were revealed, but it could be interesting to see more about Aloy and Rost’s relationship, the training for the Proving. Or a completely different take, showing more about Sylen’s past, or even Rost’s story making you play the situation that caused him to become an outcast.

The Last of Us Part 2

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Since the surprise announcement at PSX, with a strong and impactful trailer, not much has been said about The Last of Us: Part 2. Despite the remote chance of it appearing on this year’s conference, we may end up seeing a new trailer, maybe showing more about the new characters. Given Naughty Dog’s incredible capacity of creating games with great speed and quality, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw gameplay for the first time at PSX.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

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The Naughty Dog game that will probably get more attention this year, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy may have another demo, albeit a smaller one than at PSX, I believe. The surprise is that what we once thought out to be a small story, now looks like a substantial DLC, and a welcome addition to the Uncharted franchise.

GT Sport

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A real Mexican soap-opera, that’s how I define the release of every Gran Turismo game. Despite talking about innovations and how the franchise has meaningful iterations when compared to the competition, the series seems to have lost its title as the simulation king. Losing relevance, in part due to the long time between each title, and technical aspects that are inferior to the competition. They must have an impressive showing to regain some fans. I think it will come out in September or Q1 2018.

Detroit: Become Human

Detroit-PS4

Another E3 comes, and another Detroit: Become Human appearance is expected. A promising game that has everything to be a resounding success, but that has been demoed for so much time that it may suffer the same way the first Watch Dogs did. Taking so much time from announcement to release that people might lose their interest.

Quantic Dream’s track record can also bring some doubts, while Heavy Rain was acclaimed, Beyond: Two Souls was incredible underwhelming. Detroit: Become Human shows great promise, but it can’t come back next year, it must release within next year, my bet Q1/Q2 2018.

Death Stranding with Emma Stone Revealed

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Kojima confirmed that it won’t be at E3, however I can’t really trust him when it comes to announcements. After all, he’s the same man who created Moby Dick studios, and a bizarre campaign to announce The Phantom Pain. With rumors of Emma Stone’s involvement on the project being confirmed, it would become one of the biggest stories in the event. If she’s on stage, then that’s would bring the internet down.

Third-party

From Software

Bloodborne-2-e3-2017

Bloodborne 2 would be the easiest bet, as it was very successful commercially and received rave reviews, a comeback of that IP would make complete sense. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki has talked about wanting to work with different games, new ideas, and rumors about a new IP coming from them have surfaced. “Phantom Wail” would be the name, and it would have an Aztec aesthetic and a heavy focus on hand-to-hand combat. Whether it is Bloodborne 2 or a new IP, we should expect to see From Software make an appearance.

Crash

Crash

The remake of the first three games was a great surprise last year, taking the world by storm, making fans go crazy around the world. Activision has promised to bring more news about the franchise. Maybe another remake with Crash Team Racing and Crash Bash, and if the reception was overwhelming, possibly a new game announcement. Other than that, we may not see much more about it, as the N’Sane trilogy is coming out soon after the event.

New Rocksteady Game

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Justice League, Batman Beyond, a lot has been talked about Rocksteady’s new project, and rumors have flood the internet about possibilities, from DC properties to Harry Potter. After 2 years from the release of Arkham Knight, it feels like it’s about time to reveal what’s next for them. Probably only a teaser trailer to entice the audience.

Call of Duty WW2

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As we see every year, COD will make an appearance showing more of its campaign, that as we’ve seen so far has received a level of attention we haven’t seen since Advanced Warfare. An extended gameplay is to be expected, and a beta announcement at Sony’s stage.

Destiny 2

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The sequel of the incredibly successful Destiny, Destiny 2 should have a major push at the conference, shedding light at the exclusive DLC content on the platform. And a strike or a quick mission gameplay is a real possibility.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

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It’s been a long time since we’ve known about the existence of this project, and nothing about it has surfaced, leaving fans wondering what Capcom would do. Take the Resident Evil Remake approach and only improve on the graphics, and some dialogue with new additions, or try to adapt it to the post Resident Evil 4 camera and gameplay. A trailer would be enough to calm their fans.

Bully 2

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This rumor came up when Game Informer added the game to their database, and the Rockstar store was updated with Bully products. Agent, the exclusive game from Rockstar that would come to PS3 looks dead, and they might be owing another game for Sony. It would be a huge win to have Bully 2 as an exclusive, but that seems unlikely, maybe only as a timed exclusive. If it really exists and is part of the conference, we’ll either see a teaser trailer or gameplay.

VR Games

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Even though PS VR has reached 1 million products sold, VR hasn’t taken off as expected, making a much smaller splash, still feeling like a gimmick that only has tech demos. That’s why it is an important year for the technology, and what we see in the conference will be proof of that. If Sony spends a significant amount of time talking about it, showing new games, then it may really be the future. If not, this may turn out to be another Kinect, a technology that would revolutionize the industry, but ended up being a gimmick.

Some Predictions and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See:

  • Onimusha Reboot.
  • A new portable may be announced to fight the Nintendo Switch.
  • Spyro remastered.
  • PS1 games will be sold on the PS4.
  • Another obscure exclusive will be remastered to make the hardcore audience happy.
  • New Fumito Ueda game will get a teaser.
  • Shenmue III will get a trailer.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: Sony partnering up with a company like Ubisoft to create an EA Access like service, or just bring it to the PS4.

 

 

 

E3 Expectations: Ubisoft

The craziest, funniest conference, sometimes for some strange reasons, comes back in their usual Monday slot. Ubisoft has released a small video “hyping” what we could see in the conference, promising a lot of surprises and unexpected things. With franchises coming back and awkward moments, what can we expect from Ubisoft this year?

Silly Just Dance Moment

Just Dance E3 - 3
All jokes aside, that’s why I love their conferences

Every year, sometimes in the beginning, it is a certainty that we’ll see a bizarre, to the point it gets funny, moment revealing that year’s Just Dance. Enthusiastic dancers with colorful clothes will dance to the sound of a pop song, and maybe the singer will be there to join them. In the end, we’ll get a release date, some novelty on how to play, and I guess it will lose the number, and embrace the Just Dance Unlimited subscription model for future iterations.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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It’s not a secret anymore that the next Assassin’s Creed will be set in Egypt, and will be called Origins, mainly because of leaks from shirts. Expected to be a reboot, this is the game I’m most curious about, if this extra year was used for improvements on gameplay, mission structure, we can probably see a renaissance of the franchise.

There are no doubts that they can create beautiful, lively worlds, but without relatable characters and an interesting story, something the AC franchise has struggled a little, it wll be just another entry in the franchise. A clean slate enables them to rework the Abstergo story, enhance the missions, highlight the world, bringing the long requested Egyptian location as the background. It will probably be released this Fall, November maybe, and I think will appear with a trailer and an extensive demo.

Splinter Cell

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As part of my expectations from Microsoft, I mentioned that the series may come back as an exclusive title for the Xbox. 4 years have passed since Blacklist was released, to positive reception from the media, but lukewarm sales. Reports of Michael Ironside’s return as the voice of Sam Fisher have surfaced, and I think it’s been long enough for the franchise to return.

I believe they might try to reboot the franchise, calling the game only Splinter Cell, as a fresh start, with some gameplay changes willing to appeal to a larger market. My guess is that it will come back in less than one year. I don’t know if it has the strength to be released during the Fall season, so Q1 or Q2 2018 would be a nice time to release it.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

Following the reveal trailer that garnered some hate, we’ll probably see gameplay for the first time. Set in the US, it looks like an interesting change of setting, as some mechanics might require some changes since the landscape is very different. The controversy around it has the chance to propel the game to an even higher height, receiving attention from groups that might’ve not noticed it otherwise.

New mechanics, like flying planes, will be part of the game, there will be some player customization, and the trailer appeared to focus a lot on the characters, with the most relevant side characters receiving individual pieces. We can expect a bigger attention when it comes to the story side, and if it follows the pattern of past games, the villain will probably steal the show. This is a game that I didn’t really care, but the news coming from it got me cautiously optimistic, let’s see.

The Crew 2

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Despite having a great potential, and an impressive world map that recreated the US with a scale we haven’t seen before, The Crew never fulfilled expectations, being a little underwhelming. Heavy focus on microtransactions, a heavy DLC system, an uninteresting plot and a world that was huge but lifeless ended up leaving a bad taste in their consumer’s mouth.

But Ubisoft’s track record of greatly improving on their second games creates hope for The Crew 2, as we saw with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Watch Dogs 2. I’d guess it will have a new setting, a gameplay demo and for the release date, my bet is Q1 2018.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

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Everything about it leaked, the marketing strategy, amiibos, pretty much all that mattered. A turn-based RPG exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, with focus on exploration, bringing mascots from both companies with different abilities and weapons. According to the leaked material, it is expected to be released in August/September, and sounds like an awesome idea.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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Returning for yet another E3, South Park: The Fracture But Whole must bring back Trey Parker and Matt Stone to the stage with a new trailer and some more gameplay.

UbiArt comeback

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It’s been 3 years since Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War came out, to very positive critical and commercial reception, representing something different in the AAA publisher’s market. Games marked by beautiful visuals, stories that didn’t need words to be told, interesting gameplay. There are no rumors regarding a comeback, but that would be something that I would love to see return, after all, quality, introspective games are never enough.

IP That Appeared in Watch Dogs 2

A possible candidate for the final surprise of the conference, a new IP set on space may be unveiled after appearing in a trailer within a mission in Watch Dogs 2. According to reports in the media, sources claim that the game is in development, and it would be an interesting way to end the show, as they did last year revealing a new IP, Steep. Maybe they could repeat.

Other Possibilities and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See:

  • A new IP inspired by Black Flag, focusing on pirate life, and since that came out 4 years ago, it’s been enough time to develop a new game.
  • A new Rayman game.
  • Prince of Persia reboot.
  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer
  • Another new IP coming out of the left field, probably, the surprise in the end.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: I know remasters can suck, but I’d love to have the Sam Fisher collection, all past games in one package with gameplay and graphics enhancements.

E3 Expectations: Bethesda

Coming from great showings in their first 2 press conferences, Bethesda comes back to cement the company as one of the most important publishers in the industry, in their usual Sunday night slot. 2 reveals are to be expected, according to one image released by the company. But what can we expect from Bethesda this year?

Fallout 4 VR

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First revealed last year, Bethesda promises that this will represent the revolution of VR, the biggest AAA game available for VR. Given the current landscape of that technology, it might as well be true, since that has been a gimmick since launch without many meaningful projects. The curiosity around the project is huge, due to the massive scope of the game, and how it will run, since the original game had several performance issues, and that could make the game unplayable on VR. We can expect to find out the release date and the platforms it will be released on.

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus

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An extremely pleasant surprise in this generation was the comeback of the Wolfenstein franchise, with The New Order. Coming completely out of the left field, it was an old school shooter that appealed to a modern audience. Responsive gameplay, nice graphics, and a crazy story garnered a lot of attention not only from the media but from consumers as well.

In their first press conference, they hinted at a title named The New Colossus, looking like the title of a possible sequel to The New Order. We can hope to see the premiere of an extensive gameplay demo, and a release date. That I’ll guess will be Q1 2018.

The Evil Within 2

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Practically leaked by a job opening in Japan, The Evil Within is a certainty, mainly because of the great reception and commercial success of the first one. The open ending leaves space to develop the story even further. Since it was hiring for localization, one of the last phases of a game development, we can expect to see it released this year, maybe as a Halloween title.

The Elder Scrolls Online

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The moment in which the conference tends to fall a little bit, they’re likely to talk about the success of the game, the Morrowind expansion reception, and possibly announce something new. It is too early to come with a new expansion, but I think they might hint at a Skyrim one, to prepare to a new Elder Scrolls, that we shall see next year.

Quake Champions

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After a beta that has received some mixed reception, the company will probably unveil more of the gameplay, maybe some new levels, heroes, and the release date. In a world where Overwatch exists, chances are that it may become a new Battleborn.

A Mobile Project

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After the continued success of Fallout Shelter, there’s always the possibility of a new mobile game based on a property of the publisher. If I had to guess, I’d say that they might take the Go route, and will create stealth games based on Dishonored, Prey, but we have to wait and see.

New IP From Bethesda Studios

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This is a little farfetched, but we know that Bethesda Studios is working on several different projects, and it looks like a great moment to make a splash during E3. Rumors about a new Sci-fi RPG in the same world of Skyrim and Fallout have gained some attention, however nothing meaningful about this project has surfaced.

Other Possibilities and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See:

  • Story DLC for Dishonored 2 and Prey
  • More information on Elder Scrolls Legends
  • Elder Scrolls 6 teaser trailer

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: A new Fallout from Obsidian.

E3 Expectations: Microsoft

On a new day, Sunday afternoon, Xbox has their most important press conference of the past few years, in what it looks like a make or break one. Looking to reveal the highly anticipated Project Scorpio, address the lack of first-party titles and the assumption that there are no real meaningful games on the platform. And unlike last year, no leaks have surfaced regarding their revelations. So, what can we expect from the Xbox this year?

Project Scorpio

Scorpio Chip

First things first, the moment that can help define the brand for the next year, Project Scorpio, or the most powerful console ever made. We’ll probably see the final design of the console, that according to reports may have a similar one to the One S. We’ll find out the release date, I’d guess September, to be launched with Forza 7, and the tricky part, the price.

If it’s 499,00 it shows a company that’s thinking about differentiating it, displaying to the market that it is a premium product. However, it creates a space in which PlayStation could lower the price of the PS4 Pro to 349,00, in a situation impossible to compete, given the price difference. If I were them, I’d eat the loss, and would bring it at 399,00, being a powerful demonstration to the market that they are here not only to compete, but to win. But a Ferrari isn’t anything without gas, and a console isn’t anything without games.

Games

Talking about games, we expect to hear more about the exclusives promised by Phil Spencer. And here I’ll try to separate some possibilities and some guesses regarding First, Third-party and Indie titles that may appear in the conference.

First – party

343 Industries – Halo Spin-off or Perfect Dark Reboot

They have announced that they won’t show the new Halo, but instead they’ll show something else. Maybe it is a 10-year anniversary edition of Halo 3. But I prefer to think that it may be a spin-off title of the Halo series, something like Halo Reach, but in another genre, maybe a third-person shooter.

There’s been rumors regarding the possibility of 343 creating a new IP or a Perfect Dark for the Xbox One. Personally, I find it a great idea, it could become a way to use something from their back catalogue to become another staple for the brand. A female-lead FPS is very rare to find in the market, and 343 has proved to be able to produce quality titles, and they could change the setting so it won’t overlap with Halo. But in the end, I think they’ll just talk about Halo Wars 2 DLC.

Rare – Sea of Thieves and New Banjo, Possibly

Sea of Thieves looks like one of the most promising titles for the platform, after all, it could become a profitable game as a service, something that Phil Spencer has been talking a lot about in the media. The team-based structure with a strong multiplayer focus could reap benefits to the console, representing the resurrection of Rare as we used to know: an innovative and beloved company.

Tests have been happening and from what can be seen around the web, the reception has been very positive. It could become of a surprise, if it manages to keep players engaged for a long time, with a robust update strategy, producing new content, missions, places to explore. But most multiplayer centric titles have failed to do that, with the vast majority becoming ghost towns after a few months.

Few games like Destiny had legs for years, and who knows, Sea of Thieves could become a tentpole franchise for the brand, however it’s facing an uphill battle. Another project is currently being developed at Rare, and there’s been talks that it is Battletoads, but I can think of another studio more suited for it, that I’ll talk about a little later. Rumors of a return of Banjo have surfaced after a tweet from the creator of the franchise hinting at a possible reveal, but at least this year we might not hear much, only a teaser, as it wouldn’t make sense to overflow the audience with Rare projects, as it could confuse the audience.

Turn 10 – Forza Motorsport 7

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Another year comes and another Forza will be revealed, and unless a surprise happens, Forza Motorsport 7 will likely come out this year. In a very different situation than when 6 was unveiled, as the smaller brother of the Horizon spin-off, that received critical acclaim and sold extremely well, being regarded as one of the best games of last year, and one of the best racing games ever.

Mainly because while the spin-off series always brings innovations, rain, snow, interesting DLC’s as the Hot Wheels for Horizon 3, the Motorsport series seems to be always one step behind. I’d guess that the biggest innovation will be more racers online, 4K, and snow, and if that is all, they will continue as the inferior Forza game.

Reagent Games – Crackdown 3

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The one game that can become their main Fall game is Crackdown 3, and after years of silence around the game, it looks like they’ll come with guns blazing at E3. A franchise that received some love in the 360 generation, but never reached the stratosphere, Crackdown comes back with the original director, and a promise to use the power of the cloud, fast-paced, heroic action.

It will work as a gamble for them, and I’d say that it will be the game which they try to push as the face of Scorpio. A beautiful open-world, a gameplay based on destruction is perfect to show the power of the machine, and if successful, can be instrumental to the success of the platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came with a new name, either removing the 3 or with a subtitle, looking to release it with a clean slate.

The Coalition – Gears of War 4 DLC

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They will make an appearance, but unless they bring a new IP this will probably be about DLC for Gears of War 4, maybe a story one, looking to develop on the story told, maybe enhancing some side characters. But other than that, it doesn’t look like it will blow people away, but we can always hope.

Undead Labs – State of Decay 2

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Even though it comes from a second-party studio, State of Decay 2 is being treated like first-party, set to be much bigger and expansive than the first entry in the franchise. The studio has more employees now, a bigger investment from Microsoft, appearing to be a bet of the company as a Fall lineup title. With a more complex world, mechanics and moving towards a AAA level, expecting to repeat the success of the first one and improve on it.

Indies

My personal bet would be that the indie exclusives will be part of a sale highlighting them, like what Summer of Arcade would do. My bet would go on a lineup with Below, Tacoma, We Happy Few, Cuphead and a Battletoads reboot. Going a little further, I’d say that their indie highlight reel will be composed of games present in the sale.

Moon Studios – Ori 2 or Battletoads

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Here’s where Battletoads comes to me, and it may sound strange, but bear with me. Can you think of any other studio with better credentials to do it? Ori and the Blind Forest was a beautiful platformer, that had a Metroidvania structure, was just stunning, recognized for its quality and difficulty. I can’t think of better of better characteristics for any studio to work on it, it doesn’t even have to have a Metroidvania structure.

Let’s face it, the Battletoads franchise isn’t as important as people like to remember, it’s not a juggernaut. And releasing it as a 2D platformer with 3D elements is the safest and most reasonable way to do it. It would be a nice answer after Phil Spencer’s E3 shirt. And if that doesn’t happen, we can get a new Ori.

The Fullbright Company – Tacoma

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The second game of The Fullbright Company, Tacoma, has the hard task to follow Gone Home, a revered indie game that reached the mainstream through its remarkable storytelling. An exclusive for the Xbox One, it would fit beautifully in the summer.

Set in a space station, it shows some unique gameplay elements, and a heavy focus on storytelling. It was scheduled to be released in 2016, but was delayed in order to change some areas the developers weren’t happy with. We can expect the final release date this E3.

Compulsion Games – We Happy Few

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The biggest surprise of last year, We Happy Few might come back with a gameplay demo, or a trailer of the story mode. After being part of the preview program, we’ll probably find out the release date of this long-awaited indie game.

Capybara Games – Below

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Dark Souls with an isometric view, that’s how Below has been defined. From the studio behind Super Time Force, Below has had a troubled development, with several delays. To the point that the studio has announced that they would only talk about a date when they were certain. And I think this E3 will be their last chance to garner some attention to their title, without the fear of tiring the consumer, that has heard about it for years. Sometimes you just must release it and don’t think about it.

StudioMDHR – Cuphead

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Cuphead, an indie darling, that received a lot of attention not only from the media, but also by fans, mainly due to its unique visual style, is scheduled to return to the Microsoft stage. Although the hype has certainly decreased, as what happened to Below, due to a prolonged exposure, Cuphead should be released in the next few months.

Third – party

Splinter Cell (Exclusive?)

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This is a guess that for some reason looks very feasible, mainly due to a fairly recent history of the franchise. Splinter Cell: Conviction was a console exclusive for the 360, and I believe this story could be repeated here. Blacklist wasn’t an overwhelming success, with the franchise ever since being dormant, so if Microsoft decided to finance a sequel, that could become a real possibility. And it would fill a void in the company’s catalogue, something that Phil Spencer always talks about. Who knows a reboot might be coming.

Ninja Gaiden (Again, exclusive?)

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Another dormant franchise since 2014, the Ninja Gaiden series has a history the brand before, with 2004’s Ninja Gaiden being originally exclusive to the OG Xbox. After Nioh’s success, Microsoft must be paying close attention considering bringing a hack n’ slash to their audience.

An alleged leak of this year’s conference referred to a title from the franchise coming exclusively to the console. Spencer himself acknowledged on Twitter his awareness of the desire of the Xbox audience earlier this year. Although it’s all circumstantial, it wouldn’t really come as a surprise if it happened.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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With the marketing agreement, we’ll probably see an extended gameplay of the first game announced to the Scorpio. We should find out more about the story and the Nemesis system in the demo.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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As reported by the reliable insider Shinobi, Microsoft closed a marketing agreement with a massive IP, and this looks like the most probable choice. It would be a great stage to show the comeback of the franchise, that skipped a year, in order to further polish the title, in what looks like a reboot.

Cyberpunk 2077

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CD Projekt Red claims that they are focusing on Gwent, but a teaser wouldn’t hurt anybody, only make them go crazy.

Borderlands 3

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Rumors say that it will have a significant appearance at Microsoft’s conference, and it does feel like the right time to do it.

Studio Gobo – Not Yet Known

The studio behind the Disney Infinity playset announced a partnership with Microsoft for an exclusive game, and some job openings gave us some hints regarding what the project could be about. A third-person AAA action game, that may be a free-to-play based on a famous IP. Could it be a Halo game, Gears, or based on a property from other medium? There are no real hints, but it is the most mysterious and exciting project we may see.

Some Predictions and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See

  • One or two free games given, as what happened in the past few years.
  • Sunset Overdrive 2 announced, will be released February 2018.
  • Skate 4 on stage following reveal at EA’s conference.
  • OG Xbox backwards compatibility announced.
  • Marvel announces an exclusive game for the platform, my bets: Iron Man, Captain America or The Avengers.
  • Dino Crisis reboot or exclusive Capcom game.
  • Possible Obsidian AAA exclusive.
  • thatgamecompany’s new game announced.
  • Dino Crisis reboot exclusive for Xbox.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: Phil Spencer with an IO shirt revealing they bought the studio and the Hitman Franchise.

E3 Expectations: EA

This week E3 kicks off, with many expectations and a surprisingly low number of leaks, at least so far. The first company to take the stage will be EA, Saturday afternoon, with an apparent stronger lineup than last year, which was a very weak presentation, that had no surprises and little content. But what can we expect from them this year?

Bioware’s New IP and Maybe Something Mass Effect Related

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The Canadian studio has a tough road ahead of them. After the backlash suffered with Mass Effect Andromeda’s release, they need to try to take that bad taste of their consumers’ mouth, while working out a way to reveal their new IP.

And here they face a conundrum, since we’re talking about something completely new, they can’t wait that much to unveil their next project. If we were talking about a game based on a well-known franchise they could postpone the announcement. Being released next year, they need enough time for marketing to present it to the audience, having a least one year to do it. 6 months may work with Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, famous brands, but that won’t for something nobody never heard about before. Gamescom may be the last acceptable date for the reveal, but leaving the biggest show in the industry behind may be a very risky choice.

Mass Effect Andromeda’s lukewarm reception and subpar performance makes it much harder, creating a need to compensate for their mistakes, given that their name is a little tainted to fans. I’ll guess that they might announce that they are creating something for their fans, like for example a free story DLC revolving around a character from the old trilogy, like Wrex, to gain some goodwill.

It’s in the Game

As always, that’s a safe bet, there will be a segment focused on EA Sports and their profitable franchises. We may hear more about the continuation of Alex Hunter’s story in the Journey season 2, and how Madden is changing with the choice to use the Frostbite engine, and get a sneak peek of the story mode hinted at the reveal trailer of this year’s iteration.

Other than that, they’ll use the time to talk about their connection with eSports, how Ultimate Team is successful, more about NHL, NBA Live, and UFC 3, unveiling their cover athletes. Speaking of athletes, we can assume we’ll see some on stage talking a little about the game, maybe on NBA Live or UFC.

Need for Speed: Payback or Family (Your Choice)

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We’ll probably see the first gameplay, or a trailer that will talk about the story and the characters. There’s no doubt that the game will look simply incredible, but it needs to go beyond that to regain some of the love lost for the franchise. Leaving the always-online feature is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be more improvements, especially after the release of Forza Horizon 3 last year, possibly one of the best racing games ever.

Seeking inspiration from the Fast and Furious franchise is an interesting choice, after all, it is insanely successful, being very profitable. But focusing on amazing set pieces and a beautiful world isn’t enough, the gameplay must be finely tuned, leaving that drift camera, improving the feel of the cars, the map can’t be flooded with other cars who seem to aim yours all the time, and some landscape variety would be nice. Of course, they must create charismatic characters, something that racing games rarely do, and that the Fast and Furious franchise understood a long time ago.

Star Wars

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Most likely Star Wars Battlefront II will be the star of the show, and I’ll guess that they will start the show with a sneak peek of the campaign, showing a part of a mission, highlighting the main character, Iden Versio. They announced that 30 minutes before the press conference they will premiere a battle with 40 players, but that looks like multiplayer, and they have focused a lot on the campaign lately.

They might also talk about the state of the other games based on the franchise. Show a little glimpse of the Respawn project, but it would be interesting to finish the presentation with a teaser trailer of the project from Visceral, helmed by Amy Hennig, who is scheduled to be released between April 2018 – March 2019, probably in the Fall of 2018.

Some Predictions and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See

  • Announcement of Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1 and backwards compatible titles coming to EA Access soon.
  • More EA Originals titles, Fe and Unravel 2 release date.
  • Teaser trailer for Motive’s new action IP.
  • Dragon Age 4 revealed on stage.
  • 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like: Skate 4 being shown on stage by the Hawkman, Tony Hawk, announcing a partnership with EA.

 

Why Sony always steals the show at E3

It’s been 1 week since the press conferences of E3 2016, enough time for the news to sink in, and one thing seems to be the unanimity, that despite the fact of Microsoft having a strong showing, the best show came from Sony, even though most of the games didn’t have any release date, while Microsoft showed projects that in their majority are a few months from release, but why does that happen?

I spent a few days reflecting about it, and I could only come to one conclusion,  the fact Sony has the capacity to appeal to a gamer’s heart in a way that the other companies just can’t replicate.

After the backlash of the fans during the PS3 generation, especially in the beginning, Sony came with a different mindset to this generation, with the mantra of focusing on the gamers, and this strategy has paid off beautifully in the past few years, as we can see on their latest conferences.

And the main reason why they managed to pull this off is mainly due to the company’s rich history and relationship with the consumers, a history with a wealth of remarkable franchises that only Nintendo can go up against, but with the difference that Mario’s company franchises appears to have lost their appeal with hardcore gamers, whilst Sony has from God of War to Parappa The Rapper to The Last of Us, with more than 20 years in the market.

Although Microsoft has successfully established its brand on the gaming market, with the Xbox, they lack the history necessary to make a huge impact on E3, and we saw that when they tried to revive Phantom Dust, a game that only the most hardcore Xbox fan would know, and that didn’t cause any commotion when announced, or Battletoads, that has been teased for years but wouldn’t have the same impact as the recently announced Crash remaster, that with one song made the audience and me go crazy.

The company’s biggest franchise, Halo, is starting suffer of fatigue, with each game since Bungie’s departure becoming less and less important, Gears is having a new entry that has seemed to spark the love for franchise after Judgement, and with new IP’s for the Xbox One having a mild success, despite great reception, such as Sunset Overdrive, being critically acclaimed but only having moderate sales, and an apparent lack of interest of Microsoft on Rare’s franchises.

While Sony has been since the starting point of this generation a customer-friendly company, with a gamer’s first approach, as seen in 2013, when they shot directly at Xbox One’s restrictive features, as seen here:

Since 2015 they chose to use their conferences to fulfill old dreams of gamers worldwide, reviving games that only they would be able to do, beginning last year’s show announcing the comeback of the long dormant The Last Guardian, the long-awaited FF7 remake and the partnership in the Kickstarter of Shenmue 3, and even if not all of them are exclusives, they present the Playstation as the main platform to do experience it.

In 2016, presenting a new God of War, regarded by many as the game of the show, as mentioned before, a comeback of Crash, the new Resident Evil, compatible with PS VR, the release date of The Last Guardian, 3 promising new IP’s, Days Gone, Horizon Zero Dawn and Detroit, bringing Kojima back to the big stage after his departure from Konami in big fashion and the announcement of an exclusive Spider Man game.

And let’s not forget Playstation Experience, an event focused on the hardcore fans, that are the backbone behind the incredible success of the PS4, and that’s the main reason why the company has revived the brand, because they understood the consumers desires,  and most importantly met their expectations, with games that we don’t know when we’ll play, but that appeal to us, something that their competitors seem to struggle, with Nintendo releasing consoles that don’t focus on hardcore gamers, and Microsoft changing their approach only when Phil Spencer took control of the Xbox division, forgetting about entertainment and focusing on games and creating unique experiences.

E3 Highlights

This was a very fascinating year for E3, with many leaks diminishing the excitement regarding some conferences, but with some great surprises and rumours confirmed but sometimes not as reported before, here are some of my personal highlights and low points of the show.

What was great

The orchestra at Sony conference

Even though most of the games didn’t have a proper release date as some complained, it was a real show for fans, being considered by many as the best one, and the orchestra was a big part of that, creating an environment of an event, of something really grandiose, enhancing  the gameplays and showing that to make a great conference you don’t need to focus on the technology but on putting on a show for the viewers, and they were extremely successful at it.

Horizon Zero Dawn

My most anticipated game prior to E3, Guerrilla Games presented us a demo of Horizon that only made my confidence in the quality of this game bigger, giving a sneak peek of the world, the wildlife, the way the robots are seen as corrupted, and a little bit about the leading character, Aloy, played by Ashly Burch, that did an amazing job as Chloe in Life is Strange, showing a strong, fearless woman on a quest for her origin, with amazing graphics and a world that seems to have some very enticing secrets.

Forza Horizon 3

One of my favorite franchises, with Forza Horizon 2 being my favorite racing game in years, Forza Horizon 3 had an amazing showing in the Microsoft conference, with a beautiful environment, using Australia as the setting, with a huge variety of landscapes, from beaches to forests, with breathtaking graphics and some very interesting innovations with off-road racing, co-op, and a world that seems more lively and even more relaxed.

Prey

A long rumoured return happened in Bethesda conference, with the revival of Prey, being a complete reboot of the franchise, with a Groundhog Day style trailer, that started very mysteriously, and with so many questions, such as the red-eye, the what it seems to be the leading character’s Doppelganger, turning Prey into a modern FPS with horror elements.

Spider-man PS4

Confirming rumours an exclusive PS4 game of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man is coming, but unlike reported it will come from Insomniac Games, the studio behind Ratchet & Clank franchise and the amazing Sunset Overdrive, with a trailer that made every Spidey fan around the world go crazy and happy to know that the character is in good hands after years of mediocre games.

Crash

Crash

After years of expectation and requests by the Bandicoot fans, Crash returned in great fashion in Sony conference, and I have to say when that song started playing I had a smile on my face, with the announcement of his participation in Skylanders and the best one, a complete remaster, from the ground up, of the first 3 titles of the franchise to the PS4.

Resident Evil 7

Another confirmed rumour was of Resident Evil 7, at Sony stage, but as it turns out it surprised everybody with a trailer that was surprising, especially because it didn’t show any characters, places, nothing that reminded the franchise, with a release date announcement, a demo, the surprise that Capcom’s Kitchen Demo that was highly praise was a concept test to the game, and the biggest one, the fact that it’s compatible with VR and is now in first-person.

We Happy Few

An indie game that has garnered attention for a while received a demo as the biggest title in the ID@Xbox program, with a look that reminds of Bioshock, in a presentation that perfectly displayed the world of the game, and a little bit more of the story, in which pills that were supposed to make the characters happy, seem to make them “blind” to the horrors of the world, being regarded in the media as one of the best games, stealing the show.

Gears of War 4

The biggest title this year in Microsoft’s lineup, Gears of War 4 did a great job with a demo that successfully showed the game’s innovations, the use of Xbox One power with stunning visuals and a weather effect that really affected the battlefield, a different use of the co-op, a better look on Kait Diaz, played by the brilliant Laura Bailey, and served as a statement that the franchise is in good hands.

Kojima

Kojima

After the tumultuous departure from Konami, and the announcement of the partnership with Sony, legendary designer, Hideo Kojima, took the stage lauded by the audience, showing he was back presenting the trailer of his first project with the company, Death Stranding, full of symbolism, and the unexpected reunion with Norman Reedus after the debacle of the Silent Hills project.

Watch Dogs 2

Part of the amazing but overly long Ubisoft presentation, Watch Dogs 2 showed a gameplay demo that showed that Ubisoft’s second entry improvement happened here, with a leading character having an appealing character, instead of Aiden Pierce, a world better realized, beautiful but believable graphics, and a mission that seemed like a real upgrade from Watch Dogs stale structure.

What was horrible

Since I don’t hate people, I won’t put any videos of the worst moments of the event.

EA’s conference

What an anticlimactic way of beginning E3, a presentation that was a real snoozefest, with the long esports segment taking precious time and not appealing to the audience, the lack of real games, with projects we’ll only see 2018, 2019, the infamous developers mini documentaries, and no real news of much-anticipated games and almost no gameplays.

Lack of gameplays

Speaking of gameplays, a worrying trend that happened during EA’s and Bethesda’s conferences was the lack of gameplays, with both companies favouring concept and CGI trailers to real gameplay, creating presentations that seemed like a look at the future and that had some very underwhelming moments in part due to no real exciting gameplay of anticipated games like Mass Effect Andromeda and Amy Hennig’s Star Wars.

So Much Talking

One of the reasons why Sony was so successful was the fact that they only focused on games, whilst some conferences focused on talking, on an event in which we want to see games and games only, from Ubisoft’s long interviews, the long Assassin’s Creed movie conversation, behind the scenes footage, EA’s talking of future projects, esports, the specifications of console and Xbox Live new features talk at Microsoft, moments that could have been used to display new projects were used to moments when viewers lost attentions.

Boring and overly long demos

One of my favorite conferences was the one from Ubisoft, but one thing that everybody agreed was the fact that their demos were too long, clocking over 2 hours, with more than 10 minutes at times, and moment that didn’t appear to work well together as in South Park demo, the disconnected Dishonored 2 demo, that seemed that drag the duration of the conference, creating an underwhelming ending for a good show, and the demos of FF XV, Scalebound, that didn’t create any excitement during the demos despite of the grandiose set pieces or as in Minecraft, that seemed too forced.

 

 

E3 Expectations (Part 1)

It’s the best time of the year for gamers, our “Super Bowl”, “Christmas”, E3 has arrived and it begins today with EA’s and Bethesda’s conferences, and what can we expect from this year’s event? New hardware? The beginning of the end for E3? Surprises? Or just leaks confirmations? We’ll discuss here what we wish we’ll see there.

EA

Known for playing it safe and rarely presenting any surprises, this year seems like another opportunity for the company to show gameplays and possible minor changes in their franchises, what to expect:

Battlefield 1 gameplay: In last month reveal event we had a taste of the game, with a very interesting trailer, but with little gameplay and even though it was in-engine, it doesn’t mean that showed the real graphics capability of the game, and it will be nice to better understand how the close combat scenario will work in the franchise.

Mass Effect Andromeda reveal: After being in development for more than 5 years, it looks like we’ll have a first look of how the gameplay, world, graphics have changed after being built from the ground up to this generation, especially after some leaked videos showing some interesting innovations like a jetpack, and the possibilities brought by a new galaxy and a new leading character.

Fifa 17 changes: The first game of EA’s sports games to use the Frostbite, they’ll probably show how it’s has changed being powered by a new engine, and a possible reveal of the long rumoured reimagined career story mode.

Amy Hennig’s Star Wars: In a recent interview, Jade Raymond, head of Motive, that has been working with Visceral in Amy Hennig’s Star Wars project, said that the game still was a few years ahead, but we can hope that EA will at least show a teaser trailer of the project, expected to be released in Fall 2017, especially due to the high expectations the market has towards the game.

Titanfall 2 campaign: Despite being a great first entry for a franchise, Titanfall suffered for not having a campaign to explain the world behind the maps, and producers of the sequel promised a real campaign, that has been bringing a lot of expectations to it, most notably because of the team behind it, responsible for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’s revolutionary campaign.

Bioware’s new franchise: A story that baffled the media happened a few months ago, when a Bioware was wearing a shirt that revealed the studio’s new IP, and to his own amusement, nobody realized it, and even though it may be a long shot, there’s a possibility it could be teased in Sunday’s conference.

IndiEA: After Unravel’s success, getting a sequel, we might see new indie project from the publisher, especially a reveal of the announced game the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons creators.

New Skate (Please): It’s a long shot but we can alway hope, the best skated franchise in the marked, sorry Tony Hawk, deserves a new sequel produced to this generation that can’t be represented on the skate genre by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5.

Bethesda

After being the surprise conference of last year, being regarded by many as the best, Bethesda surprisingly returns with another conference that despite not having a lot to show in the beginning, in the past week had some very surprising rumours about:

Dishonored 2 world premiere: The game will be shown for the first time after an enticing CG trailer, the sequel to a successful new IP, both critically and commercially, it promises to be even bigger and more impressive than the first one, with 2 protagonists, a bigger world and new ways to go through each mission.

Possible Skyrim remaster: After being longed by the franchises fans, it looks like we’ll finally see a Skyrim remaster to this generation, and this rumour came from a reliable industry insider, and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched, especially because Fallout 4 team remastered the title to become used with this generation machines.

Evil Within 2: Since the release of Evil Within, Tango Gameworks hasn’t released any news regarding a new project, and rumours floated claiming that a sequel might be presented in the company conference.

Wolfenstein 2: With the successful revival of the franchise, it might be a perfect time for a sequel announcement, since it’s been more than 2 years since The New Order’s release, MachineGames has released an expansion pack, The Old Blood, and a possible sequel might be revealed with a date for beginning of 2017.

Prey 2 Rebirth: Revealed in 2011, Prey 2 had an impressive reveal a few years ago presenting a beautiful game with a fast-paced gameplay in an open-world, but as far as we know the project was cancelled, according to rumours because of an impossibility of achieving the same quality in the game as in the demo, but according to an industry insider, the game will come back in this year’s conference, and using a more powerful machine the developers may have finally reached what they aspired at first.

Microsoft

Amidst reports of new hardware, Microsoft still needs to show a strong presentation, specially after Sony’s last year conference focusing on fan service, revealing games long requested by gamers.

New hardware: Still not confirmed by the company, reports claim that the company will show 2 new models of the Xbox One, a slim one with 2TB, and a more powerful one, as the PS4 Neo, codenamed Scorpio, due to release in 2017, as well as a streaming device, under the leadership of Phil Spencer we suppose they’ll have a smoother presentation than the infamous Xbox One reveal event.

Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2: The 2 biggest Xbox franchises are scheduled to appear in the conference will a new gameplay o GOW 4, hoping to clear the bad impression left by last year’s demo, and the first gameplay footage of Halo Wars 2, that’s being produced by the studio that produces Total War, regarded as one of the best strategy games of the market, as well as the announcement of an open beta, with both games expected to be part of the Fall lineup of the company.

Forza Horizon 3: Speaking of Fall, a new Forza game will be announced, and if they follow their pattern, Forza Horizon 3 will be announced as another Fall game, with a possible Australian Coast setting, serving as a follow-up to a beautiful Mediterranean setting in the great Forza Horizon 2, as well as new innovations to the franchise.

Rare presence: After a trailer that caught the eyes of long time fans of the studio, Sea of Thieves is set to make a return to the E3 stage, showing gameplay footage of the Pirate open world MMO game, that was highly praised as a possible comeback to Rare’s old days, another possibility, but with a smaller chance is of the reveal of another project from the English studio, possibly a Battletoads revival or a new Banjo game, specially after the latest Yooka-Laylee trailer showing signs that it may happen in the Banjo universe.

Recore and Crackdown: Present in last year’s conference, both games are expected to come back with Recore being shown after a quiet year since last year’s reveal of a CG trailer, with the expectation of the company showing gameplay of the mysterious game, and Crackdown is expected to show more about the its story and the impressive technology behind the game, creating a destructive environment like never seen before.

Red Read 3 and Dead Rising 4: Last week leaks of Dead Rising 4 surfaced with alleged Gamestop posters outing a new entry of zombie franchise being exclusive to Xbox One and PC, and a possibility that has gained force is of a Red Dead 3 reveal in the Xbox conference with a possible backward compatibility announcement attached to it, that has long been requested as one of the most desired by fans.