We’re now just a month away from everybody’s favourite gaming convention, E3. Though there are now a few more competing conventions that can draw some attention and garner some headlines, E3 remains the premier spot for debuting new games, announcing new hardware and generally stirring up excitement among the gaming community.
So what can we expect from each of the major presentations? Here’s what we think we might - and might not - see.
Last year saw EA beset with controversies around their use of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II and FIFA 18, some of which have rumbled into this year. It’ll be fascinating to see what direction they head in with their new crop of games, as pressure grows to abandon the microtransaction model they’ve pursued for several years.
Early signs are good; FIFA 18 will be getting a dedicated World Cup mode to tie in with the tournament. The World Cup begins a few days after E3, so expect to see some footage of the new mode. Best of all for football fans, the mode has already been confirmed as being free to download.
The presence of the World Cup update to FIFA 18 may limit the amount of exposure EA give to FIFA 19, which will be out later this year. Beyond their usual crop of sports titles, perhaps the most anticipated game we expect to see is Anthem. We’ve already seen a bit of footage, but some actual gameplay - and a release date - would help to ratchet up the anticipation for this shooter.
Microsoft are under pressure of a different kind. After Sea of Thieves failed to make waves (no pun intended) in the way they’d hoped, Xbox One players are once again looking enviously at PS4 owners and their ever-increasing roster of brilliant exclusives.
With the next generation of Xbox still likely at least two years away, Microsoft can’t really afford to let the One pass without making a big effort to land at least a couple of big hitting exclusive titles. It would be a surprise if there are none featured at E3. Forza Horizon 3 remains enormously popular, so a sequel to that would be well received. Or could Microsoft return to their most reliable and enduringly popular series for Halo 6?
Last year’s Microsoft presentation was all about hardware; now it’s time for the games to do the talking.
Bethesda are, as usual, playing their cards close to their chest.
Although it’s tough to say, there’s a good chance we’ll see at least one of their big series - the Elder Scrolls, Fallout or Dishonored - getting some sort of update or sequel.
Ubisoft produced arguably the most unexpectedly popular presentation last year. That does mean it’s tougher to predict exactly what they’ll do this year.
However, we’re expecting to see a more in-depth look at Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Skull and Bones. After Assassin’s Creed: Origins’ success, we could also see another game in the popular series, but it may be a bit too soon for that.
Last year’s E3 was an unmitigated success for Nintendo and played a major role in the continued success of the Switch. They’re running low on fan-favourite franchises to announce new games for, so it’s likely that they’ll focus on what we already know is coming.
Super Smash Bros. has already been announced, and we expect that to be featured heavily. We’ll also get confirmation on whether it’s a port of the Wii U game or an entirely new version.
Metroid Prime 4 and a new Pokémon game were both briefly mentioned last year, and any further clarification, particularly on the latter, would cause a real storm.
Despite rumours swirling that Sony are busy working on the PlayStation 5, it would be the biggest surprise in E3’s long history if they were to announce a new console this year. We could potentially see some kind of update to PSVR, although Sony may be holding off on that until their fifth PlayStation arrives.
While Microsoft struggle to name big exclusives, expect Sony to excel in this regard. The Last of Us 2, Spider-Man, and the mysterious Death Stranding are all expected to get a significant airing, as is Days Gone, another exclusive that has been in production for over three years and is expected to release next year.