Update: Ubisoft has finally announced the time and date of its E3 2017 keynote: June 12 at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. What can we expect out of the French publisher this year? Chances are good that we’ll see a new Assassin’s Creed, South Park: Fractured But Whole and, if we’re lucky, our first glimpse of the next Far Cry game.
Original article continues below…
E3 is the world’s biggest gaming show. Every June, the video game development community and press gather in Los Angeles to learn about what the next year has in store for the world of video games. This year 15,000 members of the public will be joining the party too.
It’s an exciting show. The big players in the industry, from Sony to Microsoft and Nintendo to Ubisoft, all compete to get the biggest headlines by saving their biggest announcements for the show.
In previous years we’ve seen the announcement of new consoles and new games, and with two new consoles being released this year (the and Microsoft’s ), we’re expecting the major publishers to have something big lined up for the show.
It’s a big year for Nintendo and according to Nintendo of America’s president Reggie Fils-Aime the company is planning a “big” E3 to reflect this.
But apparently it’s not quite a big enough year for Nintendo to host a traditional on-stage press conference. Nintendo hasn’t had one of these since 2012, instead reaching out to fans directly with Nintendo Direct-style videos and Treehouse livestreams.
This year will be no different. Nintendo’s E3 show will kick off with a livestream at 9am (PT) on Tuesday June 13th which will apparently focus on Super Mario Odyssey, but will also include details about this year’s other Nintendo Switch games.
This will be followed by another more long-form ‘Nintendo Treehouse’ livestream. Last year this focussed overwhelmingly on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but this year Nintendo hasn’t yet announced which games in particular it will be streaming. Super Mario Odyssey, ARMS and Splatoon 2 seem like safe bets, but we’ve got our fingers crossed for a surprise Pokemon Stars reveal.
On the show floor (which opens at noon PT on June 13) Super Mario Odyssey will be playable as well as “other games for Nintendo Switch.” There’s a lot we don’t yet know about Nintendo’s presentation this year, but Nintendo has said that its planning on revealing more closer to the event.
It’s been confirmed that there’ll be a Splatoon 2 tournament at the Nintendo booth this year. Though it’s not certain what form the tournament will take it’s highly likely that it’ll be somewhat similar to the Super Smash Bros tournament that was held at E3 in 2014.
With lots to be confirmed about Nintendo’s lineup, we have a pretty long wish-list of games we’d like to see Nintendo announce.
Every year we cross our fingers and hope that Retro Studios will be allowed to make another Metroid Prime game, or that Nintendo might see fit to resurrect F-Zero for another outing, but it’s probably more likely that the company will be hoping to launch a couple of all new franchises with its new console.
Sony’s conference is scheduled to take place this year on June 12 at 6pm PT, 9pm ET, and at 2am on June 13 BST.
Sony has developed a knack for showstopping E3 presentations in recent years. Two years ago it stole the show by announcing a long-anticipated remake of Final Fantasy 7 alongside Shenmue 3, and last year it let games such as God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn speak for themselves alongside an appearance from legendary game designer Hideo Kojima.
It then went on to be a big hardware year for Sony. It launched a refresh of the PS4’s hardware with the , a new 4K console in the form of the , and the first ever console virtual reality headset, the .
We think virtual reality will be a big focus for Sony at this year’s event. Its VR headset is out in the wild now, and people need big meaty gaming experiences to convince them it’s a worthwhile investment.
Announced at last year’s presentation, Star Wars VR ended up being an amazing experience whose biggest problem was its length. We’d love to see a that can be played in virtual reality in its entirety announced at this year’s show.
We also saw the announcement of a new Spider-Man game developed by Ratchet and Clank studio Insomniac games last year, and with Spider-Man: Homecoming arriving on the big screen a month after E3 in July it’s highly likely that Sony will want to capitalise on the excitement with another announcement.
Otherwise we expect Sony to be pretty much business as usual at this year’s show. It’s developed a comfortable lead over Microsoft in hardware sales, and it’s unlikely to want to upset this too much.
Microsoft has confirmed that this year its conference will take place on Sunday June 11 at 2pm PT/ 5pm ET/ 10pm BST which is slightly earlier than its usual Monday slot.
Last year Microsoft announced not one, but two new pieces of hardware – the and Project Scorpio.
The former sounded at first as though it was going to be a traditional slimline console, but Microsoft then announced it would bundle in an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and support for 4K streaming for good measure.
Project Scorpio, meanwhile, is looking like it’ll be a much more major upgrade. Microsoft is promising it will bring native 4K gaming to consoles for the first time.
With Scorpio due out at the end of this year, we expect it to form a big part of Microsoft’s presentation at this year’s show, particularly since its image was the focus of the company’s flier for the event.
In a blog post on the Xbox website, Phil Spencer stated that the company is “excited to unveil Project Scorpio and the amazing game experiences it powers at E3 this June.”
Earlier this month, Microsoft revealed the hardware specifications for the console in order to make it possible to focus more on how these numbers actually affect performance and the games the company is planning to release.
We wouldn’t be surprised if some existing Xbox One games see Scorpio patches or re-releases for Scorpio. Flagship titles like Halo 5, Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 are obvious contenders, but we’re crossing our fingers that Microsoft finally gets around to fixing the Master Chief Collection for a 4K re-release.
We know for definite that the console will support Middle Earth: Shadow of War so we imagine footage of that title will feature heavily and it’s been rumored that we’ll also see footage from Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Call of Duty, FIFA, Madden, Battlefront 2, and Red Dead Redemption 2.
We’re also likely to see more talk of Rare’s Sea of Thieves, but beyond that Microsoft doesn’t have many franchises that have been missing in action recently that it could do with resurrecting.
EA, Activition, Bethesda and the rest
It would be great to see a Half Life 3 reveal. At this point it’s basically not going to happen, but it’s become a tradition to half-heartedly hope for it to make an appearance at E3.
From the rest of the publishers it’s going to be a bit of a weird year with a lot of different hardware combinations to support.
Developers now have around five different pieces of hardware to worry about supporting. There’s the PS4 and PS4 Pro, the Xbox One and the upcoming Project Scorpio, not to mention the Nintendo Switch and the sea of PC gaming combinations.
There’s also the three separate VR headsets to worry about supporting.
We imagine the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio will form the basis for most of their bigger games. These games will still come to the original PS4 and Xbox One, but we think publishers will focus on the more powerful hardware, while mentioning that games will also be available for the older hardware.
Will publishers embrace the Switch? They’ve been burned before with the Wii U, so we’d say it’s unlikely that they put all their eggs in Nintendo’s basket. Expect a couple of smaller announcements for the console however, such as ports from biggest franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.
The plans of specific publishers are a little harder to predict. Activision is unlikely to return to the show, and EA has already announced that it will be hosting its alternative EA Play event once again rather than exhibit at E3.
Titles you’ll see at the stand include Star Wars Battlefront 2, Need For Speed and EA Sports games Madden NFL 18, Fifa 18 and NBA Live 18. These aren’t the only titles that will be at the show, but EA has said they’ll confirm more in the coming months.
Tickets for the event will go on sale at 9am PST on April 20. For those who can’t make it to the event, there’ll also be streams online.
Bethesda has announced it’ll be having a showcase at this year’s show. It’s set to take place on June 11 at 7pm. The star of the event is likely to be Quake Champions and we’ll perhaps get a look at Fallout 4 and Doom in VR. It’s not a certainty by any means, but it’d be a great time for any new Elder Scrolls game announcements too.
Bethesda has sent out its press invites for its E3 showcase and they include a tantalizing hint at two new game announcements. The invite features an image of a cartoon theme park called ‘Bethesdaland’ that’s been split into various worlds based on Bethesda’s games. These worlds are Fallout, Doom, Elder Scrolls, Quake, Dishonored, and Prey.
Most importantly, though, there are two zones in the image with signs which say “under construction” and “coming soon” leading to speculation that there are new games coming. What these could be is unclear, though the most popular suggestions appear to be new Wolfenstein or The Evil Within titles.
There’s also the chance that there could be an entirely new major IP with fans hopeful that we might finally find out what the Trademarked Starfield project could be.
After giving its Assassin’s Creed series a year off, 2017 might be the year Ubisoft brings it back with a fresh coat of paint and some new ideas under the hood. The games haven’t gotten bad exactly, but the formula has worn thin over the years. Hopefully the year’s break will have been enough to reignite the franchise.
A recent report from WWG has certainly suggested that we’ll see the game revealed at this year’s show under the name Assassin’s Creed Origins and it’ll take players back to the beginning of the assassin’s guild in ancient Egypt.
Finally, Konami will be in attendance. Will it have some new Metal Gear wares to show off now that Kojima has well and truly departed? Despite our curiosity, we have to admit that we’d be ok if it just let the franchise fade into obscurity now that its project lead has left the business.
Finally, outside of the big players there’s sure to be a couple of interesting indie games on show, and these might end up making an appearance at the PC Gaming Show, a conference dedicated to showing off games for the PC gaming market.
By Jon Porter,Emma Boyle
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