With June finally upon us, gamers everywhere are gearing up for one of the year’s biggest gaming conventions with 2016’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). As usual, a number of high-profile companies in the gaming industry will be hosting their own press conferences before the actual show floor opens, including Electronic Arts (EA), Ubisoft, Bethesda, Microsoft, Sony, and E3’s second annual PC Gaming Show. EA and Bethesda will kick things off on June 12 with their press events, while the rest will follow close behind all through the day on June 13. With last year’s E3 so full of surprises and this year’s E3 only a few short weeks away, the Internet is abuzz with all kinds of rumors and speculation as to what reveals and releases we’ll see this year. To be honest, I’m quite excited myself so I thought I would throw my own voice into the mix and breakdown my predictions for each of the major E3 press conferences and the show floor. So without further adieu, here are my predictions for what we’ll see at E3 2016.
EA has already been generating a lot of buzz with their reveal of the upcoming World War I first-person shooter, Battlefield 1, just a few short weeks ago. In fact, the Battlefield 1 reveal trailer recently became YouTube’s most liked trailer in history, while the series’ largest competitor, Activision’s Call of Duty, released their own trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to a more lukewarm reception. With all the talk surrounding Battlefield 1’s trailer in recent weeks, it seems quite likely that we’ll see some gameplay footage, and who knows, maybe even another trailer.
Also present in EA’s release lineup is Mass Effect: Andromeda, the sequel to developer BioWare’s hit Mass Effect trilogy. Andromeda was first announced by EA during their press conference at last year’s E3, but hardly any information has been revealed about the mysterious title in the intervening year, other than that it will take place far away in the Andromeda Galaxy long after the events of the first trilogy. With the game slated for release in Q1 of 2017, I think it’s highly likely that we’ll finally get to see the game in action, with a gameplay trailer at EA’s conference and/or a playable demo on the E3 show floor.
Taking second in E3’s press conference schedule is Bethesda (with their second annual conference), the developer and publisher behind hits like the Elder Scrolls series, Fallout 4, and the recently released Doom reboot. Probably the biggest game on Bethesda’s docket right now is Dishonored 2, the sequel to Arkane Studios’ hit 2012 action-adventure game. With the game set to release on November 11 of this year, expect plenty of gameplay footage and possibly even a new trailer at this year’s E3 as Bethesda and Arkane get ready to up their marketing campaign for the upcoming release.
Having just recently released their latest expansion for Fallout 4 (called Far Harbor), you can expect Bethesda will take the opportunity during their conference to announce what’s next up for Fallout 4’s downloadable content (DLC) lineup. And with Doom having been released just a few short weeks ago, it’s not unlikely that Bethesda will also announce a few tweaks and content additions for that game as well.
Many fans have taken to the Internet to voice their hopes for a new installment in the beloved Elder Scrolls role-playing game (RPG) series, but considering Bethesda’s long development time between games (four years between Skyrim and Fallout 4), don’t expect Bethesda to announce anything about the series anytime soon, at least not within the next couple of years.
Arguably the biggest and most anticipated title in Ubisoft’s upcoming lineup is Ghost Recon: Wildlands, an open-world military shooter set in Bolivia that tasks players with neutralizing a dangerous and powerful drug cartel. As no release date has been officially announced yet, I expect Ubisoft will likely announce a solid launch date for the game, as well as release some more details regarding the gameplay, story, and open-world setting as a major talking point of their press conference.
It’s also not unlikely Ubisoft will finally reveal the next installment of the long-running Splinter Cell series, considering the almost three-year gap since the last game’s (Splinter Cell: Blacklist) release. Information regarding Watch Dogs 2 is also quite likely, as is additional content updates for Rainbow Six: Siege, and maybe even an announcement of a new Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed title.
Probably the biggest announcement to come out of Microsoft’s press conference will be information surrounding the upcoming new version of the Xbox One. Or should I say versions? According to websites Kotaku and Polygon, Microsoft may be gearing up to announce two new versions of the Xbox One, with one of these versions purportedly over four times more powerful than the console’s current incarnation and the other being a slimmed down version of the current system with a redesigned controller. With the slim version of the console scheduled to release this August (the other version, codenamed Scorpio, is likely to release in late 2017, according to Polygon), it seems likely that Microsoft will announce more information about both consoles and make them a key discussion point in their conference.
It’s also quite likely Microsoft will spearhead their event with more information and footage of the highly-anticipated Gears of War 4, due to hit store shelves on Oct. 11 of this year. It will also be interesting to see if the software giant releases more information regarding the HoloLens (an augmented reality device), and if they have any plans to enter the virtual reality market to compete with the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR. Also expect to see more information and gameplay from Scalebound and Halo Wars 2.
Last year, Sony hosted what may have been the most exciting press event they’ve ever held, announcing a few mind-blowing reveals including the return of the long-awaited The Last Guardian and the development of the even longer-awaited Shenmue 3. It’s doubtful Sony will be able to outdo themselves this time around, but more information about The Last Guardian (including more gameplay footage and maybe a release date) isn’t entirely unexpected.
With No Man’s Sky having been pushed back by just under two months (June 21 to August 9), it’s likely Sony will release a little more information on the gameplay and even offer a demo on the show floor in order to appease the less-than-happy fan base, even if Sean Murray (the game’s director) and the development team (Hello Games) aren’t present themselves.
Rumors have also surfaced recently regarding a new God of War game and the return of Sony’s old mascot, Crash Bandicoot. While neither rumor has been confirmed, Sony’s press conference would be the place to do it, so expect either (or both) of those to be confirmed there, if either rumor turns out to be true. In addition, an announcement regarding a slim version of the PlayStation 4 would not be unexpected, as Sony would obviously be looking to stay ahead of Microsoft in console sales.
Not much is known about what Nintendo has in the works for this year’s event, other than that they will be opting out of their traditional Digital Event for a day long Nintendo Treehouse: Live event on June 14. With Wii U sales struggling heavily, it’s quite likely Nintendo will finally announce some information about upcoming new console, currently codenamed the Nintendo NX.
I also expect the gaming giant will announce more information on the highly-anticipated new Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U. I also hope that Nintendo will finally announce a proper Metroid sequel, and considering the lukewarm reaction to last years’ Federation Force reveal, it’s not entirely unlikely we’ll see something new at this year’s event. I, for one, will have my fingers crossed the entire time.
In addition to all the potential press conference information, many members of the gaming community are also speculating that we may finally see a sequel to Rockstar’s western epic, Red Dead Redemption. While this may seem like a long-shot (Rockstar rarely ever attends E3), it may be more plausible than some may think, considering it’s already been almost three years since the release of Rockstar’s last hit, Grand Theft Auto V. And considering Square Enix’s long-awaited Final Fantasy XV is due to launch on September 30, expect to see plenty more gameplay and information regarding that title.
And that concludes my speculation regarding E3 2016. Hopefully, this year’s event will prove to be just as mind-blowing and exciting as the last. I, for one, am very excited to see what’s in store when E3 2016 kicks-off later this month.