It’s that time of year again, when the industry does its ritual of announcing the next installments of your favorite annual franchises, showing off “pre-alpha footage” that ends up being better than the final game, and dragging people onboard the hype train that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Regardless, it’s still an exciting time for developers and fans alike, and I always look forward to the news that comes.
This year will probably go down as the Year of Press Conferences. Bethesda and Sqaure Enix will be getting their own conferences, making for 7 shows over 3 days, not including a PC-Gaming focused show hosted by AMD. For the purpose of simplicity, though, I’d like to go over my predictions for the Big Three, starting with Microsoft.
Microsoft seems to doing a good job of making up for lost ground. While the PlayStation 4 still dominates the market, the Xbox One overtook it in sales for April. We’ll have to wait and see if that trend continues, but this will be where Microsoft’s E3 2015 lineup will come into play. Here’s the announcements I expect to see and hope to see.
Expect to See
What better way to showcase your E3 conference than with one of your biggest IPs. Similar to the way that it was handled for Halo 4, I fully expect 343 Industries to give us a gameplay sequence that shows off some of the new features. While it’s not as likely, I hope that the gameplay is through Spartan Locke’s perspective instead of Master Chief’s. Halo 4 had a strong single-player narrative, and I hope this trend continues and is showcased here.
It’s Call of Duty. It’s Microsoft’s E3 press conference. It’s like clockwork, so much so that it would be more shocking if Call of Duty didn’t show up. Other than its narrative transition into Deus Ex-esque augmentation, my interest is passing at best. Hey, to each his own, right? It’s still gonna sell, so there’s clearly an audience for it. It will also be interesting to see what kind of impact ditching last-gen will have on both sales and visual fidelity.
With recent tweets and talks coming from both Phil Spencer and Studio Creative Director Simon Woodroffe at Rare, the stars are aligning for a new reveal from the veteran studio. Although I’m optimistic for what they could bring, Playtonics’ recent Kickstarter for the Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee kinda took the wind out of the sails for a new Banjo-Kazooie game. I hope Rare can bring something new to the table even with an old IP, but we know how well that can turn out ( *cough* Nuts and Bolts *cough*).
To be honest, I’m not really sure whether Black Tusk is working on a Gears of War remake or a Gears of War sequel. All I know is that I hope they don’t go the route of the Master Chief Collection. We don’t need another broken, buggy collection to add to the mix. Anyway, it’s time for Microsoft to do something with this IP, and this E3 may be the best time to show it.
Similar to Phil Spencer’s tweets about a new Rare project in the works, the head honcho of Xbox intends to have stronger 1st party lineup for this year. Besides what’s been shown already, I don’t know what Microsoft’s got up their sleeve. I just know it has to be something, so take from that what you will.
Crystal Dynamics’ latest entry in the Tomb Raider series surprised just about everybody when it was announced as a timed exclusive to the Xbox One. Following this, it makes sense to show it off even more this year, so we’ll see how that goes.
I’m relatively new to the scene of character action games, but I know that Platinum Games are the kings of the genre. It surprised me last year when Director Hideki Kamiya appeared on stage to show off their Xbox One exclusive. Considering information since then has been vague at best, I’m looking forward to hearing more this time.
Hope to See
Out of the slew of new game announcements shown at last year’s E3 that are still in development, Phantom Dust is probably the most worrisome. Considering that the developer Darkside Games was shut down after Microsoft cancelled their version of the game, it’s uncertain what state the reboot is currently in. Any information on Phantom Dust at E3 2015 will likely surprise me the most out of all of Microsoft’s announcements.
Since its reveal as a free-to-play launch title for the Xbox One, Killer Instinct has been making quite a name for itself. Instead of its predicted free-to-play grossness, Killer Instinct has risen up as a great example of how to do free-to-play right. With the initial roster of characters developed by Double Helix in Season 1 and the continued additions to the roster by Iron Galaxy in Season 2, content for Killer Instinct is chugging right along. At this point, it makes sense to announce Season 3 since the last Season 2 character, Aria, will be coming in a few weeks. I’m not certain, but one can hope.
Now that Remedy’s project has been announced as delayed to Spring 2016 for a little while now, I hope something will be shown at Microsoft’s press conference. Then again, this isn’t the only delayed-to-2016 title I’d like to see at E3 (lookin’ at you Nintendo). This time, however, please don’t just have generic third-person shooter gameplay. I’d love to see more time manipulation like in the game’s reveal.
E3 2015 will be held in the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 16th-18th. The pre-show press conferences will be held between June 14th at 7PM PDT and June 16th at 10 AM PDT. You can check out the full conference schedule below to see when you’d want to tune in. The AMD PC Gaming Show will be on June 16th from 5 PM to 8 PM PDT in case you’d want to (or have time to) catch it.