E3 2018 Preview: What to Expect and Where to Watch
In out E3 2018 Preview we look at the things we’d love to see and some of the things we expect to see for the top devs and consoles.
Next week, the gaming world will descend upon Los Angles like a plague of descend-y things, all in the name of E3. The top devs and hardware makers will come together to show off not only the products we’ll be seeing in the year and change to come, but to give us a look at the course of the industry as a whole.
E3 2018 actually takes place on Tuesday, June 12 and runs through Thursday, June 14, but the days before the show is the day we will get the big announcements (it used to be Monday, but the event continues to expand). Several of the biggest names in the industry – including Microsoft, Bethesda, and Sony to name a few – will each host their own shows before the show, and that’s where we’ll get most of the big reveals.
With all of that in mind, we have a few things we’d like to see at E3 2018, things we expect to see, and links to let you watch everything from the comfort of your own home.
Here’s a list of the pre-E3 events.
- EA – June 9, 11am PST
- Microsoft – June 10, 1pm PST
- Bethesda – June 10, 6.30 pm PST
- Ubisoft – June 11, 1pm PST
- Square Enix – June 11, 10am PST
- Sony – June 11, 6pm PST
- Nintendo – June 12, 9am PST
Rather than being one of many major events on the day before the show’s official opening, EA elected to move things up and host its event on Saturday.
Despite the new day and time, we can make some educated guesses as to exactly what we’ll see from it. To start, expect a preview of the upcoming annual releases from EA Sports, including Madden 19, FIFA 19, NHL 19, and NBA Live 19. Others like the latest UFC and PGA Golf game might get a quick showing too.
We can also expect to see more on this year’s Battlefield V, including some live play, and Bioware’s Anthem will probably make up a big portion of the show. The spot of honor, however, may go to Respawn’s Star Wars game (even if it is just a name and a few images). Respawn itself has suggested otherwise, but that could easily be to save the surprise. We might see some new features and additions to Star Wars: Battlefront II as well.
Beyond those, hopefully we’ll see something new. When EA debuted Anthem it quickly became one of the most anticipated games coming out of the show. Hopefully the developer/publisher will have something else coming that will similarly blow us away.
For a few years Microsoft unofficially kicked off the show, but each year it gets a little bit longer and spreads out. So rather than compete with the others on Monday, Microsoft is pushing its show up a day to Sunday. But otherwise, you can expect much of the same pageantry of years past, including plenty of new announcements.
Very few things have been confirmed yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a price cut for the Xbox One S. There may also be a segment focusing on the future potential of the HoloLens. There are always rumors of a Microsoft VR headset as well, but given the lackluster response VR gear like the PSVR has received, that might not happen.
You can probably expect a heavy emphasis on games this year, and we’ll likely see a few major console exclusives. Expect to see something of Halo 6, and it might be time for the first-look at Gears of War 5. A new Forza game of some sort (probably from the Forza Horizons line) wouldn’t be a shock, and there may be something new revolving around PlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds for the Xbox One, and more State of Decay 2 content. There will probably be several exclusive indie games as well, along with plenty of titles that will debut on both Xbox One and PS4 but will be shown off during Microsoft’s show.
It would also be nice to see a few new AAA exclusives, or possibly the return of long-dormant franchises like Fable, or even something more obscure, like the return of the 360 exclusive Lost Odyssey franchise. With Sony offering so many exclusives recently, Microsoft needs to offer more Xbox One-only titles of its own. If not, expect Microsoft to fall back on old habits and announce a whole host of new apps and non-gaming services for its console.
In the immediate lead up to the show, Bethesda is arguably already leading the way in terms of hype due to the teaser trailer for Fallout 76 – although that could quickly change based on what the game actually is. The rumors claim it is an online game with a heavy multiplayer component, but that can mean anything from an MMO to something closer to Fallout Shelter. Whatever it is, it will have people talking.
Beyond that, it’s not really clear what Bethesda is bringing to the show. Elder Scrolls VI is coming sooner or later, but Bethesda may wait on that for a while still. There will probably be some new content for Elder Scrolls Online though, and the Switch version of Wolfenstein will get a closer look. It may not be the only port to Nintendo’s system either.
Expect some Quake Champions news and gameplay, but the headliner of the show will probably be Rage 2. Bethesda loves to surprise its fans though, so there may be a new IP waiting in the wings as well.
Sticking with its traditional Monday slot, Ubisoft will have a packed lineup for the show. The real question is whether or not there’s anything that hasn’t already been leaked.
The big announcements for Ubisoft will probably be the recently leaked and subsequently grudgingly confirmed Assassins Creed Odyssey and the previously confirmed The Division 2. There will be plenty of The Crew 2 footage and gameplay as well, and possibly new content for Rainbow Six: Siege, which has become something of a cult hit with a legion of fans still playing it years regularly. Don’t be surprised to see a new Rabbids game on the way too, and it’s about time they started releasing details on both Beyond Good and Evil 2, and the pirate game Skull and Bones.
Given its cyclical approach to its various Tom Clancy properties, the big “surprise” of Ubisoft’s show may be a new Splinter Cell game. There are rumors that it will feature the return of Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher too. Since Ubisoft is expanding into movie making, there may also be a few announcements on upcoming Ubisoft movies. E3 isn’t usually a good place to talk about films, but Ubisoft is in a unique position.
With the Square Enix show there are things we know, and things we hope. And it could be the difference between an average show and the star of E3.
To start, both Kingdom Hearts III and Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be the stars of the show, expect a closer look at both of them. Although it hasn’t really said much on it, there is an expectation that we may finally get a real look at Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers title, and fans may riot if there’s not at least a glimpse at the long, long anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake, even if it is still years away.
There have also been several rumors about Just Cause 4 on the way, and early (almost certainly fake) leaks of the E3 lineup for Square Enix suggested a Nier: Automata sequel is on the way. That leak may have been fake but the idea of a sequel to the critically adored Nier would make total sense. Another game that could be too early to announce but would make a great E3 spot – if it is in the works at all – may be the next entry in the revitalized Deus Ex franchise.
Along with those, there might be something Dragon Quest-related, a look at Life is Strange 2, possibly the reveal of People Can Fly’s new shooter, and gameplay for the crowdfunded Battalion 1944.
For the last several years, Sony has made a huge splash at E3 by focusing on games. It has managed to keep a steady stream of console exclusives and major games with time-exclusive content coming. And while there have been plenty of hardware announcements, they always come second to the software. It’s a winning combination, so there’s no reason for it to change.
To start with, there are several exclusives we know about that will be prominently featured at the show, including Kojima Production’s Death Stranding, Insomniac’s Spider-Man, SIE Bend’s Days Gone, Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima, and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II. There may also be several games with some exclusive content – timed or otherwise – that will make an appearance, including Destiny 2‘s upcoming DLC and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
You can expect to see several indie games teased, along with one or two existing games making the jump to PS4 (like PUBG). There will also be several clips from games that aren’t exclusive to the PS4, but for whatever reason will be part of Sony’s show (the same will be true of Microsoft’s show). We may also see DLC for existing Sony exclusives like God of War and Gran Turismo Sport (unless there’s a full reveal of the next GT game).
And that’s just what we know about. There may be at least two or three major reveals from both internal Sony teams and developers under contract, and possibly some PS4 re-releases of older PS2 and PS3 games.
Nintendo has an odd relationship with E3. For years it hosted a massive event similar to Microsoft and Sony’s, where it went through its upcoming games and hardware announcements, featuring some of the devs and plenty of flash. A few years ago, however, it massively scaled back and ditched the theater for a much smaller event inside the convention center at its booth, similar to its popular streaming Nintendo Direct events.
Of course, that was before the Switch became a massive hit.
This year should be far more subdued than its competitors, but Nintendo will probably step it up from previous events where it essentially showed a single big game and then casually mentioned a few smaller ones.
To start with, expect to see a handful of big-name ports of existing titles, like the confirmed Wolfenstein port and maybe a few others from Bethesda, along with the all-but-confirmed Fortnite port. The real star, however, will probably be one or more Nintendo exclusives that are either sequels or reboots.
The smart money is on Metroid Prime 4 as the star of the show, with the new Yoshi title and a look at Super Smash Brothers sharing some of the spotlight. The previously teased Pokemon game for the Switch would also make for a nice exclamation point for the show, and given how hot Nintendo is right now, it could string together a few more exclusive announcements and send fans ballistic. E3 would also be the perfect time to finally explain and unveil its full online strategy.
A few other things we’d like to see…
The crowdfunded Atari VCS is available for pre-order now with an expected release date of July 2019, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. Atari has been playing it close to the vest and also watching its budget, so the splashy and crowded E3 might not be a good fit this year. But it would be nice to see Atari standing next to the others.
Although it won’t be the same given that the team behind it will be mostly new, it will be interesting to see what happens with the BioShock franchise. A new game is rumored to be on the way, but whether or not it’s ready for E3 is another story.
It’s only a matter of time until 2K and Gearbox decide to officially unveil the next Borderlands title, the only question is when. E3 is as good a place as any, and 2K has confirmed it has a big announcement for the show.
When CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 came out, it went on to pick up dozens of “best-of” awards, so the developer’s follow up is instantly intriguing. There’s a good chance we will see a fair amount of Cyberpunk 2077 at the show, the question is just where and how much.
Rocksteady’s Next Game
There have been a lot of rumors and conjecture about what Rocksteady Studios has been up to since finishing up work on its Batman series, and the most frequently mentioned possibility is an open-world Superman game. That may or may not be the case, but E3 is a great place to settle the discussion.
One of the more common – and legitimate – E3 complaints you hear from press, and really anyone that follows gaming, is that E3 just offers more of the same. That’s true to a degree, even if what is shown is excellent. This year and every year, one thing we really want is to be surprised. We want to see something that feels completely new and original. Maybe that’s a game, maybe that’s a new controller. Even if it turns out to be lame, let us feel like it’s new. We’ll find out soon enough.