So much of E3 is predictable. That’s not a complaint; much of that is stuff I’m looking forward to. Games that were shown in embryonic form in years past, new entries in favorite franchises, those are always exciting to me, and I don’t know if I’ll ever burn out on them the way so many people seem to. But along with the expected come the surprises. Stuff we never thought would happen, things we never expected, games that shouldn’t exist for whatever reason but somehow still do.
Here are five things that would blow us away completely should they happen.
Microsoft nails their new hardware announcement
Rumor has it that Microsoft has not one but two hardware announcements coming this year. An Xbox One slim edition, and a majorly souped up system that might be four times as powerful as the Xbox One and a third more powerful than the rumored PlayStation 4 Neo. That’s not the part that’d surprise us, though.
What would surprise us is if Microsoft managed to announce all this stuff and come out of it looking good. It’s tough for any company to announce new hardware when people aren’t super ready for it, but announcing two items – one slim and one faster – is going to be a tough act to balance. Microsoft is already on thin ice with gamers thanks to the series of bumbles the Xbox One has had since launch.
Can they pull it off and pick up some of the momentum that powered them through the Xbox 360 generation?
Red Dead Redemption sequel actually gets announced
I’m calling this a surprise, because, despite evidence to the contrary – maps, concept art, and, to some degree, the inevitability of time – I refuse to believe it’s actually coming. If I don’t get my hopes up, I can’t be disappointed when it doesn’t come. Therefore, if it is announced, it’ll be a huge surprise.
As much evidence as there is for it, there’s evidence against it, too. Rockstar is in a category populated only by a very few other companies. They get to work at their own pace and release games when they’re ready because when they do, the games sell like crazy and make unimaginable sums of money. Because of that, such trifles as the biggest game expo in America do not concern them. The last few games from Rockstar have been announced in May, November, and February. Based on that, we can assume that a Red Dead release date or anything like that is forthcoming when Rockstar feels like it, not to match up with any show.
I won’t be disappointed again. I won’t be disappointed again.
Ubisoft surprises us
I actually really like Ubisoft. They’re not perfect, but let me explain.
They’re fiercely independent even in the face of a potential hostile takeover. While I’m not going to suggest that they’ve never done or will never do a remake, it’s not a part of their business plan like it is for so may companies. Their identity is squarely based around making big budget console games, even if part of their money comes from more casual games. Those casual games are typically mentioned as an aside while games like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs get more lip service. They’re a traditional game company in an age where traditional game companies are dying out or changing.
With that said, they’re also pretty predictable. They have a few franchises, and when they do announce something new, it tends to be pretty similar to other games they’ve done. The Crew and Watch Dogs are two notable examples that grew out of Ubisoft’s style, while Far Cry has grown closer to it over the years through each of the last few iterations.
So, what I’d like Ubisoft to do is simply surprise us. Make us say “Whoa, this is an Ubisoft game?” or even “Hey, this is what Ubisoft games used to be like.” I want Ubisoft to do that, and do it in a big way. Make Watch Dogs 2 a big departure from the original. Show us what it is that makes For Honor worth talking about. Even mention Beyond Good & Evil 2. Go even further and do something altogether new.
Resident Evil 7 shows some promise
Konami’s Silent Hill and Capcom’s Resident Evil were, for a long time, the two big names in Japanese horror games. Since the heyday of games like Silent Hill 2 and Resident Evil 4, though, things have changed. After letting Silent Hill struggle and languish for years, Konami finally got out of console games altogether right as it seemed like things were improving. Resident Evil has been on a downhill slide for some time as well. We haven’t had a core Resident Evil game that was genuinely good, without any caveats, in 12 years. The Revelations series has gone back to basics and done some fun stuff, but it’s just simply old school Resident Evil.
Capcom in general, in fact, has looked for the last couple of years like it’s resigned itself to reliving its best years in remakes and remasters. But now it’s looking like 2016 might be a big year for them with word of Dead Rising 4 leaking and Resident Evil 7 apparently on the horizon. For the latter, though, this is kind of a last chance. RE4 was great, 5 was fine in co-op, and 6 was literally the worst.
If Resident Evil 7 doesn’t stick, then the series is pretty much done. Umbrella Corps isn’t going to fix it.
Bethesda announces a new Elder Scrolls game already
When Bethesda announced they were having a press conference last year, we knew something big was coming. The publisher, despite being secretly huge, had never put on the kind of shows we’re used to seeing from Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and even Square Enix. And they announced Fallout 4. It was, of course, gigantic.
Now, Bethesda is having a conference again. We know we’ll see more of Dishonored 2, and we’re expecting expansions for Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls Online. We’ll probably hear about content for Doom and something about the Elder Scrolls online card game. None of that, though, justifies renting out a theater, nor all the shenanigans that come with that – decorations, swag, setup, and all that craziness.
What would justify that?
A new game from Evil Within dev Tango Gameworks? A Quake or Wolfenstein announcement from id Software or Machine games? A remaster of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Those would be dope, of course, but no. Prey 2, maybe. Maybe.
What would justify all that would be an announcement for a new Elder Scrolls game. A proper follow-up to Skyrim. That’s the only known property from Bethesda, other than Fallout, that I’d call “theater-sized.” Does that mean it’s coming? No, we probably are going to end up waiting a few years. Bethesda doesn’t announce games until they’re almost done.
But it sure would make sense, right?
What about you – what fantasies do you have going into E3 2016 that you’re sure won’t come true or simply aren’t willing to believe until they actually happen?