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E3 2018 preview – EA, Square Enix, and more

We took time out to talk about Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s E3 showings and what we think they might reveal – and what we hope they reveal. But those aren’t the only 3 companies at E3. There are a whole ton of others, and a bunch of them have shows and big reveals planned. Companies like Ubisoft, CD Projekt Red, Bethesda, and Electronic Arts will be there with projects to show. So what can we expect, what are we hoping for, and what will we almost certainly not see? Let’s dive in.

Bethesda

Fallout 76 and RAGE 2 take center stage

This much we know. Bethesda announced Fallout 76 ahead of E3 of its own volition and was forced to unveil RAGE 2 when Walmart Canada forced its hand by hitting the publish button on a bunch of stuff way-too early. RAGE looks like it’ll play a central role in the proceedings with the over-the-top trailer Bethesda’s already shown, and Fallout – any Fallout – is going to be a big deal.

Leave some space for Prey DLC

Prey DLC is basically a sure thing at this point – Bethesda’s been teasing it since March. I loved the game when it hit last May, but it hit with a thud in terms of sales, leading many in the press to believe it would simply be forgotten. It looks like Bethesda is planning an expansion, a new chapter, some kind of significant DLC that will take Morgan Yu from the space station all the way out to the moon, all 239,000 miles from earth.

Prey was a favorite for me in 2017, so I’m thrilled to see the game is getting another chance. And maybe something to chew on after that cliffhanger ending.

Starfield maybe exists?

The existence of Starfield is one of the most persistent rumors swirling around Bethesda. The company is working on a bunch of projects, rumored to be “Bethesda-sized” in nature. RAGE is certainly one of those, and Fallout 76 is likely another. But the core Bethesda team is depending on two big franchises – Fallout and Elder Scrolls – to carry it. A third franchise would be a good way to keep people playing Bethesda games without getting tired of seeing the same worlds each time.

I have no idea if there’s any truth to this, but I’d sure like it if there was.

No sign of The Elder Scrolls VI: Something something

There’s not even going to be a mention of Elder Scrolls VI this year. Maybe an easter egg somewhere in the presentation, but nothing said outright. Not a word.

Catch Bethesda’s E3 show on Sunday, June 10th at 6:30 PM PST / 9:30 PM EST on Twitch or YouTube.

Ubisoft

Splinter Cell returns

Of everything at the show, this might be the rumor I personally want to see come true the most. Of Ubisoft’s many franchises, I’ve been in love with this one the longest, going all the way back to the original Xbox. 2013’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist was amazing. I want the series to come back for this new generation, and I want to see what Ubisoft can do with it. Could we be getting a true open-world stealth game – something like Metal Gear Solid V? I just hope Ubisoft doesn’t go the route of Hitman and make it an episodic thing or something like that.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – no Watch Dogs

Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Origins was preceded by something we haven’t seen since Assassin’s Creed II – a year without an Assassin’s Creed game. Instead, 2016 saw the release of the much-improved Watch Dogs 2, while its historical stabbing simulator sat on the bench for a year and got into fighting shape. I had hoped that Ubisoft would start alternating Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed, giving us a bit of downtime between each series to digest them. I’m still picking up and playing Origins still, so the idea of jumping directly into another one right now seems a bit too fast.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 gets something substantial

No one actually believes this is happening. It’s been literally a decade since Ubisoft announced Beyond Good & Evil 2, and it’s taken on a kind of Duke Nukem Forever-esque air about it. If it does release, it’s not going to live up to the hype. There’s no way, right?

But hey – it could happen. It could happen. We got a trailer last year that looked awesome and ticked off fans of the original, so that’s something.

Previously-announced games

Perhaps more than anyone else, Ubisoft has a whole slate of already-announced titles ready to go this year. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Skull and Bones, Starlink, Transferrence, The Crew 2, and additional content for games like Far Cry 5, For Honor, and Rainbow Six: Siege. Every one of these games is going to get some screen time.

Catch Ubisoft’s E3 show on Monday, June 11, at 1 PM PST / 4 PM EST on Twitch and YouTube.

Electronic Arts

EA goes all-in with Anthem and Battlefield V

EA’s going to likely have a pretty focused show this year, centered on just a couple games. Of course we’ll get a look at what’s next for EA Sports, but the big showstoppers will be Anthem and Battlefield V. Anthem is especially important for EA. The last year has been tough for the publisher after the mistakes with Mass Effect: Andromeda, but EA’s BioWare studio has seen its reputation get pretty dinged up in recent years in general. Anthem is the company’s shot at reclaiming BioWare’s rep as a top-flight RPG house, and EA is going to want to do everything it can to show us how good it thinks the game is. The sequence we saw last year was exciting and has us hyped for the game, but we’re going to need to see more than what felt more like target footage – the kind of game they want to make – to know what we’re in for.

Battlefield V, meanwhile, is all about keeping momentum going. The 2016 release of Battlefield I was a return to glory for DICE after a pile of troubled Battlefield releases – partly because it was good, but also partly because people really didn’t want a futuristic Call of Duty game and that’s exactly what Infinite Warfare (which is different from Infinity War-fare) was. Battlefield V moves the game forward to the quintessential shooter setting, World War II, adding in new modes, bringing greater destructability, and making dudes mad by putting in female characters. Its primary competition is Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, which  has eschewed a traditional single-player campaign in favor of more multiplayer options, including a battle royale mode. Battlefield V features a single-player campaign and won’t offer battle-royale style gameplay when it ships, though that could certainly come along later. If Battlefield V can keep the hype train going, it’ll be another good year for EA’s war shooter.

Another indie gets the spotlight

While big games take center stage at these shows, EA has made a good show of putting indie games in the spotlight, too. The reveal for Unraveled was the cutest, sweetest thing to happen on an E3 stage, and A Way Out had EA taking time to tell us about a game that is co-op only and can be played with someone who doesn’t even own the game. These are prestige projects, not your typical big-name games. EA will likely highlight another this year, and we’re eager to see what they have planned.

Lots of apologizing

Mass Effect: Andromeda was a huge mistake for EA in 2017, but it wasn’t the only one, nor was it the biggest. That goes to Star Wars Battlefront II, a mistake so big that it started in 2017 and bled over into 2018. The company has a lot to make up for with fans after the microtransaction and lootbox controversies the game brewed up, and it has a lot to make up for with investors, as the whole debacle caused EA’s stocks to tank and probably didn’t look great for Star Wars owner Disney, either.

Now, they won’t say “sorry.” Instead the people EA trots on-stage will talk say things like “no lootboxes, no season passes” over and over again. Microtransactions will be cosmetic-only. They’ll probably say “all about the gamer” 47 times. EA has to make a good impression after last year.

Check out Electronic Arts’ E3 show on Saturday, June 9, at 11 AM PST / 2 PM EST on Twitch and YouTube.

Square Enix

Lots of Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The Tomb Raider movie was a flop, but the games are still a big deal for Square Enix, especially now that the game is returning to its multi-platform roots. The last game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, was an Xbox and Windows exclusive for a year, but Shadow is set to hit both those and PlayStation 4 right out of the gate this fall. Square Enix is going to push this one hard. But we’re not complaining – the rebooted Tomb Raider series has been awesome, and we don’t expect any less from this third title.

Just Cause takes off again

Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause 4 is another victim of the Walmart Canada leaks. Once RAGE 2 was a confirmed release, everything on that list suddenly became more likely. Just Cause 3 hit 3 years ago, so maybe it’s time.

Avengers Assemble

Despite having a full decade of Marvel movies under our belts, it seems like Sony’s Spider-Man is the only significant Marvel offering for gamers. Then, Square Enix announced in 2017 that the company had Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider) and Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) working on a set of Marvel games. We’re not sure if they’re ready to show this yet, but it’s been a full year and a half since the announcement, so we’re hoping to get something. A trailer at the very least, and maybe some pre-play gameplay footage. If the Avengers are actually at E3 this year, this could end up being one of the biggest moments of the show – maybe.

JRPGs-a-gogo

If you like Japanese RPGs, Square Enix’s show is going to be the one to catch. We’re expecting to see Dragon Quest 11, Kingdom Hearts 3, Dragon Quest Builders 2, and maybe even Final Fantasy 7 Remake there. Octopath Traveler could show up, but Nintendo is publishing it – so it might not be at Square Enix’s show, but Nintendo’s instead. Final Fantasy 7 Remake is the one we’re most up in the air about. While we’d love to see another of the Disney and Square Enix worlds from Kingdom Hearts 3, we’ve really only seen the smallest sliver of information about Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and that was back in 2015. Barely a word has been given since.

While I don’t have any delusions that we’ll see the game anytime soon, I do think we’re due for an update of some kind. Some clear messaging on how this is all going to work and some evidence that there’s actually a game to speak of.

Check out Square Enix’s E3 show on Sunday, June 10, at 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST on Twitch and YouTube.

Studios without shows

CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 – finally!

CD Projekt Red first announced Cyberpunk 2077 in May 2012. We’ve been waiting for this forever.  The Polish developer is going to be at E3 this year and unless they have something new up their sleeves, we’re guessing we’re going to see Cyberpunk. Fans of stories like Blade RunnerNeuromancer, and Shadowrun have had their share of games, but even the recent Deus Ex games don’t let players roam around the world and take it all in the way fantasy role-playing games like Skyrim and CDPR’s own Witcher 3 do. Cyberpunk 2077 has a lot riding on it as CDPR’s first big game since the Witcher series, but we’re ready to, and be blown away.

CD Projekt Red – like the studios below – doesn’t have its own E3 show, but we’re hoping to see them pop up during Microsoft or Sony’s show.

Warner Bros. Interactive

Hitman, too.

Square Enix lost interest in developer Io Interactive last year. In a rare move, though, the company treated the developer’s brand-name property with respect. Hitman and Io Interactive are virtually one and the same in the eyes of gamers, and Square Enix saw that and sold the franchise back to Io instead of just sticking it in a vault to mine a decade down the road. Now, Io is working with Warner Bros. Interactive and rumors are pointing to a second season of Hitman on the way. We’re assuming it’s a second season, that is. The most recent game, simply called Hitman, turned the game into an episodic series of levels that came out over a few months and it was received warmly by fans and critics for the most part, so it makes sense they’d want to head down that road again.

Techland

A zombie’s only weakness is parkour

Polish developer Techland is at the show again this year. I don’t know for sure what they’re working on, but I’d put my money on Dying Light 2. The dev’s first-person zombie-parkour game was its biggest hit to date and the company supported it dutifully with solid downloadable content after the fact. With close to four years since the release of the first game, it’s about time for Techland to revisit the series.

It’s also possible that the company is still hard at work on Hellraid, the first-preson medieval dungeon crawler they debuted that same year and never officially cancelled – or something totally new.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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