Having worked our way through not one, not two, but all three major manufacturers and our predictions for what we’ll see in terms of exclusives and major partnerships, it’s now time for the third party publishers, both big and small this year, who’ve decided to hold a press conference. EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft and yes, even Devolver Digital are going to host and stream a show for us.
Here’s what we know and think we’ll see, but perhaps you think yourself better at predicting? Try your hand at our annual E3 Bingo!
Live @ EA Play – Star Wars, Battlefield & Two New Games
Splintering away from the main E3 show still feels like an oddity, but EA have stuck with their self styled EA Play sideshow and press conference. The first to kick off on Saturday, we know a lot of what they’ll show already.
FIFA 18 will appear, pushing on from last year’s entry that brought a shift to Frostbite and a new focus on a narrative experience. There’ll also be Madden NFL 18 and NBA Live 18. Away from EA Sports, we’ll see the Russian Army and the Russian Women’s Battalion of Death engaging on the Eastern Front in Battlefield’s second major expansion, Star Wars Battlefront II will be paraded with both multiplayer and single player to show off, while Need for Speed Payback’s announcement last week needs to be backed up with similarly fast and furious gameplay.
However, EA’s blurb says there will be eight games and more surprises. There’s a few possibilities for these, from Visceral’s untitled but oft-teased Star Wars game, to BioWare’s burgeoning new IP, codenamed Dylan, and rumours abound that Hazelight, the team behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, could show off their next game, which would make a great change of pace.
Bethesda – Fallout VR & Starfield
By far the least predictable of the press conferences, Bethesda’s third year sees them returning to “Bethesdaland” with a faux-amusement park with sections dedicated to a number of franchises. Those sections are Doom, Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, Prey, Quake Champions, and Fallout, on top of two “Under Construction” zones.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind has just launched on consoles, but Elder Scrolls VI is probably a few years away, and it seems that Todd Howard is more interested in announcing games closer to release, anyway. We’ll likely see some chat about Elder Scrolls Legends, though, and perhaps some words on the Skyrim port for Switch that still hasn’t been officially confirmed.
From last year’s success with Doom, the fast paced FPS baton is being passed to Quake Champions, which was announced last year and is currently going through a number of beta tests. It’s not really hit the mainstream yet, so expect them to push this during their show.
Similarly, there’s plenty to talk about Bethesda’s little experiments in virtual reality. It’s been very quiet about Doom VR and Fallout 4 VR since they were demoed last year, but the latter of these is due to bring the Wasteland to HTC Vive in 2017, unless plans have changed over the last twelve months. A final VR tidbit is that rumours of a similar VR adaptation of Skyrim is on the way.
Yet that still doesn’t really answer the questions raised by the Bethesdaland teaser. While there is the possibility for them to be entirely new IPs, evidence points toward them being surprise game sequels. Wolfenstein: The New Colossus was teased at their conference last year, and the voice actor of main character Anya mentioned at one point that she was, in fact, recording dialogue for the game. There’s also the existence of The Evil Within 2, which has been made known via a multitude of online resumes and portfolios.
Or maybe there is something brand new. A game codenamed Starfield has long been in the works at Bethesda Game Studios, reportedly seeing the developer venture into outer space, and letting you travel between planets and encounter alien races in this sci-fi open world RPG.
Devolver Digital – Who Knows?
Honestly, we’ve no real idea what Devolver are going to announce, but they must have some big games up their sleeves. A publisher that exclusively works with indies and smaller independent studios – there does need to be some kind of distinction made here – I’ve got a lot of time for these guys and the games they support.
Already announced are the excellent looking MMO fighter Absolver, Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour, Crossing Souls, Minit, Eitr, Ruiner, Serious Sam 4, The Talos Principle 2, the very recently announced The Swords of Ditto, and a number of others, but expect them to have more to show you.
I’ve got my fingers crossed for Genital Jousting on Switch.
Just an hour after Bethesda start, there’s Devolver Digital’s show. That’s Monday June 12th, 6.00am BST and it’s viewable on Twitch.
Ubisoft – Far Cry 5 & Assassin’s Creed, But No Aisha Tyler
Much like EA, it feels like we know everything that Ubisoft are going to show. A couple of weeks ago, and in the space of a few seconds, they tweeted about Far Cry 5, The Crew 2 and the new Assassin’s Creed, the first of which has since been revealed and the last of which has been widely leaked. As for The Crew 2? I mean, it’s going to be another open world online racing game, isn’t it?
Beyond that, we’ll doubtless see more of the delayed South Park: The Fractured But Whole, there’s the bizarre Mario + Rabbids Kingdom game that leaked a couple of weeks ago, and they’ll surprise no-one with Just Dance 2018.
We all want surprises though, and Ubisoft have always held at least one game back with which to end their show on a high. It’s anyone’s guess what it will be, whether a new IP or a revived classic. One name conspicuous by its absence is Tom Clancy, which despite Ghost Recon Wildlands’ frosty critical reception, still managed to pull in the punters earlier this year. Maybe it’s time for Sam Fisher to come out of retirement yet again?
But it’s bound to be a bit of a disappointment on one level, with Aisha Tyler no longer presenting. She’d become a cornerstone of Ubisoft’s E3 presence, to our mind, with a love it or hate it, but ultimately very competent and polished presentation style. We’re going to miss you, Aisha!