Tuesday 7 June 2016

Pre-E3 2016 [Events]

There is now less than a week to go until the biggest gaming event of the year. And yet, things seem different this year. EA have opted to host their own event instead of actually attend E3. Since the event is so close to E3 in both location and time, it is still considered a part of E3 however. Also there is the case of Nintendo forgoing a presentation altogether to put the focus entirely on the Treehouse team and live-streams direct from the show floor. Since the initial announcement of just The Legend of Zelda for WiiU, Pokémon Sun and Moon footage has been confirmed, as well as a second day of show floor streaming focused on other games. Everyone else is still doing the same things, so let's get to the main meat.

As said, EA have a separate event from E3 running at the same time. This has meant that they get out of their usual time slot from past years, and now move twenty six hours forward to a Sunday 12th date at 13:00 PDT/21:00 BST. As far as games go, the conference will be packed as usual with sports games. Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and Mass Effect Andromeda have been confirmed to be shown as well. EA blew fans away with the full reveal of Star Wars Battlefront last year, and it has been three years since the Star Wars games by EA deal was confirmed. What else will be shown now that the biggest game has been released? Something that might be even bigger. A third person Star Wars game has been on the cards since the information started trickling out, but never has anything official been said on it. E3 is the biggest time of the year. Star Wars is one of the largest franchises of all time. It makes sense for a new reveal to come next week. The Sims could be shown off with a new expansion for the latest game, or maybe new content for Need For Speed. Of course, let's not forget about Criterion's new game. Revealed during the 2014 conference, it was nothing but a concept of a first person extreme vehicle sport... event. It was an interesting concept, though even Criterion said they had no idea where it could go. It was a no-show during 2015, so it seems only right for it to make a comeback as more than just a concept this year.

Microsoft stay with tradition and start Monday off at 09:30 PDT/17:30 BST. Both Sony and Microsoft are said to be bringing more powerful consoles for the ride, but not new consoles. Both are expansions of the current PS4/Xbox One consoles, being pumped with enough grunt to handle extra features. Sony are already preparing PSVR to be shown and released, it's just a case of Microsoft having something of the same calibre. They have HoloLens, but augmented reality still needs some time to take off. Maybe Microsoft can do that.
In terms of games, there are a number of them from previous conferences that have yet to be released. ReCore, Below, Crackdown 3 are just some of them. Dead Rising 4 has been rumoured to be getting an announcement. It's possible Microsoft have a numerous surprises, as they do most years. While I wouldn't want to take a guess as to what those are, if they push HoloLens again, it is likely at least one or two new games will show it off. As I say every year, Microsoft is pushing back into the PC gaming space, and as unlikely as it ever will be, a spiritual successor to Midtown Madness would suit me perfect. Their focus on Forza is great - and to have a Forza on PC is brilliant - but Forza is more of a simulation game. An arcade racer IP to go alongside that would expand the racing output further.

Ubisoft take the stage next at 13:00 PDT/21:00 BST, and the main highlight will more than likely be Watch Dogs 2. The first suffered from being cut back from what was originally shown, but still managed to be a good game. This second one will no doubt expand on the features of the first. Of course, the other big game will be Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The series always does well, and this game is going to follow the same way. The game also seems to be taking the roots of the series and expanding on them, with a modern day setting rather than the more futuristic settings of past games. For Honor is the new game on the block, with three medieval factions to choose from as a war is raged. Still without a release date, it is bound to be revealed here. The only other thing of note for Ubisoft - bar new announcements - is Just Dance 2017. As a yearly franchise, it is bound to make an appearance with a new tracklist.

Sony, as usual, are well over midnight for anyone in the UK and Europe since the eight hour difference in time looks like 18:00 PDT/02:00 BST [14th]. Sony has PSVR to show off, and a possibly powered up PS4. Virtual reality is looking fun, with Rebellion supplying a game called Battlezone. Tank warfare in first person and with actually feeling like you're in the game should be something great. Of course, showing the game and experiencing it are two different things, especially where virtual reality is concerned. Of course, there are a lot of other PSVR games, and showing them off will probably not take long if they're put in a montage reel with one or two focus points expanded a bit.
Elsewhere, non-VR games will also be part of the conference, and it wouldn't surprise me if Ratchet and Clank had a second game in the making. The first of the rebooted series did well enough to deserve one. Gran Turismo Sport will have optional PSVR support, but the game itself seems to be bringing in a bit of focus. As much as it is a long shot, either a spiritual successor or the return of the- er, bandicoot himself. People want a new Crash Bandicoot game. Every hint makes people go crazy. And this being the anniversary, it needs to happen. Of course, it probably won't.

Speaking of anniversaries, it's Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th. We know nothing of the next main series game, and there is the chance a teaser could be revealed at E3. Boom: Fire and Ice is already getting a trailer, so why not a teaser for the main series as well? Away from his own games though, it is rumoured that Sonic will be featured in LEGO Dimensions. What better time to do that than on his 25th? With new Mario Kart 8 DLC also being hinted at, could Sonic also be featuring in Mario's karting game?
Thankfully Nintendo have more than just The Legend of Zelda to show. With the new Pokémon trailer came the fact that Sun and Moon would also feature at E3 during Nintendo's streaming sessions. Then Nintendo themselves confirmed that more than just a day was coming. Monster Hunter Generations and Dragon Quest are to be featured on the second day, along with other games. With no actual presentation, could it be that new announcements will come from these days of Treehouse streams? With the WiiU line-up looking extremely thin, the idea of download content for previous major releases seems to have taken hold - especially after a Nintendo of Europe tweet that people have taken as a hint for more Mario Kart 8 DLC. I'm not going to say what I'd like, as with Pokémon Sun and Moon - and even the possibility of more content for Mario Kart 8 - they pretty much have everything I want. Except that open world Mii game set on Wuhu Island that fully expands the ideas set in store by Wii Sports Resort, of course. The island showed so much potential after Wii Sports Resort, and being added into Mario Kart 7, Pilotwings Resort, and Super Smash Bros. 4 has to count for something. Despite no NX at E3, even a hint that something like the Mii Resort Paradise idea I have talked about before [and many others] would be a wonderous thing.

Elsewhere we have Bethesda, who seem to be bringing the next Elder Scrolls game along this time. There is also the PC Gaming Show, where numerous games should be talked about. Frontier Developments game Planet Coaster should get some attention here, especially as Elite: Dangerous has before. Of course, the conferences aren't the only places for reveals. News will be coming in from all the days of E3, and I'm as interested as anybody in seeing the goods - even if I won't play most of them.
As always, I will be covering the EA, Microsoft, and Ubisoft conferences, and will still be covering Nintendo - even if it does come in parts.