Saturday 1 June 2019

Pre-E3 2019

It’s E3 time again! Sony are a no-show, and EA have decided to change how they do things again (is that a tradition for them, now?) by having a livestream from the floor instead of a conference, though everyone else is here. Bethesda, Devolver, and Square-Enix return, Ubisoft is present as always, and Microsoft is looking one to watch with that roughly two-hour presentation. Then there’s Nintendo, who is going all-out once again with the usual three days of Treehouse streams, a Direct presentation, and a whole day full of Championships. They’re going to be one to watch, but let’s save the best for last.

Devolver, you might have some pretty fun appearances at E3, but I know next to nothing about the games you publish. I’m expecting another satire-filled video making fun of the industry that also shows off a few of their released or soon to be released games. While I can’t be watching it live, it starts at 20:00 PDT / 04:00 BST on 10/June. Square-Enix’s conference is another I can’t be watching live, though I’m not expecting much other than showcasing more of what’s already been announced. There’s the untitled triple-A shooter to be announcing, as well as showing what the Avengers Project is. This also takes place on 10/June, though earlier than Devolver at 18:00 PDT / 02:00 BST.

Bethesda are set to be showing an in-depth look at Doom Eternal. It’s possible Starfield, The Elder Scrolls VI, and Wolfenstein III will also be showing. I highly doubt they’d have a surprise announcement on the cards, but that’s exactly what would have happened at last year’s E3 had Walmart Canada not leaked Rage 2 a month before – which the company themselves have acknowledged by telling fans to keep refreshing the retailer’s webpage. These reveals are set for 17:30 PDT / 01:30 BST on 9/June, so this is the other that I won’t be seeing live.

As I said, EA is doing things differently (once again) in that instead of packing an hour full of content, they’re following the Nintendo model of livestreams and putting heavy focus on the games themselves, complete with insights from the developers. They’ve confirmed that Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be appearing, along with the usual influx of sports games, and more content for Battlefield V and The Sims 4. EA Play takes place over two days, on 8-9/June. The first day has the livestream, starting at 09:15 PDT / 17:15 BST. All the games mentioned above will be present, and EA have pretty much confirmed that there will be no new games revealed during the two days. However, there’s always a chance such will appear elsewhere.

Like the Microsoft conference, which is probably going to be jam-packed full of announcements from plenty of companies. Microsoft themselves have 14 of their games within the briefing, two of which are sure to be Halo Infinite and Gears 5. The second expansion of Forza Horizon 4 will be another of those 14, and there’s every possibility we finally see what the other project of Playground Games is. Game Pass for PC will be talked about, and other services as well.

There’s been insiders teasing a LEGO game – and if you’ve read my latest What I’m Waiting For, you’ll know which one it is very likely to be. However, there’s also talk of a LEGO world as part of Forza Horizon 4, which I would certainly be down to see. There’s a range of games ready for the second half of the year waiting to be shown, along with a few never-before-seen surprises. I’ve recently been very taken with wanting another GTA game, and if one was to be announced at E3, Microsoft’s briefing makes the most sense for it. The very action-packed conference will start at 13:00 PDT / 21:00 BST on 9/June, with the Inside Xbox livestream happening a day later on 10/June at 15:00 PDT / 23:00 BST.

Ubisoft have delayed Skull & Bones to 2020, so whether we do see anything of it this year remains to be seen. However, there’s still enough to fill a conference with, including showing off Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Ubisoft have already confirmed a few existing games will show up, such as For Honor, The Division 2, and Rainbow Six: Siege, and that there’s a few surprises in store. Some of those surprises are already out in the wild, with Roller Champions having already leaked, and Watch Dogs 3 already seeing a trickle of details come out. I should hope there will be more than just those two being revealed, but is Beyond Good and Evil 2 ready for it? Could this be the year of a new Rayman? Or is an old franchise going to see the light of day again?

And now… Nintendo. There’s a lot going on here, and I guess Nintendo’s E3 starts before even EA. With a Direct that’s laser-focused upon one game. The latest Pokémon Direct is set to release at 06:00 PDT / 14:00 BST on 5/June, and it should provide fifteen minutes of new Sword/Shield information while at the same time proving Nintendo’s comment about not revealing new hardware at E3 technically correct. Possibly.

Beyond that, there’s the Championships on 8/June. Starting at 11:00 PDT / 19:00 BST, it opens with half an hour of Super Mario Maker 2, with four members of the Mario Maker community racing through levels created by the Treehouse team. The Splatoon 2 World Championship is returning to give another bout of intense competition across the four teams who have made it to this finale. Then the same is set to happen with the Smash Ultimate World Championship after.

Those Championships are always a fun watch, but the highlight of Nintendo’s E3 as usual will be the announcements they make, and for that – the E3 Direct. Last year it was near enough 45 minutes long, but Smash really took that time as its own. 2017 was a much nicer 25 minutes in length, but if they have the content to back up such a time, I wouldn’t mind another longer one again. They can be good if done right, so here’s hoping there’s another entertaining sprawl of content at 09:00 PDT / 17:00 BST on 11/June. Of course, after that Direct, there’s still three days of the Treehouse streams to be watching to get more in-depth with the games shown off – and even the possibility for yet more announcements (though if the Direct really is 45 minutes long, I don’t see why they would). They’ve always been good to watch, though I do admit to getting worn out last year with the threat of yet more Smash on the horizon.

I think it’s clear there’s a lot Nintendo can show, with Animal Crossing and Luigi’s Mansion 3 being the big two. Fire Emblem Three Houses is sure to see some focus, and in terms of surprises – SNES games on the Online service, please. And some Gamecube remakes. If there’s no Mario Kart on the horizon [though I’d really want a new one shown off here] then I’ve proposed the idea before to take the Double Dash mechanics and make a side-series from it, and such an idea I’d want to see. Or just a Double Dash remake with sixteen new tracks and possibly a few new racers. And as ever – Mii Resort Paradise. Nintendo, the Switch is now the perfect platform for it. Get on it.

E3 is definitely packed full of things to see, and while for me it’s not the announcements that matter, I would hope to see some surprising things. From everyone involved. With the Pokémon Direct coming up first, I’m sure that’s exactly what I’ll be getting from one of my core franchises.

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