It is that time of the year when gamers get ready for their own version of Christmas. A time when companies come together to showcase what is in the works, helping us justify the investment on that shiny new console or gaming rig. Well, that used to be the case when E3 was in its full glory. E3 has been officially cancelled this year, but it is not all bad news. The E3 season is still being treated as a time of videogames showcases and big game reveals. While dedicated connoisseurs of the once yearly extravaganza, like me, wish that we get back to the hay days of E3 2016, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited for this year’s E3 season. From Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest to Microsoft and Bethesda’s games showcase and everything in between, there are some cool surprises right in the corner, no doubt. Here are some of the events that are likely to transpire.
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The Summer Game Fest
With E3 as we knew it essentially being gone over the past couple of years, Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards has been the only grand stage event for games. The Summer Game Fest, also from Keighley, is slowly gaining prominence. Who knows, it could one day bring big publishers together on a grand stage on the level of E3! But that’s a topic for another day. The Summer Game Fest for this year though, will most likely be in line with the previous year’s event albeit with some changes in setting for the kickoff show, thanks to in person events now being possible as opposed to the last couple of years. The event, which continues throughout the season, will no doubt feature a good number of indie announcements, but also provide updates on currently released games in the form of DLC reveals. But the show has always had an ace or two up its sleeve and this year will be no different. For big ticket announcements, I expected Jedi: Survivor to be announced here since EA has officially cancelled plans for their EA Play event this year. But now that the game has been officially revealed with a cinematic trailer, perhaps a gameplay reveal would make it to the show? The second candidate for big announcements is the long rumored Bioshock reboot. This game has been on an off the rumor mill for quite some time now and is a perfect fit for an event like Summer Game Fest, assuming development has been going as originally planned. Will the reboot be able to capture the magic of the original, without creator Ken Levine? We’ll have to wait and see.
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Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda Showcase
Streaming 3 days after the Summer Game Fest kick off show, on June 12th is the Xbox and Bethesda showcase. This is an interesting event, considering it has been announced at the heels of two major games being delayed to next year. These games, Starfield and Redfall, would have been featured heavily in the showcase if not for the delay. The recent developments with both these projects could mean they may be missing from the showcase itself. So, what would the event comprise of? Avowed, from Obsidian entertainment which was announced in 2020 may feature in the showcase with gameplay. Updates on long revealed games like Fable, Indiana Jones, Scorn, State of Decay 3, the next Forza Motorsport are all usual suspects from the big M.
We can also expect a release date for Hellblade 2, scheduled for the holiday season this year. There is also speculation of a “Masterchief Collection” style bundle for Gears of War. What will most certainly be featured though is a heavy push for Gamepass, and a likely announcement of Gamepass Family subscription. The new tier is believed to be a “One subscription for the whole family” type service further fishing out demographics that would otherwise be on the fence towards the service. There is also speculation of Ubisoft + subscription service making its way to Gamepass. And it looks very likely to happen, considering it is already part of one the PlayStation Plus tiers.
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Now we enter into mystery territory as Sony is typically very tight lipped about any of its announcements. Sony has had its big showcase around the time of September since the PS5 era, so there could be no E3 level showcase until around that time. The company’s recent announcement of a State of Play planned on June 2nd only solidifies this theory. The June 2nd event is said to focus on PSVR2 along with some third-party titles, but Street Fighter 6 is very likely to show up in that event, at least in trailer form. So, we now have a window of July to September for the big event and my bet is sometime close September. What will feature in the event, then? First off, Sony will no doubt make use of this event to push the new PS Plus service. The release date for God of War: Ragnarok is all but certain. While there was some skepticism on the game releasing this year, a recent blogpost on the game’s accessibility features has inspired confidence as this is something that is worked on towards the tail end of the development cycle.
So, a holiday 2022 release date seems imminent. It is also highly likely that Sony will double down on PSVR2 games and probably provide a release date for its new hardware. In tune with Microsoft, we can also expect updates on previously announced games in this showcase, but the “one more thing” item to close the showcase is most likely to be The Last of Us remake, which is also rumored to release this year. To be honest, this seems to clash with God of war’s release window, and Sony is unlikely to risk releasing 2 major games within the same season. If the game is as complete as the rumors suggest, then my bet is that the game is revealed with a release date before April 2023, which falls within the current fiscal year for Sony.
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There is plenty to unpack with Ubisoft. In short, the company has seen better days, as its reputation, revenue, and development cycle of games have all taken a hit, if recent news/rumors are to be believed. But what is synonymous across all these news and rumors is that there are plenty of games in development at Ubisoft, enough to make a strong showcase, assuming those games are in a state to be revealed. Whether Ubisoft will do this is the real question. But let’s stay positive and assume that there is a showcase in the works, and we may be in for some exciting games to be shown in the event. Updates on the Avatar game, and the sequel Mario+Rabbids is a possibility, while Assassin’s Creed VR is a prime candidate for an opener.
Footage of the currently in development VR game was recently leaked, and while it looked rough, the setting seems promising where the player takes on the roles of multiple Assassins from the series including the one and only Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Other than that, we could get updates on Skull and Bones, the rumored Assassin’s Creed live service game, the Prince of Persia remake which recently switched to a different development team, alongside a couple, if not all, of the rumored four unannounced games, one of which is rumored to be a reboot of Splinter Cell. All the controversies aside, there is no denying Ubisoft has been a strong player in the industry over the past couple of decades, and they are home to some of the most iconic franchises in the gaming. I hope Ubisoft has a strong presence this year and gets us excited for the year to come.
When the dust settles on all the major events, there is one more that many wait for. A showcase that rivals some of the best thrillers on TV today. What Devolver Digital started as a parody of E3 press conferences, complete with on-stage jargons and awkward mishaps, quickly evolved into a thriller with a central mystery that is as entertaining as it is cheesy. While still fundamentally being a games showcase, Devolver threw every convention surrounding it out of the window and ran wild with a crazy narrative in hand. I mean the last showcase had a “recap” of the ones before it. All of the craziness aside, when it comes right down to business Devolver Digital is still an unpredictable machine, as the company does not indulge in annualized franchises or churn out frequent sequels to its games.
The publisher has always provided off-beat, often entertaining and fun games like Hotline Miami, Loop Hero, and My Friend Pedro all of which bring something new to the table, albeit on a smaller scale than the AAA games from major franchises. And that is totally fine by me. For this reason, there is no saying what the publisher is going to show us in their showcase this year. But what we CAN expect is another off the rails, completely bonkers showcase. Sign me up!
What do you anticipate the most this E3 Season? Sound off in the comments.