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E3 2016 Preview: What to Expect

E3 is fast approaching, so here’s your guide to what to expect from E3 2016.

This year’s E3 looks to be a big one with VR being a big topic for at least two of the press conferences on the schedule and iterative consoles being the future of Microsoft and Sony’s plans despite it being very likely that neither makes an appearance in any form at E3. Nintendo’s taking a break this year as they mostly focus on The Legend of Zelda for Wii U and Pokemon Moon and Sun for the 3DS in livestreams throughout the week, so there is supposed to be no NX announcements at this show despite saying it would likely be releasing next spring. Beyond that, we also have press conferences from Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft, and the PC Gaming Show so we can see what the big third parties have to announce for the next year or two to fill in the gaps between the two platform-specific shows.

As for our own coverage, we’ll be liveblogging the press conferences from our Twitter account, podcasting our thoughts on the press conferences on Monday and Tuesday nights with Thursday and Friday reserved for the rest of the news that’s fit to talk about. We’ll also have plenty of coverage here on the site to let you know what is announced throughout this week.

With that in mind, let’s get a little more in-depth on what to expect from E3 2016 starting with the press conferences:

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EA – Sunday, June 12 @ 1 PM PT/4 PM ET

  • Expect the typical assortment of EA Sports offerings with Madden, FIFA, NHL, and maybe NBA Live getting some attention for what new things they’re doing with those games. Athletes will probably be on hand to help out despite not being well suited for these types of shows that will end up dragging down whatever pace they could have had.
  • Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and Mass Effect Andromeda seem like the easy heavyweights for them to show off during the show as they’re all set to release this fall (BF1/TF2) and next spring (MEA). Expect demos and maybe beta announcements for those first two games.
  • EA and Origin Access will probably get a shoutout and an announcement that Need for Speed and Star Wars Battlefront will be in the Vault that day, which could precede or succeed announcement of the other Star Wars games they have in the works. The Amy Hennig game from Visceral will probably be the one that’s closest to launch and be featured with Battlefront 2 being a possibility as a teaser for 2017 release alongside Episode VIII. That Respawn Star Wars game that is lead by God of War III director Stig Asmussen probably won’t make an appearance, as that sounded like a very early announcement as that studio puts the finishing touches on Titanfall 2.
  • For upcoming titles that we don’t know about yet, the next Need for Speed for 2017 seems likely. I’m personally hoping that weird multi-vehicle racing game that Criterion showed off a few years ago came together and gets some sort of official reveal. We also might see the new game from Hazelight studios, which is the new studio lead by the director of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons that got a teaser trailer back in December when the studio’s formation was announced.

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Bethesda – Sunday, June 12 @ 7 PM PT/10 PM ET

  • This preview will be interesting since the whole thing has apparently been leaked ahead of time, but we’ll add a bit more to what’s rumored to make up Bethesda’s press conference.
  • Before talking about the unknown, this seems like a good time for them to follow up on their known titles like DOOM’s upcoming DLC, the collectible card game The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Dishonored 2’s release on November 11, and maybe Fallout 4’s mod support on PS4 if they’re desperate to drag that game out again.
  • As far as the leaks are concerned, the biggest announcement would be the return of Prey 2 after its well-known cancellation and rumored reboot under Arkane Studios (Dishonored). To not get the original game that looked so awesome back then will be disappointing, but the pedigree of the Dishonored means that it’ll be given more of a fair shot than the first game got at the Xbox 360’s launch.
  • The leaks also point to sequels coming for The Evil Within and Wolfenstein: The New Order, which seems likely since neither seemed to bomb and the teams are probably ready to make more of those games if Bethesda saw fit to approve them.
  • The game that would be most likely to get the Fallout 4-style response out of this show from these leaks is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Remastered, which has long been rumored to be a thing when they talked about doing the work to prep for making Fallout 4 for this generation of consoles. It’s rumored to include all of the DLC and have similar mod support as the recent Fallout 4 update has offered on Xbox One now and PS4 soon, which would be huge since there’s no current Bethesda.net setup for Skyrim mods just yet. While we wait for whatever new Elder Scrolls game appears in the future, this would be a suitable replacement to take advantage of that game’s fandom for the time being.
  • If these leaks pan out, it seems like this would be an awfully sequel-heavy show, which isn’t a huge surprise since that happened with last year’s show. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but new ideas are always appreciated.

Crowds gather at the Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing at the Galen Center on Monday, June 9, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)

Microsoft – Monday, June 13 @ 9:30 AM PT/12:30 PM ET

  • Microsoft has also been the subject of leaks with console news being the biggest aspect that has taken over the internet over the last few weeks, but some game stuff has leaked to give us an idea of what to expect during their press conference.
  • The biggest news that has been leaked is the Xbox One Slim that provides a 40% smaller console with a 2TB hard drive inside, and maybe a new Xbox One controller to go with it. The recent drop of the original Xbox One to $299 means that this slim console would likely come in it $400 to account for the upgrade that it provides over the original. Don’t be surprised if Kinect or the TV HDMI input stuff are removed to help allow the drop in size.
  • Along with that news is the rumored Xbox One Scorpio console that will be a significant hardware upgrade over the Xbox One that was originally rumored to be announced at E3 alongside the PlayStation 4 Neo at Sony’s show, but the latter was just confirmed to not be at E3 so that Microsoft doesn’t have to make the first move to preempt them. Expect both of those consoles to get announced at their own events later this year at the earliest.
  • The other weird hardware news is that Microsoft may also have other Xbox-branded hardware to compete with Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire Stick in the video streaming realm to leverage the app support on Xbox One and Windows 10. In terms of games, they may be able to play the lightest Windows 10 App Store games that are mostly mobile games for the Windows 10 phones.
  • Do expect Microsoft to talk up their Xbox One/Windows 10 alliance with most, if not every, game announced on their end to come to both platforms. That likely means the new Forza game, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Sea of Thieves, Below, Inside, Ion, ReCore, Scalebound, Crackdown 3, and anything else Microsoft has in store for us in this show. I could also see some further integration on the firmware front between the two platforms being detailed as cross platform apps, multiplayer, and more should get some big mentions if they’re ready to go.
  • The big game that was leaked early is Dead Rising 4, as Capcom continues to not be able to produce new titles on the Xbox One or PS4 without the platform holder publishing it for them. The interesting thing about DR4 is that it stars Frank West back in Willamette, Colorado once again where the whole thing started in the first game, but being able to explore the rest of the town we saw in the original’s intro could be cool.
  • The irony of that announcement is that Microsoft could have their own zombie open world game ready to show at E3 in State of Decay 2, as the original did quite well and it’s been a decent about three years since it’s release. Of course, the original plan for the IP was an MMO, so that would at least elevate it above DR4 in terms of scope and interesting things to do in the wake of games like DayZ making the online zombie simulator thing a big thing on the PC.
  • Backwards Compatibility for Xbox 360 titles will probably make a return as MS could announce some big titles like Red Dead Redemption and others to be available that day along with new titles to be available as bonuses for the third-party games shown during the show like last year. A good surprise for this area would be its expansion to the PC to let you play those games on Windows 10 or maybe original Xbox support.
  • Microsoft certainly has some partnerships to announce this year, with EA probably being a prime candidate with EA Access offering their platforms early access to those games before launch. BC could certainly be a big factor for other publisher partnerships on that front for easy bonuses for the Xbox One versions of various titles.
  • Microsoft’s lineup at this show likely includes Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, and Crackdown 3 as the big hitters along with maybe some teaser of whatever Halo 6 could be. Expect some more from their original projects like Sea of Thieves, Scalebound, ReCore, Below, and Inside along with whatever else is coming through ID@Xbox on their front. Ion, the new game from the DayZ creator, may also show up if it’s ready to go. Cuphead could be another big indie game to showcase with its striking classic cartoon art style.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, left, and Rod Fergusson, Studio Head of The Coalition, center, take the stage at the Xbox-sponsored PC Gaming Show at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)

PC Gaming Show – Monday, June 13 @ 11:30 AM PT/2:30 PM ET

  • This is easily the hardest show to preview precisely because the organizer, PC Gamer, has no personal stake in the show other than giving PC games and hardware makers a platform to make their own announcements.
  • The official site has a list of the presenters that gives us an idea of who will be showing stuff during the show.
  • AMD will likely be talking about their new graphics cards that are competing with Nvidia’s more expensive offerings.
  • Bohemia Interactive will be announcing the release date of Arma III Apex, which is the next big expansion for that game.
  • Borealys seems like to talk about Mages of Mystralia, which is their first game as a studio.
  • Boss Key games will probably have Clifford Bleszinski on to show a new trailer for LawBreakers.
  • Digital Extremes is well known as the developers of Warframe, so they’re probably going to show what’s new with that game or maybe a new
  • GameForge is a big publisher on PC for a number of free-to-play games and such, so expect more from them on that front.
  • Microsoft will obviously be there to talk about Windows 10 news, so maybe this is where they talk about Xbox 360 BC on Windows 10? There is a lot they could do here right after their own show ends.
  • New World Interactive are the makers of Insurgency, a popular multiplayer tactical shooter, so they may have some new news about that game.
  • Nexon are the publishers of Boss Key’s LawBreakers among other games, so they’ll probably announce a new game.
  • NovaQuark is currently making Dual Universe, which is an indie first-person MMO with some cool ideas for building structures and such in a sandbox environment that will get a big stage to show off what they have in store for players.
  • Occulus will also be showing off their wares and expect some new games and such for their VR platform.
  • Other Ocean makes quite a few licensed games on a small scale, which means they probably have a new game or two up their sleeves
  • Paradox Interactive publishes a ton of hardcore PC games like Stellaris, Cities: Skylines, Pillar of Eternity, and more, so expect some more new stuff from them.
  • Razer makes mice and keyboards and they’ll probably show off some new product.
  • Relic Games recently announced Dawn of War III, which will be their big focus for E3.
  • Sega is a big PC developer with their Warhammer, Total War, and Football Manager games, so they could talk about a variety of things if Dawn of War III isn’t their focus.
  • Square Enix and the SE Collective are big on PC with Square Enix having Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Hitman, and various Final Fantasy games and the Collective being their Indie/Kickstarter initiative, so they will probably at least talk about Deus Ex and whatever smaller stuff is on the way.
  • Studio Wildcard are the makers of the huge hit Ark: Survival Evolved and have Ark: Survival of the Fittest in the works. They’re going to talk about both of them.
  • Tale Worlds are the makers of the Mount & Blade series with Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord being their next game, which they’ve confirmed is their focus.
  • Torn Banner Studios will be talking about Mirage: Arcane Warfare, which is the new game from the team that made Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.
  • Tripwire Interactive is the last studio on the list and will probably be talking about Rising Storm 2: Vietnam and/or Killing Floor 2.

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Ubisoft – Monday, June 13 @ 1 PM PT/4 PM ET

  • Ubisoft confirmed that For Honor, Ghost Recon Wildlands, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and Eagle Flight will be featured at the show as Aisha Tyler once again hosts the show. Each of those games returns from their revealing last year.
  • Ubisoft got out there early to announce Watch Dogs 2 for a November 15 release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, so expect the first gameplay demo and more to be shown off during the show.
  • The Division will likely be a big player in this show as the first story expansion for the season pass is unveiled.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rainbow Six Siege Starter Edition on PC also comes to PS4 and Xbox One to help boost those player bases with a $15 version to get more people playing the game.
  • For the unknown stuff, Just Dance probably returns with another weird performance from an artist whose music is in the game. The Rabbids may get another game to keep that going. The only Tom Clancy property that hasn’t had a game this generation is Splinter Cell, so I could see that being the big surprise for this year’s show.

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Sony – Monday, June 13 @ 6 PM PT/9 PM ET

  • Sony finally confirmed that the PlayStation 4 Neo existed after months of leaks and evidence proved it while Sony stayed silent, but the bad news for those watching the E3 show is that it won’t be there. That makes sense since PlayStation VR will be their focus during the show with its October release nearing quickly and they could easily confuse people into thinking PSVR requires the PS4 Neo if they had both at the same show.
  • Speaking of PSVR, expect that to get a huge push during the show with plenty of announcements, demos, trailers for new and already announced titles, as we’ve already seen a number announced on PlayStation Blog this past week. We already know the price, but a release date would be nice to have along with more pre-orders opening up for those that missed the rush around GDC earlier this year.
  • As far as what we already know Sony has already announced a number of known games that will be at their booth and they’ll be having the Blog crew livestreaming a number of interviews and demos throughout the show. Gran Turismo Sport has already seen its release date and trailer released. World of Final Fantasy’s trailer is out there. Persona 5 got its release date of February 14, 2017, which is an unfortunate delay. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 got an E3 trailer. Horizon Zero Dawn also got a new trailer and a new release date for February 28, 2017. Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age was also announced for PS4 next year. Destiny: Rise of Iron was officially announced for release on September 20 and will likely have more PS4 exclusive stuff like every previous game and DLC before it. Some of these are probably due to not making the show in a meaningful way while others are due to just wanting to get the important info out right now and show something else on stage.
  • What titles are likely to show up? I’d expect The Last Guardian to get an actual release date if it’s really coming this fall like they said last year. There are a variety of other Sony exclusives that could appear including Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Dreams, Hot Shots Golf, Detroit: Become Human, Wild, MatterFall, Gravity Rush 2, Boundless, Bound, What Remains of Edith Finch, and others under the Sony umbrella that could show up in demo or trailer/montage form.
  • What about the first-party games we don’t know about yet? Rumors swirled for a while about Sucker Punch working on a Spider-Man game, though job openings have at least confirmed it’s an open world sand box action title like the Infamous games. Bend Studio has long been rumored to be working on an open world horror game with the name Dead Don’t Ride popping up a lot, so this year seems like the one to finally unveil their game. Sony Santa Monica has a big potential leak from a concept artist showing what looked like a new God of War game set in Norse mythology, which could be another big reveal if that’s indeed what they’re working on under Cory Barlog’s leadership. The one big potential showstopper would be if Kojima’s new game with Sony is ready to at least tease after signing the deal last December.
  • What about Indies? Expecting as many indies as they can fit on stage and in montage form. This is the hardest part to nail down as there are hundreds of teams out there both known and unknown that can get stage time for what they’re working on that makes it make guesses. I could see Sony have something to announce their upcoming PlayStation Store Play promotion for later this spring that could feature games like Cosmic Star Heroine, Abzu, The Tomorrow Children, and others if they’re ready in time for a July/August release.
  • Third party games are easier to nail down, so we can expect big guns like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, an Ubisoft game like Watch Dogs 2 or Ghost Recon Wildlands, NBA 2K17, Mafia 3, Injustice 2, Final Fantasy XV, and others to possibly be featured on stage depending on partnership status with exclusive DLC or whatever as part of their offerings on PS4. We could also see the first big trailer for Shenmue 3 here if it’s ready in time, though I haven’t seen any news out of that Kickstarter about this recently.
  • What about the big surprises? Shenmue 3, The Last Guardian, and Final Fantasy VII Remastered were probably the three biggest punches Sony could pull for an E3 press conferences, so I’m not sure if there’s anything even comparable to those three that could show up at E3. Crash Bandicoot has been the internet darling for Sony to either acquire the license for a new game or at least license it out like the Shenmue 3 situation, though rumors suggest Crash will return to PlayStation as a figure/character in the upcoming Skylanders Imaginators game. If they’re aiming for other nostalgia grabs, some reasonable IP revivals could be a new PaRappa the Rapper, MediEvil, Ape Escape, Dark Cloud, LocoRoco, MotorStorm, Patapon, Wipeout, or Legend of Dragoon from their own IPs. They could even put up some big firmware news like backwards compatibility support for PS1, PS2, or PS3 games, PSN username changes, and other stuff in there for the hardcore crowd to obsess about.

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Everybody Else

  • Nintendo will not have a Nintendo Direct-style show to announce games or other news, as they’ve announced that they’re just going to be streaming games like The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, Pokemon Moon & Sun, Pokemon Go, Monster Hunter Generations, Dragon Quest VII, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE during the week. The first stream with The Legend of Zelda starts at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET on Tuesday, June 14 if you want to check that out. The yearly rumor about Mother 3 rears its head once more, so feel free to decide whether to believe it or not.
  • Sega and Atlus will have a number of titles for E3 with Persona 5 being their biggest title that will probably get a lot of attention now that we have a release date.
  • Take Two is a wildcard with expected titles like Mafia 3, NBA 2K17, and WWE 2K17 as their big known titles. Rockstar could make their first move at E3 after focusing on Grand Theft Auto V for the last few years as GTA Online has made bank for them. Borderlands 3 could be a big announcement if Gearbox is ready to show it after starting recruiting for the BL3 team a year or so ago. We know that Ken Levine is working on a new narrative-focused game with a small team that could also make an appearance.
  • Xseed will be popular with the JRPG crowd with the The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II at the show among others.
  • Capcom’s probably not going to be a big presence in terms of the number of games they’ll show, as the most likely rumor has them with Dead Rising 4 published by Microsoft. Monster Hunter Generations will be there for sure in Nintendo’s booth. Street Fighter V could show up again with the big story mode update as their reasoning for being at Sony’s booth, though that could be a risky idea instead of just letting the team keep working on it. Potentially farfetched rumors suggest Devil May Cry 5 and Resident Evil 7 could also be shown, though that seems like a lot for a publisher that can’t seem to do much but platform exclusives and remasters right now.
  • Square Enix has a list of all of the games they’re livestreaming from their booth that covers everything known about what they’ll have at the show.
  • We know about Injustice 2 as far as what Warner Brothers will have at E3. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is also a given along with more LEGO Dimensions (video) set. Tangentially, it looks like The Witcher 3 is getting a Gwent-focused spin-off from CD Project Red
  • Telltale Games has already announced Batman: The Telltale Series for release this summer and The Walking Dead: Season Three for this fall. That may be enough for them at E3.
  • Namco will likely have Tekken 7 get its big reveal with the PS4 version somehow having PSVR support. They’ll also have their usual assortment of anime games like Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven, Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Force, and others.
  • Deep Silver mainly have Volition’s newly announced Agents of Mayhem and maybe Dead Island 2 finally resurfaces after it was cancelled and supposedly given to Sumo Digital to reboot it.
  • Tecmo Koei looks to have some nice games at E3 with Nioh reappearing after a successful alpha test a while back and the rumor of a new game from Omega Force, who are known for various Musou spin-offs like Hyrule Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes, and others.

Thanks for checking out our E3 2016 Preview. Please stick around as we post more E3 coverage during the rest of the week.

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