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Companies of E3: Nintendo Spotlight & Treehouse Live

 

 

Nintendo $NTDOY is the last company to have an official press event, albeit in digital form rather than a live show. First it shared a 25 minute-long Spotlight with fans, which you can see in its entirety above, and now it’s moved right into a long session of Treehouse Live. It will be streaming its Treehouse Live segment from E3 both today and tomorrow.

 

Don’t let the length of its showcase fool you; Nintendo packed in a ton of games and reveals into this time, which you’ll see broken out one-by-one below, and it’s still revealing new stuff on its ongoing streams. Not to mention, we now know a lot more about Super Mario Odyssey!

 

What It Showed:

 

 

Super Mario Odyssey: It was shown at the end of the digital show, but I have to write about it first here. I’m not often rendered speechless. But Nintendo’s trailer and subsequent gameplay that it’s streaming as I write this for its upcoming 3D Mario game is breathtaking. And we now know its release date: October 27th!

 

 

Here’s the gameplay segment from Nintendo’s Treehouse Live. Almost a half hour long. Lots of mechanics and areas shown, including a really cool section when it transitions from 3D to 2D gameplay. The game continues to surprise and charm!

 

 

Montage: Briefly showed a trailer featuring a number of games: ARMS, Pokken Tournament, Rocket League (a new announcement for the platform), Splatoon 2. Basically, a number of multiplayer games that can be played on Switch.

 

 

Rocket League: As mentioned above, the 2015 competitive online game that blends cars and soccer will be out on Switch in Holiday 2017.

 

 

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Japanese RPG from Monolith Soft will be releasing Holiday 2017.

 

 

Kirby: New Kirby game, with a working title, releasing next year.

 

 

Metroid Prime 4: There is actually a mainline Metroid game being developed for Switch. But all we get today is a logo, hah!

 

 

Metroid Samus Returns: Nintendo has announced two Metroid games in the same day, which is crazy. This is a 3DS game that Nintendo just unveiled on its Treehouse Live stream.

 

 

Yoshi: Nintendo is really bringing its A-game when it comes to its established, most popular franchises. This time it announced a new Yoshi game, no title, releasing next year.

 

 

Fire Emblem Warriors. Upcoming hack-and-slash game for both Switch and New 3DS, this is a collaboration between Intelligent Systems and Koei Tecmo.

 

 

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, New DLC: As Nintendo announced back when the game was announced, Breath of the Wild is the first game in the franchose to have post-launch additional content. Which is awesome, because it means we get more of one of the best games this year. First pack is June 30th, at which time there will also be four new amiibo figures available for characters in the game.

 

 

 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Same game we saw at Ubisoft’s show yesterday. Releasing August 29th.

 

 

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Switch: Similarly, we saw this game at Bethesda’s show on Sunday night.

 

What It Didn’t Show (Yet): Super Smash Bros, Capcom’s Monster Hunter XX, Online Service, Virtual Console or Mini SNES.

 

Now that Nintendo’s Spotlight has finished up, it marks the end of the major conferences for this year’s E3. But the festivities are just kicking off, with the show floor opening today and running through Thursday. I’ll probably have another write-up or two before the week is up, but follow me on Twitter for updates in the interim. Thanks again and enjoy the show if you are there or following from home!

 

-Dom

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Companies of E3: Sony PlayStation Media Showcase

 

It’s Monday night. E3 proper is set to begin tomorrow morning in Los Angeles. However, right now, it’s all about Sony Corp $SNE and its PlayStation Media Showcase. The current console market leader is known for having lots and lots of games in its shows, with little regard for release window of said games, and tonight’s show was no different.

 

Was a decent show, with highs and lows, but overall I definitely think you’ll be able to find a game that appeals to you on this list. Below are those featured at the media showcase, including details on my most-anticipated game.. Destiny 2!

 

 

Grand Turismo Sport: During Sony’s pre-show, it revealed that the latest installment in the GT racing franchise is out this fall.

 

 

Knack 2: Yes. Sony is actually releasing a sequel to the launch game that turned into an ongoing internet joke and meme. And it’s out September 5th. Honestly, it looks MUCH improved!

 

 

PlayLink for PS4 collection: Two games in this collection were announced: Hidden Agenda, where you use a smart phone as a controller, and That’s You, which looks like a social party game.

 

 

Matterfall: Housemarq indie game, releasing on August 15th.

 

 

Everybody’s Golf: Arcade golf game.

 

 

PlayStation VR Games: Super Hot, Summer 2017. Sparc. Tropico. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Star Child by Playful and published by GameTrust. The Inpatient. Final Fantasy XV fishing. Bravo Team. Moss.

 

 

Undertale: Popular indie PC hit coming to PS4 this summer.

 

 

Ni No Kuni II: Japanese RPG by Bandai Namco now has a release date of November 10th.

 

 

Uncharted The Lost Legacy: This standalone story in the Uncharted series started the show proper with a new trailer, it’s out August 22nd.

 

 

Horizon The Frozen Wilds: Summer 2017 for the first expansion of Guerilla Games’ excellent open world game that released in February.

 

 

Days Gone: We see more from this post-apocalyptic zombie game from Sony Bend where you fight hordes of undead and survivors. Never seen that before. (Sorry, it’s just not doing it for me. I’d rather play The Last of Us.)

 

 

Monster Hunter World: We heard rumblings of this title recently, looks like Capcom is finally officially bringing its beloved franchise to PS4 and Xbox One in the form of an open world game this time. Out in early 2018.

 

 

Shadow of the Colossus: Early 2018. Looks like an HD remake of the 2005 game from Team Ico.

 

 

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite: Out September 19th, story demo is actually available today.

 

 

Call of Duty WWII: This game again looks like a Call of Duty game set in World War II. And it’s out in early November.

 

 

God of War: I admit, every time I see this new God of War game, I care more about playing it despite not playing any of the earlier games. Releasing early 2018. No exact release date.

 

 

Detroit: Become Human: Quantic Dream’s futuristic, narrative adventure game featuring androids in an uprising looks very intriguing again as it did last year. Though, no release window revealed.

 

 

Destiny 2: Finally! My favorite franchise of this generation is getting a sequel, and Sony has a marketing deal with Activision/Bungie so (better or worse) it has access to exclusive content: missions and gear, plus a multiplayer map. But the good news is that the release date is now moved up to Wednesday, September 6th on consoles. And October 24th on PC. Bungie will host a beta testing period that begins on July 19th on PS4 and July 19th on Xbox One (for those that pre-ordered) and then July 21st for everyone.

 

Can you tell I’m excited?

 

 

Spider-Man: Insomniac’s take on the  Marvel superhero franchise is out next year. I know lots are excited for it!

 

What It Didn’t Show (Yet): The Last of Us 2, which feels odd because it’s the biggest game Sony has. But it’s also nowhere near done and I guess not ready to show just yet. Media Molecule’s Dreams, Michel Ancel’s WiLD (especially now that he showed Beyond Good & Evil 2 at the Ubisoft show I wrote about earlier). Oh, and Bloodborne 2. I guess none of my long shots are panning out.

 

That’s okay, we still are seeing some really cool games! What did you think of Sony’s briefing? Will you be buying any of these games when they release? Why aren’t you as exicted about Destiny 2 as I am?!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

-Dom

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Companies of E3: Ubisoft E3 2017 Conference

 

Monday of E3 week has kicked off with Ubisoft $UBI and its E3 2017 Conference. The large French developer and publisher had a unique show, as it’s known to do, and always offers a diverse set of games. Plus surprises. Below is a rundown of projects it featured at its show, including a game that you might not have expected!

 

What It Showed:

 

 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: The rumor is true, act surprised. The Nintendo Switch cross-over tactical RPG set in the Mushroom Kingdom will be out August 29th. (Yes, that’s a sentence I just wrote that I never thought I’d write.)

 

 

Assassin’s Creed Origins: Similar to what we saw at Microsoft’s conference yesterday. Ubisoft is showing a 30 minute gameplay reveal after its show, can post it later on. Again, launching October 27th.

 

 

The Crew 2: Second game in the open world, social racing game franchise. You can sign up for access to the beta testing run now at its website. Supposed to be releasing early next year.

 

 

South Park: The Fractured But Whole: October 17th. It’s a new South Park RPG. And it should be darn good!

 

 

Transference: “Enter the Home of a Mind.” Spring 2018. It’s a spooky virtual reality game. I don’t know what platforms, though.

 

 

Skull & Bones: Brand new game revealed. Many wanted a standalone pirate game after playing 2013’s Assassin’s Creed: IV Black Flag, and here it is. Made by Ubisoft Singapore, looks like a tactical open seas combat game. Set in a shared, systemic world that can be played single-player or co-op but mainly seems focused on competitive player-vs-player gameplay. Wondering what this means for Microsoft & Rare’s Sea of Thieves game that’s been featured at multiple E3’s, but I think these pirate games occupy different spaces in the market. Spring 2018.

 

 

Just Dance 2018: As expected, another installment in Ubi’s long-running dance franchise. Note that this game is also coming out for Nintendo Wii. The Wii!

 

 

South Park Phone Destroyer: This is actually a cool, pleasant surprise to me from the show. A mobile South Park game, looks like turn-based combat and different character classes. I’d like to give it a try.

 

 

StarLink: Battle for Atlas: I’m almost certain this space game is code-name Pioneer, which was featured in 2016’s Watch Dogs 2 as a kind of easter egg trailer. It will have a toys-to-life tie in, might it be the next cool arcade style space simulation? Autumn 2018.

 

 

Steep Road to the Olympics: New expansion upcoming for the extreme winter sports game that released late last year.

 

 

Far Cry 5: Ubi showed off a tone piece trailer and then a more detailed gameplay section for open world, first person action shooter, seen above. Set in Montana, probably the most intriguing of the publisher’s lineup when it comes to its story and characters. February 2018 is when it’s out.

 

 

Beyond Good & Evil 2: And we’ve come to the surprise of the show. Follow-up to 2003’s Beyond Good & Evil, this is a game that’s been in development under secrecy for years and years. Made by Michel Ancel, this is the first we’ve heard from the long-rumored game that some people thought might not even exist. No word on release date or platforms, but I assume it’s PS4 and Xbox One but not releasing for another couple of years. At least.

 

What It Didn’t Show (Yet): Nothing from UbiArt engine. No real “smaller” indie-type of games. Which is unfortunate. Also, no Splinter Cell game, but of course that was my long-shot prediction again.

 

As you can see, Ubisoft had a strong showing of games and surprises. By my count, almost half of these were unannounced or hadn’t leaked prior to the show. Are you planning on playing any of these titles? Wish anything else was revealed that wasn’t at the show?

 

Stay tuned today, as the next conference up is Sony’s PlayStation event at 9 pm Eastern. Thanks!

 

-Dom

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Companies of E3: Bethesda Showcase

 

It’s late here on the East Coast, but it’s E3 so I’m not bothered!

 

Bethesda Softworks of beautiful Maryland, USA (!) opened its Bethesdaland attraction earlier, and has concluded the last major event of E3’s opening weekend. It’s one of the most important private publishers in the industry with some of the coolest franchises, so similar to my previous posts, here’s a round-up of what it covered along with some thoughts and trailers.

 

What It Showed:

 

 

 

Virtual Reality: Bethesda showed two upcoming VR games: DOOM VFR, no release window announced, and..

 

 

 

.. and Fallout 4 VR. This one is October 2017.

 

 

Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind: Bethesda is pushing this recent release in the ESO franchise.

 

 

Creation Club: Announced a community service to provide more content for Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls Online. Coming this summer on Xbox One, PS4 & PC. Bethesda is known for having great community offerings and fan service, including encouraging gamers to modify its games.

 

 

Elder Scrolls Legends – Heroes of Skyrim: Competitive free-to-play card game is coming to mobile. New content as well. June 29th.

 

 

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Switch: As I mentioned in my earlier writing, totally expected this to be at the conference and here it is. I didn’t catch a release date though, I believe it’s still set for Fall 2017?

 

 

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider: This is a brand new standalone story in Arkane Studios’ Dishonored universe. Out on September 15th.

 

 

Quake Champions: The PC-only online shooter Quake Champions will have new maps and a competition. eSports!

 

 

The Evil Within 2: On Friday, October 13th, psychological horror game The Evil Within 2 will release. Its trailer is intense. Fair warning!

 

 

 

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: Lastly, Bethesda ended the show with its best reveal, in my opinion. In the true follow-up to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, this year’s The New Colossus is set in America during an alternate-history Nazis seem in control of the government and police force. Our hero, BJ Blazkowicz, is now an expecting father that doesn’t want to raise his twins in a society that’s ruled by crazy Nazis. So of course, he sets out to take down the entire regime. Releases October 27th!

 

What It Didn’t Show (Yet): Prey content, it just came out so that makes sense. Nothing on the alleged space game Starfield, likely because Bethesda only showed titles that will be released this year.

 

Goodnight for now, more to come during a busy week ahead!

 

-Dom

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Companies of E3 2017: Microsoft Xbox Briefing

 

 

The second press conference of this E3 season is now over, as Microsoft $MSFT just wrapped up its Xbox 2017 E3 Briefing. And it was a good one!

 

What It Showed:

 

 

Xbox One X

 

After its chest-bumping viral marketing campaign for “Most Powerful Console Ever” Project Scorpio, Microsoft finally shared exactly what the hardware is all about. It’s new iteration in the Xbox One family is called Xbox One X, releases on November 7th and it will cost $499. The above videos will give you an overview, and head to this link if you want the nitty-gritty of the tech specs in comparison to the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro.

 

But let’s get to the fun stuff. Microsoft featured 44 games at its show, 22 of which had some sort of console exclusivity which means either the game itself or some of its content will only be available on the Xbox platform, forever or for a certain amount of time. I’ve gathered up trailers and my quick impressions below.

 

 

Lastly, in a fan-friendly announcement, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed that Original Xbox games will soon be added to the backwards compatibility library. He pointed out a game like Crimson Skies will be available to play on the current generation of consoles, and it will be available later this year along with “other titles.”

 

 

Forza Motorsport 7: First game featured in the show, as car games are technical showpieces. Developed by Turn 10 Studios, it was introduced by showing off a new Porsche 911 GT2RS on stage. The game boasts more dynamic racing and will be out on October 3rd for base Xbox One models but no word on Xbox One X version.

 

 

Metro Exodus: This new entry in the Metro series of shooters was the first “brand new” game unveiled at the show. Speculation is that it’s open world. 2018 release.

 

 

Assassin’s Creed Origins: One of my most anticipated upcoming games, Ubisoft’s AC Origins was finally confirmed. Set in ancient Egypt, as anticipated. It’s a story about one man, Bayek, who is the protector of his community and fighting local corruption. It marks the start of the Assassin’s brotherhood, so I guess it’s the most prequel of all prequels in the series. Will have more RPG elements and a systemic world.

 

 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Honestly, this was the biggest surprise of the show for me and a HUGE get for Microsoft. The super popular “Battle Royale” game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds PUBG) is launching “later this year as a console launch exclusive.” I assume this means that it will be a part of Xbox preview program, as the game is still technically in early access on PC. Regardless, this game has sold more than 2 million copies just on PC and it’s been one of the biggest stories in gaming this year.

 

 

Deep Rock Galactic: Hadn’t heard of this one before, by Ghost Ship Games. Kind of sci-fi first-person action shooter.

 

 

State of Decay 2: One of the games we knew would be at the show. Follow-up to the original entry, with new mechanics. It’s also a Play Anywhere title on both Xbox One & PC.

 

 

The Darwin Project: This game from Scavengers Studio looks like a cross between a survival game and an online competitive game. Exclusive to the Xbox platform.

 

 

Minecraft: More content and improvements for the game that’s bigger than gaming itself. The biggest news being that Microsoft is introducing cross-play across mobile, virtual reality devices, consoles and PCs. Not to mention a “super” 4K update.

 

 

Dragonball Fighter Z: As part of an effort to get more Japanese games onto the platform, Microsoft showed this fighting game in the Dragon Ball universe. Early 2018.

 

 

Black Desert Online: Fantasy MMORPG game by studio named Pearl Abyss.

 

 

The Last Night: Odd Tales’ pixelated noir adventure game that actually originated as a Flash browser game.

 

 

The Artful Escape: This one published by Annapurna has an intriguing premise, looks like a rhythm/music platformer.

 

 

Code Vein: Bandai Namco’s vampire RPG that was announced recently. Release date in 2018.

 

 

Sea of Thieves: Microsoft treated fans to an extended gameplay section from Rare’s upcoming shared-world pirate adventure game. Currently in its technical alpha phase, release window is supposed to be early next year.

 

 

Tacoma: Fullbright’s space station exploration game now has a release date, which is August 2nd.

 

 

Super Lucky’s Tale: Cute 3D platformer from Playful, based on the virtual reality game Lucky’s Tale.

 

 

Cuphead: We finally know when Studio MDHR’s artistic 2D platformer and boss rush will be out along with its cool, classic cartoon stylings: September 29th!

 

 

Crackdown 3: In one of the highlights of the show, the latest installment of Sumo Digital‘s open world superhero franchise will be releasing on November 7th.

 

 

Above is a sizzle reel of indie games available on the ID@Xbox program. They are: Osiris: New Dawn, Paladins Champions of the Realm, Raiders of the Broken Planet, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Unruly Heroes, Fortnite, Battlerite, Surviving Mars, Robocraft Infinity, The Artful Escape, Astroneer, Observer, We Happy Few, Fable Fortune, Dunk Lords, Minion Masters, Brawlout, Ooblets, The Last Night, Black Desert Online, Hello Neighbor, Path of Exile, Ashen, Ark: Survival Evolved, Riverbond, Dark and Light, The Darwin Project, Strange Brigade, Shift, Conan Exiles.

 

 

Ashen: Exclusive RPG looking to be inspired by Dark Souls or Bloodborne, from development studio Aurora 44.

 

 

Life is Strange: Before the Storm: The follow-up to time-bending adventure game Life is Strange.

 

 

Middle-Earth Shadow of War: Monolith Productions’ sequel to Shadow of Mordor, obviously set in the Lord of the Rings universe, had an extended gameplay segment during Microsoft’s show. Monolith says an important feature is expanding on the Nemesis System introduced in the first game, in which enemies would have distinct traits and remember the player’s actions throughout the story.

 

 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps: This is the follow-up to Moon Studios’ exclusive standout Ori and the Blind Forest. Was showcased alongside a beautiful piano melody most likely from the new game’s soundtrack.

 

 

Anthem: The very last game shown in an explosive show was BioWare’s Anthem, which was revealed for the first time yesterday during Electronic Arts’ conference. Described as a game in which the player can explore the unknown and protect humanity, it looks to be a co-op third-person game featuring Exosuits (called Javelins) with flying capabilities. BioWare said it has a vast open world with dynamic weather and storms plus loot to find.

 

What It Didn’t Show (Yet): Capybara’s indie game Below, nothing related to Fable and then my long-shot prediction of Shadow of the Tomb Raider wasn’t present either. Yet.

 

Whew. There you have it! What do you think of Microsoft’s Xbox One X? Are you planning to buy one? What about one of these 44 games that were featured during its show? I certainly thought it went well with the console reveal right away then a show full of new games, so let me know and feel free to get in touch on Twitter to chat more.

 

-Dom

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Companies of E3 2017: Electronic Arts EA Play

 

It’s time!

 

Electronic Arts $EA has kicked off its EA Play fan event, marking the unofficial start of the biggest gaming convention of the year, E3! I don’t think I mentioned in my last post, but I will be recapping as much as possible from companies involved this year, in written form of course, so stay tuned for more.

 

Now that EA has wrapped up its show, let’s run down what it announced and how it compared to what I wrote about earlier.

 

What It Showed:

 

Madden NFL 18: Story mode featured, called “Long Shot.” Similar to what EA debuted in last year’s FIFA title.

 

 

Battlefield 1: EA reveal that the game has had 20 million players since release last year. New content was revealed: “Night” maps, In The Name of the Tsar (trailer above), soliders and battles from the Eastern front during WWI, 6 new maps. New characters from the Russian army. and the “Women’s Battalion of Death.”

 

 

FIFA 18: It’s EA’s biggest game, FIFA! Above is the gameplay reveal, this year’s game will also have an expansion on last year’s story mode featuring fictional player named Alex Hunter. Also, look at that sweet “sweat tech.”

 

 

Need for Speed Payback: “Most diverse open world in a N4S game ever.” Abandoned classic cars you can save and customize. Lots of racing.

 

 

A Way Out by Hazelight: This was the only EA Originals game shown, which is a split-screen co-op prison break game that you can play locally or online. Gameplay is below.

 

 

EA also touched on what it calls its Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division (SEED) team, a small group within EA working on innovative and unique projects.

 

 

BioWare’s ANTHEM: Previously known as code name Dylan, this was the second new IP the company revealed. Teaser shown above, it said that more will be shown tomorrow alongside Project Scorpio during Microsoft’s press briefing.

 

 

NBA Live 18: EA is trying to compete with Take-Two’s NBA2K franchise yet again. Introduced another type of single-player mode, seems to be a theme. Called “The One.”

 

 

Star Wars Battlefront II: This was the show’s big finale. It has three times the content of the original game, will have free content including characters such as Finn and Phasma. Multi-player, co-op and single-player modes. I mean, and it also has Yoda being a bad-ass, how cool is that?

 

 

Above is a look at the multi-player trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II.

 

 

 

FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch: The Switch version of FIFA 18 didn’t show up during EA’s press conference, but it has popped up on EA Sports’ website. Looks like it will have the same features as the version on other consoles, including Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Switch Kick Off and Local Seasons. Releases on September 29th.

 

What It Didn’t Show (Yet):

 

The Sims 4. No mobile games, but expect Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes at the fan event. Visceral Games/EA Motive and Respawn Entertainment Star Wars projects. Fe by Zoink. Sea of Solitude by Jo-Mei Games. Dragon Age (this was my long shot, looks like this will be under wraps until well after we know more about BioWare’s new game ANTHEM).

 

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!

 

-Dom

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Companies of E3 2017: What We Know & What They Should Show

 

 

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is fast-approaching, with the pre-E3 festivities and conferences kicking off this weekend and the show officially running from June 13th to 15th. Organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and set in its usual location of Los Angeles, CA, E3 is basically a cherished holiday for gamers, tech fans, enthusiast media and industry folks alike.

 

Now that we’ve “set the stage,” if you will, here’s a list of many companies that we know will be there, what we know about them and what they should show in a perfect world. Some are hosting press conferences. Others will be taking part in various streams or interviews with media members. Then even more will be packing the show-floor to demo or host exhibits featuring new games. No jokes, this is the most exciting time of year for video games and we should expect a ton of new announcements, trailers, gameplay videos and, as always, surprises.

 

 

Saturday, June 10th

Electronic Arts $EA: EA Play, 3pm ET

 

Saturday marks the unofficial start of the festivities, as Electronic Arts hosts its second annual EA Play conference in Hollywood, CA. Starting in the afternoon and running through Tuesday, June 12th, this is mainly a fan event which is a theme of late for many companies.

 

What We Know: In advance, EA has posted a list of games to expect at its event. These of course include its Star Wars and sports titles: Star Wars Battlefront II, FIFA 18, Madden NFL 18, NBA Live 18, EA SPORTS FIFA on Switch in addition to other titles including another entry in its racing series, Need for Speed Payback,  then others like The Sims 4 and some mobile offerings. Note that extra content for its hit shooter Battlefield 1 will also be shown.

 

What It Should Show: Of course both fans and investors would love to hear more about its OTHER Star Wars projects, of which there are two more in development that were revealed at last year’s show. Visceral Games and EA Motive are working on an action adventure game, which has some serious development muscle behind it with industry vets Amy Hennig and Jade Raymond running the studios respectively. Then, Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment’s project is a mysterious 3rd person action game set in a completely different timeline than the company’s other titles.

 

But to be honest, EA’s lineup is super “safe” right now, so I think it should also show off some of its other more interesting future games. Mass Effect Andromeda developer BioWare teased a brand new game recently and I think this is the time to reveal more after the mixed reaction to the latest Mass Effect installment. Then there’s the EA Originals line of smaller titles, which includes studio Hazelight’s unannounced project, Fe by Zoink Games then Sea of Solitude by Berlin’s Jo-Mei Games. I even fully expect another EA Original title to be announced, maybe even Unravel 2?

 

Lastly, might be a long shot based on my last note about BioWare, but I think EA should go even further and give us a glimpse of the studio’s next Dragon Age game. The publisher needs a fantasy RPG to round out its lineup, otherwise it honestly may be the most predictable (some would say “boring”) of all the companies this year.

 

 

Sunday, June 11th

 

Microsoft $MSFT: Live E3 Briefing, 5pm ET

 

What We Know: Isn’t it obvious? In its most important E3 to date, Microsoft will finally reveal Project Scorpio. The upgraded, “most powerful console ever” iteration of the Xbox One was announced at last year’s show and ever since it’s been shrouded in secrecy except for an overview of its specs from Digital Foundry. Microsoft has to show us what it looks like, tell us when it’s coming out, share its price and, most importantly, tell us about some of its freakin’ games! A shiny new piece of hardware is well and good, but without software there’s no way the company can close the gap with Sony’s PlayStation 4 shipments (now standing at 60 million units).

 

What It Should Show: In a conference that will run longer than its usual hour and a half according to head of Xbox Phil Spencer, Microsoft absolutely NEEDS to show us the games that it’s been so quiet about recently. We know a new mainline Forza racing game is in development of course, but it’s time we hear more about titles like Crackdown 3 (which I fully expect to launch alongside Scorpio), Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Cuphead and Below. And we need to hear about its new 3rd party partnerships, because right now it’s basically just Middle-Earth Shadow of War published by Warner Bros that we know is coming to Scorpio.

 

The Xbox team is pushing to cultivate developer relationships with Project Scorpio, and they need to prove it by showing us some surprises or at least confirming some rumors. There will be “something” Halo related during its show, though not likely to be Halo 6, but also what about the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest rumored to be called Ori and the Will of the Wisps? What about utilizing the Fable license again? Maybe Shadow of the Tomb Raider if the relationship with Square Enix is still going? How about a surprise or two or even more, maybe an RPG to round out its portfolio or a story-based single-player experience to rival a huge Sony hit like The Last of Us? Project Scorpio will only be as good as the games it can offer, and it’s not enough to lean solely on major 3rd party titles because is competitor already has a much larger install base of people playing those exact games.

 

Last quick note is that Microsoft said it will not show anything Virtual Reality-related, unfortunately. So those rumors about a collaboration with Oculus Rift are on hold for now.

 

 

Bethesda Softworks: #B3 Showcase, 12 am ET (Monday)

 

What We Know: Private publisher Bethesda has been providing the industry with some gems lately, think new entries in DOOM, Wolfenstein and Dishonored series plus recent release Prey, and I expect its hot streak to continue at this year’s conference. In the above image, it showed off its plan for E3 called “Bethesdaland,” which reveals a lot about what will be at its showcase and on the show floor. Expect to see Elder Scrolls Online/Elder Scrolls Legends, Quake Champions, Fallout 4 VR, then new content for games that are already out: Dishonored 2, Prey plus DOOM 2016 (perhaps a VR mode for that one?).

 

What It Should Show: You’ll notice that Bethesdaland has a couple of areas under construction. In these spots and at its event/show floor exhibit, I think it should absolutely (finally) reveal Wolfenstein The New Colossus. Gamers have been waiting a year since the title was initially teased. So assuming that’s the first area, what about the other one? Realistically, it’s probably something like Evil Within 2. Or maybe related to Skyrim for Nintendo Switch, which was shown off in the initial trailer for the hybrid console?

 

Super long-shot for this conference is the big rumor circulating: a sci-fi, open world project rumored to be called Starfield. It sounds like the type of thing that would fit nicely in the company’s portfolio. We also know that Bethesda Game Studio is working on a couple projects, but I assume those are not far enough along in development to show here.

 

 

Devolver Digital: Press Conference & All-Night Event, 1 am ET (Monday)

 

What We Know: Well, we know that independent game and film publisher Devolver Digital is having an event overnight. But nothing “official” has been announced in terms of exactly which games will be, except that there won’t be any brand new reveals. Though Japanese developer Suda 51 will be!

 

What It Should Should: Some titles that it should likely show are The Swords of Ditto, Crossing Souls, Minit, Ape Out, Eitr and Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour. Admittedly, I don’t know much about these except for Crossing Souls, made by Spanish developer Fourattic.

 

 

Monday, June 12th

 

Ubisoft $UBI: Press Conference, 4 pm ET

 

What We Know: French gaming firm Ubisoft is known for its unique and energized stage shows, though this year it might be toned down a bit with internal developers hosting rather than comedian Aisha Tyler. Still, in the above video, Ubi and its CEO Yves Guillemot have confirmed we will see South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Far Cry 5 in particular. Technically, that’s all we “know” for sure but in reality..

 

What It Should Show: .. We probably already know most of its show. I’m fairly confident that based on recent leaks, we can guess the “Conference Exclusives” and “New IP Saved for Conference” referenced in the video. One of them has to be Assassin’s Creed Origins, all but confirmed to be the official title of a new game in the series set in Ancient Egypt. Another should be social racing game The Crew 2. And that new IP? I’d wager it’s the Nintendo crossover called Mario x Rabbids Kingdom Battle. There’s also a good chance it features next year’s Just Dance title, or some new content for this year’s version.

 

If it’s not those titles, then what if Ubi goes ahead and treats us to the new triple AAA online multiplayer game it mentioned in its last earnings call? Or the space simulation game, code-name Pioneer, with a trailer in Watch Dogs 2? Or a brand new smaller or indie type of game from UbiArt engine? Or even a Splinter Cell title (however unlikely)? Ultimate long-shot is that it announces some sort of brand new project exclusive to Nintendo Switch, but that’s probably not feasible at this point in the hardware’s life cycle.

 

 

Sony $SNE: PlayStation Live from E3, 9pm ET

 

What We Know: Closing out the last day before E3 technically begins is current console market leader Sony with its PlayStation Live event. And we know it’s had some heavy-hitting conferences lately, despite some of the games featured being early in development or delayed when all is said and done. Be that as it may, Sony shows a ton of games at its show from both internal studios and external partners, so we know games like God of War, Uncharted The Lost Legacy, Spider-Man, Days Gone and Grand Turismo Sport will be shown off. Not to mention those 3rd party games where Sony has established marketing deals, including (my most-anticipated game of all time) Destiny 2, Call of Duty WWII, Far Cry 5, Star Wars Battlefront II and fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.

 

What It Should Show: Knowing that Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding project will not be making an appearance, that leaves Sony’s biggest game remaining that I believe it should absolutely show as The Last of Us 2. I know it’s early in development. I know creator Naughty Dog’s leadership team has said it takes a lot of effort to create teasers. I know that the studio is showing off its upcoming Uncharted game already. But wouldn’t a Sony show feel empty now that everyone knows TLoU2 is a real thing instead of a pipe dream? It would at least to me.

 

Otherwise, Sony should really show off what studio Sucker Punch has been working on all these years after PS4 launch title Infamous Second Son. Then round out its show or exhibits with Knack 2 (yes, really), Detroit: Become Human, Housemarq’s in-development title Matterfall, Media Molecule’s Dreams (if it still exists) and Michel Ancel’s WiLD (if it also still exists). Sony also said recently that it has some news surrounding unannounced Japanese games, which have done well for the platform lately. Separately, if Sony is serious about PlayStation VR, it should really show people why they should pony up hundreds of dollars to buy one. The device has been “virtually” non-existent at its last couple of press events. (Apologies, it was too tempting.)

 

Lastly, is it finally time for From Software to reveal Bloodborne 2? Might be wishful thinking, but crazier things have happened at E3.

 

 

Tuesday, June 13th

 

Nintendo $NTDOY: Nintendo Spotlight E3 2017, 12pm ET

Nintendo Treehouse Live, Tuesday, June 13th, 12:30 pm ET & Wednesday, June 14th, 1pm ET

 

What We Know: On the morning of the first official day of E3, Nintendo will have a half-hour long recorded “Spotlight” event. During this show, we know for sure that (my second-most anticipated game of all time) Super Mario Odyssey will be heavily featured. It’s a given that Nintendo’s event and show-floor exhibit will be centered around its most iconic character returning in a 3D platforming game later this year. It even appears Nintendo is creating a real-life version of the location New Donk City featured in the original Odyssey trailer. We also know that the company will be delving deeper into Switch games releasing this year, which are ARMS, Splatoon 2 and Pokken Tournament. In fact, Nintendo is hosting tournaments for all three of three games at E3.

 

What It Should Show: Stuff for Switch, then some more, then even MORE. This is prime time for its hot new console. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild DLC. Fire Emblem Warriors. Super Smash Bros (if a version is coming to Switch). Xenoblade 2. The aforementioned Mario x Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Capcom’s Monster Hunter XX, releasing in Japan during August. Platinum Games’ unannounced title. Skyrim for Switch. FIFA for Switch. Anything for Switch that is new and fresh and keeps its sales momentum going strong. Maybe even news on its online service, voice chat phone app, classic games lineup or, gasp, Virtual Console.

 

Oh, there will be a 3DS and maybe even a mobile presence as well, but the focus HAS to be on Switch’s software and services.

 

 

The Show Floor!

Los Angeles Convention Center, Tuesday, June 13th to Thursday, June 15th

 

Finally, after all that, the show itself will take place across three long but fun days! See the map above for exact locations of big company booths, or the floor plan link here from the ESA which gives every location throughout the convention center.

 

Here’s a quick, general run-down of companies that will have some sort of presence:

 

Activision Blizzard $ATVI

What We Know: Destiny 2, Call of Duty WWII multiplayer reveal, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

 

What It Should Show: Future Overwatch or Hearthstone plans. Maybe Call of Duty mobile. Next Skylanders. But really, exactly what it’s showing will be sweet!

 

Bandai Namco

What We Know: Code Vein, its vampire RPG Souls-like, which looks very cool.

 

What It Should Show: Is there any future for the Dark Souls series in light of a new game like Code Vein? Is it making any Switch games? Or just bringing classic games to the platform? Also, more information on Ni No Kuni II.

 

Capcom

What We Know: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.

 

What It Should Show: Street Fighter “surprises.” Monster Hunter XX for Nintendo Switch should be there, would be nice to even get a release date for the Western version.

 

Sega/Atlus

What We Know: We actually know everything that Sega and Atlus will have on the show floor this year. Total War: Warhammer 2, Total War: Arena, Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, Yakuza 6, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. Then some Nintendo 3DS titles: Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux.

 

What It Should Show: Whatever it shows of Sonic Mania, it should show more, because it could be the best Sonic game in years.

 

Square Enix

What We Know: Per its blog, Square will have “developer interviews, announcements, gameplay sessions” and more. These include content for games including Final Fantasy (both new and old), Agents of Mayhem, F1 2017, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Lost Sphear, Flame vs Blaze, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT and even a concert featuring NieR.

 

What It Should Show: Shadow of the Tomb Raider? The next installment of Life is Strange.

 

Take-Two Interactive $TTWO

What We Know: Take-Two has already said it’s not showing any brand new games, so basically its existing franchises will be there: NBA2K 18 (probably even its Nintendo Switch version), WWE 2K18. Definitely some Mafia III extra content. GTA Online in some fashion.

 

What It Should Show: Red Dead Redemption 2. Borderlands 3. But these won’t. Don’t even get your hopes up.

 

THQ Nordic

What We Know: That the renamed studio will be on the show floor showing its games, both present and future. Presumably..

 

What It Should Show: Darksiders 3, Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Aquanox Deep Descent, Victor Vran.

 

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

What We Know: Five games will be on display from its studios. These are Middle-Earth Shadow of War, Injustice 2, LEGO Dimensions, LEGO Worlds, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2.

 

What It Should Show: I mean, the obvious answer is what the next Batman game looks like especially now that Rocksteady is no longer the development studio. But that doesn’t seem likely given WB has already told us what it’s showing.

 

 

Miscellaneous

 

E3 Coliseum: Tuesday, June 13th to Wednesday, June 14th

 

What We Know: E3 Coliseum is a really cool event at LA Live organized by The Game Awards’ Geoff Keighley, featuring interviews, demos and panels. Games featured include God of War, Destiny 2, Assassin’s Creed, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Spider-Man, Sea of Thieves, Mortal Kombat, Far Cry 5 and Call of Duty WWII but more interestingly, the people that make them. I’m looking forward to a number of these, namely the conversation with Bungie, creators of Destiny, plus of course legendary Japanese developer Hideo Kojima himself will be making an appearance (of course!).

 

There you have it. Thanks if you made it this far, or are using this as a reference to see when each company is having its event. And to those attending the show, have fun and know I’m quite jealous. Am I missing anything that you think should be shown by one of these companies? What are you most anticipating at this year’s show? It’s an exciting time, I’ll have more comments on Twitter and some sort of post mortem once the dust settles as well.

 

Sources: ESA, Company Websites/YouTube, NeoGAF, Geoff Keighley, Gamasutra

 

-Dom

0

Casual Friday: February 24th, 2017

 

Hi! Yup, it’s me again. Dom. I know it seems like it’s been a while.

 

I’m back with a new edition of Casual Friday for February 24th, where I round up the week’s most recent and relevant news to give a quick commentary. This week the companies featured are Nintendo, Koei Tecmo, Sony and Microsoft. Take a load off, keep it casual!

 

 

It’s hard to believe that the newest console from Nintendo ($NTDOY), the Switch, is out just a week from now next Friday, March 3rd. But it’s true, it’s around the corner and that means previews of the console-handheld hybrid itself plus its launch games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2 Switch are starting to pop up. While we won’t get full reviews on the Switch until next Wednesday, March 1st or Zelda until next Thursday, March 2nd, we do know the early impressions are somewhat mixed on the hardware.

 

The concept of the Switch is awesome: a device that you can dock at home to play games on your TV, then bring on the go as a handheld gaming device. But according to previews and hands-on impressions, the execution is where it’s lacking so far leading me to believe the launch of the system is a bit premature. The reason? I think it’s that Nintendo wants to release it before fiscal year-end in March, before which the company has stated it will ship 2 million units. All hardware launches are messy, granted, but the Switch is being bogged down by a number of concerns: lackluster launch line-up apart from Zelda, technical issues with its “Joy-Con” controllers, no Virtual Console at launch (a service where gamers can download and play classic Nintendo games) and lastly, certain aspects of its online services will not be available right away.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the console and will personally be a day-one buyer. I just feel that Nintendo is soft-launching the Switch hardware around its financial calendar, which is causing some features to be non-existent and lots of games are still in development. Good news is that I fully expect the console to look a whole lot better come holiday season later this year.

 

 

In very upbeat news, Japanese publisher Koei Tecmo ($3635) shared that its latest samurai action game Nioh has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide in just its first two weeks on sale. This is great news for the publisher of games like Dynasty Warriors and Ninja Gaiden, the latter of which being made by Team Ninja, the same team responsible for Nioh. You’ll also recognize the Tecmo name from classic sports titles like Tecmo Bowl during the late 80’s. Nioh features action and role-playing elements and is lauded (or cursed, by some) for its very challenging difficulty, pitting the main character William against tough human enemies and supernatural bosses during a trek across 1600s war-torn, Sengoku-era Japan.

 

There are a number of reasons I find this number quite impressive. First, the game is a PlayStation 4 exclusive title and a brand new IP for Koei Tecmo in somewhat of a niche genre. Also, the game is almost entirely in Japanese and its story is communicated via subtitles. Lastly and arguably most notably, Koei Tecmo totally underestimated how much demand there would actually be for this game as it based physical shipments on pre-order figures. This is proven by the firm openly acknowledging that retailers do not have stock. Even the game’s Amazon listing has shown a one to two-month shipping target for the past week or so. I can’t recall the last time that’s happened for any game!

 

What that means is this sales figure could have been even higher if more physical copies were available. Especially in Japan, where in a show of goodwill, the company offered a discount on the digital version if you were to purchase it in lieu of a physical disc.

 

 

 

As you can see, it’s quite a busy time for tech and gaming in particular. In other big gaming news, Sony ($SNE) and its internal studio Guerilla Games is releasing sprawling open-world action title Horizon: Zero Dawn next week and it’s been getting rave reviews. Horizon is another PlayStation 4 exclusive title, set in a world where humans have reverted back to tribal ways and now coexist with technologically-advanced animals of all kinds. It features a strong female protagonist named Aloy (not the most “traditional” name, I know) that is trying to find the origins of both her people and the mysterious, mechanical creatures.

 

Reviewers have compared Horizon to games like Tomb Raider, as both star leading ladies with bad-ass bow-and-arrows, or even RPGs like Witcher 3 in that they are set in beautiful, lush open worlds. Friends at Super Data predict that the title could sell around 8 million copies over its life span, but I actually think it could reach almost that amount just this year IF Sony bundles Horizon with a version of its newest console version the PlayStation 4 Pro. Which it would be silly not to, honestly.

 

Think about a triple-A console exclusive such as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which has sold roughly 8.7 million copies since its release mid-last year. Granted that’s an entry in a well-established series, while Horizon is a new brand, but I still think it proves there is huge upside for a great exclusive within Sony’s ecosystem. Especially since I predict there will be at least 60 million PlayStation 4’s sold by this year’s end, if not more, I believe Horizon can eclipse 7 million in a year’s time implying roughly 11% of PS4 owners have bought the game. Not an unrealistic amount.

 

 

And now to wrap things up, let’s briefly chat on Sony’s main competitor this generation, Microsoft $MSFT. The firm’s Xbox brand has announced its Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) briefing will take place on Sunday, June 11th at 2 pm Pacific/5 pm Eastern. Now, I tend to place less stock in the importance of public press conferences than other gamers, but even I admit it’s a big opportunity for Microsoft to tell us a lot about the future of its Xbox hardware family, Project Scorpio.

 

It’s no secret Xbox One is not selling as well as the PlayStation 4 this generation. Or that gaming revenues have declined recently for the firm overall. But I still think there is a lot of brand recognition and confidence behind Xbox, and it’s crucial to maintain healthy competition in the console gaming market. Microsoft’s online gaming service Xbox Live user base is up 15% since mid-2015 to 55 million active players despite being the lagging console in terms of hardware sales. Plus, sales are gaining within gaming software and services businesses, with digital game transactions hitting $1 billion for the first time in its history during 2016’s second financial quarter.

 

Additionally, the Xbox division under Phil Spencer’s leadership has placed user-friendly efforts of backwards compatibility (where you can play older games on the Xbox One) and cross-play across console and PC in the forefront. Sure, these types of features don’t necessarily sell consoles, but it’s crucial for Xbox to continue providing fan service in the interim before its (expected) big reveal of Scorpio in June at this E3 presentation. And I think it will be just that: a big reveal that will reinforce my confidence that Xbox can remain a viable competitor in the console space.

 

What are your thoughts on upcoming gaming hardware in Nintendo Switch or Project Scorpio? Have you played Nioh? Do you plan on trying out Horizon: Zero Dawn? Feel free to comment or chat on Twitter, and enjoy your weekend!

 

-Dom

 

Sources: Nintendo, Koei Tecmo Twitter, Sony, Open Critic, Super Data, Microsoft, Xbox Twitter