E3 2018 Predictions: The Big Three Edition

Whoever said Christmas comes only once a year obviously did not like video games.

Author’s Note: As the title implies, this post will only focus on my predictions for the so-called big three; a.k.a. the three console manufacturers, a.k.a. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

 Microsoft:

It is no secret that Microsoft is substantially behind Sony in this generation’s console war. With two of their three big announced titles coming out soon or having recently been released (State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves) I hope they have a few big new shiny titles to show off this year.

Crackdown 3 – This game has to come out sometime, right? Announced way back at E3 2014, this game has been delayed, delayed, and delayed some more. All we know so far is it is a Crackdown game, will have Terry Crews in it, and it will take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for massive destructive capability in multiplayer. I personally do not have high hopes for this game, but the first two titles garnered a cult following for the series so I (for the fans’ sake) want it to do well.

Below – Speaking of games announced a long time ago (announced E3 2013), Below has been in development for quite some time. Unlike Crackdown 3 which is heavily supported by Microsoft, Below is being developed by Indie studio Capybara Games. Given that a trailer with extended gameplay was recently released, I believe we will get some more info about the game along with a release date.

The Last Night – Announced at last year’s E3, this Indie game caught many people’s attention due to its futuristic, cyberpunk vibe and beautiful pixel visuals. We have not had any info about it since then so I hope we get an actual gameplay trailer with a release date. We will probably get the former but not the latter.

Sea of Thieves – You may be saying to yourself “But Tim, didn’t you already mention that this title has come out? Why would they show it again?” Why yes, astute reader, I did mention this above already. Since this is an online persistent game, Microsoft will most likely reveal additional content for it. Whether this is paid or free or both is anyone’s guess. From what I have heard about the lack of things to do in the launch version, I suspect Microsoft will keep the focus on the free part. Also, it will be interesting to see if additional paid content will be available to Games Pass subscribers free of charge or at the standard ten percent discount for add-on content.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Ori and the Blind Forest, arguably the most well-received Xbox console exclusive this generation, will be getting a sequel from Moon Studios. It was announced at E3 2017 with beautiful music, eye-opening art, and a sequence of scenes that promises a highly emotional tale much like the first game. I do not think we will get a release date judging by the long development time of the first one but I do hope it will be playable on the showroom floor (even though I will not be there to enjoy it).

A New Splinter Cell – Given Microsoft’s support and closeness to this series, I suspect we will see it revealed onstage at Microsoft’s conference. We have been getting hints and rumors for the past month or so that a new game in the series is on its way. Additionally, Sam Fisher was recently added to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands in an add-on mission. This may have lead to these rumors in the first place, but we will know for sure come early June.

Cyberpunk 2077 – Call me crazy, but I think this title will be onstage with Microsoft. My reasoning for this is that CD Projekt Red and Microsoft have always had a close relationship. The original Witcher game was scheduled for a release on the original Xbox console (although that never came to fruition) and the Witcher 2 was only available in console form on the Xbox 360. Therefore, based on the evidence I have so generously laid out, I believe Cyperpunk 2077 will make an appearance. Also, given that the game’s Twitter account recently came alive after many years in the dark, if it is not at Microsoft’s conference, it will be somewhere at E3.

Halo 6 – Since Halo 5’s release back in 2015, we have not had any indication when its successor would come out. We have had news that it is being worked on and that the campaign will be improved from Halo 5’s but we have had no information about when to expect it. I believe that it will not only be at the conference but will be released this year (crazy, I know). As stated above, two of Microsoft’s biggest titles will be out before E3 2018 so I think they will want a big title to release this fall/winter.

My wildcard pick for Microsoft is:

 Fable 4 – This one is definitely farfetched (hence the wildcard category) but Fable 4 could very well be announced. Rumor on the street is that it is under development at Playground Games. This is a relatively recent rumor so it is unlikely to be seen at E3…this year.

Sony:

Sony has been way ahead of the curve since the very beginning of this console generation. They have been banging on all cylinders in terms of high class exclusive games. This includes first-party, second-party, and third-party titles. Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, Nier Automata, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, and the recently released God of War are all examples of their top-notch gaming experiences and they do not seem to be slowing down.

Spiderman – Despite the fact that we know the release date (September 7th) and we have seen ample footage of the game in action, it is highly likely the game will make an appearance. It will probably be a final story trailer with some gameplay just to make a final push for the game (despite the fact it will sell very well since it is, you know, Spiderman).

Ghost of Tsushima – I have to be honest, of all the games shown at the PlayStation Experience in December, I was most excited by Ghost of Tsushima. There was not even any gameplay shown but the trailer set up the story in an interesting way with some great voice acting. I am a little biased as I have always enjoyed all things having to do with East Asia so this game is right up my alley. I am hoping they reveal some gameplay and perhaps it would not be too much to ask for a release date?

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Square Enix has made it clear that it wants Dragon Quest to reach a bigger audience in the West. With this in mind, this game will likely appear at the conference. It is a PS4 console exclusive (also coming to PC) so I assume that Sony wants to support it and see it succeed. I am currently playing through Dragon Quest VIII on my Nintendo 3DS so I am definitely excited by this game. I hope they debut the English voice acting and show off some gameplay.

Dreams – This is Sony’s one title that was announced years ago (July 2014) and one we have not heard much about since. This is a weird title to even discuss. No one really knows what to expect from it. It is some combination of story-driven narrative and sandbox design game that will allow you to make your own levels and game creations. I am not personally interested in these types of sandbox creation experiences but I am a big fan of Media Molecule’s (the developer of Dreams) games, particularly Tearaway Unfolded. I believe I am in the minority of people who played that game, but I highly recommended it. I hope Dreams can live up to the studio’s excellent pedigree.

Days Gone – This title was supposed to release sometime in 2018 but it appears that is no longer the case. This zombie killing, motorcycle riding game from Sony Bend Studio will likely receive yet another trailer along with a firm release date (I assume). Similar to other Sony first-party exclusives, I expect this title to be a quality game and I look forward to eventually playing it.

The Last of Us: Part 2 – If you are an avid fan of Sony’s work, then this game is probably your most anticipated title of them all. Given the success of the first game, fans have been going crazy ever since The Last of Us: Part 2 was announced back in December 2016. I never played the first one (scandalous, I know) but I recognize a good title when I see one and I look forward to seeing it in action again at E3. Maybe we will even get a release date since rumors are swirling around to that effect. I am almost prepared to guess that this game will come out next year however and serve as the swan song of the PS4 just like the first Last of Us did with the PS3.

Assorted PSVR titles – As Sony has a vested interest in VR (I do not), I suspect they will have more titles to show this year. It will most likely include brand new, previously unannounced games along with a few VR offerings from mainstream popular titles similar to how the Batman: Arkham games got a VR experience a few years back. We may even get news that a full game on the scale of Resident Evil 7 will be in VR, who knows?

Wildcard:

 Bloodborne 2 – Although From Software has stated they are done with the souls-like games, I still believe this sequel could still happen. It was a rather successful title that helped drive sales of the PS4 so I doubt Sony would allow such a game to be a one and done affair. People absolutely love and adore the souls/souls-like games and they always want more. I personally like them but they do not like me as evidenced by my many deaths in the father of the souls games, Demon’s Souls. Some of my best memories on the PS3 are of my brother laughing at me while I died in that game. He never tried the game himself but he sure had a good time watching me fail at it. Hell, why don’t we throw this in as a wildcard prediction as well. I think Sony will announce a remastered version of Demon’s Souls. Either one of these announcements would certainly pack a punch.

Nintendo:

Personally, out of the Big Three, I am most excited for what Nintendo has in store. Nintendo has certainly wowed the video game world the first year of the Switch’s lifecycle with releases both big and small. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey are just some of the games that helped make it one of the best launch years for any console ever. I do not think everything I list below will be shown at E3 but it is a good reminder of Switch titles to look forward to. Whatever Nintendo announces, their future lineup will have a tough act to follow. I do believe that Nintendo has what it takes to outdo themselves in the months and years to come.

Super Smash Bros. Switch – Announced at the March Nintendo Direct, this title has stirred up quite a lot of discussion. Some believe it is just a rerelease of Super Smash Bros. Wii U for the Switch while others think it is a whole new Smash. Whichever it happens to be (my money is on a new entry), I think we will see it in action at this year’s E3. I personally believe it will launch in September alongside the paid online subscription for the Switch. I can think of no better Nintendo title to herald the arrival of its online service. Whatever happens, I cannot wait to get my hands on this title.

Yoshi Switch – Having disappeared entirely from public view after E3 last year, the untitled Yoshi game for Switch will surely reappear this year. We have only seen it in action once (that I know of) and, as mentioned in the last sentence, does not have an official name or a release date. Yoshi fans are certainly ravenous for more info and I for one cannot wait to see when it will be available.

Mario Tennis Aces – Despite focusing on it during the March Direct, I firmly believe Mario Tennis Aces will be shown again at E3. Why? Because I think Nintendo would want to make one final push to sell this game. Although it is a sports title, it has garnered a lot of attention due to the inclusion of a story mode. I for one was excited by what I saw during the Direct and (just ask anybody I know) I am not interested in sports in the slightest.

The World Ends With You – Nearly anyone who owned a Nintendo DS will tell you that their favorite game was Square Enix title The World Ends With You. So, you can imagine that it caused quite a stir when they announced a remastered edition for the Switch. I never got a chance to try this title out so this will be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. Judging by the fan response, I missed out on something truly special.

Octopath Traveler – Speaking of Square Enix, this title by the iconic publisher is coming for the Switch on July 13th. Of all the titles coming to the Switch in the next few months, this game is my personal number one. I was completely blown away by the demo released a year ago. I put over four hours into that demo while playing through both characters’ stories and I think I did nearly all there was to do in it. The sights, the sounds (oh my God, the music!), and the characters both big and small absolutely astounded me. Just from the demo alone, this game has the potential to be my favorite game of the year, hands down. I dearly hope the full version of the game lives up to what the demo promised.

Luigi’s Mansion – Nintendo likes to mix announcements for the Switch and 3DS in one package so I believe this title will make an appearance during their livestream. All they really need to do is announce a release date so I do not think this will take up too much time. Although I would have liked it to be on the Switch, I really love my 3DS too so I am glad I am still getting games to enjoy on it.

Pokémon Switch – Arguably the most anticipated game in development for the Switch, I sincerely hope and pray that we see this title in action come early June. I do not think it will be coming out this year but boy would I not mind to be surprised. Pokémon not only has a special place in my heart, but in the hearts of millions of people across the globe. The simple announcement and footage of the game would assuredly lead to a surge of Switch sales no matter if it is coming out this year or not. They could simply release a Pokémon game on the Switch with the same graphics as the Game Boy Advance and it would still sell millions. I hope they do more with it though but I will take whatever I get to be honest.

Wildcard:

 Fire Emblem Switch – Despite announcements for almost all of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, this one has remained mysteriously silent. This turn-based strategy game is personally one of my favorites of Nintendo’s franchises so I am hoping we have some news regarding an imminent new release. It would be the icing on the cake of what I am sure is going to be an action-packed E3 presentation.

Honorable Mentions:

 Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4 – It would be super sweet to hear more about these two titles but I would understand if we did not see anything about them. It would also be cool to see the first three Metroid Primes come to the Switch as well.

 

 

Well that wraps up this incredibly long post. I think I am going to have to lie down for a little bit. I hope you enjoyed it (and made it all the way through)! Tune in next week for another Pretend Gamer review!

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