Hey, nerds, it’s that time again; E3 2016 will be here in just a couple of weeks, so we’re going to look at the top 10 questions that need answering this year at the annual convention. Now, with all of the rumors being circulated regarding certain studios and specific IP’s; we’d like to take the opportunity to talk about some of the more burning questions for this year’s event, talking through some of the rumors as well. It would be hard to place any significant order on this list, so it’s just that; a list with no order of importance or preference, in the hope that saves me a few e-mails on why Watch Dogs is mentioned first.
Why Watch Dogs 2?
Watch Dogs 2 – Well, we know that Ubisoft is planning a Watch Dogs 2; the biggest questions surrounding the game are not “when we expect to see it hit stores?” or “what frame rate does it run at”, but rather “Why?”. Despite Watch Dogs selling over 12 million copies worldwide, and receiving generally high reviews from critics; the game came under immense criticism from players, not unlike Batman: Arkham Knight did on PC. In my humble opinion, Watch Dogs had a mountain to climb with the hype Ubisoft created for it before its launch; setting the bar almost too high, which ultimately left players let down. I honestly don’t think it’s a “bad” game, I just felt a little underwhelmed, which I can only assume that I’m not the only one (judging from the comments).
Watch Dogs was launched by Ubisoft with a dark cloud looming over it; too many collectors editions existed, each with their own set of content which confused and alienated potential buyers to the point where a spreadsheet was required to know exactly what content comes with which version of the game. The “Iconic hat” fiasco (and the overuse of the word iconic) was probably just a tad too optimistic of an unknown IP and the downgraded PC performance which ended up invoking the wrath of PC gaming community.
So will Ubisoft be able to reverse the fortunes of this already hurt IP? One would assume so since Ubisoft has enough confidence in Watch Dogs to go forward with a sequel and to make it their showpiece for the event. How will the players react? Is Watch Dogs beyond salvation? Will Aiden Pearce’s hat finally become iconic? Ubisoft has confirmed they will be at the show, filling the time slot that EA have left (since they are hosting their own show). Rumors indicate that they will host new DLC for The Division and that no Assassins Creed game will be featured at the show at all.
No Nintendo NX?
The big question surrounding Nintendo was whether or not we should expect to see anything of the mysterious Nintendo NX. Well, it has been confirmed by Nintendo that the NX will not appear at E3 this year; and that they will not be showcasing any other games at the show with the exception of Zelda. The new Zelda game was originally confirmed back in 2014, with fans eagerly awaiting it’s launch this year; however, to many Nintendo fans dismay – the game has been delayed once again for an early 2017 release date, yet to be confirmed.
The question still remains, what are we expecting from a new Zelda game? We’ve seen Link in a variety of different ways, whether he turns into a wolf, a deku scrub, a zora, a goron, a child, an adult, having the ability to walk in walls, cell shaded, gritty and realistic, sprite form and N64 blocky form. I doubt Nintendo will stray too far from the established Zelda formula, but hey – (LISTEN) it’s Zelda. Any new entry in the series is welcome.
What is Bethesda working on?
Bethesda announced a few days ago that they will be taking the main stage, which comes as a surprise to many since only a few months ago they officially confirmed that there will be no sequel to Skyrim anytime soon. So, was it a ruse? I highly doubt it. Rumors circulating the announcement seem to suggest that they may have another title in progress; Dishonored 2. It seems to be the general consensus on what they will be bringing to the main stage; and with the first game going down a treat with the players and critics alike, this is welcome news.
Red Dead Redemption 2?
Rockstar is keeping tight-lipped but Red Dead Redemption 2 may on the cards. With the game being such a massive hit and a logical money spinner, it would be common sense for a sequel to be on the way. The original game was released way back in 2010, and Rockstar has discussed the possibility of a sequel for years. With Grand Theft Auto 5 seeing a release less than 3 years ago, it’s highly unlikely that a new GTA will be on the cards anytime soon, although GTA 5 may receive more DLC in the future, as with the expansion packs that gave new life to GTA 4.
Although Rockstar tend to skip out on E3 historically speaking; Rockstar & Take Two’s parent company will be appearing at the show in a “big way” reports have confirmed, but there is very little information regarding to exactly what they have in store, so is E3 2016 going to be the year where Red Dead Redemption fans get their fix? Would it be a true sequel playing as the son? Would it be a prequel? Or a complete revamp with new characters and storylines?
Will people buy Sony VR?
VR technology is no doubt going to feature quite heavily at this year’s event but is Sony going to be able to push the technology onto a mainstream audience and make it a peripheral that most console owners will invest in? Sony have confirmed that the Sony VR (formerly known as project Morpheus) will launch with 50 titles, and some of them look pretty darn good, but the big question remains, is it going to be enough to entice Sony customers to part with virtually (mind the pun) the same amount they paid for the console?
Although from the outside looking in the amount being asked from Sony may seem a lot, it’s actually a modest price in comparison with its competitors Vive & Oculus to which the latter is more than double of Sony’s asking price. In my mind, it’s clearly a question of whether consumers want access to an open platform or not. Sony has confirmed that Sony VR will be a closed platform, meaning it will most definitely be a case of quality over quantity, which in a lot of ways is both admirable and desirable, considering the state of Valve’s steam store. I know it’s a different platform altogether, but the principles are the same when creating a platform, and as most of us with common sense will know, games sell a console, not specs.
So it’s going to be interesting to see what developments come from Sony’s closed platform after it’s launch & it’s probably a too early to speculate, but I sincerely hope they give it the support it needs to be successful, unlike with other projects such as the PSP, Vita, Xperia Play, Playstation Move, Eyetoy, etc.
Microsoft is rumored to be throwing their hats into the VR ring this year with rumors circulating they are working something other than the Hololens; their own virtual headset to directly compete with Sony VR, Oculus & Vive at this year’s E3 convention. The only problem with this claim is that it does suggest that the HoloLens is on hold, which those with our ear to the ground know to be false. The facts clearly speak for themselves, with Phil Spencer from Microsoft saying that they don’t need to make their own virtual headset at this time.
Microsoft has cut several deals that benefit them immensely in regards to the Oculus & the HTC Vive, with Oculus handing out Xbox One controllers to allow users to stream their Xbox One games through the headset and Minecraft being ported onto the device. It seems a no-brainer that Microsoft intends to be the middleman in all of this, all of the perks without the massive development costs for the headset, well…if you don’t count the Hololens.
Also on the back of the rumor mill, there are click-bait pieces littering the interwebs regarding news of Left 4 Dead 3 being in the works. I can confirm that Valve has said nothing about this and there are no immediate plans for a sequel. It’s also rumored that the Oculus may be compatible with higher-end Xbox One consoles, which I’m sure (if it’s true) will be announced during E3.
Call of Duty: 2016?
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare…is this really the new title for the game? Well, apparently so. Leaked title reports flooded the internet not so long ago and what was noted down as Call of Duty: 2016 now has an official name. I, for one, am actually looking forward to seeing where the franchise will move to next.
Battlefield is apparently moving back to World War 1, so it’ll be interesting to see how Infinity Ward presents the new title as the reports that the new Call of Duty will be in a not too distant future. Having only dipped in and out of the series, I can’t say it’s on the TOP of my list of games to play, but it’s certainly up there considering the fun I’ve had with the multiplayer side of things.
I know there is a lot of grumbles in regard to how quick fire the games in general are released, in a similar vein to that of FIFA or MADDEN; but I honestly feel that Call of Duty has never really let itself down in terms of delivering a quality experience.
Does that mean I think all of the games up until now have been great? Well, no; it’s why I’ve dipped in and out of the series. Whether or not 14 games in the series is too much, I couldn’t say since I’m a huge fan of Dynasty Warriors, and there are more games in that series than I care to count, so in answer to that…probably not.
Bannerlord beta date?
TaleWorlds entertainment has confirmed that they will be attending E3 with the intention of showcasing some Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord gameplay. I am sincerely hoping that Bannerlord lives up to the fan base expectation since Bannerlord has been a long time coming.
Being a huge fan of the series myself, I will be personally covering some of the news coverage for Bannerlord bringing you lovely people updates on release dates, beta test sessions and knowing what I’m like, I’ll probably broadcast some gameplay as and when I can get access to the beta on The Nerd Stash twitch channel and/or YouTube channel.
We’ve been waiting a long time for any sort of solid facts to come from TaleWorlds, but in recent months they have communicated that they are in the process of bringing us an improved UI along with a butt ton of new features never seen from the franchise previously, and most excitingly; the possibility of a co-op play campaign. We’ll see what they have to bring to the table in June.
Time for a new Mass Effect?
How could I not talk about the new Mass Effect game? Well, I’m talking about it now! Will it be at E3? Mass Effect Andromeda is set to take place outside of the trilogy, after the fact, and Bioware have announced that it will be released sometime in 2017, but we’re all hoping for some clarity to as to when exactly we’ll see the next installment of Mass Effect.
Bioware has already said that this isn’t to be considered Mass Effect 4, but rather a new series in the franchise, which is refreshing. Being a fan of the franchise, I just hope they can replicate the success of the trilogy (ignoring the ending controversy of course) and move forward with it. I’m confident that this is a question will be addressed at the exhibition.
Koei to appear at E3?
It’s highly possible we’ll see Koei at E3 this year since they are releasing a brand new IP “Noih” this year as well as a new Romance of the Three Kingdoms title and the highly anticipated Attack on Titan game. With so many strings to their bow (insert Huang Zhong reference here), you’d expect the company to make a formal presentation.
Koei doesn’t have a track record of showcasing their Warriors series at the show, but with all 3 new games falling outside of the Warriors franchise, it’s certainly possible; and with recent successions of good games being released by the company, maybe this is their year to make an impact at the event, especially since Noih is a PS4 exclusive title which we’d hope that Sony will showcase during their presentation.
So what do you guys think? What are you looking forward to? What would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below.
Ryan Griffiths is a British gamer, known as a bit of a lone wolf. Retro games are his passion, with newer releases not living up to his expectations. Of course there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to Dynasty Warriors & Total War games.