What To Expect When You’re Expecting: E3 2018 Showcase Predictions! (Square Enix, EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda, PC Gaming, Devolver)
A dash of Bloodborne 2. A pinch of Halo 6. Generous chunks of Devil May Cry 5. Bring to a simmer. Garnish with Half-Life 3. Pour generous servings directly into the toilet. That’s how you make a quality E3 rumor stew.
Yes, it’s that time of year again! The winds of change are blowing, and the sails of the rumor mills twirl and grind out a fresh batch of quality speculation, ready to mulch into fresh memes and half-baked theories. June means E3—the largest video game conference in the world—and with it the endless torrents of predictions, leaks, “leaks,” speculation, and altogether clickbait nonsense. 2018 is no different, and for weeks my news feed has been saturated by various images of dubious leaked press releases and press conference lineups.
The real question is, why aren’t I getting in on all of these delicious clicks! I’ve been going to E3 for 6 years now, where’s my fucking trophy? Dread Central is heading to E3 in force this year, with all your favorite Teds and Jonathans doing their best to bring you the video game coverage of your dreams. So I’m doing my part to kick things off a bit early this year with my E3 predictions. We’ve got quite the show coming up, so broken down by showcase and developer, here’s what I think is in store for us. Keep in mind, I’m only listing games that would be relevant to DC readers, so sorry if I miss the new FIFA or whatever.
EA Press Conference (Saturday, June 9th, 11 am):
Like a toddler at their sibling’s talent show, EA decided a few years ago that it would take all its toys and go play in the corner. Every year since, EA has done their own special EA exclusive “EA PLAY” event that’s all about EA. Located 7 miles (1.5 hours in downtown LA travel time) from the main E3 showroom and concluding the day before E3 begins, it serves mostly to consternate journalists and double our travel expenses. Luckily, unless the clouds part and Phil Collins descends from the sky to announce the new Battle Royale style Dead Space: Infinity, I don’t really have to go. I don’t think I’m going to lose my job at Dread Central for not getting hands-on time with Battlefield V.
What we do know so far is that Anthem is going to be making a large showing at this year’s event. Anthem isn’t new news, announced at last year’s E3 and publicly stated as one of the flagship titles of the EA PLAY event. I have mixed feelings about Anthem, as Bioware aren’t exactly known for creative multiplayer squad based shooters. The combat has always been the least interesting part of the patented Bioware interactive storytelling experience. Still, blowing up aliens with power armor is always fun, so I’m happy to check it out.
Unfortunately, the focus on Anthem means it’s unlikely that we’ll be getting any Dragon Age or Mass Effect news. After the middling sales of Mass Effect: Andromeda, I highly doubt we’ll hear anything about that series for quite some time. EA has their shiny new space opera to parade around the stage, why worry about the old one? As for Dragon Age, four years have passed since Inquisition, meaning it’s about time for the next one to hit the shelves. Still, with Anthem being the Bioware focus, I doubt it.
Now onto some slightly bolder predictions. I think it’s about time that we got a new Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare game. The tongue in cheek multiplayer shooter is a fan favorite, managing to mix fast frantic action with a cartoony goofiness that just makes the whole experience a blast. With many E3 announcements slating for a 2019-20 release, now’s the perfect time to wet our whistles for some more hot sunflower-on-rotting corpse action.
Taking the boldness up a notch, I do think we will get a few announcements on the indie front. My money is on Sea of Solitude. Acquired back in 2015, there has been very little new information on this aquatic exploration game in almost two years. For many studios, this would be a surefire sign of cancellation. But EA isn’t afraid to just shitcan a project. If Sea of Solitude were done for, I think they would just come out and say it. Maybe I’m letting my own personal hopes and dreams get in the way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we learned a little more about this particular lurking leviathan.
Now to be infuriatingly vague, I also will predict we see some kind of narrative single player experience from the EA lineup of forgotten titles. Every once in a while EA likes to pop out a Syndicate or Mirror’s Edge to remind us that sometimes they pay people to create things that aren’t lootboxes. Seeing how long it took to get Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (and it being a reboot, not a sequel), I really doubt we’ll be seeing anything on that front. Syndicate also tanked in sales, so that ship has sailed. I’m just going to take a stab in the dark here and say that the Command and Conquer series is long overdue for a spiritual successor to Renegade. The fan-made Renegade X title has an impressive online following, and I for one have been salivating over the thought ever since Tiberium was cancelled back in 2008.
Bethesda E3 Showcase (Sunday, June 10th, 6:30 pm):
Bethesda has done a smashing job of removing a lot of the guesswork this year. First they confirmed that the Rage 2 leak was the real deal. Then they announced that they would be announcing Fallout 76. Then they released a new version of Skyrim every year for the last 20 years, taking the guesswork out of that gem. Which is fine, because last year at their showcase Bethesda had an actual Ferris wheel. The less work I have to do and the more turkey legs I can eat while downing mead on a Ferris wheel, the better.
Since Bethesda isn’t as huge as Microsoft, just leaving it with those two games would be enough for any reasonable studio. But I’m thinking Bethesda has more up their sleeve for us. I’m expecting announcements for their side projects, The Elder Scrolls: Online and the card game The Elder Scrolls: Legends. Legends recently switched devs from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios, which I expect will come with a new expansion announcement at the very least. ESO just got the Summerset expansion, but I’m expecting they will be excited to also announce that the game is coming to mobile platforms and microwaves.
It’s also a pretty safe bet that we’ll be getting a release date for Quake Champions. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but one of the key features of the Bethesda Showcases is that they always reveal games coming out before the next year’s showcase (this is not a standard industry practice). We’ve known about Quake Champions for a while now, so it’s long overdue for a final release.
Since Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and The Evil Within 2 both recently came out, I really doubt we’ll see anything on those fronts this year. Maybe some The Evil Within 2 DLC. Also as a quick reminder, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a game that happened. So, unlikely there will be any Dishonored news this year. If we’re going to hear anything about any expansions or DLC, my money would be on Prey. Too early for a new sequel, but just enough time for some sweet sweet expansion content.
Now to talk about the elephant in the room: The Elder Scrolls 6. It’s been seven years now since Skyrim first came out, and fans are clamoring for the next installment in their beloved franchise. So I’m going to make my boldest prediction of the show and say that we will get our first teaser for The Elder Scrolls 6. I think that Fallout 76 is a smokescreen, either a new multiplayer game like The Elder Scrolls: Online or a Fallout Shelter style side project. Bethesda has always done a good job of obscuring their real news with some lesser announcements, and I think that Fallout 76 is just the bait they need to reel us in with TES 6. Now given that they are already developing Quake Champions and Rage 2, take this all with a pinch of salt. Salt which you will have in ample supply if another year of Skyrim remasterings is announced.
Devolver Digital (Sunday, June 10th, 8 pm):
Following in the footsteps of last year’s conference, I honestly just expect them to load a oil tanker full of the piss they take out of the gaming industry and blow it up Michael Bay style. Instead of trying to predict what the madmen are thinking this year, I’ll just link to the whole thing:
Square Enix Press Conference (Monday, June 11th, 10 am):
The big question on everyone’s lips is the same it’s been for every E3 since the PS3 was announced: “Where’s Kingdom Hearts 3?” Every year there has been some sort of speculation, and every year we fail to get any kind of solid confirmation. If the hopes and dreams of the internet were enough to make a game materialize, we’d be on Kingdom Hearts 9 by now. As for industry scuttlebutt, I haven’t heard any rumblings. But seeing as how this is a Dread Central E3 prediction, I couldn’t care less about Kingdom Hearts.
I will take a stab at some likely announcements we at DC might care about. The first is Just Cause 4. Another casualty of the Walmart Canada leak, I’m willing to bet it will make an appearance at the show. I’m basing this assessment on a few things other than the dubious leak. First, Just Cause 3 was a solid moneymaker, breathing a fresh air of irreverent violence into the open-world genre. More importantly, games like Fortnight and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have established a new genre for all sorts of companies to jump on the bandwagon. I’d be willing to bet that Just Cause 4 will follow suit, integrating the Battle Royale genre into the mass chaos and violence.
Aside from that, it’s a fair bet that we will see something about the new season of Hitman. Originally slated to be an episodic, multi-season, constantly evolving game, it’s been radio silence since the game wrapped up last year. There’s been talks of the game switching devs, so it’s unclear the actual vitals on this assassination sim, but I’d be very surprised if they let this beloved franchise take its final breaths. *EDIT: Turns out I was right about this one, too
Aside from that, this year’s tale of Square Enix is mostly regarding things we either already know or that I don’t particularly care about. Expect a large showing of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and some stuff on the new Life is Strange 2. I also imagine Dissidia will make some kind of showing, and while I’m personally excited for the possibility of Final Fantasy 16 It’s unlikely.
What most saddens me is the likely absence of Deus Ex. After the middling reviews for Mankind Divided (mine included), I imagine they are going to take their time with the next one.
Ubisoft Press Conference (Monday, June 11th, 1 pm):
There are a scant few Ubisoft games I really care about, so I’m not going to really speculate on a potential For Honor sequel or a new Watchdogs game. I’m really only tuning in to see news about Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and Beyond Good and Evil 2.
Ubisoft already announced Beyond Good and Evil 2 during their press conference in 2017, but since then there’s been no new information. This year, I expect to see a full cinematic trailer, but I’d be really surprised if we get any gameplay. This is mostly a gut feeling, but the 2017 snippet was little more than a proof of concept. Traditionally, Ubisoft gameplay previews are snippets of segments of the game “played” on stage. They like to show their games in action, and at this point I have no idea if Beyond Good and Evil 2 is ready in that presentable state. So expect a larger cinematic trailer, and news on when we might be expecting something more concrete.
I’d also say it’s a safe bet we’ll get something on Far Cry 5 DLC. The Hours of Darkness DLC just dropped, but it’s an easy win to announce something coming in the future for their flagship franchise. We know there’s going to be more Far Cry DLC. That’s just the world we live in. What I’m hoping is something off the wall, like a Blood Dragon 2. Hell, who am I kidding. I just want Blood Dragon 2. Or a full Blood Dragon game. That would be dank.
Now for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. The annual Ubisoft release schedule has fatigued a lot of people, but I’m going out on a limb and predicting some big changes for the franchise. Hardcore fans of the series will attest that the more recent games have and something… a bit different about them. There was the time traveling shenanigans in Syndicate, then the weird god stuff in Origins. I think Assassin’s Creed is going to take a turn into the mythical. This is something I semi-predicted back when Origins came out and revealed a more RPG like system. It’s much easier to design enemies with a sliding scale of damage and hitpoints when you need them to be more than just meat sacks to quick kill in glorified quicktime events. Also, Juno has been a part of the series since they got all weird in Assassin’s Creed 3, and we still have yet to get a solid story on what that’s all about. I have no hard evidence of any of these predictions, but I’m betting that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey will have a distinct God of War deicidal vibe.
PC Gaming Show (Monday, June 11th, 3 pm):
Calling the PC Gaming Show a press conference is like calling a monster truck rally a car show. Technically correct, but man does it fail to capture the spirit of the thing. The Day variety hour is honestly one of my favorite events of the show, but easily the hardest to call. With no major label or developer slathering their name all over it, the hodgepodge of interviews, indie releases, hardware announcements, and bizzare major announcements makes the whole thing distilled chaos. I feel like that octopus that picks the soccer teams trying to decide which way a stampede of rhinos is most likely to turn.
Given current trends in gaming, I’m going to guess that some new updates for popular Battle Royal games PUBG and Fortnight will get some stage time. Seriously, those games have more followers than some major religions. And plenty of games want to cash in. Expect announcements on The Darwin Project, maybe something on The Culling 2, and there’s even rumblings that DayZ has risen from the dead. Is H1Z1 still a thing? Add that to the list, too.
We will also see a smattering of major titles get some love during the showcase, but not many exclusive first looks. I expect to see more Metro Exodus, and some extra info on We Happy Few. Borderlands 3 (if the leaks are to be trusted) will likely also take a hefty amount of time. I’d personally be stoked to see some Total War: Three Kingdoms love.
Overall, the kinds of games we will see as exclusive reveals are not the ones coming from major labels. Generally it’s some new dev or indie label looking to make a splash in the PC market. A game I really hope to see on stage is P.A.M.E.L.A., which you can check out on Steam Early Access. Other than that, a big title we might see is Minecraft. Their underwater update has been in the works for quite some time, so I expect that the PC Gaming Showcase might be the perfect place to first show off the new features.
If CD Projekt Red is going to bring the long anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 to the table this year, I’d bet the PC Gaming Show is where we’d see it. The company has had a long and prosperous relationship with the PC gaming community, with a large presence on alternate digital distribution platform Good Old Games (GOG).
Honestly, you’re not tuning in to see the newest reveals. You’re watching Sean “Day” Plott get visibly excited in ways you haven’t since you were 6. It’s the refreshing jolt of excitement you need after a day of lengthy press conferences, and maybe there’s some cool reveals in there as well.
So, what do you think about my predictions? Anything you’re hoping to see? let me know in the comments!For all our E3 coverage, make sure to follow our social media tag #DreadE3 and you can also read all our other coverage right here!