If you have even a passing interest in videogames, you’ll probably have heard about the biggest show in the gaming calendar. Every June, the best and brightest talents in the industry descend on a heat-baked Los Angeles to showcase their digital wares to the world.
It’s where the big platform makers (Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft) come to show off their latest bit of hardware, or a new game that’s going to get chins wagging and keyboards clacking. It’s where we get amazing surprise reveals (could this be the year we finally get Half-Life 3?) and more in-depth looks at previously teased titles.
So when is it?
The next incarnation of E3 will take place from 12 June to 14 June 2018. As with most previous years, the show will take place at the huge Los Angeles Convention Center and will include all the usual conferences, keynotes and hands-on booths on the show floor.
What we want to see… Sony
With PS4 Pro having already been introduced less than two years prior to E3 2018 – effectively extending the lifecycle of the generation by a good few years at least – we shouldn’t be hearing anything too major on the hardware front. We’d bet our houses that PS5 is already in early development, but we won’t be seeing it any time soon.
Instead, we’re hoping to see a greater focus on the next generation of PlayStation VR. With Oculus, HTC and Samsung all working on updates to their respective machines, Sony will likely showcase the next wave of enhanced VR titles coming to PlayStation. With the company now fully stepping back from the handheld market, it's got the attention to spare, and a recently announced minor update to the hardware suggests its still putting resources into the area.
On the software side of things, expect The Last Of Us 2 to form the central core of Sony’s offerings. Sony will likely be pushing hard to get Naughty Dog to showcase actual gameplay (we’re hoping for something more akin to the semi open-world setup of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy). Days Gone, the open-world zombie affair from Sumo Digital, will likely ride in, as will Insomniac’s Spider-Man title.
What we want to see… Microsoft
Seven months removed from the launch of its own enhanced, mid-generation update, the Big M will likely be gearing a huge part of its show to pushing the power of Xbox One X. With the likes of Forza unlikely to appear, we’re expecting the one and only Halo to be the title to champion the processing potential of the updated console.
Halo 6 [insert forgettable subtitle here] will serve as the final chapter for 343 Industries’ post-Bungie trilogy, and while we don’t think the developer will be moving on from Master Chief anytime soon, we imagine the next Covenant-bashing title will be marketed as a big turning point in the series. Gears Of War 5 might get a showing (we think it’s a light early, but you never know) and rumours abound that Fable may be getting a reboot.
But what about VR? Xbox has invested heavily in HoloLens, and while the only game-related content we’ve seen showcase so far remains an interactive Minecraft world, we’re hoping we get to see it relaunched with a proper gaming slant.
What we want to see… Nintendo
With a new Zelda and a new Super Mario already out in the wild, we’re expecting Ninty to start rolling out its other tried and tested franchises. It’s high-time for a new Smash Bros, built from the ground up for Switch, and one that embraces the eSports scene that’s formed about Brawl and Melee over the years.
Kirby and Yoshi are also set to get new adventures in 2018, so we’re fully expecting Nintendo to showcases gameplay from both. Yoshi’s Wooly World was a side-scrolling hit on 3DS, so what we’ve seen so far suggests a platformer in a similar vein will follow suit. We’re also hoping (however unlikely it might be) that Animal Crossing might finally be coming to Switch with a new entry. Please, please, please, Nintendo…
Metroid Prime 4 will almost certainly appear, whether it be at Nintendo’s E3 show or in a special Nintendo Direct beforehand. The recent revival on 3DS has been well received by fans, so we’ve high hopes for Samus Aran’s next full fat adventure. Finally, there’s the one everyone’s been asking for: a Switch-based Pokémon. Rumoured to be called Pokémon Stars, the new entry could be a new pure Poke title or a rehash of Sun/Moon – either way, give us proper Pokémon on our TVs, Ninty!
What we want to see… EA
So let’s got the obvious ones out of the way. We’re almost certainly going to see gameplay from Madden 19, FIFA 19, NHL 19 and NBA Live 19 (if the latter performs well enough in the meantime). We may even see a new Need For Speed (although we’re hoping the two-year development cycle for Payback means NFS leapfrogs E3 2018).
Now for the exciting stuff. Surely, we have to see actual gameplay – or at least something tangibly reportable – on Amy Hennig’s ‘Project Ragtag’ Star Wars game. Visceral has been very quiet since the forgettable Battlefield Hardline, so if we hear nothing from the studio by this point, we can safely assume the game might be forever stuck in development hell.
Anthem, the new monster-hunting IP from Canadian developer Bioware, looks to right the wrongs of Mass Effect Andromeda with its mashup of Lost Planet, Dark Void and The Division. It’s dynamic environments, volatile weather patterns and co-operative action certainly has our attention, and with a Q4 release currently slated, it’s going to one of the show’s biggest takeaways.
What we want to see… Ubisoft
Outside of more details on a new Assassin’s Creed (personally, we’re hoping that Origins two-years development cycle becomes the new norm), we’re fully expecting Ubisoft to roll out the only other remaining Tom Clancy franchise worth its salt: Splinter Cell. With Michael Ironside rumoured to be returning to voice Sam Fisher, we’re excited to see a post-MGSV Splinter Cell and how it improve on the grossly underrated Blacklist.
Then there’s the big one: Beyond Good & Evil 2. This was the surprise reveal of E3 2017, and while the game is certainly in the early stages of its development, 2018 will mark the original game’s 20th anniversary, so we’re hoping for a little more insight into its world and the nature of the game to come. Oh, and could we see Rainbow Six Siege 2? With one of the biggest communities outside of COD and Battlefield, a follow up on Siege could well breach its way onto the stage in LA.
What we want to see… Bethesda
Having already released a new Wolfenstein, a reboot of Doom, a new Dishonored (and a half) and a return to Fallout, there’s only one big franchise left in the vault that’s yet to have a proper outing in quite some time: the Elder Scrolls.
By the summer of 2018, it’ll have been more than six and a half years since Skyrim and three since the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online. We’re fully expecting another big expansion for the Zenimax Online-developed MMORPG (big money that it’s Skyrim-related), but we’d imagine Elder Scrolls 6 will form the big reveal of the show. We’d also put money on Bethesda porting more of its titles to Switch. Portable Dishonored anyone?
What we want to see… Square-Enix
Square-Enix didn’t have a huge presence at E3 2017, but 2018 will be a huge year for the Japanese publisher so we’re expecting it to have its own keynote at the show. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake (or at least the first episode) should be one of its biggest selling points, as this’ll mark three years since its official announcement in 2015.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is also due to drop in 2018, and with Square-Enix having re-released every other entry with increasingly nonsensical subtitles, it’s time for something new. With Toy Story and Big Hero 6-themed worlds already confirmed, fans are already chomping at the bit for time with Sora, Donald and Goofy.
Then there’s that leaked Tomb Raider sequel, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. With Eidos Montreal (of rebooted Deus Ex fame) in the development hot seat and Uncharted having coming along with two outstanding entries since Rise Of The Tomb Raider, we’re fully expecting Lady Croft to take back her treasure hunting crown from Nate, Chloe and Nadine.