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The sun is splitting the stones here in Ireland. I can only imagine it’s the same in Los Angeles but with worse air quality. June is gaming’s busiest month for press purposes at least. E3 is the biggest press-oriented gaming event of the year. There are others such as the fan-geared PAX events and junkets specific to different developers and publishers but E3 is the Firelink Shrine for developers, publishers, journalists and; for the second year running, fans. Mecca is also a good metaphor for the hordes that will descend on the Staples Centre starting this Saturday but I digress.
E3 this year has been beset by so many leaks you’d think the whole convention had already flooded. It’s easier to guess at what’s still to be announced now that so much has been leaked. Bigger companies such as Sony, EA, Microsoft and Ubisoft announced their games early and intentionally. Others such as Warner Bros Games and Nintendo had the likes of Hitman 2 and Pokémon Let’s Go leaked respectively. With that said the Electronic Entertainment Expo still has a lot to be excited about this year.
The heavy hitters have all expectedly returned with DICE premiering a controversial new trailer for Battlefield V in the lead up to the event. Treyarch announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 this time with no dedicated single player mode instead introducing an unsurprising battle royale mode. Assassin’s Creed seems to be back to yearly releases with their newest Greek-set title Odyssey. It’s Sony who are set to dominate E3 2018 with their list of triple A heavy hitters including The Last of Us Part 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Days Gone and Death Stranding.
The most exciting of the big budget games that are Death Stranding, Anthem and Beyond Good and Evil 2. Bioware could be set for a return to form with their new sci-fi action RPG Anthem after the catastrophic failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda last year. Despite mixed reactions to the reveal of Beyond Good and Evil 2’s surprise reveal last year there is still a lot about the game that isn’t known other than that it’s a prequel. It’s Death Stranding however that will see the most attention. Produced, designed, directed and written by one of gaming’s few auteurs Hideo Kojima Death Stranding stars Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen and Guillermo del Toro. What the game is about is anyone’s guess but this is it’s third year at E3 and gameplay footage is likely even if a release date is not.
With four of this E3’s biggest games being PS4 exclusives it’s clear that Microsoft have ultimately lost this current generation’s console war. With only a delayed Crackdown 3 and maybe a new Halo to show for themselves this year Microsoft’s hopes for competing for the much coveted internet title of “E3 Winner” are low. There are some dark horses however. With several Mario games, a sprawling Legend of Zelda game and Splatoon 2 recently released onto the Switch Nintendo will have to up their game now that all their prize stallions are out of the stable. The reveal of Fallout 76 and the tantalising prospect of a DOOM sequel have left many Bethesda fans wondering if they’re saving their biggest surprise for last. A new Elder Scrolls game seems unlikely with the amount of work and support an open-world online survival game like Fallout 76 will require but fans will bite onto any rumour these days.
Indie fans will likely get their fix from what could be another bizarro Devolver Digital press conference and from others such as EA’s new indie push. Elsewhere Witcher developer CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 will likely cause ripples if not outright waves if it debuts this year. All in all E3 is set to be an exciting one in 2018. The PS4 is releasing its last set of games for this console generation, Microsoft must push something out of the wheelhouse or the Xbox One platform dies and Nintendo are bound to surprise audiences even if it is with a Star Fox game.