Soon almost 100,000, fans, media, developers, celebrities and their awful children will descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center for three full days of video games. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is Shangri-La when it comes to video games. This year the trade show begins the process of opening those mythical doors to the general public along with a new segment of panels across the street at the NOVO. We’ll be at the show taking in the production and theatrical lighting. When we’re not waiting in lines that would make Hall H feel bad for you, just to play Destiny 2 or get free RockStar energy drinks we might have time to actually play some games. Here are some of the things that have us excited for E3 2017.
Let’s start with the all-important press conference weekend. In year’s past developers and publishers managed to get their moment in the spotlight the day before E3 would open. Today more companies than ever want a piece of that sweet sweet horse known as attention, it’s why E3 press conferences are now part of a pre-show weekend full of events. The weekend gets started with Electronic Arts putting on their second EA Play. Last year’s public focused mini event let fans get hands on with Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1. This year in addition to showing a new FIFA soccer and Madden, the publisher will be pushing the much anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront II. Fans get to try one of the big online battle modes with some of the new content like Rogue One’s Jyn Erso. Oh, and they just announced rapper Nas will be performing Saturday evening. Tickets for the event at the Hollywood Palladium June 10-12, are still free and available at EAplay.com.
In addition to conferences from developers such as Bethesda (Fallout 4) and Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed), Xbox will be moving from Monday morning into the weekend with a special Sunday press conference. It’s expected the house Bill Gates built will be talking about brand new hardware. Xbox top brass, Phil Spencer will be on stage unveiling more details on Project Scorpio, a game system expected to be powerful enough to rival expensive PCs. We’re likely to find out the official name of the system, hopefully, a solid price point along with a launch window if not an actual date. If teraflops are your thing we’ll bring you details from the conference as they happen. Among the other things, Xbox will unveil several games from ID @Xbox, the company’s indie wing which brings promising little known games over to the system. Hopefully, we will finally get to play the classic Disney animation inspired Cuphead, a game touted for two years now. Xbox has a ton of questions to answer. Will power be the only selling point of Project Scorpio? Does the company have a first party exclusive plan in response to the next five years laid out by Sony? Xbox has had decent showings the past two years of E3, but will this be the year the company leaves everyone speechless. They are due for one and having a thriving Xbox is good for the industry overall.
PlayStation will remain in the Monday evening slot this year. After last year’s solid pounding given to its competition, PlayStation looks to repeat much of its games focused message. Last year, the company gave fans the first look at the new God of War, survival action game Days Gone, Spider-Man, and several third party titles from publishers such as Capcom. Sony has very little to prove this year but it doesn’t mean the company will be content to simply sit on its hands. Being the dominate hardware of this generation, PlayStation can take in whatever Xbox will have to say about Scorpio then decide whether their future plans need adjusting to stay in the market share lead. Expect another year focused solely on games with release windows for most of its first party exclusives. While we couldn’t confirm Spider-Man to be playable, don’t be surprised if Insomniac shows just how far they are with the web-swinging exclusive.
Nintendo’s first E3 since the successful launch of the Switch will be telling. The system has much of the same criticism PlayStation 4 did at launch. Where are the games? Consumers gladly jumped on the systems launch out of nostalgia or Ebay flipping but the company has to show that its upcoming titles won’t be lost in developer hell. We know for fact Super Mario Odessey will be at the show which will be a telling sign about whether or not the title will make 2017 release. Don’t expect much in the way of 3rd party support news. While Nintendo at one point showed a nice graphic of companies supporting the Switch we still don’t have any info on Telltale Game ports, WB Interactive Switch version of Injustice, or EA bringing something other than sports. Nintendo still needs to use first-party brands to build its install base in order to make the platform attractive for developers and publishers. E3 2017 will be a good opportunity for Nintendo talk about the future of Metroid, Pokemon, Smash Bros in the hopes of turning the Switch into a market people outside of Nintendo can make money in.
Then there’s the actual show floor. While we still don’t know what the new E3 Colosseum panels will be all about, we do know what we’ll be checking out on the show floor. Here’s just some of the stuff we’ll be looking at this year:
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
Oddly enough LEGO didn’t go back to the DC well after LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, instead opting to work on the sequel to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. It remains one of the biggest games in terms of content and comic book references, we can’t wait to see what the sequel will bring. So far we know Doctor Strange, Groot, Spidey 2099, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and a few regulars have been confirmed to appear in the game to face the threat of Kang the Conqueror. With the game announcing a November 14, 2017, launch we should get to see quite a bit of what Arthur Parsons and Tt Games is cooking up.
From the mind of Cliff Bleszinski, the creator of Gears of War, LawBreakers is set in a brand new futuristic world where the laws of gravity have been turned upside down. A war between the Law and the Breakers rages across a variety of iconic locations such as the boiling oceans of the Santa Monica coastline to the gravity-ravaged Grand Canyon and beyond. The game has been in PC beta so far and recently announced it would be coming out for the PlayStation 4 as well. Bleszinski is making some balsy choices with the game coming in at $29.99 MSRP and stating its players would not have to pay for additional content post-launch. It’s moving away from the industry greed of micro transactions and we’re curious to see just how they plan to sustain the free content business model when no one else has been able to so far.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Announced at PlayStation Experience 2016, the return of Marvel licensing in games means fans will get a brand new chapter of the fabled fighting franchise. Infinite is looking to set itself apart from its predecessors by incorporating a real story behind the brawling. With help from comics scribe Frank Tieri, we’re curious to see just what Capcom can accomplish with some Infinity Stones and a congressional sized library of characters from both sides to choose from.
MediaMation: Esports goes full 4D
Esports is the rage these days, so much so that it’s become a legitimate way for people who play too many video games to make a decent living. With sponsorships and prize money in various leagues hitting the millions mark, the business of Esports has never been bigger. So what’s the next innovation? Bringing the immersive experience some theaters currently enjoy. MediaMation is incorporating MX4D motion seating for the spectators and plan to create a global Esports network that will give gamers and spectators a totally new, immersive experience with motion seating and 4D effects that’s unlike anything in the market today. The company will be showing off the tech at E3 and we’re curious to see just how the unpredictable experience of watching gaming will translate versus an on-rail programmed experience of 4D movies.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Comic book superstar Joe Madureira’s game development company Airship Syndicate will be showing off Battle Chasers. Inspired by the classic console greats featuring deep dungeon diving, turn-based combat presented in a classic JRPG format, and a rich story driven by exploration of the world; Battle Chasers: Nightwar is shaping up to be something special. We’ll be checking out the game and talking with Joe Mad himself at the show.
That’s just a taste of what we’ll be seeing at E3. What are you looking forward to seeing? Destiny 2? Whatever Telltale Games is showing? Spider-Man PS4? LEGO Dimensions? Let us know below. Speaking of Telltale if you’ve made it to the bottom of this rant and want to play The Walking Dead: A New Frontier on PC here’s a Steam key, just for you courtesy of Telltale Games (First come first served)