E3 2018 starts today! Wow, that creeped up on all of us. As usual, we’ll have all of our live blogs and news features as the week goes on, but before we get to all that, we here at Ground Punch wanted to toss out some of our predictions for the show. Think of it as a wish list, as some of these ideas are out there. But you never know! Some of us have provided a Top 5 — in no apparent order — of what we’d like to see at our dream E3. Will 2018 make our dreams come true? Let’s dive in.
Graydon Webb's Top 5
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Reboot
Syphon Filter Remaster
Dead Island 2
Kingdom Hearts III Launch Date
Sam Young's Top 5
Skate 4 (#Skate4)
A quick note on this list: realistically, EA seems like it’ll be the most interesting company to watch going into E3. Not only have they dodged any significant leaks (Anthem and Battlefield V have been shown off before, and they’re the only guarantees), but they’re also facing a terrible PR problem at the moment. The last few years of releases have effectively soiled the reputations of multiple flagship franchises, thanks to games that either didn’t meet the bar of quality set by previous titles, or generated massive public outrage with questionable business practices. The names Need For Speed, Mass Effect, and Star Wars Battlefront were all held in high esteem at one point, and are now all effectively dead in the water, leaving Battlefield and perhaps Dragon Age as the only franchises of any renown known to be in active development.
Skate 4 is the first entry on my list, not because I necessarily think that it will happen (or end up being particularly good), but because it would be really smart — perhaps even uncharacteristically so — for EA to announce it. It’s been demanded so fervently that it’s become something of a meme, to the point where the company’s own community manager got in on it and set off a lot of excitement. Nevermind that the Skate games were all just really good, and absolutely deserve a sequel that takes advantage of modern platforms. The only thing that gives me pause, both about making this prediction, and about the quality of a new Skate game should they actually make one, is that the series’ original developer is long gone. Without Black Box, I don’t know who at EA has the chops to make a game that plays and feels the way fans want, and given the almost universally disappointing output from all of their studios over the last four years, it seems just as likely that the reality of a Skate sequel could be even more disappointing for fans than leaving the franchise dormant forever.
Burnout Paradise 2
This prediction mirrors my previous one in nearly every way: EA needs a PR win, the original Paradise was great (some may even argue the best game of the previous console generation…), and I’m absolutely terrified that it’ll be totally underwhelming if it actually gets made. All of the key figures from the good old days at Criterion are long gone now, and the publisher’s racing game output since 2012 has been lackluster to say the least. As badly as I want a true sequel to Paradise, I’m not sure this is the time for it. However, it’s still on my list of long-shot predictions because Burnout Paradise Remastered, a fantastic game that everyone should own, released this March shortly after a surprise announcement, leading to some speculation that EA might be testing the waters. Time will tell, I suppose.
2016’s excellent DOOM reboot ended with enough loose ends and made enough money for Bethesda that a sequel is definitely more of a question of when than if. Two years feels like a reasonable turnaround for another twelve-hour single player shooter, and this holiday or early 2019 seems like a great time to get back to blasting demons into chunks. Casting reasonable doubt on this prediction, of course, is the existence of Rage 2, co-developed by DOOM developer id along with Avalanche Studios. Not only is Rage 2 being worked on by at least some portion of id’s staff, it also fills a similar niche, meaning Bethesda is likely to put some space between the two releases. Whether DOOM 2 is announced or not is probably going to come down to the production schedules of both games, but here’s hoping we get to step back into the shoes of the Doom Slayer sooner than later.
...And It’s Out RIGHT NOW! (PC Games at the Microsoft Press Conference)
This isn’t actually a prediction for a specific game, so much as it’s a guess about a potential PR stunt. Microsoft’s Game Pass program is a hell of a deal, but only if you’re an Xbox user. A library of hundreds of backwards-compatible and first-party Xbox games for a monthly fee is lovely and all, but with Microsoft incorporating the PC into its games strategy over the last couple of years with the Play Anywhere initiative, those of us exclusively playing on Windows 10 ought to be getting a whole lot more bang for our buck. Right now, there are about 5 games you can play with your Game Pass membership on PC, and it could be argued that only two or three of them are even worth your time. However, Microsoft have demonstrated that not only are they dedicated to bringing all of their future first-party releases to PC, they’ve also experimented with reaching into their backlog and bringing (limited) versions of older games to the PC for free in Forza Motorsport Apex and Halo 5’s Forge Mode. Last week, Sunset Overdrive for PC was listed on the Korean ratings board’s website, making it seem quite possible that Microsoft are finally going to give PC players more to play. And if they’re remastering Sunset Overdrive, why not other games too? Combined with the painfully long development of Crackdown 3 and a menagerie of rumours about Halo, I feel like at least one surprise game release is inevitable at Microsoft’s show, whether exclusively on PC or on both of Microsoft’s platforms.
The Next Hitman Project
After a rocky separation from former publisher Square Enix, it seems about time for IO Interactive to deliver on the next chapter in the Hitman franchise. Whether they plan to continue the episodic format established in the fantastic 2016 reboot or move on to a brand new title, they’ve had plenty of time to build whatever they’re working on, and hopefully we get a peek this E3. Given that their previous game appeared on Sony’s stage, it seems likely that if IO reveal a new game this year, Playstation’s conference would be the most logical fit, so there’s a chance we’ll get to see everyone’s favorite bald murder machine this Sunday.
EDIT: Within four hours of writing this paragraph, Hitman 2’s existence leaked and was reported by most major outlets. Guess that’s one prediction we got right — hopefully we nail a few more!
James Wood's Top 4
A Bizarre Zelda Sequel
Maybe I’m asking for too much too soon from Nintendo, but hey, mum always said to shoot for the moon with the creepy smile on its face. It wouldn’t even be the first time Nintendo has taken a hard left turn with a beloved game’s sequel. The outlandish success of Breath of the Wild in many ways mirrors that of Ocarina of Time: the Zelda franchise imbued with new life through reimagined gameplay and presentation. So would it really be that outlandish to expect another game in the style of Majora’s Mask? Nintendo has said that future installments will be using the same engine as BOTW, again much like Majora before it, and with the continued growth of the Switch platform, it’d be sad to not have another entry in the franchise for the system. Especially given Nintendo is at its best when getting a little . . . weird; given the scope of the engine, I can only dream of what strange new lands and faces we could meet in this generations iteration of Zelda.
A Fully Realised Switch eShop
The strange thing about Nintendo is that it’s difficult to discern exactly which of these predictions are outlandish and which are just reasonable expectations from the Switch’s install base (especially given that Nintendo doesn’t seem to understand the difference either). With the recent announcement that Virtual Console would, in fact, *not* be making an appearance on the Switch, Nintendo have either completely missed the mark in regards to the raw potential of the hardware or are possibly moving toward a more unified storefront in which classic Nintendo games would be available to purchase alongside current titles. Dropping the Virtual Console brand (which I’ve always personally quite liked) may signal a chance for the Switch eShop to fully realise its potential and deliver on an open marketplace in which Nintendo can finally sell me some goddamn Gamecube games again.
A good Star Wars game
So there are a few ways this can go right and, as we’ve seen, a whole lot of ways it can go wrong. After the debacle that was Battlefront 2 (a game which looks like my dream Star Wars game but fails on most other levels) and the absolute nightmare that was exposed regarding the inner workings of EA, the likelihood of a good Star Wars game seems crushingly low.
Never tell me the odds, though.
Based on the information that leaked out about Project Ragtag — an ambitious single player, Uncharted inspired Star Wars title in development at the now-closed Visceral Studios — it looks as though, despite the controversy, EA has the makings of something fascinating on their hands. If I lay my cynicism to one side and ignore the laundry list of problematic elements with the now-retooled development of the project, I can allow my inner child to wonder with wide-eyed enthusiasm about the possibilities of a new Star Wars game that’s not a shooter or, uh, mobile title. Even if only the scraps of Visceral’s initial idea remain, we may be looking at a game which allows players to explore that far, far away galaxy in all its glory.
Resident Evil 4: Switch Edition
Do it, you cowards.
(Seriously though, this will be the literal 5th time I’ve purchased this game. Send help)
Kelson Howerton's Top 5
The Elder Scrolls VI
We all know it’s coming, either this year or the next, but it doesn’t make me want it any less. It’s been nearly seven years since we’ve entered the realm of Tamriel in a Bethesda Game Studios title (Elder Scrolls Online, get bent). In the meantime, Bethesda has been busy with Fallout 4 and its DLC and the recently announced Fallout 76, which we will definitely be seeing at E3. With that said, we can pretty much expect a sequel to Bethesda’s flagship series very soon, if not this E3, and the thought of Bethesda unveiling another massive fantasy RPG during their press conference has me very excited. There is still so much of the world of Tamriel we haven’t seen in a mainline Elder Scrolls game, and Bethesda are masters of creating rich worlds strengthened by interesting characters and atmospheric storytelling. There are loads of directions Elder Scrolls VI could go, but personally, I would love to see a game set in the deserts and jungles of Elsweyr, home to everyone’s favorite cat people the Khajiit. I don’t know about you, but an Elder Scrolls game with a disproportionate amount of Khajiit sounds like a good time to me. Just let it be this E3, please.
The Return of Crash Team Racing
From Uncharted 4, to Horizon: Zero Dawn, to the most recent God of War, Sony has been killing it in the triple-A, first-party exclusives department, delivering games with thrilling gameplay, vast worlds, and emotional stories. However, the PlayStation 4 is short on fun and goofy first-party party games to give a more approachable alternative to the more serious body of exclusives. While everyone is calling for new PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale or Little Big Planet games (although, those would be welcome too), there is one true party game the PS4 needs – Crash Team Racing.
Crash is back. Between his appearances in Skylanders and his touch-up in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, the iconic PlayStation character has returned to modern day, leaving many old-school fans hoping for new Crash games. So why not return to Sony’s fun kart racer that even rivaled Nintendo’s mainstay series? Skylanders developer Vicarious Visions has already expressed interest in returning to the series with a remaster of the original Crash Team Racing, but why not also crank out a new title that brings the series to modern day. If they want to get really weird with it, they could even bring in other iconic PlayStation characters like Ratchet and Clank, fan-favorite Knack, and even Mr. Nathan Drake himself. I personally had a ton of fun with these games back in the day and would love to see Sony and Activision return to the series this E3.
Star Wars 1313
EA has a lot of damage to repair. While the company has done a good job of destroying its own properties lately, EA also been mishandling this little property known as Star Wars. Between reaching new heights in abusing microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront II and closing Visceral Studios while also shelving Amy Hennig’s Uncharted-style single player Star Wars game in place of game that seems to have a much greater online focus (sparking the side debate of the death of single player games), EA isn’t doing much good with the Star Wars license and needs to announce something that can restore fans’ faith in the publisher (if that’s even possible). With that said, I can think of one game that could repair much of the damage EA has done to their Star Wars rights – Star Wars 1313 . . . or at least a game very much resembling 1313.
After being canceled alongside all other LucasArts projects in 2013, the much-anticipated Star Wars title was thrown into gaming purgatory, with fans begging for it to be saved ever since. While Disney has since let the trademark lapse, and the game has seemingly been dead for years, there is nothing actually holding the game back from being created to my knowledge, and that’s all of the hope I need. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy even made comments in 2015 about the company not wanting any of the “gold” material in 1313 to go to waste, saying the company was “spending a lot of time looking at, pouring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further.” Perhaps “those things” were going to be further developed in Visceral’s now-dead Star Wars project. Perhaps this is even the third-person action/adventure Star Wars project that Titanfall creator Respawn Entertainment has been working on. While it is incredibly likely we’ll never see this title come back from the dead (at least under the banner 1313), this stubborn Star Wars fan is still holding out hope that Disney and EA makes the right decision. Let this E3 be the year, Ms. Kennedy.
Like EA, Microsoft is really hurting right now. However, Microsoft’s failure has not been out of any disgusting business decisions, but out of tough break after tough break, with few of their big first-party titles panning out very well in the past few years. Seemingly one of the biggest blows to Microsoft’s first-party lineup came in 2016 when Microsoft closed Lionhead Studios and canceled Fable Legends in one fell swoop, knocking off both one major first party studio and one major first party title (albeit an average looking one) from Microsoft’s lineup. As a longtime Fable fan, this was quite the blow. Lionhead’s closure suggested the death of the Fable series along with it, but what may have been a bold prediction of Fable’s return actually is looking very likely, and I couldn’t be happier. Earlier in the year, reports suggested Forza Horizon developer PlayGround Games was working on a Fable sequel going back to the series’ open-world action RPG roots, and further leaks and reports seem to confirm that development of Fable 4 is well underway. While it will likely be some time before this game releases, Microsoft would be smart to let fans know that the beloved fantasy RPG series is alive and in good hands with a teaser this E3. I, for one, cannot wait to see the beautifully fantastical and hilariously silly fairytale world of Albion once again. Just let it be this E3, please.
While there are plenty of games I’d love to see at E3, there’s one game I’d really like to be missing from this year’s shows. Ever since Microsoft bought Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014, each of the publisher’s E3 conferences has been interrupted midway by an awkward Minecraft showcase in which we’ve gotten to see Minecraft on an Xbox One, Minecraft on a tablet, Minecraft in VR, and even Minecraft reaching into the real world through the power of the Microsoft HoloLens! Perhaps the biggest game of all time, Minecraft is now on virtually every device imaginable. We’ve all heard of Minecraft. We’ve all seen Minecraft. We’ve all probably even played Minecraft. No more. My hope is that this year, Microsoft will actually have enough substantial to show that it doesn’t need to fill five minutes of the conference with yet another Minecraft demo. But with my luck, Microsoft will probably be announcing Minecraft 2 with a demo of it being played on every electronic device ever created.
Well that’s all of our predictions! Will they come true? Stick around for all of our E3 2018 coverage, starting on June 9, and be sure to let us know what your predictions are in the comments. Thanks for reading!