The State of E3: What to Expect From All the Conferences
The biggest names in gaming are gathering in LA, the rumor mill is churning, and E3 2019 is nearly upon us.
Headed into its 25th year, E3 remains the most anticipated event in all of gaming. Tens of thousands will head to LA, while millions more tune in online, for a days-long barrage of new game announcements from AAA studios and indie devs alike.
E3 2019 should be especially interesting, as we find ourselves on the cusp of a new console generation, but without too much info about what it will look like. And there have been some big changes to the conference lineup — EA has opted not to hold a press conference, while Sony is skipping E3 entirely for the first time in show history. Microsoft, meanwhile, is preparing its shift from Xbox One to its next console, reportedly launching in 2020, and Google could potentially have a presence with its planned “summer” conference as it aims to introduce its accessible game streaming with Stadia.
So what’s it all mean for this year’s presenters? We’ll be taking and an in-depth look at all of the conference holders throughout the next week, but here’s a quick overview of where things currently stand.
With Sony sidelined in 2019, Microsoft steps into the spotlight as E3’s main attraction. The company responded to news of Sony’s absence by stating it plans to “be as big at E3” as ever before, which we now know will include 14 first-party games. Throw in a reveal — or even a tease — of its next-gen hardware and Project xCloud streaming service, and Team Xbox could easily fly out of Los Angeles as the talk of the show.
Even if Microsoft keeps its next-gen cards close to its chest, the prospect of exclusive game announcements from any of its seven new studios creates the potential for a memorable press conference. And should all else fail, Microsoft will still be able to fall back on its surefire crowd pleasers, Halo Infinite and Gears 5, as well as the inevitable bevy of third-party reveals.
Nintendo quietly comes into E3 with a stellar potential 2019 lineup. Pokemon Sword and Shield lead the way, followed by Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch; Luigi’s Mansion 3; the Link’s Awakening remake; Super Mario Maker 2; PlatinumGames’ Astral Chain; and Town, the RPG from Pokemon developer Game Freak.
Should Nintendo dive deeper into its 2019 lineup, while sprinkling in a few surprise announcements, its E3 2019 Direct could go down as one of its most exciting yet.
With three unannounced AAA games coming before March 2020, Ubisoft has potentially set the stage for a trio of big E3 reveals.
After a Ubisoft game director jokingly (and cruelly) teased a new installment on Twitter, fans are more hopeful than ever for one of those reveals to be a new Splinter Cell. Ubi is known to close out its press conferences with a big reveal, so perhaps E3 2019 will finally bring us the return of Sam Fisher, in addition to inevitable updates about perennial franchises like The Division and Just Dance.
However, that end-of-show reveal may have been spoiled ahead of time, as rumors and purported leaks indicate Ubisoft will announced Roller Champions, an entirely new IP, during this year’s press conference.
Bethesda finds itself up against the ropes coming into E3 2019, following last year’s string of Fallout-related controversies.
While Fallout 76 may have been responsible for its 2018 woes, Bethesda will have an opportunity to reintroduce its online RPG to the world by highlighting key improvements and touting its future roadmap.
But even if 76 is once again poorly received, Bethesda has a number of internal studios to fall back on. Between Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Doom Eternal, and potential new projects from Dishonored developer Arkane Studios and The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks, Bethesda should bring enough to the table for a diverse, single-player-driven show.
And while a brief tease of Starfield or The Elder Scrolls VI could bring some energy to the show, Bethesda’s Todd Howard already confirmed neither RPG will have a presence at E3 2019.
Coming off last year’s disappointing presentation, Square Enix rides into the show as E3 2019’s dark horse.
Square has kept Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers project tightly under wraps since it was announced in early 2017. Now, following the massive success of Endgame, Avengers hype is at an all-time high, and Square is finally ready to play the superhero-sized card up its sleeve.
Of course, there’s also Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is almost certain to appear during Square’s show, following its re-surfacing in Sony’s recent State of Play livestream and more promised info coming in June.
Should Square opt to show both Avengers and Final Fantasy VII, the publisher could not only shift the perception of its own show, but bring an increased level of enthusiasm to the entirety of E3 2019.
With two key absences from the show this year (EA is foregoing a conference this year, and Sony has infamously pulled out of E3 2019 entirely), plus the next-generation looming on the horizon, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from this year’s expo. That said, there are plenty of potentially exciting announcements to come, from rumored releases to possible returning favorites. We’ll know shortly whether E3 2019 stands on its own, or if history will remember it as the calm before the storm that will inevitably be E3 2020.
Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN. Connect with him on Twitter @jdsirani.
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