In life, there are many questions. Fish, or cut bait? Go for a jog, or nap? Tweet that dumb joke you just thought of, or let it disappear into the aether? But every year, on the eve of E3, we ask ourselves: Hype, or Not Hype? Your personal phrasing might be different, but the impetus is the same: which announcements are you fervidly excited or desperately hopeful for, and what do you foresee wasting precious floor space or stage time? Hype is the fuel that powers the E3 engine, and every reveal trailer or developer monologue has the potential to build or deplete it. Every moment is a chance to spark a brushfire of excitement in the gaming populace, or make the audience grimace as they impatiently wait for something they actually care about.
Now, anyone can make predictions both wild and mundane about the kinds of surprises that await us at E3 2016. Spoilers: There will be games, sequel announcements, a sprinkling of reboots, and some corporate executives reading off of teleprompters. But the real question is: Hype, or Not Hype? Read on to find out what we hope beyond hope will come true next week, the dreaded prophecies we fear will come to pass, and everything in between.
Destiny 2 on the Sony stage
HYPE – We know there will be some Destiny at E3. Rise of Iron, the latest expansion, has already leaked so that’s the bare minimum. As Activision isn’t actually attending E3, it’s going to be at either the Sony or Microsoft conference, and Destiny already has an exclusivity agreement in place with PS4 so… yeah. But will we get a glimpse of Destiny 2? Come on – it’s bound to be there in some form, even if it’s just a teaser.
The Last Of Us 2
HYPE – Oh God yes. The Last Of Us is still pretty much the benchmark for mainstream gaming narrative and the merest mention of it whips up a fanboy froth (don’t worry, it wipes right off). It’s still unclear just how far along a sequel might be because while Neil Druckmann has said he and co-creator Bruce Straley have been working on a TLOU 2, he’s also made it clear that Uncharted 4’s single player DLC comes first. With that game in mind though it’s worth mentioning that an Uncharted 4 easter egg shows a poster for ‘The Last Of Us: American Daughters’ featuring a pregnant woman (possible Ellie?) in a gas mask.
New Star Wars Battlefront stuff
HYPE – EA have managed to significantly muddy the info enough that we’re still not sure if the next big Battlefront thing will be new DLC or a whole new game. There’s supposedly a ‘significant expansion’ due in 2017 but also chatter of a full sequel. Whatever it turns out being the key thing is NEW MOVIE CONTENT. Playing as Kylo Ren or Rey? Maps based on The Force Awakens? In. So, so in.
Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim HD remaster
HYPE – An ultra pretty HD version of Skyrim, complete with all DLC, improved visuals and mod support? Yes, please. If there was only to be one HD remaster at E3 – we should be so lucky – this is the one to rule them all. The mention of mod support actually makes this far more likely sounding now that Fallout 4 has launched console mods to great success. If this happens, we promise never to make any more arrow to the knee jokes ever again. Except, y’know, that one.
MS or Sony will co-opt the Psychonauts 2 presentation
HYPE – Purist nerd kudos wins E3, regardless of the eventual commercial impact of the games you’re showing, or in fact, how involved or not you might actually be with said games. Sony proved that last year. Shenmue 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake had seemed like impossible fan dreams for the best part of forever until Sony wheeled them out. Psychonauts 2 was the same deal, until Tim Schafer got it funded late last year. It’s about due for some sort of reveal, and you can bet than one platform-holder or the other will want to be standing on stage, smiling away when that happens. Sony has a history with Schafer’s Double-Fine Productions, having helped make the Grim Fandango remake happen, but Microsoft is more starved of indie cred. Place bets now.
Resident Evil 7 and VR potential
HYPE – One word: Kitchen. Last year’s five minute terrifying E3 demo from Capcom wasn’t just for scaring the life out of games journalists. It was an exercise in fear that proved the developer can still do horror. Now that we know Resi 7 is going back to its terrifying roots, it might not be too big a leap to imagine that world in VR. Add in the fact that we’ve got the lead designer from PT working on the project and we should probably be afraid. Very afraid.
Another parade of EA Sports games
NOT HYPE – Sports games are a huge moneymaker for EA, so it’s reasonable that they’re given star treatment during every press conference. But once you’ve heard about one Madden / NBA Live / FIFA / PGA Tour / UFC game, you’ve heard it all. And let us not forget the excruciating awkwardness of all the Pele worship that transpired last year.
Yakuza 0 is hot, but PS4 exclusive Yakuza 6 will stay in Japan for now
NOT HYPE – Sega’s fitful pattern of bringing Yakuza games to the West is rough for big fans of the series. When new entries are localized, like Yakuza 5 for PS3 was this past winter, they’re arriving years late and after multiple new games have hit Japan. Sega’s showing off a playable English Yakuza 0 at E3 which is exciting, but this is an old, cross-generation PlayStation 3 game. The newer, custom built for PlayStation 4 Yakuza 6 will likely be a verboten subject until 0 has already proven to be a sales success. Give us the game where we can seamlessly trash a minimart, Sega!
Microsoft is going VR
HYPE – As predicted by us, Microsoft will almost certainly reveal its VR strategy at E3… and it’ll be support for Oculus Rift. Forget Hololens – Xbox is getting a quick firmware patch, and it’ll work with the Rift. The new, more powerful Xbox that has been rumoured will be required to run VR games.
A progress report on Sea of Thieves
HYPE – Rare might’ve stumbled here and there in years past, but the glimpse we got at this pirate-themed multiplayer adventure at E3 2015 looked like the swashbuckling game of our dreams. We haven’t heard a peep about it since, so Microsoft’s press conference is the perfect opportunity to get us excited for starting a seafaring crew all over again.
Persona 5 is a real game that exists
HYPE – Persona 5 was first announced in 2013 with a single image teasing a winter 2014 release date. It’s now 2016, and we’ve finally gotten an official release date for the slick, stylish sequel to the highly-regarded Persona series: Valentine’s Day, 2017. The extra wait after the Japanese release does sting a bit – but considering many of us here at GamesRadar+ are huge Persona fans, we’re hoping this year’s E3 will sate our ravenous appetites for all things P5 with an in-depth look at the game’s English iteration.
Updated PlayStation and Xbox Consoles
MAYBE HYPE – Two high-profile leaks have potentially outed Microsoft and Sony’s plans to bring updated Xbox and PlayStation consoles within the next year or so, and right now there’s a gigantic question mark hovering over them. Will we need to upgrade our console if we want to experience VR without our eyes melting? Will our games look and run like crap if we don’t upgrade? What does this mean for the respective console ecosystems going forward? If there’s a case for making the console upgrade path more closely resemble mobile phones and PCs, both publishers have a hell of a lot of persuading to do to convince us this is the right path forward.
Gravity Rush 2 joins the party
HYPE – Of all the new Sony IP to emerge in the past decade, Gravity Rush is the last game I thought we’d ever see a sequel to. I thought we’d get The Order: 1887 before a follow up to the PS Vita-exclusive adventures of anti-gravity anime gal. Not only is Gravity Rush 2 real, but Sony’s already been showing off a playable build of the gorgeous open world game ahead of the convention. While all eyes are on Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Last Guardian, this is another PS4 exclusive that looks spectacular.
MAYBE HYPE – Platinum Games has been having a rough year. Between the frustrating fiasco that is Star Fox Zero’s controls to the unplayable disaster that is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, the studio’s record has gone from almost unblemished to in bad need of a hit. This Xbox One exclusive was actually revealed two years ago at E3 and it’s apparently gone under significant changes since then. It’s also Platinum star director Hideki Kamiya’s first game since 2013’s The Wonderful 101 and the studio’s first RPG. With the studio’s reputation on the line, Scalebound has to have a huge showing this year but its pedigree is strong. Bring on the dragons and Beats headphones, Scalebound.
NOT HYPE – Nintendo’s new Legend of Zelda game will be shown at E3, and that’s certainly exciting – but it won’t be hitting Wii U until next year, and even then, it’ll likely be launching on the NX alongside it. What’s worse, Zelda is likely all Nintendo has on the E3 showfloor this year. The publisher will be demoing some additional games via its daily livestreams, but it’s clear that 2017’s Zelda game is its main focus. That doesn’t exactly bode well for the rest of Nintendo’s 2016. Maybe it’s just playing things close to its chest, and at least 3DS fans have a new Rhythm Heaven game and (hopefully) Picross 3D 2 by the end of the year to look forward to. But with Paper Mario: Color Splash as the only confirmed first-party Wii U game for the back half of 2016, it’s hard not to shake the feeling that we’re currently witnessing the protracted death rattle of the beleaguered console in real-time.
NOT HYPE – No. God no. What did we do to deserve this? The first Knack is a frustrating, try-hard mess of a launch game; a throwback to the Crash Bandicoot era of platformers which trades challenge and charm for vexation and blandness. Based on an unintended leak on an animator’s resume, there’s probably a Knack 2 in development. And Sony’s probably going to trot it out on its conference stage like it’s the best thing in the world. Stop trying to make Knack happen, whether it’s on PS Plus or in sequel form, Sony. Knack 2 is the opposite of hype. No, it’s worse. It’s the kind of hype the ruins other hype. It’s the anti-hype.
Agents of Mayhem
NOT HYPE – Volition Games, best known for the endearingly over-the-top Saints Row series, jumped the E3 gun by unveiling its latest franchise earlier this week. The cinematic trailer for Agents of Mayhem doesn’t give us much insight into the actual gameplay, besides plenty of mech-shooting – but it does reveal maybe too much about the ‘edgy’ nature of the heroes and villain. It’s the same kind of ham-fisted ‘tude that plagued ’90s mascots and Borderlands writing, and we’re having a hard time getting excited at the prospect of listening to these characters and their totally meta quips for an entire game. But hey, maybe some actual gameplay shown at E3 could change all that.
HYPE – Robot dog. That’s really all you need to get onboard with ReCore, a promising action adventure set in a desert of rusted mechs and the mechanic who has the know-how to get them working again. The development team includes Keiji Inafune (just pretend like Mighty No. 9 doesn’t exist) and veterans from Metroid Prime 3 and Destiny, and we’re stoked to see what they can do with this wholly unique setting in a sea of sequels. We’ve seen nothing of ReCore’s sandy world since E3 2015, so now’s the time to fan the flames of excitement back up with some gameplay trailers.
Dead Rising 4
MAYBE HYPE – Ok, so Dead Rising 3 wasn’t all that great – not terrible, mind, but it didn’t exactly set the world on fire (it probably didn’t help that it was an Xbox One console exclusive). But recent leaks have hinted at a possible return by Capcom to the zombie-slaying franchise, and you know what? Mowing down huge swaths of the undead with improvised weapons still sounds like a ton of fun. And if Capcom leans away from the grimdark tone of the third game and revisits the tale of Frank “I’ve Covered Wars, You Know” West, Dead Rising 4 could be a pleasant surprise. Hopefully PS4 owners will get to join in on the fun, too.
Sony will co-opt the Yooka-Laylee presentation
MAYBE HYPE – It’s likely that Microsoft will give a decent chunk of time to Rare this year, if only in an attempt to redress some of the negative PR it recently accrued due to closing down beloved Fable developer Lionhead. But the thing is, Sony proved last year the massive value of publicly aligning oneself with cultish, neglected, fan-favourites. Yooka-Laylee is the successor to Banjo-Kazooie, that most quintessentially old-Rare of old-Rare games. And it’s being made by ex-Rare staff, who left Microsoft so that they could get back to making such things. In terms of both the game itself and its creators, Yooka-Laylee is the definition of ‘neglected fan-favourite’. It’s multi-platform, but that didn’t stop Sony from ‘owning’ Shenmue 3 and Final Fantasy 7 last year.
Phil Spencer will sacrifice Bubsy the Bobcat, live on stage
HYPE – Given the significant lead that Sony has in console sales, the last option left to Microsoft is to appease the angry gods that have cursed them to linger in second place. Ever since Don Mattrick made the grave error of snapping the arm off the ice sculpture of Hideo Kojima, sculpted by Cliffy B, the console gods have looked unfavourably on Xbox One. Only a public display of barbarity will restore Microsoft’s fortunes. When he commits the atrocity, expect Spencer to wear an ironic boilersuit with an indie game logo on it.