E3 2019
The only way is up.


BETS AND DREAMS
By MIKE HAZLETON & JAY TEE
07/06/19

Microsoft have significantly boosted their first party offering, but that doesn’t mean stalwarts like The Coalition won’t surprise us with a Gears 5 blowout. - Ed.

BETS AND DREAMS?

We’ve broken down our thoughts into ‘Bets’ and ‘Dreams’. The former detailing exactly what we expect to see, and the latter a wish list of potential surprises that would make this E3 an unforgettable few days. There’s also our ‘Kurrrwazy Dreams’ - a totally unrealistic pitch for something that we don’t think will appear, but would be incredible if it did. This year, we’ve added three new sections. ‘Klingon Painsticks’ is a list of potential eye roll worthy moments that could sour this years event. ‘Trip to Risa’ is a whole bunch of stuff that would make it feel truly special. Finally, ‘Shot in the Dark’ is our third party dream fest, with games we’d love to see make a comeback from studios that don’t have a traditional press conference.

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E3 2018 was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Microsoft may have had a fantastic briefing, but one could argue that a lot of the big hitting announcements (studio acquisitions, the vague promise of new hardware) were really just laying the foundation for this years event. The rest of the show was quite underwhelming. Sony’s conference was poorly paced, and also felt a bit light on content. Perhaps it’s for the best that they’re taking a pass this time around. EA were a hot mess of non announcements and tone deaf monologues, Ubisoft totally dropped the ball with an excessively padded show, and Bethesda and Nintendo were very middle of the road. So, as we approach E3 2019, it seems the only way is up, and Microsoft is poised to smash it.

I think we'll see Halo as Microsoft's show stopper, that is in addition to the new console announcement. This is the perfect opportunity for them to finally win E3 with Sony taking a back seat and Nintendo seemingly unlikely to reinvent the wheel. As for the console, I know a cloud-based focus has been rumoured but I don't see that just yet, surely it's still too soon for one of the big three to put something like that out? I think we get a base unit early next year (yes, that early) - possibly with a no-disc variant available, and then a Pro version to launch alongside the PS5 at Christmas 2020. I don't think Microsoft will make the mistake of going too early and underpowered again, but at the same time they will see it as an opportunity to capitalise on an empty market. I expect Google to get out early with Cloud gaming, but I'm not going to be ditching my console and comfy sofa for a laptop and desk any time soon. In terms of the boring stuff, Forza, Gears etc.Yay. - MIKE … All of the above, and we’ll see a Fable game. - JAY TEE

We know what to expect right? The question is will we get any curve balls? I think Sony can afford to just shower us with gameplay footage of The Last of Us: Part 2, with a bit of Ghost of Tsushima and Death Stranding, and people will love it. If I was them, I'd concentrate on the next-generation, and let Microsoft have this year for their stuff and then use next year or later this year to smash them out of the water. They will be at their reactive best at that point and be able to Donald Trump (tarp rhyming slang) all over anything Microsoft announces this year. - MIKE

The lack of a traditional press conference is likely in favour of another State of Play presentation. Following their initial VR / indie focus, some tangible release info for The Last of Us: Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima would go down a treat. I also reckon we’ll see the return of one or two dormant franchises before this E3 wraps up. My money is on Syphon Filter or SOCOM. - JAY TEE

I'm actually somehow looking forward to Nintendo's E3 more than last year, when I was an impressionable Switch owner clamouring for new first-party games. Since then I've had my dreams (and bets) crushed, and am reasonably close to never buying another Nintendo console again. But that's for another thatHITBOX article. I am confident Pokemon and Animal Crossing will help soothe the burning sores I have from Smash Bros Ultimate's shonky online, and the lack of Mario Party DLC (or support at all). Basically, I buy Nintendo games and I get burnt, hard. It wouldn't surprise me if we don't see Metroid given the history last year. I think we'll get a new Mario Golf game. Oh and some sort of Microsoft Games Pass / multiplayer partnership? That might be one for the future. - MIKE

The best thing about Nintendo is their consistent, and often frustrating, unpredictability. Who know’s what they’ve got cooking?! I reckon a final wave of WiiU ports will make the jump (surely Pikmin?!), and F-Zero makes an appearance. - JAY TEE

This series deserves more love. Come on Nintendo. LOOK AT THEM. - Ed.

I think we also know what to expect from EA this year. FIFA, Madden, Battlefield… Apex Legends - it will be the usual fare but they are lucky enough to have such a big hitter in terms of Apex that has the potential to steal the show for that audience. - MIKE

EA not doing a traditional press conference might be the gaming news of the year. EA have spent forever presenting self congratulatory, needlessly padded, and woefully non specific events, complete with awkward pauses for unearned applause. Their single game per live stream approach for E3 2019 sounds great. Now we can dodge the sports titles! Yay! The one thing it doesn’t allow for is a great deal of surprise announcements, as their schedule is pretty much laid out in full. Hopefully they’ve got something up their sleeve. I reckon we’ll see what Josef Fares and Hazelight are working on right now; A Way Out was by far the best EA game I’ve played in years. I also predict a much weirder Apex Legends Season 2, and that Anthem is dead. - JAY TEE

Since Ubisoft let Sea of Thieves have the pirate space for a bit longer by sending Skull and Bones to Davy Jones' Locker, there's a little less to interest me this year. If I had to make some bets, I think Ubi will announce a game like Rocket League, called… maybe… Roller Champions? Something like that. (How dare you. - Ed) They also might have a new Watch Dogs game that would maybe be called Watch Dogs Legion, perhaps set in London. (How very dare you. - Ed). No Beyond Good & Evil makes me sad. - MIKE

The lack of Beyond Good and Evil 2 is a travesty, especially after the off screen engine footage they barely showed last year. CG trailers are one thing, but now we need to see some meat! As for this year, I reckon Yves will finally relent and reveal a new Splinter Cell as their ‘one more thing’. We’ll get another weird VR experiment (in the same style as Elijah Wood’s Transference), as well as some kind of new Nintendo partnership. A raving Rabbid in Smash Bros.? Stranger things have happened.  - JAY TEE

Carrying on with the theme… I think we know much of what's coming. DOOM, Wolfenstein - I think we'll get a big update to Fallout 76 - similar to Sea of Thieves' anniversary update to try to get some of the early adopters who were burnt by the launch. - MIKE

They’re likely to open big with Doom Eternal, followed by an extended look at Wolfenstein: Youngblood. It would be nice to see something of Starfield, as I highly doubt Elder Scrolls VI will get more than a passing mention (if they even bring it up at all). I also reckon the stage is set for a brand new IP, something Bethesda will launch as this gen wraps up. Perhaps as a potential first step towards a new franchise for the next round of console hardware. As for Fallout 76, I think they’ll try and downplay its myriad of issues. Infact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it only makes the briefest of appearances. It has been a PR disaster, and I doubt they’ll want E3 audiences to be reminded of that. - JAY TEE

A co-op Wolfenstein, with a buddy pass system that lets you invite a friend, even if they don’t own a copy themselves? This is Top 5 most anticipated for me this year. - Ed

The worst parts of E3 for me are: Sports Games (we know what these are, we don't need 20 minutes on each one every year); Super-excited presenters trying to make a Command & Conquer mobile game sound fun (trying too hard!); teases that end up to be massively disappointing (here's looking at you Super Lucky's Tale!!! Oh, and that Command & Conquer mobile game); Dance games (I don't want to see people dancing at E3, unless it's Reggie, and that won't happen now (sobs)). - MIKE

False enthusiasm is number one on the list for me. Every platform holder has been guilty of it at some point. Self congratulation is always a cardinal sin, and telling us how exciting something is instead of just showing it is always infuriating. Specifically for this year, I think if we see any shots of off screen gameplay during a conference (like Beyond Good and Evil 2 last year), or EA hire any more ‘celebrity’ cameos for their live stream, that’ll get me longing for a set of painsticks. - JAY TEE

Meaningful console reveals make an E3 special to me. So if Microsoft show the new Xbox and we get a pic of the box, or a demo of the dash - something other than specs, it will stand out. I remember the disastrous Xbox One announcement. That was a special E3 for all the wrong reasons! Usually what stands out above all though is the character of the people on stage. Genuine presenters that make mistakes, have (real) banter with their co-hosts and developers, and seeing the hard work of some indie devs come to fruition on the biggest stage of all. Oh and shadow drops. - MIKE

I’d like to second Mike’s mention of shadow drops. Easily the most exciting announcement, especially when it’s a demo for a game that’s a long way off. Even better when it’s the full, final release. I’m a big fan of smaller teams hitting it big, where the developers get visibly moved by an outpouring of love. The AA space is quite interesting right now, so lots of love for that please. - JAY TEE

I want to see Back 4 Blood, the Left 4 Dead spiritual successor. In terms of stuff we don't already know about, I want some racing games. So I'd love to see WipEout, XtremeG, Rallisport Challenge, Mashed, Project Gotham Racing - some old school arcade racer that's great in multiplayer. You know how I feel about Rare. - MIKE

I’ll save my usual unrealistic expectations for Rare IP revivals for the relevant dreams section. So, with third party, I think top of my list would be a new, first person, Red Faction title. THQ are the publisher to watch for me this year, as they now own so many franchises I care about. Timesplitters is the big one. I could see Microsoft securing some kind of exclusivity. I’d even be happy with an HD remaster. Other titles I’d love to see rise from the ash heap include Conflict: Desert Storm (who even owns the rights to this?), Army of Two, and Full Spectrum Warrior. I feel like these sorts of titles are sorely missing from the AA space. - JAY TEE

Bring it back. I dare you. - Ed

Sigh. Conker, Banjo, a new 3D adventure Rare game of any sort. I've said it before but I'd like to see Microsoft's new console as closely integrated with PCs as possible. We're getting there. A disc-less box that helps keep the price down but works offline would tick my boxes. Maybe a low powered disc-less box that can run native Xbox One games but uses the cloud to play the latest new releases at a higher spec? Something from Obsidian or any of the new studios would be neat. Re-releases of old PC games on Xbox, such as Age of Empires! - MIKE

Please. Just give me Banjo. And / or Conker. An old school 3D platformer, from either of those franchises, would be enough to make this a true E3 of dreams. Phil just needs to throw Rare a wad of cash so they can set up a smaller, second team, leaving the main crew to handle Sea of Thieves. Please Microsoft. Make my dreams come true. - JAY TEE

Sony at the last minute announce they really are having a keynote, announce their new console, and it goes on sale TODAY! Seriously though I can't think what Sony would bring to the table this year. On a personal note more price drops would be great as it pushes me closer to picking up a VR bundle. - MIKE

A release date for The Last of Us: Part 2, and even a release window for Ghost of Tsushima, would let us map out the end of this current gen. As for left field surprises, I’d like to see some teases for next gen sequels. God of War and Horizon would be two fantastic announcements. And with Microsoft making so many bold moves with studio acquisitions, I think one or two high profile investments would help solidify Sony’s offering. I’m looking at Insomniac, given their long history of collaboration with Playstation, as a potential target for a buyout. Spiderman definitely did the business for them! - JAY TEE

Sigh. Conker, Banjo, a new 3D adventure Rare game of any sort that Microsoft allow to show up on Switch (not that Farfetch'd). I would really like to see a new Nintendo single player / co-op / story based IP. Splatoon and Arms have their fans, but I want an immersing Nintendo story to get hooked into that doesn't feature Mario. Also, Mario Sunshine please! - MIKE

Legacy support for older Nintendo consoles on Switch is getting more and more unlikely with every passing E3. SNES, N64, and GameCube backwards compatibility would allow them to literally print money. And it would be so easy to implement. So frustrating. Sorry! These are supposed to be dreams! But it’s hard when my main one is always being crushed. I’d like to see Nintendo move away from HD remasters and ports, and return to the more experimental era of the GameCube days. Since Arms and Splatoon, it feels like they haven’t launched a fully fledged, brand new IP of their own, on that level, ever since.  - JAY TEE

Bring it back. I DOUBLE DARE YOU. - Ed

I'd just like more of the indie stuff that we have seen from A Way Out and the like. I know they don't steal the headlines in the same way as Battlefield/FIFA but they really help get the hardcore gaming audience a bit more on side.- MIKE

They give up the Star Wars license. Maybe give it to Activision? Warner Bros? Hell. Give it to THQ. And then EA should let Microsoft buy Respawn. And then Visceral Games somehow comes back. And they start developing a proper Dead Space 4. If they could do all of those things, I’d be very happy. - JAY TEE

Similar to EA, I'd like to see lots of indie stuff. As long as there's no Just Dance this year that will be a dream come true. I'd very much appreciate a single player Rainbow Six experience but I think they see Ghost Recon as scratching that itch. Just so JT is happy, I hope they show Splinter Cell. - MIKE

Pretty much everything has leaked from their press conference this year. I’m usually good at dodging spoilers, but even I failed to avoid the myriad of leaks. They’re such leakachu’s. Every year. A beta announcement for Beyond Good and Evil 2 would be lovely. A fully realised co-op Prince of Persia would also be a huge win. And please… no more Just Dance. And DEFINITELY have a ‘one more thing’ moment to wrap up the show. - JAY TEE

I'd love an in engine video of Elder Scrolls - I don't expect (or even want) gameplay, just something to tease where it will be set. I'd (almost) equally like a New Vegas style expansion to Fallout 4. Getting into brain-melting territory, please remake Oblivion or Morrowind and I will never buy a non-Bethesda game ever again. - MIKE

More story driven first person shooters please. Prey, Rage, Wolfenstein… they’re all ace. Just more of that please. And maybe Todd Howard can stop promising the moon, and failing to deliver? He’s like a slightly younger Peter Molyneux. - JAY TEE

A new 3D Banjo game. I’ve wanted it for ages, it seems massively unlikely, but after Yooka-LAYLEY (I only managed to spell it wrong that one time…- Ed.) wasn’t quite what I’d hoped I’m just as keen as ever for this to happen. - MIKE

The floodgates for cross play swing wide open. Now that Sony has finally relented and got with the times, I think a lot of newly announced titles / stuff releasing towards the end of this year and beyond will support it. If Call of Duty can do it, and do it right, with input based matchmaking regardless of platform, then I think this is totally possible. I class this as a ‘Kurrrwazy Dream’ because even a month ago, this seemed almost impossible. Sure, Fortnite and Rocket League made it happen, but that was it. Throw in MS streaming their titles on multiple devices, backed by Xbox Game Pass, alongside a partnership with Nintendo, and this would be a crazy dream come true in the best possible way. - JAY TEE

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