I originally planned to post my annual pre-E3 blog(s) next week, but with all of the recent leaks/reveals, I thought it would be more fun to post it now before even more information surfaces before June 9th.
This blog series will be split into 2-4 separate blogs because, simply, this year's E3 is going to be huge. Last year, we were shown more of the recently revealed Xbox One and PS4. This year, both consoles are on shelves and in homes (mostly) across the globe, meaning that the next generation of gaming is here. PS4/XB1 holdouts are looking for reasons to spend $400/$500 while early buyers have played through the few games that caught their interest and are now looking for more. Infamous, Dead Rising, Forza, and Killzone are neat and all, but where are the big dogs that people bought their pricey consoles for? Where's Uncharted? Where's Halo? Where's Fallout? Nintendo has a long road ahead of them thanks to their under-performing Wii U and their hot handheld that currently doesn't have much promised for it looking ahead. Nintendo would be foolish to pass through E3 with a small bark. Almost every developer is hard at work on next-gen titles (some have been since 2010 and long beforehand), so it only makes sense that we will get big reveals and more information on previously announced games this year at E3. All while carving out a half hour for Wonderbook (Sony), TV (Xbox), and brand name cash grabs (Nintendo). :P
The first blog of the series focuses on the games that we already know about to various degrees, but want to know more about.
*Note: I'm keeping Super Smash Bros. off of this list. I'm pumped for that game and would be willing to buy a Wii U mainly for it if Nintendo didn't make the poor decision to also release it on 3DS, a system I already own. And get this, it will be released on the 3DS multiple months before the Wii U version. But the thing is, we already know so much about that game. Do we really need to know about every single character on the roster? Can't we have surprises? It's the Batman: Arkham City of fighting games! :P
- Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)
What we know: Earlier this month, Nintendo shocked the gaming community by announcing remakes of Pokemon: Ruby and Sapphire that will have a new, "dramatic" story set in the world of the popular GBA games. Even more shocking, the games drop worldwide this November.
Why I'm excited: Besides maybe Silver/Gold, Ruby/Sapphire is my favorite generation of Pokemon. I dumped probably 200+ hours into Ruby back in the day. I played it so much that it broke me. I passed up Red/Blue and Gold/Silver remakes completely and only tasted Diamond before immediately deciding that the series turned sour at some point. I later dipped my foot back into the franchise with the 'meh' Black/White version. Then came Pokemon X/Y, and for the first time since 2005, I was hooked once again. With X/Y's bold new steps for the franchise that will likely carry over to future games, there isn't a better time for a return to Hoenn. In Ruby, loved the game world, the new Pokemon, the gyms, and all of the sweet little features the game packed like the hidden forts and fashion shows.
- Uncharted (PS4)
What we know: The next installment in the Uncharted series was announced at the PlayStation 4 launch event with a teaser trailer and much excitement. Since then, the game has had nothing but bad press. Writer/creative director Amy Henning and game director Justin Richmond both left the studio in March, taking the only publicly cast voice/performance actor with them who was reportedly set to play the main villain.
Why I'm excited: I love the Uncharted series. All three games are among my favorite games in the entire PS3 library. They are incredible experiences during the first playthrough and are a delight to replay again and again. I'm dying to see what Naughty Dog can do with the PS4 and I'm really excited to get my Nathan Drake back on. The game is confirmed for E3 and I'm expecting to see a brief gameplay demo to keep fans' worries at bay.
- Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4, XB1, PC)
What we know: The series' revival was one of last year's surprise highlights at E3. Battlefront was announced with a very short teaser trailer set on the planet Hoth. EA will publish with its brand new exclusive Star Wars license while Battlefield vets DICE will develop. It's rumored for a 2015 release that would coincide with Episode VII's theatrical release.
Why I'm excited: Battlefront's absence from the last gen was heartbreaking and honestly confusing. The series sold very well in the PS2 generation and alongside a slew of other SW games, became all-time favorites for SW geeks and gamers alike. Despite this, like I said, Star Wars swung and miss a few times in the PS3 generation, with not one of the 'swings' being a BF game. I'm itching for more Star Wars. The series goes so well with videogames. Give me some Storm troopers, Rebels, and famous SW lore locations/characters and I'll be more than happy. I'm just really concerned that EA is behind it, given their online mishaps lately.
- Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, XB1)
What we know: Like Battlefront and too many other PS2 generation series, KH sat the bench all of last gen besides a few handheld spin-offs. Last year, in a teaser trailer that gave me goosebumps, the third chapter in the epic saga was finally announced with a confirmation that it was in development. Strangely, the game was also confirmed to make its series debut on a Microsoft platform (Xbox One), alongside the PS4. Storywise, we have a lot to go on given the plot-advancing ending to Dream Drop Distance. Basically, Sora and friends will be back to stop the evil Master Xehanort. I'll be surprised if we hear from KHIII again, this year, but I will be looking for some Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix info as well, including a release date.
Why I'm excited: It's Kingdom freaking Hearts :P But really, I posted an entire blog about my hopes and dreams for KHIII a couple weeks back. I, along so many other fans, have been waiting forever for this game.
- Final Fantasy XV (PS4, XB1)
What we know: Before KHIII stole its thunder last year at E3, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was finally re-revealed with a huge gameplay trailer with a new, more traditional name of XV. As fans do not need to be reminded, FFvXIII was first revealed at E3 in 2006 with a promise that the game will depart from the series' traditional gameplay into something of a third person action-RPG while also having an overall darker tone. The game is believed to be far into development.
Why I'm excited: Given how Japanese game developers usually keep their cards close to their chest, I wouldn't be surprised if a late 2014 release date for Japan is announced. The trailer from E3 last year looked far from what's going on with the franchise right now, which I think is well-needed and welcome. I'd like to see a straight-up game demo presentation.
- Assassin's Creed: Unity (PS4, XB1, PC)
What we know: AC: Unity was leaked, then soon confirmed by Ubisoft in March with a pre-alpha trailer that showed off gorgeous visuals of Revolution-era France and a quick look at a brand new assassin. It will release on PS4, XB1, and PC. The game is said to be in its third year of development.
Why I'm excited: I really dug Assassin's Creed III and, to a lesser degree, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, but neither game truly felt like a true Assassin's Creed experience. Ubisoft did a great job with recreating the American Revolution and turned in a pirate game with everything I could have asked for, but I want an AC game that takes the series back to its roots of stalking the bad guy, then planning and executing assassinations. There's a certain thrill of it that worked so well in AC2 and Brotherhood. I think a lot of that has to deal with the setting of tall buildings, but also the whole lore of Assassins vs Templars that never really came back after Revelations. I think that Unity can bring both elements back.
- Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, XB1, PC)
What we know: The final chapter in Rocksteady's trilogy was revealed in March with a cinematic trailer and a lengthy GameInformer article. The game takes place one year after the events of Batman: Arkham City. 'Batman's villains all unite to finally take him down' is the story that is being pushed. But if you have played Arkham City or Origins, you would know that the story being pushed isn't necessarily guaranteed to be the core story of the game. Both Hugo Strange and Black Mask played second fiddle to The Joker in Arkham City and Arkham Origins, respectively. But this time, without The Joker, who could the wild card be? It looks like that wild card is going to be a new villain named the Akrham Knight, who is supposed to be on par with Batman himself, making for a formidable foe. I have a theory that the Arkham Knight is secretly Hush. Other tidbits of news include that Kevin Conroy is back to voice the Dark Knight, the Batmobile will be fully drive-able, all of Gotham City will be open to explore, and that there will be no multiplayer so that the developers can focus solely on their single player vision.
Why I'm excited: This is the game that I am most looking forward to at E3. I'm a huge Batman nerd and I adored Arkham Asylum and City. It's been biting me to know whether or not Rocksteady would be back to do another Batman game. They are, and I couldn't be more excited. I would love to see a floor-room game demo.
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (everything but the Ouya)
What we know: Earlier this month, the internet exploded with a leak, followed by a reveal trailer of the latest annual Call of Duty, which is set with a November 4th release date this year. The trailer shows that the game takes place in 2054 and shows off exoskeletons, hover-bikes, wall-climbing gloves, cloaked aircraft, and Kevin Spacey. Sledgehammer is solely behind the game, kicking off a new three-year/three-team development cycle next to vets Infinity Ward and Treyarch.
Why I'm excited: I haven't really gotten into a multiplayer game since 2010's Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I disliked Call of Duty: Black Ops and MW3's multiplayer components (loved the campaigns!) and haven't gave the series my money since. To be honest, I am itching for some military multiplayer. I really want to like this game so I can have some mp fun. Bring it on, Microsoft's E3 conference.
- The Order: 1886 (PS4)
What we know: The game has been in development by Ready at Dawn (Daxter, God of War PSP games) since 2010. It was first revealed at last year's E3 with a stunning in-game footage trailer. The game is set in alternative history London, where an order of knights with sci-fi guns defends against monsters. The game has an early 2015 release window.
Why I'm excited: The game has a very interesting concept and visually, it looks better than any videogame yet. I'd love to see more of this game at E3 and I'm very pleased with the delay into 2015. I've never understood why folks get upset when games are delayed. It just means we are getting a better game.
Other notable games that I'm interested in (with less writing):
- DriveClub (PS4) - I'm dying for a next gen racing game and this one looks like a beauty.
- Below (XB1, PC) - The only thing that caught my eye from Microsoft's E3 conference last year and it looks great. I really like the art style and the old school LoZ inspiration it has going for it.
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4, XB1, PC) - Looks very interesting, I'm all for a medieval-fantasy game. I've never played a Witcher game, which makes me a bit nervous. Need to see more, but I really want to like it.
- Game of Thrones (TBA) - Announced last year by the TellTale guys who pump out the episodic adventure games. As a big GoT fan, I'm intrigued. Zero information is out about it, I'd like E3 to change that.
- Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) - I have no idea where this game is heading, but I'd like to. Made by the team that made Dear Esther.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4, XB1, PS3, 360) - Confirmed to be at E3 this year in some fashion, needs to win back fans after the controversial Ground Zeroes.
- The Division (PS4, XB1, PC) - Ubisoft's *big breath* multiplayer open world third person shooter with RPG elements stole the show at last year's E3. I'd like to learn more about it. Looks like it has Fallout elements, which I'm all for.
- Destiny (PS4, XB1, PS3, 360) - Very similar to The Division in terms of its approach. It's from Bungie and its first-person. The GameInfomer cover story a few months back picked up my attention, but I still have quite a few questions about it. Releases September 9th.
- Rime (PS4) - This game is an under-the-radar exclusive for PS4 that could be a surprise hit. It's a third person open world adventure with a great art design. Really want to see more.
- Far Cry - Rounding out the long list is one of my most anticipated games for this year. FC3 was a great game that had a breath of fresh air to it. Here's hoping this sequel builds on it while not wandering too far from the formula that made FC3 so good.
That was a lengthy post! :P I'm super excited for E3. Stay tuned for Part II, which deals with a handful of games that have been previously revealed, but are in need of a re-reveal.
I'm currently replaying Red Dead Redemption, one of my all-time favorites. I am pleased with how much it has held up over the past few years. There is still nothing quite like it. Thanks for reading and please comment :)