It’s that time again. The time when the whole video game industry comes together as one and cries out with one voice, “Please, please buy our stuff.” It’s the most wonderful time of the year for gamers, when news comes spilling out of the sky for games that you might see this year, or you might see in ten years (looking at you, Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian). This year looks to be as exciting as the last few, with major announcements coming for all three consoles and PC. Some of the companies have already gotten into the act, announcing the next Destiny expansion, Injustice 2, and a new collection of stories to satisfy that Kingdom Hearts itch.
But none of those three, as exciting as they are, are on our list of the games we’re most looking forward to seeing at E3 this year. We’ve polled our staff, and here are, in no particular order, the most anticipated games of E3 2016:
MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA
After making a huge splash at E3 last year, Mass Effect: Andromeda has a lot of eyes on it for this year’s conference. For the first time, we’re going to get to see gameplay in the next installment in the Mass Effect franchise, which means we’ll get to see how much this new game will differ from the previous trilogy. We already know there’ll be no Commander Shepard, and that the game takes place in a whole new galaxy with new races and new enemies, but beyond that we just don’t know much. Bioware has been through some creative shakeups over the years, so there’s a lot riding on proving that this next game can keep up the quality that Mass Effect is known for.
KINGDOM HEARTS 3
Speaking of games that we’ve been waiting on for a while – it’s Kingdom Hearts 3! Teased at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2 all the way back in 2005, Kingdom Hearts 3 was finally announced at E3 three years ago. Since then, we’ve been playing a waiting game, tying ourselves over with tons of mobile and handheld titles that bridge the story between the two games – if you can follow it. The next adventure of Sora, Donald and Goofy will take us to brand new Disney worlds, and allow Sora to summon iconic Disney rides as final attacks. Beyond that, not much is known, but we’re always hoping this is the year that Square will decide to drown us in new details, or maybe even give us a release date. Fingers crossed for some kind of key presence.
I know, I can’t believe I did that either.
CALL OF CTHULU
This one is for the fans of pen and paper games and a sanity system – The Call of Cthulu is coming to next gen consoles and PC very soon. From Focus Home Interactive and Frogware Studios, the video game is based on the tabletop game of the same name, and will see players immersed in a mystery that will likely end with them going insane and killing themselves or their loved ones. Because Cthulu. The company behind it is responsible for several of the more budget Sherlock Holmes games that have launched in the past few years, so I’d expect similar style gameplay and graphics.
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED
The last Deus Ex game came out of almost nowhere and shocked the world with a thoughtful take on the original’s combination of stealth gameplay and smart dialogue. There were some disappointments, mostly around the boss battles, but the game did well enough that Square Enix saw a franchise in the making. This new title is set two years after Human Revolution, and deals with mankind’s distrust of those who chose to augment themselves, leading to some lovely social commentary and reasons to shoot people in the face. The game has thankfully moved past its terrible tiered pre-order system, so most of the good will it’d lost has returned by fans who are excited to once again creep through offices and hack into people’s email.
NO MANS SKY
The game that we all wished we were playing already, No Man’s Sky has been blowing minds with promises at E3 after E3 for years now, and was supposed to release in June of this year. Unfortunately, it’s been delayed until August, which means that it’ll likely pop up at E3 in almost playable form this year. The game allows you to explore a procedurally generated, multiplayer universe, where each new planet and lifeform discovered is named by the player that found it. The developers have promised a universe so big that you’ll almost never run into another player – your goal is to reach the center of the universe and see what you find there. This is supposed to take years, which means some yahoo on Reddit will figure it out in a month or two. Either way, I’m excited to get the chance to explore a brand new universe of the size and scope promised by No Man’s Sky.
POKEMON SUN AND MOON
We already know that the two brand new Pokemon games will be playable on the floor of E3, and our resident Pokemon trainers are excited to see what its like to journey in yet another new world of animal capturing and roller skating. For more info, check out our full preview from a few months ago.
HORIZON: ZERO DAWN
This game blew us away at E3 last year, and unfortunately was delayed until February of next year, but that’s plenty of time to show it off to the gaming public at this year’s tradeshow. The game follows Aloy, a tribal warrior in a futuristic dystopia after mankind’s society crumbles. The latest trailer showed us a little bit more of the story, but we’re itching to see what inspires us to hunt robot dinosaurs and search for answers to humanity’s downfall. More info is sure to come at the Sony conference on Monday night.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA
The very first open world Zelda game. If that doesn’t fill you with excitement, I don’t know what will. Nintendo has positioned almost all of their presence around this new Zelda this year, forgoing a press conference in favor of a day-long Treehouse stream that promises to reveal more about the game. This new adventure is delayed until the launch of the NX, which may or may not be at E3 this year (Nintendo hasn’t outright denied its presence yet), but now is the right time for Nintendo to knock our socks off and excite us with what they can do as the best first party developer in the world.
SOUTH PARK: FRACTURED BUT WHOLE
Oh dear god, that title.
Ok, so South Park: The Stick of Truth was one of the biggest surprises in video game tie-in history. The game was true to the show, very, very funny, and had surprisingly deep RPG style gameplay. This one isn’t a fantasy adventure, though, as the kids will be pretending to be superheroes and diving into the “dark underbelly of South Park.” So, several dozen gallons of gross out humor, a dash of pointed satire, and one sweet old school RPG system to give you something to do. Sounds like it might be worth our time.
The games we’re often most excited about around these parts are the ones we don’t know anything about. Last year brought a few big surprises, like For Honor and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and we’re hoping more companies have big games that they’ve been keeping under wraps to surprise us during their conferences. That’s always the best part of E3, the games you never expected, the ones you’ll be salivating over until the next E3. After all, what are gamers if not one big hype train?
Stay tuned here, we’ll have coverage of every press conference and a lot of other news besides.