So Blizzcon is coming to a close once again, and our favourite developer hasn’t disappointed despite not having a whole new game to show off. So what did they have for us?
First up, it’s probably strange to most that the big news for Warcraft wasn’t the new expansion. Battle for Azerothis the latest in a long line of expansion for the ever-popular MMO, but perhaps the fatigue is starting to set in and now news of a new pack is more like the start of a new season rather than something to really get excited for. That being said, we usually find the first few weeks of a new expansion to be the most fun while people actually get to explore and try new things out. Battle for Azeroth focuses on the war between the Horde and Alliance, taking place in whole new continents called Kul Tiras and Zandalar. It features new enemy types, a new level cap, dungeons, raids, new islands that looks like little procedural dungeons, 6 new allied races (new create-a-character options unlock once you have recruited those races in the story) but these are mostly variations of existing races, and a whole new levelling system that means you can choose from a lot more zones to level up. So now when you get to level 57 you don’t have to go Outland, you can head on straight to Northrend if you’d prefer and level up there instead.
Overall, it’s pretty standard for an expansion with nothing as exciting as a new class, but it seems to be setting up for what might become the real endgame of WoW, the war between Alliance and Horde. We wouldn’t be too surprised to see Blizzard abandon the expansion pack model after this one, instead supporting the game through content patches until they eventually move on to whatever will come next.
The big news for World of Warcraft was the announcement of official support for the vanilla version of World of Warcraft. We don’t have a timeline yet, but Blizzard will be making the original game available, complete with ammo counts, 40-man raids, having to walk to dungeons, LFG chat, and consumables for literally everything anyone ever wants to do. Seriously, if you didn’t play World of Warcraft before TBC, you might have a shock coming as to how hard and time-consuming the game used to be.
Starcraft’s surprise announcement was that the game is going free-to-play. Soon Starcraft 2’s multiplayer and Wings of Liberty Campaign will be entirely free, with the game being supported through micro-transactions connected to the popular co-op mode. The game is getting plenty of balance updates and more content for c-op mode too in order to keep the older players interested while the (hopefully) huge influx of new players find their feet. This could be a way to ensure the competitive scene stays alive by removing the barrier to entry for more casual players. As big fans of WCS, we’re hoping this works out well for them.
Heroes of the Storm
As expected, Heroes of the Storm is getting two new characters, with Overwatch’s Hanzo and the dragonflight’s Alextrasza joining the Nexus. We always want more dragons but couldn’t be more indifferent about Hanzo. He’s dull in Overwatch and he’ll be dull in Heroes, I can’t see what they could possibly do to differentiate his skillset from the other DPS assassins. Maybe Blizz will surprise me!
Other than that there’s not a lot new coming for Heroes, but considering the steady flow of content we’ve had over the year it’s hard to complain!
Overwatch is getting a new hero (of course) along with a brand new map set in Blizzard-style theme park. As massive theme park nerds we’re probably more excited about the map (and dreaming of it becoming real) but Moira (the new character) is fairly interesting too as a kind of shadow healer who can kick out a lot of damage while healing at the same time. Currently she looks like a Mercy who can also kill everyone, which sounds horrifically overpowered. Blizzard even joked about this, saying you spell her name ‘OP AF’ – but we’ll have to see what they can do to balance her or buff the other supports to fall in line. If you are having a hard time ranking up in overwatch then check out this Overwatch rank boosting.
It feels like there’s something new every month for the insanely popular card game, but Hearthstone is getting another expansion, Kobolds & Catacombs, that’s themed around the idea of a choose-your-own adventure game. Everyone can get in on the fun with a free card out now and a quest coming later in the month.
And that’s your lot for this year! Sadly there was no news of Diablo 4 or any new titles like the rumoured Warcraft 4, but for the games you know and love there’s plenty to keep you occupied. We’ll be following the updates to Heroes of the Storm closely and potentially World of Warcraft if they can convince us to sign up (again)!
Norwich (our favourite city) is getting a gaming café on St Benedict’s Street opening in May.
At One Life Left you will be able to pay a tiny fee for a table where you can play console games, both modern and retro, while drinking some coffee and eating a panini. There will also be alcohol served in the evenings, when it will be 18+ only.
Whenever you head down there will be a range of leaderboard challenges and tournaments ongoing that you can participate in to leave your mark. Get the best time in Forza, get the highest score in Pac-Man, and so on. These competitions might last across a month, with prizes for the winners. Participation will also build up your rank by way of coloured wristbands, operating a little like the martial arts system. When you sign up at the café you can get a white wristband, but you can work your way up through the colours, finally reaching black and maybe even gold, based on your performance.
We’ll be there for major eSports events and shows like E3 that will be put up on the screens, on top of all this there will be hosted tournaments and of course the chance to just play casually with your friends. The venue will also be available for private bookings and parties.
For more information check out their Facebook page and website. We’ll of course be there for the opening to bring you our full impressions!
Yesterday, at EGX Rezzed, we go to go hands on with Stationeers and speak to the man behind it all, Dean Hall. For those who haven’t been following RocketWerkz, Dean Hall is the man behind the DayZ mod for Arma II that eventually became the DayZ game on Early Access. Unfortunately remembered for broken promises, an incredibly long development cycle, and Hall leaving the project unifinished, it’s easy to forget just how amazing DayZ is. A huge open map, realistic combat, the constant risk of losing everything not just from a stray sniper, but from hunger, cold, or thirst. We put over 500 hours into the DayZ mod and another 100 into the full game, mostly because the player interactions were unlike anything else. In the early days of the mod, people didn’t just kill on sight, people would trade, gang up, help each other, and even travel across maps to fix someone’s broken leg. Some of our favourite gaming moments came from the emergent gameplay afforded to us by Dean Hall trying something different, and it looks like he’s going to try again.
His new company RocketWerks have taken the approach of not wanting to show anything until they have something to show, and it’s worked. In a small room in the basement of Tobacco Dock, London, Hall and two other developers from the six-man development team stood near four computers running their latest game, Stationeers.
In Stationeers you are in charge of building and maintaining a Space Station. The graphics are simple and blocky, but that’s purposeful, it takes attention away from what looks realistic and focuses on what matters, the systems. In Stationeers as much as possible is properly simulated. The space station itself doesn’t move through space, it’s on a fixed plane and everything else moves around it, and as this is a very early version of the game, plenty of systems are quite there yet, but as a proof of concept it’s enthralling.
As I sat down to have a go I found I was in some kind of engineering room surrounded by pipes and what looked like large pumps or boilers. On every machine and on plenty of the pipes there were readings, describing the exact pressure inside them. There were loads of numbers that I didn’t know how to interpret alongside complex interactions of conveyer belts, machinery, and supporting structures. Hall explained that the idea behind the game is to not take the player out of game too much by giving them information directly. Instead things must be read from displays. If you can’t work out why not enough Hydrogen is being provided to your water creation, you need to find where the pressure is dropping. Perhaps a valve has been left open, perhaps it’s being re-routed somewhere else, perhaps you have an unfinished pipe leaking into space.
Currently the game is strictly creative mode, there’s no way to get new raw resources, but you can refine them using the machines. Different elements react and combine in the way you’d expect so you need to be careful about the oxygen mix in the air, or hydrogen leaks leading to catastrophic fires.
The game we were playing had four people all in one server, but I was assured they’ve got it working with up to 16 players so far and are still finalising how big they want these servers to be. As I pottered about exploring the station I regularly game across the other players doing their own thing and editing the station as they saw fit.
I opened up an airlock and went for a float outside. Seeing a long tunnel of girders I ventured inside the end and travelled up to what looked like an airlock that was holding back a great deal of fire. “You probably don’t want to go in there” a dev explained, ” that guy’s trying to build a railgun.” Another guest at the show had apparently spent most of the day before and all of that day stuck to the game, seeing how far he could push the simulation. He had built up a huge amount of energy and pressure within one compartment then used an airlock system to load some shot (in this case some loose canisters) into the ‘barrel’ and a final airlock to hold it all in while he built up the required power. I rush out of the barrel and took a vantage point a little way away. Quickly a mass of blue fire enveloped the space station, what he was doing was incredibly destructive, but impressive. The fire raged through the compartment, built up to the airlock, then when it was remotely opened, canisters fire at speed out of the barrel. A success! As I was marvelling, the shockwave hit me and sent me tumbling a little bit backwards.
It’s not all 100% scientifically accurate (yet), and many are going to be wary of any promises that Hall makes, but I’m already eager to put my money in for Early Access. It’s a fantastic project and what little there already is would be more than enough to provide hours of entertainment to anyone with a mind towards experiments. Here’s hoping the world of internet negativity doesn’t stifle this kind of creativity in games development. Yes Rocketwerkz might be taking a lot of risk, but I’m glad they are.
We’ve got our Virtual Ticket so we’re going to be following all fo the news and updates from Blizzcon, especially news for our favourite games Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. Keep stopping buy to see our thoughts and opinions as the show progresses over the next two days!
So we just got back from our trip to EGX 2016 (and Alton Towers as a bonus) and we are exhausted. This year we went with two non-journalist friends joining the two of us and it was interesting to see the experience from a slightly different perspective. We didn’t get there until the main public opening at 11 and we stayed right up until the end.
Firstly, it’s hard to ignore the fact that EGX was not supported well by the major developers this year. Although some of their games were there, there was no significant presence from Microsoft, Nintendo or Ubisoft. EA had a couple of large stands dotted around but the show really did feel like it was worse for missing the key players. No charming Nintendo area with fun little side games and plenty of street passes, no bombastic EA with huge statues and light shows, No ultra-stylish Microsoft booths with stamps and giveaways. Instead the show was mostly dominated by Sony with a huge Playstation area, alongside surprisingly large sections for Syndicate, Yoggscast, and Twitch. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of the way Sony does these shows, it feels like they enjoy the long lines as a sign of how ‘wanted’ their games are, and they don’t give very much thought to the people in them. Not many consoles, not much was playable, and more focus on taking up space than actually showing off good games. For example, the PS4 Pro was there, but behind a glass case and switched off. PSVR was there, but you had to book (or be smart and go to the many indie booths showing it off), their biggest playable games were Gran Turismo and Infinite Warfare, but the queue for Infinite Warfare was getting up to about two hours and Gran Turismo only had a few pods with a fairly basic set up. No fancy HDR being shown off, no 4K, no looks at games that people are really excited about like The Last Guardian.
The other areas were pretty sparse, Mafia 3 had a spectacular facade but was only showing a 25 minute gameplay video – the Twitch area devoted a tonne of space to letting you play the Forza Horizon 3 demo we all got a while ago, despite the actual game coming out this weekend – the over 18 area had a grand total of 4 games, one of which only had two seats. It felt like a lot of the show floor was wasted without the blockbuster games to show off. There was no way of playing For Honor, Ghost Recon, Steep, Prey 2, or the new Zelda. Instead you just had plenty of giant booths to walk around.
Of course the best place to play games was (as always) the Rezzed and Leftfield collections. Indie developers really come out in force for this show and it’s a great chance to play plenty of games you’ve never seen before and actually chat to the people that made them. Shot lines, lots of amazing games and a nice atmosphere – it’s just a shame that the quality evident there couldn’t have been matched with the AAA titles.
In terms of the rest of the show, it really feels like Eurogamer still haven’t managed to get the vibe they want. There’s a poor food selection, which has no connection to games and never goes beyond being purely functional. This could be a chance to show off some interesting dishes to an audience who might not come across it otherwise, but instead you get burgers, chips and sandwiches. The merchandise stalls were everywhere, easily taking up a third of the overall space, but 80% of them all had the same knock-off stock with seemingly unlicensed merch aimed at ‘geek culture’ without really being part of it. Lots of cheap items being sold at a premium by people who had no interested in getting involved with ‘gamers’ – they just wanted to fleece you. Of course there were exceptions, there are always a couple of interesting stands or independent retailers that care about embracing the community, but these are increasingly pushed out by large mass-producers of vaguely gaming-related tat.
All of this sounds very negative, and it is, but despite it all we still had a good time. We played a few outstanding indie games and had a lot of fun with Titanfall 2 and Dishonored 2 – but after visiting Gamescom in the last couple of years then coming here and seeing how much is missing, how much is boring, and how many people look tired and fed up from the moment the doors open, it’s hard not to think EGX is getting it wrong. Maybe they’ll find the magic formula next year, but we’re not so sure we’ll be there to find out.
Power Up at the Science Museum in London, is as described in one of straplines; A hands-on video game event. This isn’t an exhibition where you go around and read stuff, well you can read some stuff but that’s not where the fun is. The fun is in having the chance to play a wide variety of games and consoles from 40 years of gaming’s evolution all in one room. Ever wanted to own a SNES, Mega Drive and Atari Jaguar when you were a kid but couldn’t afford it? Well this is a chance to make up for it. Playing a 3DO for the first time having wondered what it would be like for 20 years was great.
The event is made of a few sections: Games linked by theme through consoles, so you can see how far batman games have come, from side scrolling beat-em ups to the Arkham games. Multiplayer experiences also feature, from bomberman to an impressive set up of Halo 3 along. There’s also a couple of VR experiences that show what gaming is currently experimenting with.
A clear favourite for us though was a wall where they had lined up a history of gaming devices. It starts out with a Binatone, which dates back to the 70’s and features Pong, and goes all the way up to the last console iterations. On the way you can try out a Spectrum, Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Dreamcast, Saturn and more.
There’s a few things about seeing all these consoles together that make it really special.
You can easily see how far gaming has come in it’s history, not only graphically but in gameplay.
There’s just as much to take from the evolution of gaming peripherals as there is from the consoles themselves. Going from twisting knobs to clicking joysticks, games pads that are rectangular, to today’s well iterated and ergonomic examples
There is something to play on all the consoles, so you can experience something from all of them. All the games were fun, so you know it really is all about the gameplay, not the shiny graphics.
On top of that there’s also a chance to experience various music games, DJ Hero and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and of course there’s an obligatory Minecraft setup.
Whether you grew up with games from the beginning, or near the beginning like us, or are just starting out there is something to appreciate in seeing a wide variety of it’s past all in one room. Because it is hosted in the science museum there was a certain feeling that it was missing a bit of narrative or commentary to hold the whole event together, but maybe that’s just our preconception. It certainly doesn’t stop us from recommending this as an event for everyone, whether you are a gaming novice or veteran.
Power Up runs until Sunday the 7th of August and runs in 90 minute sessions, some Adults only sessions are available, booking in advance is recommended.
Last night we were treated to the press event for Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park. The ride is a new take on ghost trains with heavy use of virtual reality. We’ve come away unimpressed by the use of VR on Air – now Galactica – at Alton Towers, but they were using the cheap and underpowered GearVR headsets. Can Thorpe Park do any better?
Right out of the gates Thorpe Park got something right by choosing to use the HTC Vive as their headset of choice. With each of these going for nearly £700 for consumers and each train ( I think there’s probably three in the building) having 50 seats, along with spares that must be needed, that’s quite the investment, but it’s clearly the way to go if you want convincing and immersive VR. With a better framerate and most importantly full positional tracking, we’ve been amazed by what the Vive can do elsewhere with video games when attached to a high-spec PC.
We’re not going to spoil anything on the ride beyond the fact that it does use VR (something that’s in most of the advertising and repeated throughout the queue). In the first section of VR some quite clever effects are used to make it seem more realistic with lighting and some live actors that have clearly been recorded then inserted into the VR. It’s very convincing and while the environments are still a little low res and clearly more like something out of a video game, when scares come you find yourself immersed enough to be more than a little freaked out. This isn’t the sort of attraction where you can walk around with the headsets on so they have somewhat of a captive audience, forcing you to just sit there while some strange things happen. This section of the ride definitely qualifies as a new take on the Ghost Train and we’d love to see more uses of VR like this. It’s well integrated into the theme of the ride (there’s a reason for you to be putting the headset one) and it can be genuinely frightening, even if the quality isn’t quite good enough to trick you into thinking it’s completely real.
In the second section things are a little worse. Here there’s no live-action, just plenty of CGI and sadly it doesn’t work well enough to be immersive. The environments and things you see all look like something out of a PS3-era game at best and after the quite unsettling first part, this is quite a letdown. The creators of the VR section were perhaps a little too ambitious with what they wanted to achieve here and the tech simply isn’t up to it. Also while things go close to your face, the Vive’s positional tracking might actually be a negative as I was able to lean forward and put my head inside something else, where I just clipped through it and rendered it invisible. Throughout the journey on my first go it all ran well, but on our second there were a few glitches with the headsets where suddenly the geometry would freak out and have to reset itself, sometimes defaulting to a bright blue grid, others to just a static video with no head tracking.
Overall we’re impressed with the Ghost Train. It’s definitely a new take on an old genre of ride, and it’s worth the experience just because there’s nothing else like it at the moment. We’re not convinced even the mighty Vive is up to the task of a high-throughput mainstream ride like this, where resolution and immersiveness isn’t quite good enough to do something completely in CGI, but as something a bit different that we’ve not seen anywhere else in the world, it’s got a thumbs up. Thorpe Park definitely needed a decent dark ride and now they’ve got one of the best in the world.
We haven’t been very good at E3 predictions historically. While much of what we predicted came to pass eventually, E3 is almost always less exciting than we want it to be. With that in mind we’re doing the predictions a little closer to the time now. E3 starts tomorrow at 9PM BST with EA’s conference, then continues with Bethesda in the early hours of the morning, Microsoft after work, Ubisoft Monday evening, Sony at an ungodly hour, and Nintendo never because Nintendo have decided this E3 isn’t worth bothering with. OK so they will have a Treehouse but we’re still bitter we’re not going to hear anything about the NX.
So here are our predictions for each of the big conferences. We don’t really have any insider information on any of these beyond the rumours floating around on NeoGaf and Reddit, as well as some tiny little bits of hearsay we hear from PR people, so treat all of this as speculation and let us know what you want to see this year!
Electronic Arts are kicking things off this year with a conference much earlier than we’re used to. Hopefully they’ve learned from their mistakes of past E3s, showing off games that are nowhere near ready or filling their time with bizarre interviews with Pele. This year we’re quite excited for what they have to show, purely because on one licence. They have Star Wars.
New Star Wars title
We know there’s at least one new Star Wars title in development that is being developed by Visceral (of Dead Space fame). We loved Dead Space and even enjoyed what they did with Battlefield Hardline so we’re looking forward to what they can do with Star Wars. All we know so far is that it’s going to be a third person adventure game similar to Uncharted or the cancelled 1313. We’re speculating that it’ll be based around the bounty hunters of Star Wars – with Boba Fett, IG-88, Dengar and more all making an appearance, possibly as playable characters in their own mini campaigns. We’d love to have a game with 6 mini stories, maybe released episodically like the newest Hitman, with a multiplayer mode pitting them against each other Overwatch-style. Add a bit of Visceral’s talent for horror with a darker tone for the Star Wars universe and we could have something really special
All we’re expecting from this is a very brief teaser trailer like we had for Battlefront in 2013, but perhaps an in-engine scene using assets from The Force Awakens, maybe just a First Order Tie going up against Poe’s orange and black X-Wing, just to let us know it’s coming.
Criterion’s racing game
Expect this to be the racing game for the GoPro generation. Massively multiplayer with a huge open world and a ridiculous array of vehicles, this is perhaps the game we’re most excited about from EA. We saw a snippet of this the year before last and by now if it still exists they must be ready to show it. Either that or they cancelled it and are working on Burnout Paradise 2. That’d be good too.
Obviously we already know about this, but we’re expecting to see a healthy dose of campaign. I think they might save the multiplayer for Gamescom, but we should see a decent section from a mission and see how they’ve decided to combat the impression that Battlefield campaigns are a waste of time.
This is one of the big games they’ll be pushing this year. We expect to see plenty of multiplayer, a new Titan unveiled and perhaps a glimpse of what they’re going to do with the single player if it exists. We’d be happy with a fleshed-out horde mode. With EA not having a presence on the show floor they won’t be able to let people play this, so we’re going to bold and predict that there’ll be a beta of this live during the show, so you’ll be able to download it tomorrow night and play on 3 maps with 1 new titan. We really hope this happens.
A load of football/Sims stuff
I’m sure there will be 2017 editions of their sports games and they’ll be the same but with some different names in. The Sims might get a new expansion or two. Unfortunately we don’t really care about this.
We’re cheating a little with this one, we pretty much know what Bethesda have to show off. Of course there could be a big surprise, but we think it’s unlikely. Treat this part of the article as spoilers
This is the most exciting thing Bethesda will be showing off as far as we’re concerned. The last title and expansion were absolutely fantastic and Doom is possibly our game of the year.. Wolfenstein is likely to be more of the same, but remember that ‘same’ included castles, a moon base and a concentration camp, so who knows where it’ll be next? Perhaps change up the setting to a German invasion of Britain/America? We’d love to play one set in London and maybe give Norwich a look in too?
As far as we know this is alive again but being created by a different studio. There’ll be a new look at Prey 2 which we expect to keep the open-world RPG-esque aspects alongside some solid FPS action and Native American folklore. We really don’t know what to expect from this but we enjoyed the first Prey so we’re hoping whatever we see is substantial and convinces us that it’ll actually come out.
The Evil Within 2
Continuing Bethesda’s theme of sequels for 2016, there’s going to be an Evil Within 2. We found the first one interesting at first but it quickly dragged and relied on sub-par combat far too much despite the horror aspects working much better. We’re hoping this will be focusing more on puzzles and exploration with some strong survival horror, rather than being a third person shooter with zombies. We’re not expecting too much from this sequel but maybe Bethesda will be able to surprise us.
We refuse to spell this the way they do even if it means people can’t search for it. Dishonoured was a fantastic vaguely open-world FPS with sprawling levels and interesting interactions and freeform gameplay that we’ve missed in this generation so far. The writing was top-notch, the world design was fantastic and the gameplay mechanics were innovate and refreshing. We think this will be very far along now so what we’ll be seeing is essentially the finished product. IF Bethesda are going to let people play anything at home, we expect it to be this, perhaps a single-level demo from the game. That would be an impressive announcement and get people hyped for what could be a 2016 GOTY contender.
DLC and expansions and cards
The rest of the conference will probably be taken up with that card game they showed off last year, the next expansion for Fallout and perhaps a new one for Elder Scrolls Online. We really don’t think they’re going to be coming out with anything of Elder Scrolls VI or Fallout 4’s New Vegas equivalent, you’ll have to wait until next year for this. At a long shot we might get a Quake reboot teaser.
We’re expecting quite a lot from Microsoft this year. Phil Spencer has clearly shown his passion for this kind of show so he’ll be bringing out the big guns to get people Hyped for the 2016 holiday season, just like he did last year. Some of these games might be pushed back to Gamescom, like Crackdown was last year, but we’re expecting a healthy amount of real gameplay trailers plus some nice surprises for people watching back home.
Halo Wars 2
We think this might open the show, along with the announcement of the beta that will go live on Monday. You’ll be able to play Halo Wars 2 all the way through the week and they need to start the hype machine so people who aren’t avid fans of the last one (like us) can begin to get excited. We’re expecting a new race to be shown (probably the Prometheans, but perhaps the Flood, as well a decent explanation of how they’ve enabled cross play between PC and Xbox and made it fair. We also think that the multiplayer might be free to play, with the campaign being released as premium DLC in episodes. Might explain why they’ve kept quiet about pre-orders.
All we’ve seen of this so far is a teaser trailer and if anything is kept back for Gamescom we think it could be this. But we’re hoping to see some gameplay and a better explanation of the lore and story behind this. We’re not really expecting it to make a 2017 release, perhaps early 2018.
This will be a big deal and again is a possible contender for a downloadable demo next week. This should be on track to come out early this holiday season, and there’s be plenty more gameplay footage to show, perhaps of one of the boss fights.
Forza Horizon 3
We’re not convinced the new Forza will definitely be a Horizon game, it might be a new branch off from the series, but there’ll definitely be Forza and we’re hoping for something set in a very different location like Scandinavia, Asia or Africa. All of these games have been fantastic and we’re not expecting anything less, but perhaps there’ll be a new way of connecting players together like on massive servers populated with real players.
Dead Rising 4
Again this has been leaked so we’re pretty sure it’s coming, but we don’t know much more about it. From the leaked images it looks like Frank West is back, possibly in the same town as the first game, but with more of it open than just a shopping mall. Dead Rising 3 was a lot of fun, even if it was a little janky, so hopefully this’ll be a smoother experience with a much bigger focus on multiplayer. Perhaps four-player co-op with some cloud-computing magic to increase the density of the zombie hordes? That sounds like fun.
Surely this is ready by now? It feels like we’ve been waiting ages for this game but we still don’t have a set release date or really a good idea of how the game is structured. There’s been a lot of confusion about the differences between multiplayer and the single-player campaign so hopefully that’ll be cleared up and perhaps we’ll get a look at how vehicles work this time around. We’re hoping for a September release date but we can definitely imagine this being pushed back to next year.
Gears of War 4
There’s clearly going to be a lot of information coming out about this, particularly for the single-player, possibly in the form of a single mission playthrough. We’re hoping to see some new enemy types and weapons, and possibly some on-stage co-op. Hopefully we’ll get a release date confirmation too.
We know Microsoft is working on new hardware but it’s hard to know just how far along they are. Now we know Sony won’t be showing off the Neo at E3 perhaps the pressure’s off and all we’ll get is a reveal of the Xbox One Slim, coming this November. With how excited Spencer gets about things we can imagine there being a bit of a tease of Scorpio and how it’ll work with Oculus Rift but we don’t think we’ll get to see the console or get any concrete information on just how powerful it is. That’ll be happening this time next year.
Ubisoft’s conferences are nearly always the most entertaining, almost entirely thanks to Aisha Tyler, one of the most charismatic and passionate hosts any of them can boast. Sometimes the jokes seem weird or in bad-taste but that’s half of the fun. The biggest problem we have with Ubisoft is that they definitely have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver, so take whatever you see at this conference with a mine’s worth of salt.
Watch Dogs 2
There’s already been a stream and videos of this so we’re not entirely sure what more they’ve got to reveal. We’ll probably see a little more about how multiplayer works within a mission just like the first reveal of Watch Dogs. Expect there to be plenty of scripted but impressive looking scenes and some addressing of the problems of the first game.
Ghost Recon Wildlands
We loved the reveal trailer for this but hopefully this year we’ll see some real gameplay, perhaps one of those co-op point of view demos where four people play it on stage at once and talk like no-one does in any videogame ever (except ArmA because that’s serious business). This probably won’t be ready for release until next year but I’m sure that won’t stop Ubisoft from showing us what the pre-order bonuses will be.
This will probably be the focus of Ubisoft’s show and with good reason. We played it last August and were blown away by how accessible and satisfying the combat is, in the context of huge sieges and three-way battles. We can’t wait to see more of this and, like the other studios, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see a beta announced for this, possibly starting as early as Tuesday. It lends itself well to an open beta and as soon as you play it we’re sure you’ll be just as hyped as we are. They might announce a new ‘team’ in the game, like Pirates. We’d quite like some pirates.
Assassin’s Creed Movie
There won’t be anything about a new AC game this year (they’ve said they’re taking a break this year and Watchdogs is filling that release slot) but I’m sure we’ll get a new trailer or a small section from the new Fassbender film. We weren’t impressed with what we’ve seen so far but perhaps a better look at the modern day scenes (that apparently make up 60% of the film) might be able to change our mind.
The Crew 2
This is one we haven’t heard anything about, but just feel it makes sense. Ubisoft has gone above and beyond supporting the first game and advertising it, despite the lukewarm reception from the public. Perhaps this is because they’re on the cusp of announcing a new game in the series, but this time set in central Europe. Imagine being able to drive from London (maybe catching a ferry, or driving through the tunnel dodging trains) all the way to Moscow or Istanbul? With some of the weather effects added in Wild Run and the same anarchic multiplay, we’re thinking this is a very real possibility.
An Archer Game
Again this is wild speculation on our point, but who better to announce an Archer game than Aisha Tyler who voices Llana on the show? We’d love a FPS in the vein of No One Lives Forever, but set in the Archer universe. Cell-Shaded, with the original voice cast. This could be the Game of All Time. Perhaps have a Bob’s Burgers-themed take on Cooking Mama as an easter egg and Bojack Horseman as a DLC mount?
The Division Expansion
Despite buying the season pass for the Division, we completely lost interest in the game months ago. Hopefully Ubisoft will be looking to breathe some new life into their struggling game with a look at the first big DLC and how it will change up the game. Perhaps they’ll also address the legions of people who have unfairly got massive advantages over other players through exploits and hacks and how they’re going to redress this. It seems like the sensible thing to do would be to dramatically nerf every item that is out there now and start again with fresh tiers for the next waves of content. Or perhaps they’ll leave the Division to die and move on. Who knows?
Assorted Rabbids and Just Dance things
Even though this doesn’t appeal to the main audience for E3, I’m sure Ubisoft are keen to show off everything else they’ve got going which will surely be a new Just Dance with new music and something to do with the Rabbids like a movie or a new mobile game. That’s the time to go get a drink and some food.
Sony have got a difficult job this year. Last year they hardly released anything, this year they’ve already released their biggest hitter, Uncharted 4, so what do they show off next? Most of the games they have in the pipeline have already been announced so while we’ll definitely see some more of those, it’s a little difficult to predict what their first part studios will have to offer. We imagine most of their show will be taken up with their exclusive marketing deals for third-party multiplatform games. Expect to see a lot of games you’ve seen elsewhere in their show. We’re not expecting to see anything from FFVII remaster or Shenmue 3 at all this year, that’ll be for next year. We’ve been told explicitly that there will be nothing about the Neo here, they’ll save that for a separate show of it’s own later in the Summer.
The Last Guardian
Surely we’ve got to get a release date here? We’ve never been particularly excited about this game but we can understand why so many people have. This game has been a ridiculously long time coming and it’s hard to see how it could possibly live up to the hype. Hopefully we’ll see much more of this alongside a solid release date for this holiday season. Or we won’t see anything and it’ll return to being vapourware.
Uncharted 4 DLC
Uncharted only recently came out and Naughty Dog did well with the Last of Us DLC so it makes sense that we’ll be seeing some DLC for Uncharted. Perhaps a new chapter detailing some of Sam’s exploits we didn’t see? Who knows but it’s a fairly safe bet that we won’t see a new game from Naughty Dog, so this is all we can hope for.
God of War 4
This was leaked a while back but we’ll be seeing a level and boss fight from God of War 4, now set in Norse Mythology with a bearded and trouser-wearing Kratos. We’re really hoping there’ll be a new twist on the gameplay somehow but we’re not really expecting it. Chances are this will be more of the same, gorgeous, finely tuned brawler action.
Sony only really have one shot at this so they need to get it right. VR is almost impossible to show at a conference but we’ll definitely get solid details on price, what you get in the box, and what games will be available at launch. We’re expecting to also hear that Playstation Plus will include one VR game alongside the PS4 and Vita games from now on. Speaking of which…
PS Plus reinvigoration and RDR
PS Plus has been pretty terrible this year, we cancelled it a while ago and haven’t missed it at all. We think Sony have been aware of the lukewarm response all the offerings this year have got, so they’ll bring out something fairly impression. Like the Red Dead Redemption remaster and a teaser for the next Red Dead game. You heard it here first. It won’t be a full demo, but it will be in-engine.
Gran Turismo Sport
Of course Sony will be showing this off but first impressions haven’t been good. Due to release in November we wouldn’t be surprised to see a delay to the release date so they can add some new content and make it more worth your time.
Third Party Announcements
During Sony’s press conference we’re expecting to see trailers and DLC agreements for: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2, Destiny (the new DLC), and possibly Resident Evil 7. We think if Resident Evil is announced anywhere it’ll be at Sony’s conference alongside some kind of exclusive DLC like a horde-mode.
2D atmospheric puzzle platformers have become surprisingly commonplace since the incredibly innovation that we saw with games like Trine, LittleBigPlanet, and Limbo a whole generation ago. It’s a crowded market thanks to the comparative ease of developing in fewer dimensions and the capacity to create stunning and effective artwork with control over how it will be seen. You can see why Perpetual Night took this route, it’s a beautiful game already and while at this early stage some of the puzzles can frustrate and confuse you, the joy of finding a new environment or pulling off a perfect leap is hard to deny.
Perpetual Night is a puzzle game more than anything. You run, you jump, you pull switches and you stand on moving platforms. The innovation comes from the use of light. Once you move into a turquoise light you become your shade, a huge skeletal Moose-like creature that is much more agile and can climb different kinds of walls. What starts off as simple and fun exploration quickly gives way to some challenging and precise jumping puzzles where you need to make sure you transform at just the right movement to make a leap to the next platform before you move out of the light.
So far, so familiar, but what sets Perpetual Night apart for me is the quality of the writing. In our short demo with the game we got to play through a decently sized section of it that took us through what seemed like catacombs and caves filled with interesting characters. You’d expect them to be melancholy and cryptic like in Dark Souls, but in fact they were often cheerful and at times hilarious. The writing is on point and the tone might be what sets this game apart.
We’re looking forward to spending some more time with Perpetual Night but for now it’s early days so you’ll have to make do with this video.