The annual video game industry trade show known as E3 is almost here. The gaming extravaganza returns to Los Angeles in June for what is poised to be one of the biggest weeks all year for gaming news and once again we here at Goomba Stomp have asked our writers to weigh in with some predictions on what to expect from E3 2018, a few of their hopes and dreams, and plenty of unfettered, wild speculation to get mad about in the comments. Looking back at our 2017 article, we sometimes wonder why we bother since we are often more wrong than right, but hey, one can always dream. Enjoy!
What you hope to see at the Microsoft conference?
Ricky D: Microsoft has announced big changes to its usual E3 showcase. This year, the majority of its announcements will no longer be appearing in the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Instead, Microsoft will be holding a show at the LA Live theatre Sunday, June 10 at 1:00 PM. Chances are the decision was made due to how overcrowded E3 has gotten ever since they opened their doors to the general public but whatever the case, I hope to see more from Ori and the Will of Wisps alongside the long-rumored Fable 4. My biggest issue with the Xbox One is that there are few exclusives available on the console making me wonder why I ever bought the system in the first place. The truth is, I haven’t played a game on my Xbox One in months and I currently only use it to watch television. So apart from Ori and Fable, I hope to see a reveal for Halo 6. It’s Microsoft’s biggest franchise and right now, Master Chief is needed more than ever.
Maxwell N: Some sort of plan, going into the future, of integrating a PC-based Windows 10 experience with Xbox One. It’s not that I want Microsoft to give up on the console gaming market, but I think at this point in Xbox’s life, they need to really make use of the Windows gaming aspect of their company with Xbox. This can be more games that you can play on both on your PC and Xbox One, an attempt to bring Xbox classics to Windows; just more cross features between Windows and Xbox. Anything like that would be a step in the right direction, in my opinion.
Marty Allen: I must admit, as much as I’m rooting for all the companies to make the best games ever, Microsoft and the Xbox have largely fallen off my radar this year, and it is the one console I don’t own. That said, I hope more than anything else to see them come out swinging and announce some exciting new IPs. I’m going to say something in outer space with guns and dinosaurs.
John Cal McCormick: I honestly don’t think I care anymore. I always thought I’d pick up an Xbox One at some point to play all the games I’ve missed, but since the generation is heading toward its twilight years and I don’t appear to have missed anything, I guess I won’t be. I’d like to see them have a slew of first party games to show they can compete with the big boys, but something new. Another Halo isn’t going to cut it.
Brent Middleton: I want reasons to plug in my Xbox One S. I want to see colorful, exciting single-player experiences. Sea of Thievesis a solid foundation for something great, and Cuphead is a platforming masterpiece, but we need more than a couple impactful games per year. Even though Phil Spencer mentioned in 2017 that the games they’re producing internally won’t be ready for a few years, I still have hope that they’ll shock everyone with both 2018 release dates (Crackdown 3 perhaps?) and new announcements. My ultimate hope for this year’s show? A new Fable game for 2019.
What do you expect from the Microsoft conference?
Ricky D: I expect the usual helping of third-party titles from Microsoft and that includes games that will only be exclusive for a short period of time. Take for instance Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It won’t be a console exclusive I expect it will be branded around the Xbox. Apart from that, I expect a couple of Xbox staples such as Forza Horizon and I expect Microsoft will announce several exclusives for the Xbox platform in order to combat criticism that it lacks the internal and first-party exclusives that Sony or Nintendo offer. OF course, I don’t expect any of these games to be released anytime soon. I also expect Microsoft to announce Metro Exodus has an Xbox exclusive.
Maxwell N: None of what I hope.
Marty Allen: While I do expect a few new IPs to pop up, I doubt that any will burn the industry down or arm any dinosaurs. I suspect it’s more likely to see a few of the old chestnuts reappear with several new coats of paint slathered on top. If we’re lucky, Gears and Halo. Not that I care too much about either franchise, but Xbox people sure do, and I want all of my fellow gamers to find joy.
John Cal McCormick: Another Forza, another Halo, and other fifty-plus misuses of the word “exclusive” to try and hide the fact that they have no exclusives.
Brent Middleton: Last year was one of Microsoft’s best shows in recent memory. Though it was likely propelled a bit by Sony’s lackluster presentation, it nonetheless showed off tons of third-party games, backwards compatible titles and gave us a few major release dates. After garnering such a positive reception last year, I expect that they’ll likely follow the same formula of toting the Xbox One X’s graphical power and premiering trailers for mouthwatering timed exclusives.
I expect we’ll hear about a new Forza Horizon, and perhaps see an announcement trailer for Halo 6. We’ll likely learn about more games supporting backwards compatibility and see new releases that take advantage of Xbox Play Anywhere. If nothing else, I expect a really impressive presentation to make us temporarily forget about their lack of first-party content.
What you hope to see at the Sony conference?
Ricky D: I honestly hope to see a sequel to Until Dawn that doesn’t require VR. I really love Until Dawn but I had little to no interest in the prequel, The Inpatient. It would also be great to get a bunch of previous generation classics released on the PS4 such as the original God of War and Metal Gear Solid games.
Marty Allen: Similar to Microsoft, I hope to see Sony announces something new, but I have my doubts. A bit of an unexpected curveball like a new Twisted Metal or a more serious commitment too cross-play would go a long way. The big outside bet goes to an announcement of the PS5, which, even with no details at all would make a big old splash.
Taylor Smith: I would like to see Sony tease a lot of new IPs or new games compared to their previous events. We’ve seen Days Gone and The Last of Us 2 two years in a row now. There were rumors of Devil May Cry 5 potentially being at the conference this year, but there’s also a rumor that the announcement was scrapped to be used at a later date. I know a lot of people want to hear or see the PlayStation 5, but the Pro only came out last year and I’d like to see that console run for at least 2 more years before a 5 is even teased.
John Cal McCormick: Sony has obviously had the best E3 showings of this generation, with last year’s relatively disappointing conference still being better than most E3 pressers. I think we’re too late in the day now to see any new huge first party announcements, and the ones we know about being what will see us through to PS5. I would like to be surprised though, and I’d like them to have something unexpected to look forward to. Bloodborne 2 would be the dream, but I’d settle for PS1 games with trophies or a remake of a PlayStation classic like we got with Shadow of the Colossus.
Maxwell N: What I hope, or rather wish, to see is something new from From Software. We know that From Software has a deal with Sony to create more exclusives for their platforms, so it’s only about time. Whether it’s a new IP, spiritual or direct sequels (hope not but won’t knock it if they’re done well) to Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne, I don’t know, I just want to see what they’ve got going on. Also, Death Stranding gameplay. That would be cool but it’s not a must for me.
Brent Middleton: Sony’s E3 2017 showing was almost universally deemed as a disappointment for two reasons: they showed the same games as the previous year, and the presentation largely felt devoid of personality and excitement. This year, I’m hoping that Sony shakes things up a bit with the structure of their show.
Instead of an incoherent stream of trailers with random interjections by Shawn Layden, it would be nice to see some developers, studio heads and producers on stage to show some of the heart behind the games. Ubisoft’s E3 2017 conference resonated with so many viewers because, though they didn’t have the best lineup of the show, they put the passion of their developers front and center. They created memorable moments. This is exactly what I’m hoping Sony gets right this year.
What do you expect from the Sony conference?
Ricky D: CEO and President Shawn Layden has confirmed that only a quartet of Playstation exclusives will be shown in great detail this year: Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man and Ghosts of Tsushima. I expect Sony to open the press conference with Spider-Man, close with Death Stranding, and make The Last Of Us the main centerpiece of the show. Death Stranding will have more to show than a trailer and I expect Sony to announce it will be released in early 2019. In recent years, Sony has made the smart decision of releasing their first party exclusives earlier in the year and the decision has paid off in spades. The fact is, there are fewer games released between January and April and less competition means bigger sales. I also expect a barrage of third-party offerings, most likely bundled into one long montage and some mention of Kingdom Hearts 3 (although the new trailer will debut during the Square Enix conference). And since Sony has a good working partnership with Rockstar and Take-Two, I expect an appearance from Red Dead Redemption 2. I also don’t expect any announcements about the Playstation 5 given that Sony just released the Pro. In short, I expect a lot from Sony since I believe they will release the PlayStation 5 in 2020 and will want to end this decade with a bang.
Maxwell N: Lots of indie announcements, and then big information dumps regarding upcoming exclusive games like Spider-Man and, especially, Death Stranding. Might see gameplay for Death Stranding, or another long, interesting trailer. Either is fine with me.
Also, a repeat of Kingdom Hearts 3 stuff we’ve already seen during that KH3 Premiere event, along with a release date. Not sure this would happen during the Sony conference though.
Marty Allen: Unfortunately, I do not expect the unexpected. It is likely that Sony will show more of what has yet to be released, which is no bad thing…it’s fine. I’m fine. More Spiderman, more Red Dead, more Last Of Us 2. Even if they do blow our tops off and announce the PS5, I’d wager it will come with scant details and actually emerge in three to fifteen years, featuring granular mustache-rendering technology that only 52K in-ear televisions can do justice to.
Taylor Smith: I expect a lot of the same from previous events. Flashy lights and trailers for games we know are coming out but don’t have dates for yet: Days Gone, The Last of Us 2, and probably Kingdom Hearts 3. There will be some kind of big announcement or trailer at the end that closes the show, I’d want to say God of War 2, but it feels like it’s too close to the launch of the first one for that to happen… And calling it God of War 2 feels even weirder than calling this year’s game God of War. I’m also expecting some new confusing trailer for Death Stranding that still doesn’t have a release date tied to it.
Ed Moreno: This is the most predictable and safest conference at E3 this year. Chairman Shawn Layden essentially confirmed that they will only be focusing on Sony’s four biggest hits of the coming years, Ghosts of Tsushima, Spider-Man, Last of Us Two, and Death Stranding. By banking on these four games, Sony can have a much more focused conference and get people excited about the upcoming games, with Spider-Man coming out this year. None of the other games have much information on them, so it’ll be interesting to learn more about them. Other than that, Third-Party and Indie titles will be revealed that are coming to the PlayStation which isn’t as exciting but mandatory for a conference at this point. My personal wildcard theory is that Sony is focusing on the four games because it’s the last couple of AAA first-party titles Sony has left before they hint at a PlayStation 5 at PlayStation Experience in December.
John Cal McCormick: I’m expecting it to be similar to last year, with more on upcoming games we know about and less crowd-pleasing announcements for games that won’t be out for another five years. I also think that Death Stranding is going to be way further along than anyone assumes.
Brent Middleton: In an unprecedented move, Sony recently came out and announced all the first-party games they’ll be showing off ahead of the conference. Was this to lower expectations of new game announcements? Probably. But despite Shawn Layden insisting that we’ll only see Death Stranding, Spider-Man, The Last of Us Part II and Ghosts of Tsushima, I’d be shocked if they didn’t pull a “one more thing” and throw a premiere in there somewhere. Otherwise, we’ll definitely see a few third-party and indie premieres (exclusive or not) and possibly get a glimpse of Sony-exclusive content for the new Call of Duty. The phrasing of Layden’s statement seems to suggest Sony’s move away from the traditional press conference model towards something more like Nintendo’s video presentations, but I’m doubtful.
What you hope to see at the Nintendo Direct?
Ricky D: Nintendo has announced its plans for E3 2018 and they’re very similar to previous years. A pre-recorded digital presentation will take place on June 12 which will showcase a range of upcoming first and third-party titles. Following this it will hold three days of Nintendo Treehouse live-streams where new games will be announced and shown off to the public. While Nintendo has stated that the digital presentation will focus entirely on 2018 releases, I’m hoping they drop a teaser for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, much like how they dropped a teaser for Metroid Prime last year. I’m also hoping we get a surprise announcement during the Treehouse live stream for Luigi’s Mansion 3, much like how Nintendo announced Metroid Samus Returns last year. Finally, I’m hoping to see an announcement of the rumoured N64 mini, a port of Mother 3, and a pro controller that allows us to plug in a headset so players can communicate with friends online without the hassle of Nintendo’s problematic voice chat app.
Maxwell N: When it comes to Nintendo, “hoping” is all we do. With all the rumors about Pokémon on Switch, would love to see some confirmation on that. Since everything else is somewhat already a given, here’s a wild wish I have for the future of Mario Odyssey: DLC that introduces course-clear style levels. Yeah, not going to happen probably, but I said it was wild. I just want a good sequel to 3D World that incorporates things from Odyssey.
Marty Allen: In fairness, Nintendo is why I show up to the party (but I stick around for Devolver, who have the best press conferences). There are many things I hope for, but none more than that glorious oasis of calm reflection, collection, and debt repayment known better as Animal Crossing. Second deepest hope is Metroid: Prime 4 footage and release date. Outside of that, because I still can’t stop exploring Hyrule, so I hope to see more Breath of the Wild support – some meaty new dungeons and bigger quests would make me very happy. More than anything else, I’d do a little dance to see a shiny new IP that knocks our collective socks off and then sends them hurling into space. I’m thinking maybe a giant Nintendo-spun Battle Royale? Going deeper, I’d love to see Wario Ware on Switch (maybe even with LABO support?). A new Luigi’s Mansion? And new proper Pikmin on Switch? And then a new Wii Sports? All of that, please, and maybe a side of Nintendogs? Not so much to ask for.
(Taylor Smith) There are a lot of things I’d like out of this direct. Smash is guaranteed, so I’m not going to waste time on that. I’d love to see if the Star Fox racing game made by Retro rumor is true or not, it has the potential to be a new F-Zero (although, Nintendo could just let Retro make a new F-Zero instead with Star Fox guest characters). I’d like to see either Super Mario Maker ported to the Switch or an announcement for Super Mario Maker 2, it and Wonderful 101 are about the only highly rated games from the Wii U library that have yet to receive a Switch port or Sequel… My dream come true would be a Fatal Frame collection or at least a port of 4 and 5 to the Switch. Nintendo has a lot of other things in the works too, like Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem that I’m anxious to know more about as well. Their conference is the one I’m most excited for.
Iszak Barnette: I hope to see lots of information about Super Smash Bros. on Switch and at least a video teaser for Metroid Prime 4.
John Cal McCormick: I know people mock the Switch for being a port machine but honestly, more ports. I want Super Mario 3D World on there. I would also like some Pokemon. Metroid Prime Collection would be great. I want older games, too, and not just the meager NES selection you have to sign up to the crappy online service for. No cardboard.
James Baker: If Pokémon is shown, I’m hoping for an entire revolution of the franchise. The linear plot has become stale and it needs to take the Breath of the Wild approach and give the player more choices in the game. I think this applies to a few of its franchises, taking a bolder approach rather than remaining in the safety of the past.
I’m mainly hoping for something to give me some excitement. Nintendo has been quiet recently and a big announcement is needed. We know of games in the pipeline but we haven’t seen anything of them.
Brent Middleton: Nintendo is riding a pretty positive wave right now after smashing sales expectations and delivering two of last year’s most beloved games. They’re also a bit stagnant, with many complaining about the abundance of Wii U ports and the lack of new first-party games in the top half of the year. Last year our panel of writers (myself included) almost unanimously declared that Nintendo “won” E3. If they want to pull that off again, they’ll need to nail a few essential things.
For one, Nintendo needs to announce Smash 5, not Smash 4 Deluxe. Both will sell well regardless, but confirmation of Smash being a new installment—and then seeing the first glimpses of gameplay—would be huge. Nintendo also needs to show an actual trailer of Metroid Prime 4, regardless of whether or not it’s coming out this year or next (my bet is next). We need to see Fire Emblem Switch gameplay with a confirmation that it’s still coming out in 2018. And if Nintendo really wants to knock it out of the park, they’ll have either Animal Crossing Switch or Luigi’s Mansion 3 up their sleeves.
What do you expect from the Nintendo Direct?
Ricky D: I expect a trailer for Metroid Prime 4 and an announcement informing us that the game will be released in 2019. Whether we see this trailer during the digital presentation or during the Treehouse stream is another thing since it could go either way. I expect more details on The World Ends and the upcoming Yoshi game. I expect we will hear about the purported new Star Fox game from Retro Studios and a possible Fortnite port. And by the time the event is over, we will know everything we need to know about the next version of Super Smash Bros. which will feature more crossover characters and a new wave of amiibo to accompany it. Last year we got the surprise Ubisoft announcement of Mario + Rabbids, and believe me, Ubisoft will have another huge Nintendo partnership to announce. Of course, this announcement will take place on the Ubisoft stage but expect Nintendo to provide more info throughout their three days of live streaming. We will also learn about the next Animal Crossing game, most likely to be released during the Christmas holiday and yes, Pokemon will be making a huge appearance. Last but not least, Nintendo will announce a brand new IP that will have everyone talking about for weeks to come.
Maxwell N: Mostly stuff about Super Smash, lots of stuff about Mario Tennis Aces. Some small announcements about games coming out for the 3DS that I’d rather have on Switch.
Marty Allen: Unfortunately, I don’t expect to see too many of the things that I am hoping for, but because it’s Nintendo, I’ll probably also end up delighted with whatever they deliver (unless it’s a sequel to Wii Music…). Because they are an actual business with things to sell, I expect to see lots and lots of Smash Bros, Mario: Tennis, and some new support for Mario: Odyssey. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a new IP, but I doubt it will be anything I could conjure – the weird rumors of a Star Fox: Grand Prix seem as likely (if weird and confusing) as anything. I wouldn’t be surprised and would also be quite pleased to see some new fun stuff for Labo, a lot of footage and a date for Yoshi, and a steady little slate of respectable 3DS games. I think there’s a fighting chance we’ll see Fortnite announced, along with a few more nice third-party plums. I do think they’ll surprise us, and one such surprise seems very likely to be a much meatier taste of new Pokemon. I sneakily suspect there will be something in addition to Smash to really entice folks onto online, but who knows? They do.
Taylor Smith: I expect lots of Smash Bros. and indie game ports. I don’t think we’ll see anything new, but the direct will have new trailers and footage for games we’ve known about for the past year or so. I would expect Fire Emblem to at least have a teaser of some kind. It’s hard to say what I think Nintendo will bring to their e3 direct, they have a lot of stuff in the works right now and several other IPs that have at least been hinted or teased at over the past year like Donkey Kong Country.
There’s one major thing that will dominate Nintendo’s Direct this year at E3: Super Smash Bros. While Nintendo has a virtual war chest of possible teasers (Metroid Prime 4, anyone?), other exciting games (such as the untitled Yoshi coming sometime this year), and a few potential surprises (here’s hope for a sequel to Super Mario Maker on Switch!) there is no doubt that, beyond anything else, their focus will be on Smash. As one of their most popular franchises, a perpetually system-seller, and an enormously popular marketing tool, Nintendo would be foolish to focus on anything else. With the recent announcement of the Smash tournament and all-star lineup of veteran Smash players that will be joining it, it’s clear that they recognize that.
Izsak Barnette: I think that Nintendo will confirm that Smash is a new game and not a port of Smash for Wii U, mentioning how the Switch’s increased horsepower now allows for increased visual fidelity and, along with that claim, some incredible new stages. I also expect that they’ll drop the stage choice limitation on eight-player Smash in the process. In addition, I expect Nintendo to show off at least three new characters, with two easy-to-predict choices and one unpredictable addition. While I’ve offered guesses as to who those characters might be, there’s no telling who Nintendo might draft or what crazy, never-before-seen combination we might see.
Following the character announcement, Nintendo will use Smash’s incredible popularity to segue into a discussion of Nintendo Switch Online, with a detailed explanation of the service as well as the complete list of NES games that will be available upon the service’s launch. Nintendo will also set Smash’s release date to coincide with, or come just after, the release date of Nintendo Switch Online, setting it around late September or early October, and giving plenty of kids time to put it on their Christmas wish list. With the release date will come a snazzy new title. I don’t think they’ll repeat the creative languidity of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS.
Finally, and not unexpectedly, I believe that Nintendo will confirm GameCube converter compatibility, mention the production of new adapters and controllers, and also announce the release of a special, GameCube-colored Joy-Con set to launch with Smash for Switch.
Ed Moreno: As per usual, Nintendo is definitely the wild card of E3. Last year’s conference was chaotic and the reveals haven’t slowed down since then. Titles that are guaranteed to be shown off at Smash Bros and Yoshi, as we have learned next to nothing about either title since their debut and Smash has an entire invitational tournament planned after the conference. Slightly less likely is any information on Metroid Prime 4 or Bayonetta 3, as those two are heavily anticipated titles as well and Metroid Prime 4 was announced at E3 2017. Animal Crossing has been anticipated for years at this point, and I believe that this will be the year that Nintendo delivers on an Animal Crossing entry on the Switch with a trailer. Fire Emblem has been on the back burner for almost a year and a half now, so not revealing any information about that game would be a heavy blow to FE fans who’re anxious for a new title. Pikmin shares the same fate, as a new game is in the works but nothing is known about it other than its existence. I actually believe that Pokemon won’t be revealed at E3, but rather come out a few weeks before the presentation itself to not steal the spotlight from everything else. Other than that, it is hard to truly predict what Nintendo can bring to the table since last year showed that they can bring back old franchises like they did with Metroid. A brand new F-Zero or Star Fox game is possible since fans have been asking for those entries for years now (with the newest Star Fox being received rather poorly overall). Nintendo has a tendency of pulling out something ridiculous and extravagant to gather the hype of the entire internet, and the Switch has not disappointed yet so it will be interesting what Nintendo has up their sleeves this year.
John Cal McCormick: Not much. I fear Nintendo may have blown their load a little early this generation with both Mario and Zelda in year one. Presumably, Pokemon and Metroid are a way off, so I’m not expecting anything blockbuster here, and I’m not expecting great things in 2018 for the Switch. The line-up looks pretty lackluster, and I hope they can change that.
James Baker: Nintendo will have a lot of work to do if it’s to outshine 2017 Nintendo. There are a number of titles I’m expecting to see showcased, particularly Super Smash Bros. which will undoubtedly take center stage. It’s already known that Splatoon’s Inklings will finally be added to its roster, and I expect Mario to be updated with Cappy, as well as perhaps Rex and Pyra/Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 added.
After the success of Fire Emblem Heroes on the mobile last year, and with Nintendo already announcing they’re working on a Fire Emblem title for the Switch, it would be a surprise if we didn’t see the franchise showcased at E3. It’s a franchise Nintendo has been investing a lot of time into promoting, strengthened with the release of Fire Emblem Warriors last year.
Metroid Prime 4 will likely have some footage, although I don’t expect it to be released until next year so it is unlikely to take center stage. Nintendo traditionally doesn’t release any Pokémon trailers at E3, but with so many rumours surrounding the direction of the ongoing Switch title, I wouldn’t write it off completely. Expect games like Yoshi and Mario Tennis Aces to be highlighted too as their release is imminent.
Last year we had the surprise unveiling of Metroid Prime 4, even though it was just a five-second announcement near the end of their presentation. Whether Nintendo will do something this year I’m not so sure. Main titles for Legend of Zelda and Super Mario were released last year, and we’re aware Pokémon and Metroid titles are currently in production. These are somewhat the core of every Nintendo system, so any surprise announcement won’t have the same impact as Metroid Prime 4 did last year. I think after the released of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp on the mobile last year, if we’re to follow Nintendo’s relationship with its mobile releases, the surprise announcement will likely be an Animal Crossing title for the Switch. (James Baker)
Brent Middleton: Nintendo might be the most unpredictable of the bunch. Whereas last year’s presentation was a hit due to the announcement of Metroid Prime 4, Pokémon Switch and a breathtaking spotlight on Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo hasn’t always knocked it out of the park when it comes to E3. We’ll definitely see Smash, Mario Tennis Aces and Octopath Traveler. We’ll also definitely learn the new Fire Emblem’s name and get a short trailer for it (the release date will be revealed in a direct closer to launch, like Xenoblade Chronicles 2). They’ll also probably show off more of the new Splatoon 2 expansion and possibly a look at more Xenoblade Chronicles 2 expansion pass content.
Otherwise, I expect the video presentation to be longer than last year’s 20 minutes and to still include the little developer interludes Nintendo is known for. They’ll highlight a major indie or two coming to the platform (Undertale with a release date?) and tout third party support by showing off Wolfenstein II and announcing that all of the major EA sports titles are “making the Switch” this year.
What would be your dream announcement?
Ricky D: Luigi’s Mansion 3 or the fourth installment in the Earthbound series. I would also love to see a crossover between Star Fox and F-Zero or a crossover between Fire Emblem and The Legend of Zelda.
Maxwell N: Nintendo announces that they’ve killed Toadette, and that Tony Hawk is playable in Super Smash Bros. Then, Kojima comes out and apologizes to the world for Guns of the Patriots. Says, “Is it real? How long can a man enjoy what he doesn’t feel?”
But as for my more serious answer: the next From Software game is really all I need to see.
Marty Allen: Animal Crossing Switch is available RIGHT NOW!(Marty Allen)
Taylor Smith: My dream announcement for Sony would be for the Devil May Cry 5 rumors to be true. My Dream announcement for Nintendo would be a new proper Star Fox or F-Zero title.
Izsak Barnette: A remaster of the original Xenoblade Chronicles for Nintendo Switch. I’ve always loved the original Xenoblade and it’s my favorite game of all time. I know it has a very small chance of happening, but that’s never stopped dreams, right?
John Cal McCormick: Bloodborne 2. All the pre-X Final Fantasy games on PS4. Mass Effect Trilogy Remaster. Persona 4 Golden on PS4. Anything Persona. New Paper Mario that isn’t dreadful. Proper Starfox game that controls like it’s designed to be fun. Nintendo achievement system. PaRappa the Rapper 3. Microsoft giving up on consoles so I can play Gears of War without having to buy an Xbox. An HD remaster of No One Can Stop Mr. Domino. So many hopes and dreams.
Brent Middleton: Ooblets coming to the Switch. It’s one of my most anticipated games this year, but I’d much rather enjoy it as a handheld experience than on my PC.
Any other thoughts about the event?
Ricky D: Devolver’s press conference will return and be even weirder than last year. Electronic Arts will once again be holding its EA Play event during E3 2018 and I expect we will learn about Bioware’s new IP. Arguably the surprise highlight of E3 2017, was Ubisoft’s spectacular press conference which included the surprise announcement of Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Mario + Rabbids. They’ll have another great press conference and as I mentioned above, I expect another big announcement involving a partnership with Nintendo.
Square Enix has announced that it will host an E3 Showcase for the first time in several years at the event. The special video presentation will take place on June 11 and will likely include teasers for a few games that won’t release anytime soon. Expect a tease for Final Fantasy 16, a new trailer (and gameplay) for Kingdom Hearts 3 and Square Enix’s Avengers Project which is due a reveal. And regardless if the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a long way from being completed, I can’t imagine Square Enix not spending some time discussing the development since this is their first press conference in years.
Finally, Polish media outlets have been reporting that Cyberpunk 2077 will be shown at E3 2018 with a new trailer and behind closed doors demo for attending media. Believe the hype!
Who will “win” E3?
Ricky D: I define winning by how pleased the fans are with the announcements. PlayStation fans tend to be a bit pickier than Nintendo fans but while I would love to give the award to Nintendo, I think Sony’s four big exclusives along with their third-party support is more than enough to have them walk away the undisputed winners.
Maxwell N: Up in the air. Anyone but Microsoft. Unless Microsoft really does something amazing. Like, announce that they’ve invented UmbyCords and eXistenZ.
Marty Allen: Nintendo crushed it last year, and, despite my obvious bias, it really seems like it’s their conference to lose this year. They could fire off announcements from so many directions, and they have such momentum, it’s almost overwhelming. Delightfully overwhelming. I can’t wait to see.
Taylor Smith: I don’t know about winning, but I think Nintendo has the best potential lineup of things to show.
Izsak Barnette: This year is Nintendo’s to lose. With the other major console manufacturers entering a relative lull and the Switch selling excellently, this is Nintendo’s year to restate their claim as a legitimate member of the ‘Big 3.’ Barring some spectacular surprise announcement from Sony (like the PS5) I expect Nintendo to emerge as the clear winner from this year’s E3.
John Cal McCormick: I suspect, like last year, this is going to be one of those where who wins is determined purely by your own allegiances rather than a 2013/2015/2016 situation where there’s only one real victor. I expect to like what Sony and Nintendo show without being blown away, and I expect very little from Microsoft.
James Baker: Probably nobody, E3 doesn’t seem as prestigious as it used to be.
Brent Middleton: Nintendo, if only because of the ridiculous potential a Smash sequel (and accompanying gameplay) has to create hype. That coupled with the first look at Metroid Prime 4? Forget about it. Sony would need to both show The Last of Us Part II gameplay and announce a late-2018 release date to generate more excitement than that. And though Microsoft would make a splash with a surprise premiere of Halo 6, the Halo brand isn’t as big as it used to be. This is Nintendo’s to lose.
Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019
Awesome Mixtape Vol. 5
It’s that time once again in which I bring to you my awesome mixtape featuring the best tracks from the best video game soundtracks of the year. Last year, my mixtape featured tracks from Triple-A titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and indie darlings like Celeste. In 2017, my picks for best soundtracks included tracks from some of my favorite games including Cuphead, Breath of the Wild and Into the Woods, to name just a few. Well, 2019 has been another banner year for the industry and as always, the games were blessed with an astounding selection of musical scores— some would argue the soundtracks were even better than the actual games at times. As always, it wasn’t easy deciding which songs to include and what to leave out— and as always, I’ve also mixed in some audio clips from various cut scenes while trying to keep it spoiler-free. Feel free to share this link and let me know if you think I’ve missed any great soundtracks in the comments below.
Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019 Playlist
Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “I’ll Keep Coming”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Life is Strange 2: Seyr – “Colour To Colour”
Life is Strange 2: Jonathan Morali – “Into the Woods”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Sayonara Wild Heart”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Wild Hearts Never Die”
Death Stranding: CHVRCHES – “Death Stranding”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “Title and Credits”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Hades Gonna Hate”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Schoolyard Strangler”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Main Theme
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Cyrus the Scholar
Kingdom Hearts 3 clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Main Theme”
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Blue Skies and a Battle”
Devil May Cry 5 clip
Devil May Cry 5: Kota Suzuki – “Urizen Boss Battle Music”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
FAR: Lone Sails: Joel Schoch – “Colored Engine”
Days Gone: Nathan Whitehead— “Soldier’s Eye”
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Metro Exodus: Alexey Omelchuk – “Main Theme”
Resident Evil 2 Remake clip
Resident Evil 2 Remake: Masami Ueda, Shusaku Uchiyama, Shun Nishigaki – “Mr.X Theme Music (T-103)”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Begin Again”
Life is Strange 2: Lincoln Grounds, Pat Reyford – “Morning Good Morning”
Life is Strange 2: Sufjan Stevens – “Death With Dignity”
Luigi’s Mansion 3 clip
Luigi’s Mansion 3: Koji Kondo – “Main Theme”
Ape Out: Matt Boch – “Intro”
Deltarune: Toby Fox – “Field of Hopes and Dreams”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “Loose Cargo”
“Star Wars: Imperial March” Hip Hop Remix
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
Death Stranding: Silent Poets – “Asylum for The Feeling”
Catherine: Full Body: Shoji Meguro – “Tomorrow”
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Koji Kondo – “Marin’s Ballad of the Windfish”
Metro Exodus – Alexey Omelchuk: “Teardrops”
Sekiro: Yuka Kitamura – “Ashina Reservoir”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “The Doom”
Medley: Eye of Death / Wild Hearts Never Die / Dragon Heart / Clair De Lune
‘New Super Lucky’s Tale’ is Polished, Pleasing Platforming
Streamlined, focused, and tons of fun, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a fantastic reworking for the Switch that absolutely nails the lighter side of Nintendo-style 3D platforming. Tight controls and a nearly flawless camera support running and jumping challenges which more often than not emphasize creativity over complexity, and it’s all set against a colorful, pun-filled, charming world full of quirky characters and light satire. Though the experience is not as epic or razzle-dazzle as something like Super Mario Odyssey, developer Playful has wisely trimmed the collect-a-thon fat that so many others in the genre employ in order to pad play time. The result lasts long enough to satisfy, yet also instills a fervent desire to see more adventures from its fearless, furry hero.
In the fine tradition of its gaming ancestors dating back to the N64 days, the basics of New Super Lucky’s Tale revolve around acquiring arbitrary objects sprinkled through various stages in order to unlock doors and move on to the next area. This time it’s pages from the mystical Book of Ages, which contains the power to travel between worlds, and is the endgame of an nefarious cat sorcerer named Jinx and his gang of cartoonish thugs, the Kitty Litter. As part of a secret organization sworn to defending this kiddie-friendly Necronomicon knockoff, it’s up to Lucky to track down as many of these clover-embossed pages as he possibly can, and hopefully complete the book before his nemesis can get his claws on it.
It’s doubtful that the story will be what compels most players to keep going, and to that end, New Super Lucky’s Tale‘s simple setup also fits right in with its genre brethren. Still, Lucky is an amiable and upbeat fox to follow around, and Playful does an excellent job of surrounding him with a cast of gibberish-spouting weirdo goofballs that includes hayseed grub worms, supremely zen Yetis, loyal rock golems, and slick carny ghosts. Though their dialogue does little to drive any sort of narrative, it is endlessly amusing and often witty in its cheesy wordplay. In other words, the writing has a very Nintendo-like feel in its eccentricities that adds to the overall fun.
Those jokes would be less endearing without fantastic gameplay, but New Super Lucky’s Tale delivers some of the best running and jumping this side of Mario. Though this fabulous fox can’t quite match the plumber’s precision, Lucky does feel extremely responsive, and has a nice sense of weight and momentum that never feels out of control. He also comes out of the den with a well-rounded moveset, including a nifty double jump, a swishy tail (a la Mario’s spin punch), and the ability to burrow under ground. These moves can be chained together to create a satisfying flow both when exploring 3D stages and side-scrolling ones alike, and will surely inspire players to use them in creative ways in order to access seemingly out-of-reach spots.
And they’ll have to if they want to find all four pages hidden in each stage. New Super Lucky’s Tale requires a bare minimum of these leaflets to be found (and simply beating the stage merits one as a reward), but it’s in rooting around those nooks and crannies where much of the fun lies, and it gives the developer a chance to squeeze every ounce out of the unique mixture of environments they’ve created. From the assorted carnival games of a haunted amusement park to a beach party dance-off, there are a surprising amount of different things for Lucky (and players) to do here, with hardly any two stages ever feeling alike. One 3D level might task Lucky with casually exploring a farm as he gathers up the members of country jug band, while a side-scrolling obstacle course sees him dodging canon fire from an airship piloted by a feline Napolean. Some stages have a platforming bent, while others emphasize searching out secrets tucked away in mini puzzles.
It’s an absolutely delightful mix, and that sheer variety keeps New Super Lucky’s Tale fresh all the way through to the epic battle with fat cat Jinx himself. And though platforming veterans might find the overall challenge a bit too much on the friendly side, a few of the later bosses and and bonus stages may make that 100% goal a little tougher than it at first seems. And yet, it’s hard not to want to go back to incomplete stages or that block-pushing puzzle that stumped the first time around; the brisk pace and clever design will likely compel many players to find every scrap of paper out there.
No, Lucky isn’t the second coming of Mario, but there are few 3D platformers that offer such a polished, concise, joyful experience as New Super Lucky’s Tale. It may have taken a couple of efforts to get there (and for those who have played the original Super Lucky’s Tale, levels and bosses have been reworked here), but Playful has nailed a balance between creativity and efficiency that begs for more.
How Do ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’s’ Max Raid Battles Measure Up?
Max Raid Battles are one of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s premier new features. Do they live up to their full potential? Let’s find out.
One of the most heavily promoted new features of Pokémon Sword and Shield have been their Max Raid Battles. These gargantuan fights are both a key part of the online experience and likely the first taste most players will get of Dynamaxed Pokémon in-game. So, how’d this take on Pokémon Go’s raid system pan out in the series’ first mainline entry on console?
Well, on the plus side, getting into the thick of a raid is super straightforward. After the opening hour or two, players are introduced to the Wild Area and can access Max Raid Battles straight away by walking up to a pillar of red light on the field. From there you can invite others, challenge the raid with NPCs, and choose which Pokémon you want to use.
Real Friends Raid Together
Playing with friends online, though, is a bit more convoluted. There’s no “Invite Friends” option to be seen. Instead, all social features are handled through the Y-comm (literally accessed by pressing the Y button). It’s here that players can Link Trade, Link Battle, exchange player cards, and more.
After actively connecting to the internet–which has to be done each play session and each time the Switch is put into sleep mode–it’s up to the host of the match to find a portal and send an invitation to everyone. A notification will pop for friends on the side of the screen, and then it’s up to everyone to join the match directly through the Y-comm interface.
If players want real people to fill in any remaining slots (all raids are four-person affairs), they’ll need to join before the room fills up. Setting a Link Code avoids this hassle by creating a room but, unlike Salmon Run in Splatoon 2, only computer players can fill remaining spots after friends finish joining this way.
After some experimenting and fudding about, my buddy and I were able to hop into matches fairly quickly without much issue. Nonetheless, it’s hard to shake the feeling that creating friend lobbies is only such a headache because it had to be tied to the Y-comm. Pair this with the fact that battling while waiting for a friend to create a room can cause the notification not to pop, and getting a group together is a bit more painful than it should be.
Max Raid Battle Rundown
The raids themselves are a surprisingly engaging twist on the classic Pokémon battle formula. Groups of four challengers work together to take on a Dynamaxed raid boss. Each raid boss has a different star rating, and even the 1-star battles are no joke the first few times around. These boss Pokémon are merciless, and regularly one-shot lower leveled ‘mons with ease.
To combat these monstrous foes, one random trainer in every group is granted the ability to Dynamax their chosen Pokémon and lead the charge. The Dynamaxed Pokémon gets the benefit of having extra-powerful moves and increased HP, though it’s rather disappointing that there only seems to be one Max Move per move type (one Grass move, one Dark move, and so on). Each of these has a secondary effect on the battlefield; some trigger sandstorms, others trigger a health regeneration field that heals everyone a bit each turn. Regular moves with type advantages deal a significant chunk of damage, but it’s Max Moves that can truly turn the tide of battle.
If one of the group’s Pokémon faints, that trainer has to sit out for a turn before it automatically gets revived (a smart design choice to keep all trainers actively involved). However, the fainting of each Pokémon triggers the storm above to become more and more vicious. After four faints or ten turns, everyone is booted out of the raid sans rewards.
The Fruits of Victory
Two of the easiest ways to better your odds are 1) Choose a Pokémon with a type advantage going into battle, and 2) Manage who Dynamaxes when. Each trainer’s Dynamax meter grows periodically and, though only one trainer can use it at a time, multiple players can activate it over the course of a raid. It also seems like each raid’s star rating is tied directly to the raid boss’ level, so bringing a generally powerful Pokémon to a lower-level raid is another viable strategy for success.
Aside from the chance to capture the raid boss itself (and some Pokémon are Max Raid Battle-exclusive), winning a raid nets players some very worthwhile rewards. These include everything from EXP candies and berries to nuggets and TMs. It’s not so much of a haul that it hurts the overall balance of the game, but there’s enough to make getting a few friends together and grinding raids for a couple of hours worth it.
Though Max Raid Battles are just a small part of the overall Sword and Shield package, they’ve ended up being a rather fun take on Pokémon’s traditional multiplayer offerings. For as unnecessarily complicated as playing with friends is, there are also a few cool ideas here, like being able to join a raid from anywhere on the map as long as the host is at the raid pillar. There’s some good fun to be had here if you prefer to battle alongside your friends instead of against them.
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