Depending on when you read this, I’m most likely either in Los Angeles for my first E3 or somewhere in the sky en route to Los Angeles. In my years on the PC games beat, I’ve covered five Gamescoms over in Cologne, but E3 has so far evaded me. It’s time to see the bright lights, the big press conferences and…Blink 182? Yes. They will be performing at the Bethesda Showcase, which is just one of the events I’ll be sending dispatches from in the next couple of days.
It’s become something of a tradition for people to have a good old moan about E3, whether they’re attending or not. While the focus on the big publishers can cause a sense of deja vu by the middle of the first major press conference – sequels, reboots, annual sports titles, guns ‘n’ cars – there’s a lot more to see than flashy trailers.
As with Gamescom, I see E3 2016 as a gathering as well as a parade of soundbytes. Anytime so many people who make and think about games gather in one city, I’m happy to be there, listening in. And, yes, the press conferences themselves are carefully rehearsed and engineered well in advance, but there are conversations aplenty away from the stage and the autocue.
My first couple of days, before the show proper begins, will be spent rattling out words in reaction to press conferences, however. Here’s what to expect:
First up, it’s EA, at 1pm Pacific tomorrow. As well as more details on the newly Frostbite-powered FIFA (yes, I genuinely care), I’m hoping for more than a glimpse of Mass Effect and other sci-fi shenanigans in the shape of Star Wars. If nothing else, dropping the lights and pummelling everyone’s ears with the sounds of Star Wars is a surefire way to capture some of the famous Whoops and Hollers that are the currency of E3.
Titanfall 2 will be stomping all over my face as well, EA have confirmed.
I’d be quite pleased if The Sims was mentioned as well because I feel like it’s been sidelined somewhat and sometimes I really want my suburb simulator back.
Later that same day, Bethesda will be showing the world what they’ve got cooking in the Beth labs. There are all kinds of rumours whirling around and I expect at least a couple of them will turn out to be true. Expect something Elder Scrolls related that isn’t actually a new Elder Scrolls game (obviously I’m rooting for a Daggerfall remake) and maybe a little thing going by the name Prey 2. The very first interview I conducted for RPS related to Prey 2, shortly before it was cancelled. If I’m in the room when it’s re-announced, the circle will be complete and my work will be done.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of Dishonored 2. If it actually comes out this year and is as good as I’m hoping, it’ll be a good year for Bethesda. That’s because they’ve already released DOOM and DOOM is great. It still doesn’t quite feel real to be able to write that. DOOM is great.
Monday is the final day before the show begins but it’s so packed with press conferences that it’s essentially a storm before the storm. The calm will be long gone.
Microsoft kick things off at 9.30 and while they might have something from Rare – Sea of Thieves is coming to PC, remember – the focus will most likely be on the Xbox. And the Windows 10 store.
I’ll be attending the PC Gaming Show, which starts at 11.30AM. It’s hosted by PC Gamer so I’ll cunningly infiltrate the theatre disguised as a peripheral. Bohemia, Paradox, Relic, Square Enix and TaleWorlds will all be represented, along with many others, so there’s bound to be something that tickles my fancy. Afterwards, I’ll be meeting with one of the PC’s great heroes but I’ll say no more about that for now. I’ve got to keep some surprises for my own press conference later in the week*.
At 1PM, Ubisoft are doing their thing and because of PC Gaming commitments, I won’t be there live. Those who are watching live will be seeing more of multiplayer sword ’em up For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, South Park and Watch Dogs 2. There might be something that looks like a Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer at the end but it’ll turn out to be a scene from the Assassin’s Creed movie.
Whatever is shown at the press conference, I’ll have as many details as possible on it all later in the week, when I’ll have a chance to look at all things Ubi up close and personal.
Monday ends with Sony at 6PM. They’ll be twiddling their Playstations and trying to squeeze The Last of Us 2 out of Naughty Dog now that they don’t have any Uncharted 4 trailers to show. Maybe they’ll announce a Silent Hill game in a bid to break my heart all over again.
It might be in the shadow of the Hollywood hills but E3 has more in common with Cannes than the Oscars. Despite the presence of countless daft awards designed to plaster across adverts and boost sales, it’s a place to work out the shape of one side of the industry for the year to come.
And all of the above is the shape of my world for the next couple of days. There are going to be a lot of games beamed into my eyes. Many of them will be very exciting. I’ll bring back stories.