hiddenJun 02, 2016 12:26:36 IST
By Abhilash Pavuluri
It’s that time of the year when avid gamers start marking their calendars and saving up for their next big purchase: E3 2016, taking place from June 14th - 16th is inching ever closer. While last year’s announcements were behemoths in the likes of Doom, a Final Fantasy remake and Halo 5, here’s a sneak peek at what we can expect to see this year.
Microsoft going Micro?
After announcing Gears of War 4, one of Microsoft’s bigger releases is rumored to be either a major update to the Xbox One, or a slimmed down version of the popular console. While the smaller Xbox might simply be called the Xbox 1.5 and is most likely to be announced in E3 2016, the upgraded version, code-named “Scorpio”, is slated for release in 2017.
Pssst! The Scorpio might even support VR
The slim version is said to have a 2TB hard drive in place of the standard 1TB offering. Microsoft could also announce an Xbox TV and a streaming device similar to Google's Chromecast in the coming days.
Rumors are also adrift of a new addition to the Forza series of racing games, and it could either be a new standalone game or another edition of the Horizon series. This rumor is only strengthened by a Microsoft announcement: The first 500 people buying tickets to the Xbox Fanfest at E3 will also get access to a special Forza event.
Sony with similar plans
Sony is also slated to make both hardware and software announcements this E3. What with Sony launching the PSVR around October, there’s certain to be a small chunk of time devoted to the headset. Now, new rumors of a hardware refresh to the PS4, under aliases like PS4.5, Neo and PS4K are on the rise. This updated console could be bundled with the PSVR as a way to let gamers have a full-fledged VR experience (A console class VR experience we might add. Desktops are a class apart.)
The new console is also rumored to support better 4K playback (and hence the PS4K moniker) and use AMD chips that run 1.3 times faster than those on the current PS4.
With AMD finally switching to a new manufacturing process, this might have been inevitable.
Coming to games, Sony could give us an update on the Final Fantasy remake that fans have been eagerly waiting for. More importantly, expect news about Horizon: Zero Dawn and a possible God of War sequel, which will be a huge surprise, if we didn’t already spoil if for you (sorry). Oh, and did we mention The Last Guardian? Fans have been desperately waiting for the game since almost a decade now and their dreams might just be realised this year.
Nintendo is relatively quiet
The one thing that Nintendo fans have been waiting for is the Nintendo NX, which we’ve been expecting for over a year now. Unfortunately, Nintendo rather disappointed fans by announcing on Twitter that the NX won’t be making an appearance at this year’s E3 and that it will be launched in March 2017. Nintendo’s focus is to be on the Legend of Zelda for the Wii U.
In fact, Legend of Zelda is going to be the only playable demo at the Nintendo booth this time at E3. Everyone’s expecting Nintendo 3DS games like Pokemon: Sun and Moon and the new Metroid Prime game. The news is a bit revealing of the decline of a company that was a legend in gaming. We can only hope that things pick up once the NX is launched in 2017.
EA to have separate show outside E3
Electronic Arts has announced that the company won’t have any presence at E3 itself during the expo. They will have a separate event called EA Play near E3 and it’ll be open to the public from June 12 to June 14, so as not to clash with E3 itself. With the recent announcement of Battlefield 1, there’s sure to be a playable demo of the game at EA Play. Titanfall 2, announced in April 2016, is also being launched on June 12th, and we can expect more news on Mass Effect: Andromeda (Oooooh!)
However, reports of the sequel to Star Wars: Battlefront are being tossed around. The sequel, aptly called Star Wars: Battlefront 2 could be released late in December 2017, but there could be news of the game during EA Play. There are also slated to be new DLC packs for Battlefront: 1, one of which includes the Cloud City in Bespin and also features Lando Calrissian as a playable character. Another expansion pack that could set off the Star Wars: Rogue One series.
Ubisoft is not going to talk about Assassin’s Creed (Gasp!)
Because of Electronic Arts’ decision to host their own event, Ubisoft will take EA’s usual time slot for the former. We can expect to see more news and hopefully, some gameplay footage of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. We might also see something around Watch Dogs 2 and For Honor.
In a real plot twist, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any news about Assassin’s Creed this year. Ubisoft says, “This year, we are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin's Creed franchise.” To that we say, “It’s about time that you did!”