Part of the fun of E3 is seeing the announcement of something unexpected – a supremely sweary CGI Beyond Good and Evil 2 reveal, literally just a title screen for Metroid Prime 4 - despite knowing that, if we’re being realistic, they won’t be seeing the light of day for ages.
Video games take a long time to make, and a lot of E3 is just about putting that seed of anticipation in your head. The hype. The daydreams.
BUT, it’s worth nothing (and vehemently celebrating) that quite a lot of the most exciting games to be shown off at this year’s show are also due for release this year. In videogameland there’s always the looming threat of them being delayed in 2018, but for now, here are just some of the games that deserve a scribble on your calendar.
Arms (Nintendo Switch)
Arms, the unmistakably Nintendo take on the fighting game, is so out this year that it’s actually out right now. The thrill of the game comes from mastering (or at least trying to) the impressively precise motion controls, as you aim to land the knockout right hook on your colourful opponent by properly utilising your massive, extendable slinky arms. Nintendo have already given the third-person shooter genre a family-friendly makeover with the excellent Splatoon (and its imminent sequel), and you would’t bet against Arms achieving a similar feat with the multiplayer arena scrapper.
FIFA 18 (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, PS3, Xbox 360)
You know the (cone) drill. Come Autumn, we’ll have a new FIFA to pour far too many hours into. There’ll inevitably be after-work tournaments, screenshots of 10-0 scorelines, and muting 14-year-old school children online because they mercilessly rainbow flicked your hapless goalie. With a particular emphasis on Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA 18 introduces an all-new mo-cap-fuelled animation system that will make certain players in the game move much more like their real-life counterparts. Oh, and that lad Alex Hunter is back.
Out: TBA 2017
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (PS4)
Once upon a time you believed video games couldn’t get any better than an anthropomorphic marsupial collecting apples and dodging the odd boulder. Have they? Far be it from us to say, but for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a ground-up remake of the old PlayStation mascot’s first three games to satisfy the age of pixel-perfect 4K, looks like a tempting package. The classic platforming hasn’t changed, but the PS4 game has massively updated visuals, remastered audio and handy additions like auto-save.
Out: June 30
Tacoma (Xbox One, PC)
The latest game from the team behind the award-winning Gone Home, Tacoma tasks the player with exploring an abandoned space station in search of clues as to why its crew has vanished. Like its predecessor, Tacoma is a largely solitary experience, where you piece together the story by interacting with things you find in the detailed environment. Entering certain areas will trigger Augmented Reality holograms of the crew members before they disappeared, each one unravelling a bit more of the mystery.
Out: August 2
Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
After taking a year off, Assassin’s Creed Origins feels like a reboot of the long-running stealth action series. It takes place 1,000 years before the first Assassin’s Creed, so you don’t need to be up on the complicated plot line established by that game and its successors. In Origins, we’re dropped into Ancient Egypt and the shoes of Bayek, the last Medjay and one of the first Assassins. Both combat and the series’ signature sneaking have been revamped (climbing towers to scan the area has also been ditched in favour of an eagle that the player controls), but most importantly, you can go pyramid surfing.
Out: October 2017
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)
While we were massive fans of Uncharted 4’s ending and the closure it gave the brilliant action-adventure series, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t holding out for another game set in that world. Great news, then, that spinoff Uncharted: The Lost Legacy looks nailed-on to live up to its namesake. With Nathan Drake out of the picture, The Lost Legacy follows Chloe Frazier, a professional treasure hunter and fan favourite character who was first introduced in Uncharted 2. Here she teams up with Nadine Ross, a villain from the last game, to find and protect an Indian artefact. From what we’ve seen so far this is going to tick all the Uncharted boxes: stunningly rendered locations, incredible set-pieces, entertaining puzzling and a lot of perilous rock climbing.
Out: August 22
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Nintendo Switch)
If a crossover between Mario and Rabbids – the video game equivalent of Despicable Me’s Minions – sounds unlikely, even more so is the fact that the game in question is essentially a cuddly homage to turn-based combat series XCOM. He’s mastered go-karting, tennis, bare-knuckle fighting and the medical profession, but we’ve never seen the moustachioed plumber issuing battle commands with a cannon in his hand. On paper, it sounds like it could never work, yet the more we see of this unique take on an often complex and intimidating genre, the more we want to play it. It also seems like a great Switch game that will perfect on those boring train journeys.
Out: August 29
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Picking up straight after the events of previous instalment, 2014’s excellent Wolfenstein: The New Order, The New Colossus sees you once again trying to liberate the world from Nazi rule. In Wolfenstein’s alternate universe World War II ended very differently, and it’s up to protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz and the rebellion to topple the fascists once and for all. The last game was lauded not only for its rock solid gameplay, but its surprisingly great story too, and if the fantastic first trailer for the follow-up is anything to go by we might have another cult classic on our hands.
Out: October 27
Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The sequel to 2015’s reboot promises to be bigger and better in every way. Most notably, it adds a single-player campaign, with a story (verified as canon by Lucasfilm) that we’re told bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. In it you play as an elite Imperial solider named Iden Versio, who after witnessing the destruction of the second Death Star embarks on a mission to avenge the Emperor. It’s interesting that the developers have decided to put you on the side of the bad guys, but we do wonder if there’ll be a twist in the tale along the way. As for multiplayer, levels and characters from every Star Wars era will be playable, and all DLC released after the game’s launch will be free. Nice.
Out: November 17
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
At its core, Super Mario Odyssey follows a very familiar template: Princess Peach’s alarmingly lax security guards go walkabouts, Bowser wades in to snatch her, it falls to an acrobatic Italian plumber to commence a rescue mission. But as usual, the story is almost irrelevant in Odyssey, which yet again sees Nintendo take their most famous series and reinvent it in one game-changing way. You see, Mario’s little red cap is magic now (it even has eyes), and by launching it Oddjob-style at enemies and objects he’s able to take control of them. In the gloriously weird E3 trailer we see gaming’s enduring mascot possess old enemies such as Bullet Bills and Goombas, as well as frogs, weirdly realistic human beings and a massive T-Rex. 3D Mario games are nearly always exceptional, but we’ve never seen one as utterly bonkers as this. Bring it on.
Out: October 27
For a lot more E3 content, head over to http://e3.game.co.uk/.