It’s that time of the year again.
Soon, gamers will descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo. Convention season is well under way, and developers, publishers and electronic makers alike will be showing off their wares at E3.
What are some key titles that will surely make waves throughout the industry, and likely E3, in a matter of days?
This article compiles a list of signature titles to keep your eye out for at this year’s video game extravaganza. Warning: this list is purely opinion-based. Some worthy titles did not quite make the main 10, but they could very well steal the show.
10: EA Sports UFC
EA Sports will have a tough act to follow after 2012’s UFC Undisputed 3. The sheer amount of content and features the game provided MMA fans in a video game was nothing short of amazing. Not to mention, the Pride Fighting Championship element of the game basically gave fight fans two great games in one. Not only that, players could actually utilize current roster fighters in career mode. In recent weeks, EA Sports has showed off a lot of impressive features and gameplay for EA Sports UFC. We’ll finally get to play as female MMA fighters in a UFC game. Bruce Lee will be a playable character. The game will even have an Ultimate Fighter mode. However, unlike Undisputed 3, we will not be able to use current roster fighters in Career Mode, which is a disappointment. Still, it’s exciting to finally get a good look at the long-awaited marriage of EA Sports and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
9. Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes
At last year’s E3, Disney Interactive featured its own ingenious take on the Skylanders franchise with Disney Infinity. It appears that Disney Interactive had struck gold here with the use of both animated and live action collectible figurines, characters, locations, and ideas from all across Disney history. My first question to all the developers at Avalanche Studios at last year’s E3 was this: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could play as Marvel heroes now? Because Disney owns all of them.” The developers just smiled and understood. And that question has been answered, because Disney Infinity 2.0 exploits the characters of the Marvel pantheon in the Disney Infinity setting. It’s enough to make any grown man who grew up on the four color funny pages feel like a six year old kid again.
8. Halo 5: Guardians
At last year’s E3 Xbox media briefing, Microsoft gave gamers our first tease of the next installment of the Halo franchise, featuring Master Chief. Recently, Microsoft released that the new game is entitled Halo 5: Guardians. And with all of the news that’s been going on with Halo as of late, between a new digital feature and a live-action TV series produced by The Beard, Steven Spielberg, 2015 appears to be a massive year for the Halo franchise. But it always comes back to Master Chief. I’m curious to see where he will go from here, post-Cortana. Will this new vision be up to snuff to the franchise’s high standards? I can’t wait to find out more this year at E3.
In 2014, Activision provided gamers with an early, first look, behind-closed-doors preview of Destiny, a new original IP from the creators of the Halo franchise, Bungie. The scope and scale of this game as a massive online multiplayer shooter looked epic and massive. With Destiny, Bungie looks like they have created a unique, ambitious project. I want to know if the game will play as impressively as it looked last year.
6. WWE 2K15
A curious mystique surrounds WWE 2K15. All we really know is that the game is coming out this October. It’s still not clear who is developing the game. For the last decade and a half, WWE’s video games have been developed by Yukes. WWE 2K14 appeared to be the end of an era. Although the title was published by 2K Sports, it was still a title in transition after the assets were carried over, due to the bankruptcy of longtime WWE game publisher THQ. WWE 2K15 could possibly be a complete overhaul of the franchise if Yukes is no longer the developer. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the future of the franchise. While I enjoyed some of Yukes recent efforts with the franchise, especially their improved physics engine, the franchise needs a good overhall. I’m not expecting anything the level of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, but I want to be wowed by whatever new vision 2K Sports has in store for the franchise.
5. The Evil Within (Bethesda Softworks)
At last year’s E3, Bethesda Softworks provided an enticing first look at the latest game from the mind of Resident Evil-franchise creator Shinji Mikami. The atmosphere looked intense. The imagery was downright horrific. It looks like Mikami, who gave the Resident Evil franchise the shot in the arm it needed with Resident Evil 4, has possibly reinvigorated the world of survival horror yet again. With the game’s August release in a matter of months, Bethesda will surely want to showcase the game at E3 this year. I’m both itching and dreading to play this game–itching, because the game looks like it’s recreating the gameplay and aesthetic of RE4; and dreading it because it looks absolutely terrifying and freaky.
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was just the appetizer. Now it’s time for the main course. Konami will be showing off a new look at the latest installment to fan-favorite franchise Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain this year. Ground Zeroes served more or less as a tutorial for Phantom Pain; and now, we will finally get the chance to dive right in to MGS for the next generation of gaming, including a huge open-world setting. The trailers and visuals for this game have been nothing short of brutal, deep, emotional, and complex hallmarks that are synonymous with this franchise.
3. Visceral Games’ Untitled Secret Star Wars Project
I’m really hyped to see this game at the convention this year. Last month, Visceral Games GM Steve Papoutsis, revealed that Amy Hennig had joined Visceral and EA as the new Creative Director for their upcoming Star Wars project. One of the most brilliant minds in game developing, who was also the head writer and game director the Uncharted franchise, is now collaborating with the creators of Dead Space on a new Star Wars title? Yes, please. I can’t wait to see what Visceral and Hennig have in store with their Star Wars project. If there’s one title that gets revealed or showcased this year at E3, I hope it’s this one.
2. Uncharted PS4
This will be a new beginning and new direction of sorts for the Uncharted franchise. The adventures of Nate Drake and his pals move on to the PS4. This will also be the first installment of the franchise that Amy Hennig isn’t working on, since she left Naughty Dog and now works with Visceral Games. Last November, the first teaser trailer for the game featured a character who appeared to have a personal vendetta against our hero, Drake. The cinematic gameplay experience that the Uncharted franchise provides is unlike any other. And not only that, the multiplayer and co-op modes for the franchise are among my favorite multiplayer experiences for any game in existence. While I have trepidation about whoever will be creatively shepherding the franchise without Amy Hennig’s guidance, I’m anxiously awaiting to see the first PS4 installment of the franchise.
1. Batman: Arkham City
It has all come down to this: the final installment of Rocksteady Games’ revolutionary trilogy that broke the mold and redefined the landscape of video games based on comic book superheroes. While this is their final installment, it appears that Rocksteady is breaking out all the stops for their last adventure with the legendary Dark Knight. At E3, we’ll hopefully finally get a chance to play the game and get a taste of actually driving the Batmobile in the game–one of Arkham Knight’s major selling points. I’m really anxious to see what modified gadgets and attacks are in store for the combat and predator rooms. Since Arkham Asylum came onto the scene in 2009, I’ve been hooked on this franchise. Finally, a modern Batman video game that understands what it should be like to play as Batman, but also provides an equally deep, complex and involved story–comparable to many of the great works that make Batman such a compelling character. This new story, which will depict Batman’s greatest adversaries, aside from Joker who is worm food [or is he?], aligning themselves to take over Gotham City and kill the Bat once and for all. Plus, there’s the new, mysterious and armored villain called the Arkham Knight. As for his identity, my money is still on Arkham Knight being some abstract personification of Batman’s id whom he created as a result of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. But that’s just a crackpot theory.