It’s the middle of June, and that means one thing: E3. The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles is the center of the gaming calendar year. For those unfamiliar, it’s where gaming’s biggest publishers and developers show off their new wares for the next year(s). Today, at 12:30 p.m. EST, Microsoft will take the stage to unveil new plans for its struggling Xbox One console. Rumors leaked about the slimmed down Xbox One S, but what else do they have in store?
Ubisoft is having a big year with Tom Clancy’s The Division and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie. Will they do anything with their new IPs, like the medieval multiplayer sword combat game For Honor? We’ll find out when they take center stage at 4pm ET.
At 9pm ET, Sony holds their press conference. Arguably the show-stealers from last year, Sony has already set tone of its conference confirming its updated PlayStation 4 (codenamed Neo) will not be at E3.
But what will be? Here are 10 things to look out for today at E3.
10. A new, slimmer Xbox One
Cat’s out of the bag: Microsoft will lay out the plans for its slimmer, leaner Xbox One that is rumored to have two terabytes of storage and 4K video playback. Leaked images hit the web over the weekend showing a pearly white console different from the paler hue of the Xbox 360.
While Sony hit E3 heavy last year offering long-demanded games like Shenmue III and a remake of Final Fantasy VII, Microsoft dazzled with an impressive demonstration of Minecraft played through its reality/VR hybrid tech, the HoloLens. Microsoft has been relatively mum over what HoloLens could mean for gaming. Maybe E3 is their chance to show off.
8. Final Fantasy XV demo
While it hasn’t been a Sony-exclusive title in years, the next iteration of Final Fantasy from Square Enix is expected to have a live demonstration on the Xbox One at E3. It was a pretty big deal when Final Fantasy XIII was announced for the Xbox 360 at E3 several years ago. And today, it still kind of is. Especially if it could help the lagging Xbox One in console sales.
7. More ReCore
The mysterious Xbox One title ReCore, which can be best described as something like if Disney made Mad Max, is expected to be revealed in greater detail at Microsoft’s E3 conference. The trailer impresed at last year’s E3 but little was known about the game besides its creative leadership in Keiji Inafune and the makers of Nintendo’s Metroid Prime. A release date leaked last night dating the game’s release for September 13 in North America and September 16 in Europe.
6. More Gears of War 4
We saw a generous amount of Gears of War 4 at last year’s E3, but Microsoft’s shooter could be milked for all its worth on a year without Halo. After the game’s beta this past spring and a release date scheduled for October 11, E3 is Microsoft’s last shot to make Gears of War 4 count.
5. Horizon: Until Dawn
Another game that wowed at E3 last year, Horizon: Until Dawn for the PlayStation 4 is expected to headline Sony’s conference. The game has been delayed to February 2017, but that still leaves this year’s E3 as a prime opportunity for Sony to show off the game’s breath-taking visuals and survival-driven gameplay.
4. A new God of War?
It’s been awhile since fans have controlled Kratos through a fantastical ancient Greece. A known insider (via GameSpot) claims Sony will use E3 2016 to announce God of War 4 or whatever iteration a new game in the series could be.
3. New things for PlayStation VR
PlayStation VR is now a real thing, but it’s only getting started. E3 2016 is a chance for Sony to unveil its plans for the tech’s first official year on the market. Last night during EA’s conference, a video teased a Star Wars game that enabled piloting an X-Wing with PlayStation VR.
2. Shenmue III
After Yu Suzuki and Sony stole the show by making the impossible dream come true of Shenmue III, the long-awaited follow-up to Suzuki’s cult Shenmue series, the game’s successful Kickstarter campaign last year could mean there’s more to show at this year’s E3. But with the distant December 2017 release date so far away, Shenmue could have a much smaller presence this year. Still, an update would be nice.
1. For Honor and South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Ubisoft’s new sword-fighting multiplayer For Honor could be Ubisoft’s next big franchise if they play it right. The company released a teaser hyping the game’s vikings arriving at E3 this year.
The Division was this year’s major success with a movie adaptation already greenlit, and Michael Fassbender is set to star in Assassin’s Creed based on Ubisoft’s evergreen fantasy series later this year. Ubisoft is having a good year, and For Honor could be their next big thing especially with its eSports possibilities. If not, hey, at least it has South Park: The Fractured But Whole.