The Entertainment Software Association canceled E3 2020 on Wednesday due to growing concerns about the coronavirus just under three months before the event was slated to kick-off, and already we know how this will affect Warner Bros Games' fall 2020 game lineup. The publisher was poised to make some huge announcements at the show that have seemingly been confirmed in light of the show's cancellation.
As early reports about E3's cancelation began circulating Tuesday night, Geeks Worldwide's James Sigfield seemingly leaked WB Games' E3 plans in a tweet: "YES, WB is having an E3 conference this year to announce their full slate of games including Batman and their DC Game Universe, Harry Potter and more," he wrote. In his report about E3's cancelation for Kotaku, Jason Schreier confirmed this to be true.
"WB Games had planned to talk about a number of much-anticipated games including a new Batman, a Harry Potter game that had leaked in 2018, and the next game from Arkham developers Rocksteady Studios," Schreier wrote.
Schreier teased on Monday via a Twitter response that he knew WB had plans to announce some kind of new open-world Harry Potter game that had originally been teased in 2018. In October 2018, Eurogamer reported that the game was being developed by Avalanche Software. That studio was acquired by Warner Bros. in 2017 and hasn't put out a new game since that year's Cars 3: Driven to Win. While we haven't heard much about this Harry Potter game in the years since, Schreier and Sigfield's comments have renewed interest in the title.
Perhaps even more noteworthy from Sigfield's tweet is the surprising hint that Warner Bros. is planning to create a connected universe of games based on DC superheroes. While this is a strategy common in films thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's an ambitious process that has yet to truly be applied to video games. Video games simply don't crossover all that often — or at least not in that way.
Such a reveal might've been one of the biggest announcements to come out of E3 2020 had it actually happened.
WB Games Montreal, the developers behind Batman: Arkham Origins, teased the existence of a new Batman game in January 2020 seemingly based on the critically acclaimed Court of Owls storyline. This may be the game slated to launch the DC Game Universe, and the plan may have been for it to be formally announced during WB's presentation at E3 2020.
Rocksteady Studios is also allegedly working on some kind of games-as-a-service title that takes place within the DC Universe, but nothing has been shown or even confirmed yet. It seems possible or even likely that it'll resemble DC Universe Online. The developer has seemingly been working on this new game since 2015 but we know very little about what it'll involve.
Will WB Games hold the press conference digitally around the same time in June? Or will there be scattered announcements for these titles throughout the rest of 2020? We'll probably know by June.
The Inverse Analysis
After years of teasers, a leak confirming that WB Montreal's Batman: Court of Owls game, Avalanche Software's Harry Potter title, and Rocksteady Studios' games-as-a-service project are, in fact, real is a welcome revelation. But it's unfortunate that we won't ever get the E3 2020 presentation that was planning. We now have no idea when WB will deliver some kind of alternative presentation now that E3 is no longer happening.
The show's cancelation will have large ripple effects throughout the rest of the industry as well in a similar fashion. Hopefully, WB Games and the many other developers and publishers can salvage whatever E3 2020 plans they had. The most practical alternative might be to reveal everything in a digital, Nintendo Direct-style format.