So far 2019 has been a bit of a slow year for big game releases, but with E3 fast approaching, we'll soon know how the next six months are shaping up. This is always one of the biggest weeks of the year for game announcements, details and trailers, and to get warmed up, New Atlas is diving into the crazy rumors, confirmed appearances and potential wild-cards of this year's E3 expo.
One of the biggest disappointments of this year's expo is the news that Sony is skipping the show altogether. That doesn't bode well for the PS4's lineup in the back-end of 2019, and means that the long-awaited Last of Us Part II is probably still over a year away at best. The good news is that Sony has confirmed it's busy working on the PlayStation 5, although an official reveal isn't expected before May 2020.
Oh, and Activision is also a no-show, but unless you're really into Call of Duty, you probably won't miss it too much.
With its main competitor sitting this one out, Microsoft has plenty of leg room – and it looks like the company plans on stretching out. Clocking in at two hours, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has said that this E3 presentation is Microsoft's longest in years, with 14 in-house games to show off.
The biggest of those is no doubt Halo Infinite, followed closely by Gears 5. After brief reveals of both at E3 2018, they've been confirmed for this show, so expect the two of them to soak up a fair bit of screen time.
We don't really know what else to expect beyond that, but we can make a few educated guesses. The new Battletoads is due sometime this year, so some details should be imminent. Leaks from streaming service Mixer hint at the existence of Fable 4, suggesting a possible reveal at E3. And Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has confirmed he's working on a game in some capacity, with persistent rumors suggesting a collaboration with Dark Souls developer From Software – maybe Microsoft's presentation is the time for the wraps to come off that.
Rare will probably unveil some new content for Sea of Thieves, and if we're lucky, the studio might even show off a brand new title or two.
But perhaps the most pressing rumor is that of new hardware. It's no secret that Microsoft is well into development on the successor to the Xbox One, and although a release isn't expected until late 2020 – alongside the PS5 – the company might use its extra breathing room at E3 to tease its next-gen console.
Nintendo has a pretty solid second half of 2019 in the pipeline, with Super Mario Maker 2, Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion 3, Pokémon Sword and Shield, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening all headed for the Switch this year. That gives the company plenty to talk about in its E3 presentation.
That said, Mario Maker had its own dedicated presentation last month, and Pokémon has one coming up this Wednesday. Nintendo is probably getting them out of the way, so its E3 presentation can focus on other things.
With that in mind, Animal Crossing and Luigi's Mansion will probably get a good chunk of airtime, considering we know basically nothing about them yet. Fire Emblem and Zelda should also cop a lesser mention too.
The other expected announcement is the next add-on character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Joker from Persona 5 has been in the game since April, so a new reveal feels overdue. Who it might be though is anybody's guess – the rumor mill has dragged in Rayman, Banjo-Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, Minecraft's Steve, and even the nameless, faceless demon slayer from Doom.
There are plenty of other previously-announced games that we don't have much info on yet. It would be nice to get some concrete details on Bayonetta 3 or Pikmin 4, for example.
As for what won't be at the show: Metroid Prime 4. Nintendo recently announced that development on the long-awaited sequel has completely restarted, so don't expect this one for a few more years yet. Likewise, the company also quashed the persistent rumors of new Switch models being announced at E3.
Of course, it wouldn't be E3 without some curveballs thrown our way. Most of the big franchises like Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Mario Party/Kart have already gotten (or soon will get) games on the Switch, but maybe we'll see something dug up from the fringes of the catalog. A new F-Zero? Star Fox? Warioware? Punch Out? Whatever it may be, at least we don't have long to wait.
Bethesda is once again hosting a conference at E3, although this year it's less clear what games the publisher is planning to show off. Doom Eternal and Wolfenstein: Youngblood are the only two titles confirmed so far, both of which are due sometime in the remainder of 2019.
We're also pretty much guaranteed to hear about new content for the recently-released Rage 2, and the ongoing Fallout 76. Bethesda has been pretty quiet about the VR title Wolfenstein Cyberpilot, which is due in July, so maybe more info on that is coming.
Two of the most anticipated upcoming titles are, unfortunately, confirmed no-shows. Director Todd Howard has said that Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI, both announced last E3, won't appear at all. Both are still in early production and won't be out for a few years yet.
Other than that, color us curious. A new Fallout seems like a long shot this soon after Fallout 76, but maybe we'll see something new from Dishonored, Prey and/or Quake. Shinji Mikami, creator of the Resident Evil franchise, casually tweeted that he's attending the show, so an Evil Within 3 could be on the cards (although personally, we'd rather he announce the rumored Dino Crisis reboot).
Once again, EA is technically skipping E3 to host its own show, EA Play – which is basically the same thing. There doesn't seem to be too much news coming though, because the publisher is foregoing a press conference in favor of gameplay streams and developer interviews.
The headliner is Jedi: Fallen Order, a new single-player Star Wars game due out in November. After a cinematic reveal trailer back in April, a look at the gameplay has been confirmed for EA Play. Expect a lot of Force throwing and lightsaber battles.
New content is a given for the company's ongoing "service" games like Anthem and Apex Legends, as well as Battlefield V. And this year's sports iterations will get plenty of attention, especially FIFA and Madden, which are starring in their own livestreams.
Outside of that, Dragon Age 4 might make an appearance, and a new Plants vs. Zombies game is apparently in the works. We might also get announcements of new indie games published under the EA Originals label.
But the most intriguing possibility for us is a new Simpsons game. The E3 website lists a panel featuring writers and producers of the show, fueling speculation that a new game starring the family is imminent. And since EA has the license, this is where it'll most likely be announced.
A recent report revealed that Ubisoft has four AAA games in the pipeline between now and March 2020, so those will obviously take up a decent chunk of the company's E3 press conference.
Only one of those has been officially revealed so far – Ghost Recon Breakpoint. It'll no doubt play similarly to the others in the series, but there's still room for more info.
Another likely suspect, which was leaked by Amazon UK just this week, is Watch Dogs Legion. The third game in the series is said to take place in a future London, and really ramp up the hacking mechanics. If true, this will no doubt be a focus for Ubisoft.
The other two games are anybody's guesses. It's been a while since we've seen anything from Rayman or the Rabbids. A new IP called Roller Champions leaked a few weeks ago, but that looks a little basic for the company to slap a AAA label on.
As for those that won't be making an appearance: Assassin's Creed is taking the year off, and it's been confirmed that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is also skipping the show. The swashbuckling adventure Skull & Bones has also been delayed into 2020, so there might not be anything new to see for now.
Other news outside of new AAA announcements will probably include the annual Just Dance instalment, and updates for The Division 2.
Best of the rest
Those are the biggest players, but there's a whole host of other publishers and companies making the most of E3 season. Here are a few of the most exciting miscellaneous tidbits.
Google is whipping the covers off its game streaming console and service, Stadia, with a dedicated livestream on Thursday June 6 that will run through pricing, games and launch details.
THQ Nordic says it has two unannounced games to reveal – one a remake that marks the "long-awaited return of a galactically beloved game/franchise" while the other is a "new vision of a beloved game/franchise." The word "galactically" is carrying a lot of weight there, leading some (including us) to desperately hope it's a Destroy All Humans remaster, but it could also be Red Faction. The second is believed to be a Darksiders spin-off of some kind.
And finally, Square Enix has announced that an Avengers game will be detailed at E3. If it's anywhere near as good as last year's Spider-Man, we're very much all in.
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