Game makers great and small are gathering in Los Angeles this coming week for the American video game industry’s biggest shindig of the year, E3. Digital Trends is putting boots on the ground to bring you the latest and greatest news as it drops. Here are twelve games that we can’t wait to get our hands on at this year’s show.
Major E3 press conferences to watch:
Publisher E3 rumors and schedules
June 16, 9 a.m. PT
June 16, 10 a.m. PT
PC Gaming Show (AMD)
June 16, 5 p.m. PT
Our most-anticipated games of E3:
A longtime favorite of PC gamers, the Fallout series of post-apocalyptic RPGs came back in a big way when Bethesda took up the reins and gave us Fallout 3 in 2008. Fans of the series often can’t agree on whether they prefer 3 or its sillier 2010 follow-up Fallout: New Vegas (I am squarely in the latter camp, for what it’s worth), but pretty much everyone has been eager for more. This recently-revealed and long-anticipated sequel casts the player once more as a survivor who emerges from an underground vault to seek a new life in the remains of the post-nuclear-war world, this time in and around the city of Boston.
Another beloved, 90s PC franchise that was recently given new life by another developer, 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of the most critically-acclaimed strategy games in recent memory. Firaxis, best known for the long-running Civilization series, captured the spirit of the classic game about leading a rag-tag resistance of elite soldiers against the overwhelming forces of alien invasion, while also boldly making it their own — truly a modern classic. XCOM 2 picks up after a failed game of Enemy Unknown. The aliens have taken over and infiltrated the highest levels of government, so now your job is to coordinate the guerrilla resistance that puts Earth back into the hands of humans.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
The first Call of Duty: Black Ops and its sequel are among the best-selling video games of all time, ranking only behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as the best-selling first-person shooters on any platform. This latest entry follows in the footsteps of last year’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare by spicing up the modern military action with an exciting injection of near-future science fiction. Where Advanced Warfare heavily featured super-powered exoskeletons, Black Ops III is going more down the Deus Ex route of soldiers with directly-implanted, cybernetic enhancements, such as robotic arms.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed Unity, the action/adventure series’ debut on the latest generation of hardware, was a pretty big flop. Technical difficulties plagued the launch, but even the developers had achieved stability, many fans were still underwhelmed by the game’s unambitious rehashing of the established series formula. Syndicate is Ubisoft’s chance at redemption. Set in London, 1868 it follows sibling protagonists Jacob and Evie Frye in their inevitable journey to becoming masters of stabbing people. Victorian London is full of colorful characters to serve as NPCs in the game, with Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens already confirmed to make appearances.
Star Fox Wii U
Nintendo announced the existence of a new Star Fox game just before E3 2014, but precious little has been shown since. Legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto has apparently taken special interest in the project as another way to further explore the unique gameplay potential of the Wii U. In January, Miyamoto confirmed that it will finally be playable on the floor of E3 2015, giving fans the first chance to jump into the cockpit with Fox since the Nintendo 64 classic, Star Fox 64.
Metal Gear Solid V
Series creator Hideo Kojima’s apparently fraught relationship with publisher Konami has been one of the most discussed stories of the gaming industry in the last year. Although his future with Konami seems up in the air, he is at least committed to staying on to complete this game, which many speculate will be his last entry in the long-running stealth action series. Metal Gear Solid V takes the somewhat linear, mission-based structure of previous Metal Gear games and marries it with the recent trend toward open world design, giving players a wide swathe of Afghanistan to explore with objectives to complete and the tools to do so however they please.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
In 2011 Deus Ex: Human Revolution revitalized yet another beloved PC gaming franchise, which was one of the first games to combine elements of a first-person shooter with those of a roleplaying game. It may be a standard mechanical cocktail now, but it was revolutionary in 2000. Human Revolution was all about empowering player choice, both in how they chose to develop the abilities of protagonist Adam Jensen, and how they chose to approach any given situation, mixing and matching tools for stealth, hacking, conversation, and combat. Mankind Divided picks up after the last game, as cybernetic augmentation has begun to pervade and destabilize society. Players will once again assume the role of Adam Jensen a member of a special task force for dealing with super-powered, augmented terrorists.
The original Dishonored took many of the same ideas pioneered by Deus Ex — combining first-person combat and RPG character progression, encouraging both stealthy and aggressive solutions to problems — and implanted them in a striking and unique steampunk-esque setting. Rumors of a sequel have swirled around ever since, with many people suggesting that Bethesda will reveal the game during its first E3 press conference. There has been no official confirmation yet, however, and recently some sources have suggested that Bethesda will only be showing off a brief teaser, since developer Arkane is not yet ready to share more. Chalk this one up more towards wishful thinking, but it’s hard not to get excited about the chance to return to this world.
Guitar Hero Live/Rock Band 4
2015 is apparently the year that music games come back, after the first wave reached a saturation point and died down for a few years. The two big players in the genre both have new entries for the latest consoles, and are taking distinctly different approaches. Rock Band 4 is playing it safer by relying on the same control schemes, taking advantage of the established base of players that already have plastic guitars collecting dust in their living rooms. Guitar Hero Live, on the other hand, is taking a more radical approach with a redesigned guitar controller, a live action aesthetic, and new streaming platform to support a much wider and evolving range of music than previous titles.
Halo 5: Guardians
Series creator Bungie has struck off on its own with its massive Destiny, but 343 Industries and Microsoft are still committed to the ongoing saga of the Master Chief. After revisiting the series’ past with The Master Chief Collection, Halo 5 aims to be the series’ bold future, pushing the limits of both gameplay and narrative for the popular shooter franchise. Guardians has been presenting itself as particularly character-focused, splitting the single player campaign between two protagonists — the Master Chief and Spartan Jameson Locke — who end up at odds with one another. The real measure of a Halo game, though, is its multiplayer — does the mother of 21st century shooters still have what it takes to compete against its progeny?
No Man’s Sky
Developed by a tiny team at Hello Games, No Man’s Sky was one of the most surprising and exciting games to come out of E3 2014. It takes current popular tropes like open world gameplay and procedural generation to an insanely ambitious degree. There is a whole galaxy for you to explore, with vastly different worlds full of flora and fauna that have all been generated by a sophisticated algorithm. We know it will be there again this year, though we don’t know to what extent. As one of the most potentially innovative releases in recent memory, though, any and all details about No Man’s Sky have us chomping at the bit to start exploring.
The Last Guardian
Ok, so we hear this every year to some extent, but one of these years it has to be true, right? This follow-up from the team that created the seminal PlayStation 2 games Shadow of the Colossus and Ico has been lost somewhere in development hell since 2007, but Sony has never quite let hope die that we’d eventually see it. Although it’s generally treated as a punchline alongside Half-Life 3 for games with rabid followings that will never be released, The Guardian (appropriately enough) recently reported that they “have it on very good authority that this will be the year.” Don’t get your hopes up too high, but maybe — just maybe –the stars will align, pigs will fly, Duke Nukem Forever will retroactively have been good, and The Last Guardian will become more than just a trailer and a dream.