Critical Chicken
E3 2016FeatureSaturday, 11th June 2016 by

A Critical look ahead

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 21 years, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or “E3” to us commoners) is an annual event in which the biggest — and I loathe to say brightest — of the gaming industry get together and announce their interesting plans for the year. And what better way to launch a brand new gaming website than with a pondering of what wonders we might see in this fine year?

EA – Sunday at 9:00pm

EA, as a company, are an odd one. They’re known for making big AAA games but, more importantly, not very well. But some of the games they make (largely thanks to Bioware) are actually quite good. And this year’s E3 looks quite promising, if only for one major thing:

Mass Effect: Andromeda.

I’m a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, and I’ve found it particularly strange how quiet EA have been about one of their most fan-beloved franchises. Considering it’s meant to be out later this year (Q4, as of writing), we’ve barely had a sniff of it, so fingers crossed there’ll be some kind of gameplay shown during the conference.

The cast of Mass Effect: Andromeda

We’ll also, no doubt, see copious amounts of Battlefield 1, which I hope I’m not alone in saying I don’t give two figs about. Like previous instalments in the war franchise, I’m sure it’ll be very pretty, but ultimately lacking in substance like many “dude-shooters”. And, when push comes to shove, it’s never going to be Call of Duty 3, so I just don’t care about it.

We may also get a peek at yet another Sims 4 expansion, especially with the recent gender equality update garnering the game oodles of press attention. But, as I’m sure I’ll talk about in a later post, The Sims 4 isn’t worth anyone’s time, so feel free to switch off at that point.

Oh, and Titanfall 2. Yup…

So, fingers crossed for Mass Effect: Andromeda!

Dishonored 2 concept art. Two men are walking down a dusty, post-apocalyptic-looking street.

Bethesda – Monday at 3:00am

I’m in two minds about Bethesda recently. I’m happy to name The Elders Scrolls IV: Oblivion as my favourite game of all time, but I’ve felt their recent forays into the RPG genre have been a little lacking. I’d be interested to see a new Elder Scrolls game in the new engine (which recently powered Fallout 4), but I’d be very surprised if it was paraded onto centre stage this year.

Hopefully, what’ll take up the most time will be Dishonored 2. The original stealthy stab-’em-up was a hit with fans and critics alike when it came out 2012, and from the brief snatches we’ve seen so far it seems to be a lot more of the same. And in a game that got it so right the first time, I really hope they take Dishonored 2 down the same winding, dark alleyways as the original.

Other than that, apparently the Elder Scrolls card game is still a thing. So, if you ever get bored of Hearthstone… Nah, people aren’t gonna get bored of Hearthstone, are they?

Microsoft's demo of Minecraft running on the HoloLens

Microsoft – Monday at 5:30pm


OK, disappointment out of the way.

Microsoft have a habit of taking their conference and turning it into a “look at this innovative thing we’re doing with the Xbone” event that no one cares about, and I have a feeling this conference is going to be much of the same. An Xbox Mini? You can bet your hat that’ll be there. More talk about Xbox/Windows cross compatibility? Check, and it’ll still be as badly thought-out as the first time we heard about it. But games for the company’s ill-fated console? I’ll be surprised if they get any time at all.

But, and there is a very big but here, there is the HoloLens. I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about wearable technology as I have about the HoloLens — I mean, the applications for it are insane. Tabletop Simulator, anyone? Just let me put on my freakin’ tech specs, and we’ll have a game of cross-country Monopoly!

We’ll probably also get a taste of something Halo-ish, most likely a new expansion for Halo 5. It feels far too early to be announcing Halo 6, even though we all know it’s coming, so I would be surprised if we saw the first glimmer of that.

Perhaps the most interesting thought on Microsoft’s conference: are they going to address the fact that they made their flagship AI (Cortana) into a raving lunatic and main antagonist in Halo 5? It doesn’t exactly smack of the best marketing sense, now does it?

Ubisoft – Monday at 9:00pm

There will be a new Assassin’s Creed game. It will most likely be a move tie-in. I will hate it.

Also: Assassin’s Creed: Modern Adventure. Because people weren’t disappointed enough in Watch Dogs we’ll be getting a sequel, proving once and for all that Ubisoft doesn’t know when to let things die.

A screenshot of The Last Guardian

Sony – Tuesday at 2:00am

The PS4.5 is smacking on everybody’s lips at the moment, and no doubt it’ll make a rather big entrance during Sony’s conference. For once, I’m not going to be cynical here; I’ll give it a chance, and probably talk about it a bit more when some specs become available. Having been an Xbox fanboy for most of my life, it really does pain me to say that, if anyone can do console gaming at 4K/60fps, it’s probably going to be Sony.

Games-wise, I don’t really know what they’ve got planned. With any luck, we’ll see some interesting indie titles on centre stage for a change. Or, of course, we may finally hear some definitive news on what’s happening with The Last Guardian.

We may also see the new PlayStation VR in action, and for anyone who’s ever seen the HTC Vive, it will be deeply disappointing.

Nintendo Treehouse – Tuesday at 5:00pm

To be perfectly honest, I’ve given up caring about Nintendo. I would have been interested to see some gameplay of Pokémon Sun and Moon that they’re apparently not going to show, but other than that… I mean, Zelda’s still a thing, right? And hey, I hear amiibos are cute, or something?

Honourable mention

A screenshot of Civilization VI


With the impending releases of Mafia III and Civilization VI, 2K are likely going to be a company to watch out for. Both games show promise of building on a very solid foundation, and could prove to be show-stoppers. Also look out for the long rumoured BioShock Collection.

So, those are my totally positive predictions of what we’ll be seeing in the coming days. Let us know what you’re expecting or hoping for.

We brought this post back from the dead with the help of the Wayback Machine. These aren’t the original images.

E3 2016Feature