Roundtable: Expectations of a Third-Party E3

E3 2014 is a huge rarity for me because it’s one of the first ones where I am actively looking forward to and anticipating games from third-party publishers and developers more so than anything the “big three” are offering. I’m keen to see where 2K and Turtle Rock are taking Evolve, and whether they have learnt much about offering a multiplayer-only experience from Titanfall, arguably the biggest litmus test for this kind of game. I can’t wait to see more of Bethesda’s The Evil Within, and on a similar note to see where Capcom are going to take Resident Evil for its seventh instalment after a polarising sixth, or if they’ll bring back one of their legacy franchises like Dino Crisis or Onimusha.

Of course, Konami will be showing an allegedly controversial trailer for Metal Gear Solid V, and hopefully we’ll get a release date too. Sega will show off Alien Isolation, which is another game I’m interested in.

But nobody has got me more excited than EA, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Assuming all these games make an appearance, EA has a stellar line-up that I just can’t wait to see. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mirror’s Edge 2, Star Wars: Battlefront and the long awaited Mass Effect sequel are some of the games I absolutely cannot wait to see. Ubisoft have Far Cry 4, which I’m intrigued by despite having seen no footage – as well as yet another Assassin’s Creed.

I do grow tired of them, but I am keen to see if Ubisoft will attempt to reinvigorate the franchise and also what they do with the apparently unique game released for older consoles. Warner Bros. have Batman, Dying Light and Shadow of Mordor  – all great looking games that I can’t wait to sample. But the biggest and most exciting announcement of all, for me, was Mortal Kombat X. I cannot wait to see what Ed and the team at Netherrealm deliver and how it’ll differ from the last Mortal Kombat game, which was pretty close to perfect.

Let’s not forget two huge developers are doing conferences as well: EA and Ubisoft.

And speaking of EA, will we finally see some footage of the massively anticipated Battlefront? More so, do we even want to after the absolute mess that was Battlefield 4? I’ve learned never to buy a EA game on release, especially a multiplayer focused one. Keep your eyes out for this one.

Confirmed to also show up is Battlefield: Hardline, a new instalment and debut from Visceral Games. It seems that EA want the same two-year cycle, two different developers thing that Call of Duty did (now that they’ve moved on to three developers for three games over three years). Frankly, I don’t see much in Hardline, and I don’t see why EA just doesn’t let Visceral ruin another horror franchise.

Dragon Age: Inquisition looks good but after the backlash from Dragon Age II, it’s hard to get too excited about this. No, the only thing that really piques my interest is Mirror’s Edge 2, and I’m not sure we’ll get to see much footage of that this year.  Oh, and the Sims 4, I suppose.

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Ubisoft have an impressive amount of work to do in order to win me over. After the controversy of the E3 2012 Watch_Dogs demo, it’s hard to take anything Ubisoft presents without a grain of salt. Of course, I’m looking forward to Far Cry 4. It’s one of my favourite gaming series, so it’s hard to go wrong here and I’m excited to see what Far Cry 4 offers outside of rideable elephants.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity? Despite my love of Black Flag and of the series, I’m very worn out by the constant sequels. Especially since Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Watch_Dogs all share similar assets, I’m quickly becoming worn over the ‘Ubisoft formula’. If Unity can break the cycle that would be great. Otherwise, I’ll be looking at The Crew as the only real standout Ubisoft game. And let’s not even mention The Division. Suffering from numerous delays and a supposed whistle blower that laments how little has been done, I wouldn’t take any ‘gameplay’ shown at this year’s E3 seriously.

You already get a sense that it’s going to be a big E3 for the third-party.

Ubisoft’s big draw this year is without doubt The Division, the dystopian New York third-person shooter. Said to include an “unprecedented level of realism,” in Ubisoft’s words, I’m just sad it has slid down the order to release sometime next year. Though it’ll have a presence at this year’s expo, so another glimpse at it should tide us over for a little bit while we set in for the long wait.

The publisher are also set to show off Unity, the next in the Assassin’s Creed series, which isn’t even close to my radar, so it has the potential to catch me off guard. Same goes for Far Cry 3, I feel they’re jumping into a sequel a little too quickly, but hey, I’m open-minded.

As for EA, we pretty much know what to expect for the most part.

They’ll bring Battlefield and a score of sporting titles that I’ll absolutely never play, I’ve played one FIFA title out of the last half dozen and that’s because it was free with my Xbox One. But what I’m keen to see from EA are the games we don’t quite expect. Anything Star Wars at this stage would tear the roof off the auditorium, and now would be the time to reveal if they want to build hype and launch in the same holiday period at the next film.

But don’t forget about Mirror’s Edge.

Could we see Fallout 4 or Mass Effect 4? That’s the big question on everyone’s lips. The latter is no secret and is expected to be revealed soon, but the former is the one that people are clamouring for. There have been rumours it could be locked down as a console exclusive, but even the thought of that seems bewildering. Imagine the coin it’d take to secure it.

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