With E3 2014 now right around the corner, we think it’s the perfect time to break down some of the games we’re most excited to see strut their stuff on the show floor. Will your favourites make it onto the list? Take a read, and if they’re not, feel free to provide a list of your own in the comments section!
1Marty: Final Fantasy XV
When Final Fantasy Versus XIII was first revealed eight years ago, my first thoughts were WTF is with the ‘Versus’ title, and I need to have this game in me right now. The real-time combat looked utterly glorious, and the modern setting a breath of fresh air for the series.
Then we heard practically nothing about it…for seven years. FF fanatics were instead treated to a trilogy of garbage, replacing player agency with the infamous paradigm system, and a cast of characters so irrefutably bland they made Duke Nukem seem like a complicated guy.
Once Final Fantasy XV was revealed to take the place of Versus, the reaction was one of hesitant anticipation. True, character dialogue was as superficial and ridiculous as Japan itself, but the real-time combat and art design oozed that level of quality Square Enix was known for in its heyday.
Now, as the series enters the 8th generation, the stakes are set high. Many see the game as the last hope for the franchise, as once-hardened fans question their loyalty like they’re supporting Nintendo. This is your final warning Squeenix, don’t let the E3 crowd down. You need it.
2Jon: Dragon Age: Inquisition
E3 is probably going to be full of great games this year, and Dragon Age: Inquisition may not be the best, but it’s the one I’m most interested in. While the first Dragon Age met widespread praise, the sequel was flogged by the fans – perhaps a little unfairly. Dragon Age 2 was given little over a year before it was ejected from the womb by executives who clearly had no idea how long it took to design a game of this scale. With a full three years to bring us this third installment, I’m a little more hopeful.
But the BioWare we once knew is gone – the doctors who founded the company have left for other pursuits, and the BioWare name is now no longer the guarantee of quality it once was.
Inquisition will give us our first real glimpse at what the new BioWare can do. They know what worked the first time around, they know what failed on the return – now it’s time to put that practice to use. BioWare has developed some of the greatest games ever made and I’m eager to see if that continues to be the case.
3O’Dell: Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. is the one title that has me hyped beyond belief. The feeling I’ve gotten form watching the trailers is akin to the first time I played Super Smash Bros. Melee, and watched the Nintendo trophies come to life. Along with the overdue graphical upgrade we will finally have legitimate controller options with Wii U gamepad and Pro controller. I will finally be able retire all my GameCube controllers and move into the bright new future.
With the promise of a fine tuned fighting system that even Street Fighter would be proud of, Smash is shaping out to be a contender in the fight game genre. Unlike other fighting games you don’t know what you’re going to get and how most characters will play out. Smash is unpredictable in terms of play styles and characters.
The excitement from that alone is enough reason to play. Since we are talking about characters Greninja is probably the best Pokémon from the new generation they could have picked. Trying to compete with Super Smash Bros. is simply NO CONTEST!
4Alex: Project CARS
It’s rare when Gran Turismo is no longer the most exciting racer on the virtual landscape, as entrancing as GT Academy and the prospect of a jock-turned-nerd sweating it out at Le Mans is. But that’s the reality we face with Project CARS, the crowdfunded ultimate racer from Slightly Mad Studios, makers of the Need for Speed: SHIFT series.
It’s true that Assetto Corsa’s model is more satisfying to the hardcore, but no-one can deny the sheer momentum pCARS has generated with its thousands of luxurious downsampled screenshot galleries and the absolutely divine, community-made trailers. The jaws of anyone who thought Forza 5 was a killer app for the Xbox One must have shattered into oblivion when they saw pCARS for the first time. It’s stunning in a way that touches your soul, catches your heart and lets it float into the sky like a feather taken by the wind.
And it doesn’t hurt that Slightly Mad has secured a tonne of support from car manufacturers and race tracks. There’s plenty of love and affection for the inner workings of the cars too; it’s not like the game is anything but authentic.
Perhaps that’s the best description for pCARS: a labour of love. Project CARS is due out on all major platforms, including the Wii U, later this year. E3 will show why it’s a must have.
5Alex: The Witcher 3
Geralt’s magnum opus should have been the highlight of 2014. We’ve been cheated, CD Projekt Red, and I’m not happy. I can’t handle too many magnificent RPGs in a single year, and The Witcher 3 was supposed to be this AAA season’s crowning jewel.
It’s not, of course, meaning the Polish developer’s 2015 will be stacked with the intriguing Cyberpunk 2077. We’ll probably hear a lot more about CDR’s take on the tabletop RPG at this E3, considering the release date and what little available information there is. But The Witcher 3 is tantalisingly close to being finished, sitting on the precipice of greatness.
Even from the previews you can see how convincingly well designed the world of The Witcher is. It’s comprehensively crafted in the same way that gives The Lord of The Rings that aura of credibility. The balance between magic, steel and political intrigue is enough to make everything feel human. It’s how I feel the world would be if I was living in it, fearing for my life, pulling the strings of the empire.
We’ll see more of The Witcher at E3 and it’ll be a headline game in the major conferences. And if it’s playable on the floor – it’ll be one of the games of the show. You wait and see.
5Alex: Star Citizen
This one’s bleedingly obvious, surely. How can a game that’s raised over US$44 million (at the time of writing) directly from gamers about SPACE not be exciting? Whether Star Citizen has a strong presence at E3 is another thing, but if it’s there at all, you can guarantee Chris Roberts’ magnum opus – surely, this will be the largest and greatest project he will ever work on for the rest of his life – will become the talk of the crowd.
Again, how can it not be? It’s a genre long abandoned by the kind of crowd that normally avoids major trade shows like the plague – and I’m talking the general press as much as the developers. But sometimes it takes a man with vision, someone willing to go against the grain, to show the world just how wrong it is.
Star Citizen probably won’t have much playable at the event besides the dogfighting module and it’s not likely to be a fully playable product until 2016 at the latest. But anything on the deck at E3 will be kindling for the fire: a fire for a community starved of quality games, ignored by the global developer establishment for far too long.