E3 2013 preview – what to expect


In just over a week’s time, the gaming world will descend on the Los Angeles Convention Center for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo. What can we look forward to seeing there?

Begun, the Console Wars have
Ok, now it’s on. Microsoft

disappointed hardcore gamers by playing up the TV and multimedia

features of the Xbox One during its big reveal last month and Sony

disappointed, well, everyone with its console-free PS4 ‘reveal’ back in

February.

E3, then, is a chance for both Sony and Microsoft

to show off what their new consoles can really do. Both consoles have

new controllers and we will be interested to find out just how well

Kinect works as the default navigation method for the Xbox One and if

features like heartbeat monitoring are anything more than gimmicks.

ps4
The

PlayStation 4’s new controller is still an unknown quantity too. The

integrated touch panel ought to open up new control methods to any

developer that cares to code for them and the whole controller has

reportedly been rebalanced and fine-tuned for the best responses and

feel. We shall see.

Xbox Live Director of Programming, Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb responded to criticism of the perceived TV-bias by tweeting:

“I can confirm that we will have TV’s (or similar) on stage to show

games. That should be the extent of TV talk in your #E3.” Sure enough,

Microsoft will kick off its E3 with a 90-minute press event called

“Xbox: A New Generation of Games Revealed.”

That said, we would

be surprised if someone from Microsoft didn’t at least mention the live

action Halo TV show, particularly if Steven Spielberg really is

involved.

Sony is in an interesting position here in that it didn’t

push the PS4’s TV/Multimedia features in its February product launch, but did promise more information down the line. E3 would be as good a

place as any to get everyone up to speed with how the PS4 will serve up

video and music ‘content’ but our gut feeling is that, with Microsoft on

the back foot with gamers, Sony’s press event will also pile on the

games in an attempt to claim the position as the gamer’s platform.

The

PS4’s lead architect, Mark Cerny, would have us believe that Sony has

the titles to back that up. In an interview with Gamasutra last month he

claimed, “The launch lineup for PlayStation 4 is going to be stronger

than any prior PlayStation hardware.” Not that we expect Microsoft to be

a slouch in that department either, of course.

You can read our Xbox One vs. PS3 comparison to see how things look right now.

New Halo and Gears of War 5 to launch Xbox One?
xboxone
There’s

going to be a new Halo game, isn’t there? A world where an Xbox console can

launch without Master Chief clunking his way around is not a world we

want to live in. A new title in the Haloverse has been confirmed, but

will this be a direct sequel to Halo 4, another outing for the ODST or

something new? Whatever 343 Industries has planned we expect it to be a

key part of the Xbox One launch line-up.

Similarly, Gears Of War 5

will likely stick its head out from behind cover to let us catch a

glimpse of its ugly mug. Plot-wise this one could easily reboot the

franchise with a new main character and even setting. Of most interest will just what a Gears game without Cliffy B at the helm will actually feel like.

See the rest of the confirmed Xbox One games.

New Sony exclusives
In

the absence of the PlayStation 4 there are still some juicy PS3 games

being released. Naughty Dog’s twist on the survival horror genre The

Last Of Us is sure to feature heavily.

We are also looking

forward to a closer look at upcoming Rain, where you play an invisible

boy who is searching for an invisible girl through a city of endless

rain. That rain, of course, reveals your presence as your invisible body

distorts the raindrops. The game looks absolutely beautiful and the

early previews had more than a whiff of PS2 classic Ico about them,

which is no bad thing.

There is another (no, not the Wii U)

Valve’s

Gabe Newell has said that the company will not be exhibiting at this

year’s E3, but that doesn’t mean that the Steam Box is necessarily going

to miss the event. As Xi3 hasshown, in theory anyone can make a

‘Steam Box’ – they are basically just PCs. Could we see a few more

candidates pop up at E3?

Whatever happens, it looks unlikely

that we will be getting our longed-for reveal of Half Life 2: Episode 3

(or even ‘Half Life 3’) but that won’t stop us saying a silent prayer to

the gods of Gaming that Newell’s announcement was a fake-out.

Other

PC exclusives to watch for are Elder Scrolls Online, which is shaping

up rather nicely to bring Skyrim-quality RPGing to the MMO world.

cod ghosts

Ok, now let’s talk about the Wii U.
Nintendo’s own next

gen system will be at E3, of course. The Wii U may have taken a bit of

sales beating of late but Nintendo isn’t taking things laying down.

Although deciding against its usual presentation, Nintendo will be

holding a special press event during which it will be showcasing some

new games for the Wii U. The exact titles are under wraps, but Nintendo

was kind (or canny) enough to release a teaser image featuring the

silhouettes of several popular characters.

From

this, we can be fairly certain that new games are coming that featuring

Mario – both solo and with his brother, Luigi – Link from The Legend Of

Zelda and the veggie creatures from Pikmin.

Super Mario Galaxy

will get a Wii U outing in a direct sequel to Super Mario Galaxy 2 on

Wii. Also strongly rumoured (and leaked via an Amazon listing) but not

yet seen is a Wii U port of upcoming shooter, Call Of Duty: Ghosts.

Big cross platform games
EA

will be giving us our first look at FIFA 14 on the next-gen machines.

FIFA games are usually just incremental improvements between releases, but EA does like to pull out the stops for a new platform. Just how

photorealistic can CG footballer hair get?

Bethesda is said to be preparing a major new release and its practice of

alternating between Fallout and Elder Scrolls games should mean that

Fallout 4 will be shambling towards the Los Angeles Convention Center to

be born. Fallout: New Vegas wasn’t a huge leap forwards from Fallout 3

in terms of gameplay, although the new setting was a welcome surprise

but we have high hopes that the

destinyMeanwhile, Halo’s original developers Bungie is set to show off its ‘persistent shared-world shooter’, Destiny. Not quite an MMO, Destiny

will incorporate multiplayer elements and an environment that can be

affected by events in the shared world as a whole, while still somehow

having a single-player and co-op campaign. As a departure for Bungie,

this won’t be an Xbox (360 or One) exclusive but will also appear on the

PS3 & 4.

Ubisoft will be bringing its new South Park game to

E3 alongside surveil-em-up Watch Dogs and the new Assassin’s Creed

sequel, Black Flag. As well as these current-gen titles, Ubisoft has promised some next-gen surprises. Nothing confirmed as yet although

rumours point to 3rd-person adventure Anubis and new racing franchise

The Crew but there are said to be at least four more titles in the wings

for Xbox One alone.

New technology
The

Oculus Rift virtual reality headset got its first proper public demo at

E3 2012 and in the ensuing year we have seen a number of developers publicly praising the system as well as that funny and rather touching

viral video of a 90

year-old woman getting her first taste of VR but still no consumer

version. That is still slated for release next year but we hope that

Oculus VR Inc. will be showing off some more complete games and tech

demos at E3 that will give us a better idea of what the average gamer

will be able to do with it when it does hit the market.

2013

could be the year that 4K gaming really takes off. The Xbox One will

support 4K gaming out of the box and although the PS4 only plays 4K

videos by default, 4K gaming is rumoured to be coming. Given the Xbox

One, we would expect Sony to be giving the team responsible a bit of a

prod.

To actually play games in 4K resolution you will need a

suitable screen. Samsung, Sony and the usual TV manufacturers have

high-end tellyboxes for this kind of thing but PC-maker Asus is also

launching a dedicated 4K gaming monitor which we will be very interested

to gawp at.

Surprise!
The one thing we can be

certain of is that E3 2013 will have some surprises up its sleeve.

Actually, a convention centre with sleeves would be surprise enough. Bad

metaphor.

Previous E3 surprises have included Portal 2, the Wii Motionplus controller and Kinect. What will knock our socks off this year? Whatever happens, be sure to check with trusted Reviews for the latest news from LA when the show kicks off on 11 June.

Next, read why the PS4 will be more powerful than the Xbox One