I was sad to hear that Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 was postponed until 2018 and that it isn’t likely to be at The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in a public way. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a spectacular E3. In fact, this year’s show will be oozing with greatness.
Most of the major game publishers and platform owners have big games to show. Even without the surprises and new intellectual properties that are sure to debut, I think that the game industry has a lot titles deserving of our attention. Here’s my list of the most-anticipated games of E3 2017.
Call of Duty: WWII
As a history buff, I’m a sucker for Call of Duty’s return to its roots in World War II. And as a shooter fan, I love the engagement and emotional attachment that comes through in a game with a strong story and dramatic historical subject matter. Sledgehammer Games is pouring a lot of soul into this title, and I hope they will reveal strong hands-on gameplay, a story with a plot that weaves us through the greatest battles in history, and a message about war for a new generation. I’m looking forward to seeing multiplayer and getting hands-on with this potential blockbuster.
The Last of Us Part II
I’m replaying the original The Last of Us now with my daughter because it is my favorite story-based game of all time, and I believe it has beautifully crafted characters and an ending that is moving. I expect developer Naughty Dog to draw me into the continuing story of Ellie and the search for meaning in a grim life of survival in the wake of a viral apocalypse. I sincerely hope that Sony gives us more than a tiny reveal at this show.
God of War
God of War always had awesome gameplay, but it wasn’t for everyone. That’s why the father-son theme of this reboot looks like a brilliant way to inject a more emotional, broadly appealing story into the series, which will blend Greek and Norse mythology into the next big adventure for Kratos and his clearly un-god-like little boy.
Far Cry 5
Ubisoft found a way to make the beautiful environments and open-world shooting of Far Cry more relevant by bringing the story home to American turf. It is a tale about fighting back against extremist cultists who take over a county in Montana as they prepare for doomsday. It reveals an ugly, vulnerable side of America that is very relevant to today’s headlines. I see as much potential and relevance in this Far Cry as I have ever seen in this series.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Warner Bros. and Monolith peeled back the onion on the story for this Orc-smashing game, and it looks like they’re doubling down on the attempt to make the story of this game as good as either of the Peter Jackson film series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the best new Tolkien lore came from a video game? The potential is there, and I hope there’s enough material next week to piece together the story of the game. The predecessor, Shadow of Mordor, also had a brilliant plot that fit perfectly into the chronology of the Tolkien universe. I believe this one will continue that theme.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Electronic Arts did a great job of rushing out Star Wars Battlefront under its new licensing deal with Disney for Star Wars. But now it has had more time to craft a real single-player adventure, starring a team on what appears to be characters from the Dark Side. Put that together with more awesome multiplayer experiences, and you have a virtual guarantee this will be a blockbuster.
Detroit: Become Human
David Cage has given us great choice-driven experiences like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Now, he is creating a story-driven game about androids who serve humans, from the android point of view. Cage is clearly disturbed at the idea that we would create human-like creatures and then treat them like slaves. This story resembles Westworld in almost every way, but it comes in the form of an interactive video game, which could be far more entertaining than Westworld.
We saw one riveting scene at the last E3 that was more of a tech demo than a fleshed out story last year. Days Gone featured a bounty hunter who manages to get trapped amid a sea of zombies, and he fights his way into a corner with almost no hope of escape. I loved the suspenseful action, and I hope there’s a compelling story to go with it.
Sea of Thieves
Microsoft’s Rare has been polishing this seaborne adventure for a while. You team up with friends on voice chat and then figure out how to keep your pirate ship afloat. Avast. It looks like this one could deliver many hilarious multiplayer matches. I just hope this one isn’t far away from home port.
Speaking of titles that have come in from the cold, Fortnite looks like fun. It is shipping as a paid early access title on July 25, and it is like someone put a fun shooter experience into Minecraft. You go out into the huge procedurally generated levels, collect resources, build a fort, and then defend it against a zombie horde. The apocalypse was never so fun.
Last Day of June
If any game has the potential to be like Journey, this is the one. This interactive adventure has an emotional story that challenges players to answer the question, “What would you do to save the one you love?” It has a pretty, impressionistic art style, and it is being built by well-known developer Massimo Guarini, who is casting it as an emotional journey.
Super Mario Odyssey
Mario makes his way to the Nintendo Switch this fall. The happy Italian plumber can make or break Nintendo’s new game console. And that’s why I expect Nintendo to put some extra love into this one. The concept is a good one: Take Mario and put him into a realistic-looking city.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
This might just be a side story, but Naughty Dog built a great series with Uncharted, and I’m not quite ready to let it go. I hope it truly lives up to the Uncharted legacy. I’m looking forward to finding out just how big a game this is going to be.
This virtual reality sci-fi game has potential as a multiplayer esport. It’s like a blend of Tron, Quidditch, and Ender’s Game. Your team of five human players has to take on five humans in zero gravity. You have to pass around a disc and get it into your opponents goal. There’s a lot of hooting and hollering over the voice command channel.
This series hasn’t quite lived up to its potential as a high-tech Grand Theft Auto. But Microsoft appears to have put some real creative firepower behind it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how far they can take it. I hope they finally make jumping around a city and shooting bad guys into something really fun.
This is a beautifully illustrated indie game made mostly by single man with a vision, Jason Roberts. I’m looking forward to playing more of Gorogoa, a puzzle game that requires you to look at artistic scenery and zoom in on particular objects to reveal a new dimension or unlock a puzzle. The title will be published by Annapurna, which could be a new force in video games if it keeps finding gems like this one.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Insomniac’s take on the web slinger looks amazing based on what little we’ve seen of it. The game made a debut in trailer form, and we hope to learn a lot more about it including the boss fights we’ll tackle and the launch date. I love how Spider-Man really looks like he’s moving through a real city in this scene. I want to be immersed in that city.