This article titled “Star Wars Battlefront II, Far Cry 5, Last of Us II and more: E3 2017’s most anticipated games” was written by Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 7th June 2017 10.30 UTC
Every year the video game industry debates the ongoing relevance of E3, its most famous hype-disseminating event. With the business changing so fast, with our new era of digital distribution, YouTube influencers and “games as services”, do we really need a mammoth meet-up at the Los Angeles convention centre? Then every year, as June gets closer, the excitement builds.
So a week before E3 2017 kicks off, here are the titles we’re most excited to see and maybe even play.
Call of Duty: WWII (Activision, PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Yes, we had slight concerns about the narrative behind the latest CoD shooter, which follows a young US army recruit as the Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches and then head through Europe. However, Sledgehammer is a hugely talented developer and the return to the Second World War should revitalise this ailing giant. The studio has interesting plans for the crucial multiplayer component too.
Crackdown 3 (Microsoft Studios, PC, Xbox One)
The long-awaited return of this formative open-world shooter will be a major draw at E3 this year. Players take on the role of a hyper-powered special agent, zooming around a futuristic city destroying enemies, vehicles and whole buildings thanks to the advanced environmental destruction engine. Overseen by DMA Design founder and GTA mastermind Dave Jones, it could be a showstopper.
Destiny 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Developer Bungie has promised a complete shake-up of its successful online shooter, with a much more complete narrative, revised character stats and customisation options, and lots of fresh weaponry. The exploration element has also been tweaked, adding discoverable quests and characters to planet surfaces. Possibly won’t excite complete newcomers, but there’s lots to interest the game’s 30m or so regular players – and, of course, more details are expected at E3.
Detroit: Become Human (Sony, PS4)
Whatever you think about Quantic Dreams, the French studio behind Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, its games are always filled with interesting and idiosyncratic ideas. This sci-fi action adventure follows a group of intelligent androids as they make sense of their roles in the human world. It looks beautiful and the structure, which gives players a huge amount of control over the story and moral proclivities of the characters, sounds fascinating. But it’s time to find out more about what we do in the game.
Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft, PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Ubisoft’s revered action adventure series is returning next February, bringing its blend of swirling narrative violence and open-world exploration to rural Montana. Here, a militarised religious cult is abducting locals and you’re the sherif sent to stop them. The set up has intriguing political overtones which should be fleshed out a little more at Ubisoft’s press conference.
Knights and Bikes (Foam Sword Games, PC, PS4)
Successfully Kickstarted last year, this visually delightful adventure has a sort of Stranger Things vibe as two young friends explore a mysterious island off the coast of 1980s Cornwall. The co-op two-player narrative seeks to recreate the innocent, wide-eyed wonder of movies like ET and The Goonies – which is not something you usually see celebrated on the E3 show floor.
Last of Us Part II (Sony, PS4)
Naughty Dog surprised everyone last year when it announced a sequel to its acclaimed post-apocalyptic adventure – the original game seemed to end at the perfect place. But Part II picks up five years later, with Joel and Ellie returning as the lead characters, the latter promising to “kill every last one of them” in the spine-tingling reveal trailer. We might not see much at E3 as this one’s not out until winter 2018, but surely Sony will give us a glimpse during its press conference?
Lost Ember (Mooneye Studios, PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Set on a far future planet reclaimed by nature after the fall of mankind, this gorgeous role-playing adventure has the player controlling a wolf and a variety of companion creatures (including birds and fish) as they attempt to discover what destroyed civilisation. Developed by Hamburg-based Mooneye Studios after a successful Kickstarter, Lost Ember has already been well-received at a series of indie festivals.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
One of the surprise hits of 2014, Shadow of Mordor looked like a standard hack-n-slasher, but brought in its fascinating Nemesis System, in which enemy characters remembered battles with player-character Talion and would get promoted through the orc ranks by defeating him, adding a bubbling undercurrent of vengeance to the action. This sequel is set to be four times larger and features a new follower system, allowing players to build a small army to lay siege to orc fortresses. The release has been delayed until October so E3 hands-on sessions will be packed out.
Spider Man (Sony, PS4)
Veteran gamers have fond memories of Activision’s Spider-Man titles from the early 2000s, which brought open-world exploration and true verticality to the Marvel franchise. Now Sony has the license and developer Insomniac Games is producing a modern interpretation built around the very decent Sunset Overdrive engine. Expect parkour-style exploration, wall crawling and web-slinging combat, but little else is known. It’s bound to drop in on Sony’s press event.
Star Wars Battlefront II (Electronic Arts, PC, PS4, Xbox One)
While EA’s Battlefront title caught the sights, sounds and actions of Star Wars as a multiplayer experience, some felt a little annoyed that there was no single-player component. Coming in November the sequel includes a full campaign mode, set between the destruction of Death Star II and the rise of the First Order. Meanwhile, online modes will get new characters, new settings (including Mos Eisley) and more advanced space combat. We’ll be in the queue to play this, that’s for sure.
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo, Switch)
The first truly open Super Mario platformer since the Nintendo 64 takes the adventure beyond the Mushroom Kingdom and, judging by the footage shown last Autumn, into a city closely resembling New York. Wearing a sentient cap that can help with landscape traversal, and with new friends and enemies to meet, gaming’s greatest plumber is set to really light up Los Angeles.
Uncharted 4 Lost Legacy (Sony, PS4)
Billed as the first standalone adventure in the Uncharted series, Lost Legacy follows Nathan Drake’s old ally Chloe Frazer as she works with Uncharted 4 mercenary Nadine Ross to protect a fabled ancient Indian artifact from a war profiteer. Naughty Dog is promising an epic adventure, filled with exotic locations and puzzles – so basically Uncharted without Nathan and Sully. Shut up and take us to the E3 demo.
Vampyr (Focus, PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Set amid the flu epidemic that followed the first world war, this dark, foggy adventure from French studio Dontnod (Remember Me, Life is Strange) has a freshly transformed vampire doctor coming to terms with his condition while feasting on human blood – in clear violation of the Hippocratic oath. Set in the dark streets of postwar London, the player must decide who deserves to live and die, discovering an evil undead cult and its ruthless slayers in the process.
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games, PC/Mac)
Billed as a bleak American folk tale and featuring beautiful, painterly visuals, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a kind of road trip adventure where you meet an array of downbeat characters and hear their stories. With sections written by an exciting cast of game creators (including narrative designers Cara Ellison and Emily Short), this promises to be a surreal and interesting find for more daring E3 attendees.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo, Switch)
Alongside Kingdom Hearts 3 and Skyrim on the Switch this will be the big RPG draw of the event – if Nintendo chooses to show it. A sequel to the ecstatically received 2010 Wii adventure, Xenoblade Chronicles, we’re promised a huge open world and a whole new protagonist, but little else is known beyond the fact that Xeno series regular (and Final Fantasy alumni) Tetsuya Takahashi is overseeing development. This and Super Mario Odyssey would be a significant double whammy from the Big N.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010