Last night I returned home from PAX AUS 2014. Long story short, it wasn't perfect, but it was quite possibly the best weekend I've had this year. It was a lot of fun. If you'd like to continue reading, the long story is just below.
Buckle up. This is gonna be...
As the first Electronic Entertainment Expo solidly in the next-generation of consoles, GameRevolution's expectation for the convention couldn't be higher. This year's lineup of titles, though many have been delayed until 2015, will bring a firmer realization of the industry's technological standard for the following seven years.
While Microsoft is primed for a series of solid exclusives that have already been revealed, we hope Sony and Nintendo show at least a few traces of several franchise favorites. (Is this the last we'll hear about a certain guardian?) We'll know much more once Nick Tan, Daniel Bischoff, and a few of our other writers attend the E3 conferences as we live-Tweet our reactions to the presentations of Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft.
A Note: During the write-up for this article, Alex Osborn had an entry of Final Fantasy XV prepared, but with the recent announcement from Square Enix that it and Kingdom Hearts III would not be showing at E3, it's been sadly dropped. However, we'll certainly let you all know if Square Enix is hiding the games in the back somewhere.
So, without further ado, the list of GameRevolution's most anticipated titles for E3 2014. In case we didn't cover a title that you're interested in seeing, please share it in the comments below.
Electronic Arts has confirmed that The Sims 4 will be a part of its lineup at E3 2014, and we can't wait to experience the game's new interface for character creation and house-building. Both of these features were given extensive in-depth trailers by Maxis and The Sims Studio earlier in May, highlighting the speed and ease of adjusting objects, getting facial features just right, and creating a style for the house. After the controversy on SimCity, we're hoping that Electronic Arts does right by The Sims 4, which is currently slated for a Q3/Q4 2014 release.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (2K Australia, Gearbox Software)
Ding! Level up!
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is shooting for the moon, literally. Taking place somewhere between the two existing Borderlands installment, this title features a new but familiar cast of playable characters including Athena and Wilhelm (before he becomes the robot boss) before they meet their fate with Handsome Jack. Not only will there be low-gravity shenanigans, but we finally get the chance to play as an insane Claptrap. What's not to like?
Though bidding its time for a delayed 2015 release, Batman: Arkham Knight will almost assuredly appear at E3 2014, with us having seen the title in a sneak-peek preview during GDC earlies this year. We've asked ourselves how Batman could get better, and of course we ended up with the same answer that Rocksteady had: the iconic Batmobile.
With his four-wheel beast and a new suit of plated armor, Bruce Wayne might seem unstoppable, but the Arkham Knight has other plans. We think he may possibly be a special form of Red Robin, but the emblem on his chest references the Arkham Asylum facility. So we'll just have to wait and see who this mysterious villain/anti-hero might be.
The Evil Within (Bethesda, Tango Gameworks)
Nick Tan was impressed in his preview of The Evil Within at a pre-E3 event, but the rest of the staff needs a bit more convincing given its less than stellar showing at PAX East. Lead Developer Shinji Mikami wants to bring everything's he learned over the years with the Resident Evil series and revive the survival horror genre as he envisions it. Forcing detective Sebastian Castellanos through a mindtrip of a mental hospital filled with hanging corpses and rooms flooded with blood is an (un)healthy start. Let's see if it follows through.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED)
Ah, The Witcher 3. Another game also delayed to 2015. But a game that makes our writer Blake Peterson fawn over the hair physics, the wind as it bellows over the fur of the wolves. Yes, he's that excited.
But he should be, since CD Projekt RED's upcoming next-gen project has an open world that's even bigger than Skyrim's. Geralt of Rivia is on a new mission and must contend with a strange force invading the Northern Kingdoms called the Wild Hunt. Makes us think that Hircine is stirring trouble, but that's the wrong game and trolls will hurt us.
Destiny (Activision, Bungie)
The idea of a "shared world first-person shooter" is difficult to imagine without playing it firsthand. It's one part MMO, one part action shooter, one part lootfest, and all parts epic. The scope of Destiny is nigh-insane, and if it succeeds, oh my word. Bungie has a reputation for revolutionizing a genre, so not anticipating Destiny in any way would be folly. The futuristic story deals with the collapse of humanity, the savior of the Traveler, and the Darkness that desires nothing more than to wipe humans off the face of the planet. Luckily, the humans in this post-apocalyptic age have technological prowess and superpowers, those that we hope to hold in our hands at E3 2014.
Zelda Wii U (Nintendo)
A new entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise only comes around once or twice a console generation, so Eiji Aonuma's promise to reveal Link's next adventure at E3 has all of us here at GameRevolution giddy in anticipation. Nintendo teased us a few years back with a tech demo for Wii U that provided a hypothetical look at what the next Zelda game could look like, and boy was it gorgeous. If history is any indication, however, it won't look anything like the tech demo, but regardless the art style, the game is sure to be a knockout on both the visual and gameplay front.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami, Kojima Productions)
Hideo Kojima has been hyping up the new trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain so much that it's difficult not to get unreasonably excited for its showing next week. The video is apparently "difficult to watch" so there's no doubt it's going to stir up a bit of controversy when it inevitably airs during either Sony or Microsoft's press conference. Sure, the recently-released prologue Ground Zeroes may have left most of us feeling a bit shortchanged, there's no doubt that The Phantom Pain's massive scale and epic story will have Kojima back in the good graces of MGS fans everywhere.
Halo 5: Guardians (Microsoft, 343 Industries)
While the next chapter in Master Chief's journey won't be out until 2015, Halo fans are sure to get a glimpse of Guardians during Microsoft's E3 presser on Monday. Even if it is just a teaser trailer, it'll be enough to get the hardcore fan base speculating, and the hype train rolling. Plus, we're getting somethingHalo-related in 2014, and no, I'm not just talking about the Ridley Scott "digital feature." Rumor has it that a collection of the first four games is coming to Xbox One, or at the very least a Halo 2 remake, so there certainly won't be a shortage of 343i's sci-fi shooter franchise at the show this year. We just hope Halo 5: Guardians gets enough time in the spotlight, too.
Tom Clancy's The Division (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Massive)
We saw but a glimpse of Tom Clancy's The Division at last year's E3, and we're expecting Ubisoft to provide a significant update to this next-gen tactical shooter. It already looks gorgeous and detailed as far as modern mid-apocalypse is concerned, using Ubisoft's Snowdrop engine. The story has areas for deeper examination: a disease has destabilized the majority of the United States, and as a member of The Division appointed by the President of the United States, you must salvage what's left of humanity (or at least New York City, from I can gather). Much of The Division is still under wraps, like how the multiplayer is going to be integrated, but still, it looks like another exciting property from Ubisoft.
The Order: 1886 (Sony, Ready at Dawn)
Developed by SCE Santa Monica Studio and Ready at Dawn, The Order: 1886 is one of the most mysterious titles this year. Looking as if it's somewhere between Shin Megami Tensei and Dishonored, the game stars an order of knights, bluntly named the Knights of the Round table under King Arthur, equipped with semi-steampunk gadgetry and charged with eliminating half-breed monsters. Despite their newfound technology, the order finds themselves amidst class warfare. Just how all of this will come together is beyond us and no doubt rubs our curiosity.
Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (Nintendo, Game Freak)
While the third generation of Pokémon games may not be the greatest in franchise history, Ruby and Sapphire were incredible titles in their own right and have quite the loyal following. As such, there's plenty of excitement for the upcoming remakes, dubbed Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, which will be launching later this year on 3DS. With completely remade visuals that use the stunning engine of Pokémon X & Y, those who wish to re-experience these third-gen classics will undoubtedly be in for a visual treat. In many ways, it will be like playing through these games for the first time, and this Pokémaniac simply can't wait!
Uncharted 4 (SCEA, Naughty Dog)
There hasn't been a whole lot of encouraging news surrounding the new Uncharted title since it was announced at the PlayStation 4 launch event last year, but there's still plenty of reason to be excited about its potential E3 showing, even if the game is still a ways away from release. Amy Hennig and Justin Richmond are no longer with the team, but Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley are now in the driver's seat, and that is reason enough to be incredibly hyped. At the very least we suspect Sony will have a teaser for the game at its press conference, and if the prior entires in the series are any indication, it will be one heck of a gorgeous title. Let's go, Naughty Dog! Show us what the power of PlayStation 4 can do!
Mirror's Edge (DICE, Electronic Arts)
Electronic Arts revealed this new take on Mirror's Edge at last year's E3 and this time Faith and players will get to explore a huge open world online with others. We want to know how the developer will address issues players had with disarming mechanics and gunplay, but we also want to know if the online will use a leader board system similar to the recent SSX reboot to encourage even more time-trial competition.
Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games, Microsoft)
Insomniac Games have a long history of inventive weaponry design and explosive action. With Ratchet & Clank's varied and wildly entertaining guns and the Resistance franchise's story about man versus alien, we want to learn more about how Insomniac will bring those credits to bear on the vibrant world in Sunset Overdrive. Just give us the controller and let us see plenty of gameplay.
Super Smash Bros (Sora Ltd, Namco Bandai, Nintendo)
Nintendo's once-a-generation fighting franchise will have a huge showing at E3 2014, with the newest Super Smash Bros. landing on 3DS and Wii U this year. We know the 3DS version will arrive before the console version, but E3 is our first chance to go hands-on with the Wii U release. Smash Bros. is all about fast action with tons of characters, stages, and items and Nintendo continues to impress us with its early high definition games. We'll use our critical eye to figure out how the console and handheld versions differ.