It's still a long wait until E3 2017 begins on June 13 but we already have a lot to talk about. The rumor mill and leak, erm, leakery are in full production mode, giving us potential titles to consider and overall directions to muse. What announcements will flash across your screen when the appointed days of press conferences arrive? Let's see what we can see.
Xbox Scorpio will get some games for all that power
The official specs for Xbox Scorpio are out there, and they're impressive. But they also put the distinct lack of officially announced Scorpio games into sharp focus. Yes, it will run all current Xbox One (and backwards compatible Xbox 360 games), but it really needs some new stuff to get people excited. The E3 stage is the perfect place for Microsoft to address that imbalance. Expect some updates on previously announced first-party titles - for instance, Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently took a trip to the UK to see Rare's new multiplayer pirate game Sea of Thieves.
Looking forward to a great day @RareLtd seeing the team and playing @SeaOfThieves pic.twitter.com/UJcDV4iFGdApril 20, 2017
Microsoft is bound to throw a few surprises in there as well, but I haven't heard too many rumblings along those lines yet. It's getting about time for a Halo 6 tease, though I don't know if that would really count as a surprise at this point...
The SNES Classic Edition could officially debut
Just weeks after Nintendo announced it was discontinuing the NES Classic Edition mini-console, the first reports emerged of its impending successor: SNES Classic Edition. Nintendo hasn't officially announced the product yet, and its E3 direct could be the perfect platform. On the other hand, Nintendo announced NES Classic Edition with a few tweets and trailers, not a big E3 presentation. That is true, but Nintendo also didn't expect the lil-NES to become so popular when it debuted back in July 2016. Now that Nintendo knows fans are super hungry for this kind of thing, I bet it ratchets up the fanfare.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a shoo-in for Sony
Red Dead Redemption 2 is set to be released in Fall 2017, and Sony and Rockstar Games have confirmed that they're working together to give PS4 players "first access to earn select online content" in the game. Translation: you are almost definitely going to see Red Dead Redemption 2 on Sony's stage at E3 2017, and it will probably be a pretty big reveal. Rockstar doesn't typically use E3 as a big marketing event on its own, but it will definitely make the most of its existing relationship with Sony. If it doesn't, I'll eat a cowboy hat*.
*One of those nacho cowboy hats with the salsa in the top.
Death Stranding may finally get a release window
Here's one more prediction for Sony's press conference - another Death Stranding trailer and maybe even an official release window. Hideo Kojima revealed his first post-Konami project on Sony's stage at E3 2016 with that enigmatic naked-and-oily Norman Reedus trailer. Then another trailer introduced us to Mads Mikkelsen and Guillermo del Toro's characters in late 2016. Kojima Productions will likely keep up the cadence with a new look at the game at E3 in June. Hopefully this one will give us some indication of how it actually plays.
Why do I think it'll get a release window, too? Now that the studio has its engine locked down (Decima, which also powers Horizon: Zero Dawn) it's in a better place to make that kind of internal assessment. And frankly it would be ridiculous to have three lengthy trailers for a game and still no clue of when it will come out except "before 2019".
Expect Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch
Rumors have been swirling about a Smash Bros. game for Nintendo Switch since before the console had an official name. Nintendo's promised a "big" E3 this year, and a new Smash Bros. would help fill out its annual livestreamed presentation. That's a qualified "new" - almost all the rumors peg it as an updated version of Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. It would likely include everything from both versions for the first time (both console versions had exclusive content like maps and modes), all the DLC characters, and potentially some new characters to boot.
Going for an expanded version of an existing game would make for a relatively quick development cycle, potentially in time for a holiday 2017 or earlier release date. If it worked for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, why not Smash?
Star Wars Battlefront 2 will have a lot to say about multiplayer
The Star Wars Celebration reveal event for Star Wars Battlefront 2 mostly focused on its new single-player campaign - and rightfully so, it looks pretty cool. That leaves the multiplayer aspects wide open for E3. Expect details about how the new class system will work and changes to the hero and vehicle systems. Attendees may even get to try a few matches - Battlefront was playable on the E3 showfloor back in 2015.
Pokemon Stars is far from a sure thing
Fans are hungry for another best-of-both-worlds game after Pokemon X & Y skipped the usual third entry and we're still waiting to see whether Nintendo will actually give it to them. The logos for Pokemon Sun & Moon leaked almost a year before the game came out, but we still only have anonymous reports as a basis for its supposed follow-up Pokemon Stars. Further rumors suggest that Stars will be released on Nintendo Switch, which would make it the first main-series Pokemon game to ever come out on one of Nintendo's home consoles. Well, Switch isn't really… you know what I mean. We'll have to wait and see on this one.
Assassin's Creed will return (to video games)
The Assassin's Creed franchise got its first theatrical release last year, but no new game. Ubisoft announced in early 2016 that the series - which had received at least one game annually since 2009 - would take the year off. It's made no mention of that break being extended since then. Not only that, but a growing body of leaks have pointed to a new Assassin's Creed game set in ancient Egypt, so there's a good chance we'll see the project allegedly codenamed "Empire" for the first time at or around E3 this year.