With just one month left to go(!) until all the unannounced E3 2018 games are revealed, the rumor mill is starting to churn with significant speed. This week's fuel for the speculation fire comes courtesy of Walmart Canada, which (as spotted by Wario64) lists several unannounced games as available for pre-order.
Some of these games are expected, even confirmed. Some of them are... not. But which are real and which are phonies? Let's go down the list game by game and see if we can deduce the legitimacy of each. First up:
There hasn't been a new Splinter Cell game since 2013's Splinter Cell: Blacklist. However, series protagonist Sam Fisher recently made a cameo appearance in Ghost Recon Wildlands, lamenting that, thanks to the retirement of "one other guy ... wore a bandana or something," it's only old Sam left in the espionage action scene. Five years is certainly long enough to earn the character an open-arms homecoming, especially if - as was the case with his Wildlands cameo - it means the return of Michael Ironside as his voice actor. I give this a two out of three green lights on a forehead's chance of being real.
Just Cause 4
Just Cause 3 released to mixed reviews and, on PC, performance issues exacerbated by stringent DRM. It had a strong first week at retail, outperforming Just Cause 2's launch by nearly 50%, and current sales estimates suggest roughly 2 million units sold. That's no small feat, but it's also not blowing Just Cause 2's 6 million out of the water. I give this game four out of six grappling hook tethers' chance of showing up at E3.
Dragon Quest 2
So... Dragon Quest 2 was originally released back in 1987, and I'd be really surprised if we got a port or remake of this. There's Dragon Quest 11 coming soon, so maybe someone mistook the Arabic numerals for Roman ones? Otherwise, my best guess is that someone just left a word out and this is supposed to refer to Dragon Quest Builders 2, which is confirmed to be in development, but only for PS4 and Switch, whereas this game is listed for PS4 and Xbox One. In any case, I give this one Slime out of like, a lot's chance of actually being called "Dragon Quest 2".
Sound familiar? Way back when even the first Destiny was but a twinkle in our eyes, we learned of Bungie's plans for post-launch DLC; between smaller expansions, the studio expected to release updates known as "Comets" in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021. These would straddle the line between expansion and full-blown sequel, offering far more content to players than chapters like House of Wolves and Dark Below. Ever since The Taken King however, the term Comet seems to have disappeared from Bungie's lexicon. Now, it's possible it's just become more of an internal codename for extra-large expansions that revamp the core experience, but with Destiny 2 expansion Warmind having just dropped in early May, I doubt there would be an announcement of something Taken King-sized at E3 2018. I give it one and a half wizards from the moon out of ten.
At PAX West 2017, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told fans that the majority of staff at the studio was "working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on". The Borderlands series has always been massively popular, and it's been four years since the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Tales From the Borderlands. Time to come back to Pandora. Five "catch a riiiiiiide"s out of "gitchu one"s.
Not "Assassin's Creed" with an apostrophe, denoting a creed possessed by assassins. Just multiple assassins and a creed. Okay, grammatical errors aside, I could see a new Assassin's Creed game getting announced at E3 2018. Ubisoft famously said it wanted to give the series room to breathe after flooding the market with a new game every year, and indeed there was no AC game in 2016. That said, Assassin's Creed Origins did quite well for itself, and Ubisoft may see this as a sign that it's earned back goodwill for the franchise. I'm not so sure one game can undo the damage done by Assassin's Creed Unity, but I also wouldn't be surprised. One out of two hidden blades, one and a half if it means a late 2019 release date.
Lego DC Villains
We've had three Lego Batman games and likewise two Lego Marvel Super Heroes games, but what about the other side of the story? Sure it's not the most original idea, but it's fun to be the bad guy sometimes, and DC has an excellent roster of recognizable villains. I give it 50 out of 52 odds of being real - this feels like a sure thing to me, barring a The-Flash-ran-through-time reboot.
Look, one of my best friends loves the first one and I'd wager surely someone else out there does too, but this is not a heavy-hitter franchise. The original Rage was a technical marvel of its time, but reviews gave it mostly so-so scores, and it wasn't a massive hit sales-wise. That said, Bethesda has since published some really great open-ended games like Dishonored and Prey, and Id Software completely tore apart its plans for Doom 4 to make the universally-acclaimed DOOM (yes, I'm going to all-caps that one, because it deserves it). And the newly-christened Rage Twitter account seems to be having some fun, so who knows? If there is a Rage 2, maybe it won't trip over itself like the first one. Two irradiated mutants out of five this is real.
***UPDATE 10th May, 11.01am BST: Bethesda have hilariously mocked its own Rage 2 leak… but doesn't deny the rumours***
Forza Horizons 5
Did you like Forza Horizon 3? Well get ready to have your mind blown, because the Forza series is just gonna skip right past Forza Horizon 4, and replacing it with more horizons! Forza Horizons 5, coming this... fall? Okay yes, obvious typo is obvious, and there's zero chance Xbox announces "Forza Horizons 5" at E3 2018. But could a Forza Horizon 4 be on the... (don't say horizon, don't say horizon) horizon? (Damn it!) Probably! Development studio Playground Games is rumored to be working on Fable 4 at the moment, but that doesn't mean that the entire staff is assigned to that project. Forza Horizon 3 was a major success, and these games have always been spread two years apart, which means we're about due. Forza Horizons 5? Zero mph. Forza Horizon 4? At least 80 mph.
Gears of War 5
Duh. Gears of War is one of Microsoft's biggest exclusives (which it could really use more of), and Gears of War 4 was well-received both critically and commercially. Plus, it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, suggesting more games are on the way. Gears of War 5 is almost definitely in development - will it get announced at E3 2018, though? I give it one "WOO!!" from the Cole Train. 'Cause one is all you need, baby.
But what do you think, dear readers? Which of these sets off alarm bells in your head and which ones are you setting aside pre-order money for right now? Let us know in the comments!
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