The table is set, and our mouths are watering. We can smell these tasty selections coming right around the corner, and a few appetizers would be just what Borderline needs to tide them over until the main course.
Hot on the heels of the PS4 and Nintendo Switch comes Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, which, admittedly, sounds more military installation than video game console.
Set to arrive in 2017, Project Scorpio is marketing itself with the tagline “the word’s most powerful console.” True 4k gaming capabilities and 6 Teraflops of graphical processing power ensures Scorpio is going to be a beast of a machine.
Now, that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t mean much if we don’t see examples of it. Expect Microsoft to provide more concrete details on Scorpio; and, if we’re lucky, a demonstration of this doomsday device – er, gaming console’s power.
The Last of Us Part II
Many would argue The Last of Us stole the show at E3 2012. The graphics were practically unmatched at the time, and had gamers eager to see technological capabilities pushed to the limit.
Once The Last of Us hit the shelves, though, it became a lot more than a pretty face.
Gamers were entranced by the somber soundtrack, the dying world, and the heart-wrenching storyline. The Last of Us felt more like an ‘experience’ as opposed to just a video game. It cleaned house at award shows, broke records, and the remastered version was bundled with PS4’s as a testament to it’s greatness and staying power.
So, when the trailer for The Last of Us Part II dropped and a bloody Ellie delivered her already infamous line – “I’m gonna find…and I’m gonna kill every last one of them.” – the gaming world took notice. We haven’t seen much since then, but Borderline expects that to change. Naughty Dog has to know how much their fans want more info on Ellie and Joel. We’re curious to see how the company follows up on the massive critical and commercial success of the first game.
Dev: Naughty Dog
Pub: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Super Mario Odyssey
Quick! Picture a Mario game. What do you see?
Probably question blocks, Goombas, clouds with faces, and a vibrant palette of color. If you didn’t picture a big, metropolitan city, we can’t blame you; but that’s exactly what Super Mario Odyssey is providing.
You can’t really go wrong with Mario, but it is a little weird seeing the plumber running through the streets of a realistic city next to realistic people. A variety of other, more ‘Nintendo-esque’ locales have been revealed through screenshots, but it’s still the city that has people buzzing. Is it a hub? A secret level? Does Mario fight Bowser in the real world at the end of the game, as some sort of meta-discussion on how prevalent video games and their stars have become in modern culture?
Okay, it’s probably not that last one.
Though a few fans took negatively to the reveal, most of the talk is just that; talk. Nintendo has us all curious to see what they do with everyone’s favorite plumber. They’re likely looking to beef up the Switch’s library with more brand-name appeal, and who else to turn to but the guy who launched it all?
Here’s hoping E3 reveals more on what we can expect from the newest 3D Mario offering, and how exactly the mustachioed man found himself in the real world.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor was something of a sleeper hit. No one expected much from it, but those that gave it a try found a slightly repetitive but addictive romp through the Lord of the Rings universe that steered clear of the characters most people know and love. The ‘Nemesis’ system added an extra edge to encounters with particularly powerful Uruks, and provided an extra touch of immersion and story as players wound their way through the main campaign.
From the gameplay trailer released not too long ago, Shadow of War looks like it’s taking everything good about its’ predecessor and turning it up to 11. Now, the Nemesis system extends to your allies; friendly Uruks can develop their own personality and fighting style depending on what happens as you and your army cut a path through Mordor’s strongholds. Shadow of War doesn’t look particularly ground-breaking, but that’s okay. Initial impressions suggest it knows exactly what kind of game it wants to be, and that the team intends on delivering exactly that.
A recent delay pushed the release date from August to October 2017, so we’re curious if Monolith will have anything to say about that at E3. Perhaps the delay is just to tidy and polish; or, maybe it’s to implement another brand-new feature. Regardless, everyone at the Borderline team is looking forward to running through bad guys with our Uruk buddies at our side.
Dev: Monolith Productions
Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
The first Destiny may be one of the most hyped games of all-time; by developers and fans alike. Players were promised a world where you could go anywhere you could see, and they were given…well, not quite that.
Destiny had its fair share of road bumps in the early portion of its release life. Players left in droves, citing lack of content as their reason for abandoning the sci-fi shooter. But, like life itself; Destiny found a way.
Expansions and patches fleshed out the game and created a much more enjoyable experience for the player base. With that experience under their belts, it’ll be interesting to see how Bungie approaches Destiny 2.
So far, we’ve been promised massive new maps, new towns, quest givers, and improved matchmaking functions. It remains to be seen, though, what kind of game we’re getting; is this truly Destiny 2, or is it just Destiny Part Two.
We know, we know. That sounds nitpicky. To clarify, Borderline is wondering if this game will feel like a glorified expansion pack, or if we’ll see a new way to experience the Destiny world. We’d be surprised if E3 came and went without some gameplay showcases, so keep your eyes peeled.
Red Dead Redemption 2
It’s hard being a fan of the Red Dead series. The first game, Red Dead Revolver, came seemingly out of nowhere to deliver a visceral, memorable adventure set in the often under-represented (in the gaming world, at least) Wild West.
Then, fans had to wait six years for the sequel, Red Dead Redemption. The game was certainly worth the wait, but that didn’t make it any easier.
We’ve been hit with a similar time-frame for the third entry. The latest reports suggest a 2018 release for Red Dead Redemption 2. Though the gameplay in the Red Dead series is top-notch, it’s the story experience where the gunslinger saga truly shines. Will Rockstar satiate us at E3 with some hints on where the highly-anticipated cowboy adventure is headed? Will we see new locales, or perhaps even a new time period while keeping with the Western theme?
It’s anyone’s guess at this point, and you can bet there’s plenty of fans with itchy trigger fingers.
Dev: Rockstar Games
Pub: Rockstar Games
Star Wars: Battlefront II
The original Battlefront games are hailed not only as some of the best the Star Wars brand has to offer, but some of the best gaming in general has provided. We at Borderline wasted many an hour on our PS2’s blasting battle droids and (accidentally) Ewoks. The gameplay was solid and satisfying, so when a reboot of the series simply titled Battlefront was announced, fans took notice.
The game managed to capture the sights and sounds of Star Wars exceedingly well, but for some, playing it felt more like Battlefield with a Stromtrooper filter slapped over it. Particularly upsetting was the lack of Galactic Conquest, easily the most popular mode in the original games. The new Battlefront focused almost entirely on online competition, with offline co-op modes few and far between.
The good news is initial reports suggest EA DICE has listened to the criticism. Star Wars: Battlefront II is confirmed to feature the return of classes to multiplayer, as well as a single-player campaign experience. Gameplay will likely stay largely the same, so we’re guessing any big news at E3 will be related to new features and modes. If EA DICE wants to steal the show, ‘Galactic Conquest’ are the only two words they need to say all weekend.
Call of Duty: WWII
The Call of Duty series has established itself as the untouchable king of online shooters. Enjoyed by millions and millions of players, the series has become synonymous with competitive play. As the series progressed, it tilted further and further toward the near-future, sci-fi route, until players were jetting around on jump-packs and racking up killstreaks with portable lasers.
At last, Call of Duty has returned to the most infamous war in history: World War II.
CoD: WWII marks the series’ first journey to the time of the Axis and Allies since World at War in 2008. The popular ‘Zombies’ mode returns, and multiplayer features new additions such as a ‘war mode’ and headquarters social hub, along with a return to more grounded gameplay.
Perhaps most intriguing of all, though, is what the campaign will hold. Senior creative director Bret Robbins stated in an interview that “Some very, very dark things happened during this conflict and it felt wrong for us to ignore that.”
There’s a fine line to walk when it comes to games rooted in history. Atrocities such as the holocaust shouldn’t be exploited, but their presence can make for a more realistic – and in turn, educational and introspective – gaming experience.
Far Cry 5
The Far Cry series is known for its exciting action-adventure gameplay and exotic locales, so it makes sense that the newest entry is taking place in Montana.
Yeah, you read that right. Say goodbye to thick, ancient jungles, and hello to the great plains of Big Sky Country. Initially, some fans were skeptical about taking Far Cry stateside, but we at Borderline are optimistic about the possibilities the varied terrain of Montana can have on gameplay. We’re picturing fast-paced car chases across sprawling expanses of land, intense climbing-centric stealth missions in the Rockies, and shootouts in the wild Glacier National Park.
Far Cry 5 comes with a radical, homegrown religious cult leader as its primary antagonist. Players take on the role of a deputy sent to arrest the so-called ‘Father Seed’ and his ‘Heralds’ in the fictional Hope County. The sheriff joins forces with a local pastor, a cropduster pilot, and a bartender as they work to overthrow the tyrannical, doomsday maniac.
It’s an interesting concept that can lead to a lot of fun, innovative gameplay elements thanks to the robust engine Far Cry games employ. We’re hoping to see more of the unique setting and the sure-to-be-colorful cast of characters this weekend.
Dev: Ubisoft Montreal
Splatoon enjoyed massive success on the Wii U, and had fans anxious for a sequel while the game was still hot off the presses. As Nintendo continues to build the Switch library, they’re looking for the second installment in the squid and paint-based series to bolster the library of the new party console.
The sequel promises new weapons and new modes, including a ‘Salmon Run’ offering that’ll essentially function as a Splatoon take on the popular co-op ‘horde’ style of gameplay. Split-screen capabilities offer squid-kid fans an easy way to play with their friends, and Nintendo has promised a new campaign as well as post-release content updates. Expect Nintendo to feature Splatoon 2 prominently during their presentation; maybe we’ll even see the ever-good sport Reggie Fils-Aimé get slimed.