It’s that time of year again. Christmas for video-game nerds. You can almost smell it in the air—the crappy convention food, cheaply made swag, and all the beautiful sweaty hype that surrounds it.
That’s right folks: it’s E3 time, and even though big publishers such as EA and Sony have pulled out of this year’s expo, gaming fans have plenty to be excited about before the show floor even opens. And while most of the excitement is found in the respective publishers’ press conferences, a lot of my favorite moments come from the hype, wonder, and general positivity that this time of year seems to bring.
So, without the benefit of any inside information whatsoever, I’m going to try to predict what some of the biggest surprises of this year’s E3 will be. But to add a bit of spice to the equation, each one of my predictions will have a saucy little bonus related prediction to really drive home the point that I don’t actually know what I’m talking about.
So without further ado, I give you . . .
1. These Major Players Get Release Dates
One of the reasons some people are down on E3 this year is partially because we kind of know what to expect with a lot of the games that will be there. And while we do know the players, we don’t necessarily know how the rest of the year and 2020 are going to shake out. Here’s how I see the coming slate of gaming goodness:
- August 2019: Link’s Awakening
- September 2019: The Outer Worlds
- October: Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Gears of War 5
- December 2019: Animal Crossing
- 2020: Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Avengers
Bonus Prediction: Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Avengers will be out before June 2020 and will also release within the first year of the next generation of consoles.
2. Halo Infinite as a Launch Title for Xbox One’s Successor
While the Xbox One was nowhere near a failure, Sony’s PlayStation 4 won this generation of consoles, and it was never even close. You know it, I know it, everyone at Xbox knows it.
That’s why I can’t see Microsoft trotting out its biggest piece of software as an Xbox One title. While I know Halo Infinite will be playable on the One, Microsoft will want to show off the next step in Halo as the centerpiece of what its next-generation console can do. And since Phil Spencer and company know they need to get off to a hot start, they will do something they’ve never done before by releasing Halo Infinite as a launch title for their next-gen system.
Bonus Prediction: Halo Infinite will tell a completely different story from the one at the end of Halo 5 and will have a battle royale mode within six months of its launch.
3. A New Fable Game
While we don’t technically know what Playground Games, the team behind the Forza Horizon series, is working on, it’s basically the safest bet of E3 that the UK-based developer is working on bringing Fable back to the masses. Playground was hiring for its new venture into an unannounced RPG as recently as last year, and its penchant for worldbuilding, charm, and superb game design make it the perfect match for what a Fable game needs to be.
I expect this will be Microsoft’s “one last thing” moment when the stage will fade to black and the whimsical melodies of Albion will start to fill the auditorium. And while I don’t think we’ll see anything in-engine, I do think we’ll get a cinematic tease and confirmation that Fable is indeed coming back on the next Xbox.
Bonus Prediction: Since Playground was still hiring in 2018, we aren’t going to see a date announced at this year’s show, but I’d bet we get the next Fable game in 2021.
Could Go Either Way
4. Fallout 76 Goes Free to Play
To put it nicely, Fallout 76 had a bit of a rough launch. From crashes and bugs to poorly constructed tote bags, basically everything went wrong with Todd Howard’s first foray into the space of online gaming. But Bethesda’s not a company that goes quietly into the night to lick its wounds.
At some point during this year’s Bethesda press conference, Todd Howard will acknowledge and apologize for the rough start to Fallout 76 and make the game free to play with free content updates and something to compensate the day one players.
Bonus Prediction: He will also acknowledge they need to do better for their Fallout fans—see #5.
5. Fallout 3 Remastered
One of the greatest Western RPGs of all time is suspiciously missing from the current-gen catalog, and I think releasing the full remastered version of Fallout 3 would be a sign of good faith between Bethesda and a fan base that has a few trust issues after the last two games. Especially given the company’s willingness to put Skyrim on every electronic device known to man, it’s time to give the Vault Dwellers something to be excited about.
Bonus Prediction: Fallout 3 remastered will come out in September 2019.
6. Metroid Prime Trilogy
I wish I could put this into the “layup” category, but you never really know what Nintendo is up to. Especially with the massive (but appropriate) delay of Metroid Prime 4, fans of Samus have been begging for an excuse to play the original three Prime games on the Nintendo Switch.
This is another release that just makes too much sense. Nintendo would be satisfying longtime fans of the series, introducing a whole new generation to one of gaming’s greatest protagonists. and building hype for the next game in Samus’s illustrious history.
But that’s the funny thing about the Big N; just when something makes perfect sense, the company darts in another direction (for better or worse). I think this is the year we finally revisit the Prime series, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if 2019 marks another year without Metroid.
Bonus Prediction: The collection will be announced for January 2020 and will come with a copy of Super Metroid for the Switch.
7. Nintendo Online Update with SNES and N64 Games
Nintendo finally rolled out its online service last year, to mixed results. While trying to play Smash Bros. with friends is still a nightmare, the ability to dive into Nintendo’s catalog of some of the best NES games ever assembled was an awesome treat. I think Nintendo will take the program one step further by including a handful of SNES and N64 games that will release later this year.
Bonus Prediction: The program will launch with Super Mario World, Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, and Ocarina of Time.
8. Playdead Reveals Its Next Game
It’s been over two years since Playdead, the developer behind Inside and Limbo, tweeted out screenshots for what it was working on next. In that time, we’ve heard as much from the famed studio as the protagonists in its games (nothing). It feels like it’s time to see what the creators have their sleeves, and what better place to do that than during the [email protected] section of the Microsoft conference?
Bonus Prediction: The game will be announced for early 2020 and will be an Xbox exclusive for the first six months.
9. BioShock Returns
One of the greatest shooter series of all time has lain dormant for far too long, and I think this is the year we’ll finally see what the team at 2K has been up to.
And while some would label me delusional (you’d be correct, but for reasons other than this), we do know thanks to the expert reporting of Jason Schreier that a large number of developers were pulled from Mafia III to help with an unannounced BioShock game all the way back in 2016. And even though Ken Lavine is hard at work on his own title, the world of BioShock has too many interesting stories to tell to remain a relic of the past. Microsoft is really looking to make a splash at E3 this year, and I can’t think of a more perfect union than between 2K and the system where BioShock first made a name for itself.
Bonus Prediction: Microsoft will show a short cinematic teaser for the game during the section dedicated to third-party support for whatever the next Xbox will be.
10. New UbiArt Games on Switch
This one also just seems to make too much sense, which is probably why it won’t happen. One of my biggest disappointments over the last few years has been Ubisoft’s abandonment of the UbiArt engine, which was responsible for some of my favorite games of this generation, including Child of Light, Valiant Hearts, and the Rayman games. And while we know why UbiArt titles weren’t being developed anymore, I choose to envision a world where these “indie” games return to prominence.
Ubisoft and Nintendo have set a successful precedent of working together with Starlink: Battle for Atlas and the bizarre hit that is Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and that’s not something I can see going away in the near future. Whether it’s at Nintendo’s or Ubi’s press conference, I think we’ll see an announcement that a new batch of titles will be coming exclusively to start on the Nintendo Switch.
Bonus Prediction: The announcement will consist of Child of Light 2, a new Rayman game, and a new IP.
11. The Octopath Traveler 2 Is Teased
Just like my UbiArt prediction, this one is more of a want than anything. The PC port of the amazing JRPG Octopath Traveler dropped earlier this week, but I could see a world where Square Enix takes a few minutes at its press conference to thank the fans of the game and assure them that the new one is in the works with a quick teaser title screen. Nothing earth shattering, just the hopes and dreams of one large man-child hanging in the balance.
Bonus Prediction: The title screen will reveal a 2020 release date.
12. Sony Crashes the Party with The Last of Us 2
I know. I know. Sony has stated time and time again that it’s not going to be at E3 this year. But man, don’t you think the company is licking its chops at the idea of stealing the show from Microsoft and Nintendo without even being there?
At some point during the week, Sony could accomplish that by giving us another big look into The Last of Us 2 and revealing the release date for one of the most anticipated games out there. With the rumors of the PlayStation 5 being a fall 2020 release, I think Naughty Dog’s long-awaited sequel will drop on the PS4 in spring 2020, giving the masses enough time to buy it on both consoles.
Bonus Prediction: The Last of Us 2 will release in March 2020 and come out together with the PS5.
Well, there you have it, folks. Twelve E3 2019 predictions with a chance for 24 total “Called it!” points. Am I an oracle who can see the future? Or am I just a dumb nerd with too much time on his hands? All will be answered by the time E3 2019 wraps up on June 13.