E3 2018 is just a matter of weeks away. Unless you're a gamer still clinging to the joys of your Atari 2600, you’ll probably have heard about the biggest show in the gaming calendar. Every June, the best and brightest talents in the industry descend on a heat-baked Los Angeles to showcase their digital wares to the world.
It’s where the big platform makers (Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft) come to show off their latest bit of hardware, or a new game that’s going to get chins wagging and keyboards clacking. It’s where we get amazing surprise reveals (could this be the year we finally get Half-Life 3?) and more in-depth looks at previously teased titles.
[Update: Fortnite fans have a lot to look forward to at this year's E3. Epic Games has revealed its plans for the show which include its very own booth on the show floor where players will be able to play and win "exclusive prizes." This is in addition to the June 12 competition being held between a total of 100 celebrities and popular streamers for a prize of $3 million which will be given to charity.]
So when is it?
The next incarnation of E3 will take place from 12 June to 14 June 2018. As with most previous years, the show will take place at the huge Los Angeles Convention Center and will include all the usual conferences, keynotes and hands-on booths on the show floor.
The E3 2018 press conference schedule so far
- EA – June 9 at 11am PT/ 7pm BST
- Microsoft – June 10 at 1pm PT/ 9pm BST
- Bethesda – June 10 at 6.30 pm PT/ 2.30 am BST
- Ubisoft – June 11 at 1pm PT/ 9pm BST
- Square Enix – June 11 at 10am PT/ 6pm BST
- Sony – June 11 at 6pm PT/ 2am BST
- Nintendo – June 12 at 9am PT/ 5pm BST
What's coming from... Sony
Sony has now confirmed that its press conference will take place on Monday June 11 at 6pm PT/ 2am BST.
With PS4 Pro having already been introduced fewer than two years prior to E3 2018 - effectively extending the lifecycle of the generation by a good few years at least - we shouldn’t be hearing anything too major on the hardware front. We’d bet our houses that PS5 is already in early development, but we won’t be seeing it any time soon. And Shawn Layden has already confirmed that no hardware will appear at the show.
He's also confirmed that the presentation will focus on four main Sony exclusives: Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man and The Last of Us Part 2. Fans can expect deep dives, development updates and new trailer for all of these titles as well as announcements from third-party publishers and indie developers.
What's coming from... Microsoft
Microsoft has now confirmed that its plans for E3 2018 but this time they're a little different. Taking a leaf out of EA's book, Microsoft is moving things away from the Los Angeles Convention Center show floor in order to host a more fan-focused event in the Microsoft Theater. Though Microsoft will still have a presence on the traditional show floor, this space will be dedicated to the streaming service, Mixer. This admittedly goes some way to explaining those show floor plans that were doing the rounds which suggested Microsoft would be a much smaller presence.
Even Microsoft's press-briefing is moving location. Breaking out of the Galan Center, it too will be held in the Microsoft Theatre on June 10 at 1pm PT/ 9pm BST.
This change appears to be in response to the increased attendance numbers and scale of the show which has resulted from opening the doors to the public.
“Not only does the Microsoft Theater allow us to centralize our Xbox presence at E3,” Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer said, “but its size enables us to include even more fans and partners in the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing than ever before.”
Though we now know when the show is happening and where it's taking place, we still don't have any idea what exactly will be announced. After the big reveal of Xbox One X in 2017, we’re expecting a more software focused affair.
Halo 6 [insert forgettable subtitle here] will serve as the final chapter for 343 Industries’ post-Bungie trilogy, and while we don’t think the developer will be moving on from Master Chief anytime soon, we imagine the next Covenant-bashing title will be marketed as a big turning point in the series. Gears Of War 5 might get a showing (we think it’s a light early, but you never know) and rumors abound that Fable may be getting a reboot, leaving hopes of a Fable 4 appearance.
But what about VR? Xbox has invested heavily in HoloLens, and while the only game-related content we’ve seen showcase so far remains an interactive Minecraft world, we’re hoping we get to see it relaunched with a proper gaming slant.
What's coming from...Nintendo
Nintendo has confirmed that its traditional broadcast and Treehouse Livestream will be taking place from Tuesday June 12 at 9am PT/ 5pm BST.
With a new Zelda and a new Super Mario already out in the wild, we’re expecting Ninty to start rolling out its other tried and tested franchises. It’s high-time for a new Smash Bros, built from the ground up for Switch, and one that embraces the eSports scene that’s formed about Brawl and Melee over the years.
Nintendo has confirmed that Smash Bros will be a big focus for the show, getting a good chunk of the presentation, appearing first in the livestream and having a large section of the show floor to itself.
Kirby and Yoshi are also set to get new adventures in 2018, so we’re fully expecting Nintendo to showcases gameplay from both. Yoshi’s Wooly World was a side-scrolling hit on 3DS, so what we’ve seen so far suggests a platformer in a similar vein will follow suit. We’re also hoping (however unlikely it might be) that Animal Crossing might finally be coming to Switch with a new entry. Please, please, please, Nintendo…
Metroid Prime 4 will almost certainly appear, whether it be at Nintendo’s E3 show or in a special Nintendo Direct beforehand. The recent revival on 3DS has been well received by fans, so we’ve high hopes for Samus Aran’s next full fat adventure. Finally, there’s the one everyone’s been asking for: a Switch-based Pokémon. Rumoured to be called Pokémon Stars, the new entry could be a new pure Poke title or a rehash of Sun/Moon - either way, give us proper Pokémon on our TVs, Ninty!
Nintendo may be set to put even more joy into your gaming life with a revised version of its Joy-Con gamepads, according to a new FCC filing, too. However, those expecting a massively-revamped controller look likely to be left a bit disappointed – the filing points to a quality of life upgrade, one that fixes the intermittent connectivity issues that has dogged the Switch since its launch. The Joy-Con controllers (or the left hand unit at least) has been known to lose its connection to the core console – leaving Nintendo to issue only partially successful software fixes, and to urge gamers to avoid playing near items as disparate as aquariums and microwaves. The new pads could fix that – here's hoping they improve the D-Pad, too.
We also imagine there's a chance Nintendo will announce some new kits for its upcoming Nintendo Labo accessory which is now available worldwide.
What's coming from... EA
We now know that EA Play will be returning to Los Angeles' Hollywood Palladium from June 9 until June 11, just before E3 itself officially kicks off.
EA has confirmed that, as you'd expect, fans will get the chance to see and play the latest EA Sports titles such as Madden 19, FIFA 19, NHL 19 and NBA Live 19 (if the latter performs well enough in the meantime).
It's now also been confirmed that the new Battlefield game will make an appearance though we still don't know anything about what the game will actually involve.
Anthem, the new monster-hunting IP from Canadian developer Bioware, looks to right the wrongs of Mass Effect Andromeda with its mashup of Lost Planet, Dark Void and Destiny. Its dynamic environments, volatile weather patterns and co-operative action certainly have our attention, and though its release date has recently been pushed back, it’s going to one of the show’s biggest takeaways with a brand new "inside look."
More details about what else will appear at the show are yet to be confirmed.
What's coming from... Ubisoft
Ubisoft has now confirmed that its press conference will be taking place on June 11 at 1pm PT/ 9pm BST.
Outside of more details on a new Assassin’s Creed (personally, we’re hoping that Origins two-years development cycle becomes the new norm), we’re fully expecting Ubisoft to roll out the only other remaining Tom Clancy franchise worth its salt: Splinter Cell. With Michael Ironside rumoured to be returning to voice Sam Fisher, we’re excited to see a post-MGSV Splinter Cell and how it improve on the grossly underrated Blacklist. We also expect to see a little more information on The Division 2 now that it's been confirmed.
Then there’s the big one: Beyond Good & Evil 2. This was the surprise reveal of E3 2017, and while the game is certainly in the early stages of its development, 2018 will mark the original game’s 20th anniversary, so we’re hoping for a little more insight into its world and the nature of the game to come. Oh, and could we see Rainbow Six Siege 2? With one of the biggest communities outside of COD and Battlefield, a follow up on Siege could well breach its way onto the stage in LA.
What's coming from... Bethesda
Bethesda has now confirmed its presence at E3 2018 by revealing its press conference will take place on Sunday, June 10 at 6.30 pm PT. A short trailer announcing the presentation showed figures representing Bethesda's big franchises: Elder Scrolls, Doom, and Fallout. But it didn't say exactly what kind of reveals we can expect.
At this years show we think there are a few things that we can probably expect to see, including another expansion for the Elder Scrolls Online and some new additons to Quake Champions.
On the less certain side, we're fully expecting to see a new AAA announcement from Bethesda this year. With a new Wolfenstein, a reboot of Doom, a new Dishonored and a return to Fallout released recently many are hoping for a some kind of Elder Scrolls return. However, as has been said before, Bethesda has plans for two more games before the Elder Scrolls 6, so we could see a brand new IP from Bethesda this year or perhaps even a sequel to Doom.
We imagine there will also be some DLC announced, perhaps for Wolfenstein 2, and we could also hear some more about that mobile game the company has been working on.
We're also expecting some more Switch port announcements - Dishonored on Switch would be a welcome announcement.
What's coming from... Square-Enix
Square-Enix didn’t have a huge presence at E3 2017, but 2018 will be a huge year for the Japanese publisher so it's unsurprising that the publisher has announced its very own showcase for June 11 at 10am PT/ 6pm BST. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake (or at least the first episode) should be one of its biggest selling points, as this’ll mark three years since its official announcement in 2015.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is also due to drop in 2018, and with Square-Enix having re-released every other entry with increasingly nonsensical subtitles, it’s time for something new. With Toy Story and Big Hero 6-themed worlds already confirmed, fans are already chomping at the bit for time with Sora, Donald and Goofy.
Then there’s the Tomb Raider sequel, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. With Eidos Montreal (of rebooted Deus Ex fame) in the development hot seat and Uncharted having coming along with two outstanding entries since Rise Of The Tomb Raider, we’re fully expecting Lady Croft to take back her treasure hunting crown from Nate, Chloe and Nadine.