It’s almost time for E3 2016, the biggest show in the gaming calendar. For three days developers, publishers, and gamers will fill out the Los Angeles Convention Center, where some of the most exciting games of this year and beyond will be announced, demoed, or playable on the show floor. It's a time of E3 rumours, speculation and a lot of journalists whinging about a week in LA.
Will E3 provide any new entries for our list of the best PC games?
We’ll be there, but what games can we expect to see? Read on for a lineup of great titles to look out for, whether you’re attending E3 in person or watching online via the streams.
Update June 12, 2016: Star Trek: Bridge Crew VR game to make an appearance, Injustice 2, Dishonored 2 and Titanfall 2 trailers spotted, and the whisperings of and Ori sequel and a Quake game at Bethesda's panel have us recklessly optimistic.
E3 2016 confirmed games - what we're sure about
No Man’s Sky
E3 rumours have it that No Man’s Sky is going to miss its June release date, like one of its nippy little spaceships overshooting a procedurally-generated planet, but we’re hoping for a feature-complete look at the indie darling nonetheless. Fingers crossed for fewer contextless numbers - 18 quintillion worlds? - and a lengthier look at the temperature-based survival, decipherable alien languages, interplanetary trading and charming Newtonian flight mechanics of a game we’ve still seen relatively little of.
No Man’s Sky first made waves at 2014’s Sony conference, so look out for one final appearance there.
Dawn of War 3
Announced just in time to become a dead cert for E3, Dawn of War 3 sees Relic return to some of the tenets they first set out for the series over a decade ago. Base-building is back, feeding the largest-scale scraps the studio has attempted yet. The pitch includes ginormous walkers towering over the battlefield, and Relic are likely to play on that spectacle in any footage we get to see at the show.
Dawn of War 3 isn’t out til 2017 but has been in development since the last gasp of THQ, so we should be treated to something substantial.
Corvo Attano returns, now with a voice that leaves him able to say, “Oo, I stuck you good” as he sinks his blade into a deserving assassination target. He’s also joined by the newly playable Emily Kaldwin, no longer the 10-year-old girl you protected and shaped through the first Dishonored. As usurped Empress of Dunwall, she takes Corvo to the southern capital Karnaca to disassemble her enemies hit by hit.
Expect to see more of Emily’s gaseous shapeshifting abilities in a city inspired by continental Europe, plus the same honed brand of thoughtfully-paced first-person action and environmental problem-solving.
Civ VI snuck up on us, with Firaxis announcing it in May, with an October 21 release date on the cards. We’ve already played it for 60 turns, and we’ve spoken to Firaxis about it, but we’ll be seeing even more when it makes an appearance at E3 this year.
We already know a fair amount it already, like new leader traits, the unstacked cities, and how unit combos work, but at E3 we’re hoping to see more civs being announced, and hopefully a look at the later game, once the civs have had a chance to tech up. We want to see some tanks, bombers and some fancy modern wonders.
Obsidian is giving villains the spotlight in its next RPG, set in a world that’s already been mostly conquered by a mysterious tyrant. Players will take on the role of a loyal - or not so loyal - servant, solving disputes and maintaining order in newest part of their boss’ empire. We saw it in action at GDC, but we’re hoping to get some hands-on time at E3.
Aside from it being at the show, we don’t know what to expect. We’d love to see more of the impact of our decisions and how the world changes in reaction to us doing our horrible job. And we’re keen to get into some Iron Age scraps so we can fiddle around with the new magic system.
Its existence now confirmed by Codemasters and publisher Koch Media - as if this year’s instalment were ever in doubt - F1 2016 will be heading to the LA show floor to show off a returning career mode, reinstated safety car and more features than any previous Codies F1 game, according to the devs.
The series has nailed a convincing driving model consistently since 2010, and we’re expecting hands-on at the conference to reveal another smooth drive. After what was a startlingly barebones package in 2015 though, Codies will need to put that new 10-year career mode in the shop window to bring twice-shy F1 fans back to the fold.
Microsoft announced back in March that all future Forza titles will be available on PC as well as Xbox - hooray! That means we have every right to be excited about their forthcoming announcement for a new series entrant at E3 2016. There’s a “special” event for it and everything.
That also means we have to get up to speed with Forza’s slightly confusing nomenclature. There’s Forza Motorsport, the most recent of which was released last year, and Forza Horizons, a spin-off of sorts developed by Playground Games, whose last title was back in 2014. It’s most likely that the announcement will be for a new Horizons or similar spin-off, but for now the only firm detail we have is the cover car - a Lamborghini Centenario.
Nobody asked for Cliff Bleszinski to reinvent the arena FPS, but he went ahead and did it anyway with LawBreakers, which scraps genre tropes like gravity and shooting at what’s in front of you. That whole lack of gravity thing is the focal point of LawBreakers’ action, allowing players free reign of their environment, which means jumping higher, running faster and movement-based class abilities. The Steam-exclusive shooter has been confirmed as appearing at E3 2016, but we’re still unsure of what developer Boss Key will be showing off.
Remember when the first Titanfall came out and everyone thought it was incredible and then quickly forgot about it? Well, there’s another coming out and it’s big reveal is set to happen at EA’s pre-E3 Play events in London and LA. While we can safely predict that the robots and running across walls will be making a return, additional details remain scarce.
Thanks the teaser trailer that dropped earlier this year, we do know that Titanfall 2 will feature South African accents. Breaths will be baited for any kind of confirmation that Titanfall 2 will have a story mode to accompany its intriguing but currently blank universe.
DICE and EA are bringing the noise once more with Battlefield 1. If you’re confused by that number, it’s there to indicate that we’re jumping back in time to the first conflict. Well, the first one that makes sense for Battlefield, anyway. Welcome to 1914 and World War One.
We’ve seen a very brief announcement so far confirming tanks, horseback cavalry, bi-planes, and trenches, but much of the information we know has been extrapolated from half-second glimpses of technology. At E3 we can expect DICE to explain just how the conflict will shape the gameplay, what changes have been made to the formula, and how the campaign will play out. We know that there will be two new classes - the pilot and tanker - so hopefully we’ll learn how they operate out on the muddy fields of war-torn europe.
The jump back in time is an odd choice but, knowing the franchise’s history, hopefully we’ll be seeing one of the best of E3 in Battlefield 1.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
If you didn’t know by now, Call of Duty is going into outer-space for Infinite Warfare. Not content with Black Ops’ near-future setting, 2016’s shooter will throw you into the cockpit of a fighter ship and have you dogfighting among the stars, before landing on other planets to shoot robots and men in mech suits.
We’ve caught glimpses of various areas in the trailer, but expect Infinity Ward to do their usual on-stage walkthrough of a bombastic mission. They’ll likely show off something that exhibits the seamless transition between ground fighting and airborne combat (that flight through the upper atmosphere into ship-filled space seems a dead-cert).
And of course, Infinite Warfare releases alongside Modern Warfare Remastered, so we’ll without a doubt be seeing how fan-favourite CoD4 has been spruced up for modern machines.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Mankind Divided will pick up a couple of years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and what a two years it’s been. The general population now fear and despise cybernetic augmentation, and people with robotic limbs have become marginalised and forced into hiding away. It’s the ‘mechanical apartheid’ apparently, which means the world is going to be a rather harsh and ugly place.
E3 2016 will give us another look at our grizzly hero Adam Jensen, now working for NATO as a counter-terrorism operative. It seems sensible to guess that publisher Square Enix will be showing off new and improved augmentations and gameplay sections that can be replayed over and over in a myriad of different playstyles.
Square Enix will almost certainly bring Hitman along with them, which despite having been running episodically for a few months now could still prove to be one of the best of E3. Likely playable on the show floor will be the phenomenal Marrakesh mission, the third episode of the series which will be launched a couple of weeks before E3.
If we’re lucky though, E3 will be the place where we’ll get our first glimpse at Thailand, the setting for episode four. A hands-on feels a while away, but a gameplay video hinting at the various opportunities and locations we’ll be visiting on Agent 47’s east asian murder holiday would be quite the treat.
Hangar 13 revealed the astonishingly violent Mafia III at last year’s Gamescom event, but that was just for the press behind closed doors. With this being E3 before the game’s launch in October, expect a good dose of the game to be shown off to players. That means muscle cars, the best beats from 1970s charts, and more sliced up faces than you can shake a bowie knife at.
Without an Assassin’s Creed this year and no competition from GTA or Saint’s Row, Mafia III is in a great position to be one of the year’s bigger sandbox games, so publisher 2K will likely be promoting it heavily. The most recent trailer was slick and dramatic, promising a HBO-style interactive drama tackling racism, “family”, and the effects of the Vietnam war on the US. Hopefully E3 will show Mafia III living up to those promises.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
While Mass Effect Andromeda was present at last year’s E3, it was merely in the form of a teaser. Aside from establishing the rough setting for the fourth Mass Effect game, Andromeda was still a mystery. With an early 2017 release date, it seems all-but-confirmed that this year’s event will be the reveal-all we’ve been begging for.
Expect something along the lines of a proper introduction to the Pathfinders (intergalactic explorers looking to colonise other planets) and characters that will accompany you on your journey through the stars, as well as our first true look at how the game plays. With exploration a key element in Andromeda, we’ll likely see some emphasis placed on the all-new, all-improved Mako rover vehicle.
Watch Dogs 2
After being half-heartedly announced last year, E3 2016 will be the event where Watch Dogs 2 is officially revealed. With the first title being met with mixed reviews, Ubisoft will need to have made some major changes to their sequel if the franchise has got any chance of surviving in Ubi’s catalogue.
The game will be released November this year and will be set in San Francisco rather than the Chicago of the original Watch Dogs, which featured arguably the best looking waves in gaming ever. We can only hope those impeccable wave graphics return, oh and some expanded hacking mechanics or whatever.
Agents of Mayhem
We thought a new Saints Row game would be revealed at E3, and we’ve been proven right. Sorta. Deep Silver will indeed be present with a new, off-beat open-world game, but instead of Saints Row 5 it’s Agents of Mayhem; what looks like a hero-based take on sandbox chaos.
The game is confirmed to be part of the Saints Row universe, so expect the same level of humour, insanity, and pop-culture references, but with what looks like a beefed up sense of super heroics.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Bit of a left-field semi-leak from Ubisoft as their first VR game comes in hot as a Star Trek property. Pictures of three actors from the Star Trek franchise playing the four-player co-op game show that a video was shot earlier this month and will be shown on Monday at Ubisoft's presser. No footage of what the bridge looks like from the inside, but apparently it's 90% faithful to an Enterprise control room so expect banks of switches and maybe hot aliens.
E3 2016 rumours - the mights and maybes
One of the biggest E3 rumours of the year, it seems increasingly sure that we’ll be seeing Prey 2 announced at Bethesda’s show on June 12. Sadly it seems like it won't be taking the form of the breathtaking neo-noir bounty hunter game we saw in the 2012 E3 trailer. However, the game’s alleged new custodians Arkane have some very interesting ideas.
If the rumours are true, except Prey 2 to take the form of a System Shock spiritual successor; an immersion sim as opposed to its shooter parent game. Leaked design documents express a great amount of ambition and the desire to create a dense, detailed, difficult experience. With a history that includes Dishonored, Arkane are certainly a studio with incredibly strong ideas, so Prey 2 could be one of the best of E3.
Dragon Age Tactics
From the Twitter E3 rumours cabinet comes Dragon Age Tactics. Teased by BioWare’s Mark Darrah in a poll and a cryptic image, it’s believed that the game will be a turn-based strategy in the mould of the Nintendo 3DS Fire Emblem games. That means a healthy dose of drama and romance between battles, and potentially even perma-death.
The image tweeted by Darrah shows a wolf-like logo above a castle turret, assumed to represent Fen'Harel: an eleven god looking to tear down the boundaries between the mystical Fade and the physical world. Provided fans have worked it all out right, this could be our big bad.
Resident Evil 7
With the horror franchise turning 20 this year and its last instalment leaving many fans disappointed, there’s a mountain of pressure stacked on Resident Evil 7 to impress at E3 this year. If it shows up that is.
While no official announcement has confirmed the game’s existence, the CEO of Japanese games consultancy firm Kantan Games, Serkan Toto, made a number of apparent reveals about the game. Tweeting in May, Toto said the game is in development, due to feature at E3 and will return to the franchise’s horror roots; Toto also claimed that P.T.’s Jordan Amaro will be working on the title. Plenty to feel relieved about, unless you’re Serkan Toto.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Announced - and looking pretty spectacular - at last year’s E3, Ubisoft have been silent on Ghost Recon: Wildlands ever since. Provided Wildlands hasn’t just quietly slipped out of production, we’re assuming the next instalment of the Ghost Recon franchise will be the centrepiece of Ubisoft's E3 2016 conference, lining it up nicely for a Christmas release.
Wildlands’ appearance at last year’s show left gamers with plenty of details to mull over, such as the franchise’s move to an open-world setting, where players will be tasked with hurting an awful lot of drug-cartel meanies across a condensed Bolivia. Llama’s have also been confirmed, so calm down.
Far Cry 5
If you listen to many Ubisoft investor calls - which you wouldn’t unless you’re into the steely, French-accented command of Yves Guillemot - then you’ll know they’ve been talking up Far Cry’s potential as a franchise. For every off-year wildcard set in an ‘80s future or prehistoric Europe, we’re expecting a numbered entry to Violent Gap Year Simulator - most likely set in a real-ish world location lorded over by a flamboyantly mad villain.
In a survey last year, Ubisoft asked fans if they’d be interested in, among less sensible pitches, an extreme wilderness remote Alaska, eventful late ‘60s Vietnam, or the cocaine trafficking jungles of Peru. All sound viable for Far Cry’s exotic adventures in narcotics.
The Elder Council
Something is going on with The Elder Scrolls. Bethesda replaced their profile picture with the one above that says "The Elder Council", but they quickly took it down. Over on Facebook the picture is still live, however.
Some are speculating that the tease is for something TES Online-related, while some are crossing all their extremities in the hopes it's going to be the next mainline Elder Scrolls game. It was five years between Oblivion and Skyrim, and it's been five years since Skyrim. Bethesda are notoriously good at surprises. Maybe it is time to cross everything. Jesus, that hurts.
Pillars of Eternity 2
E3 could potentially be the event where we get our official confirmation of Pillars of Eternity 2. While we know that the game is definitely being made thanks to developer Obsidian happily chatting about it in interviews, they’ve yet to get on a stage and say “Yes, this is really happening”.
The halls of E3 may be where they do this, and if that were to happen it could also be our first glimpse at the new world. We know Pillars 2 won’t be set in Dyrwood - the land of the first game - but that’s about all we know. Hopefully we’ll be well-learned in the world of Pillars 2 on the other side of E3.
Dead Rising 4
Provided leaked assets are real, Dead Rising 4 could be one of the key games revealed by Capcom at E3. Likely to be announced during Microsoft’s conference and released as a timed Xbox One exclusive like its predecessor, the screenshots make it appear that we’ll be reunited with photojournalist Frank West: hero of the first game (and cameo man in DR2’s DLC).
We’ve no idea what to expect, apart from tricycles. Can’t have a Dead Rising game without tricycles, amirite?
A current rumour hot on the ‘net right now is that Bethesda will announce a modern-gen remaster of Skyrim. The updated version is believed to include all DLC, updated visuals, and ‘mod support’. Presumably that applies to the console versions, which could be about to see PC-style modding akin to Fallout 4.
With the modding culture being as good as it gets for Skyrim, it seems like a PC version is somewhat less necessary, but an out-the-box version of Skyrim with hi-res textures and improvements is certainly not something we’d say no to.
Injustice 2 - CONFIRMED
One of the worst kept secrets in the fighting game community, this one. It's only in the "maybe" pile because we don't have confirmation of a PC version so far on the posters around the LA Convention Center.
NetherRealm's back at the helm so if you liked Mortal Kombat X or the first one this will be a nice addition to the show for you. Sony/Xbox will fight over the reveal, we reckon, but if they're as fast on the PC port as last time it won't be years 'til you get your chance to re-enact DC's Civil War yourself, though the quality may be on the questionable side.
Oh lordy do we want this to be real. In the past couple of days, Bethesda has been updating Quake domains alongside their Dishonored 2 spring cleaning. And since we know ONE of those is definitely appearing at E3...
The only other hunch we have to go on here is the feel of the latest DOOM and that id Software were sharing the workload with Machine Games. Imagine a Machine Games Quake. Masters of the old-school FPS reboot turning their Midas touch to the greatest arena shooter of them all. File this one under: complete wish-fulfillment fantasy with all the evidence of an inquiry into the existence of Iraqi WMDs.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
That's it. That's all we have, a name. Obviously that's some relation to Moon Studios's platformer of last year Ori and the Blind Forest, but whether it's a sequel or now we have no clue. Look, we just can't know, alright? But given Microsoft's involvement in the first game, expect the Xbox stage to get a monopoly on the cute critter this time around too.
What games are you looking forward to seeing at E3? Any announcements you're hoping to hear?