All eyes will be on E3 this weekend as the world’s biggest gaming convention gets going online, with some exciting announcements expected.
The industry event has taken place every June (except last year, for obvious reasons) since 1995, and is hotly anticipated by gamers around the world.
Fans can usually look forward to new games, sneak previews, updates to old favourites, and sometimes even fresh consoles – with this year looking no different.
One gaming giant that is notably absent though is PlayStation maker Sony – who ditched the convention a few years back in favour of making announcements elsewhere.
With video games having become ever more popular during the pandemic, as much of the world’s population was ordered to stay at home, plenty of players are chomping at the bit for new experiences.
Here is a round-up of some of the biggest announcements we’re expecting.
Halo Infinite should emerge from its COVID-enforced hibernation
Microsoft revealed some new gameplay footage of the latest Halo instalment last year – but it was largely criticised by fans and the press, forcing a delay to its release.
Fans believe Halo Infinite will be at the heart of Microsoft’s showcase on Sunday (6pm UK time), and is set to pick up the story of Master Chief on a mysteriously damaged Halo (the ring-shaped planets that have been a staple of the series since it debuted on the original Xbox in 2001).
The launch of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles was overshadowed by the PS5, which has boasted exclusive games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart, adding to the pressure on Halo Infinite to deliver.
Hopefully we get a new release date on Sunday – at the moment the game’s only pencilled in for a vague 2021.
Fans could finally learn what Starfield is – three years after its announcement
Microsoft has made a big deal in the last 12 months of buying Bethesda – as they darn well should.
That’s the studio behind iconic and long-running franchises like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, so you can see why Microsoft shelled out an eye-watering $7.5bn (£5.3bn).
There are very scant details on the studio’s next big release, Starfield. We do know it will be a sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) but we’ve only seen one image since the announcement that is was being made in 2018.
Bethesda have managed to attract some Hollywood talent to their games in the past, including the likes of Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart, and there are rumours that one Tom Cruise may be involved this time.
A 2021 release seems unlikely given how little we know about Starfield, but we should find out more at the Microsoft showcase on Sunday.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2’s release date may be revealed
Breath Of The Wild’s sequel is one of the most anticipated games in YEARS – and it’s expected to get its release date this weekend, as well as a rumoured first gameplay trailer.
The multi-award-winning Breath Of The Wild was a runaway success when it was released at the launch of the original Nintendo Switch in 2017 (emphasis on original, more on that later), with fans of the franchise begging for a sequel to the first truly open-world Zelda game.
The Zelda games celebrate their 35th anniversary this year, and it shows no sign of slowing down. With titles including Ocarina Of Time, Twilight Princess and Link To The Past, it is one of the most highly regarded game franchises ever.
Earlier this year, Nintendo revealed it was remastering Skyward Sword for the Switch console, after getting its initial run out on the Wii about a decade ago.
Eagle-eyed fans have already spotted some major gaming retailers taking pre-orders for the second instalment of Breath Of The Wild – so we may not be waiting much longer.
Ubisoft will give us more on Rainbow Six and Far Cry 6
Although not new announcements, we’re expecting more information on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction (just renamed from Rainbow Six Quarantine because of you know what) and Far Cry 6.
A few bits of gameplay have previously leaked for both, but we expect to get the first official look at the new games in action at Ubisoft’s event on Saturday (8pm UK time).
Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian star Giancarlo Esposito stars in Far Cry 6 as villain Anton Castillo, and players will be able to unlock a number of different endings.
Ubisoft will have plenty else to show, and there’s nothing to suggest that everything will involve the number six. A new Assassin’s Creed seems unlikely, though, given that content is still arriving for last year’s Valhalla.
Nintendo could… switch up the Switch
Nintendo is adamant that its convention slot will be purely focused on games – but that hasn’t stopped rumours of it announcing a new beefed-up version of the Switch.
Reports have had it named as everything from the Nintendo Switch Pro to the Super Nintendo Switch, but industry insiders seem to agree that it’ll feature a bigger screen (seven inches to be precise) and be able to output at 4K when hooked up to a TV – bringing it in line with its Sony and Microsoft competition.
What better way to show off Breath Of The Wild 2 than with a shiny new console, after all.
We’ll know about both either way at Nintendo’s event on Tuesday, broadcasting at 5pm UK time.