E3 2013: 9 Triple-A Games to Keep an Eye On

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world’s largest annual videogame conference, is approaching. Navigating the PR storm to find the developments worth getting truly excited about can be tricky, and now that a showdown between Sony’s Playstation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s Xbox One (Xbone) is assured, the marketing fog of war that surrounds these flagship products can seem all the more impenetrable. Let The Artifice be your guiding light.

E3 is about the games

Console exclusives aside, there are plenty of Triple-A titles in development that are due to be showcased. Here are some gems to keep an eye on:

Watchdogs, Release Date: 22/11/13

Ubisoft’s intriguing open-world action-adventure stealth game manages to make waves with every announcement, and E3 2013 is unlikely to be an exception. Although first unveiled a year ago, at E3 2012, this title continues to pick up steam and is gearing up to be the release that defines the launch of the next generation consoles. However, as a high-profile multi-platform game, it will be interesting to find out if development has been made easier by the PC-like architecture of the PS4 and Xbone. This could result in higher quality games for all platforms, as they make the jump from PC to console, and vice versa. Now that both consoles have been announced, hopefully this is a topic developers are ready to discuss.

Grand Theft Auto V, Release Date: 17/9/13

With GTAV, series creators Rockstar North have embarked on their most ambitious project to date, yet a next-generation console release seems curiously absent from development. Set in the fictional city of Los Santos, the story follows three unlikely protagonists: a mobster going through a mid-life crisis, a young hoodlum trying to go straight, and a hillbilly drug-dealer with volatile abandonment issues. First announced in 2011, GTAV has teased the gaming public for long enough; E3 will be the perfect opportunity for Rockstar North to show us the goods.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Release Date: To Be Announced

Information on Hideo Kojima’s new addition to the Metal Gear canon has been scant, but that could all be set to change. Taking place nine years after the events of MGS: Ground Zeroes, the story will follow Big Boss as he awakens from a deep coma; a result of the injuries he sustained during the assault on Mother Base. Controversially, David Hayter will not be reprising his role as the voice of Big Boss, and not by choice; a decision which has proved divisive amongst long-term fans. The new voice actor, along with a new trailer, is due to be revealed at E3.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Release Date: 1/11/2013

Another Ubisoft title vying for the E3 limelight will be the next continuation of the Assassin’s Creed series. Unfortunately, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will not centre around the murderous exploits of the Henry Rollins-fronted 1980s hardcore punk band (although that’s definitely a concept screaming to be developed). Instead, the plot will revolve around the exploits of British pirate Edward Kenway, member of the Assassin Order and grandfather of Connor (the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed III). Set in the early 18th Century, billed as ‘The Golden Age of Pirates’, we can expect to see plenty of swashbuckling action and adventure from one of gaming’s most popular storylines. Furthermore, with releases set for all current and next generation formats, Assassin’s Creed IV will be another test of how well games primarily developed for the Xbone and PS4 will make the transition to PC.

Battlefield 4, Release Date: 1/11/13

Hot on the heels of the ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ announcement in May, Battlefield series developers, DICE, will be hoping to make an impression on the modern First-Person-Shooter genre with Battlefield 4. As Infinity Ward does not seem to have plans to reveal anything new regarding Call of Duty at E3, this could be the prime opportunity for Battlefield 4 to take centre stage. DICE now has the opportunity to show off its updated Frostbite 3 engine, and to build on the limited information it provided at the Game Developers Conference in March. Considering that Battlefield 4 could be the only release that will challenge the Call of Duty franchise’s dominance over the console FPS genre, it’ll be interesting to see if DICE can get Infinity Ward on the back foot.

DAYZ Standalone, Release Date: To Be Announced

Following the surprise success of DayZ, Dean “Rocket” Hall’s zombie survival horror mod for the ARMA 2 engine, Hall began development on a standalone version, aided by ARMA developers Bohemia Interactive. Washed up on the shores of fictional post-Soviet state Chernarus, players must fight for survival; not only against the undead hordes but with other survivors as well. Infamous for mercilessly punishing the smallest mistakes with the permanent death of your character, it will be interesting to see how DayZ fares under the scrutiny of a commercial release. In the meantime, expect lots of new information at E3; perhaps even a release date.

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, Release Date: To Be Announced

Bioware’s third instalment to the critically-acclaimed Dragon Age series is currently the only new title on its roster, so with little else to showcase at E3 it is fair to presume that we are in for a bounteous reveal. Fans of the earlier titles can expect a new protagonist, and a much larger geographic setting than previously found in the series; a feature that will inevitably see it compared to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Whether or not Dragon Age 3 bears such a comparison remains to be seen.

Saints Row IV, Release Date: 23/8/2013

Love it or loath it, Volition, Inc.’s quirky open-world action-adventure is returning for more hilariously over-the-top cartoon violence disguised as urban warfare. If your deal is playing as the super-powered President of the United States, fighting to save the world from a large-scale alien incursion, then Saints Row IV could be the only game you need to keep tabs on. Promising guns that will force your victims to dance to dubstep until they die, and mini-games involving giant city-levelling robots, it’s good to see that Volition has not lost its sense of the wacky. Pre-alpha footage of the game, shown at PAX East in March, was already looking impressive; let’s hope Volition can bring something even more refined to the E3 showcase.

South Park: The Stick of Truth, Release Date: To Be Announced

A tremendous amount of pedigree sits behind Obsidian Entertainment’s upcoming Role-Playing Game, based on the American animated series South Park. Obsidian boast a proven track record in this area, having previously developed licensed RPG titles based in the Star Wars and Fallout universes to great acclaim. Furthermore, the original creators of the show, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, will be writing for the game, and will remain as consultants during its production. This is shaping up to be a hugely entertaining title, and will likely be a must-buy for fans of the show. The only reason this hasn’t hit the shelves yet is due to the original publishers, THQ, filing for bankruptcy (after which the game was picked up by Ubisoft), so we should be expecting a release date and detailed information on how this game is going to handle from the E3 display. Sweet.

Of course, E3 is an industry favourite for announcing new Intellectual Properties too; this selection is by no means comprehensive, and many more exciting projects are bound to be revealed. Check out Artifice Writer Jason Krell’s E3 2013 predictions for his perspective on the upcoming clash of the next-generation titans, and an in-depth look at his pick for the best game of the show: Destiny. Which games are you most looking forward to, and why? Comment below!

The Electronic Entertainment Expo runs from June 11th until June 13th, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Here we are again with franchise releases and not much risk of creating something new. IMO the days of investing into new ideas for games are past by the big players. It is the era of indie game makers now to take this and be a game changer.

    • Joe C

      That’s pretty much what I was thinking as I was trawling through confirmed announcements: there were barely even any placeholders for new IPs. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not coming, but it’s not a good sign.

      I’m heading to Rezzed (http://www.rezzed.com/) in a couple of weeks; hopefully my findings will help to restore some of our faith in the industry.

  2. Melody Thalhofer

    GTA V is the only game that I’m truly waiting for on this list.

  3. I’m not that excited for Dragon Age 3. Bioware games used to be the best, now they’re just OK.

    • Nathan Walters

      I wouldn’t even consider them ‘ok’; DA2 was just awful.

    • Joe C

      I have to agree. The last Bioware title I really enjoyed was KOTOR, which is 10 years old. I could never get into Mass Effect and I’ve yet to try SW:TOR.

      • I loved Mass Effect, but I’m a huge fan of sci-fi and so it satisfied my sci-fi sweet tooth. ME2 and 3 were disappointing. I just got into TOR and must say it’s fun, though a bit difficult since I only own a laptop.

        KOTOR is one of the greatest modern games I’ve played. Like I said, huge sci-fi nerd.

  4. Taylor Ramsey

    Stuff like this makes me so jealous!
    Video games peaked for me with arcade games (Tempest and Tron rocked!) and I have never really been any good at the modern ones, but they all look so cool and fun!
    God, I feel old!

  5. J. Bryan Jones

    Interesting thoughts on Watchdogs. It’ll be more interesting to watch the non-sequels, as we know less of what to expect from them.

    • Joe C

      I’m primarily a PC gamer, and ropey console ports have long been a sticking point in our corner of the gaming community. If the architectures align it could be a winning situation for everyone: developers and players.

      Most importantly, production costs would fall, which would really help small studios and indie developers. I think we can all get behind that.

  6. Nicholas Devin

    Nice article with good thoughts about some games I know I am already interested in. No thoughts about the new Batman: Arkham Origins game though?

    • Joe C

      I was umming and ahhing about including it. I think it has a new developer, which could be a blow; I might be wrong though.

      It’s only been a couple of months since it was announced and quite a lot of information has been doing the rounds in that short space of time (pretty sure there was a trailer at the end of last month?), so I wasn’t sure if it would be kicking up much of a storm. Needless to say, I’d love to be proven wrong.

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