E3 2019: everything we expect to see at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year
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E3 is still a week away, and yet we've already seen some of its biggest games: In the last two weeks, we've heard rumors about a half-dozen games with one game – Watch Dogs 3: Legion – getting leaked to the public.
While leaks spoil a bit of the fun, we'll still see plenty of new titles this time next week. There's rumors of a new Fable game, the first details of Square Enix's ambitious Avengers title and, if we're lucky, we'll get our first look at Microsoft's next-gen console. By the time the Nintendo Direct hits on Tuesday morning, we could be up to our eyes in new games coming later this year.
That's because, no matter how it changes over the years, E3 is still the biggest event in gaming. Whether it’s held at a hotel, a convention center or somewhere out in Hollywood, it is the definitive industry event of the year, where gamers from around the world get together to see what comes next for consoles, handhelds, PCs, mobile phones and everything in between.
- Update: Sony PlayStation may not be a part of next week’s E3 2019, but that won’t stop the company from making waves. In a recent interview, PlayStation’s new CEO Jim Ryan gave even more details about the company’s next home console, the PS5. In an interview with CNET, Ryan spoke about a number of new features Sony has planned for the PS5, which include the use of a custom-designed solid-state drive (SSD) as the default storage option, native 4K 120Hz gameplay with the possibility of playing games in 8K, plus backwards-compatibility with games released on the PS4.
While we can't spoil all the surprises ahead of time, we can hopefully provide some insight – and some predictions – as to the games we’ll get to see at this year’s show.
Officially, the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2019) will begin on Tuesday, June 11 and end on Thursday, June 13. Those dates, however, are just for the portion of the show held inside the Los Angeles Convention Center.
In reality, the first big event of E3 2019 is the EA Play kick-off event that’s slated for Friday, June 7 at the Hollywood Palladium. While EA has told us not to expect a keynote speech, that Friday afternoon is the first time we’ll be able to play the publisher’s upcoming titles, as well as get some info about games coming out in the next year or two.
Between EA Play on Friday and the opening of the show floor on Tuesday morning you can also expect a press event for Microsoft sometime on Sunday afternoon with a chance of Bethesda, Square Enix, Ubisoft and Nintendo announcing a keynote later.
We expect to be in Los Angeles from Friday until Thursday, and gamers with an entry pass should try to do the same.
Keynote time: The EA Play livestream event kicks off at 9:15am PST, and ticketed fans are welcome to join EA Play at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday, June 8.
EA has an early lead going into 2019 with its plans already detailed on the publisher’s website. To that end, EA says it will be hosting its annual EA Play event on June 8 with free tickets to be distributed shortly.
What can we expect at EA's livestream event? Well, instead of a traditional keynote, EA is doing individual breakout sessions for each of its main franchises. Here's a complete breakdown of the event sent to TechRadar:
9:15am: Countdown to EA PLAY
9:30am: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Hosted by Greg Miller and Andrea Rene)
10:00am: Apex Legends (Hosted by Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez)
10:30am: Battlefield™ V (Hosted by Julia Hardy and Adam Freeman (EA))
11:00am: FIFA 20 (Hosted by Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez)
11:30am: Madden NFL 20 (Hosted by Adam Rank)
12:00pm: The Sims 4 (Hosted by Andrea Rene)
So what's going to be at the event downtown? According to a press release from EA on which games it’s bringing to E3 2019, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order from Respawn Entertainment will definitely be there. It's more than likely we'll hear about some addition to the Titanfall universe – either a second spin-off title or Titanfall 3 – as well as its plans to expand its successful battle royale shooter, Apex Legends.
Elsewhere inside EA’s event we’ll see announcements for the next version of the Madden, FIFA, NHL and NBA Live franchises and, very likely, another expansion for The Sims 4 that might continue StrangeVille’s story-first approach.
Less likely but still possible are new games from EA’s DICE studio, the developers behind the Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront games who have yet to announce a project for 2019, as well as projects from PopCap (famous for Plants vs Zombies) and Ghost Games, the new stakeholders of the Need for Speed franchise.
Last but not least, BioWare debuted a teaser trailer for Dragon Age 4 at last year’s The Game Awards, and while it's a longshot it'd be nice to hear something – anything – about its development at EA’s event.
Keynote time: Monday, June 10, at 6 PM PT / 9 PM ET
After the long-awaited release of Kingdom Hearts 3 in early January, Square Enix has been fairly quiet. But that looks like that's going to change at E3.
Thanks to a tweet posted to the Marvel's Avengers twitter in late May, we know we're going to see Crystal Dynamic's game at the show, as well as Final Fantasy VII Remake which recently had a key spot during Sony's last State of Play event.
We also know that Square Enix is currently working on Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Nintendo Switch, as it was announced during a Nintendo Direct earlier this year, as well as Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition.
Outside of those games, it’s likely we’ll hear more about the next episode in Life is Strange 2, as well as DLC for Kingdom Hearts III. Square Enix might also use the time during its press event to talk about Just Cause 4 and Oninaki.
‘But is it too early to hear something about Final Fantasy 16?’ Yes. Yes, it is.
Keynote time: Sunday, June 9 at 1 pm PST, 4 pm EST and 9 pm BST
As of right now, Microsoft is the only one of the big three console makers that’s definitely going to E3 2019. That gives Microsoft a bit of an advantage if it decides to debut its next-gen Xbox codenamed Project Scarlett, and it might be the reason why Sony is avoiding the show altogether.
While we’re still not sure exactly what Microsoft is going to show us in terms of hardware, we're likely to hear more about XCloud, Microsoft’s new game streaming service and new updates to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service which has grown immensely in the last 12 months.
Less likely, Microsoft could have demos of the HoloLens 2 in a similar setup to a few years ago when it paired the hardware with a demo of Halo 5: Guardians, but that’s on the far fringes of what’s likely to happen.
Last year Microsoft announced the acquisition of several new studios including The Initiative, Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games, so hopefully we’ll start to see some of the projects these companies have been working on.
Keynote time: Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 5:30pm PT
Regardless of Sony's plans, we now know that Bethesda will be holding a showcase event at E3 2019, close in time to last year's event. To that end, you can expect to hear more about the developer/publisher's titles starting on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 5:30pm PT.
So what can we expect to see? It’s almost a given that we’ll hear updates for legacy titles like The Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76, two of the developer’s largest MMOs to date, as well as the previously Doom Eternal from partner iD Software.
In between bombshell announcements, we’re also likely to hear more about Bethesda’s free-to-play and mobile offerings like Elder Scrolls Blades, which is due out later this year, and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a free-to-play card game that’s in the same vein as Hearthstone.
Unfortunately, those of us expecting to see new trailers for the next hotly anticipated entry in the Elder Scrolls franchise, Elder Scrolls VI, and Bethesda's ambitious sci-fi project, Starfield, are going to be disappointed. Bethesda Game Studios executive producer Todd Howard told a roomful of attendees at PAX East that it's still too early to talk about the games and asked everyone to "please be patient".
Interested in attending in-person? Bethesda is giving out tickets via an online contest that will give out two tickets to you and a friend!
Keynote time: N/A
Sorry guys, unfortunately Sony is skipping the E3 festivities this year and has said that it will instead find another venue to showcase the games and hardware coming down the pipeline. That said, we won't rule out another State of Play event, like the one Sony held back in March.
Keynote time: Monday, June 10, 2019 at 1pm PT (4pm ET, 9pm UK)
Ubisoft will definitely be back at this year's E3. The developer-slash-publishing house has a lot on its plate for early 2019 including Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 as well as Trials Rising, both of which came out in the February-March window, but hasn't said what's coming later this year.
The game we know the most about from Ubisoft that would likely be at this year’s show is Skull and Bones, the ship-focused combat game that looks to carry the torch from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Ubisoft has yet to give us a solid release date for the game, but it’s likely that’s the sort of thing it’s saving for an E3 2019 keynote.
It’s also likely we’ll hear more about Beyond Good and Evil 2 and potentially get our first look at the gameplay at Ubisoft’s keynote… but that could just be wishful thinking on our part.
Beyond those two games, we’ve heard rumors that Ubisoft will announce three to four new AAA titles in between March 2019 and March 2020, but we can only speculate what’s to come. The only franchise that’s definitely not going to be there is a mainline Assassin’s Creed game as Ubisoft has said that it will be skipping a release in 2019.
Keynote time: Monday, June 10, 2019 at 10am PT (1pm ET, 5pm UK)
If you’re a PC gamer, you won’t want to miss the PC Gaming Show, which will make its fifth consecutive return to the convention.
We’re not sure what to expect from the two-hour event, but if it’s anything like previous years it will feature a number of indie games that wouldn’t usually get time up on the big stage alongside hardware announcements.
At last year’s event we got the chance to see a number of new indie games like Neo Cab and Maneater, as well as some heavy-hitting titles like Stormlands from Insomniac and Warframe: The Sacrifice from Digital Extremes. We’re expecting some similar big announcements from this year’s show.
Keynote time: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 9am PT (12pm ET)
While Sony won’t be at this year’s event, Nintendo most certainly will – first digitally in a Nintendo Direct that usually airs Tuesday morning and then physically when its massive booth takes over West Hall.
In terms of what games Nintendo is going to bring with it this year, the company says we’ll hear more about Pokemon Sword and Shield, as that’s due out by the end of 2019, plus the Link’s Awakening Remake and Mario Maker 2.
We're hoping we'll also hear more about Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch, which was announced in 2018 and given a 2019 launch window, but there's no guarantee from Nintendo that we'll catch Tom Nook at this year's show.
Beyond those core games, we know Nintendo is developing Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Fire Emblem Three Houses, the latter of which should be available in August unless it’s delayed. Nintendo could also use the time to show off its next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character pack.
Either way, we'll find out more on June 11 at 9am PT.
Keynote time: Confirmed, but TBD
Last but certainly not least, we couldn’t leave out Devolver Digital, who has confirmed via Twitter that it would be posting another off-the-wall pre-recorded keynote which may or may not involve fictional CEO Nina Struthers.
Expect it to be just as weird as year’s.
Keynote time: Technically not a keynote, but the first Stadia Connect aired on June 6 at 9 am PDT
While it's not technically part of E3 as it doesn't have a partnership with the ESA, Google has shown that it wants to be part of the big show by leading the week's events with a Google Stadia announcement.
In a 25-minute presentation held on June 6, Google Stadia boss (and former Microsoft VP) Phil Harrison gave us our first tangible details about the new streaming service coming later this year. The TL;DW? Stadia will cost $9.99 per month and will allow you unlimited game-streaming in 4K HDR at 60fps. You can play on your TV with a Chromecast Ultra, or your laptop or desktop in a Chrome browser. You'll also be able to game on your smartphone… as long as you own a Google Pixel device.
Want to know more about Google's ambitious venture into videogames? We've got all the details in our complete Google Stadia guide.