When Bethesda announced that Fallout 4 is real and due sometime in the near future, they ensured that RPGs will be at the front of everyone's minds at this year's show. But if everything breaks right, this E3 could mean so much more.
A brief survey of the major publishers and console holders offers a number of promising candidates. Once a relatively obscure series that barely warranted a U.S. release, Xenoblade Chronicles X figures to be front and center at Nintendo's booth this year, with the wonderfully weird and enticing Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem potentially waiting in the wings as well.
XSEED, meanwhile, will be out in force, announcing that the latest entry in the well-regarded Legend of Heroes series - Trails of Cold Steel - will be making an appearance at the show, leading the publisher's usual array of fanservice-heavy selections. On the indie side, Cosmic Star Heroine is an incredibly promising looking homage to the days of the Sega CD from the creators of Cthulhu Saves the World.
The most intriguing player at this year's E3, though, may be Square Enix. After a few down years, the Japanese powerhouse is back on the upswing, even going so far as to announce that they will be holding their own press conference on Tuesday, all without even bringing Final Fantasy XV with them to the show. Without Final Fantasy XV, what could possibly warrant a dedicated Square Enix presser, you ask? Well, there's the new Deus Ex, and Kingdom Hearts 3 has been confirmed for E3 as well.
But Square Enix is also promising some "exciting new announcements." Could it be that Dragon Quest VII for the Nintendo 3DS is finally on its way to the U.S.? I sure hope so, because this is kind of its last chance.
Though it has its hardcore supporters, Dragon Quest VII has long been regarded as the series' black sheep, which may have hurt its chances of getting localized (the high cost of localization has likely been another factor). But the 3DS version has by all accounts fixed many of its early pacing issues; and with Nintendo's handheld still in its prime, Square Enix needn't worry about it being released into the wild and being dwarfed by a new console, which was what happened to the original version. If there was ever a time to release Dragon Quest VII, now would be it, whether it be by the hand of Nintendo or Square Enix itself.
Granted, if Dragon Quest VII fails to materialize once again, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's dead and buried. After all, it took years for Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky to finally emerge in the U.S.; and despite being released on what was for all intents and purposes a dead platform, it did quite well for itself. But Nintendo and Square Enix games also tend to have a narrower window than traditional XSEED fare, and Dragon Quest VII's has nearly passed.
Of course, there's another possible announcement that Square Enix could make as well. An announcement that would immediately make them the talk of the show. You know what I'm talking about.
I've opined in the past that Final Fantasy VII remake will be doomed to failure in the face of a hype cycle that will be impossible to match; but at this point, I just want Square Enix to make the damn thing. We've been talking about it for a decade now, ever since Square Enix teased/trolled us with their tech demo for the PlayStation 3. People who weren't even alive when the original was released are crying out for this to happen. It's time.
Meanwhile, back in the west...
Dragon Age: Inquisition is done and dusted, and BioWare is presumably on to new projects. So the question just has to be asked: Where is our new Knights of the Old Republic? And for that matter, how long until Mass Effect is finally remastered for the current generation consoles? With EA being as cynical as they are, I can't believe that this hasn't happened yet.
I expect that we'll be hearing about the latter, at least, during E3. Knights of the Old Republic is probably a bit further off, assuming it actually happens, which it should because Star Wars: The Old Republic is hardly a fit substitute (though it's by all accounts a pretty solid MMORPG).
Destiny news seems inevitable, whether it's regarding the already-announced sequel or new DLC. Fallout 4 has already been announced and will be shown during Bethesda's conference, effectively sucking the oxygen out of the room for any other big-budget western RPG. Obsidian is contenting themselves with Pillars of Eternity, which is perfectly fine with me, because Pillars of Eternity is great.
It's going to be an interesting show regardless, with PC gaming getting its own event for the first time, and new technologies like VR and cloud-based tech expected to dominate the headlines. But in terms of actual games, I think we'll all be talking about RPGs when this show is done.
Whether you like western RPGs, JRPGs, or you have no use for labels and just like video games with fancy stats, pay attention. I think this is going to be an E3 to remember.