Can you really believe it’s E3 again? It feels like only yesterday we were packing our bags and heading down to LA for another week of games galore, and now we’re ready to do it all over again. This year’s show officially runs from June 12th – 14th, with a flurry of huge press conferences taking place in the days leading up (full schedule here).
VR hasn’t had a huge role to play at the show over the past few years, and we’re not expecting 2018 to be absolutely massive either. We do have our fingers crossed for at least a handful of big announcements though and, below, the Upload team has gathered together to have a go at guessing what some of them will be. We’ll be on the ground in LA to bring you all the latest from the show, so stay tuned: it’s going to be a fun week.
Jamie: Predicting Sony’s PSVR Megaton
If you think back VR’s presence at the last two E3s, both were defined by one big announcement from Sony. In 2016 it was the incredible reveal that Resident Evil 7 would be coming to the headset with full PSVR support. Then, in 2017, it was the shock trailer for Skyrim VR that had jaws hitting the floor. I think we all want Sony to keep that momentum going this year. The question is how?
Personally, I think Sony’s saving the reveal of No Man’s Sky’s VR support for the big show. Over the past few months developer Hello Games has been teasing a huge update for the game, No Man’s Sky Next, and dropped some huge hints that VR support may be included in it. The game may never be able to shake the stigma of its bare-bones launch back in 2016, but we’d still love to dive into its seemingly infinite universe of procedurally generated worlds, especially with the new multiplayer support. It could be big for PSVR.
Still, some might not consider that a ‘megaton’ announcement, but I think Sony could have some other tricks up its sleeve. After the success of Skyrim VR, there’s got to be renewed interest in porting PS3 titles to VR, and Sony’s own catalog is a great place to start. An Aim controller supported Resistance or Killzone VR trilogy collection would be an absolutely amazing announcement, as would any number of third-party collaborations.
Finally, we know that Sony likes to keep its finger on the pulse of the PC VR scene. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that, even with recent issues, Budget Cuts is on its way to PSVR and maybe The Forest is too. As David’s about to tell you, it’s really Sony’s show to lose.
David: Moss And Beat Saber To The Rescue
This E3 for the VR world it’s going to be all about the PSVR I think. Oculus has already told us that it’s not going to have as strong of a presence as year’s past with only a couple of games to show, Valve never makes the trip, HTC apparently doesn’t believe in showcasing promising software, and Google et al aren’t focused on the gaming market very much. In terms of VR hype, this is really Sony’s show to lose.
We already attended a pre-E3 showcase from Sony that featured six promising PSVR titles, many of which are internally developed exclusives, so we’d imagine those will be the highlights for PSVR at the show. We’d also expect to see some new game announcements, such as potentially Fallout 4 VR since Skyrim VR already made its way to PC, Beat Saber PSVR since that’s been confirmed as in development, and maybe even other Vive Studios titles since Knockout League is out on PSVR already.
Additionally, I think Polyarc will officially announce Moss Book II. The first segment of Quill’s adventure was a riveting, magical, and absolutely marvelous VR game and the developers would be foolish to not move quickly and capitalize on the game’s impending physical release with more Moss buzz.
Outside of the Sony realm, I don’t think there will be much going on. Nintendo will continue to pretend VR doesn’t exist even though Nintendo Labo comes dangerously close with its Robot Kit. The Virtual Boy was so long ago I wish they’d just put the past behind them and move on. We’ve already seen how cool a Switch VR headset could look.
Tal: Bethesda Brings The Goods (Again)
Bethesda has been a big supporter of virtual reality, so I’m betting that we’ll see at least one big announcement at E3, if not a few.
I wouldn’t be surprised at a Fallout 4 PSVR reveal, but I’m expecting something bigger from Bethesda at its conference. We know the devs are working on an all-new Fallout title based around Vault 76 aptly named Fallout 76, but I don’t think this newly-revealed game will see a VR version, at least not right away. My bet would be more on a Fallout 3 Anniversary Edition, which will likely be a remastered bundle of all the Fallout 3 content for consoles and PC as well as a VR release. I would absolutely love to see Fallout: New Vegas as part of this package as well as it’s my favorite of the newer-generation Fallout games, but I’m not holding my breath.
I would also love to get a Dishonored, Prey, Evil Within, Wolfenstein, or Rage VR announcement, but I just don’t think we’re going to see that at this year’s E3, mainly because the time that would take to develop virtual reality versions of those games would be a much bigger resource investment than a Fallout 3 translation if they were already working on an Anniversary Edition in parallel.
Ubisoft is another major publisher that has been a big proponent of VR development, and we’ll definitely be getting a deeper look at both the psychological horror game Transference and the fast-paced jetpack shooter Space Junkies at E3, as well as hopefully more firm release dates.
I expect Ubi will have at least one more VR announcement at E3. I could see an Assassin’s Creed VR experience where you jump in the animus and take control of an ancient killer jumping from rooftop to rooftop, but unlike Bethesda, Ubi has usually focused on original titles for their virtual reality line-up, so I could see a completely new game announcement, as well.
Ian: Expectations vs Reality
There’s a pretty big gap between what I think will help VR adoption and what I think might actually happen at E3 in 2018.
PSVR and Rift, for example, could both be improved quite a bit with inside-out tracking. The wire would still be annoying, but with inside-out tracking PSVR users might be able to turn around without losing hand tracking and Rift users might be able to leave extra Oculus Sensors in a box.
If it really is going to be a couple years before PS5 replaces PS4, no updates to PSVR as a hardware platform before then could equate to more people letting their VR headsets collect dust each month than people who buy new ones. That would be very bad for VR developers, and for Sony.
Microsoft is already shipping headsets with inside-out tracking and it would be disappointing if the company really skipped VR support on the Xbox after suggesting it would be part of the Xbox One X a couple years ago.
I believe the major platforms are coming around to the realization that VR can only go mainstream as a wireless solution with no setup required and excellent hand interactions. While we might still see surprising and high quality apps/games for current VR headsets revealed at E3 for headsets like Vive, Rift and PSVR, there’s no indication that any of the major platform companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook have gotten far enough to ship developer kits fitting this criteria out to creators in large numbers.
I’m bracing for a relatively limited presence for VR at E3, but nonetheless hoping one of the major platform companies takes the opportunity to make clear their strategy for wireless VR over the next year.