E3 is happening this year despite E3 not happening this year. The official show is gone, but that hasn't stopped June from being a big month for events (including our own PC Gaming Show) filled with game trailers and announcements. There's a whole "E3" schedule to look forward to and each one could have an announcement that will dramatically shape our outlook on the near-future of gaming.
Will someone get Embraced? Will Geoff Keighley make it into the next Death Stranding as himself? Heck, maybe we'll finally get to see the name "Fallout: New Vegas 2" in a trailer. Everything is up in the air right now and that's why it's the perfect time to start making guesses on what could happen.
Naturally, the PC Gamer team has some ideas.
Summer Game Fest's big "one last thing" reveal is Hollow Knight: Silksong
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Last year Keighley closed out his E3 show with Elden Ring, ending the suffering of the Elden Ring subreddit after a painfully long wait. It seems only proper for Hollow Knight: Silksong to be next.
Does an indie game about bugs really have the pull to be the biggest announcement of Summer Game Fest? I think so. Silksong is the second-most-wishlisted game on Steam, with more wishlists than Bethesda's Starfield. Since its reveal in 2019 we've heard almost nothing new, outside a few details in Edge magazine in 2020. Every announcement event, fans get riled up over the chance that it might appear. A Silksong release date reveal would deliver the same cathartic moment as Elden Ring did last year. And surely it's close to being finished, right? I say yes—and that the trailer will announce it's coming in October.
Paradox announces Vampire: The Masquerade - The Crafting Survival Game
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: It feels like we're no less than overrun by World of Darkness games—recent and upcoming—specifically the vampire variety. Long-awaited Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, narrative games Coteries of New York and Swansong, and the inexplicably decent battle royale Bloodhunt have all shown their faces during the summer announcements season at one point.
Paradox can't be done throwing the Vampire name around, and who knows? Maybe they take another wild swing at an unexpected genre, strolling into a summer showcase to proudly reveal an early access survival game. (Note: I wrote this before V Rising came out and started climbing player numbers and can't decide if that makes this more or less likely.) Maybe they go deep cut and it's actually based on Vampire: The Dark Ages. It can't make less sense than vampires with AK-47s.
Arkane Lyon's next game is announced by Bethesda
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: The Xbox & Bethesda show was presumably going to go real heavy on showcasing Starfield, with a plate of Redfall on the side. Now that both games have been delayed, they'll probably be relegated to the kind of spots that exist to say, "Look, we're still working on this and it really will be done when we say this time, now leave us alone so we can get on with it." Which leaves a lot of space to fill, and while Arkane Austin is working on Redfall, Arkane Lyon could step up to tell everyone what it's been working on since Deathloop.
I don't expect the studio to do anything as predictable as Deathloop 2, but I could be wrong. Let's go bold, though: Arkane Lyon announces a Deathloop/Dishonored crossover game, with the time-and-space-hopping Colt bouncing across infinity and landing in Dunwall. Come on, he's already got the equivalent of Blink, he'd fit right in.
Arc Raiders dazzles with a proper gameplay demo
Morgan Park, Staff Writer: In the six months since The Game Awards, only one game that has gotten me giddy enough to return to its trailer for repeat watches: Arc Raiders. That's the new third-person co-op shooter from Embark Studios, which apparently comprises a lot of ex-Battlefield devs, about taking down gigantic robots with guns and gadgets. I adore its funky retro spacey style and the glimpses at gameplay in the reveal trailer already look fun as hell.
I haven't seen much buzz for Arc Raiders in the months since, but that just means there's all the more potential for Embark to steal the show out of nowhere with a meaty gameplay demo. In true E3 fashion, Geoff Keighly may also surprise announce that the open beta for Arc Raiders begins "right now." That last bit is a long shot, though Embark has been holding playtests that apparently anyone can sign up for.
Obsidian's mystery fourth project gets revealed
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: Beloved RPG purveyor Obsidian Entertainment has three publicly known irons in the fire: Grounded, its ongoing Honey I Shrunk the Kids survival game, the early-in-development Outer Worlds 2, and the hopefully-much-further-in-development Pillars of Eternity spinoff, Avowed.
Josh Sawyer, project lead on New Vegas and Pillars, doesn't seem to be working on any of those and instead regularly references an as-of-yet unannounced project on social media. Rumors and alleged leaks abound, but Sawyer's commentary on the project has remained very general. Parent company Microsoft's not-E3 showcase might be the perfect place to reveal this mystery game.
Elden Ring DLC announced
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: I'm curious as to what sort of timetable we can expect here. The quickest turnover we've seen on FromSoft DLC was from Dark Souls 2's Lost Crowns, which launched the summer following DS2's Spring 2014 release. Most other Soulsborne expansions dropped in the Fall following their base game's Spring launch, but I would expect Elden Ring's expansion to be proportional to the massive main game and thus require additional development time. I could see a reveal happening at the Game Announcement Season Formerly Known As E3, but I wouldn't expect the Elden Ring expansion itself any sooner than this Winter.
Rich Stanton, Senior Editor: It's a no-brainer! Biggest game of the year, FromSoft has had a few months since launch and only needs to show the bare minimum.
Nier time, baby
Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: Square Enix hasn't announced an official E3 show yet, but it should realize that I've waited long enough—announce a new Nier game. I don't care how you do it, but I need human-like creatures to have feelings, and for a strange cast of characters to recognize that over the course of several repeat playthroughs with different endings. Most of all, I need a new Nier soundtrack.
After playing through Nier Replicant last year, I am ready for a story that breaks off of where Automata left the series and to dig back into the weird, haunting stories that sit in Yoko Taro's mind. The time is now. Call it Nier 3: Nier Harder, I don't care. I just want another one.