Most anticipated games to see at E3 2014

Though much at E3 is kept under wraps until showtime, there's already a slew of announced games and rumored exclusives to get excited about. Here are the titles to look out for.

Nick Statt
Nick Statt was a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.
Nick Statt
1 of 17 343 Industries

Halo 5: Guardians

Platform: Xbox One

Release date: 2015

Halo 5: Guardians will be the sixth major installment in the sprawling sci-fi series, and the third from developer 343 Industries, who took over for Bungie after 2010's Halo Reach.

Details are scarce -- the title and its name were only announced last month. But at E3 last year, Microsoft touted the recently unveiled Xbox One with a brief video teaser featuring a cloaked Master Chief staring down a gargantuan alien spacecraft, so we can be sure to expect some more substantive screen time this year.

2 of 17 NIntendo

The Legend of Zelda

Platform: Wii U

Release date: TBD

The world saw its first glimpse of a high-definition Link at E3 in 2011, but we have yet to see a console Zelda title since that year's Skyward Sword for the original Wii.

Three years later, Nintendo has promised a HD Zelda game for the Wii U, though details beyond the 2011 demo are nonexistent. The secrecy has sent Nintendo fans' anticipation off the charts, making an official confirmation and gameplay trailer a potential E3 2014 highlight.

3 of 17 Kojima Productions

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 / PS4, PS3

Release date: TBD

With its short prequel, Ground Zeroes, still fresh on fans' minds, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is coming to E3 2014 with more to show of his next larger-scale espionage action project -- The Phantom Pain.

Set 11 years before the original Metal Gear, the story follows the character of Big Boss in the years after a decade-long coma. The game will feature the unique open-world gameplay hinted at in Ground Zeroes, marking a bold deviation from the linear storytelling of the series.

Building tension for next week's reveal, Kojima has already openly stated that the E3 2014 trailer for The Phantom Pain may be even harder to watch than the one shown last year, which generated controversy for its depiction of torture.

4 of 17 Nintendo

Super Smash Bros.

Platform: 3DS, Wii U

Release date:Q3 2014 (3DS), Q4 2014 (Wii U)

The fourth installment in Nintendo's massively popular all-star brawler features the same tried-and-true formula as its predecessors on the Wii, Gamecube, and N64. That means a dizzying number of characters are yours to fight with in a blending of Nintendo's many universes.

This time around, two versions of the game will release concurrently, one for the Wii U and one for Nintendo's 3DS handheld, both with online multiplayer. Players can't play each other across platforms, so you'll have to take solace in the fact that Mega Man is finally a playable fighter.

Nintendo is using E3 as an opportunity to make a big splash with Smash Bros., and the company is setting up a 16-person tournament for the world's best players to try their hand at the new title in front of the crowd and on the game-streaming site Twitch.tv.

5 of 17 Sledgehammer Games

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 / PS4, PS3 / PC

Release date: November 4, 2014

The eleventh installment in the highest-grossing first-person shooter in history is Advanced Warfare, a game set in 2054 at a time when nations have ceded power to private military corporations fighting for global dominance.

From first time COD developer Sledgehammer Games, Advanced Warfare was revealed initially last month with a trailer featuring actor Kevin Spacey, who will play the head of Atlas, a leading PMC in advanced exoskeleton technology.

Given its annual release cycle, publisher Activision always makes sure to give the Call of Duty series a spotlight showing at E3, so expect some exoskeleton glory to share the stage, typically on Microsoft's Xbox One platform.

6 of 17 Ubisoft

Tom Clancy's The Division

Platform: Xbox One / PS4 / PC

Release date: 2015

Ubisoft is having a busy year, having just released Watch Dogs after a hefty delay and prepping the Assassin's Creed franchise for its next installment.

That may be one of the many reasons why the next game under the venerable Tom Clancy brand -- The Division -- was delayed until 2015. Still, the third-person tactical shooter, first unveiled last year at E3 with a 7-minute gameplay demo, remains one of the most promising next-generation console games. To that end, fans seem to be settling with delays if it means a more refined experience.

Featuring a post-outbreak United States in the grip of societal collapse, The Division's plot puts players in the role of a soldier in a newly formed tech-equipped government security outfit. Effectively, players will battle AI and human opponents in what look like startling realistic urban environments using futuristic tactical tech.

Delays aside, expect Ubisoft to give us another taste of the title at its E3 press conference on Monday, June 9.

7 of 17 Bungie


Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 / PS4, PS3

Release date: September 9, 2014

Destiny remains one of the most highly anticipated games of the next-generation. Not only is it a mammoth project from Halo creator Bungie, but its budget has already ballooned to $500 million, eclipsing Grand Theft Auto V as the most expensive game ever made.

Bungie has already shown off gameplay footage, having done so as early as last year at E3. The game looks and feels like Halo, but the real draw is that Destiny is a massively-multiplayer first-person shooter, one of the first of its kind.

With a persistent world, complex character creation, and a mixed single and multi-player experience, Destiny may steal the show next week ahead of its fast-approaching September release and July beta test.

8 of 17 Remedy Entertainment

Quantum Break

Platform: Xbox One

Release date: 2015

Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment is poised to pull off a remarkable leap in game narratives with Quantum Break -- the first next-gen title that will mix live-action scenes with rendered gameplay. To further blend the experience, there's also a TV show in the works.

An Xbox One exclusive shown off last year at E3, Quantum Break's time-shifting plot will dabble in the weirdness of theoretical physics. Taking it one step further, Microsoft claims that the game will impact the TV show, while the TV show will inform the game.

9 of 17 Naughty Dog


Platform: PS4

Release date: TBD

The only info we have on the next Uncharted game from celebrated PlayStation developer Naughty Dog is a brief video teaser, released last November, featuring a map of Africa and the Bible-quoting narration of actor Todd Stashwick.

The game isn't confirmed for E3 and has yet to be officially announced. We don't even know if it will be called Uncharted 4 or will take a new naming direction.

But recent news says the directors of Naughty Dog's spectacular post-apocalyptic game The Last of Us -- Neil Druckman and Bruce Staley -- are in charge of the title. So we can only cross our fingers and pray Sony, who publishes Naughty Dog's games, sheds light on the project next week.

10 of 17 Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Project Beast

Platform: PS4

Release date: TBD

One of E3 2014's biggest mysteries regards Project Beast, a rumored new PS4 title from Dark Souls and Demon's Souls developer From Software.

Footage that was leaked late last month on the gaming forum NeoGAF depicted a caped gun-and-sword-toting protagonist fighting monsters, all wrapped in the Soul series' standard aesthetic. Given the popularity of the latest installment, Dark Souls 2, we can expect Project Beast to be one of E3's more hyped announcements that's currently up in the air.

11 of 17 Tequila Works


Platform: PS4

Release date: TBD

With its beautiful cel-shaded graphics and seemingly exploration-focused gameplay, indie standout Rime has been called a cross between the PlayStation classic Ico and The Legend of Zelda.

Developer Tequila Works' creative director, Paul Rubio, has said that inspirations for Rime include the anime masterpieces of Hayao Miyazaki and the artwork of Salvador Dali. So keep an eye out for this PS4 gem next week.

12 of 17 Capybara Games


Platform: Xbox One / PC

Release date: TBD

While the PS4 has indie darling Rime, Xbox One has been graced with an equally stunning and mysterious title -- Below.

Of the rogue-like genre, Below comes from the venerated mobile visionaries at Capybara Games, makers of the popular Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP. Capy announced last year that Microsoft would let Below move beyond the Xbox One after launch, and the team has already confirmed the game for Steam.

13 of 17 Square Enix

Final Fantasy XV

Platform: Xbox One / PS4

Release date: 2015

As is now par for the course for the role-playing pioneers over at Square Enix, Final Fantasy XV was shown off years ago -- 2006 in fact, when it was known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The title went dormant save rumors of cancellations and delays until last year's E3, when it resurfaced as FFXV with an actual gameplay trailer showing off its rather epic scope.

Featuring its standard cast of androgynous magic-wielding protagonists, FFXV stands out for its unique gameplay, which looks to be an intriguing mix between RPG turn-based and action game battling that puts it more in line with fellow Square series Kingdom Hearts.

14 of 17 NetherRealm

Mortal Kombat X

Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 / PS4, PS3 / PC

Release date: 2015

Announced earlier this week after Amazon UK accidentally leaked info on title, the next installment in the Mortal Kombat fighting franchise arrived with an explosive trailer from developer NetherRealm.

Featuring a rivalry fans of the series have come to revere, the ice fighter Sub-Zero faces off against his fire-imbued brother, Scorpion, in a dazzling display of bone-crushing brutality.

Whether any element of the trailer will translate into actual gameplay footage was left ambiguous in the video's description. So hopefully we get more insight at E3.

15 of 17 EA DICE

Battlefield Hardline

Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 / PS4, PS3 / PC

Release date: Q4 2014

Battlefield Hardline used to be one of the small handful of games spared from industry leaks in the lead-up to E3 -- until last week.

six-month-old gameplay video was posted to YouTube shortly after publisher EA announced the game -- a move it only made after news of the title leaked from listings on the series' website. Hardline will be a stark departure from the series' wartime first-person shooter DNA, featuring instead an episodic single player campaign (developed by Visceral Games) and online multi-player (developed by DICE) with an urban crime-fighting, cops and robbers angle.

EA typically reveals more information about its now-annual Call of Duty competitor at its press conference on Monday, June 9, and the publisher announced that it will stick to the formula for next week.

Update at 11:30 a.m. PT: Revised caption to better reflect Hardline as it stands now, as previous info was misrepresentative and taken from 6-month old gameplay footage.

16 of 17 Rocksteady Studios

Batman: Arkham Knight

Platform: Xbox One / PS4 / PC

Release date: 2015

With Batman: Arkham Knight, players will be blessed with the design and narrative chops of series creator Rocksteady Studios, which handed the keys to the Arkham franchise to Warner Bros. Games Montréal for 2013's Batman: Arkham Origins.

A direct sequel to the excellent Batman: Arkham City, the game will feature the superhero at the height of his power as he faces down the villain Scarecrow and the titular and militaristic Arkham Knight. Notable additions this time around are a drivable Batmobile and an explorable Gotham five times larger than Arkham City's prison environment.

17 of 17 Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Assassin's Creed Unity

Platform: Xbox One / PS4 / PC

Release date: Q4 2014

The next episode in the era-jumping Assassin's Creed series is Unity, which will be set in Paris during the French Revolution.

Little else is known about Unity, as developer Ubisoft has only so far confirmed the game's existence in a brief teaser video back in March.

With the series' standard annual release date in place for the holidays, expect details for this title to be in high demand this year at E3 -- and a likely highlight of Ubisoft's June 9 press conference.

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