The Pop Punk Panda E3 Wishlist

Folks, its Christmas.

Not actual Christmas of course, but "Video Game Christmas". I'm talking about the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 which begins this coming weekend.

True to form I've booked a week off work for some me-time. I spend the week watching the conferences and coverage and playing video games in my little bubble, something I look forward to all year round.

Those conferences used to often be tone-deaf, poorly written and feature some horrendous performances from hosts (Ubisoft 2011, anything involving Kinect) but recently the competition between Sony and Microsoft has led to great conferences with dramatic announcements, orchestral performances and much more of a player-first mentality.

Here are my dream announcements from each conference!

The home of sports and Star Wars, EA's previous conferences have been some of the most disappointing in recent years. After Mass Effect: Andromeda failed to live up to the series legacy, how can they win back some support?

1) Star Wars Battlefront II - With a release date set for this year (alongside a new Star Wars Movie) I think this will be the final item on the itinerary. I'm hoping (and expecting) some gameplay but would love for it to show the campaign, something missing entirely from the first game.

2) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 - Unlikely, yes, but a follow-up to two of the most beloved Star Wars video games of all time could be huge and just what those disenchanted by Mass Effect need.

3) Bioware's new project - An earnings call has already shown that Bioware's Edmonton studio have been working on something while Montreal handled the development of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game has likely been in development for some time but we also know it has been pushed back to 2018. Rumoured to be a game with elements of Destiny and The Division, E3 would be a great place to show why we should care.

4) FIFA 18 - Another year, another FIFA and while 17's "The Journey" had some great ideas it also felt very limited. I'd love to see a new career mode alternative which allows more customisation and perhaps stretches further than a single season.

Microsoft's press conference this year is probably one of the most important in the history of their Xbox division. The Xbox One has been heavily outsold by the Playstation 4 and a lack of memorable exclusives in the last year outside of Gears of War, Halo and Forza have gamers wondering if they've lost their mojo. Never one to rest on their laurels, however, Microsoft is due to announce hardware and hopefully some games to play on it.

1) Project Scorpio - One of the most anticipated reveals of the entire expo is Microsoft's new console. Said to be much more powerful than not only the PS4 but the PS4 Pro as well, Microsoft's new beast is taking aim at 4K gaming. I'm fully expecting we'll finally see the product as well as some games running on it as well as a price and release date. A Virtual Reality partnership with Oculus seems possible too, but Microsoft really needs to show why it's worth upgrading to the Scorpio - or whatever it ends up being called.

2) New exclusives - In recent years Microsoft has had timed exclusives (Rise of the Tomb Raider), true exclusives (Quantum Break) and the usual suspects (Forza and Gears). While we're expecting concrete info on Sea of Thieves this year and possibly another look at Crackdown 3 (conspicuous by it's absence from last year's conference), I think they need more. Sony have nailed down fantastic games by fantastic developers but if anyone has the financial muscle to secure third-party exclusives, its Microsoft. At present there are too few reasons to buy an Xbox One, something that needs to be addressed this E3.

3) More backwards compatibility titles - Hopefully we'll get a new bunch of BC games added to the already HUGE list. I'd love to see the Hitman HD trilogy or Splinter Cell Blacklist.

Bethesda's recent pattern of opening E3 has been broken by EA and Microsoft's new showtimes but the publisher has had some of the better conferences in the last two years. The demo of Doom was pure wish fulfilment for fans of a long-dormant franchise while last year's "deep dive" into Dishonored 2 showed the potential of that game's sandbox before it received critical praise and Game of the Year nominations last year. And who could forget the Fallout 4 preview?

1) Wolfenstein: The New Colossus - teased via a DOS prompt in the intro to last year's show, Machine Games proved with both The New Order and The Old Blood that they're able to tell a story in the Wolfenstein franchise about killing Nazis with extreme prejudice while still finding time to craft a great narrative and well-rounded characters. I cannot wait to see what they have in store.

2) The Elder Scrolls VI - Yes, its more a pipe dream at this point but playing Skyrim recently has me yearning for a new Elder Scrolls title. It is very unlikely to appear at this year's show, but a man can dream right?

3) Dishonored 2 DLC - I have to admit, I recently finished Dishonored: Definitive Edition and am looking forward to playing through the DLC before playing Dishonored 2. But as a fledgling franchise that I am now (finally!) hooked on, I'd love to see something to flesh out the mythos and magic of the second title.

On the back of huge franchises such as Assassins Creed, The Division and Far Cry, Ubisoft have become one of the biggest and most prominent publishers in the industry. While last year's reveal of snowboarding simulation Steep left me cold (see what I did there?), they've usually ended each conference with a bang - a title being developed that no one saw coming. There was Watch Dogs, The Division and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I have my own wish for the end of their conference this year...

1) Splinter Cell - Imagine the scene. Aisha Tyler (assuming she hosts again this year - and I really hope she does as I adore her) mentions there is one more announcement. The lights go out in the auditorium and the trademark three green lights appear. Chills. It's been almost four years since we saw Sam Fisher in Blacklist and I would love to see him represented on the current generation of consoles. Please Ubisoft, for me?

Please let this happen
2) Assassins Creed - We know it'll be there. It leaks every year. It leaked this year. My dream, however, is that they fix the damn combat. Even adding Arkham-style combat would be better than the repetitive sword swinging the franchise has pushed at us for the last few iterations.

3) Ubi Access - EA Access has been hugely successful on the Xbox One (and PC) allowing unlimited use of games in the vault for a low monthly (or annual) fee. When it launched Ubisoft mentioned that they were monitoring the subscription service to see how popular it would be. Now would be a great time to open up the Ubi library -  there are multiple Assassins Creed, Far Cry and Watch Dogs titles as well as multiple huge titles on the horizon such as South Park and Far Cry 5. What better way to pick up interest?

Sony's conferences have been something of a masterclass in recent years - huge announcements interspersed with intriguing indie exclusives and enough flair to keep the entire package interesting, even when it runs fairly long. They've built a huge stable of exclusives this year so they'll be looking to keep momentum going in 2017.

1) Spiderman - One of my favourite announcements of last year's Sony conference was the tease for Spiderman - a new title from Insomniac games coming exclusively to PS4. We don't even know the full title yet but the trailer was incredible. It would be great to see some more gameplay this time and hopefully a release date - fingers crossed for this year!

2) PS4 Pro - I have a PS4 Pro. Other than a handful of titles that are improved with Boost Mode, nothing seems to truly push the console. I'd love to see Sony do more to help developers optimise games for the console, particularly with Project Scorpio on the horizon.

3) The Last of Us Part 2 - The sequel to one of my favourite games of all time was announced last year at Playstation Experience with a moody trailer showing the return of Joel and Ellie. Something to show the challenges they'll face this time around would help satiate me until it's likely post-2018 release date.

Ah, Nintendo. This is the first year i've been excited for a Nintendo conference. With previous conferences focusing on the Wii U, I had no reason to tune in. Now that I'm a new Switch AND 3DS owner however, I'm really hopeful that the "House that Mario built" will have something special.

1) Mario Odyssey - The big one, and still slated for the end of 2017. A brand new Mario game could sell Switches on it's own but thanks to coming off the back of Zelda, it doesn't have to. A full console quality Mario title has been missing for a while, particularly one you can also take anywhere thanks to the Switch.

2) Pokemon on Switch - I have everything crossed that Nintendo will release a HD Pokemon title on the Switch. The main games in the franchise have always been on handheld consoles but the Switch blurs that line. Being able to undock to duel with friends and then plug back in afterwards to view your Pokedex on the big screen would be the announcement of the conference.

3) Virtual Console on Switch - Nintendo's back catalogue is huge and i've barely played any of the titles in there (even Super Mario 3!). Bringing it to the Switch would be huge and should sell even more of them.

4) Sonic Forces - Not a Nintendo exclusive but I can't wait to play this on my Switch - I would love to get a release date!

So there you have it, my E3 wishlist. What are you hoping to see at E3? Will you be watching the conferences? Let us know in the comments!