The great thing about San Diego Comic-Con for video game fans is that it’s perfectly placed between the industry-only E3 and the mega-popular fan convention PAX Prime, giving the public its first opportunity to go upclose and hands-on with the latest games and announcements. Saying that, the video game presence at SDCC has been increasing more and more over the years, with convention organizers devoting an entire side of the exhibit floor to accommodate the big crowds and high interest.
Each year we look at the big announcements fresh from E3 and the upcoming schedule of video game releases to give you an idea of what video game fans can expect to see at Comic-Con. And judging from the huge list below, one could spend the entire weekend doing nothing but enjoying the video game events in and around the Convention Center and have a full schedule.
Let’s take a look at the video games you might be seeing in San Diego next month.
The biggest news from Microsoft is Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which combines HD versions of the first four Halo games and their multiplayer into a single package. The good news is that this is a November 2014 release, and 343 Industries loves bringing anything Halo to SDCC. so attendees will most likely be able to get their hands on this in playable form, along with some panels to talk about this and 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. And we already know Halo Nightfall, the upcoming prequel to Guardians produced by Ridley Scott (Yes, the Ridley Scott) will have some presence at SDCC, but it’s fun to wonder whether we’ll also get news of the Steven Spielberg-produced Halo series (yes, the Steven Spielberg), which might also be headed to Showtime. Where better than Comic-Con for the two companies to make a big announcement of a distribution deal?
A few other sure things we’ll see at Comic-Con: Kinect Sports Rivals, which is holding a contest to have semifinalists square off against each other live at Comic-Con on Saturday July 26; Sunset Overdrive, the zombie-fueled action platformer which will be holding an event on Thursday July 24; and Castle Crashers developer The Behemoth’s latest game for Xbox One.
What else can we hope to see? Our bets are on some of the announced indie titles, like Ori and the Blind Forest, which is due to be released this fall
The past few years, Nintendo has set up shop in the ballroom of the Marriott Marquis and Marina hotel, adjacent to the Convention Center. While we don’t yet know for sure what its plans are for this year, we expect Nintendo to return with the latest Wii U and 3DS titles. Top of the list is Super Smash Brothers, which seems likely to have some sort of sponsored tournament to support both the portable and console versions. Other likely appearances in playable form should be the Dynasty Warrors/Zelda hybrid Hyrule Warriors; Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the 3DS remakes of the classic Gameboy releases; SEGA’s upcoming Sonic Boom titles; and Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U. And don’t forget to turn on Streetpass during Comic-Con!
Of the three big console manufacturers, Sony’s Comic-Con presence has the most unknowns. Aside from The Last of Us Remastered (which gets a release the week after SDCC), and LittleBigPlanet 3, there isn’t much in terms of big triple-A titles the company is publishing for the PS4 this year. Instead, much like Microsoft, the emphasis will most likely be on the many indie titles getting releases this year. There was also one thing of interest we found while looking at the exhibitor list, which was published and subsequently taken down last week: The Sony Pictures booth was conspicuously positioned near the video games section of the exhibit hall. Why does this matter? Because this is the year Powers, the live-action series adaptation of the Brian Michael Bendis comic, gets released to the Playstation Network, thanks to Sony Pictures.
That covers the big three, but what about the third-party software companies? Here’s some of the big titles and publishers that we think will be in San Diego.
Blizzard will be back with its own booth, along with “never-before-seen treasures and show exclusives” as well as some product reveals, the company has already announced. And Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull has already hinted at some new footage of the Warcraft movie this year.
Sticking with Activision, we think they the publisher will also have Destiny, the new shooter from Halo-developers Bungie, in playable form.
Ed Boon, co-creator of the Mortal Kombat series, said on Giant Bomb’s E3 Day 3 wrap-up show (around the 31:00 mark) that new characters from the recently-announced Mortal Kombat X would be announced at Comic-Con, assuring the game would have some appearance at the convention.
Electronic Arts has already announced it will be bringing Dragon Age Inquisition for “panels, activities and the return of the Dragon Egg Hunt”. Star Wars: The Old Republic Community Cantina Tour will return to the Gaslamp where attendees will have a Q&A with the development team as well as complimentary food, drink and giveaways. And what about that Mass Effect movie that was announced a couple of years back? According to IGN, it may be coming in 2016, so we may hopefully be hearing more about it at a Legendary Pictures panel along with the aforementioned Warcraft.
Last year, Ubisoft took over the marina in grand fashion, dressing a real-life pirate ship as the in-game Jackdaw from the Assassin’s Creed series to promote the fourth title in the main series, Black Flag. It would be awesome to see it return, because it was a spectacle to see and a fantastic offsite activation.
However the theme of the next game, Assassin’s Creed Unity, has shifted to 18th century Paris during the French Revolution, so we think Ubisoft will ditch the ship in favor of some other promotion. In other words, expect to go hands-on with Assassin’s Creed Unity at Comic-Con this year.
And last year Ubisoft partnered with Amazon to sponsor the popular Video Games Live symphony concert during Comic-Con weekend. We’re excited that the San Diego Symphony is bringing back VGL for this year, on Thursday July 24.
Capcom will be back at SDCC to promote the upcoming Ultra Street Fighter 4 with a stop on the Pro Tour fighting tournament. And if it’s exclusives you’re looking for – of which Capcom had several to drool over last year – UDON Entertainment will be selling the Art of Capcom Comic-Con Exclusive Edition with a special wrap-around dust jacket.
We’d love to see SEGA’s Alien Isolation at Comic-Con, and we think it’s got a good shot. The game will be released this October, and the Alien franchise is hot with the SDCC crowd. One more for the wish list: Nerd HQ had the Occulus Rift, the high-tech virtual reality headset, for guests to play with last year, and at this past E3 Alien Isolation was playable with the Occulus. Could we see a pairing of the two somewhere at Comic-Con this year? We hope so. Heck, give us nightmares – the less we sleep, the earlier we’ll be able to get in the Hall H line.
We’ve already heard that Warner Bros. may be bringing a life-size replica of the Batmobile from the upcoming Batman Arkham Knight game, the first in the series to introduce the vehicle in its gameplay. Given that, we think the early-2015 release will be heavily promoted to the SDCC audience. Another Warner Bros. game, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, should also be at Comic-Con this year, given it’s a fall 2014 release and a nice tie-in to the big sendoff we expect will be given to the final Hobbit film. And we’ll throw in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, as another shoo-in for a public hands-on given the fan-friendly properties involved, the big push DC will be doing for its cinematic universe, and the release date of late 2014.
These are just some of the games we know will be, or think will be, at Comic-Con this year, but expect plenty more to be announced in the coming weeks.
Which ones are you most excited about, and which ones do you hope will be at Comic-Con? Let us know in the comments.