E3? More like E0! That’s the sort of total groaner you could expect to hear at an E3 press conference—y’know, if the games industry’s historically biggest marketing event was actually happening in 2022.
This post was originally published on May 19, 2022. We’re republishing it today as more events have been announced.
Yes, for the second time in three years, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has called off its flagship event. In 2020, event organizers declined to host an E3, citing the covid-19 pandemic. Last year, it returned, but as a purely digital charade. Rumors around E3 2022’s cancellation swirled as early as January, and the ESA officially called off the event in the spring, saying it would return next year.
But the show(s) must go on. In fact, without an E3 to suck up all the oxygen in the room, the roadmap for video game buzz is looking a lot like 2020’s: a series of disparate conferences sprinkled throughout the summer. Yay? Anyway, here’s the schedule of press conferences planned for summer 2022, which we’ll update accordingly as more companies announce their not-E3 plans.
The first major conference of the season is a 30-minute showcase from Sony. For what it’s worth, the next big PlayStation exclusive, God of War Ragnarök, does not currently have a release date. Neither does Square Enix’s PS5-exclusive Final Fantasy XVI. Sony has a bunch of other irons in the fire, including two Marvel games developed by Insomniac (Wolverine and a sequel to Spider-Man) and an entire virtual reality machine (PSVR2). (Update, 6/7/2022: Sqaure Enix indeed revealed gameplay and a release window for FFXVI. Sony didn’t tease any first-party games.)
Not-E3 season kicks into high gear with Summer Game Fest, a digital showcase wherein games industry hype man Geoff Keighley gets on stage to talk about “world exclusives!” and “world premieres!” in between a slew of trailers for games we’ve seen before. Pretty much every publisher on the planet—from bigwigs like 2K and EA to slightly less-big, uh, wigs like Annapurna—signed on board for last year’s event. This year’s partners are TBA, so it’s unclear what exactly to expect.
Without an E3, the event historically held in the parking lot across from E3 can’t. Instead, Devolver Digital, the indie publisher behind games like this year’s Trek to Yomi and Weird West, will host its event digitally. As usual, the publisher announced the showcase with a cheeky trailer (replete with a Suda51 cameo).
Guerrilla Collective, now on its third year, is a showcase focused on indie games. The past two years have been quite fun, featuring games from the likes of Neon Doctrine, Akupara, and other offbeat publishers. No reason to expect this year will be any different. It’s immediately followed by…
If typical video game pressers are metal concerts, Wholesome Direct is an all-acoustic open mic at your local coffee shop. Rather than big-budget bombast, the event showcases lighter fare from typically independent developers. Last year’s event featured a handful of smaller games that hit it big, including the placid fishing sim Moonglow Bay and the emotional gut-punching puzzler Unpacking.
Future Games Show is an hour-long showcase put on by GamesRadar+. The publication says it’ll spotlight 40 games, mostly from mid-sized publishers like Team17 and Thunderful. In any case, in terms of its game-to-time ratio, expect quite the sizzle reel!
Bethesda is now just one of Xbox’s 8,170 first-party studios, but it’s the only one with top-billing for Microsoft’s not-E3 presser, the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. Microsoft’s two big exclusives for 2022 were games published by Bethesda: the spacefaring RPG Starfield, and the Arkane-developed vampire shooter Redfall. Both were recently delayed into the first half of 2023. Bethesda hasn’t shown gameplay off for either. Hmm, I wonder what’s going into this press conference… (Update, 6/6/2022, 12:20 p.m. ET: As if one 90-minute showcase isn’t enough, Xbox will host a follow-up “Extended Play” event on Tuesday, June 14, at 1:00 p.m. ET. It’ll feature “new trailers” and “deeper looks” at stuff from the Sunday event.)
PC Gamer’s aptly named PC Gaming Show kicks off immediately after the Future marquee event. It’s billed as a double-header with the Future Games Show, with promotional text saying it kicks off exactly 24 hours later.
Capcom will host a 35-minute showcase on its YouTube and Twitch channels about “news and in-depth updates on previously announced Capcom titles.” Early this month, at Sony’s State of Play, Capcom officially revealed the long-rumored Resident Evil 4 remake. Also, for what it’s worth, it’s currently the 10th anniversary of fantasy action RPG Dragon’s Dogma.
Over the past year and change, the Embracer Group has quietly become a major gaming publisher. No word yet on if Embracer will start doing its own splashy pressers to cover everything, but one of its subsidiaries, THQ Nordic, will host its own late-summer event. It’ll spotlight updates on existing games—the ad spot for the presser showed a glimpse of last year’s extremely average BioMutant—as well as pull back the curtain on some new games.
So it begins, so it shall end. Geoffstravaganza Summer 2022 wraps up with Gamescom Opening Night Live. Last year, announcements during Opening Night Live almost single-handedly teed up February 2022 as one of the most packed months for blockbuster games ever (RIP reviewers and guides writers). Please, Geoff, don’t do the same thing again this year. I’m sorry for making fun of your sneakers that one time!
Ubisoft, which all but skipped the typical June video game marketing season this year, will host its big showcase in September. During a livestream that could’ve been an email, Ubisoft said it’d talk about the future of Assassin’s Creed in September. Other tentpoles could appear, though don’t expect much for troubled pirate game Skull and Bones. Ubisoft will show that off during a dedicated showcase on July 7 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Correction, 5/27, 10:30 a.m. ET: An earlier version of this post misstated the date of Opening Night Live.