Matt Stone (center) and Trey Parker (right), creators of "South Park," introduce the new video game "South Park: The Fractured but Whole" with producer Jason Schroeder at the E3 Gaming Conference in Los Angeles.  Matt Stone (center) and Trey Parker (right), creators of "South Park," introduce the new video game "South Park: The Fractured but Whole" with producer Jason Schroeder at the E3 Gaming Conference in Los Angeles. The E3 Expo in Los Angeles runs June 14-16. Here are the rumors ahead of the big event that we hope come true. (Photo: E3 Expo/Facebook)

5 E3 conference rumors gamers hope are true

From the new Xbox One to a possible 'Last of Us' sequel, the buzz from L.A. has us eager to hit start on E3.

It's the most wonderful time of the year to be a video gamer.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, a celebration of the gaming industry, will officially hit start on three days of new games, demos, and plenty of surprises. As in past years, there are also rumblings of some games and hardware that might make an appearance; stoking rumors that are almost as much fun to digest as the expo itself.

Below are just some of the more juicy whispers we're hearing that have us eagerly looking ahead to E3's June 14th power up.

Naughty Dog's 'The Last of Us 2'

last of us 2The easter egg found in 'Uncharted 4' referencing a title called 'The Last of Us: American Daughters.' (Photo: Naughty Dog/Sony)

With "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" finally in the hands of gamers, studio Naughty Dog can now turn its attention to crafting their next great adventure. It's no secret that the choice nearly everyone would love to see pursued is a sequel to "The Last of Us." Released in 2013, the hit post-apocalyptic survival game bowled over the industry with its dramatic storytelling and suspenseful gameplay. A testament to its critical appeal, the game became one of the most-awarded titles in history, with more than 240 Game of the Year awards.

Despite intriguing tidbits over the last several months by Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann, an Israeli-American rising star in the gaming industry, neither the studio nor Sony have officially announced the sequel. Eager fans were left even more giddy with anticipation after an apparent easter egg (shown above) was discovered in "Uncharted 4," with references to a title called "The Last of Us: American Daughters." Could E3 finally be the moment we get a glimpse of the sequel? Or, as the poster hints, is this just a promotion for an upcoming comic?

Druckmann has previously stated that any new projects won't receive full backing until a new single-player campaign for "Uncharted 4" ships. That said, the studio has previously split development between franchises, so don't be surprised if a return to the post-apocalyptic world of "The Last of Us" is closer on the horizon than believed.


Visceral Games 'Star Wars' Project

Visceral Games Star WarsRumors are hinting that Visceral Games upcoming 'Star Wars' adventure may focus on Han Solo. Pictured: A scene from 'Star Wars: Battlefront'. (Photo: Star Wars: Battlefront)

Fans wishing EA had included a solo campaign in their multiplayer-heavy "Star Wars: Battlefront" hit can look forward to what Visceral Games is planning. The studio is currently in development on an original action-adventure game that takes place in the Star Wars galaxy. While very little is known, current rumors point to Han Solo as the focus of the campaign, with a possible open world environment for gamers to explore.

Need another reason to get excited? The script and creative direction is being handled by none other than American Amy Hennig, a former Naughty Dog scribe responsible for the bulk of the "Uncharted" franchise and considered one of the most influential women in the games industry.

"Seeing Amy Hennig lead this team through the creative process has been incredible," Jade Raymond, EA Group General Manager wrote in a recent update. "She is a rare breed of storyteller, and she’s collaborating with the creative leaders at Lucasfilm to tell a new, authentic Star Wars story. Backed by the talented Visceral team, Amy and studio GM Scott Probst are taking this project in groundbreaking directions."


Ubisoft's 'Beyond Good & Evil 2'

Beyond Good and Evil 2Could 'Beyond Good & Evil 2' make its debut at E3 as a Nintendo NX exclusive? (Photo: Ubisoft)

It's been eight long years since Ubisoft released a teaser trailer announcing a sequel to the acclaimed 2003 action-adventure game "Beyond Good & Evil." Created by French game designer Michel Ancel, the same man behind "Rayman," the franchise was always intended as a trilogy. Could this year's E3 finally pull back the curtain on what's taking so long?

We're skeptical, but there are some fun rumors out there. For one, the trademark was recently renewed, sparking hope that all is not lost. Second, and by far the most intriguing, is the whispering that "BG&E2" will be a Nintendo NX launch title. According to Destructoid, a source with a history of solid leads says that Nintendo is funding development on the game in return for the exclusive rights.

"Bearing in mind that "Beyond Good and Evil" was a critical success but a commercial failure," they write, "it seems like the title would be in a perfect position for this kind of move from Nintendo."


Rockstar's "Red Dead Redemption 2"

Red Dead Redemption 2This leaked image from a former Rockstar Games' artist has sparked speculation that a sequel to 'Red Dead Redemption' is well into development. (Photo: Rockstar Games)

Could E3 offer an official return to Rockstar Games' Wild West? Considered one of the greatest games ever made, 2010's "Red Dead Redemption" offered players an open world environment, rich graphics, a dynamically-generated soundtrack, and a story worthy of a major Hollywood film.

While Rockstar has kept mum on the sequel (technically speaking, the third entry in the franchise), there are hints that it's happening. In April, an image of a rumored world map for the game surfaced online, with the outlined regions indicating a possible prequel storyline. In late May, what many believe to be a leaked early screenshot from the game (shown above) surfaced on Reddit. Finally, sleuths recently digging through some of Rockstar Games' website code discovered what they say are references to both a new "Red Dead" and it accompanying multiplayer mode.

As for Rockstar Games, the company is holding their cards close to their chests. American Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of the studio, would only say recently that they will be at E3 "in a big way." Barring a surprise original game, we're thinking this means it's time to dust off the cowboy hat, saddle up, and get ready for one hell of a new adventure in the American Frontier.


Virtual Reality comes to XBox One

Oculus RiftCould the Oculus Rift or HoloLens be coming to Xbox's new souped-up hardware platform? (Photo: Oculus/Facebook)

Both Sony and Microsoft are expected to announce new, substantial hardware upgrades to their respective consoles at E3. The reason? Virtual Reality. While demos of Sony's Playstation VR headset have largely been done on current generation PS4s, insiders say that a hardware upgrade was necessary to truly show off the potential of the technology. Microsoft, it appears, is following a similar path – with CNET reporting that its Xbox One upgrade (codenamed "Scorpio") will have more than four times the performance power of its predecessor.

While such a power boost would be enough to say, power an Oculus Rift headset, we also wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft has plans to give gamers the option of using its HoloLens augmented-reality tech. The technology is still a few years off, but we've already seen some potential in the form of an video demo showing off an Xbox One streaming the latest "Halo" to the headset. With the company's hundreds of engineers from its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to its R&D center in Israel, working on virtual and augmented reality, priming an Xbox to take full advantage of the tech makes perfect sense.

Whether or not Microsoft actually announces new hardware, we know that some game developers will certainly be showing off their own VR titles for the Xbox One. Last week, the official E3 site added an "Xbox One Virtual Reality" category with four companies so far listed as contributors.

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