There’s little doubt on anyone’s mind that this year’s E3 is going to be anything but a huge success. What we don’t know is if all the big players are going to come out of the gate strong, or will they put us to sleep. This article takes a look at what each major player will likely do in order to make a big splash. I also throw in many items (almost all) I’d like to see at the show, even if there’s little to no chance of them happening. Sound like fun, good! Don’t forget to leave comments below. We want to know what you think will happen at next week’s big show.
1) Stream/Project Café. Nintendo is the easy one this year. We know they’re going to show us a brand new piece of hardware. What we don’t know is anything beyond that. In order for Nintendo to come out strong I believe they’re going to have to reveal all the official details. We’re talking launch date, price and of course, what titles will be available during the “launch window.” Everything else is just icing on the cake.
2) Games, games and more games. Every new system needs new games, right? I expect Skyward Sword to follow in Twilight Princess’ footsteps and be ported over to the Stream…unless the system is significantly different than the Wii. I also believe the launch date of the platform will be a key factor here as well. If the system only launches late next year, then no, Skyward Sword will be available this holiday season only on the Wii. So what kind of launch software could we be looking at? Could there be a new Smash Bros., a new Mario, Starfox, Zelda, Metroid, who knows, but we’re going to need to see a strong lineup in order for the media to be all over this new system.
3) Third parties. Nintendo always has this problem, and likely always will. They need to put a lot of attention on third party software for their next system. In fact, I’d be extremely impressed if they only showcased two or three first party titles and left everything else to the third parties. Will that happen, I really doubt it, but hey, who knows.
4) Get your butt online. Ok, I expect this to go hand in hand with the Project Café announcements, but it needs to be said. Whatever Nintendo decides to do with their network, it needs to be all encompassing. I want this new platform on the 3DS as well. You got that Nintendo?! Friend codes are ridiculous and outdated. We want a system that allows us to easily add friends and a system that encourages us to meet new players. Anything else you add would be wonderful, but let’s start by creating a platform that works…period.
5) 3DS, it’s here to stay! Speaking of the 3DS, I think it’s important to show all the software they have in development. So many games were announced last year, but we haven’t really seen any of them since then. It’s time to say what the heck happened with Kid Icarus and all those third party games. Are they still around, and when will they be released? I also expect a very strong showing from the new Mario game. Did someone say a new Metroid as well?
You’re dreaming: Nintendo will announce a virtual boy download service for the 3DS to compliment the Game Boy download store. A brand new Zelda will be released for the Stream shortly after launch (2013 release date). The Stream itself will allow players to drop in and out of any game being played by their friends, at any time either online or offline or hybrid. The controller will feature a touch screen and players will be able to download portions of the game to their controllers for play while away from the TV. Think VMU taken to the next level. Players will be able to see what their friends are playing by simply navigating the dashboard and looking at their controller. Press one button, and bingo, you’re now playing said game…if you have the disc that is. The 3DS will have a ton of features connecting the device to the Stream, all through the Net. Oh and the Vitality Sensor, it’s real and it’s fantastic!
1) Prove Kinect has what it takes. Right now Kinect is an extremely popular peripheral for the “whole family.” It’s time to make it a killer app for the hardcore crowd. There has been a drought of Kinect software post launch, at least in terms of software that we would touch with a ten-foot pole. We need to see games like Gears of War, Halo and whatever else MS can come up with take full advantage of the hardware. I don’t want a quick rail-shooter either. We need the real goods. I honestly have no idea how that would work, but that’s why they’re the developers and I’m not ;)
2) Always bet on Halo. I think the HD remake of Combat Evolved is a shoe-in, but I think it’s also very important that 343 Studios prove they have what it takes to move the series forward. I want to see the developer take a chance and do something a bit different with Halo 4 or whatever they call it. Show us a quick teaser trailer of the game, and they will likely steal the show. If all we see is a remake of the original Halo I won’t be very impressed.
3) Put the emphasis on exclusives. Like Sony, Microsoft is having a very hard time locking down and keeping third party exclusives. It’s to be expected in this day and age, but that doesn’t mean another Gears of War type of series can’t be created with Microsoft serving as the publisher to ensure exclusivity. We saw one example of this at last year’s E3 with Codename: Kingdoms, but that has completely disappeared. It’d be nice to see that one again, in playable form this time, as well as other new IPs. We already expect games like Alan Wake 2, but now that Microsoft no longer has Mass Effect, they need to step it up in the exclusive category.
4) Don’t forget the PC nor phone markets. The PC has seen tremendous success these past few years in the MMO realm, but let’s not forget about all the other genres out there. I’d really like for Microsoft to come out strong and announce a healthy amount of PC games, but perhaps E3 is no longer the venue for that? Ditto for the smartphone market. At the very least announce a cross-platform experience that can be shared between the 360, PC and smartphones.
5) Live for you and me. Ok so now that Microsoft has Live on the Xbox, on PCs and on smartphones, it’s time to really link them all together in new and creative ways. This is one area where the company can really stand out from the pack. They can do something Apple and the like can only dream of. The question is, are they up to the challenge?
You’re dreaming: Microsoft will discuss a few key features about the future of Xbox Live, slowly hinting at what’s to come for their next hardware. Rare will announce Killer Instinct HD for the Xbox Live Arcade, and Microsoft will lower the price of the Xbox 360 by a hundred bucks. While we’re at it, Conker’s Bad Fur Day 2 will be officially announced, why…because I said so damn it!
1) NGP/Vita/PSP2. I expect all the hardware features to be explained in full detail, as well as official launch information. I don’t expect a price to be announced unless it matches the 3DS. I also expect Sony to reveal the platform will launch in Japan first (holiday season 2011) with North America and Europe to follow sometime in 2012.
2) PlayStation Store status and apology with Kevin Butler. You know this is going to happen it has to. I also wouldn’t be too surprised to see the PS Store return next week along with a bunch of E3 trailers and maybe even a demo or two as a way to say sorry. Wouldn’t you be interested in an Uncharted 3 demo? I know I sure would be.
3) It’s all about the games. Sony will also focus on whatever big exclusives they have coming up for the PS3 including games like Uncharted 3, Resistance 3 and many, many more. I expect a handful of new exclusive first party titles to be revealed (God of War IV, Syphon Filter), along with perhaps one big third party exclusive. Could we see Rockstar’s Agent make an appearance? Stranger things have happened.
4) New features added to the PSN. Similar to what I think MS will do with Live, I expect Sony will add new features to the PlayStation Network. Maybe full Twitter and Facebook integration or maybe something completely different. I expect MS to use software to link all their Live platforms together in a much more creative way, and perhaps Sony can do something like that with a much better online experience for PC and Mac. While they’re at it, maybe announce something for Android devices. I want to see much more connectivity and many new features announced. You got that?!
5) Move and 3D are here to stay. Expect a major push for both Move and 3D. Similar to what we saw last year, except double or triple the presence. I believe every first party game will be in 3D, and Sony will put a lot of pressure on third parties to do the same. As for Move support, don’t be surprised to see big third party games like Resident Evil 6 show up with full Move support.
You’re dreaming: Sony uses their press conference to officially announce Metal Gear Solid 5, Grand Theft Auto V, and the infamous Final Fantasy VII Remake. They also announce a PS3 price drop to match Microsoft’s fictitious drop. At the same time Kaz says he’s handing over the reigns of the company to Kevin Butler because of what happened with the PlayStation Network attack. The world then explodes months before the Mayans’ calendar predicted thereby proving once and for all humans don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.