E3 Prediction Time
Well boys and girls it’s that time of year again. Starting next Monday the gaming world will be turned on its head as the biggest game companies in the world head to Los Angeles to reveal their plans for the upcoming holiday session and beyond. Anything can happen, and usually does. Over the years Ahmed has had an uncanny ability for correctly predicting some outlandish moves the major players will make, so I’m hoping he chimes in with his thoughts before next Monday. I’m going to keep this nice and simple and list off what we know will happen, and what I hope will happen, before leaving the floor open for discussion. So let’s jump right on in, and remember to join the discussion at the end by telling us what you think will happen at E3, and what you’re hoping will happen.
What we know will happen:
Super Mario Bros. 4 will be officially announced for the Wii U, but it won’t be New Super Bros. Mii as some people have been speculating. We’ll see both titles at the show, but SMB4 won’t be available until sometime after launch. As for New Super Mario Bros. Mii, I expect it to be available on day one.
Other Nintendo launch software will include Pikmen 3, and at least one other surprise launch title from the Big N itself. You can expect tons of other software to be shown for release sometime after launch, but we don’t exactly know what to expect just yet.
You can expect Nintendo to talk about the new Nintendo network they have in place for the Wii U. They’ll focus on digital distribution, and perhaps even showcase the interface.
Nintendo will reiterate exactly what the Wii U hardware looks like, and showcase the tablet controller yet again. Expect things to be much clearer this time around, with major distinctions made on the new hardware, whenever they talk about Wiimotes being used. That caused all sorts of problems last year so they’ll really want to nail it in that this is a completely different beast.
The DS will see a new Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion 2, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Fire Emblem, a new Paper Mario, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate. These are all games we know will be there, so expect a few surprises along the way as well.
What we hope will happen:
We’re pretty sure Nintendo will highlight key Wii U properties including a new F-Zero, and Metroid. That new Star Fox and Metroid mash-up might happen, but either way I’m 100% sure Retro is working on a new Metroid. I also have a feeling a new teaser will be released for a new entry in the Zelda series. I’d also expect a refresh of the Wii-game brand, whether it be a new Wii Sports or something else entirely. I doubt very much Nintendo will ditch all the huge sellers they had on the Wii.
I’m really hoping Nintendo showcases their major third party support. All the games you’ve seen announced for the 360/PS3 for later this year should make the jump to the Wii U including Resident Evil 6, Lost Planet 3, and GTA V. I do expect there will be some games that will miss the boat, but this sort of support must happen if the Wii U is to gain support from hardcore gamers. Expect to see more Japanese support than American support at the onset though.
Hopefully Nintendo showcases their online network with a new Mario Kart for the Wii U. Since SSB isn’t ready yet, MK is the perfect game to show off voice chatting, or even video chatting via the Wii U tablet controller. Bottom line, I’m hoping Nintendo really focuses a lot on their online network at this year’s press conference.
For the love of humanity, please, please, please make it so that at least two tablet controllers can be used on one system. This isn’t just something I hope happens, it really has to happen or the system will appear gimped from the get-go.
I’m hoping for a dual analog 3DS, but I feel that will happen at TGS later this year. Two new pieces of hardware at E3 seems like too much to cover in such a limited amount of time, but you never know. Instead I’m hoping for a ton of new game announcements. I want to see a new Resident Evil, maybe that the sequel to A Link to the Past, and maybe a new Metroid. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a new F-Zero and Donkey Kong show up on the 3DS.
Oh, and I’m hoping Pandora’s Tower is announced for North American release as a nice way to tide players over until Wii U hits later this year. Come on Nintendo, make it happen!
What we know will happen:
Microsoft won’t be showing any new hardware at this year’s show, but will mention the new deals they have in place for several new content providers through Xbox Live. They’ll likely also mention the new $99 Xbox 360 deal they have going on right now, via a subscription model.
Expect Assassin’s Creed 3, Black Ops 2, and other big third party games like Resident Evil 6 to be shown as playable demos at the Microsoft press conference, and that the Xbox 360 versions of these games will all receive DLC before their PS3 counterparts.
Halo 4 will make up a very large portion of Microsoft’s press conference for all the hardcore gamers to drool over. Expect to see a playable demonstration of the single-player campaign, the multiplayer or some combination of the two. You just know this has to happen, right?
Forza Horizon will be showcased as well, and will surprise a lot of people because it features rather different gameplay compared to what the series typically provides.
Kinect, Kinect, and a little more Kinect. Microsoft will showcase a wide array of Kinect software and services, just as they did last year. Whether these games actually hit market, or the public’s interest level remains to be seen, but I fully expect a ton of Kinect-related announcements from their press conference.
What we hope will happen:
Given the 360 appears to be winding down in terms of huge exclusive games, I’m hoping to see a few surprise announcements made at the Microsoft press conference on Monday. I can’t really hope for too much because realistically I just have no idea what Microsoft could have up their sleeve. Is it too late for a brand new epic Fable? Could we see a brand new exclusive IP from one of their studios? Your guess is as good as mine.
As you can see, there’s not a lot I can guess or even hope about when it comes to the Xbox 360 and Microsoft in general. They don’t need to lower the price of their system given how successful is has been for the past two years so I don’t think that’s in the cards. We know their heavy hitter is clearly going to be Halo 4, and Kinect for the casual audience. Then there’s all the Xbox Live stuff we know will be there, but as for that ‘je ne sais quoi,’ you’re guess is as good as mine. Originally I would have said they would start to mention the next generation and perhaps give us a little teaser of what the next-gen could bring. Imagine Epic up onstage at the end of the MS conference unveiling the Unreal 4 engine. The teaser ends, “coming holiday 2013” or something like that. That alone would fuel the fires, but MS has said time and time again their focus on this year’s E3 will be the 360, but hey, if it happens, you heard it hear first ;)
What we know will happen:
As per the last few years we know Sony will heavily focus on a barrage of first party exclusives including LittleBigPlanet Karting, The Last of Us, God of War: Ascension, Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and The Last Guardian. There are likely others I’ve missed, but these are key exclusives you can expect to be showcased in one form or another.
PS Plus Redux. That won’t be the name, but you can expect to see major changes made to the PlayStation Plus subscription service including more cloud-based options, likely tied into that cloud gaming company Sony is rumored to be dealing with. I also strongly expect to see the Vita play a role somehow. Expect it people, it’s going to happen.
The PlayStation Vita is going to see an explosion of software from both first party and third parties. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection will certainly be there, and I’m expecting at least trailers or some other updates for BioShock, Final Fantasy X HD, Killzone, and LittleBigPlanet on the Vita. Obviously I expect brand new games to be announced at E3 as well.
What we hope will happen:
Where there’s smoke there’s fire and I’m hoping we get to see exactly what Sony is cooking up with one of the cloud gaming companies. Recent rumors say Sony plans to buy out a premiere cloud gaming company, so I’m hoping we start to see the future of the PlayStation Network at E3 this year.
I’m hoping to see more first-party PS3 software announcements. A new game from Quantic Dream would be sweet no? There’s got to be something new in the pipeline, and I’m sure Sony will have at least one more ‘omg’ game announcement we know nothing about.
I’m hoping to see some killer third party software announced for the Vita. I know everyone would love to see a new Castlevania, Resident Evil, etc. announced, but given how successful the 3DS has been as of late, that may not be in the cards. This is what we’re hoping for though, so I’m hoping for all those and perhaps some unique RPG from Square-Enix. I’m hoping some of those PSP games that never made it out of Japan make their way to North America and Europe via HD remakes for the Vita. That would be excellent. Sony has to do something to show us the system is viable and worth owning.
I’m also hoping Sony sweetens the Vita deal a bit. I can’t imagine them lowering the price because of the cost of the hardware, but there’s nothing stopping them from throwing in say two digital downloads for full retail releases such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and Wipeout 2048 for example. I’m hoping something like that happens to help increase sales. A price cut would be awesome, but I think it’s beyond the hopeful stage at this point.
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