E3 2012: What Will, What Might, and What Won’t
Our massive list of E3 predictions returns with E3plante 2012!
We’ve just received the first of the three major press conference invitations (thanks, Microsoft!) and thought it would be an appropriate time to start our yearly conjecture on what is going to come out of E3 from each of the big names at the show. This hopefully isn’t going to repeat every list you see on every gaming website, but nonetheless, let’s get started.
Microsoft has this habit of having a really great showing of everything right across the board. They don’t ever tend to focus on one genre or experience, and it goes to show why they’ve got the greatest market share in North America. They care about everything equally, and they give everything, even Sesame Street’s Once Upon a Monster, some playtime on their E3 stage. This year, we’ll probably be leaning a bit more on the hardcore gaming side with bigger experiences and more epics, but with Microsoft’s usual Kinect flare.
- Halo. Well this should be no surprise. 343 Industries just announced the latest game’s release date, and we can expect to see more at E3, but will the game be playable on the show floor? If we had to guess, we’d say the campaign will still be very much under wraps while they might let loose a few quick rounds of a new multiplayer mode for E3 attendees. Beyond that, however, expect the game to stay pretty much under wraps.
- The Requel. Last year was the year of the Threequel, but while those have come and gone – games like Mass Effect 3 and Modern Warfare 3 - we’re not sure they won’t get their own sequels. There won’t be many threes at this year’s E3 by our estimation, but we’ll certainly be seeing more from our favourite titles, and with any luck, the next instalment of Call of Duty will be at Microsoft’s presser this year.
- Ubisoft’s Big Debut. Ubisoft has promised that all of its Tom Clancy franchise games will have Kinect support in them, and we’re interested in seeing just how that plays out when it comes to the new Splinter Cell being developed out of the Toronto studio. We’ll see some hints at the presser, but expect most of the finer details to be revealed at Ubisoft’s own press conference.
- No new console just yet. We’ve got a feeling that we’ll see something new on the hardware front – no, not a portable – but what we certainly won’t see is a new console. Of course, E3 is all about surprises, so we might just be fooled into thinking a new console isn’t coming this year, but truthfully, it doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to announce it now. Their Entertainment Division just saw a 48% drop in Xbox 360 unit sales, and with the announcement of a new console – one that wouldn’t likely release for at least another year – people would stop buying 360s altogether and hold out for the new hotness. Expect something big at E3 2013, but the new console just isn’t ready for primetime this year.
- Kinect, Kinect, Kinect. Need we say more?
Nintendo has every right to be excited and worried this year. Excitement will come along with their latest and greatest system, but they also haven’t shown us any actual games yet. With that said, Miyamoto-san has tipped his hat to all-but-reveal both Mario and Pikmin games for Wii U, but we’re not sure how those’ll play out until we see them live.
- Wii U. Was there any doubt? Of course this is going to be a massive part of Nintendo’s conference, and we’d guess it’ll be well over half of it. Why? Well, they’ll do their thing with the 3DS right away, and let the crowd sweat a bit while they await all the announcements about the Wii U. From there, we’ll see the Wii U outed with all its new games, perhaps a slight change in the controller design, as well as maybe a reveal on the 3DS functionality of it? Who knows on that last one, but you can expect this to take up around 50 minutes of a 90 minute presentation if all goes according to (our) plan.
- 3DS. What, just because Wii U is the new hotness means we won’t be getting any 3DS love? Absolutely not! In fact, if you expect to see any sort of triforce, princess, or master sword this year at Nintendo’s press conference, you better believe it’ll be on the 3DS. We just got Skyward Sword, and while that Wii U Zelda demo looked jaw-droppingly amazing, there’s no doubt in our minds that we won’t be seeing Zelda on the big screen for at least another two years. Expect a new console title right around 2014 or so, but until then, we’re predicting either a remake of Majora’s Mask or a dual-Zelda game setup like the Oracle series back in the early 2000s. Something tells us we might be seeing both a remake and new game, but their releases will be staggered so as not to incite the Zeldapocalypse.
- Serious gaming. We saw a smattering of serious games at last year’s showing, namely Goldeneye’s remake. There will probably be a bit of a bigger push this year at the press conference, if only to show that Wii U has the chops to live up to the hardcore gaming crowd’s expectations. They kind of pegged the original Wii as a console for kiddy games of sorts, but if they get the Wii U right out of the gate with some heavier titles like Batman: Arkham City and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, even though they’re older games, they should get some more attention than Nintendo might be used to.
- Super Smash Bros. This one was technically revealed last year during the E3 hype, but we’ll be getting an official release of a new Super Smash Bros. on 3DS as well as Wii U if the cards all line up the way we expect them to. Remember that 3DS functionality on Wii U we teased? That concept could be tweaked to CrossPlay-like functionality as well, where the screens on the 3DS and Wii U are virtually the same, provide the same controls, and offer internet-based multiplayer regardless of being on the go or in your living room.
- Something awesome. But we don’t know what it is yet. Expect something to come out of the blue and shock you. Somehow, Nintendo is the only one that ever manages to keep anything under wraps until they plan to reveal it.
We were never huge Sony fans as kids growing up. But that’s just the way the cards fell, not any fault of Sony’s. With that said, there are tons of reasons to love what Sony is doing, and with the games they have on the horizon, we’re not sure they’re going to be doing too badly for themselves.
- The Last Guardian. We know, we know, this one has been on every E3 prediction list since we first saw the Shadow of the Colossus follow-up at E3 2009. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion, however, that we’ll be seeing more of the title in all its grandiose, emotionally-provoking style in just a few short weeks. A couple of months ago, it was confirmed to still be in development, so it’ll be great to see how far the game has come along and just how playable it will be at E3. Expect this title to bring massive cheers from the audience.
- Hardware. This doesn’t mean gaming-specific hardware, but Sony has a knack for introducing weird and wild tech that actually ends up being wildly useful to gamers. Last year, we were all blown away by the somewhat muted announcement of the PlayStation 3D Display that ended up being well reviewed by anyone with any interest in quality gaming. What can we expect this year? Perhaps an expansion of that series of televisions with additional size options, yes, but we’re thinking of some other sort of hardware that might make our gaming even better. Not a redesigned or tweaked Move controller, necessarily, but maybe…. well, okay we have no idea, but we’ll keep our eyes open for this one.
- A new console. Sure, the PlayStation Vita just launched, and Sony wants to stick to their ten-year console lifespan guns. But we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that, while we won’t see a new console release from Sony this year, we will get a tech demo of what we can expect from it. It’ll be followed by an official name at next year’s E3, a price at the next E3, and be released sometime in the holiday 2014 timeframe. So, basically, no new console this year.
- Viva la Vita. This year will be focusing on just why the Vita is phenomenal. We think the Vita is an excellent piece of tech. It’s beautifully designed, has a spec list that reads like a fourteen year-old nerd’s wet dream, and games to match the hardware’s capability. But the games haven’t been heavily publicized in the last little while, and we’re thinking it’s because we’re about to see some major ones show up at Sony’s presser. Last year, Ken Levine from Irrational Games arrived on stage to say that BioShock would in fact be coming to the Vita, and while he’s likely hard at work on BioShock Infinite, Sony’s Press Conference would be one hell of a place to announce two titles in the BioShock universe.
- Content. Sony hasn’t exactly been known for having a ton of content in their online portfolio. See, they actually do have a ton of content available, but they’re not showing it off as best as they probably could. Microsoft has really turned the Xbox 360 into a digital hub in the living room and made it far more user friendly than anything else on the market. It’s odd because the PlayStation 3 looks a lot more like a piece of home theatre equipment, given the Blu Ray capabilities of it all. Sony has been losing the battle so far, but it isn’t too late for them, given that their install base is about the same as the Xbox’s at around 62 million units, there is certainly a war to be fought, if they get in the game at E3 as we expect them to.
So there you have it, our expectations of the big three at E3 2012. There will be almost too much information to take in all at once on the show floor, but the press conferences will break it down into somewhat digestible chunks. The list has grown considerably from last year, and while everyone’s got their strong points, we’re not sure this year who’s it is to lose. Xbox has Halo, Nintendo has Wii U, and Sony has the Vita to show off.