This year is a strange one for E3. Aside from Nintendo’s mysterious NX, there are no plans for any new console or handheld announcements. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U have all been out for a few years, and if the last generation is anything to go by, were not going to see the next generation of consoles on the shelves for at least a few more years.
So let's get into the predictions.
Nintendo’s multiplayer offerings the last year have been quite the hit. Nintendo’s adoption of DLC in Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. have re-ignited the appeal for good, fun, multiplayer games. Splatoon seems to be offering the same potential, but it’s too early to call only a few weeks after its release.
We know that the Wii U is great for multiplayer, but the singleplayer offerings are lacking, something that should be the focus of this year's Digital Presentation. We know that Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox, and a new Zelda are coming, but with details spare on the latter two titles, they surely will have some time dedicated to them. Other single player experiences should be announced, maybe a new Metroid title, or a new 3D Mario, even something like a Mario RPG in the same vein as Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
And while the Wii U is doing surprisingly well, the 3DS seems to have been swept under the rug since the launch of the New 3DS. There will most likely be some form of Pokemon, but it just needs something to bring players back to the system. Hyrule Warriors will help, but perhaps a new IP, or a Splatoon spin-off that is more single player than multiplayer would be good to see.
Microsoft's goal hasn't really changed from last year. The company still needs something to get its console noticed, above and beyond its rivals. It didn't last year, perhaps it can this year. Tomb Raider gave the console a lot of buzz last year, even if it wasn't for all the right reasons. No doubt, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be a prominent showing this year, as will Quantum Break, which was announced last year. And of course, Halo, the one big franchise Microsoft has firmly under its belt.
Something which will no doubt save the Xbox will be its indie offerings. There are already some titles planned for release over the next year, and I'm sure there will be a big chunk of the presentation dedicated to indie releases. But what Microsoft needs, a big IP, new or old, to get people interested in the Xbox again, instead of having a third party box.
The PS4 has blown all of our expectations out of the water. It's successful, has great games, first and third party, and it's being marketed well. With all that success, what I hope happens, as much as I know this won't be true, is that Sony puts some life into the Vita.
Handhelds aside, we're going to get some information about Uncharted 4, as well as the recently announced Uncharted collection, as well as the console exclusive Street Fighter 5. I hope that Sony invests some time in some of the great IPs from the first and second iterations of the console, too. It has already shown off Ratchet and Clank, and hopefully it has some plans around some other franchises, like the long suffering MediEvil or God of War. And hey, like everyone else I'm keen too see more of this Until Dawn game.
And for everything that falls outside the big three:
• Capcom — Resident Evil 7, surely. Hopefully. RE Revelations 2 wasn't bad, and the re-make of the Resident Evil re-make has people talking. We know Capcom is bringing a remake of Zero to the expo, so there's no reason why they can't bring more to the party.
• EA — As much as we know this won't happen, (and this goes for Activision too), I hope that everyone stays away from yearly FPSs. No Battlefield, okay? With that being said, I want Star Wars Battlefront gameplay, and we're almost certainly going to see something of Mass Effect 4.
• Square Enix — I don't care if Square Enix only turns up for an hour, I want a release date for FFXV. FFX was just re-released on PS4, and I hope that trend continues with the most recent trilogy, FF13/13-2/Lighting Returns, because I need another reason to play them again.
What I really want from this years E3 is gameplay. Cinematic trailers that don't even use the in-game engine don't cut it anymore, and it's not why people buy games. Show the game for what it is, show what's playable and how it's played. No matter how cheesy the on-stage demos are, they're acceptable, and give the player something genuine to look forward to.
Here's to a great E3.
- Sam M.