Every June, thousands of people cram themselves into the Los Angeles Convention Center, ranging from press folk to classy business people to sweaty, disgusting nerds. In the weeks leading up to the big show we speculate and dream about what we’re going to see, and what we’re going to like. We often over-hype ourselves on certain things, and quite frequently become disappointed when they don’t come to pass (damn you, Kingdom Hearts 3). But 2012 seems to have a lot to offer—rumors of console drops, lots of new games, and who knows what else. Will E3 live up to our expectations this year? Or will we go home to a box of tissues, a bottle of wine and a chick flick? In the words of Tim Torres, let’s be exciting again, video game industry!
Tatjana Vejnovic, Managing Editor
What do I know I’ll see at E3? Microsoft conning the public into their $99 bundle that ends up ripping you off in the end, Nintendo’s “final design” for the Wii U looking barely any different, six more colors for the 3DS, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 non-sense, The Last of Us, Casey Hudson bitching about the reception to Mass Effect 3‘s ending, and some random ass games coming out for the PS Vita.
What do I want, you ask? Three words: THE. LAST. GUARDIAN. If I don’t see The Last Guardian at E3 this year, I think I might flip over a table. With Fumito Ueda leaving Sony last year, and still being contracted to finish, and GameStop removing the SKU all together, nobody knows where the hell this game is. It looked brilliant, heart warming, amazing. Something original; something we haven’t seen in the gaming industry in so long. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony threw a Q3 2013 release date on it, though.
Back at the CES All Access party hosted by Spike TV, I had drinks with Nintendo of America’s big boss, Reggie-Fils Aime. I told him how I was amazed by Nintendo’s E3 2010 press conference and how it had almost brought me to tears. “Get ready for this year, Tatjana,” he said, “because it will definitely make you cry.” I hope it’s not just some Zelda video, and I’m very anxious to see what he has in store. And I am directly quoting him. I hope he knows I’ll never forget what he said. Because now I’m hyped.
But let’s step into my hashtag on Twitter, “#iamthepressoracle.” The original story starts with my very controversial post on Digital Brawler roughly a year and a half ago. I stated that THQ had less than two years to either find a sale, or go under. People called me crazy, and said I had no idea what I was talking about. Well boys and girls, guess what?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love many several THQ titles; the new UFC series, Saints Row, Metro, [the first] Red Faction.. But it’s all the stupid movie games and “My Pets Pampered Salon,” bullshit and uDraw that killed them. What needs to happen: Brian Farrell and John Riccitello coming out of the buyers room and shaking hands. THQ needs a company to buy them out who lets their subsidiaries do their own thing—people will argue that it needs to be Activision, but no, it needs to be EA.
Jeffrey L. Wilson, Founder/Editor-in-Chief
The PS Vita is off to a brutal start in Japan, which is truly unfortunate considering that the system was released last December. Should Japan tank the PS Vita, the PS Vita tanks overall.
Sony’s already suffering a loss for each PS Vita sold, but the company may have to follow Nintendo’s lead and lop a significant chunk of the price to move systems–$249 for the base model is too high in a recession economy and a world where casuals have taken to smartphone gaming. I suspect that Sony will drop the price of the Wi-Fi only model to $199 as a more affordable option that will spur purchases. Sony will attempt to recoup the lost revenue via game sales.
That’s hardware. Let’s talk software.
The high-profile Call of Duty: Black Ops 2-type games always command the most ink from gaming outlets, but indies and lesser known titles will make their presences felt at the show as they did at PAX East–a beautiful thing. Adhesive Games’ Hawken and Piranha Games’ MechWarrior Online are free-to-play PC games that deliver hardcore mech warfare. Even in their early stages they look like must-have title for genre fans. I also expect to see Capybara’s Super Time Force, a game that puts a unique spin on the Contra run-and-gun formula by turning player death into a time-altering game mechanic. This mixture of big budget blockbusters and smaller, innovative titles is what the gaming industry needs right now; otherwise, it has failed us and itself in a time when publishers are bleeding money.
Tim Torres, Senior Reviews Editor
Sony needs to tell us the deal on The Last Guardian. If it’s not there this year, that game from the creators of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus might as well be vaporware. Final Fantasy Versus XIII would be nice, too, but I’m realistic. Sony needs to push the Vita, hard. Some say it’s suffering, others say it’s the latest go of the Sony Cycle — they release new hardware, there’s nothing on it for a year or two, then eventually there’s lots of great stuff. I don’t think Sony can afford to wait on this one though. Smartphones are eating up business. Even Nintendo’s afraid of them. So, please: Vita games. It needs something like Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls — dare I say, Wandering Souls.
Microsoft… They’re honestly not even on my radar. I haven’t turned on my 360 since Alan Wake: American Nightmare. Is Microsoft even about video games anymore? Their presentation’s going to be more ESPN and reality shows on XBLA. Halo 4 might be cool, but I’ve lost interest in that series after ODST. I’d love for them to surprise me. Maybe I just lack imagination when it comes to the Big M.
Nintendo could steal the show again with their Wii U games, and the next wave of 3DS announcements. Kid Icarus Uprising and Super Mario 3D Land renewed my enthusiasm, so I’m eager to see what’s next… Super Mario 3D Land 2 would be enough. A real Yoshi’s Island 2 using the 3D Land engine would floor me. Miyamoto’s rumored Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past sequel/remake would probably make my Game of the Show. The also-rumored Majora’s Mask update would be a boon as well. For Nintendo, it’s always been about their legendary first-party line-up. As tired as people say they are of the same old characters, they’re still around for a reason… they’re really high quality, and I expect no less from them at the show this year. An announcement they should make, but never will: Linking the 3DS and Wii Virtual Consoles. Buying Metroid or Punch-Out!! twice is just ridiculous. And they wonder why iPhones pose a threat.
Other things I’d like: Capcom to re-instill some goodwill again. They’ve lost me over the years. There’s an easy way to do that: “MML3 is Back.” Wait, I said I was realistic earlier… A playable Resident Evil 6 demo would fit the bill. Konami needs to do a lot. What else does it have besides Metal Gear and Silent Hill at this point? Frogger 3D? Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance (god, that title) ought to be there, otherwise it’ll be another barren booth this year. Square could use a surprise or two. I’d love if they had Final Fantasy Type-0 available, or something entirely new. Hey, y’know what? There should be entirely new stuff from everyone! Let’s do it, video game industry. Let’s be surprising again! I’ll keep saying that every year until it happens!
Eric Guzman, Staff Editor
Being that this will be my first E3, I’m a bit excited to get my hands on as many games as possible. I’ve never been good at predictions, not knowing or expecting anything has always been part of the excitement for me. With that said it’s time to turn over a new leaf and put some predictions out there.
I’ll start with Nintendo since I hold them in high regard. Pointing out the obvious,we’ll probably see more Wii U titles, and Nintendo will probably change the name of the console like it did with the GameCube and the Wii. I hope that with the Wii U, Nintendo brings back some of its first party legacy titles. Star Fox launching on the console would bring back some of the core gamers the company lost, a new Fire Emblem that takes advantage of the controllers screen by displaying unit info, or formation strategies. I believe Nintendo will also revamp its online strategy and make it more accessible to gamers much like Sony and Microsoft. What’s not so obvious is a Nintendo 3DS redesign to accommodate the second analog stick.
Microsoft will ride Halo 4 to the ground. We’ll get to see gameplay footage and we’ll learn about some of the new enemy types — just the standard reveal. I doubt that we’ll hear anything about Microsoft’s next-gen entry. There really isn’t much that I expect from Microsoft this late in the console’s life… maybe some new online services to justify the $60 price tag for Live.
Sony has potential to steal some of Nintendo’s thunder at this year’s show, if it shows us some of its first-party exclusives. The Last of Us looks intriguing and early reports say it’s nothing like Uncharted, so I expect to see Naughty Dog showing it off a bit. Santa Monica Studios will wow us with God of War since we’ll finally see what they’ve been working on. But if Sony really wants to steal everyone’s thunder it needs Team Ico and a firm release date for The Last Guardian.
Individual developers will give us the standard showing with sequels and original IP’s, but I’m looking towards the Platinum Games and Konami collaborative effort to clear up questions I have about Metal Gear Rising.