E3 2012: DualShockers Staff Predictions
E3 2012 is less than a week away and the hype for the conference is now at an all time high. Things have been surprisingly quiet as of late, so much so that even Sony’s E3 cover has yet to be blown. So what gives? What could the big 3 and all of the AAA publishers have in store for us? Well we figured what better way to kick off our E3 coverage here at the site than with a few show predictions of our own. Read what our staff thinks will be making it into this year’s show.
Joel Taveras: Even though I’m sure that all eyes will be on Nintendo and their Wii U this year at E3, I have to say that Sony has the most pressure on them with making sure the Vita doesn’t fall into obscurity. So how will they do it? It’s quite simple actually, Sony will give it (arguably) the best damn library in video game history. That’s right, they’ll make all PS2 games released on the PSN playable (with cloud save support) on the PlayStation Vita.
Not only does it instantly bolster up the number of titles available, it also happens to provide for some of the best game experiences of the last 10 years. Let’s also not forget that 3rd party publishers (I’m looking at you Capcom) will simply gush at the chance of re-publishing titles without even having to take them back into the studio for any touchups. It’s a win-win for Sony, 3rd party publishers, and gamers. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see (and hope) if it actually happens.
Yaris Gutierrez: Although the Wii U had some momentum after last year’s E3, it slowly began to wither away only spontaneously teasing us with glimpses of games that are to come. I’ve been keeping my focus on both Microsoft and Sony in the past year. With Sony’s launch of the Vita last year and a plethora of other titles that have been announced and are expected to be announced, and with constant talk of Microsoft unveiling their new console, one can only imagine what’s in store for this year’s E3.
My opinion entails Microsoft showing off their new console (I definitely think it’s going to happen), which, of course, will probably be their final announcement given that they may want to let Halo 4 shine a bit. While Microsoft’s current console may be getting a plethora of third party titles this year, nothing substantial, aside from Halo 4, has been announced exclusively for the console, which leaves room for the idea that their first-party developers may be focusing their resources on Microsoft’s next generation “behemoth” (as per the rumors). If this is the case, expect a few game announcements as well from the MS camp. Maybe some Unreal 4 teasing?
Will Sony follow suit? It is likely, but I don’t think so. With games like God of War: Ascension and The Last Guardian (which I’m hoping gets a release date) pumping the graphical extremities of the PlayStation 3’s hardware, one can probably assume that Sony’s console still has some life in it. Add to the mixing bowl the Vita: A handheld with unforeseen potential which will, undoubtedly, be Sony’s sidearm in the console wars at E3. You have a new handheld which has idly sat in the sidelines for the past few months (collecting dust, for some) with a handful of titles. I think Sony is going to focus on this aspect of their market for some time. A handheld that goes hand-in-hand with their console; games that have yet to be released may finally have a date. New titles will — I have absolutely no doubt about it — be announced which may incur some erections.
This E3, I think Sony is going to focus on the one thing their loyal fans stuck around for: games. They have the hardware out and about on the market, they have the studios. Titles such as Kingdom Hearts 3, we’re hoping, get announced. And don’t hold your breath for Cross-XMB Voice Chat — we’ve been waiting a decade and nothing’s happened. Microsoft may introduce their new console and wow the crowd and possibly steal the show; or maybe they’ll go rampant with showing off Kinect stuff that no one will care about. Wii U has potential. It looks fun (as usual), it looks innovative, and it’s Nintendo. I’m just hoping that their “hot” titles are not the overly rehashed first-party titles this E3. We were exposed to some third-party stuff that looks promising.
And the finally, just when all is said and done, Sega CEO Hajime Satomi is going to come out and shut everyone down by announcing Sega’s new console, raise his hands in the air, and let the mic drop as he slowly exits the conference stepping back.
Chad Awkerman: The Elder Scrolls Online is going to be “game of the show” for many sites and will have a huge presence for Zenimax at E3 (it isn’t a Bethesda title – they’re collaborating on lore, but not developing). I think we’ll see release dates for GTAV and The Last of Us, however, as unlikely as it seems, all eyes will still mostly be on The Elder Scrolls Online – think what other news we remember most from last week. BioShock Infinite was delayed, yet we keep gravitating toward TES Online.
Unless Microsoft announces their next system, their E3 presentation will, once again, be the worst of the bunch, because they will just throw a dozen lame Kinect titles at us, have some kid dancing on stage and call it a day. Nintendo will, of course, be all about the Wii U – you don’t need a prediction piece to figure that out.
Sony, however, has the potential to blow this thing away with all the possibilities – they could have Square announcing Kingdom Hearts 3 or something related to FFXIV. Namco Bandai could announce Tales of Xillia for the West and/or a Ni No Kuni release date. The Vita will get a lot of love, that’s a given. The Last of Us will obviously be shown off, as will the new God of War game. So, ultimately, I’m going to give Sony the edge on the other two. Frankly, all they need to do is have Yoichi Wada come on stage, say not a word, and show a Kingdom Hearts 3 logo on the huge screens to win E3 in my book.
Al Zamora: Nintendo will focus only on the Wii U and announce an online platform to play HD AAA titles finally. If they don’t then the Wii U is useless but will play Mario games which they will announce in abundance. Sony will focus on the Vita and announce some kind of cross over play features to help make the Vita more friendly and useful to those on the fence. Microsoft will go all in on the Kinect and then surprise everyone with a quick peak at the new 720 but say absolutely nothing about it.
Ubisoft will announce another Shaun White game of some kind to the sounds of crickets chirping and then show gameplay of Assassins Creed 3 to which people will go absolutely crazy. Sega will announce the PSO 2 is getting a US release date and yet another Sonic title and also debunk the rumors of another Dreamcast coming.
I think that Sony is really going to try to push the ‘relaunching’ of Final Fantasy XIV 2.0. They don’t have Versus ready yet and need to have something out there to try to win over their fan base again. Not to mention that Elder Scrolls Online will be the next big thing of upcoming MMO’s. Honestly, unless they have another Star Ocean or Kingdom Hearts ready, they are going to need something to really wow the crowd outside of Vita games.
David Rodriguez: I think Sony and Microsoft will stick to their previous statements of remaining tight-lipped about any next-generation consoles that are on the drawing board. That being said, I believe the highlights of their presentations will be exclusive titles. Specifically, I think there will be a focus on new and unique IPs that could possibly debut on the PS3/360 in order to bridge the gap for their next-gen counterparts. This would alleviate any apprehension about the lineups come launch-time for the next-generation hardware.
This also does not rule out that Sony/Microsoft could easily jump ahead and show some technical demonstrations of titles that they have in the works for their new systems. This would open up speculation on what exactly the hardware will be capable of and both companies will be able to have their cake and eat it too.
Paul Quinones: I am a huge Sony fan BUT I think this year Microsoft will be coming out of the gates swinging. I think they need to do something to stay relevant with gamers. They will need to show off Halo 4. Push some new bigger titles. Focus on exclusive content. Then they need to push the 360 as the only real choice for watching movies, tv, and much more. Kinect needs to show itself as the peripheral that can breakout of the stigma of “Wii too.” No gimmicks, just pure investment of titles that use the hardware of kinect but appeal to the core gamers.
Again I am not a Microsoft fan. Only Mass Effect gets me to play mine most times. But they need to really drive home their exclusives. Be it games, dlc, or apps.
Kenneth Richardson: Obviously Nintendo will focus on the Wii U and probably still the 3DS, and it seems likely that Microsoft will continue riding the Kinect wave, but I don’t know what Sony is going to do. The Vita isn’t in fantastic shape right now, and E3 would give Sony the chance to turn the tables by revealing a whole slew of new titles and IPs. It would be exciting to watch such a turnaround, but I fully expect Nintendo’s next-gen console to ‘run the show’, so to speak.
As for developers, I’ll be watching Capcom closely. The time is right for them to announce a release date or window for DMC, and I’m sure we’ll get see more of Lost Planet 3. On top of that, the Darkstalkers rumors have been heating up ever since Capcom filed a trademark back in February. A new Darkstalkers title would surely make my E3, so this is probably more of a wish than an actual prediction. And yeah, ESO will probably be a big deal, but I’m much more concerned with the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim and hopefully we’ll get our first look at that too.
Dianna Lora: I’m convinced Microsoft will push to try and make the current and next gen Xbox’s into the centerpiece of a home entertainment. Microsoft wants your Xbox to be your one stop shop for all your entertainment needs: Music, movies, gaming, communication (through the Kinect camera and Skype), mobile, and PC. They will probably announce more “a la carte” entertainment apps that will add more “channels” to Xbox in addition to HBO GO, Hulu Plus, and Netflix, to name a few. That’s all I think Microsoft has to offer right now when it comes to the Xbox. The Kinect has run its course and right now, Microsoft will see how they can extend the life of the system beyond gaming because the Xbox is starting to show its age.
Sony has a lot of work cut out for them. They really need to sell the Vita. They need to give us more good games and really convince us as to why we need to buy one. I will be the first to admit that I was so excited for the Vita and it was on the top of my list of things to buy. There are a couple games here and there that make me want a Vita, but not enough for me to warrant paying the money. Sony will also push their new titles: The Last of Us, GoW 4, and Quantic Dream’s new game. The Playstation 3 still hasn’t been pushed to the extreme and we need to see that. We need to be convinced that the PS3 still has a lot of life left to it– and it does.
I’m on the same boat as Paul Lacen: I just can’t seem to get myself excited about the Wii U. Buying a Wii, was one of the most wasteful purchases in the past couple of years. I maybe used my Wii a couple of times to play one or two games. Needless to say Nintendo will need to do a LOT to try and win back my trust.
Paul Lacen: I find it immensely difficult to care about the upcoming E3, but that sort of thing happens every year. I go into it expecting nearly nothing and then everything that comes out tends to make me giddy for the next year.
Sony will be pushing the Vita as hard as possible, playing up a possible cloud gaming platform and trying their best to compete in a market that they have been continuously trounced in. They need to make it abundantly clear that they are not playing around with this thing, and that the Vita is everything that the 3DS isn’t; imagine the console war between Sega and Nintendo, but applying to handhelds and Sony succeeding where Sega failed and playing up the software. Sony does what Nintendon’t, as it were. We all know what the Vita is theoretically capable of, now the point is to give it the library to shine in the way it’s designed to.
Microsoft… the 360 is damn near seven years old, ancient by most console age standards (though obviously this lifespan increases as technological advancement progresses). At this point, it’s obvious that they need to play up all the social and convenience advancements that the Xbox platform has made; the 360 needs to be viewed as essential to the home living setting as the television. Maybe Microsoft’s recent acquisition of skype will play a big role in playing up Xbox Live’s chat functions. With the inclusion of cloud saving last year and the hands-free utility that the kinect provides, the Xbox is not just a game console, it’s an entertainment staple. That’s what I feel Microsoft will be playing up, as they have provided a lot of pragmatically useful aspects to my Xbox that I honestly never expected.
Nintendo, why can’t I bring myself to care about Nintendo? I find myself buying every first party title that comes out, but I haven’t pre-ordered a single one in nearly six years. The Wii U obviously needs to impress this year with it’s supposed 2012 release date, so we’re going to see some titles this year for sure. Maybe a new Luigi’s Mansion, that’d be a welcome and fantastic announcement. I’ll give Nintendo one thing, Reggie knows how to put on a good show. If they have the software and controller integration to make the WiiU seem like the next big thing in console advancement, everyone will be hanging at the edge of their seats despite the fact that most of us look at Nintendo like the frumpy wife that never dresses up during the rest of the year.
For third party software, my eyes are on exactly two games: Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 and Phantasy Star Online 2. As a veteran of both FFXI and PSO (actually, I’ve played all subsequent PSO spinoff titles as well…), I didn’t spend a single second caring about XIV’s development. The game launched and all of my friends rushed to buy a game that wasn’t worth the disc it was printed on. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a huge dud. Now they came out with the 1.2 patch and watching my wife play it is just completely underwhelming. Square-Enix in my mind is in this boat alongside Capcom and Nintendo of old japanese companies that are just losing insight into what makes a game exciting and engaging, hopefully they prove me wrong.
On the other hand, I can’t possibly write enough about how much PSO2 excites me, but at this point I just want to know that it will have a localized release. I don’t care if they say anything about the gameplay at this point, I just want to know that I won’t have to import the damn thing. I want SEGA to show up, say “PSO2 will release in America at the same time as Japan”, drop the mic and walk out, arms raised triumphantly.