The triple E is almost upon us and like millions of other gamers out there, we’re starting to get very excited for the slew of announcements sure to come out of Los Angeles this year. But what can we expect to see? Midlife Gamer’s staff and regular contributors got together to spitball ideas about their predictions…
Antman: As many of you many know, I am a PC person. I am virtually suckling at the technological teat of Bill Gates. I’d therefore like to base my predictions on the latest advancements on the ‘father of consoles’.
First announced in 2008, not a lot has been heard of Otherworld a very strange MMO. The birth and development of this game is nearly as weird as the game itself. A German children’s software developer with no major track record and no experience in online systems decides to spend tens of millions of pounds on developing what it hopes to be a Triple-A MMO title based on the sci-fi writings of an American author. Wow!
After you’ve read the last paragraph a few times and let it sink in, let’s hear about this strangely beautiful MMO. Imagine if you will, an MMO set inside an MMO. Meta huh? Set in a cyberpunk virtual world within another, Otherworld will hopefully cast a revealing eye at other more traditional MMOs. And the possibilities are endless, you could be in the Wild West one minute and cast into a Viking fantasy the next. The very construction of the world allows for such changes.
Also, eagle-eyed players of Half Life 2 may have recently spotted a newspaper with the cryptic message ‘ep3101010′ written on it. Those cheeky Valve guys have a rich history of teasing upcoming products in their past games and it doesn’t take the Enigma to decipher what this could mean. I’m about 80% certain that Half Life 2 : Episode 3 will be shown at E3. While we’re in the realms of speculation, I’ve another inkling. The end of Episode 2 sees Freeman in search of a lost science ship, which mysteriously disappears when working on teleportation technology. If Gordy does find said ship, I’m betting one of the gadgets he finds is either a portal gun or maybe the schizophrenic computer GlaDos. I could be completely wrong, but it won’t be the first time!
My predictions then? A bare bones version of Otherworld is to be playable at E3 with a more accurate release date announced, which I predict to be mid 2011, plus a big reveal of Half Life 2: Episode 3.
Marconi: A lot has been thrown about concerning E3, it is the biggest opportunity of the year for the major home consoles to really get their footing, and finger out their market for the coming year. In terms of what is going to come, I think it is going the be Sony’s E3. I have a little niggle that Microsoft are putting this E3 all on hand waving. They’ll have Natal, sure, but what new games are they going to announce? Another Halo? Sony are not worried about Natal, and they are not, unlike Microsoft, dependent on their future in the market on the success of their new peripheral. Whether Move succeeds or fails the PS3 is still gaining ground and has place to grow outwards from their point in the market. Microsoft on the other hand are coming to the end of their console cycle. Therefore for Sony, E3 is going to be a lot more than focusing on just their new toy. Expect big title announcements, enhances in gaming visuals (i.e. 3D), and an increased attention on the hardcore gamer. Whereas Microsoft are going to be ploughing their little hearts out into Project Natal, because if that fails to capture the market, it will be the beginning of the demise for the 360.
MantisMat: Last year we saw peripherals being the big reveal for each of the big three, Sony’s Move, Nintendo’s vitality sensor and Microsoft’s Project Natal. Straight away I expect we’ll see these in their retail form, with launch software and pricing details. However I’m more looking forward to the spectacle of the presentations with all of their glitz and glamour. Lets break it down…
Sony: With the success of the Sony’s tongue in cheek video features with Kevin Butler and his ever changing job title, I think we’ll see either his live presence or a pre-recorded skit (probably poking fun at the competition). The PSN subscription model will no doubt be detailed, starting off by listing a bunch of new functionality such as enhanced access to users accounts via the web along with cross gaming party chat, which will all be part of the free service. As for the games, we’ll no doubt get a big look at Killzone 3. It would not surprise me if Sony push 3D gaming very hard this year. Perhaps even supplying audience members with 3D glassed under their chairs before showing off a Killzone 3 trailer on the big screen (cue audience reaction shots). Additional handheld support, perhaps even in a successor to the PSP family. Other game trailers to include Infamous 2, Final Fantasy XIV and a new and playable look at The Last Guardian.
Nintendo: It’s very hard to call what Nintendo are planning, I certainly never saw a heart sensor peripheral coming last year. For sure we’ll start to see this implemented in some upcoming titles. Perhaps even in a Trauma Centre title, where the player as a surgeon has to keep a steady hand and pulse while under pressure. The one thing that Nintendo always have at their disposal are the sales numbers of their hardware, so I’m expecting some impressive looking graphs. Handheld gaming will probably be emphasised, again harking back to their original success of the Gameboy, with a close look at the 3DS, along with improved Wifi connectivity and storefront. The Wii, now with its motion+ is still going to be their key platform for showing off new games. It’s going to have to happen this year, a new Zelda game announcement, hopefully with more than just a logo, but a full trailer. I’m also hoping for some peeks at an enhanced online system to Wii owners, perhaps even with PS3 and 360 style friends list and messaging systems.
Microsoft: I’m expecting a lot of music going on through the Microsoft presentation, possibly even kicking off with a Rock Band 3 live performance. But I’ve got the feeling MS will fall back on using current pop star popularity to try and bring a cool edge to their tucked in shirted selves. I don’t know why, but I’m thinking Lady Gaga!!! I am hoping the likes of Antman and other PC users out there will be able to get excited about something, but I can’t think of anything at the moment past the likes of additional Games For Windows supported titles. I’ve been thinking recently about Natal and how the high price rumours we’ve heard could be justified (and I still can’t), but I’m calling internal Wifi connectivity to replace users existing adapter (and free us a rear USB slot). Games wise, we’re probably going to get Cliff Bleszinski giving a live 4 player co-op demo of Gears of War 3 along with Peter Molyneux doing the same with Fable 3 (yes with 4 people… or more).
Birkett: Coming up with a single E3 prediction is harder than it seems. There are optimum choices that I could choose to go with, some obvious, others outlandish. E3 2010 will of course be all about the motion controlled efforts from both Sony, with ‘Move’ and Microsoft with Natal. Last year’s press conferences were an indication towards leaps within the industry and technology as a whole. The Natal announcement trailer and the introduction to Milo was a brief glimpse of what could possibly be achieved with the new ‘hands-free’ device. Peter Molyneux leads its plaudits, citing it to be ‘true technology that science fiction hasn’t even written about’ and it’s certainly hard not be taken in by his ever reassuring nature. However, until we see Natal again at E3 with more hands-on given to press, only then will we be able to truly see what Microsoft has in store for the device.
Amongst the number of sports titles and score-based attacks that are likely to be heralded onto the new platform, I believe E3 will be the stage for Rare to finally reveal their mysterious project- of which they have been working closely with Microsoft and the Natal technology, for some time. I don’t imagine that the announcement will consist of the integration of motion gestures into existing IP, with the likes of the casual Viva Pinata series fit for revival. Instead, I’m sure Rare, who have given us classic titles such as Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye, are much more likely to reveal a brand new IP that works with the Natal technology in a big way, defining a new game experience (whatever that may be!) I’m not as creative to have a guess at what such a game will include, but Rare’s ingenuity and strive for quality and excellence will likely give way to the ‘system seller’ that gamers crave, casual or not.
In an interview with industry publication Develop, studio head at Rare, Mark Betteridge, stated that ‘people are going to be impressed with what they see from [Rare] and first-parties’. I’m hopeful that my expectations don’t get the better of me, but I’m going to be positive anyway in the lead up to the most anticipated of E3′s in recent years. Bring on the 15th of June!
FrostieD: As we all know this E3 will spend a lot of time looking at the way our current consoles are moving forward and so we should expect a lot of innovations from 360′s Natal and Playstation’s Move, as well as the big game announcements and 3D gaming demonstrations, so here are my predictions for what we will see at E3, broken down by category.
Nintendo Hardware: With 360 and PS3 jumping on the motion control bandwagon the Nintendo Wii would appear to be losing its niche in the market and I predict we will see the announcement of a new console (Wii2?). This new console will develop the motion control system further but will introduce high-definition graphics bringing it more in line with 360 and PS3. In addition I think we will get a lot more information regarding the newly announced new 3DS as well.
Nintendo Games: With all the major Nintendo franchises already finding a way onto the Wii, the major game announcements may be quite limited so I am going to plump for some sequels. I expect more information on a brand new Zelda adventure, perhaps a sequel to Mario Kart Wii (a new Double Dash?) or perhaps maybe a Little Big Planet type platformer where you can create levels for your Wii Mii to traverse.
Microsoft Hardware: The big one will be Natal, it blew everyone away last year with its concept, now they have to deliver and it appears to be a concept which will either soar or sink, only time will tell. There is one area in the console war where Microsoft has fallen behind and I think they may well address this at E3, a 360 portable, Microsoft aren’t ones to shy away from a profit and after seeing the success of the PSP and the meteoric sales of the Nintendo DS, I think this will be the time where Microsoft enter that battleground.
Microsoft Games: It will all be about Natal! Expect to see Fable 3, a whole host of Wii Sports type games, perhaps Activison plan on integrating Natal into its Call of Duty games… I don’t predict any major shocks this year, we may get more information on titles like Gears of War 3 or Crysis 2 but I think Microsoft (like Sony) will be putting all their eggs in a motion control shaped basket. One game I hope and have a ‘sneaking’ suspicion we may see more of is Metal Gear Solid: Rising, after being announced at last year’s E3 it has been conspicuous by its absence in terms of reports and information, fingers crossed!
Sony Hardware: Just like 360 with Natal this E3 will be all about the Playstation Move, we have still not seen a lot of the Playstation Move and so we will get a chance to see why exactly that big glowing ping pong ball is so special. Other than that I don’t really see where Sony can take their flagship console and so any further hardware news would surround the rumoured PSP2 which I also expect to see at E3.
Sony Games: Again just like with Natal, the list of games will be filled with titles designed for the Playstation Move, and I’m sure – just as with Natal – whereas some will be truely innovative many will be a bit of a novelty to show off the technology. I would love to see some kind of announcement or teaser for a third Uncharted game and as I haven’t mentioned it anywhere else I would love to see an announcement for a new Oddworld game.
Xero: 2010 is going to be about motion control, for sure, but I think some of the biggest announcements we’ll see are the changes to online services and subscription models. This year has to be the year Nintendo give its dwindling ‘hardcore’ something to be pleased with, and a radically reformed online service I feel could be on the cards. They’ve been making big steps forward with their Channel content, WiiWare / DsiWare is coming thick and fast and their Connection Ambassador scheme has been a move to get the millions of Wiis that are out there on to the world wide web. Surely then, now is the time that they scrap the friend code system and focus on online services for the end user.
Continuing their already great online platforms, Sony and Microsoft will both confirm new subscription models. Sony’s long rumoured PSN+ will be a reality, coming in at the £50 price point but including more digital content for subscribers, it won’t offer anything that will drastically change the experience, but enhance it. Microsoft, as an early reaction, will announce Xbox Live Platinum, a third tier of their online service, again offering music, TV, movies, games etc as part of the deal. They’ll also allow a certain level of multiplayer access to Xbox Live Silver members, perhaps with advertising to subsidise any costs and finally doing away with an online model that was outdated when the Dreamcast came out. Gold members will be rewarded with advert free online and continued early access to betas and exclusive DLC.
Finally, some of the other big media conglomerates will get in on the subscription action, E3 2010 could well be the beginning of inexpensive VoD taking hold of the console in a very major way…
Uncle Fista: Microsoft will claim victory over the competition, the Natal launch games will be announced and demoed along with confirmation of PC compatibility and a new dedicated GUI for Natal desktop, however only a few of the Natal games will impress and there will be concerns around input lag. Peter Molyneux will naturally hypnotise us once again and a Slim 360 will ship before the year is out.
Sony will claim victory over the competition, with Move launch titles demoing slightly better than Natal. Uncharted 3 will be revealed and though there’ll be no PSP2 announcement, PSP Go will get a price drop. Last Guardian will be shown but not playable and will be delayed until Q1 2011.
Nintendo will claim victory over the competition, announcing Wii Fit 3 which will incorporate the Vitality Sensor. Wii Party will be the next big casual game and the next Wii Zelda game is going to be announced. There’ll be another Mario title before Christmas and an old franchise will get the Wii treatment, probably Starfox or Pilotwings. 3DS will be announced, playable and will include an analogue stick!
Elsewhere Valve will announce Half Life 2: Episode 3 to ship in October and 3D gaming will be pimped by all!
We’ll have to wait until the middle of June to see what we’ve got right and what we’ve got hideously wrong, but in the mean time, let us know what you think will be at the show by leaving us a comment!