Gaming has always been an ever-evolving pastime with huge advances in technology every half-dozen years or so. This year in particular is special, though. We are on the cusp of brand new console generation that’s already been kicked off by Nintendo’s Wii U, and will soon be followed by Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. These three companies, along with the 3rd-party studios and publishers that support them, will take center stage next week and try to sell us a brighter future. Who will come out on top with the games of our dreams? Which will falter and feel the frenzied wrath of gamers everywhere? We may not be psychics, but based on what we’ve seen so far here’s what we expect will happen.
E3 2013 will likely go down in the history books as either an exceptional event or one that is just so-so. With two next generation consoles and their games being shown off before they release later this year, it’s hard for it to be boring. Microsoft will have the hardest job at the event, though. After a just plain awful console reveal last month for the Xbox One, and weeks of bad news regarding used games and always-online, they really need to show something good. Now that they’ve made clear the limitations of the Xbox One, only a collection of amazing exclusives and a low price will get hardcore gamers on board. Whether they will succeed or not is questionable, but my guess is that it will be a mixed reaction when the dust settles. The greatest thing they could announce wouldn’t be a game, though. It would be simply changing their minds on all the design choices they’ve made so far which is very unlikely.
Nintendo will also need to impress this year in order to regain the confidence of many disenchanted players. Thanks to Microsoft’s missteps, they really have a unique opportunity to market the Wii U as a haven for hardcore gamers. Showing off a new Super Smash Bros. and 3D Mario will take them far and definitely win over many, but showing us that they still have lots of great 3rd-party games will be key. With news of the Wii U consistently losing out on multiplatform releases, Nintendo needs to show developers that its platform is viable and can be successful. In order to do that they need to sell more consoles, which is why a price drop at E3 would not only steal some of its competitors’ thunder, it would definitely help drive sales. Hell, it’s been working pretty well for the PS Vita in Japan, and that system is in a similar predicament. Nintendo has a lot of potential to do well this year if they play their cards right.
And of course, I can’t forget about Sony, the company who has the most goodwill going into E3. Their reveal back in February sold many on the console, and now they’ve got some breathing room to just shows games, games, and more games. Oh, and show the console too—not showing it until now turned out to be quite a smart move. Sony, however, will soon have to start facing similar questions to Microsoft. How exactly will the PS4 handle used games? What kind of restrictions do we not know of yet? Their answers, I expect, won’t be as depressing as Microsoft’s but will still need to be known. Sony has been building quite a bit of momentum in the last years of the PS3, and if they’re smart they will ride it straight into the next generation. I just hope they don’t pull a Kaz Hirai moment and drop a $599 price tag on our heads. Overall, this year will definitely be all about the “big three” and I can’t wait to see how it will all play out.
There are plenty of things in store at this year’s E3 that could easily classify it as one of the most exciting events we’ve seen in years. That being said, I know plenty of people are looking forward to the reveals of the big three and what they have to offer. I, on the other hand, am expecting the smaller reveals from third party developers to truly leave an impact. And it won’t be all of their big games that will leave a lasting appeal, but some of the ones you least expect. Bethesda Softworks for instance have decided to fully back The Evil Within, the latest game from survival horror-meister Shinji Mikami. Seeing as this is the last time he will be seated on the director’s chair, I simply can’t wait to see if he’ll be able to surpass the influence his Resident Evil franchise has left on the industry. All we’ve seen from the game thus far is that it looks like a Dir en grey music video (judging from the teaser). Luckily, The Evil Within isn’t the only exciting game with an air of mystery to it.
Square Enix’s Murdered: Soul Suspect looks like it’ll give L.A. Noire a run for its money in the murder mystery department. However, small games aren’t the only ones set to shine on the red carpet and show floor. A company like Activision Blizzard has Bungie’s newest IP, Destiny; an online game being kept closely under wraps until the event. Ubisoft still has its ace Watch Dogs, another new IP to be heavily promoted alongside the company’s yearly Assassin’s Creed franchise. We can expect Ubisoft to make the announcements at their conference, while a developer like CD-Projekt RED will more than likely unveil more info and gameplay on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077 behind closed doors. As far as role-playing games go, Dark Souls II should be one the world looks at next week (considering the success of its predecessors), in addition to the elusive (rather melodramatic) new entry in the long-running Final Fantasy franchise.
Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony all have surprises in store, and it’s not the consoles I’m referring to. Microsoft for instance has Quantum Break, the newest paradoxical mind-bender from Remedy, as well as it’s remaining mysterious exclusives (which are anybody’s guess at this point). Sony has the support of daring storytellers Quantic Dream (Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain) whose upcoming title Beyond: Two Souls is beyond attention-grabbing. Nintendo is relying on their first party offerings to convince everyone to jump onto to their bandwagon, yet expect third party games like Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 to steal most of the public’s curiosity. The only exception to this rule should be the highly anticipated reveal of the new game in the acclaimed Super Smash Bros. fighting series. Don’t expect a game like The Last Guardian, one of (if not) my most anticipated releases, to make a surprise entrance at Sony’s conference. I’m positive I have plenty of people on my side who want to know just what became of this title.
This year’s expo will be full of surprises, excitements, and disappointments. Something is bound to rile the masses. Be it the price tag of the new consoles, the [un]surprising absence of third party support on Nintendo’s Wii U, the underwhelming press conferences from the big three, or the controversies surrounding the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Then again, the masses could be appeased by the look of the PlayStation 4 console, then flabbergasted by the cross compatibility of the new Super Smash Bros., new footage of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and the official unveiling of Bungie’s first-person shooter Destiny. Then by the same token, the audiences could very well be disappointed by all these. The public may also condemn Square Enix’s inability to explain what happened to Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Is it still in the works or did it turn into vaporware years ago? Whatever the case may be, it’s difficult to argue against the relevancy of E3 2013, and the impact it’ll have on this sophomoric and dynamic industry.