E3 2011 – Hopes & Rumours
E3 (June 7-9) is just around the corner and the industry is already abuzz with rumour and hearsay. Nintendo will finally be revealing Project Cafe, their follow-up to the hugely successful Wii and there are whispers that Microsoft will have something important to share, though it is highly unlikely it will concern their next generation console. Sony will look to share more on the NGP and will be working hard to make everyone forget about the last two disastrous months.
On top of this, E3 will offer all the usual exclusive looks at forthcoming games, both announced and brand new, as well as quotes galore from the people who make the industry tick.
Over the coming week or so I will be posting a number of blogs about E3 2011, and will be covering the biggest announcements and reveals. I will have an E3 preview here on Friday, but first I'd like to share some of my hopes for the industries' biggest annual event. I have tried to keep them grounded in reality, mostly based on rumours that have been doing the rounds over the past few months.
1. Something from Hideo Kojima
Until last week this seemed liked a distinct possibility, but that changed when Hideo Kojima posted a tweet which suggested that something he had been working on for a year had been scrapped. He followed this a few days later with a yes/no interview on his podcast, where he confirmed that he wouldn’t be attending E3 this year and that a Metal Gear Solid 5 announcement is not on the cards.
I had a feeling that Kojima-san was up to something non-MGS related, and hoped that it would be a remake of either Snatcher or Policenauts - two action adventure games developed before the international success of MGS. He posted a photo of a Policenauts badge on Twitter recently, which I was eager to read as a hint as to his new project. If his new game was to be Policenauts, then it would appear that it has been taken out and shot.
It’s not all bad news though, as during his brief interview he confirmed that there are plans in place for something big to celebrate next year’s Metal Gear’s 25th anniversary. Although it wouldn’t come direct from the horse’s mouth, perhaps Konami will reveal something about these plans at E3, though September’s Tokyo Game Show would seem more likely if we are due an announcement this year. Here’s hoping for a MGS HD collection, though I’d probably be content with a MGS4 trophy patch!
2. Shenmue HD Collection
While we are on the topic of much sought after HD collections, let’s have Yu Suzuki’s SEGA classics running on our current gen consoles. Suzuki has raised his profile of late, giving interviews to Japanese and Western media following a return to the Shenmue universe by way of Shenmue Gai – a mobile game that has yet to be released outside of Japan.
Wouldn’t a re-release of Shenmue 1&2 be the ideal way for SEGA to test the waters and gauge interest in the final episode of the Shenmue trilogy? I’m sure it would do well, and I doubt it would take $70m to polish the graphics and add some Achievements. Let’s go find them sailors!
3. TimeSplitters 4
There was a time not so long ago when TimeSplitters 4 was a sure thing. Free Radical Design, developers of the first three games of the tongue-in-cheek FPS series, had announced that work was already under-way, but disaster struck when, in December 2008, they went into administration. The studio was bought by Crytek and renamed Crytek UK, but TimeSplitters 4 has been officially MIA ever since.
Partially developed and coming from a well-established and critically acclaimed series, it stands to reason that Crytek would want to explore the possibility of retaining the new TimeSplitters. Rumours were circulating earlier in the year that Crytek UK was shopping a project to potential publishers, and there were un-confirmed reports that it was TS.
Of all the games on this list, I think TS4 is the most likely to be formally announced at E3 2011. Its defining multiplayer would blossom on PSN and Live and the deep challenge modes would lend themselves perfectly to trophies and achievements. In a generation swamped by samey FPS’s, a new TimeSplitters would be most welcome.
4. Syphon Filter 4
As good as Bend’s PSP Syphon Filters may have been, I’d much prefer to see the series return to its home console roots. If yesterday’s antics on the PlayStation US blog are anything to go by, then we may just be in luck. The existence of a new Syphon Filter for the PS3 was reportedly revealed on the PS blog before being hastily removed, but not before word spread of a Q4 2012 release and a possible announcement at E3.
It is ironic that a game about stealth would give itself away so clumsily. Sony has refused to comment on the rumour, but we shall know soon enough if there is any truth behind Gabe’s home console return.
5. Grand Theft Auto V
It should go without saying that Rockstar are most likely already developing GTA V. GTA IV was a true blockbuster and the series is internationally adored, so it’s not so much a case of if, but when GTA V will be announced. With Red Dead Redemption and contributions to LA Noire under their belt, I fully expect a more refined experience from GTA V. Blurry, most likely faked footage aside, we have heard virtually nothing about Rockstar’s latest crime opus, and I’d wager they are waiting for a large stage to announce it to the world. Here’s hoping that E3 2011 will provide that platform.
6. Final Fantasy VI Portable Remake
Final Fantasy I, II, III, Tactics and most recently IV have all been the subject of portable updates. These enhanced ports received graphical overhauls and featured new, worthwhile content. Going by the pattern of release, it’s reasonable to presume that FFV will be the next in line – a possibility which Square-Enix have discussed – but of all the FF’s FFVI is the instalment most in need of a portable remake.
Final Fantasy VI Advance for the GBA added a few new features and graphical tweaks, but it was a fairly muted upgrade. A PSP or 3DS remake would do wonders for one of the series’ most cherished entries and would be in keeping with SE’s current trend of repackaging their RPG back-catalogue.