E3 2011 - Preview
Earlier this week I laid out some of the games I hope to see at E3 2011, based on rumour and speculation. Here, in my final E3 themed post before the actual event, I want to offer a preview of what is expected from next week’s extravaganza. In particular, I’m focusing on the big three - Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony - all of whom will have their moment in the sun during their opening press conferences next Monday and Tuesday.
After some underwhelming showings at E3, this year's event may well belong to Nintendo as they are set to reveal "Project Cafe", their next generation console. I have already gone into detail about what we know about Project Cafe, which you can find here, so I will avoid repeating myself. On Tuesday we will finally get a look at their new box of wonders, including its much speculated controller which is slated to feature a high-def touch screen. Tuesday may also bring a name for the as yet un-christened Project Café, and it will be interesting to see if it retains the Wii branding or if this is going to be something else entirely.
Along with the hardware, we can also expect to see some of the launch titles for Project Coffee Shop. There will almost certainly be a Mario game in the works, but perhaps more crucially we will discover if the rumoured third party support is real. It will be a boon for Nintendo if large developers like Activision and Rockstar are on-board from day one. There is also speculation surrounding Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword's status as a Wii title, the suggestion being that it may in fact be a launch game for Project Cafeteria. Whichever way it falls, expect the new Zelda to be a prominent feature in Nintendo's presentation.
Also look for Nintendo to consolidate the 3DS and allay concerns about its sub-par performance at retail thus far by announcing a handful of new games and reminding us of its impressive features. Super Mario 3D is expected to make an appearance, as are a collection of remakes and re-imaginings headed by Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. However, if Nintendo want to ensure that the 3DS doesn’t get lost in the shuffle then they will have to come with some impressive as-yet unannounced games.
Sony will be desperate to put the events of the last two months behind them, and a strong showing at E3 will go some way towards doing this. It will be interesting to see how they approach the PSN disaster, either tackling it head-on or opting to ignore it entirely. Personally, I think Sony would do well to broach it at the outset then move on to bigger and better things, headed by the PSP’s successor - the NGP.
As I’m writing this, hands-on previews are appearing online for the first batch of NGP games. This first wave is headlined by Uncharted: Golden Abyss and features a collection of slightly less interesting games, the best of which appear to be Super Stardust Delta and a new Wipeout. Hopefully Sony won’t forget the unwritten rule of releasing a new handheld or console: a Ridge Racer must be among your launch day line-up! Uncharted looks wonderful but I will hold back from my impressions until we learn more next week. Hopefully Sony will offer a street date for the NGP (Xmas in Japan, Easter in the West?) and fingers crossed they will confirm that Vita is not its real name, but a vicious rumour started by Reggie Fills Amie.
Sticking with the portables, Sony will want to detail the PSP Remastered series and will perhaps confirm some of the games that will be getting the treatment later this year. As far as the PS3 goes, expect Sony to wax lyrical about their impressive 2011 line-up of exclusives, including Uncharted 3, Infamous 2, Resistance 3 and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One and tease some of next year’s biggest, such as The Last Guardian and the new Twisted Metal.
Microsoft had better have some surprises up their sleeve if they don’t want to be drowned-out by Nintendo and Sony, both of whom have new hardware to show-off. Instead of pushing a new piece of kit, Microsoft would do well to concentrate on what they have, and by announcing a price cut for the 360 they would certainly take some of the shine off Nintendo and Sony’s big day.
A cut-price 360 bundled with Kinnect would do wonders for their motion control thingamy. Some new Kinnect exclusives wouldn’t hurt either, as there are only so many times you can demo Child of Eden before people start to realize that, so far, Kinnect has very little going for it outside of its tech. Some new information or perhaps even a demonstration of Project Draco would be very welcome and a Kinnect-only entry in an existing franchise (say Gears of War or Halo) would provide it with its first killer-app.
Kinnect pipedreams aside, expect Gears and Halo to feature heavily. There will be more Gears of War 3 details than you can shake a chainsaw bayonet at, and rumours persist that a Halo: Combat Evolved remake is on the cards to celebrate its tenth anniversary, to be announced or maybe even demoed at E3.
By jumping the gun and making their big announcements last night, Konami have earned themselves their own spot on this list. Metal Gear Solid Rising will not be appearing at this years show but there was plenty of other MGS news to keep any fan happy. This November will see the release of a Metal Gear Solid HD collection which will include MGS 2, MGS 3 and Peace Walker. Coming to both the PS3 and 360, all three games will receive a HD make-over, remastered audio, new artwork and trophies/achievements. This is great news, and I'm particularly happy that Peace Walker will be playable on home consoles, with saves that can be transferred between console and portable.
Konami also announced a Zone of the Enders HD compilation, due sometime in 2012, and revealed plans for a similar collection for Silent Hill. There was very little in the way of "new" games, though perhaps Konami have left something in reserve for next week.
There is no shortage of third party games confirmed for E3. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited of the bunch is 2K's Bioshock Infinite. More details, videos and perhaps even a playable demo should be forthcoming in the next few days as 2K look to build upon the significant hype already surrounding this 2012 release.
Tomb Raider also has people talking, thanks to last night's stunning trailer which looks to set the scene for a true return to form. It will be interesting to see how similar the gameplay is to the Uncharted series, as Tomb Raider looks to learn from the success of a game which once looked to it for inspiration.
Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3 figure to have a strong presence and hopefully we can learn more about SEGA and Gearbox's recently announced Aliens: Colonial Marines. A video game follow-on to James Cameron's sequel, I have my fingers crossed that it will do justice to source material that has been criminally mis-used for a number of years.
The line-up for the rest of 2011 will be front and centre including Rage, Assassin's Creed Revelations and of course Modern Warfare 3. Activision may also provide more details regarding their paid premium service, Call of Duty Elite.