E3 2012 - Preview
The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 is almost upon us. By this time next week you’ll be sick to death of phrases like "Cloud Gaming", "Kinect compatible" and "Reggie Fils-Aime", but for now every rumour is a welcome tease and we can't help but make wild predictions. In reality, there might be a couple of mildly surprising announcements next week, but for the most part we already know what's coming: Nintendo will talk Wii U until they are blue in the face, then announce a new Mario, Sony will attempt to convince us that there is life in the Vita and Microsoft will milk Halo 4 for all it's worth.
Bold Prediction #1: During the Nintendo presser, Shigeru Miyamoto will drunkenly refer to Link as "that bastard boy in green" before throwing a punch at Reggie and sauntering off stage.
Nintendo must dominate E3 with the Wii U and bury twelve months of luke-warm publicity. While the 3DS has gone from strength to strength, the Wii U has yet to emerge from its disastrous reveal at last year's show. Iwata and Reggie will paint a much clearer picture of the new hardware this time around, putting the console front and centre and talking Nintendo core franchises. They will want to stress an unwavering commitment to third party development while avoiding showing multi-platform games running on competitor’s hardware. Although Nintendo have already said that there will be no price announcement, we are definitely going to come away pretty well clued-up on what we should expect come Christmas.
Bold Prediction #2: Sony confirm that Kaz Hirai will break into your house and batter you with a hammer if you attempt to play second hand games on the PS4.
Just as Nintendo did last year, Sony will be working hard to convince us of the merits of their stalling portable. There is a lot riding on Sony's presser and this is their moment to comprehensively set out their strategy for making the Vita a must own piece of hardware. Besides a permanent price drop, which probably isn’t on the cards, the Vita needs an outstanding collection of new games alongside a concerted effort to expand connectivity and compatibility with the PS3. Expect old favourites, new IPs and a dollop of Call of Duty. As a Vita owner, I hope Sony re-discovers the sense of urgency that has eluded them for the best part of a decade.
Outside of the Vita, it’s a safe bet that there will be lots of Sony All Stars Battle Royal, God of War Ascension and hopefully a stage demo of The Last of Us. It appears that Sony are aggressively looking to expand and improve upon PSN and PSN+, and rumours persist that they are moving into cloud gaming, by bringing streaming service, Gaikai, on board.
|Lock your doors and windows, Kaz is in town|
Bold Prediction #3: Timesplitters 4 is finally announced, to be released two weeks on Tuesday.
Microsoft's stage show will undoubtedly be dominated by Halo 4. MS, just like Sony, are unlikely to even mention the next generation, focussing instead on getting further mileage out of their blockbuster series and of course, Kinect. As they have done in past years, look for MS to secure the services of a handful of the biggest third party developers to provide exclusive demos of their multi-platform titles - CoD Black Ops 2 and the Skyrim DLC, Dawnguard are the two most likely candidates. Hopefully, they will have the good sense to bring back the gaming tandem of Ice T and Cliff Bleszinski, who were one of the highlights of last year’s immensely dull presser.
Bold Prediction #4: David Cage will attempt to pass off a Blu-ray copy of the Godfather Part 2 as his latest game and the "next stage in the evolution of the medium"
Konami have yet again proven themselves to be the most impatient of publishers, jumping the gun and making their E3 splash a day or two early. A pre-recorded video released in the early hours of today, featuring a 2pac-ified Konami exec, revealed two new Castlevanias and a brand new, non-wank trailer for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Discarding the live action format and featuring the kind of man-slicing that what would make Sandor "The Hound" Clegane proud, it may restore a measure of confidence in a game that has split the MGS fan base.
Bold Prediction #5: An overweight developer, looking like he has just been dragged out of bed, will stammer his way through a dull as dishwater demo that no one remembers the next day.
As for the rest of them, expect Bethesda's Dishonoured to garner a lot of attention and Ubisoft to record a strong showing with Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed 3. EA will bring the third Dead Space to E3 and we may learn more of the recently leaked Battlefield 3 Premium Service. Capcom won't be short on games, with Resident Evil 6 and Lost Planet 3 expected to feature prominently. Square-Enix will spend most of their time deflecting questions about sexy nun corpses and grainy FFXIII Versus-has-become-FFXV YouTube clips, while David Cage and Quantic Dream might be ready to wow us with something mildly interactive.
Be sure to check back throughout next week for plenty of E3 news, opinions and snarky comments about the Wii U. I’ll be burning the midnight oil, trying to stay awake during the press conferences and posting the big announcements before they go stale.