Let me start by saying that I’m pretty great at predictions. Okay, I’m NOT awful. I do well enough to get another chance to speculate a bit on this year’s E3, at least.
This is probably the most fun I have as a games editor all year, because this is my space to dream a little, to wish for things that probably won’t happen, and envision a future that is a little brighter.
We had a lot of things to complain about in the past year, many of which have brought a new awareness to the games industry and community. Luckily, E3 is really the place to celebrate the forward progress of the art form. It’s where we hope developers and publishers are creating new, exciting, and innovative ways to spark the continued evolution of video games. This is our Super Bowl.
So, here’s my list of things I hope to see at this year’s show, things that I hope you’ll agree will make the holidays and beyond super awesome for gamers:
Rare Re-Introduces a Classic IP
Perhaps the only things higher on the E3 speculation list than Rare’s mystery IP are Half-Life 3 and The Last Guardian (which I’ve excluded from this list because c’mon, guys). Rare’s new game could make or break the legendary studio, which is really a shell of what it once was since the Kinect Sports dark ages set on it. I’m not sure I’ve seen a studio more mishandled by a big company than Rare, who is responsible for some of the great IPs of our time, including Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and GoldenEye 007. Microsoft was unwise to assign this studio projects focused around their dying motion peripheral.
I hope Rare takes a step in the right direction this year, on the way to its former glory. I doubt it’ll be a new IP. There’s no better way to re-establish credibility than to re-introduce a classic IP, such as Banjo-Kazooie or Perfect Dark. Fan speculation seems to point to Battletoads, though, especially after the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, arrived to the Windows 10 unveiling with a Battletoads t-shirt.
Whatever the new game is, it better not be Kinect-related or there will be riots on the show floor.
The Future of Batman Games Will Be Mentioned
I talked about the future of Batman games in a past article, so I won’t go to deep on what that future might look like. All I want to say here is that I don’t think Warner Bros. Interactive will stay quiet about the Rocksteady project until Batman: Arkham Knight hits shelves (which is due out a a week after E3). I said “Batman games” because it’s Rocksteady’s logical choice for a next project, but they could instead tease that they’re working on something completely new. I just don’t think they’ll stay quiet about it, not when they have all the Arkham Knight momentum. It could even be just a short video a la Mass Effect 4 where they just mention, “Yeah, hey, we decided to make another game. Yay!”
OR, we could be introduced to a new WB Montreal Batman game. They haven’t developed a console game since 2013’s Arkham Origins. It might be time for the new Batman prequel or a brand new standalone adventure. Perhaps even its own series. We’ll find out.
Blizzard’s Overwatch Is Announced for Consoles
We’re going to get some Overwatch announcements, okay? There’s no way Blizzard has been releasing gameplay videos so close to the show for no reason. The first two big things the company will undoubtedly announce are closed/open beta dates and an official release date. Don’t expect this game until 2016, though.
BUT, the big announcement will probably be Overwatch‘s console release. I’m not sure Blizzard has ever released an IP on consoles at the same time as PC, which usually get its games way before. Overwatch is Blizzard’s chance to test its might in the FPS genre AND release on consoles simultaneously.
Valve Makes a Game
Does Valve ever need to make a game again? No, probably not. Steam, Steam Machines, and Dota are enough to keep the company afloat for the foreseeable future. Valve is all about platforms now, whether it be in commerce, hardware, or a gaming trend like eSports. It really does seem like its game development days are over.
Still, nothing quite gets me as excited as a new Valve game. Note that I’m not saying Half-Life 3 might happen. It’s NEVER going to happen, at least not this generation. An entire generation of Valve developers will probably retire before there’s ever a mention of Half-Life again, and even then, it’s likely to be a standalone game or reboot.
But how about a new IP or a return to Portal or Left 4 Dead? Team Fortress 3 would break the world for at least a month.
Retro Studio’s New Game Is Metroid
Jason mentioned this last week as part of his Nintendo E3 preview, and I have to agree that this would be the best thing Nintendo could do for the Wii U this year. The Big N needs another IP besides Star Fox to hold down the holidays now that The Legend of Zelda Wii U has been delayed to 2016.
Retro, of course, is the studio behind the Metroid Prime games, which I’ll put up against Super Metroid any day of the week. They’ve since jumped to the Donkey Kong series, including the ape’s latest adventure, Tropical Freeze. Their return to the Metroid franchise would be a very big deal. Let’s hope this happens.
It’s Fallout 4, Right?
Yes, my friend. Yes it is. The fact that Bethesda is holding their first ever press conference is a good sign. Not to mention that Guillermo del Toro’s production company, Miranda Studios, let slip that it was working on a Fallout 4 cinematic. After all the false rumors, speculation, and teasing, there’s finally no doubt in my mind that we will see the next Fallout game at E3 2015. And it feels good.
We might even get a release date, but don’t bet on it. It’s probably not hitting shelves until 2016. (E3 really has become a trade show for games coming out the following year.) But don’t worry, I think DOOM will keep you warm at night.
New Mass Effect Revealed
BioWare is riding some serious lightning after last year’s game of the year win with Dragon Age: Inquisition, which until now has been regarded as their B-side release. After last year’s little Mass Effect 4 tease, there’s no doubt the game will be present at this year’s show. We’ll get an official title (it’s apparently NOT called “Mass Effect 4”) and maybe a release date. It really is Star Wars: Battlefront‘s year, though, so EA might hold off their other big sci-fi franchise until next year.
But expect a gameplay trailer or a cinematic or something. Anything that places us in the new universe of this game and gets us pumped. It’s been a very reasonable amount of time (to today’s standards) since the last game arrived (2012), so I’m calling it.
Visceral Teases Its Star Wars Game
Again, this all comes down to whether EA wants to promote another Star Wars game while Battlefront is locking S-foils in attack position. It might seem a bit unlikely, especially since Battlefront was just unveiled at Star Wars Celebration. And let’s not forget that Disney Infinity 3.0 will feature a whole lot of Star Wars. So again, EA might not be very anxious to reveal another game set in the galaxy far, far away.
Still, there has never been more hype for this property than there is right now with a whole new trilogy of films set to premiere in December. There really is no better time to charge at fans with Star Wars like a mad rancor.
And I have a feeling that Visceral’s game will ultimately be the stronger outing for the new video game franchise. Former Naughty Dog creative director Amy Hennig is at the helm of the project and rumor has it that the studio is revamping concepts first shown in the canceled 1313. If your brain didn’t just blow up like Alderaan, I don’t know what to tell you.
The Return of Prince of Persia
It’s been five years since the last Prince of Persia game. This classic series has really taken a backseat since Assassin’s Creed came along. Ubisoft, a company that isn’t exactly shy about releasing as many games a year as possible, seems to only have space for so many action-adventure games.
The Assassin’s Creed yearly releases aren’t slowing down any time soon, especially if Syndicate totally kills it in the fall, so Prince of Persia might be a long shot. Still, this classic series could make a great spring release while gamers wait for their yearly AC dose. I can always hope.
Red Dead Returns
I’ll risk sounding like a David Bowie song: it’s been five years since Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption proved that Westerns could be done on modern consoles. RDD is a marvel of tone, ambience, rhythm, and gunslinging. Taking all the great things from spaghetti westerns and John Ford films and fusing it with Grand Theft Auto mechanics, Rockstar created one of the best games of the last generation.
This bloody adventure in the lawless Old West captivated us with the tale of one man’s redemption from thief to lawman, holding off bandits, the Mexican army, and even the dishonest FBI agents that are holding his family captive. And the end provides us with an unforeseen twist we haven’t quite seen in video games before, an art form where things surprisingly usually go right for the main characters in the end. But I’ve already said too much.
If you haven’t played this game yet, get to it. And if you have, cross your fingers that this is one of the announcements at this year’s E3.
Konami Announces Something New
Yikes, it hasn’t been a great year for Konami. The publisher should be counting the dollars right now, as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but instead, it’s counting the PR announcements it has to make from now until their next console game. Not only have they lost their main creative forces, including Hideo Kojima, but the company doesn’t seem interested in making any more console games, instead focusing on mobile and gambling machines. Scary thought, because there goes Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Silent Hill, the big three properties at Konami.
If Konami wants to reassure angry fans that the company will continue to make quality installments of the franchises they love, there is no better time to announce a new game than the present. They almost certainly have to. It no longer matters that most of the heavy promotion will go to MGV. It’s imperative that the company gives its fans some sense of the future.
Konami won’t announce a replacement Silent Hill game any time soon. Not while it can be compared to Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s P.T. It might really fall on Castlevania‘s shoulders. But, well…that franchise isn’t exactly doing so hot after the dreadful Lords of Shadow 2, either. So what the heck should they announce? Something at this point.
Someone Decides to Make a New Bond Game
Saying it a thousand times really isn’t enough. I predict this pretty much every time I get up on my soapbox, but I can’t help it. The world needs Bond. What? His days as a relevant FPS character are over? No one cares? Nonsense.
I refuse to live in a world where James Bond is no longer shooting bad guys on consoles. There hasn’t been a new game since 2012’s 007 Legends from Activision, who really ruined the franchise by cutting and pasting it into their COD engine. Activision has since let go of the license for good.
What should happen? Electronic Arts, who developed some stellar 007 games back in the day, could pick the license back up, especially now that it doesn’t have a flagship shooter (Battlefield isn’t doing so hot these days). That’s the ultimate dream.
A while back Kevin Bruner at Telltale Games mentioned that he’d love to work on a Bond game where he isn’t just mass murdering everyone all the time. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Now is really the time to announce a new Bond game. The new film, SPECTRE, is out on Nov. 6.
Daniel Hill and I spoke more about how to revitalize the Bond franchise in a recent article.
First Look at Telltale’s Marvel Game
Speaking of Telltale, how about that Marvel game they’re developing? It would be nice to see how exactly they’re going to pull it off. Can there be a Marvel point-and-click adventure a la The Walking Dead? It’s a little odd. But Telltale’s storytelling strength is enough to have hope in this upcoming game, the first Marvel game not aimed at children in quite a long time.
Is it an action-adventure game maybe? Who knows. The game isn’t due out until 2017, so there probably won’t be much to say, but any kind of acknowledgement would make fans happy.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead Revealed
The Walking Dead has no shortage of new releases this year, including a new spin-off TV series, season 3 of Telltale’s game, season 6 of the AMC show, and the on-going comic books. Add to that: Overkill’s The Walking Dead game.
Overkill is the developer behind the Payday games, which are excellent in their own right. (Wouldn’t mind a Payday 3 announcement, actually.) All we have to go on in terms of their TWD game is a pretty minimalist trailer from last summer. With all the hype around the show at the moment, might be a good time to talk a little bit more about this new adaptation.
Sega Leaves Sonic Alone
Please, for the love of all that is good and holy in video games, give Sonic the Hedgehog a rest. The poor guy has suffered through way too many terrible fates in the past few years. We’re not even going to talk about Sonic Boom. If there was ever a classic character that has (unfortunately) become irrelevant, Sonic the Hedgehog is pretty much the foremost example. Too many failures have pretty much stripped him of the popularity that characters such as Mario and Luigi continue to enjoy today. Not even a partnership with Nintendo could save Sega’s flagship series.
Instead, here’s a list (with the help of Mike Cecchini) of franchises that Sega could bring back from the dead so that Sonic can rest in peace:
Streets of Rage
Any of these are fine, SEGA. I did say I was going to dream a little, right?
The Last of Us 2 Announced
This is all the way at the bottom of the list because it’s pretty unlikely. Naughty Dog doesn’t really push multiple releases at a time, and with good reason. The amount of hype behind their games is enough that they can wait several years to announce a sequel. So don’t count on seeing The Last of Us 2 at this year’s show. Still, wouldn’t it be neat?