By now you may have heard about a little event called the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or by its street name "E3." In the days leading up to this catastrophic conflux of lights, sounds and adult beverages, we here at G4tv.com are taking turns with an annual tradition as reliable as salmon spawning and Cubs playoff collapses: wild speculation! We'll be keeping track of what we get right for bragging purposes, and when we’re wrong we'll be pointing over there because HEY WHAT'S THAT?!?! We’re calling this feature (E)3 Thoughts, because without limits, we could hypothesize all day long.
E3 and Me, or: "Missing Kentia Hall"
I've been attending E3 since 2003, when I convinced a "gentleman's" magazine that they really needed a gaming column in order to connect with young people -- really, I just wanted press credentials to get into the show. I've been to every E3 since then, and this will be my third with G4. Unlike everyone else on earth, I kind of liked the intimate E3 of the last two years. It was easy to get around and a joy to get work done, but I'm pretty happy some of what passes for glitz in the game world is coming back to the show.
In short: I like the booth babes, but hate the smell.
But onto the wild speculation, baseless assumptions and cheap shots!
Three Most Anticipated Games
1) The Beatles: Rock Band -- I'm looking forward to this game obviously for the great music and the solid Rock Band play. But the real selling point for me is the rumored inclusion of vocal harmonies. I'm not good at much, but I can harmonize like a mug. And yes, I realize I'm the only person on earth who is actually looking forward to this feature.
2) BioShock 2 -- After having my mind solidly blown by BioShock, I was leery of a sequel: How could it ever measure up? But after checking out the early trailer I got over my reluctance and now am eagerly awaiting a chance to dive back under water and get to Rapture…plus, the multiplayer sounds sick.
3) MAG -- I've already played this massive, 256 player fragfest, and I'm dying to get back into the fray. It's just the game Sony needs to breathe a little life back into the PlayStation 3. If the technical hurdles of such ambitious battles can be overcome, I predict this will be a must-have.
Three Hopeful Announcements
1. Crackdown 2: Yeah, fellow Feed editor Andrew Pfister mentioned it first, but I think Crackdown 2 will be an MMO. Do I even need to explain how awesome a Crackdown MMO would be?
2. Crazy Peripherals and Dumb Gimmicks: While E3's electronic ghetto, Kentia Hall, will be shuttered this year, the return to a larger E3 should bring a return of the people who make incredibly gimmicky video game crap that doesn't work. For example, one year I talked to hopeful young inventor who'd sunk a whole lot of money into tiny finger sleeves so gamers wouldn't get blisters, and another year I tried out a biofeedback racing game that responds to "thoughts," well, actually the motion of your eyebrows. I hope this year brings many, many ridiculous innovations for me to feign interest in, and then make fun of.
3. A Lightsaber Game -- The announcement of a true lightsaber fighting game for the Wii. With the MotionPlus in full effect, the time is right for the announcement of the one game that everyone who every picked up a Wiimote wants: Empire vs. Rebel Alliance lightsaber fighting game. And, hopefully, it won't come from the newly stripped-down LucasArts.
Three Predictions for the Big Three
1. PS3 Price Cut -- Every indication from Sony itself is it's not going to cut the price of the PS3, but I think the price is coming down by $75 bucks (I split the difference between $100 and $50.). Call me crazy, but I think they see that without a larger install base, they're dead in the water this round of the console war, and while a price cut will hurt the bottom line in the next year or so, eventually, it could pay off.
2. New PSP -- The newly re-tooled portable will be announced in tandem with a game-rental service and music downloads.
3. Home Improvement -- Home is so impossibly, unspeakably lame, and must have been so incredibly expensive that I can only assume Sony has been building up to a huge announcement where they finally reveal the reason Home exists.
1. Motion Control Thinger -- There have been so many, detailed rumors about the webcam-controlled motion sensor for the 360 that I can only assume it is true. I'm not really going out on a limb here.
2. Some Dumb Family Game -- In keeping with the safe predictions, I predict that at Microsoft's press conference, a lot of time will be spent showing off a casual, family game that will be forgotten instantly after it is released -- last year it was You're in the Movies! This year, I predict it will be Mrs. McDarnigal's Magical Arm-Flailing Adventure. The aforementioned flailing will be gamely demonstrated by embarrassed senior Microsoft executives. But we'll all get a good look at this motion-sensing webcam.
3. Zune As a Gaming Device -- Having witnessed the success of gaming on the iPhone, how could Microsoft not respond with a gaming push on the Zune? I don't predict success, but I could totally see Microsoft thinking gaming will save their crappy music player.
1. The Return of a Beloved Franchise -- I think Nintendo is going to bring back a much-beloved IP, updated for the Wii. This game will be designed to work with Wii MotionPlus and will restore the faith of Nintendo fans, so I'm thinking it could be Wave Race, Pilotwings or Star Fox.
2. Overhaul of the Wii's Online System -- This is more of a wish than a prediction, but since I'm speculating, I might as well hope for something I really, really want. Nintendo, your friend system really, really needs work.
3. Satoru Iwata Steps Down -- Having already created and cornered an entirely new market, Nintendo head Satoru Iwata will give up his spot at the top of the company, out of sheer boredom.
Three Things for Third Parties
1. Electronic Arts will announce a complete moratorium on hardcore games in order to focus on iPhone game development and Madden. During their press conference, EA's president will announce: "We tried making original games, and look what happened. If you don't like our new direction, you should have thought of that when you weren't buying Mirror's Edge. Screw you guys."
2. Activision will announce 36 new Guitar Hero games, including Guitar Hero: Bjork, Guitar Hero: Kids Incorporated, and Guitar Hero: Creed. They will also announce two new Guitar Hero peripherals: a wireless comb and wax-paper controller and, for some reason, a steering wheel.
3. In a shocking 11th hour reversal, Atari will decide to actually show up to the Expo, but no one notices.
I predict a massive earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale will shake Los Angeles to its core at exactly 4:21 PM on June 3rd. Luckily, the Los Angeles Convention Center and E3 will be fine due to earthquake retro-fitting.*
*This prediction will almost certainly not come true, but if it does, I will become very wealthy and famous as a psychic.