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.
- Andrew Pfister, Senior Games Editor
- Jake Gaskill, Feed Writer
- Stephen Johnson, Lead Editor
- Sterling McGarvey, Senior Previews/Reviews Editor
E3 and Me, or: "I've Been At Every E3 Since 1998"
Even though this year marks the 12th time I've attended E3, there's a reason this one's going to hold a very special place in my heart: at the end of every day, I can sleep in my very own bed. If you've been to E3, you know how amazing that sounds. Hotel Figueroa's stiff beds, take a hike! As for the show itself, well...I'm of the few who wishes E3 was still small. Loud speakers and equally lavish parties are entertaining, but it makes my job that much harder. Nonetheless, E3 is E3, I'll stop bitching and start getting excited; this year promises some amazing surprises.
Three Most Anticipated Games
1. The Beatles: Rock Band -- Ever since Guitar Hero and Rock Band were released, I've been waiting for someone to snatch up my favorite band -- The Beatles -- and make an interactive music game based on them. Harmonix seems like a developer that understands what makes The Beatles special, which explains my only piece of advice: don't screw it up! The Beatles helped introduce me to music and the opportunity to "play" their music will mean the world.
2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves -- This could go either way. As someone who blocks the last third of the original from their memory (and I say this as a rabid "X-Files" fan), Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has the potential to melt my brain. Uncharted's combat was serviceable but hardly on the same level as the game it looked most like, Gears of War. Uncharted 2's fate depends on how much of an emphasis they throw on the combat. More platforming, please!
3. BioShock 2 -- The moment I left Rapture, I wanted to go back. My heart pounded yes, even if my brain was shouting "no, no, no!!!" A BioShock sequel probably shouldn't exist, but they're making one, so I might as well get irrationally (pun!) excited for it. On the plus side, they seem to have assembled the right team to make it a worthwhile journey and for good or ill, I will be there every step of the way. Would you kindly let me play it at E3?
Three Predictions for the Big Three
1. Nintendo will make good on their promise to make the hardcore gamers remember why they love playing Nintendo games. The delightful return of Punch Out!! was only the beginning of a renaissance of Nintendo's classic franchises, many of which we'll see the first glimpse of at E3. I don't expect Nintendo will spend E3 making a game cut from the same cloth as Wii Fit or Wii Music their centerpiece (though that class of games will be there).
2. MotionPlus will be a massive push at E3, but Nintendo won't be the company leading the way. Third-parties are the ones most excited about what's possible with MotionPlus, and if the teaser video released for Red Steel 2 is any indication of what we can expect from developers focused on making it work, great things are coming to Wii owners in the near future. Expect E3 to help show why that's going to happen.
3. After the mediocre performance of Wii Music with the casuals, it might be time for Nintendo to rethink their next assault on the casual gamer that so quickly embraced Wii in the first place. We'll get a glimpse at what Nintendo's been developing for that sector because of the attending mainstream press, but when Shigeru Miyamoto walks out this year, it'll be to show something fans can rally behind, not just Wii Fit 2.
1. Microsoft and Sony have both been diligently working on motion controllers ever since Wii took off. Neither company has been able to get their act together, however, but I'll predict that we finally see Microsoft take the first step forward at E3. They were this close to doing so at last E3, and I think the extra year will have provided ample preparation to make it happen. Will Rare be involved in this one? I can't say.
2. Alan Wake will finally come out of the dark and it will look kick-ass, finally providing me with the "X-Files" game I've been waiting for my whole life.
3. We aren't going to be hearing about Gears of War 3 until at least next E3, nor do I expect Unreal Tournament to continue being a flagship franchise for Epic Games. The studio needs something all-new. We know they're developing a new franchise, and while E3 might not be where Microsoft drops the curtain, we'll get a little tease about what else Epic Games has in the works during Microsoft's presentation.
1. Heavy Rain and Project Trico will account for Sony's entries into the artsy video game category, but whereas Sony has become known for gambles on new franchises the past few years, I anticipate E3 2009 being a return to what's worked. God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, a new Metal Gear -- franchises people associate with Sony, franchises Sony wants to keep associated with Sony. Expect lots of sequels.
2. It was going to happen eventually. This year, we will finally see what Heavy Rain "the game" looks like and the backlash will begin. Heavy Rain cannot live up to the hype. It could look stunning, hands-on impressions may be unanimously upbeat, but if the reactions to the first bits of gameplay are the bar by which to judge, David Cage and Co. are about to find out what it's like to live up to years of lofty expectations. Killzone 2, anyone?
3. E3 2009 will help transition Sony into a complete re-branding of the PlayStation name. New logos, redesigned hardware, a commitment to established franchises -- all of these things will be a part of Sony's effort to move the PlayStation name back into the light. Altered hardware will be a big part of this movement, especially on the PSP, where people are hungry for a PSP 2 but Sony isn't willing to go there yet. PSP Go!, if that's what it's called, would be exactly what gamers are anxious to buy.
Three Things for Third Parties
1. There will be a new Grand Theft Auto game shown at E3 and it won't just be a trailer for the upcoming "The Ballad of Gay Tony" downloadable expansion for Grand Theft Auto IV, nor a console sequel -- it'll be for a handheld. The question is what approach Rockstar Games will take. Chinatown Wars was a fantastic stylized spin-off. I would desperately love to see them tackle a similar approach with PSP (or iPhone).
2. Assassin's Creed 2 will let me jump in the water. Amazing!
3. As great as some of the Silent Hill games have been, all of them have been absolute failures in one department: combat. While I'm apprehensive about Climax UK tackling a "re-imagining" of the close-to-my-heart original Silent Hill, they've already made one ballsy decision that could quickly make the new game my favorite yet: no combat. Climax, you have my attention: you're making the Silent Hill I've always wanted.
The White Whale Wager
Either officially announced, new video, playable on show floor, or confirmed behind closed doors:
Rock Band: Weezer -- 1,000:1
NFL Blitz for XBLA / PSN -- 500:1
Deus Ex 3 -- 20:1