E3 2012 is going to be a doozy.
There is no more denying of this fact. For all intents and purposes, we are entering the next generation of consoles this year, and whether that is Nintendo jumping on the HD bandwagon or more, it is still a big step for console gamers and developers alike. Plus, we have the PS3 and Xbox360 (possibly) going out with a bang, with tons of games we probably don’t know about or weren’t expecting to be as impressive as they’re going to look in a few short days.
I’m going to focus on my thoughts for the big three, throw in some opinions on the other few major publishers, and then give some shout outs to the games I want to see the most. We’ll wrap it up with any closing predictions I have left, so let’s dive right into it.
The PS3 has hit a stride but none of those great first party games are really selling for it. Sony does have a lot going for it this year though, and with no PSN-blackout to slow down their momentum, maybe they have a shot to push these games off shelves.
What games? Well we’re looking at Sly 4, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (that is a mouthful), a possible new product from Quantic Dream, and a new downloadable Ratchet and Clank just to top it off. Plus there is God of War, The Last of Us, and I’m sure Sony has much more hidden up their sleeves.
Sony always pushes new and interesting games in the genres we’ve seen many times before. God of War is a character action game I really love, not only because it’s very well put together, but because of its lore, its psychopathic “protagonist”, and its addictive gameplay. Keep in mind: I hate character action games. Sly Cooper took an open world game, a genre once-dominated by GTA, and made it whimsical, beautiful, and fun all in one furry package. These are A-List games, and though they have their fair share of problems, they’re still games PS3 owners should be excited for. Sony needs to push them at their conference.
On the handheld front, the Vita is suffering. Sony has made a really impressive product, now they just need really impressive games. I think the Vita should dominate half of Sony’s conference at least. They need to push first and third party games, and remind people why they bought the thing in the first place. Everyone I’ve talked to loves their Vita, but they want to play more games for it. I’m ready to pick it up as soon as there is something worthwhile for it.
The ball is in Sony’s court, much like it is in Nintendo’s on the console front, and they need to show us the games we want to see, especially for Vita.
Microsoft, in terms of the big three, has the weakest first parties and the strongest third parties. They also provide the best service by far, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty about Xbox Live at their conference, not to mention a showing of the latest Call of Duty.
I think Halo 4 and Fable the Journey are great, but beyond that, Microsoft has been focusing so much on multimedia, family, and Kinect with their past couple press conferences, I really don’t know what to expect from them. I want to see more reasons to buy my games on 360 instead of any other competitor. I want to see their limited-exclusive Dawngaurd DLC for Skyrim, I want to see games I can only get on Xbox that aren’t Gears of War, Fable, or Halo, and I want to see Summer of Arcade and downloadable games. I know E3 is never the place where you see those amazing-looking indie games, but I think it’d be worthwhile if they tried.
Kinect seems to be going strong, and after I got to play more than my heart’s content of Dance Central 2, I want to see more games that make that peripheral even better.
Again, I feel less informed on the Microsoft front, but not as much as I do with Nintendo, which I’ll get to in a minute. If Microsoft sticks to their strengths: their super third party support, they will probably have a good conference. At least, in my opinion.
One reason I love Nintendo, and even agree I’m a bit of a fanboy, is they know how to keep secrets. I have no idea what they’re going to show at their conference! I mean, I have an idea, but anything could come out of left field with Nintendo, and that just gets me super excited!
I always look forward to their conference because I’ll see something I probably wanted to see, but was not expecting. Kid Icarus Uprising, for example, or the reveal of Skyward Sword. I’m sure we can expect Pikmin 3, because it’s been all but announced, but rumors of whatever Retro Studios’ next project, as well as Star Fox, Donkey Kong 3DS, and more are still running around.
But to get back on track, Nintendo had better come strong with the WiiU. We’ve already seen bits and pieces of a new controller make-up that have me a bit less worried, but if this thing is coming to stores this year, they had better give consumers a reason to buy it. The rumor that big games like Darksiders 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Call of Duty Black Ops 2 are coming to it at launch are somewhat comforting, but only somewhat. Nintendo should show us more first parties, have more third parties, and most importantly, not repeat the launch of the 3DS, which has finally hit a great stride. I want to see games that will be coming at launch, at E3 this year. It is already frustrating enough to know that we won’t hear a release date or price at E3, so they should give us something to go on.
As for the 3DS, I think Nintendo is doing almost everything right with this one. They have full-retail games coming to the eShop in August (I believe, it may be July), and games like New Super Mario Bros 2 and Fire Emblem to get me excited. I feel like they should just push the eShop even harder. It has already been super surprising to see very worthwhile games on there, and I want more, as selfish as that sounds. More interesting, impressive, and cheap downloadable games for my 3DS is never a bad thing. Nintendo just needs to keep this handheld powerhouse going, and they’ll do just fine I think.
Also, just bring some damn SNES, NES, and other virtual console games to the 3DS eShop. There is really no excuse not to throw A Link to the Past in 3D.
Ubisoft, Activision, and EA.
The big hitters here; we have Dead Space 3, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and Assassin’s Creed III. These are probably going to dominate the “third party” category of E3, as they are pretty much the biggest action franchises from each company.
Though Activision has never really had its own press conference for the past few years, their presence will no doubt be very strong. On top of a Call of Duty appearance with Microsoft (let’s be real, it’s going to happen), Bungie’s new game, “Project Destiny” may be making some sort of show at this E3.
Also, EA has always been strong with its franchises, and last year they made several appearances at Sony’s conference, so maybe we can expect more of that this time around.
As for Ubisoft, they only have to do two things as far as I’m concerned: show me more of this “Rayman Legends” and Assassin’s Creed III, and do not bring back Mr. Caffeine.
Games That We Will Care About.
Call of Duty BO2 – I know a lot of people are sick of Call of Duty, myself included, but with Treyarch showing they can do more with the franchise than Infinity Ward, I think Black Ops 2 could be a new pique for the series. Well, we can hope at least; we’ll just have to wait and see.
Dishonored – I’ve been getting a good vibe from this game ever since it was announced through Game Informer. Described as a “first person Assassin’s Creed”, its got me curious, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up in one of the big three’s conferences. I have a feeling this one will come out of left field for a lot of people.
Assassin’s Creed III – I know I’m repeating myself a little with this one, but after I got to see some of it at PAX East, I know for a fact that this will blow some people out of the water. The new engine and new pace of the game is going to make the third iteration just as groundbreaking as the first, I believe.
Games That I Will Care About.
Darksiders II – Right now, this is my most anticipated of 2012. It’s just a few short months away, and I feel like I have barely seen any real gameplay, mostly because no actual demo has come out for it. Just please show me more of this game!
(Possible) Kingdom Hearts HD Collection – As much as many hate Kingdom Hearts, fans will damn-near explode if this is officially announced. There are rumors floating around, and I pray they are true. Just take my money Square, Jesus!
Pikmin 3 – I loved the very first Pikmin, but the second seemed to kill the magic with its “meta” level design and its weird 4th and 5th Pikmin type. I think Pikmin 3 could make the magic come back, and it’s up to Nintendo to deliver. I will keep my hopes up.
I really hope E3 2012 is awesome, especially since 2011 wasn’t as amazing as I could have hoped it would be. Other than the great Vita price announcement, there weren’t any huge/fun bombs that got dropped on the audience. With a new console, tons of top-tier games, and probably terrible and funny things such as Mr. Caffeine or Laser Tag, it’ll be a show regardless of anything else. No matter what, the gamers such as you and me will come out of E3 pretty excited.