E3 2012 Preview
Ben Sheene / May 30th, 2012 No Comments
First up is Microsoft who takes the stage first thing Monday morning to talk everything Xbox. In the past few years at E3, Microsoft has put a lot of focus from their press conferences into the moderately successful device Kinect. While many casual games have taken advantage of the unique features Kinect offers, most games haven’t found that true defining experience. Will Peter Molyneux’s Fable: The Journey make an appearance to prove it isn’t just another “on-rails” experience? Kinect certainly makes for a great toy but it needs those core games to entice the rest of us to buy.Another trick Microsoft likes pulling is stealing exclusives from Sony. One year it was Resident Evil, another Final Fantasy, and then it was Metal Gear; will it continue this trend or focus on its own exclusives? Could there be a chance that Final Fantasy Versus XIII will be announced for Xbox as well even though the game is not rumored to appear this year? Last year the Tomb Raider reboot turned a lot of heads and despite its delay into 2013 should make another appearance on Microsoft’s stage. Though tight-lipped on many exclusives, we know that Halo 4 is coming and everyone is wondering what Master Chief is up to in the anticipated sequel. Skyrim’s first DLC Dawnguard was announced a few weeks ago and since nothing has been seen of the expansion expect this timed exclusive to make an appearance. One of my favorite things about Microsoft at E3 is their emphasis on games, not sales figures. As long as they can keep doing that (and have a few less wooden “celebrity” guests) they will have another great year. Sony always does an amazing job fueling excitement for its conferences based on reveals made in the time leading up to E3. With God of War: Ascension announced recently fans are going to want to see what the series will offer in addition to its enticing multiplayer concept. The Uncharted series has been an immense success for Sony, but this year The Last of Us will debut its gameplay to the world. Fans should be confident that Naughty Dog’s take on the end of the world will not only be beautiful but play like a dream. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale has potential but will Sony’s roster of characters be enough to compete with Nintendo’s beloved Super Smash Bros. entries?
Even with so much already revealed there’s definitely more that Sony has up its sleeve. So far it seems that no information has leaked that the company hasn’t provided itself and avoided stumbles like those experienced with the early reveals of the PSP Go and PS Vita. More importantly is what Sony has planned for the Vita and Move—both which have sold but still have much to prove. One of the biggest questions is whether or not The Last Guardian will show at all. The game has been on a troubled road especially since the departure of Fumito Ueda from Sony; will anything at all be announced or seen despite all signs pointing to “probably not”? Maybe this is the year Sony will steal an exclusive from Microsoft. The biggest thing they must remember is to always focus on the games and not get caught up in talking about sales figures or how great of a success the PSP or PS2 were.On Tuesday all eyes will be on Nintendo because at this year’s E3 they have the more to prove than any other company. Last year they announced the successor to the Wii and the first foray into the next generation of gaming: the Wii U. Details were scarce but we were shown glimpses of a potentially revolutionary controller, promises of a powerful machine, and commitments from developers expressing interest in the promise of the new system. Still, we know very little about the it or what it will truly be capable of aside from the fact that it can play newer, more graphically demanding games (such as Darksiders 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3) that are playable on the 360 and PS3 but not the Wii. Speculation is the biggest enemy facing Nintendo this year because we still have no idea on a price point and a set release date—two items which Nintendo claims it won’t be revealing. So far only a few games have been hinted at such as Pikmin 3and Wii U versions of Super Mario and Super Smash Bros. and Nintendo needs to ensure that it will do a better job with third-party support. Can they remove uncertainty over the cost of the system and its expensive looking controller? The ultimate point of speculation is whether or not the Wii U is being released too early. Will the system be powerful enough to hold up in the years to come especially when you take into consideration that Microsoft and Sony have yet to announce their new systems? It is vital that Nintendo proves it isn’t too early for the Wii U to enter the gaming world.
The focus is going to be on the Wii U but my biggest question is what kind of attention is going to be given to the Wii. Is Nintendo finished with the system or are they going to give it a swan song in the form of a few last amazing games? I sincerely hope the company isn’t going to give up on its highly beloved console too quickly. I’m excited to see what Nintendo is going to be announcing for the 3DS especially since it started picking up in sales. The handheld has had a recent string of hits proving that it isn’t just a gimmick but more games are needed to keep the forward momentum. Hopefully we will see more out of the growing eShop and a much better integration of online play across all Nintendo consoles. This year we find out if their past success will pave the way for a great new console generation
Though I won’t be holding my breath, I’m hoping for surprise reveals of Grand Theft Auto V and the newest Half Life game.
Both games are said not to appear this year but we’ve heard that before. First looks at Resident Evil: 6, Hitman: Absolution, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Assassin’s Creed 3, and (fingers crossed) Dead Space 3 should be expected as well. Curiosity remains on whether or not Microsoft and Sony will at least hint at plans for their new systems since neither company will likely want to be completely outshined by Nintendo. Will this be the last year of the current console generation? Will there be any price drops around the corner? Another big question companies might answer is about the future of games themselves. Rumors about future consoles eliminating the ability to play used games are everywhere these days especially with the next Xbox. While this future is completely possible it wouldn’t be met without a great deal of resistance. Which is another reason there soon might be a large push for cloud gaming and digital distribution. It’s entirely possible that we will see all this and more from E3. Without a doubt, though, it is a great time to be a gamer and E3 is going to be a week of gaming bliss.
Below is the schedule for press conferences (all times are Pacific Standard):
Monday, June 4
Microsoft – 9:30 AM
Electronic Arts – 1:00 PM
Ubisoft – 3:00 PM
Sony – 6:00 PM
Tuesday, June 5
Nintendo – 9:00 AM
Be sure to check out GamingIllustrated.com for all the latest news and announcements from E3 2012.
tags: e3 , preview