Pre-E3 2012: Games (and systems) we can’t wait to see

May 30, 2012

E3 is next week. (Yikes!) Here’s a rundown of what we’re most anticipating from this year’s show.

Wii U: I loved the Wii, I love Nintendo, and I am very intrigued by this new system. Last year, we saw the controller, we saw the tech, but we didn’t get a good sense of anything beyond that. It was impressive technology to be sure, but what everyone really wants to see are the games. I want to know what the launch lineup might be like, both first and third party, and any news regarding the online plans.

More Vita Games: Seriously, Sony, where are the games? The launch lineup was fine and all, but now there’s nothing. Sure, we’ve been thrown a bone here and there, but we need something more. Gravity Rush looks fantastic, but beyond that? There’s nothing. Sony needs to go all out with the Vita. It needs to get out there and show everyone why the Vita is a handheld worth owning. Shove the thing down our throats if you have to, because I want to know that Sony’s completely willing to get behind this thing with a lineup that will not fail to get people’s attention.

Dishonored: I have been following this game since it was first revealed back in 2011. I’m a sucker for games that allow for choice during gameplay (like the Deus Ex series). To give players the ability to choose how they approach areas is always one I love to see, so that alone gives me hope that Dishonored will deliver on something special. The first trailer offered a brief glimpse at what to expect from the game, and I’m sure once we see more actual gameplay, we’ll have a lot more worth talking about. As it stands, what we know now is enough to get me interested in what developer Arkane Studios has planned.

Assassin’s Creed III: There’s a reason why Ubisoft is calling this game Assassin’s Creed III: it’s the first since II to make significant gameplay and setting changes. New main character, new era in history, and plenty of interesting gameplay changes all seem like things worth getting excited about. Can they give us a character as compelling as Ezio? I sure hope so.

The Last of Us: Okay, Naughty Dog, this has potential. I don’t want this to just be another Uncharted game with zombies. Give us a game that relies on survival above anything. Let us explore this ruined world, make us search for and conserve our resources, and make every enemy encounter feel unique and not “just another shootout.” I think they can deliver on most, if not all of these, but we won’t know for sure until we see more gameplay. The potential here is enough for me to be excited.

A new Final Fantasy game: I know I’m not alone in feeling that Final Fantasy XIII-2 was an unneeded-yet-successful sequel to XIII. However, it does need a sequel, or I will be forever haunted by the cliffhanger I was left with. Okay, maybe not, but I hate unresolved cliffhangers. Type-0’s localization is still up in the air and we haven’t heard anything about XIII Versus in quite some time. I’m not saying I have to hear about a new Final Fantasy game to be happy, but I do need Square Enix to get things together and start moving on these things while people still care about that. I mean other people. I’ll always care about them. P.S.: A date for the FFX remake would be awesome too.

More details on the Wii U: As things stand right now, the Wii U will not be a launch-day item for me. I love Nintendo, but I’ve had so little use for my Wii compared to the vast amounts of time (and money) I’ve spent on my 360 and PS3 that I don’t plan on touching the Wii U for quite some time. They need to wow me. They need to win me back. The tablet controller is an interesting idea, but if they can’t show me a strong and modern approach to online gaming and mechanisms, gaming experiences with depth and a real dedication to being more than just the party and casual gaming console, then I’m not biting. Heck, I’ll take just 1 of those 3 things for now. I want to love my Nintendo console again. I just need a good reason.

The Last Guardian: Is it still a thing? I hope it is. Unlike many who are interested in this title, I’ve never played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus. My entire interest in this game is a result of the single trailer we’ve been allowed to see. Unfortunately, it’s been a very long time since that trailer and announcement, and it keeps getting delayed and pushed out of our minds by all the other games Sony releases. If we don’t hear about it at this E3, I fear that it will be lost for all time, whether Sony says so or not.

3DS games: I really don’t want to focus on Nintendo’s game release shortcomings, but come on. It’s been over a year since the 3DS was released and aside from a Harvest Moon game, a Mario game, a couple of remakes and Ghost Recon, there’s almost nothing at all worth owning still. Right about now is when it needs to take off, and giving us some of those games we were promised last year would be a great start. Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi, Professor Layton, Fire Emblem. I want them all, and I want to at least know when we’ll get them at E3.

Xbox 360 exclusives: Yes, Microsoft has gone on record that it will not be revealing a new console this year. That’s fine, but I need game announcements then. I’ve bought more games for the Xbox 360 than I have for any other system, but the well is running dry. There’s been a distinct lack of interesting exclusives for it the last 16 months, and that’s a trend that looks to get even worse over the next 12. Sure, the hardware is the leading seller in the country during that same period, but Microsoft knows it needs the software to impress to keep it up for the long term, and simply buying up exclusive DLC won’t cut it. Give me great exclusives. Unleash Rare to do whatever it wants, like Nintendo did. Contract some independent studios with track records to make exclusives for you. I need more than just more Halo.

Fire Emblem: Awakening: Nintendo’s already been staking out URLs and such for this release, and it’s exactly the type of project (like Golden Sun) that it can always count on to hype up the super-fans. We didn’t get the last installment on DS, though both of that system’s games were generally lifeless, so it’s no big loss. This one incorporates a lot of the entry-specific mechanics from the series’ history, and the whole package is just so appealing.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown: If Firaxis is at work, I’m interested. We’ve already seen a good chunk of the game, but it’s one with a complex web of mechanics and a clearer picture will be nice to have.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale: Yes, it’s a Smash Bros. rip-off. Yes, the name is dumb. Yes, Sony doesn’t have a mascot stable of Nintendo’s scope. Still, games like this are fun to find out more about, and it’ll still be tons of fun with friends. Unless it’s totally messed up at some point in development, of course.

Paper Mario (3DS): Okay, I’ll put this on the list one more time after a few years of hype and no follow-through. I’m still excited to see more, and it’s about time the company delivers it.

Surprise downloadables: While full-retail projects are a bit harder to keep secret, small download games can be super-secret. Give me some. Heck, release one right during your conference. This goes for anyone; E3 makes you hyped for games, but then nothing comes out for weeks at least. Let me love games right now.

Persona 4 Arena: I’m a sucker for fighters, and I’m a sucker for the more recent Persona games. After seeing several streams from Japanese arcades of this game, I can’t help but be excited for it. The colorful cast of Persona 4 and some characters from Persona 3 make their appearance in a way we never expected. More or less, I’m just anticipating if they’re going to release anything special for the U.S. release.

Sony’s new console: If it does make an appearance this year, I want to see what Sony’s going to do this time around to turn around its disastrous fall from the top this generation. It pretty much has to be something extremely exciting and game-changing to the industry. C’mon Sony, give us a reason to love you again and give us another good meme about the price of your new console!

Resident Evil 6: I’m hoping for some improvements over the fifth game, especially in the scares department. While Resident Evil 5 was a lot of fun to play, it just wasn’t very scary. I’m hoping that instead of turning this into a straightforward action series, Capcom makes RE6 remind us of why we loved the series in the first place.

Wii U information: Nintendo has jumped in really late on the HD market. Considering it broke some ground this generation with the Wii, I want to see if it could hold on to the spot with the Wii U. What can they do to convince us that this is a system worth investing into?

Microsoft’s next move: I’m not incredibly excited for a bunch of new games this E3, but more in what each big company is going to do. Microsoft claims that the 360 will survive well into 2015 and still prove to be a powerhouse of a console. Ironically, back when it was released, Microsoft couldn’t wait to prove how great the console was and got a year head-start on the competition. Since it helped them back then to jump ahead, is it a smart move for Microsoft to release a new console almost a year or two later than their competition?

Wii U: While many feel this console will be too little, too late, I am curious to see what Nintendo will bring to the show, and if price and launch library will be available.

Rayman Legends: While still just a rumor, the video that was leaked earlier this year really caught my interest. I am hoping to see a formal announcement, and possibly whether or not the Skylanders-style near-field communication stuff hinted at will be in the Wii U version.

Assassins Creed III: While I must say I have greatly enjoyed the Ezio story, I think I am ready to see what the team can do by bringing the series to an entirely new setting. For a series that has always been in fairly urban settings, this could be a very interesting change.

Portable games: Both the 3DS and Vita seem to be needing some games for the fall lineup, and I am really expecting to see some announcements.  3DS is in better shape, but I really hope more games end up being localized .  Vita really has to bring a lot of games if it wants to see continued success; right now it’s looking pretty barren outside of remakes, and we’re still waiting to load our PS1 Classics onto the system.