As E3 approaches, we can’t help but get excited about what’s on the horizon. Here’s what we’re most wanting to see at this year’s show.
Nintendo Direct: Nintendo needs to do something special this E3. Its plans for its E3 Nintendo Direct include the unveiling of a new 3D Mario, a new Mario Kart and the next Smash Bros. game. Those are all great, and I’m plenty excited to see them for the first time, but how about a few surprises? What about Retro’s next game? How about bringing back a franchise that hasn’t seen the light of day in a while? The possibilities are endless. I’m not getting my hopes up for any major surprises, but I feel like this is when they need to happen.
Respawn’s first game: Respawn has been hard at work on its first big game for quite some time. Rumors are swirling that it’s going to be an Xbox One exclusive, but it’s hard to say right now. Either way, based on the quality of that team’s work from its Infinity Ward days, I can’t help but be excited for whatever it has planned next.
Microsoft’s 15 exclusives: At the reveal event for the Xbox One, Microsoft’s new console, it announced that it has 15 exclusives in the works for the system to be released in the first year. This includes eight new IPs. While a good handful of those are probably Kinect-based games, I can’t help but get excited about seeing what Microsoft has up its sleeves for E3.
Metal Gear Solid: Both upcoming MGS titles, Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, have me excited for reasons you probably already know. While we’ll probably be seeing these titles before E3 actually starts during Konami’s Pre-E3 event, I still have high hopes for Kojima’s next big game(s). I feel like we only have a small taste of what’s ahead for this series, and am expecting to see something crazy within the next week or so. It’s good to be excited about Metal Gear again.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag: I loved Assassin’s Creed III. It felt like a breath of fresh air for a franchise that was starting to struggle. It may not be the most popular game in the series, but I consider it the best of the bunch. ACIV seems like another step in the right direction, and it should be interesting to see where the story unfolds after the craziness in ACIII, but that’s not why I’m most excited. The real reason it’s on this list? The sailing. Take the best part of ACIII and build an entire game around that? Yes, I’ll take that.
What’s Retro working on?: Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of Metroid Prime or Donkey Kong Country Returns (they’re magnificent, just not in my wheelhouse), but the suspense is killing me nonetheless: what’s the project the team at Retro Studios been working on for the last few years? It feels like this is the year we’ll know at least something.
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem: This project may not be terribly far along, so I’m anticipating nothing more than a trailer for it at this year’s show. Even still, there’s not much we know about how this will look or play, and I’ll take what hints I can get.
It’s the little things: Big-budget games get all the hype and will continue to, but I love seeing the smaller projects from talented first-party studios as they make cameo appearances around the show. I’d like a better look at Puppeteer. I’m wondering what’s next from the teams that made Crashmo and Sakura Samurai. Maybe even Microsoft has some enhanced-tech-demo projects for the Xbox One.
The future of Harmonix: Signs point to this E3 being the place for Harmonix, developer of Rock Band and Dance Central, to unveil its next project. We know it’s ambitious, and given the studio it will probably have something to do with music, but other than that it’s wide open.
Surprise localizations?: As you may know from my recently-relaunched import column, I like weird Japanese games. I’d also prefer to play them in my native language when possible. While many already-announced localizations are on the way, I’d love to see one or two from the pool of games that aren’t already West-bound. Maybe Fantasy Life, Level-5’s life-sim 3DS RPG? Possibly the oft-hinted-at PS3 rhythm game, Project Diva F? It’d be nice to be pleasantly surprised.
New Chrono game: This is at the top of my E3 wishlist every year, and I won’t stop now. I know Square Enix isn’t the Squaresoft of old, but it doesn’t matter. I would lose my mind if I saw a trailer for Chrono Break or Flash. It could still happen! What better way to get people to buy a PS4?
Light on features, more on games: I get it. The future is all about connectivity, achievements, sharing progress with friends, having one system for multimedia purposes and the like. I’m tired of hearing about it. I’m not interested in motion controls as a major selling feature, and I don’t need to hear about financial and sales projections; I want to see games and lots of them. I don’t need to hear about how I can turn my TV on or off by waving my hand.
Monolith’s X: The initial trailer, which included an incredible looking world and mechs, got me excited. Xenoblade looked absolutely stunning, and it wasn’t even in HD. Can you imagine that kind of world with updated graphics and a fresh new system to play it on? Yes, please.
Anything from thatgamecompany: Flower and Journey are two of the best games from last generation, and thatgamecompany’s exclusive agreement with Sony has ended. This could mean some big things for the team’s next title. This is my favorite developer at the moment, and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for us.
Xbox One games: I’m not into Call of Duty, so that Ghosts video we saw last week doesn’t do it for me. I want to see what exclusive games, not just timed-exclusive DLC, that Microsoft will have with the Xbox One. I already know that Sony exclusives interest me, and I’m sick of paying for Gold, so Microsoft will have to bring some great-looking games that I can only play on the One to get my money this generation.
Xbox One used games scheme: I want to be able to loan my physical games to friends. I want to know for certain that everybody in my house can play the games that I buy without buying them themselves. Most of all, I want to feel like Microsoft cares about me as a consumer at least as much as it cares about EA as a publisher.
Grand Theft Auto V: We’ve been in a sandbox Renaissance lately, and Grand Theft Auto is the series that really started it all. I’ve loved Sleeping Dogs and Saints Row the Third, but before that I loved Grand Theft Auto IV. And before that I loved the GTA III trilogy. I will undoubtedly spend a lot of time on this return trip to San Andreas, and I plan on watching and reading every bit of content Rockstar releases about it.
The Last Guardian: I don’t care how many E3s go by. I will keep looking forward to The Last Guardian until it comes out. Both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were amazing experiences, and if Team Ico brings anything this year, then that’s what I want to see.
The Link to the Past sequel: I love top-down Zelda, I love my new 3DS and I recently bought a bigger SD card becuase I plan to download this on day one and can’t bring myself to delete Luigi’s Mansion. The art style looks great, and seeing a Wind Waker-inspired Link walking on walls in Nintendo’s recent Nintendo Direct was wonderful. I can’t wait to play Link to the Past 2, and barring that, I can’t wait to see more of it at E3.
Details: Both major console makers have now announced their new machines, and both announcements gave us more questions than answers, largely to keep their cards hidden from the competition. Hopefully E3 will give us some more information about both systems.
Nintendo: A few years ago, you may recall Nintendo simply announcing a lot of software, while the other two plugged their respective motion control technologies. While not holding its own conference, a big Nintendo Direct will take its place, and it could be gearing up to really put Wii U on the map this year.
Valve: Valve has been relatively quiet about its Steam Box recently. PC gaming hasn’t been a huge part of E3 for a while, but I am wondering if it’ll have anything to unveil, and perhaps if it has any plans for more cross-platform ventures with Sony.
Battlefield 4: EA’s flagship shooter hasn’t seen much press recently. With Activision touting new features for the next Call of Duty, I am wondering how EA will respond, and what it might add to the formula, considering Battlefield 3‘s success.
New IPs: A new generation makes a prime occasion for experimentation and for big new IPs from the big publishers, and as of now, a relatively-empty fall schedule. Watch Dogs caught us all by surprise last year, and I am wondering how many complete unknowns will emerge this time around.
The new bizarre: 2013 has been great so far for off-kilter games on various positions of the radar. Revengeance, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows and Black Rock Shooter were all great, unique experiences, the fuel that keeps me excited about video games, and I want to know what’s next. These kinds of games don’t usually have much presence at E3, but both XSEED and Aksys will be there, so you never know what might happen on the show floor.
Square Enix?: Square Enix has ostensibly shifted around quite a bit, and I’d like to see a clear result of that. It certainly has projects that have been in the works for a while (and will probably take priority), but I’d love to see the changes within the company reflect on their major franchises. Basically, I want a Final Fantasy sans the usual suspects, or maybe something completely new. I used to love these guys; I want that back.
New main series Mario: It’s not the most interesting thing to be looking forward to as this has more or less been confirmed already, but nothing brought me back to the childlike wonder of video games quite like Super Mario Galaxy. At this point, I don’t think anything else will bring it out again like our good pal Mario.
The next Capcom fighter: I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see something from Capcom involving fight sticks this E3. The Darkstalkers teased earlier might not happen, now that Resurrection didn’t do so well, but based on how things have been going since SFIV burst onto the scene, I’m sure Capcom has something up its sleeves.
Adventure Time: Not much has been released about the new game, but it’s from WayForward, has four-player co-op and has the word “dungeon” in the title, so I don’t think I’ll be able to live comfortably until I see what the heck it is. I’m not the biggest fan of the show (I like it, I just don’t go nuts over it), but the last Adventure Time game was great, and this sounds like it has the potential to be something special.
Whatever Square Enix teased at the PlayStation 4 event: I do look forward to getting my hands on Lightning Returns at E3 this year, but I’m actually more intrigued by the mystery announcement Square Enix mentioned in February. I want to know if this is Versus or XV. I want to see it. I want to play it. Give me a concrete reason to be excited, guys.
Wii U games: Nintendo said it has a lot of Wii U stuff to show off at E3 this year, and I want to know exactly what Nintendo thinks is good enough to lift the Wii U back into the sales conversation. I know it can do it, but will it?
The Last Guardian: I could essentially quote last year’s article for this one. We’ve been told Last Guardian still exists, and we would get more information soon. E3 is when we need to hear about it and see it. Otherwise, just stop teasing us with it, Sony.
Total War: Rome II: For the first time ever, I actually have a computer that will be capable of doing justice to a Total War game when it releases, but I don’t know anything so far about how Rome II will improve on Shogun II or Rome. Given that Rome is somewhat of a fixation for me in my studies of history, this is a must for me to hear more about.
Vita games: The Vita is in nearly the same boat as the Wii U, but it’s taking on a little more water right now. Even though it has had more high-quality games than the Wii U, it’s dying a painful death right now and needs some high profile games to rejuvenate it. I don’t expect anything on par with Persona 4 Golden, though I would welcome it, but we need something substantial in order to keep our hopes and expectations alive.