E3 2010 – Hopes, Dreams and Predictions

Written by David Burroughs

Following on from last year’s celebrity-stuffed extravaganza, which saw E3 rise from the ashes of its dwindling popularity, 2010 is all set to continue with the same vitality. The last few months have seen a torturously slow drip of information about what will be shown at E3 come mid-June, while some announcements from last year have barely seen the light of day since the last expo. Motion controls and 3D are all set to take centre stage this time round together with a better look at many of the titles teased over the last year. Here’s what we can expect, and deep down hope, to see next month!

Nintendo (Wii and DS)

Shown at last year’s E3, and instantly met with as many Freudian jokes as the name “Wii”, the Wii Vitality Sensor is set to make a return, hand-in-hand we hope with an explanation of what it shall actually do. While rumours have floated about since last year regarding possible applications, be they within the genre of horror titles, or adding further pseudo-scientific foundations to the Wii Fit franchise, the only major reveal to have come since 2009 is Nintendo’s partnership with the American Heart Foundation. What will come of this “healthy living partnership” remains to be seen, but undoubtedly we will not have to wait long to find out.

The biggest reveal that is expected at E3 2010 from Nintendo is that of their new handheld device, a 3D DS (currently known as the 3DS, although we are told that the name is likely to change). Utilising a camera mounted facing the player, the new handheld is expected to create the illusion of 3D by means of tracking the players face and adjusting the perspective accordingly. Since the sudden boom in 3D films, the Japanese market has been putting pressure on Nintendo to venture into the third dimension, and hopefully the 3DS won’t disappoint. Nintendo has had a license to print money since the DS and Wii hit the markets, and there is little sign of this changing.

Other expected/hoped announcements:

• The new Zelda game – while Twilight Princess was a big success for the Wii at launch, it was undeniably a title intended initially for the GameCube but which ended up on the Wii. With any luck this new Zelda title will utilise the Wii hardware in a much more sophisticated fashion.
• Metroid: Other M
• We also wouldn’t mind seeing a Wii HD, or perhaps some sort of overhaul of the Wii hardware  – both Microsoft and Sony have had several SKUs enter the market since the original release, and perhaps it’s time Nintendo followed suit.
• A new instalment in the Star Fox series, we hope.
• Wii Party.
• New Wii Sports title of some description.
• Something new from the people at Retro Studios – it has been several years now since Metroid Prime 3: Corruption came out, and the world is excited to see how they are going to follow one of the most recognisable franchises in the last two generations of console gaming.
• A cornucopia of new DS titles.

Nintendo is one of the hardest companies to make predictions for. The Wii, as well as products such as the Wii Fit, have hit the market and succeeded in ways that most never expected. While the 3DS is expected to take the show by storm, we shouldn’t sideline the impact of other hardware such as their Vitality Sensor and any other tricks they might have up their sleeve. If Nintendo has proven anything in the last five years, it is that we should never underestimate them.

Microsoft (Xbox 360, Xbox Live)

Project Natal! Perhaps one of the best kept secrets from last year’s E3; Natal is still a mystery for much of the gaming world. Journalists and industry folk have had a chance to test out software in development for over a year now, and leaks of the hardware have been filtering onto the internet for months, but the line up of potential games is still an unknown as are the exact capabilities of the device. E3 2010 shall hopefully reveal in depth the line-up of games we can expect to see, the price we can expect to pay, and ideally, its name! (so we can all stop calling it Natal!)

Similar to the leaks of the Jasper hardware for the new Xbox 360 consoles a couple of years ago, and the leaked images of the motherboard for the PS3 Slim last year, images of hardware believed to be the 260 Slim have been making the round on the internet. Many have believed this to be coming for some time, and with Natal on the way, a potential rerelease of the 360 brand in a new slim case is not seen as a complete impossibility. Microsoft is hoping that Natal shall open up their consumer base to include the housewives and grandparents who were won over by Wii three years ago; could they accomplish this with a 360 Slim/Natal bundle?

Other expected/hoped announcements:

• Halo Reach (playable single player)
• Gears of War 3 (gameplay trailer)
• An abundance of Natal titles of every colour and creed.
• An Xbox Live premium service (either taking the form of new services being added across the board and a subsequent price rise, or an opt-in Premium service for those who really love their 360s!)
• Portal 2 (Xbox 360, PC and Mac)
• Something else from Valve (Left 4 Dead 3, or Half Life 2: Episode 3, which would be met by a response of great anger or the sound of a thousand PC gamers crying in joy, respectively)

Sony (PS3, PSP)

Although much of the surprise will be absent from E3 this year concerning the Playstation Move, seen in great detail at GDC earlier this year, it will be considerably interesting to see how it will compare to Natal’s big reveal. This will be the first time the two motion controllers will be (supposedly) fully functioning, and no doubt will spark a second wave in the console wars around the blogs of the world. While we have seen titles such as SOCOM already utilising Move, expect to see more information on the compatibility between Move and other titles.

Other expected/hoped announcements:

• A PSN premium service. Most recent rumours suggest that it would be a paid yearly subscription, similar to the Xbox Live subscription scheme, and which would wrangle the consumer access to new services and potentially a free monthly downloadable title from the PSN.
• Kill Zone 3(D). Recently announced Kill Zone 3 has confirmed that the third instalment of the franchise will be in 3D and will continue the battle against the Helghast.
• Gran Turismo 5
• The Last Guardian
• The Team Ico Collection. Similar to the Blu-Ray version of God of War 1 and 2 released recently, we hope to see more information on the recently announced, HD bundle of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.
• Resistance: Fall of Man 3
• Agent. Little is known of the PS3 exclusive from Rockstar studios, but we expect to have the veil lifted next month on their new, 1970s spy game.
• PSP/PSPGo. Having met with a tepid response, most likely in part due to the pricing plan behind it, we should expect to see Sony have another go at marketing the PSP, including various incentives and a recently announced promotion.

Other expected/hoped announcements across both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and other news:

• Grand Theft Auto 5. Since Microsoft’s dominion over the DLC for Grand Theft Auto recently came to an end, allowing Playstation 3 owners’ access to The Lost and the Damned and The Ballard of Gay Tony, we can only hope that the next instalment in the GTA franchise is on its way. We are not expecting/hoping for anything beyond a simple tease of a new game, but when it comes to Rockstar and the GTA games, that’s more than enough.
• Bulletstorm. Recently announced FPS from Epic Games and the mind of Gears of War creator Cliff ‘Cliffy B’ Bleszinski.
• Music games – Rock Band 3 (revealed a few days ago to include keyboards), Rock Band: Green Day, Guitar Hero and DJ Hero titles.
• Metal Gear Rising (knowing Hideo Kojima, a cinematic trailer or two)
• Castlevania
• Crysis 2
• Call of Duty: Black Ops
• Final Fantasy Versus XIII. While originally slated as a PS3 exclusive, Yoichi Wada, president and CEO of Square Enix, has recently gone on record as stating that a multi-platform release of the title is a possibility.
• Final Fantasy XIV Online.
• OnLive. We expect to hear more about this gaming-on-demand service, announced to go live in mid-June.

It promises to be an exciting E3. Come back in mid-June to see our analysis of the expo.

E3 2010 – June 15th to June 17th

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