Another E3, another week planned without sleep. A lot is going to be happening in the next few days, and to get you prepared, we’ve put together a little expectations guide, attaching both what we know and what we think will occur at the industry’s largest trade event.
We’ll start with not the big three, but with the big one. That’s us.
We’re rolling into E3 this year two staffers deep. Olivia Slayton and Kevin Grismore are providing on-the-floor coverage of the event, while Sal Romano will remain on the homefront after two consecutive years of covering the show live. Expect a consistent flow of news updated on the minute throughout the day, as well as original content from Olivia and Kevin. We’ve already booked plenty of appointments and are scheduled to check out some of the expo’s and our readers’ most anticipated games, including Assassin’s Creed III, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Kingdom Hearts 3D, and more. And we’ll certainly go hands-on with the Wii U, as well.
But we’re not that important, so let’s move on.
Microsoft will officially kick off the E3 festivities on June 4 with their ‘Xbox: Entertainment Evolved’ media briefing in the A.M., California time. Find your local time here. You’ll be able to watch the 90-minute press conference on Spike TV, if you’re in the U.S., on GameTrailers.com, on Facebook, on Xbox.com, or through your Xbox 360 console.
Microsoft’s showcase will include world premieres of Halo 4, the next Gears of War (which we imagine to be a prequel) [update: it is a prequel], Forza Horizon, and titles from publishers including Capcom, EA Sports, Harmonix, Square Enix, THQ, and Ubisoft. However, their conference is said to be less about the games and more about the services. Expect the reveals of Internet Explorer, Kinect Play Fit, and a new Woodstock music service for the platform. With Kinect sales at 19 million, definitely assume the reveal of a new line of Kinect titles. That, as well as Kinect integration for already known, third-party games.
As far as little things go, it’s possible Microsoft will announce new Xbox LIVE Arcade games to add to their already strong lineup for 2012, which includes Deadlight, Battleblock Theater, Mark of the Ninja, Hybrid, and Dust: An Elysian Tale. It’s also likely we’ll receive release dates for Fable: The Journey - and possibly - Crytek’s Ryse for Kinect.
Don’t expect details on the next Xbox. Unless Microsoft is outright lying, “there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon.”
Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony will host its media briefing on the night of June 4. Find your local time here. You can watch the press conference on GameTrailers.com, the PlayStation Blog, PlayStation Home, PlayStation.com, Facebook, Google Plus, Ustream, or through the Nico Nico video app on your PlayStation Vita.
Sony has already made a fair share of game announcements prior to the press conference, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect surprises. Expect to see The Last of Us, God of War: Ascension, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, new characters for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (with a PS Vita version confirmed), LittleBigPlanet Karting, and a montage of PlayStation Network games, including Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault, Guacamelee!, Snapshot, When Vikings Attack, and The Unfinished Swan. Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy developer Quantic Dream is rumored to be announcing its latest project at the event. The next Killzone is also a possibility. Sucker Punch, the studio behind inFAMOUS, also appears to be teasing something. Such as with Microsoft’s briefing, expect to see strong third-party support.
Obviously, we hope to hear the latest word on The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. But as each year has proven, these are not hopes meant to be satisfied. The Last Guardian is making progress, however, and it shouldn’t be too long before we hear more on Versus XIII.
As far as PlayStation Vita goes, Sony needs to present its audience with a price cut and strong lineup to dig its high-definition handheld out of a lowering sales chart. Expect highlights of announced titles, including Soul Sacrifice and Persona 4 Golden, as well as at least one big title that has yet to be announced. Full-blown reveals of major franchise titles, such as Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, could do wonders for the system. It was recently rumored that Assassin’s Creed III [updated: it's been revealed] and a new Ghost Recon are headed to the platform. This might be the time to show it.
And of course, don’t expect PlayStation 4.
Nintendo’s media briefing will be held in the A.M. on June 5, only a couple of hours before the doors to E3 are opened. Find your local time here. You’ll be able to watch it on Spike TV, GameTrailers.com, Nintendo.com, and on Facebook.
Like a melting swan, Wii U will be the centerpiece of Nintendo’s press conference. Expect a full-blown re-reveal of the console, including first-party titles, third-party titles, services, and other features. Batman: Arkham City and Rayman Legends will both be at the show, so we would expect the pair to be featured titles at Nintendo’s press conference. Especially the latter, considering its Wii U-specific features. Pikmin 3 and a new Super Mario Bros. will be there, but that’s as far as we know about the system’s first-party lineup. But Nintendo’s already begun teasing. (They do that now.) The Wii U controller is likely to receive a slight makeover. Don’t expect a release date or price for the platform, however. Though it’s reasonable to expect a release window – holiday 2012, for example.
Looking at 3DS, it’s difficult to predict what Nintendo’s planning. The system is already very successful, and we can only expect the manufacturer to continue bringing great games to the platform. A release date for Luigi’s Mansion 2 is likely; a western release window or name for Animal Crossing, perhaps. New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be there. And if Nintendo’s smart, they’ll announce Fire Emblem: Awakening in the U.S., and confirm localizations for Monster Hunter Tri G / 4 and Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. Shin Megami Tensei IV would also be nice, but it’s unlikely at this point. This is all speculation, yes, but we don’t have much to go on with Nintendo. They’re not the leakiest of ships, at all.
Let’s move on to third-parties, shall we?
Electronic Arts will hold its media briefing shortly after Microsoft’s – in the afternoon on June 4 . Find your local time here. You’ll be able to watch it on Spike TV, GameTrailers.com, or on EA.com.
The official expectations (as said by EA, themselves) are “never-before seen footage and world premieres” of SimCity, Crysis 3, Battlefield 3 (Close Quarters DLC), Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13, and other “unannounced projects currently under development at EA.” One of those projects is confirmed to be Dead Space 3, whose first screenshots have already leaked. Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a reboot of the original from Burnout developer Criterion Games, is another one. We’re about due for an update on Overstrike, the EA Partners project from Insomniac Games, as well.
Of course, expect the norm when it comes to EA Sports. Madden, FIFA, and the return of NBA Live.
Ubisoft is bringing the expected: Assassin’s Creed III, Far Cry 3, Rayman Legends, and Rocksmith, but promises “many more.” Rainbow 6 Patriots is possible, but unconfirmed. But apparently, there is a “show-stopping reveal” hidden within its lineup. It’s possible that is in reference to Splinter Cell: Blacklist, recently rumored for a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U reveal at the show. It’s also possible the big reveal is a different game – perhaps the game from these leaked images of a new Ubisoft game. It’s also possible we’ll hear about the aforementioned Assassin’s Creed and Ghost Recon titles for PlayStation Vita here before Sony’s briefing, if word even exists. The time feels right for an update on Killer Freaks From Outer Space, as well.
Beyond Good & Evil fans, don’t get hyped for a re-reveal of the second game. While the game is in “active creation,” Ubisoft has said it needs more powerful hardware to run.
The remaining third-parties do not hold press conferences. If any major third-party announcements are made, they’re usually at the first-party media briefings, or by press release as the expo progresses. So let’s look at what everyone else is bringing to the show floor.
2K Games’ big three are Borderlands 2, Spec Ops: The Line, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Activision fans should expect a ton of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, 007 Legends and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse.
Atlus will have Persona 4 Golden and Persona 4 Arena. Perhaps we can expect another localization announcement?
Bethesda is bringing The Elder Scrolls Online, Dishonored, and DOOM 3 BFG Edition. It will also showcase ‘Dawnguard’, the first download content for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Capcom will have behind-closed-doors demos of Resident Evil 6, DmC Devil May Cry, and Lost Planet 3. It’s likely they’ll have debut separate public footage, as well.
Konami’s centerpiece is Platinum Games’ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but it will also have Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate for 3DS, and the Zone of the Enders HD Collection.
LucasArts will have their ‘dark and mature’ Star Wars 1313.
Namco Bandai will have Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, Star Trek, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect, One Piece: Pirate Warriors, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Who knows? Maybe we’ll finally see Tekken X Street Fighter. Or get a Tales localization announcement.
Natsume will have Harvest Moon: A New Beginning. Yasuhiro Wada will be on-hand to discuss “Project Happiness.”
Square Enix will have Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs as its main showcase. From their 1st Production Department studio, its bringing the already-released-in-Japan Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. A Hitman HD Collection could make a debut. As mentioned before, it’s possible we could see Final Fantasy Versus XIII re-debut at Sony’s press conference, but at this point, it’s unlikely. The 2.0 update to Final Fantasy XIV was originally set for the show floor, but pulled last minute for an August reveal.
Sega’s lineup includes Jet Set Radio, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and The Cave. Platinum Games’ Anarchy Reigns is nowhere to be seen.
Tecmo Koei’s only showcase is Dead or Alive 5.
Warner Bros. is bringing Lollipop Chainsaw, Batman: Arkham City for Wii U, and Injustice: Gods Among Us.
XSEED Games is bringing Ragnarok Odyssey and Orgarhythm.