E3 starts next Monday and I think it’s reasonable to say that lots of people are pretty excited. 2013 is over and all the announcements about the consoles themselves are finally finished (unless you’re Microsoft and you keep changing things). This E3 should be the first one where we actually get to see all kinds of cool stuff being developed for these new consoles. In the spirit of that, I’d like to just talk about a couple things that I’m personally hoping to see from the show.
1. Dawn of War 3
The first thing on my mind actually has nothing to do with consoles. As you maybe already know, Relic (developers of Dawn of War) were acquired by Sega after the whole THQ business happened. Just a couple weeks ago, Sega and Relic actually patched modern online play into the original Dawn of War and its expansions, games that are nearly ten years old at this point. This gave me a lot of hope that Sega is encouraging Relic to keep working on Dawn of War (and they’d be crazy not to).
So here’s hoping Dawn of War 3 is announced at the show. While I personally hope the game is more in the style of DoW1 than DoW2, I’d honestly be happy with anything. It’s a great series and Warhammer 40k is a great universe, so I think a lot of people would be thrilled to see the next installment. Plus, we need something to look forward to, seeing as the sequels to Space Marine will never happen.
2. Next-gen SSX
If you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog, you already know that I’m absolutely in love with 2012’s SSX. It muscled out Burnout Paradise as the one game I spent literally several hundreds of hours playing on the PS3, and nearly all of that play was on the online Global Events feature alone. As far as I understand it, the game sold pretty well and EA claimed that they were definitely looking into doing more. Here’s hoping that was true.
Just the thought of flying down trick courses in 1080p and (hopefully) 60 fps gets me excited. SSX was a game that just oozed with style and fun, and another iteration that sticks to that framework would just be great. I know EA has bigger things to talk about, especially the various DICE projects, but c’mon guys. Just set aside five minutes at the conference to tell us this is a thing and I’ll be happy.
3. Wii U Price Drop
I couldn’t even begin to guess how likely this is, but I personally think it’s time. I never thought I’d say it, but between Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, and Super Mario 3D World, I want a Wii U. However, the Wii U console is way too expensive to justify buying just to play specific Nintendo games. Even the cheaper 8 GB version is, in my opinion, too expensive.
If Nintendo shows off a proper Wii U Zelda game, I’ll just want one even more. If Nintendo shows off a new F-Zero? I’ll probably lose it. But even with those, the Wii U console is still too expensive for what it is. I personally think there should be a price drop and box with New Super Mario Bros U packed in, but who knows what’s coming up during their Nintendo Direct on Tuesday morning.
4. Star Wars Battlefront Gameplay
I can’t be the only person looking forward to this. That teaser that EA showed last year was way more enticing than I ever thought a five-second clip could be. Can you imagine fighting the Battle of Hoth with dozens of other live players in the beautiful Frostbite engine? I can, and it’s awesome. Now’s the time, EA. Stop making me imagine it and show us some real gameplay!
I have faith that DICE and the Frostbite engine can deliver on what I’m imagining, even though they stumbled with Battlefield 4. That new cops and robbers Battlefield game? Eh, I haven’t really enjoyed Battlefield since Bad Company 2. Mirror’s Edge 2? Yeah, it could be good, but my excitement for that isn’t even a blip on my radar compared to how much I’d love to play a big, pretty Battlefront game.
What is this game even going to be? Will it feature Nathan Drake or a new character? When will it be set? What is this game? I feel like after the Tomb Raider reboot, Naughty Dog has their work cut out for them bringing Uncharted up to speed. Tomb Raider felt like the logical next step of what Uncharted did, with its semi-open world. More than anything, I just want them to do something new and novel with Uncharted. Uncharted 3 proved that the formula had grown somewhat stale and needed a mix-up.
I’ll be very curious to see what they do with the franchise. Without Amy Hennig there, I’m a little worried that the writing will suffer, but we’ll just have to wait and see. The other day I sat down and tried to brainstorm what is key to an Uncharted game. The only things I really came up with were platforming, well-realized characters, and action. That’s not very specific; Naughty Dog could take those tenets and do all kinds of new things with them.
6. New Games
Yeah, just new games in general. About this deep into last generation, we were starting to hear about these new and novel things like Mass Effect, Uncharted, and Assassin’s Creed. They were all new IPs and seemed very exciting. Then, another year in, there were hints of Dead Space and even Demon’s Souls.
This is the most interesting time for new consoles. Developers and publishers start taking risks on new ideas to see if anything sticks and to test the limits of the new hardware. As such, I’m hoping for lots of new IP announcements this year (though next year may be the E3 where that really starts to show up). If sci-fi Call of Duty and cops vs. robbers Battlefield are the best they’ve got for us this year, it’ll be supremely disappointing.
That about covers the things I have on my mind for next week. This article will be going up Monday morning, so by the time you read it we’ll be close to the start of the press conferences. The week after E3, I’ll try and gather my thoughts into a review article like I did last year. I personally feel like it’s been years since anything really interesting happened in the game industry, thanks to aging consoles at first and logistics of new ones second. So no matter what happens, at last things are finally starting to happen.