With less than 60 days to the Super Bowl/ Coachella of video games, The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), it’s time to start speculating on just what this year’s show will use to get gamers to change their shorts. Got that out of your head? Let’s take a look at a few questions E3 should answer. Later in the week we’ll go full on crazy with with off-the-wall predictions from everyone out there.
1. What will the new WWE game look like?
While the next game from publisher 2K Games may not be purely next-gen, it will have a few questions to answer about the vastly different WWE landscape. Will CM Punk still be in game?
While at the time of development he’s still under contract and the company still produces and sells his merch, they may want to start distancing themselves from that controversy. Also, will the end of the streak be a major career mode point? Wrestling fans who saw that moment live, may not want to relive one of the most shocking moments in WWE in the past twenty years. Will Daniel Bryan be the game’s cover boy? If you’re a betting man then the answer would be,
YES! YES! YES!
2. When will PlayStation Now launch?
Earlier this year at CES, Sony made waves with the announcement of Gaikai powered streaming games that don’t require a console. We know it will be a rental and subscription service that’s scheduled to launch this summer in North America. We even got a look at how games like The Last of Us will play on our Bravia TVs. But we don’t know how much it will cost and what games will be available at launch. By the time their press conference ends we should know all these details and we should know if the talk of bundling the service with PlayStation Plus will come to fruition.
3. How far along is Batman: Arkham Knight?
Last year WB Montreal took the Arkham franchise reigns and released a decent successor to Arkham City. But as we found out last month, the return of Rocksteady was inevitable. Gamers went crazy for the teaser realized for Rocksteady’s next-gen only Batman: Arkham Knight. Not only are we in a new generation of consoles but Rocksteady faces the challenge of announcing the game the same year as its release. If they can pull this off they’ll have certainly set the bar for next-gen game development. At E3 we should see full on game play from Arkham Knight, at least in alpha stage, though we may not be able to get hands on with it. But by the end of E3 we should see just how the Batmobile will play in the game.
4. What will Xbox’s best content line up ever look like?
With a new president comes the desire to hit the ground running. Xbox’s new boss, Phil Spencer, has guaranteed the most impressive line up of games for this year’s E3. What could this mean? If Microsoft is to win this year’s show then they need to drop multiple bombshells on us. No doubt, they have the assets and relationships with developers to do so. Expect to see the things we know are coming Halo (both new and remastered), Gears of War, Quantum Break, and Destiny. But what surprises can the house of Bill Gates unleash? E3 could be the time to announce a new Shenemue, maybe resurrect the Capcom franchise Onimusha.
5.Will we get a hard date for the Destiny beta?
Yes. While Sony says they have every first party working on a PS4 game, we have yet to hear about any of them. While Destiny wasn’t an exclusive game itself, wrangling their beta for an exclusive period was a great get for a system that needs to bring triple A experiences. Especially with Sony having a rep of being out cheesed on FPS exclusive content; this makes a Destiny announcement almost certain. We could very well be playing the beta minutes after the press conference.
6. Will Nintendo have a big presence at the show?
Last year Nintendo opted to not spend a bunch of money on a flashy press conference. While this was mostly likely a move put in place because they didn’t have anything to get the attention away from both next-gen systems being at the show. It did however work in their favor, they still managed to have a great showing by talking about the games fans wanted for the Wii U. Because of this it’s almost certain they’ll have the same level of presence at this year’s show.
7. Will EA show Star Wars?
After last years AT-AT tease, they damn well better. EA has had some time to firmly get a hold on the property from Lucas Arts and it’s time to put up or shut up. With Battlefield 4 not living up to the expectation both critically and financially; it may be time to put the talented folks over at DICE on building a multiplayer Star Wars game where I incapacitate thousands of Ewoks. If EA doesn’t want to get lost in the upcoming new Star Wars film internet rage fire they better get something on the shelves this year, and we have it on good authority they will.
8. Does Sony bring the new Project Morpheous to the show?
Announced during their presentation at GDC, Sony’s new project morphemes VR headset was the talk of the show. While it’s still very early in development, the prototype they had looked like a PlayStation Move was duct taped to an oversized pair of old man sunglasses, it doesn’t mean Sony doesn’t want to get retail and developers excited about it. Sony could use it to upstage Microsoft on a mainstream media stage in E3 in the commanding fashion they did at last years show. I predict we’ll not only see more of the hardware but we’ll get a run down on what games will be compatible.
9. Price drops? Do they happen? Who flinches first?
Last year, after the launch of both the Xbox One and PS4 we talked a little bit about what goes into making the decision to drop prices on gaming hardware. Financially, Sony is in a much better position than Microsoft to lower the retail price of their system. PS4 has already sold over 6 million units in its short existence. But a price drop seems unlikely as demand is still very high and they’re still making that early adopter money. While the Xbox One isn’t very far behind in sales with over 4 million, it still puts them as number two in the race. Microsoft has gone on record saying they will not budge on the issue of including the Kinect with every unit; they may have to make that bold turn if they want to surpass Sony. So who, if anyone, is going to make the first price move? I’m going out on a limb here and saying Microsoft will make the first move. They will have some kind of new sku at a lower cost, whether or not it comes with Kinect will be the question. But even if Xbox changes another one of its statements, Microsoft has fought an uphill PR battle since last year’s show and they know how to come out ahead.
10. Who is going to host Sony’s press conference now that Jack Tretton has left?
Two possible scenarios. One involves the return of TV personality Kevin Butler and the other involves…
Sony recreating that WrestleMania moment with Hogan, Rock and Austin all in the ring together in which case they and everyone on Earth win.
Odds 999,999 to 1
We’ll be at the show bringing updates on all the most anticipated games. Follow me on twitter as I give away whatever I can’t carry in my own two hands from the show.