The Pre-E3 Hype Train
I know, I know. I’m writing up a new post after a week of inactivity and there’s no Ultimate Spider-Man nor Tomb Raider review. Work was killing me last week and, sometimes, I just don’t have the drive to write as a result. However, today is a special occasion, as the biggest gaming event of the year begins today: E3! Well, technically, it begins today. The actual expo doesn’t start until tomorrow. Only the conferences are today, but those are the majority of what anyone really cares about from the show anyways.
Today, at 12:30 PM EST, will be Microsoft’s conference. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard all of the hoopla about the Xbox One’s used game policies and mandatory online functions, and I realize it’s ugly, but let’s look past it for now as a console is only truly as good as its games. I’ve never been overly impressed with Microsoft’s exclusives, with Forza and Fable being the only two I really care dearly about. We already know Forza Motorsport 5 is going to be a launch title, and that’s fantastic. As for the latter, I’ll use it to start what I hope to hear from Microsoft’s conference.
A New, Non-Kinect Fable Title
Fable IV is rumored on some asinine list that’s been circulating the ‘net for the past week or so. If you read the list, some of it is a total joke. I mean, I love Mega Man games, but were not getting a new one, folks, and if we do, I may just go into cardiac arrest. Anyways, whether the list is real or not, I absolutely want to hear of a new Fable for the Xbox One. I don’t want another Fable: The Journey, I want a tried-and-true follow-up to Fable III, though with less of the whole being a king deal and more of just being a hero (or villain) like the first two titles, with total freedom to cause as much mayhem as possible. I know we’re getting a remake of the original, titled Fable Anniversary, for the 360, but I think the Xbox One could definitely use some Fable love as well to help get it off of the ground.
Did Someone Say “Killer Instinct”!?
Does anyone remember Killer Instinct, which originally released in arcades, was ported to the Super Nintendo, and hasn’t been heard of since Killer Instinct Gold on the Nintendo 64? I poured God knows how many hours into those games, and for good reason. Killer Instinct wasn’t just a “me too” fighting game of the time. It had blood and violence, which one would mistake as a blatant ripoff of the far more popular Mortal Kombat, but it wasn’t as severe, only garnering a “Teen” rating on both titles, and it managed to forge its own identity with a rather varied and unique cast of characters (you can play as a raptor!) and a dial-a-combo system that let you chain combos just by hitting the right buttons after special moves, allowing for some sick and ridiculous combos.
Anyways, Microsoft has noted that Rare is bringing one of their “historic” franchises to the Xbox One, and with the recent trademark renewal fiasco that Microsoft had to go through with Fox over the name “Killer Instinct” as well as an announcement where Microsoft themselves announced that they were successful in refiling said trademark means there has to be some sort of plans for the franchise going forward, whether it be a remake or a new title. They wouldn’t go through all of the effort if it weren’t the case. It should be noted that Rare also has two other historic franchises in Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark, both of which appeared on the 360, so they could very well be possibilities. If a new Killer Instinct is announced, though, I’m probably going to defecate in my pants. Seriously. It’s been too long since we’ve last seen it.
As for Sony, they’re obviously riding a lot of momentum into E3, seeing as their primary competition is not the chagrin of gamers everywhere. What I don’t want to hear is any sort of online DRM or used game limitations, similar to Xbox One, but I’m going to say right now not to be surprised if it happens, folks. It’s quite possible that Sony could be keeping mum about these issues until after E3 so they can keep that momentum as long as possible. That’s enough of that, though. Here’s what I do want to see.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Finally.
We’ve been waiting forever for it, we know it isn’t vaporware, and at the PS4 reveal, Square-Enix explicitly said there would be a “Final Fantasy announcement” at E3. I’m putting my money on Final Fantasy Versus XIII being a PS4-exclusive and possibly being renamed Final Fantasy XV. The last time this game was seen, it looked phenomenal, with dynamic, real-time action a la the Uncharted series combined with a very Kingdom Hearts-esque battle system. If there’s one thing I want to be playing on my brand spanking new PS4, it’s a new Final Fantasy, and with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII coming out next February for the PS3 and 360, it could be possible that it will be the sendoff for FFXIII, which is synonymous with this generation, and Versus XIII may be what marks the next generation, but like I said, under a new name to mark a new generation for Final Fantasy. Of course, the Final Fantasy announcement could be, and this is a slim chance, a Final Fantasy VII remake, but Square has already gone on record as saying that they won’t remake it until they can top it. I say they already topped it with Final Fantasy IX, but that’s just me.
Other possibilities? Final Fantasy XIV is set to launch on the PS3 this year, but what if it came to the PS4, as well? How about a new Dissidia for PS4 or even Vita? Speaking of Vita, how about a port of Final Fantasy Type-0 while you’re at it, Square?
Sony has the best first-party exclusives on the market, hands down. We already know a new inFAMOUS is on the way, as well as a new Killzone. We know Quantic Dream is hard at work on Beyond: Two Souls on the Ps3, so I don’t expect to hear much from them on the PS4 front. Considering The Last of Us drops this Friday, I don’t know if Naughty Dog is ready to show off the other project they’ve been working on as they probably don’t want to steal any thunder from their soon-to-be-launched title. Incomniac is too busy trying to make people believe that Fuse is worth owning, so who knows what they’re doing on the Ratchet & Clank front. A new R&C on the PS4, though, would be amazing. With that kind of graphical prowess, they could make a new R&C look almost like a Pixar movie. The Last Guardian has been in limbo for a while, but Sony insists it isn’t cancelled, so I think they decided to hold it off for the PS4 to help bolster the launch lineup. There’s also Sony’s stable of Indie developers they’ve been emphasizing as of late, so they all could be set to reveal titles for the PS4, as well. All I know is that Sony, for the most part, knows what it’s doing when it comes to first-party titles, and to expect them to come out guns blazing on this front. At least, that’s what I hope.
I won’t comment much on Nintendo. I think we all know what to expect from them. All I know is that they better come up with something and soon, as the Wii U is failing, the 3DS is struggling in the US, and they have barely any third-party support to speak of. People are even starting to say that Nintendo should just get out of the hardware business and simply make their titles for other platforms. It’s hard to argue with that. The Wii U’s existence simply isn’t justified. Why make a console that only plays your own games? On top of this, there are reports that the 8GB version of the Wii U is being recalled. My guess? Nintendo is either replacing the SKU, or, and this is my bold prediction for Nintendo, they’re dropping the price on the 32GB Deluxe console to the same price, $300, or perhaps even less, at $250. They say they’re “rebalancing” but if they’re recalling every unit, that isn’t balancing anything. I work in retail, so I’ll let you all know if I get a recall for them at some point, and I’ll let you know whether it’s only a partial recall (which we call “overstock” recalls, where only a set quantity is returned) or a recall on every unit. Needless to say, Nintendo is slowly finding themselves backed into a corner, and with them opting out of a press conference this year and instead only going with a Nintendo Direct on Tuesday and some smaller events at the show, it has me worried about what little they could have to say and reveal.
No matter what happens, something tells me this will be the biggest E3 ever. We have two new consoles going neck-and-neck, with surprises for both of them no doubt, a big question mark for Nintendo other than knowing that we’re getting more Mario, and who knows what third-parties are up to besides what look like a couple leaks from EA regarding Mirror’s Edge 2 and Dragon Age III. I hope everyone enjoys the conferences and the show, and when the dust has settled, hopefully we’ll have a lot to be excited for.