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Our E3 2012 Predictions

It's that time again, kids! Gaming's biggest stage is right around the corner. The industry's biggest announcements and most legendary companies and developers are all preparing to converge in Los Angeles next week for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, should you so desire. And like any self-respecting(?) journalists, we're here to offer our own professional expertise and opinion to inform you, the masses, to the kinds of things you can expect.

It’s that time again, kids! Gaming’s biggest stage is right around the corner. The industry’s biggest announcements and most legendary companies and developers are all preparing to converge in Los Angeles next week for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, should you so desire. And like any self-respecting(?) journalists, we’re here to offer our own professional expertise and opinion to inform you, the masses, to the kinds of things you can expect.

Joining me today is our own one part PC gaming expert, one part political know-it-all commentator, one part internet extraordinaire and three parts “genius behind steak-flavored-waffles” Chaz Neeler.

Also joining us is lean, mean, animating machine, and the only one of the staff to actually have his work appear in a video game (so far,) John Fleury.

Here’s how this’ll work. I’ve asked both Chaz and John a few different questions about E3 and what they expect. We’ll break down our predictions into sections based on the “Big Three” hardware makers, games we already know will be at the show, and surprises that are heavily expected (or not expected) to appear at the show.

What We Know

Here’s a list of every game that’s been confirmed to have a presence at the show in some form, be it a playable demo or simply a trailer. These have all been confirmed from the various emails that PR companies have been sending out to gaming journalists to set up appointments for interviews. This comes courtesy of the Big Game List that IGN puts together every year.

Spec Ops: The Line (360, PS3, PC)
Borderlands 2 (360, PS3, PC)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (360,PS3, PC)

Persona 4 Arena (360, PS3)
Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (360, PS3, PC)
DayZ (PC)

Resident Evil 6 (360, PS3, PC)
Lost Planet 3 (360, PS3, PC)
DmC (360, PS3)
Street Fighter x Tekken (Vita)

Dust 514 (PS3)

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill (360, PS3, PC)
Battlefield 3: Close Quarters (360, PS3, PC)
Crysis 3 (360, PS3, PC)
FIFA Soccer 13 (360, PS3, PC)
Madden NFL 13 (PS3, 360, Wii, Vita)
Medal of Honor Warfighter (360, PS3, PC)
NCAA Football 13 (360, PS3)
NHL 13 (360, PS3)
SimCity (PC)
Outernauts (Facebook)
World Series of Poker (iOS)

Rock Band Blitz (XBLA, PSN)

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360, PS3, PC)

Dragon Commander (360, PS3, PC)
Divinity: Original Sin (PC, MAC)

NBA Baller Beats (360)
Zumba Fitness (360)

Star Trek: The Game (360, PS3, PC)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (360, PS3)
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (PC)
Dragon Ball Z for Kinect (360)
One Piece: Pirate Warriors (PSN)

Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Super Mario Wii U (Wii U)

Neverwinter (PC)
Raiderz (PC)

Aliens: Colonial Marines (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (360, 3DS, PC, PS3, Vita)
Jet Set Radio (Vita)

Eador: Masters of the Broken World (PC)

PlanetSide 2 (PC)
DC Universe Online (PS3, PC)
Free Realms (PS3, PC)
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (PC)
EverQuest (PC)
EverQuest II (PC)
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (PC)

Hitman: Absolution (360, PS3, PC)
Tomb Raider (360, PS3, PC)
Sleeping Dogs (360, PS3, PC)
Quantum Conundrum (360, PS3, PC)
Heroes of Ruin (3DS)
Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance (3DS)
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS)
Gameglobe (WEB)

Dead or Alive 5 (360, PS3)

T H Q 
Darksiders II (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
Metro Last Light (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)

Defiance (360, PC, PS3)
End of Nations (PC)
Rift (PC)

Far Cry 3 (PS3, 360, PC)
Rayman Legends (Wii U)
Assassin’s Creed III (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
Rocksmith (360, PS3, PC)
ShootMania Storm (PC)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (360, PS3, PC)

Zen Pinball 2 (PS3, Vita)
Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles (360, PS3, Vita)
Marvel Pinball 3D (3DS)
KickBeat (Vita)

What To Expect From Microsoft

Microsoft has consistently had the same overall plan for their showing at E3 for the past few years. Be heavy on the Kinect, show off a bunch of new apps and Arcade games coming to Xbox Live, get the exclusive reveal of the new Call of Duty game, and maybe show off a hardcore game.

That being said, we’ll probably get the first look at gameplay for Black Ops II and Halo 4 when Microsoft takes the stage for their press event. And given that it’s a big, and highly anticipated first-party game, I expect we’ll see a trailer for Forza Horizon as well.

[box_dark]John says: I expect that Halo 4 will get a big push and a sizable portion of the conference dedicated to it, and there will probably be one or two announcements as bar as big core games go, but if the past several years are any indication, they’re going to continue with Kinect-heavy conferences.[/box_dark] [box_dark]Chaz says: Everyone is expecting a new console to be announced within the next year and a half or so, so I can’t imagine them doing anything to rock the boat this year. Look for higher integration of Windows 8 and a lot of talk on how well they’ll play together.[/box_dark]

But other than that, Microsoft has a history of having a mostly underwhelming presentation as of late. They’ve shown over the past few years that they’re not trying to be a hardcore game system anymore, and are instead embracing the idea of being the go-to media center in your house. Microsoft is trying to compete with the likes of the Roku box. Unfortunate for us gamers, but a great thing for everyone else. Microsoft is slowly becoming a new Nintendo with the casual market in mind, but in the form of having easy-to-pickup games on the Kinect, as well as offering numerous video services on Xbox Live.

[box_dark]John says: Microsoft has been pushing the 360 as an all-around media console for a while, and it’s only gotten heavier in the past year with the various video apps they’ve launched in the past couple of months. I wouldn’t be surprised if some more apps got announced this year.[/box_dark]

It may be a prediction that’s a bit out there, but I predict they’ll announce a Kinect-enabled internet browser for the Xbox 360 that’s powered by their own Internet Explorer.

[box_dark]Chaz says: My 360 is my console of choice, however we have to take note that gaming is not Microsoft’s focus anymore. Hell, the “games” tab on the Xbox Dashboard isn’t even in the forefront. Microsoft has been talking about how Windows 8 will work along with your Xbox in order to offer a full entertainment solution, and I’d expect to see a lot along those lines. However, the $99 dollar Xbox “subscription” will probably get a heavy dose of exposure.[/box_dark]

 What To Expect From Sony

Sony will have a lot of eyes on them this year. Not only do they have a shiny new console to talk about in the Vita, but they’re expected to show off new games for it, in addition to all the big first-party games they have coming in the form of God of War: Ascension, The Last Of Us, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and MAYBE The Last Guardian. Although I’m not holding my breath for that one. Quantic Dream, the folks behind Heavy Rain, are also expected to announce their new game.

[box_dark]Chaz says: Rumors are flying on Sony’s new console possibly being ready for the 2014 holiday season. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll make the announcement this early on though. Look for a lot of talk about Vita and possibly some more talk on cross platform play and heavy focus on their upcoming exclusive The Last Of Us. And this maybe more wishful thinking than anything else, but I would love to hear about a Dark Souls title for the Vita.[/box_dark]

Sony usually has strong presentation when it comes to their first party titles, but also put a massive emphasis last year on having exclusive bits to multiplatform games. Need for Speed: The Run got exclusive cars, so we can probably expect some kind of reveal for the rumored reboot of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Given that EA has given PS3 owners first pick of all the Battlefield 3 DLC going forward, I expect we might see some of the new planned DLC on stage as well.

As much as it pains me to say, I think Sony is finally going to give up on the PlayStation Move.

Given how big PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is, I’d expect a new trailer showcasing some new characters. The game is planned to be out later this very year and we don’t know very much about it.

But Sony will place massive emphasis on the Vita.

[box_dark]John says: Sony needs to start putting out more big exclusives for this thing if they want it to sell, and considering that they presumably don’t have a PS4 to announce this year, that gives them plenty of time to hopefully announce some AAA Vita games.[/box_dark]

The Vita has a rich line-up on the way, so this is the best time to show it off. Gameplay of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken, and a potential reveal for the rumored Vita version of PlayStation All-Stars are all expected here. As well as announcements of an overhaul of PlayStation Plus, including Vita support, and potentially a timeframe of when we’ll be able to pay PS1 classics on the Vita.

Oh, and hopefully Kevin Butler.

[box_dark]Chaz says: Gods, I hope so. Kevin is a perfect spokesmen for Sony and his speech [two years ago] was absolutely stellar. I don’t think the gaming community is tired of him yet so we can expect a heavy dose of Kevin until we cry uncle.[/box_dark]

What To Expect From Nintendo

[box_dark]John says: I think they’re going to be the ones to watch this year, since they’re probably the only ones who will be dishing out info on a new console. We’re probably going to get a long list of Wii U titles announced like we did at the E3 before the Wii’s launch, even if some of them are still a ways off from release. I’m betting that the next Smash Bros. game gets a brief teaser trailer of some sort, and on the 3DS side of things, we’ll hopefully get more details about games like Animal Crossing and Paper Mario, and maybe confirmation of localizations for highly anticipated Japanese games such as Fire Emblem Awakening and Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney.[/box_dark]

[box_dark]Chaz says: Wii U, Wii U, Wii U. This is there time to shine and they need to sell the gaming community on their product. The Wii U has a very good chance of cementing Nintendo has a choice for the hard core gaming community again, and they know the first step to doing that is through a stellar E3. If nothing else, I’m fairly confident we’ll start getting news on the next Smash Bros title in the near future and I’m hoping for a proper Castlevania on the 3DS[/box_dark]

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Nintendo has the biggest make-or-break show ever this year. Gamers worldwide are skeptical about the Wii U, but given it’s supposed release later this very year, we’re promised to see it in its “final form.” Whether or not that means they’re ditching the odd name in favor of something much more different is something that even I cannot predict. However, there are at least two Wii U games planned to be shown in the form of Pikmin 3 and a Super Mario game.

Unfortunately, Nintendo has already gone on record to say they will not be giving us a price or release date at E3 this year. Although I wouldn’t put it past them to at the very least mention a revised window like “Holiday 2012.” Which basically means November.

But people all over the world are expecting to be WOWed by the “new” reveal of the Wii U, and Nintendo has the best track record when it comes to fulfilling promises they lay down during their press events.

However, we can’t forget about the 3DS. Expect a handful of games we already know about being shown off, and a few games that haven’t been formally confirmed to also be shown off. Castlevania will definitely be there.

Info about the new Smash Bros. could be hit or miss. Masahiro Sakurai said he wouldn’t begin even thinking about the new game until he finished Kid Icarus: Uprising, which came out in March. So it’s entirely possible that they’ve managed to put together a teaser trailer of sorts, but given that they’ve effectively only had two months to throw anything together. I’m not holding my breath, but Nintendo has surprised me before.

[box_dark]Chaz says: Miaymoto won’t be brandishing the Master Sword this year, but I did hear about him shopping around for a Mega Buster.[/box_dark]

Our Most Anticipated

[box_dark]Chaz says: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t most excited about getting some more information on The Last of Us, but with a new Metal Gear and Rayman game rumored to be on the floor there’s a lot of big news. However, those are the easy answers. I’m going to go on a huge limb here and say that even the smallest rumor of Beyond Good and Evil 2 being mentioned rustles my jimmies in ways I can’t begin to describe.[/box_dark]

[box_dark]John says: Rayman Legends, Assassin’s Creed III, Pikmin 3, and (presuming new info is given on them) both LittleBigPlanet Karting and the series’ upcoming Vita entry.[/box_dark]

Personally, I’m most excited to see Metal Gear Rising, PlayStation All-Stars and anything Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts related. I know it’s a long shot given the overall feeling of the series from gamers, but I’d love to see a new Metroid game revealed. Probably for the 3DS though.

Who Will “Win” E3?

My colleagues and I all agree. Nintendo has the biggest potential to take the show and leave the biggest lasting impression. With everything we know so far, they’ll undoubtedly have the biggest announcements and create the most memories.

On the flipside of things, Microsoft has the most working against them. As evidenced by our Microsoft predictions, we totally expect them to fall into the same routine that they have the past few years, which is a terribly way to go into Gaming’s Biggest Stage. That being said, they also have the biggest potential to surprise us.

[box_dark]John says: They [Microsoft] don’t have an upcoming console like the Wii U or a fresh new console like the Vita to talk about, so they will probably have the smallest amount of real megaton announcements.[/box_dark]

[box_dark]Chaz says: As far as the big three go, I have to go with Microsoft. They seem to have the least in the works right now and have an increasingly large focus on the more casual gaming market, if not stretching into the home entertainment market.[/box_dark]

The Long Shots

This is the fun part. This is where we make all the predictions that, honestly, probably won’t happen. But if they do, it’ll steal the show. If nothing else, we’re all just trying to cling to shreds of hope that some of our favorite games actually do exist.

  • Final Fantasy Versus XIII exists, is given an extended trailer at E3, and is confirmed for release this fall.
  • Nintendo will confirm the rumored Star Fox and Metroid crossover, and it’ll be a Wii U launch title.
  • Nintendo will confirm either a new Metroid or Star Fox game entirely independent of each other.
  • “You wanna know about The Last Guardian? Well you can know about it when it releases next month!”
  • Microsoft confirms Crimson Skies 2. Teases Kinect functionality, but has no idea how to implement it.
  • Prey 2 will be released early 2013.
  • Elder Scrolls Online actually looks like it can trump World of Warcraft as the MMO king.
  • Capcom announces new Mega Man game, in which Mega Man and Mega Man X work together, a la Sonic Generations.
  • Retro Studios, the geniuses behind Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country Returns, is confirmed to be working on a new Zelda game.
[box_dark]Chaz says: Half Life 3. The day Half Life 3 is finally announced is the day the internet comes screeching to a halt, and I’m afraid I’ll be too busy frothing from the mouth to do any actual journalism on it.[/box_dark] [box_dark]John says: If Microsoft and/or Sony were to buck expectations and give some details on their next consoles, I would be pleasantly surprised.[/box_dark]

And there you have it, kids! Our official predictions on what to expect when E3 2012 is underway next week. Remember, we’ll be providing full news coverage for all the big announcements, including my own impressions from all the games on the show floor.

What say you, gamers? What do you hope to see next week?

About the author

Mike Niemietz

A lifelong gamer, musician (AKA Viking Jesus) and writer who has a special appreciation for games that try to be artistic. Some favorites include Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Metroid Prime and Okami.