Well, that might be a slight bastardisation of those lyrics, but it’s certainly one of the best times of the year for gamers. E3 2012 is about to kick off, and it brings with it weeks of speculation, rumours and wild predictions about what it’ll contain.
Let’s get the obvious inclusions out of the way first. Grand Theft Auto V, Halo 4, and the Nintendo Wii U are guaranteed to have substantial representations at the show. All three are bound to have playable versions along with a presence in certain keynotes (though Grand Theft Auto V could go either way with regards to a playable version).
Nintendo’s keynote should be interesting. I got the impression last year that they had rushed the announcement of the console in order to make up for the lacklustre Wii lineup. With any luck, Nintendo should be out in full force for their keynote: new titles in the Pikmin and Mario series’ will definitely be on show, and they may just surprise us with a more substantial Zelda title as well. Though if Nintendo were to truly steal the show, all those titles, plus the hastily revealed Smash Bros. sequels should appear. Granted, this is a very unlikely proposition, given that Masahiro Sakurai, the creator behind the series, stated that work on it would only commence once Kid Icarus: Uprising for the 3DS was completed. However, if Nintendo were able to show the new Smash Bros game for the 3DS and Wii U, it would certainly give them an edge.
Sony and Microsoft are in a somewhat more difficult position. Both companies have maintained that they are not bringing new hardware to demonstrate at E3 this year, despite persistent rumours they are preparing next generation consoles. The seventh generation of consoles (Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) has stretched on far longer than most previous generations have. Not counting Nintendo for a moment, Sony and Microsoft have released substantial hardware additions for their consoles that would surely be cannibalised if they decided to rush out new consoles (Move and Kinect, respectively). As much as they like to deny it, the Wii and Apple’s influence on the gaming landscape has certainly shaken up their tried and tested formula for console production, so it’ll be very interesting to see where they go in the coming years.
In terms of E3 2012, both companies have a decent, go-to software line up for the year ahead: Sony has their Smash Bros.-esque (and horribly named) title PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, as well as Naughty Dog’s new IP The Last of Us, whereas Microsoft has Halo 4 and, well… they’re somewhat harder to predict. One of the two will also gain exclusivity for Grand Theft Auto V’s DLC for a period of time as well – I can imagine that Sony is vying for it quite strongly, particularly after Microsoft snatched it for Grand Theft Auto IV.
There is potential for a quieter E3 this year, but anything could happen! Join us during E3 week for our wrap-up.
For the last five or six years, I’ve watched the E3 keynotes on a live video stream. For Australians, this means that they usually start at around 2AM, and can keep going (with a few breaks) until 11AM, for two nights in a row. I love it, though – there’s just nothing like seeing it all happen live.
Anyway for the last few years I’ve made a bit of a game out of my predictions for the keynotes. Essentially I make a list of predictions, and score myself to see how many I get correct. So, my list for this year is below, along with my guess on how likely each one is actually going to happen.
- Nintendo will announce the final hardware specs (60%), the retail price (100%), and the launch date of the Wii U (90%) for all regions. (50%)
- The entire Wii U first-party launch game line-up will be revealed (70%)
- Nintendo will discuss the online capabilities of the Wii U (60%), which will be lacking features and flexibility when compared to the other two consoles (80%). Friend codes will NOT be present, or will at least be optional. (50%)
- The Wii U launch line up will contain at least one anticipated first-party title (70%) that has not been announced yet. (40%)
- Announced 3DS titles that haven’t been released yet (e.g. Paper Mario, Luigi’s Mansion) will have new trailers (90%) and release dates (60%) before the end of the year. (50%)
- A Smash Bros. game trailer will be revealed for either console. (5%, it only just started pre-production, according to Wikipedia, but you never know!)
- A new Advance Wars game is being developed (20%, I made this exact same prediction last year. One can hope!)
- Sony will not reveal a new console this year (60%, I’m a little unsure about this one as there have been lots of rumours about this, but I think they’ll keep pushing the Vita this year and leave the PS4 until next year.)
- Sony’s “Smash Bros. clone” will get a trailer (100%, would be really shocked if this didn’t make an appearance) and will be playable at E3. (70%)
- Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” will get a new trailer (90%) featuring actual gameplay (80%), and will be playable at E3 (70%).
- Sony will discuss a bunch of hardware that’s only barely related to gaming (like their 3DTV stuff from last year) (50%)
- Several big Sony IPs will get new game announcements (80%). There will also be a few brand new IPs mixed in as well. (70%)
- Somebody makes a “RIIIIIIDDDDGE RACER” joke. (90%, this always happens)
- Same as Sony, Microsoft will not announce a new console this year. (60%)
- There will be a cinematic Halo 4 trailer (100%) and a gameplay demonstration (100%), at the very beginning of the keynote. (80%)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will get a trailer and a gameplay demo at the Microsoft keynote. (90%, Activision don’t attend E3, and historically they’ve attached themselves onto Microsoft’s keynote)
- There will be a big push for Microsoft’s “Live” platform on Windows Phone 7. (60%)
- Kinect games will look as terrible as ever (100%), and people on stage doing Kinect demonstrations will look like complete idiots. (100%)
- Yet another dancing game for Kinect will be announced (60%) and demonstrated on-stage (60%).
- Somebody (probably from Ubisoft (80%)) will demo another stupid use for a Kinect that a controller does better. (80%)
- Having not learned their lesson from last year’s train wreck, there will be another game demo on stage involving children. (30%)
- That REALLY annoying guy from Ubisoft’s keynote last year (Aaron Priceman) will do the presentation for Ubisoft again (0%, this guy is keynote MURDER, even Ubisoft isn’t that stupid.)
- Randy Pitchford from Gearbox will make an appearance at Ubisoft’s keynote. (40%)
- They’ll show a bunch of movie-game tie-ins that nobody is interested in. (70%)
- An Assassin’s Creed 3 trailer will be shown. (100%)
- Beyond Good and Evil 2 will make an appearance. (1%. We can always dream!)
- New trailers for Command and Conquer Generals 2 (40%) and Sim City 5. (40%)
- Lots of crap about Origin that nobody really cares about (100%)
- A whole bunch of time spent on extremely same-y sports games (90%)
- Some sort of announcement related to Battlefield 3 (expansion, DLC, etc) (70%)