E3 2014 Press Conference Predictions: dreams vs. reality

Friday, 06 June 2014 11:00 AM Written by 

 

 

E3Video game fans have already been engulfed in the wave of pre-E3 news, and E3 2014 hasn’t even begun. It appears Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have no intentions of being left behind this year, releasing tidbits of news on a daily basis leading up to next week’s big show.

 

So what does it all mean? What will the big guns of the Big Three look like? What will be the major takeaways from next week’s press conferences?

E3 dreams are often different from what we get in reality, so I thought I’d put a spin on the obligatory E3 preview post. These are E3 dreams vs. reality. Think of the dream predictions as long shots. These are moves that Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo should announce but likely won’t. Ones that fall in the reality column are probable. These are the safe bets.

 

Microsoft

Reality: 

Gears of War teaser trailer

We know a new “Gears of War” game is being made by Black Tusk studios, but we don’t know what it will look like or when it’s coming. I think it’s safe to say we’ll see something at this year’s E3. My guess is it will be similar to last year’s “Halo 5” reveal: a teaser trailer that shows no actual gameplay, but shows enough to get fans excited.

 Gears

Another Xbox 360 Redesign

E3 seems to be the launch pad for redesigned versions of the Xbox 360. It received a very slight refresh last year and another in 2010 back when the original Kinect launched. The Xbox 360 was a big success as far as home entertainment consoles go, and Microsoft doesn’t want it to be forgotten now that that Xbox One is in homes. A Xbox 360 Ultra Slim is a good way to remind consumers that it’s still here, and it’s still a terrific console. I’d guess that an Ultra Slim will come with a game, but have a smaller hard drive to keep the price down. The tech inside the 360 is pushing ten years old. Let's see how small they can make it.

 

Xbox Original Programming news

Microsoft seems to be all-in with their new entertainment offerings. There has been a steady trickle of news regarding their new show lineup and talented names that are attached to them. Microsoft has come under fire in the past for focusing on other forms of entertainment at a show that traditionally promotes games, but this news may be perfect news to fill in the gaps in their press conference.

 

NFL offerings on Xbox One

We all know the Xbox One is the official game console of the NFL, so details regarding NFL packages have to be coming soon. The NFL Sunday Ticket being offered on Xbox One is a no-brainer, but I hope we see some creative deals. Perhaps we can buy games a la carte, or buy the whole season but only for one team. The NFL and Microsoft stand to make a ton of money from this deal, but they need to start making these deals known for the upcoming season.  

 

Dreams:

Oculus Rift Support

Nintendo had Virtual Boy, and Sony will have Project Morpheus. Microsoft needs to start dabbling in the world of virtual reality. It would make sense for Microsoft to throw their support toward Project Morpheus’ direct competitor. This would be massive news to announce that all Xbox Ones will be compatible with the Oculus headsets. Microsoft certainly has the bankroll to be able to pull it off.

 

A new user interface

November 22, 2013. That’s the day the Xbox One needed a new user interface. It was apparent on day one that the Xbox One’s chief problem was ease of use. Navigating this system is a constant chore, and it’s about to get even harder for consumers who have an Xbox One without a Kinect. The current UI needs an overhaul, but I still think it’s a little too early for this to take place. The Xbox 360 didn’t get its first UI redesign for a few years. I would take the blades UI over the current Xbox One's.

 

Half-Life 3

Who am I kidding? This isn’t going to happen or will it?

 

Sony

Reality:

Uncharted 4 Footage

“Uncharted 4” is a definite. It was first revealed during last year’s Spike TV Video Game Awards in a teaser trailer that showed no actual game footage. After a slew of troublesome news stories about key recent departures from Naughty Dog, we’re due for some promising news. We’ll likely see a gameplay demo and get a hard release date at the end of it. This will probably close the show, much like “The Last of Us” did two years ago.

 

Kratos Returns in new God of War  

What would the PlayStation be without the God of War? It would probably still be doing fine, but a new “God of War” game never hurts. Rumors have already been churning about the return of Kratos in a full-fledged sequel rather than the prequel that was “Ascension.” It’s time to see what a hack-n-slash’s greatest anti-hero looks like on the power of the PS4.

 kratos

PS4 / Vita bundle

Rumors suggest that this is already a done deal. The PS4 seems like an incomplete system without the Vita, and the same goes for any Vita without a PS4. The functionality between the two devices is one of Sony’s best achievements in the current console generation. A bundle should’ve been a possibility from the PS4’s initial release. I’m predicting a PS4/Vita bundle to the tune of $600. That package will also come with a game.

 

Dreams:

The Last Guardian news

Another year means another E3 and another rumor mill about a pending “Last Guardian” announcement. Sony has claimed on the record that “The Last Guardian” is still in development. I’m not holding my breath for this one. It would be an easy way to get attendees out of their seats and into a frenzy, similarly to how they reacted to last year’s “Kingdom Hearts 3” announcement. It’s a long shot, but there’s always the chance.

 

Project Morpheus Release Date

We just found out about Project Morpheus a few months ago at GDC. When announced, it was more of a “proof of concept” demo than it was a “this thing is coming to your home soon” type of thing. As much as Sony wants to push their VR technology, I think it still needs some more time in the oven. We’ll probably hear more about it at next year’s E3. We could see it in homes by holiday 2015.

Project Morpheus

 

Nintendo

Reality

Super Smash Bros. News

Nintendo can’t wait to talk about its duo of “Smash Bros.” titles coming out later this year. They had an entire Nintendo Direct event devoted to it, and the news won’t stop there. The big N is smart to put many eggs in this basket. Fandom for the “Smash Bros.” series is something special to see. This, like “Mario Kart 8,” is a title that has the potential to move consoles. That is a much-needed asset to them.

 

New Zelda game on Wii U

Speaking of Nintendo franchises with huge fandom, “The Legend of Zelda” is another such franchise. A glimpse of a new HD “Zelda” game was shown three E3s ago when the Wii U was first announced, but that turned out to be bogus CG. The Wii U is about to turn two years old this year. It’s about time to hear about an upcoming “Zelda” game, even if it won’t come out until 2015.  

 

Another HD remake

Nintendo is still new to the world of high definition, which means there’s an opportunity to transition Wii and GameCube games to glorious 1080p. “Wind Waker HD” was just the beginning. Prepare to see more of Nintendo’s catalog to get a similar upgrade. But what games will get such treatment? My money is on a “Super Mario Galaxy Collection.” Having two of Mario’s greatest adventures in one package in high definition would be a great deal for holiday 2014.

 

GameCube games on the Wii U

The groundwork has been laid for this to become a reality. Nintendo announced a Wii U adapter that will support GameCube controllers last week. Now it just needs games that can be played with it. We know the new “Super Smash Bros.” will be compatible. Now it’s time for GameCube games to be released. Nintendo has the catalog. They just need to make it happen.

 

Dreams:

One marketplace for all Nintendo Platforms

The Wii U has two screens. The DS has two screens. The 3DS has two screens. Why are the Nintendo eShops split into two factions? There should be one eShop where 3DS and DS games can be played on the Wii U with the GamePad. It’s time to add some value to the only device that sets the Wii U apart from the competition. I doubt this will happen any time soon, but this is something that Nintendo needs.

 

Mario Kart 8 DLC

Nintendo needs to ride the wave of success that “Mario Kart 8” started. In case you missed it, it went platinum in its first week. In today’s video game culture, what do successful games get? DLC. New courses, karts, characters and items can be added to “Mario Kart 8.” This move makes too much sense. Nintendo needs to keep this success going. They need to add to something that already works. But Nintendo doesn’t seem to want to embrace the culture of DLC. I doubt this is going to happen, and it’s a real shame.

 MarioKart8-3

New F-Zero

This is a personal dream of mine that I had to throw in. I want a new “F-Zero.” The GameCube’s “F-Zero GX” was one of my favorite games of that console generation. Its 60-FPS, lightning fast racing was unparalleled by the few games that tried to copy the formula. Plus, there was a ridiculously difficult story mode that added even more replay value. It was a terrific $60 package. Then the series was forgotten when the Wii released. I suffered through the “F-Zero” drought for six long years. It’s time for a new one. My fingers are crossed.   

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So there you have it. My predictions are in the books. What do you think we’ll see from the big three next week? Let me know your predictions in the comments below or on Twitter @GameGuyPgh. Be sure to check back here next week for all the E3 coverage from Los Angeles.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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