E3 2010 Panel Discussion and Predictions

May 12, 2010, Author: Jacob Saylor

So, every year the amazing and wonderful Electronics Entertainment Expo comes along (more widely known as E3). The biggest in America, and more than likely the world, it’s an industry-changing time. New technologies are shown, new games, new consoles, anything in the entertainment industry you can think of. However, the main source of attraction is held within the realm of video games. The big three: Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft come here looking to veritably bloody their opponent’s faces. While it may seem a harmless presentation of things to come, it’s a stressful time for most people involved. So in anticipation of this event, I gathered my comrades here at This Is My Joystick, and gave each of them a question to call their own. Without further ado, here are our answers:

Andy C, what do you think will come from third-party developers at E3 this year?

“Honestly, I’m probably more interested in seeing what the first party guys have in store for us this year; I’m expecting big things. In terms of third parties, we can expect to see the usual I’m afraid. Activision will show off more of COD: Black Op’s, I suspect the EA Sports titles will feature heavily. I’m hoping to see a lot more from Platinum Games and Shinji Mikami’s Vanquish though, along with Splash Damage’s Brink. Should also be interesting to see what comes from some of the big boys like Capcom and Sega, they always have new and interesting stuff up their sleeves. I expect we’ll see some new IP’s announced, as for what they are, your guess is as good as mine.

I would just like to get a random prediction on record. At either E3 or The Games Convention, Microsoft will announce ‘Project Gotham Racing 4?, and Turn 10 will be at the helm. I have no basis to think so, but that’s my prediction regardless.”

Simon, looking at how far we have come into this generation, do you expect any new console announcements?

“I think it’s a safe bet to say that Nintendo will be taking this chance to showcase the 3DS and possibly give us an estimated release date. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sony announces yet another version of the current PSP as they are quite content in sticking with the same specifications. In terms of new consoles, I find it difficult to believe that Microsoft will announce a handheld as they have already incorporated Xbox Live Arcade into the Windows Mobile 7. I really can’t see any new handheld’s being announced this time around, I don’t think anyone wants to take on Nintendo, Sony or Apple with the iPhone. If I was to guess who would announce a new console or be the next to do it I would say it will be Sony, but I don’t think its going to be this year and if it is, then I will eat humble pie.”

Neil, what sort of information do you think we will hear about first party games?

“Obviously Nintendo fans will be very excited about the unveiling of the new Legend of Zelda game but I suspect there maybe another flagship Mario title. The big excitement from them however will be what games will be compatible with the Vitality Sensor. Sony will live up to their promise of showing Killzone 3 to keep the masses happy but think they will be concentrating on cementing their reputation with more surprise exclusivity deals.

As for Microsoft, it will all be about Project Natal and all eyes will be on the games attached to the now notorious future of gaming. To silence their critics they will bring a full line-up of titles. Will there be any 18+ games to keep the hardcore gamers happy? The Natal work with Forza has the potential to blow everyone away.”

Ray, With the recent acquisition of Jason West and Vince Zampella by EA, do you think a new game from under their belts will be announced?

“I don’t think we’re set to have a new game unveiled by Respawn at E3. At the moment, there seems to be a lot of members joining the newly founded company, many of whom are coming from Infinity Ward. At this stage, the company isn’t fully formed and is probably not in a position to make any sort of announcement. In truth, I don’t think any definitive or long-term plans will be assigned to Respawn until later this year and even then, we will probably only be privy to concept art or the registering of a domain name.

That said, with the quality of talent coming in, many of whom have already worked together on world class games, you can rest assured that the heritage of Respawn has the potential to deliver another Game of the Year candidate that gamers will come to know and love when the time is right.”

Andy K, do you think all of the recent rumors about ‘Splinter Cell: Conviction’ showing up on PS3 will prove true at E3?

“I haven’t personally read anything to make me believe that such an announcement will be made, but as I don’t follow PS3 news all that closely, it’s not to say this wont be a big reveal at the show. It wouldn’t surprise me if honest, Ubisoft did very well with Assassin’s Creed 2 on the PS3, so it’s understandable they would want to start publishing all their games across both the big formats.

Seeing as they claimed pre-release that Splinter Cell has always had an affinity with Microsoft, no doubt contracts are in place to keep it so. If Sony do want the franchise on the PS3 that bad, then I am sure Microsoft could be persuaded for a large compensation pay out.”

Jacob, what do you think Sony has in store for E3?

“I think that as always, Sony will have the strongest first party lineup, and will unveil a few new titles. There have been many rumors circulating the space about PSP2, something I myself would be very much interested in. The first PSP was a letdown for me. I don’t want to venture too far outside the realm of possiblity, but with Ubisoft now in control of Splinter Cell, I think that either Conviction or future games may show up on the PS3. However, what I’d really like to hear about is more information about Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy 13 Versus. Those two games are going to be enormous. Fans have long been waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3, and hey, when has a Final Fantasy game really ever done that badly?”

Brian, do you think motion control will once again be the focus of E3’s big competitors?

“Well we already know that Microsoft are going to be putting a lot of effort into the marketing of Natal in the lead up E3, culminating in the circulation of their Save The Date material that suggest we can expect a full reveal before E3. I found a bit odd that Microsoft would even reveal some of their cards before the event itself, although it could still turn out to be a precursor to some more meaty revelations about some of the new games that are going to be released with Natal in mind. Sony and Microsoft clearly see the motion control market as a big growth market so I can’t see Sony standing idly by while Microsoft take all the glory.

However I can’t shake the feeling that the Sony Move is retreading old ground so I can’t see them lighting up the stage with any of their reveals at E3 this year while I think Natal could show up some genuine surprises. Nintendo on the other hand are playing an extremely risky game and appear to be dangerously close to resting on their laurels. The only rumblings that appear to be circulating at the moment are a new Zelda game, and while I’m sure there will be plenty more to look forward to I don’t think it’s going to be enough of a big hitter to divert attention away from the new kids on the block. Watch this space as I think that E3 2010 could see the beginning of the demise of the Wii!”

Phil, what do you think Nintendo has planned for this year?

“I am always a little wary of predictions on Nintendo products even more so in the Wii era, after all the company seems to really struggle with adult, mainstream games choosing instead to focus on party and childrens products of which I expect more this year.

What I would really like to see is Nintendo unveil something more traditional, a great action adventure game that enables its more mature Hardware owners to enjoy the console without breaking a vase or hitting the dog.”

Emily, a touchy subject, but important. Do you think more games geared towards women will be talked about this year’s E3?

“I am almost certain. While we’ve had some terrible advertising gimmicks thrown at us girls in an attempt to make us play more games in the past, I do think the worst is yet to come. We’ve all been privy to the garish magenta stands with words like “chick”, “fashion”, “fun” and anything with loads of Zs on the end, but with the coming of movement-based game systems on the horizon, I can honestly envision it getting worse.

Remember when Xbox said they’d be having a virtual “dress-up” gimmick for us ladies on Project Natal? That’s bound to be there and I’m sure PlayStation have their own ideas. However, I also believe that there are some super clever folks behind some of these studios, and I’ve got a feeling that with this new mantra of “bringing the console back into the living room”, there will come a range of interactive games working toward being more like films. A little bit like what Heavy Rain did, in that while the content is not necessarily geared toward a female audience, the genre of making moral decisions and having a game unfold like a film will work toward enrapturing that larger market. Think Milo & Kate and build on it; give it a serious storyline and dynamic user-interactivity. You know, add a pony or something.”

Bryony, do you think that we will hear anything else about ‘Wardevil’ this year?

“My first response to this is “I’m sorry, what?” Hold on, I’ll be back once I’ve Googled…

OK, so it is fantasy game that has been in development for a few years. Why might we hear about it, or why might we not…? Google wasn’t too forthcoming on this issue, so using my powers of deduction I would guess that we won’t be hearing much else, otherwise Google would know about it, right? Also I think I might have at least heard of the game if something were on its way, although that is certainly not a foregone conclusion. Maybe Digi-Guys will be at E3 to tell us they are still working on it, but I don’t expect a big Earth-shattering announcement. Maybe I am completely wrong. Who knows?”

Giuseppe, E3 is an industry changing time. What sort of direction do you think it will take us this year?

“Personally my only worry is that too much attention will be dedicated to “new” technologies like 3D, the 3DS, Move and Natal, with actual games ending up not getting enough industry attention. This year has started with a whole slew of extremely strong titles, something that’s almost unprecedented in the industry, but not much is known about what really awaits us at the end of the year. There sure is going to be some movement in the MMORPG camp, with a probable release of two major ‘pay to play’ contenders; Final Fantasy XIV and Tera Online. Hopefully the release of World of Warcraft Cataclysm won’t hamper them like Wrath of the Lich King penalized the first few months of Warhammer Online and Age of Conan two years ago. The MMORPG industry needs to evolve and change, and it’s time for WoW to see some serious competition in order to push even Blizzard further to their now quite stagnating game. If there is a franchise able to compete with Warcraft that’s definitely Final Fantasy.

Also, even if we’re speaking about a much farther future (probably 2012), THQ will finally unveil their Warhammer 40000 MMORPG, giving us a glimpse into what going to come in the next few years.”