Following EA’s usual lacklustre pre-E3 display (bar the excellent looking combat of the new Star Wars game), and a very shouty Greg Miller, we’re ready to dive into what’s potentially going to be a massive year. Especially for Microsoft.
We’ve been dodging spoilers and rumours for the last couple of days, so if everything’s already leaked and we’re completely wrong then just have a laugh at our expense, by all means.
Mike’s Predictions / Microsoft
Let’s start big. The new Xbox. It’s going to happen, right? Everything appears to be pointing to there being more than one new machine. Personally, I don’t think we’ll see anything of Microsoft’s more budget level offering at this time; they’ll want to impress.
What I’m expecting, amidst the buzz words, is the reveal of a discrete Navi-based beast of a GPU with an SSD to equivalent to recently teased PlayStation solution, a massive leap in CPU speed and some customised architecture trickery that will, as always, push more juice out of what’s come without a price or release date. Yes, we’re getting a spec sheet, a nod to some kind of bespoke ray-tracing solution and some nonsense about 8K. But I also expect we won’t see the sort of generational leap in raw pixel-pushing we’ve become accustomed to, more likely we’ll have greater gains in efficiency and stability; less pop-in, denser open works, coping with the load of advanced physics engines, faster loading and the like.
The One X and PS4 Pro managed 4K solutions with some excellent workarounds for the lack of horsepower to support, less so in case of the Pro given the X’s greater capacity, but with devs on high-end PCs still working out the best method of delivering ultra-style settings at 4K 60fps without needing absolute bleeding edge tech, it’s going to be interesting to see how much focus will going into pixel-pushing and (maybe) software-driven ray-tracing.
So, what about the name? Code names don’t stick so Anaconda’s out. I’m going for The Xboxer. Not because I think it will be called that but because I wanted to play a little game where I see if I can come up with a worse name than whatever dumb name they’ve landed on this time.
Microsoft don’t want to repeat the One reveal and it feels like all three of the big players are a bit more clued in these days. With that in mind, I expect we’ll see the majority of the show dedicated to games. The reveal of new studios and new acquisitions are certainly possible, especially when we consider they’re planning on revealing so many games in a single conference. We’ll have Halo, we’ll have a Forza, maybe Fable (etc.), but there’s so much room here that the door’s wide open for anything. It’s a bit early to expect any imminent releases from their newer studios given most have only been released from previous projects fairly recently. That said, release of the new hardware could be any time in 2020 (though I doubt as late as 2021) and we may see plenty of cross-generational releases. Diversity in genres is what I hope for and, with the talent they’ve brought onboard, it’s a very realistic proposition. Will we also see a play for more Japanese support a la early 360 era? Probably not but one can hope. Here’s where it gets interesting though; I’ve been pondering just how they intend to tackle the Stadia claims of high-end gaming on a relatively modest connection. xCloud, through Microsoft’s Azure datacentres, may look to emulate a similar model as an option but what if they’ve got a different idea?
What I’d like to see, if we’re forced into this dystopian game streaming era, is a hybrid of streaming and local processing. With the clout of the new hardware managing a stable experience and the cloud taking on the Crackdown 3 idea of advanced physics and elements not possible on the console, but, you know, more successfully. If a game is streamed, why not pre-load everything you possibly can locally. How about offering a complete game but exclusive graphical features only enabled by being connected to xCloud?
Don’t get me wrong; I do believe a full Stadia/PS Now option will be pushed to as many devices as possible on an advanced Game Pass subscription service and what if the rumoured Nintendo/Xbox Live mashup is indeed more than just achievements on Cuphead? Either way, for a new high-end gaming experience (you know the sort, multiplayer shooter running at 4K/60hz with 1,000 players and no compromises), the local and cloud combo could offer the perfect middle-ground without the requirement of a Virgin Media connection on crack. If it’s possible, of course…
Mike’s Predictions / Nintendo
I have high hopes for something surprising from Animal Crossing. The fear is we get an up-resed New Leaf. However, I don’t see it. It’s likely been in the oven for a very long time and, if I had to hazard a guess, I think Nintendo will double down on the multiplayer side. I want bustling towns, the ability to create your own business in other people’s cities, perhaps a massive interactive playground full of mini-games, like a shared theme park to travel to that acts as a hub to other people’s towns. I’m spit-balling but there has to be something more than the iterative approach they’ve traditionally taken. Who am I kidding? Everyone will buy it either way. As will I.
On the port side, we may finally see Super Mario 3D World. I’d imagine it’s long been ready to drop but they’re waiting for an opportune moment. With their line-up already looking healthy for this year, I’d expect an early 2020 release to be on the cards. Personally, I also want to see Xenoblade Chronicles X make the jump from Wii U. As a beloved gem with a beautiful open world and fantastic mech design, there should be a bigger audience waiting to jump in on Switch.
Super Mario Maker’s getting another theme. It has to. But what? My money’s on Sunshine. Alright, not really, but how cool would that be? The 3D World theme shows nothing’s off the table. I’d say the 3DS’s Super Mario 3D Land has enough of an identity to make for a decent option.
Is it time for Odyssey or Mario Kart 8 to see another expansion? Let’s see those F-Zero tracks expand into a full-blown Mario Kart side game. Add Captain Falcon and there’s your new F-Zero.
Pokémon Sword & Shield should get a Treehouse segment, but I guarantee it will be a case of watching someone run along a single route for hour without giving anything away we haven’t seen in the trailer.
Blowout and release date for Link’s Awakening but nothing on anything else Zelda. However, if they were to show something, I’m hoping for a collection of all the handheld games. Smash DLC confirmed to appear and we defintely see Cadance of Hyrule and possibly with a mic-drop out now moment.
My son reckons SNES games added to the online service. I say that makes far too much sense for the big N. He also dropped in the idea of adding the double cherries into the 3D World theme on Mario Maker. Sounds mad but sure, why not?
My wife’s utterly convinced that there will be a WarioWare collection, that far exceeds the last 3DS game (WarioWare Ultimate, if you will). Mind you, she says that before every Direct.
Mike’s Predictions / The Rest
Atlus: hear me. Give us some Shin Megami Tensei V footage. I’ll take anything. Oh, and a port of Tokyo Mirage Sessions while you’re at it. Hell, if I’m just asking for whatever I want, I might as well throw in a MegaTen collection.
Avengers will disappoint. There, I said it. Why? Because I really hope it’s more than a create-a-hero game-as-a-service with a side-mission quality to its single-player portion, a freemium-at-full-price pricing model with a gachapon storyline and, by saying this, anything more will keep me happy. Either way, Squeenix, bring FFVII.
Watch Dogs: Brexit Bants will have the likeness of Farage but female and named Nigella Fromage.
Elder Scrolls 6 won’t appear but development on Starfield will have progressed more than people are expecting, and they’ll drop a release date. Skyrim: Tiddlywinks will release during the show. Fallout 76 will have… actually I don’t care. The Fallout 5 logo will flash up on the screen for 2.45 seconds.
Devolver Digital will have the titles with the best-looking gameplay, while both amusing and confusing everyone in equal measure.
CD Projekt Red will drop Cyberpunk into the next gen Xbox mix. That’s happening.
Sony spies will dropdown from the roof and steal the prototype Xbox, only to realise AMD duped them and sold them the exact same ‘bespoke’ chips. It’s going to be great.
In true Reggie fashion, here are some of the titles I’m looking forward to seeing more of at this year’s E3 festivities (although all three major platforms aren’t present with conferences this year, with Sony bailing out).
Reggie’s Predictions / Bethesda
OK, Bethesda has had a rough 12 months with Fallout 76 and PR credibility going down the Arthur Blisser, but any industry insider or gamer would be a fool to write off the behemoth comprised of so many legendary studios, save BethSoft themselves.
A dead cert for me would be a full reveal of Starfield and confirmation of its next gen status. We’ve been promised the ‘Elder Scrolls experience in space’. Remaining calm is not an option!
Other givens would be DOOM Eternal being pushed massively, followed by a flood of info for Rage 2 expansions. I would love to see ES: Blades and ES: Legends get a dated Switch release, Legends is such a solid twin lane card game that it made me miss my train stop. Multiple times. As much as it saddens my heart, I don’t think we’re going to hear much about ES6. Or, if we do, it will be a title featuring a short cinematic that hypes the title’s new mechanics. With Todd Howard stating he wishes to make ES6 playable for at least a decade, let’s hope its not another decade until we get some concrete info!
Reggie’s Predictions / Microsoft
Xbox have had a whole generation to lick their wounds and think about how they’re going to kick things off with a bang next gen. As Mike so elliquently put, we will be seeing the new Xbox this week. Great, but what about the Box we have collecting dust this generation?
For me, I think we will see titles such as Halo: Infinity making use of cross play and backwards compatibility. I think Infinity will push the Xbox branding on PC and console. Furthermore, I think it will release for current and next gen! Bring out the base game on Xbox One, then patch it for next gen consoles with higher res textures blah blah blah.
Gears 5 will have a massive presence, and I couldn’t give a toss. It’s never resonated with me, and Epic broke my heart when they turned their backs on Unreal in favour of the Gears IP back in the day. Get in the sea.
Reggie’s Predictions / Nintendo
Jeez, well Nintendo are killing it since the release of the Nintendo Switch. We’ve seen the majority of our favourite IP released, confirmed or teased in the last couple of year. It’s a wonderful time to be a Nintendo fan.
Rather than any big reveals, I think Nintendo will be busy demoing Pokémon Sword and Shield along with Link’s Awakening and Super Mario Maker 2. Furthermore, any big reveals will probably end up being a flash up on the screen with a relevant developer, more or less stating “yeah, just decided Mother 3 is available now” or “Metroid Prime 4 is still a steaming Mr Whippy, please understand”.
Reggie’s Predictions / The Rest
Personally, I want to know what Netflix are doing there. Are we going to see some form of Stadia type gaming offering? Or are they simply taking on a slew of gaming IP for their home brew series’ or films? Speaking of Stadia, Destiny 2 and Xenoverse 2 isn’t going to push a new console. Perhaps we’ll see some more console exclusives in the vein of Baldurs Gate 3? Who knows!
Bar all of the above, I really want something mind blowing. Maybe the imminent release of FF7 Remake will cut the mustard? Either way, this is defiantly an E3 gamers will not want to miss!
Will Time – Predictions & Desires
What you may discover during my moment in the spotlight will be my leaning more towards the latter portion of my chosen header. However, what are predictions, but a list of future events we desire to happen so much that we convince ourselves of their inevitability? So, behold: my E3 predictions.
Will’s Predictions / Microsoft
Throughout the late 90s, the 3D stealth genre reigned as king. This was due in no small part to the fact that it was much easier to achieve both great performances and breath-taking visuals on the primitive systems of the era compared to its more explosive-laden contemporaries.
To my unending sorrow, these halcyon days seem like a lifetime ago, or maybe that was because I was born in ’97. Regardless, disappointments like Metal Gear Solid V and Splinter Cell: Blacklist have left me hankering for more of that sweet, sweet stealth of yesteryear.
While it may be too late for Metal Gear, there is still the possibility of a glorious resurrection for Splinter Cell. A full decade has come and gone since Solid Snake received his fittingly emotional send off. This treatment is long overdue for everyone’s favourite distinguished grey: Sam Fisher.
Furthermore, the sumptuous icing on this irresistibly delectable cake would be to bring this series, best played on Xbox, laid lovingly back into Microsoft’s exclusive hands. Since the day of its creation PlayStation has dominated the war of exclusivity. The time has come for Xbox to level the playing field.
Of course, I have come to terms with the fact that this may not happen. Therefore, I have but one other great desire: the appointment of a spiritual successor. This immersive genre laced with skilful gameplay and equally thought-provoking narrative heft cannot be allowed to perish.
Will’s Predictions / Nintendo
Character Action titles like Devil May Cry make up some of my all-time favourite games. Although Bayonetta offers a more streamlined version of the combat featured in DMC, its copious amounts of charm and flare make it an experience worth playing, replaying, and playing all over again.
It has been five long years since the titular, not-so-wicked witch has graced us gamers with her presence. All that we have had to keep us occupied since then was an undeniably alluring teaser for the forthcoming numbered entry. While my appetited is thoroughly wetted, this is not enough.
Capcom’s absolutely seminal Devil May Cry V reminded us earlier this year that Japan is the master of melee-based action, and the market for character action is as strong as ever. So, this year’s E3 is the perfect place for Platinum’s Umbran beauty to again seize the stage that she owns.
Diving deep into the specifics of what I would like to see, they are as follows: the same, series stable combat with some new features and a little more polish; a simpler yet effecting narrative that seeks to satisfyingly conclude the saga.
Should my wildest dreams come true, we shall be set for an angelic experience that is totally witchin’. Let’s rock, baby!
Will’s Predictions / The Rest
The time has come for me to conclude my own saga in a way that may be perplexing to some.
Although I am yet to hold the Timesplitters series in as high a regard as the remainder of the gaming population, I very much enjoyed the swansong release of the UK’s own Free Radical Design: Second Sight. For those who have just let slip a rather quizzical noise, allow me to educate you.
Have you always dreamed of living vicariously through a completely mobile Professor X? Well, Second Sight permits you to do just that. A stealth action game, with emphasis on the stealth, Second Sight sees players evading their foes by way of multiple, varying telekinetic abilities.
Not nearly enough people have heard of this game. Therefore, with THQ Nordic holding the rights to it, a remake is surely in order. Although I do not expect any trailers, any announcement will be more than sufficient for the time being.
Due to the sheer scale of E3, the smaller projects are unjustly overshadowed. Let us all band together to put a stop to that, shall we?