This post was submitted for editing on Monday May 28 and so far three things have happened directly related to my wishlist. I’m not sure if that counts as being right about E3 but I’ll take it. So far my expectations for this E3 are low. I want to be excited but it’s hard since the last couple of years have seen some major new IPs that I thought could be great, turn out to be disappointing (Brink, LA Noir and Homefront to name 3). Microsoft and Sony caught the mass market fever from Nintendo and neither have been consistently appealing. I put a lot of stock in Nintendo bringing new titles out that would appeal to older gamers a couple of years ago and argued they would steal the show. I’m not making that mistake again, even with the Wii-U.
In the past, five companies (along with others) have delivered amazing experiences for me. Two of them (Microsoft and Electronic Arts) lost a lot of respect in the last couple of years and one (id Software) narrowly missed having a new IP be extremely disappointing (that narrow miss may be more about nostalgia than the game itself). Of the two that remain one is a large company (Ubisoft) that has stumbled over DRM strategies but has continued to make games I love. The last and smallest (Remedy Entertainment) is the most consistent at making games that I love to play and play repeatedly. Here are the things I would like to see from each of them.
I want Microsoft to convince me they still care about their core base, i.e. those of us that buy Halo and Gears. They can talk about Kinect and new entertainment options on Xbox, and we know they will. I understand that those things expand their user base. Regardless of whether or not they’re announcing new hardware this year, they need to show us that they are working on new IPs. Microsoft Games Studios needs to have a presence besides Kinect because they need to reconnect with their core base. It’s not going to be the people who are using the Xbox as a Netflix portal that are going to buy a new console year one.
Likelihood: <10% - Microsoft likes to focus on this year so I don’t see them talking about what they have in long term development. It will hurt them as their core base is becoming disenfranchised.
EA has returned to their evil empire ways after a couple of years of doing good things for the industry. They waited until release day for Dead Space 2 to announce that the PC would not be getting any DLC for the game, spitting the face of those of us who had pre-ordered the game. They then claimed that Valve was to blame for titles being pulled from Steam and clearly had nothing to do with the fact that EA were launching their own digital distribution service. I’m not against them starting their own service but don’t lie to me or take me for a fool. People don’t like Activision’s Bobbie Kotick but he’s honest. Agree or disagree with him, you know where he stands. This E3 I would be excited if EA starts doing the same. Tell us the truth. Don’t hide behind smoke screens and/or silence: come clean with us EA.
Likelihood: 0% - I have lost all faith in EA as a company. They appear willing to repeatedly screw over their customers to make an extra buck. By comparison Activision looks like Apple. Tuesday, after submitting this for editing on Monday, Crysis 2 showed back up on Steam (see picture above). While that might make you think the chance is better than zero percent, Crysis 2 is an EA Partners title. Crysis 2 is back on Steam, apparently, because of Crytek not EA.
Let’s face it, Rage fell far short of everyone’s expectations, especially mine. The tech was solid and the game was okay but it was not what people were looking for from id Software. Whether you want to support new IP development or not what id needs at this E3 is to roll out details for Doom 4. Specifically not a sequel to Doom 3 but an old school fast action Doom game. Time for some fan service, guys.
Likelihood: 25% - I doubt we see Doom 4 footage this year and if we do it will be more of a Doom 3 sequel than an old school Doom title: Croteam and Serious Sam will have to carry that torch. Well, the likelihood of seeing Doom 4 has gotten higher with id Software announcing the Doom 3 BFG edition today (Wednesday, May 30). Based on comments I read from Tim Willits though I have even less hope it will be like old school Doom.
Unlike a lot of people on TaG I loved Splinter Cell: Conviction and Splinter Cell is still one of my favorite franchises. Right now is the right time to announce a new game in the series and not wait to be a next-gen launch title. Splinter Cell has a poor track record as a launch title with Double Agent for the Xbox 360 being the worst of the Splinter Cell games. On the other hand, the totally different Splinter Cell: Double Agent for the original Xbox is a great game. So give us a solid Splinter Cell game now and we’ll be much more excited when one releases for Generation 4 systems.
Likelihood: <25% - I suspect Ubisoft views Splinter Cell as needing down time and when it comes back it will be some kind of reboot with either a new Sam Fisher or a replacement for Sam Fisher. The rumor mill is churning today (Wednesday May 30) and says that Ubisoft will announce a new Splinter Cell title at E3, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Ubisoft has not confirmed the rumor but the likelihood here now seems to be at least seventy-five percent.
Alan Wake is alive. The series had a rough start a couple of years ago but the PC release of Alan Wake this year and the release of Alan Wake: American Nightmare were both big successes for Remedy. Remedy has been hiring of late and clearly is working on something. Given that Valve has said they will not be at E3 and do not have anything to announce, meaning no Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (or Half-Life 3 if you prefer) and no Left 4 Dead 3, my most hoped for announcement is Alan Wake 2.
Likelihood: <25% - The activity around Remedy and the statements they have made point to Alan Wake 2 being in development. However, given that the hiring started recently and is still on-going it’s too early for something to be shown at E3.