With E3 2009 nearly upon us, rumors are flying high, emotions are flaring up, and our wildest hopes and dreams will soon either be validated or painfully crushed.‚ What will we learn this year about the pastime we love so much?‚ Who will be the winners, the losers, and the face-palming failboats of the show?‚ Will we see a PS3 price cut, an Xbox 360 motion controller device, or a Wii Zelda title?
The answers to these epic questions will be answered in just a couple short weeks, but for now, we’ve compiled the hopes, predictions, and thoughts regarding E3 2009 from Blast’s video game contributors for your reading pleasure.
John M. Guilfoil — Editor-in-chief (attending this year)
Last year was my first E3 after dreaming about going every year since 1998 when I started reviewing video games. I would read about it in magazines and talk to other reviewers about the spectacle of the Electronic Entertainment Expo. I still have an old CD-ROM issue of Interactive Entertainment magazine where they talk about going to E3. In its old form, it was larger than life.
Then I went last year.
It felt like an investor’s summit. There was no energy. No excitement. And worst of all, there wasn’t any news!
Now this year the hype is back, and the energy feels high. I’m finding myself more pumped for my second visit than my first.
Last year was the year of music games — even Disney brought a music title to the mix. I get the feeling that the focus is on multiplayer and massively multiplayer online games. Nexon has already unveiled a new mode for their 2 million-user Combat Arms. Fallen Earth is showcasing some interesting, Fallout-esque visuals.
I also am confident that we’ll see both a new Mario and a new Zelda announcement. Nintendo has to pull a rabbit out of its ass this year after making the biggest splash in the belly flop contest that was last year’s E3. I feel like Microsoft is really comfortable with their lead, so anything huge from them would be a surprise. It’s Sony that I can’t make a call on. We’re at the end of PS2, PSP is still flat, and PS3 is trying to get momentum.
I like to scope out the little guys. Last year I liked what I saw from D3.‚ I’m curioius about what I’ll see this year from smaller developers.
Majesco — I’m a sucker for retro — is showing off a new “a boy and his blob” game, which I’m excited for.
Biggest question mark: Atari. I crowned them in Blast and in the Boston Globe with some of the best potential games of E3, and I have no idea what they’re bringing this time around, despite repeated inquiries. Either way, I still root for them.
Marc Normandin — Games Editor
Supposedly, this year’s E3 is supposed to be more like we as gamers want it to be, rather than the mostly boring financial meeting it has become. That’s great news for those of us that enjoy the slow drip of gaming news, and should also mean that the show should have more megaton announcements for all three of the big guns–Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
Sony and Microsoft will continue their struggle to control the future of gaming in HD, and there has been a lot of loud whispering in regards to motion-controlled options for both the PS3 and the Xbox360, so expect to hear something about that at the show. Sony went big last year with their show, displaying many games that blew us away, but at the same time, did not even release during 2008–expect to see more of those games in detail, given this is the next year’s show. There’s also this year’s big PSP lineup, which was mostly teased earlier this year, with little in the way of additional info coming forth since. Microsoft has been quiet with their published exclusives lately, so it seems like the time to announce one (or three) is now, at the show. Personally, I feel like they need to. Yes, they have the momentum in a way due to the larger install base and the back catalog of games, but as the PS3 releases more self-published exclusives and receives some of the very good to great 360 games with additional content or fewer bugs‚ (Eternal Sonata, Tales of Vesperia, the “exclusive” Fallout 3 DLC), Microsoft may start to see their grip loosen.
Nintendo needs to make up for last year’s show. It isn’t that it was as horrendous as some made it out to be–there were some neat things that came out of it, including the soon-to-be-released Wii Motion Plus–but the fact that they claimed the “core” audience would be happy–an impossible task that many are taking notice of–was their downfall as far as expectations go. They have been very tight-lipped about what is going on at the show this year, which makes wonder if they have something up their sleeve. Expect a lot of attention on the Wii, given the DSi has been the focus for the past year or so. Pikmin 3, which was informally announced last year, would go a long ways towards healing some wounds, were a vtrailer or gameplay video to surface. Same goes for a new Mario, Zelda, etc., or a new “core” IP. IGN has been saying that Retro Studios (Metroid Prime) has something in the works that will rock all of our socks off, so maybe E3 is when we will see that unveiled.
Eddie Makuch — Gaming News Reporter
First off, I cannot fathom a more exciting and alluring event for fans of the video game sector than that of the E3 convention.‚ Thousands of video game journalists as well as publishers and developers will flock to Los Angeles in the beginning of June to finally reveal what has long been rumored as well as catch fans and journalists alike completely off guard with the perennial unbelievable announcement.
As a disclaimer, I would classify my specific thoughts as on the more wild side of we are likely to see, but are not impossibly farfetched, at least I think so.
Sure we’ve heard rumors of a PS3 price cut, or even a total “slim” redesign, but will Sony cave and take an even further loss per console as a good PR move?‚ I have this rumbling in my gut that is telling me Sony has geared up and will show up hard at E3 with some head-rolling announcements.‚ However, what I feel is more likely than a PS3 price cut/redesign, is that of the official announcement and reveal of the latest PSP model, complete with the eschewing of the UMD drive as well as larger screen, touch functionality, and more effective internet capabilities. If 2009 is to be the year of Sony, a new PSP and some significant and exciting PS3 information absolutely must be shown.
On the Microsoft side of things, I strongly believe they’ve got some mammoth tricks up their sleeves, including possibly the long rumored Xbox 360/Zune hybrid.‚ No I do not expect the “Zune 60” to have phone capabilities, as Microsoft already has a firm grip and devotion to their Windows Mobile user base, rather an entry to the portable gaming and music sector.‚ Someone has to fend off the iPhone don’t they?‚ I feel if correctly implemented, with the best the Zune has to offer combined with the untapped Microsoft handheld gaming, fueled by XNA possibly, the “Zune 60″could truly be a force to be reckoned with.‚ On the more believable side of announcements I think Microsoft will show off Halo 3: ODST because really, what is E3 without more Halo?‚ The overarching theme for the Microsoft showing at E3 2009 I believe will be not only the slew of new titles but also the company’s further involvement in the Xbox 360 as a home entertainment device, whether that be a revolutionized Netflix service, or any number of social networking capabilities (Facebook, Twitter) made available on the Xbox 360 itself.‚ The goal is to keep us plugged in as much as possible right?
As far as Nintendo is concerned, I am hoping, praying, and crossing my fingers for a new Zelda Wii title as well as more information regarding Spirit Tracks for the DS.‚ Nintendo President Satoru Iwata stated last year that the core Zelda teams are hard at work, but is it time for a new Wii Zelda?‚ I just don’t know.‚ While I would absolutely love more Zelda, I don’t believe it would be out of the realm of possibility to see another Mario platformer, but where do they go next if space is the final frontier?
Also, as is long rumored, the Netflix service may finally find its way to the Wii console, which would quell any fan clamoring for a DVD drive. ‚ Overall, I do not expect too much from Nintendo at this year’s showing, but I think they’ve got to address the core, at least a bit more than last year.
As a pre-show wrap up I believe a scary thought surrounding this year’s show is that of major announcements and reveals being turned to white noise based on the sheer volume of parties involved.‚ If we do end up seeing a high number of spectacular reveals and announcements from every company they won’t feel as important, and this frightens me.
Chase Gharrity — Games Correspondent
My prediction for Microsoft is their unveiling of the highly rumored motion sensing device for Xbox.‚ However, instead of being just an add-on, I think the folks at Microsoft will be presenting a look into their next-gen system.‚ The new system will have full body motion sensing capabilities, offering a gaming experience unlike any other.‚ Furthermore, I foresee an extended look at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and a preview for Fallout: New Vegas complete with Xbox-exclusive DLCs.
Nintendo will also look to ruffle some feathers with their motion sensing technology.‚ Because it seems to be so trendy, I will predict that there will be an announcement and preview for Pikmin 3.‚ No new Zelda or StarFox titles will be mentioned, but I do expect a new Pokemon version or two to be announced for the DS.‚ Also, be on the lookout for some cool new Wii controller add-ons for upcoming games.
Unlike Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony will stay away from any motion sensing announcements.‚ Instead, Playstation fans should expect some news regarding a nex-gen PSP (Perhaps with cellular phone technology?‚ Maybe Netflix movie streaming via WiFi?).‚ Also, I predict a massive price drop for the PS3 and some exciting upcoming game announcements, previews and demos.
Stephen Greenwell — Games Reviewer
The Anticipated: Like any other geek with a pulse, I’m very interested in seeing what Square Enix is up to with Final Fantasy XIII, and there is always the chance that they’ll use E3 as an opportunity to formerly announce the sequel to The World Is Not Enough… Please? ‚ Pretty please?
The Dreaded: Well, now that Duke Nukem Forever’s status is back to canceled (this month), I suppose we don’t have that to kick around anymore, Nixon-style. ‚ I will instead add my voices to the many worrying about all the shovelware and generic casual gaming crap being developed for the Wii. ‚ At some point, people are going to get overwhelmed by all of the shoddy games being produced, and I’m worried that actual good, engaging and simple games – for example, what the new Punch-Out seems to be – will be forced out by the maddening crowd.
The Random: Looking at the floorplans for E3 is a fascinating example of how high school social dynamics repeat themselves throughout life for me. ‚ Atlus is my favorite company, but Nintendo’s booth is six times as big, with a fire aisle… And Sony has two booths as big as Nintendo’s. ‚ Gamespot does not make games and has a larger booth than Atlus. ‚ Square Enix just bought Eidos, but both have booths. ‚ And has a bigger booth than a dozen small gaming companies.
There you have it, exactly what we are expecting out of this years’ show, but what about you?‚ How do you see the convention going down?