Companies in the video game industry aren’t exactly known for being forthcoming, only divulging scarce details on their upcoming projects while gamers try to sustain themselves on rumors and hearsay. However, all of that changes during E3. For a few short days the entire industry forgets about secrecy, and struts its stuff for the world to see. We’ve put together a list of what secrets Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will most likely pull the curtains away from at this year’s E3.
Project Natal Fully Revealed
Since Natal is getting its own pre-E3 event, expect all the details to pour out, including the final name which is rumored to be Wave. If the rumblings are true, we might see Natal priced at around $150 and bundled with an Xbox 360 for $300. Also, be ready for an onslaught of launch titles to be announced. Given developer Rare’s involvement with most of Microsoft’s forays into casual gaming, we predict the house of Goldeneye to announce one of the Natal’s biggest debut games.
Halo: Reach Campaign Unveiling
After sinking thousands of hours into the Reach beta, gamers know all they need to about the multiplayer of Bungie’s final Halo game. However, we’re still aching for some info on the game’s campaign, which has been locked away since the release of Reach’s debut trailer during the Spike TV video game awards. G4 TV’s E3 coverage preview says they’ll have new info on the game, so an appearance at Microsoft’s press conference seems imminent.
The Xbox 360 is due for another dashboard update, but we’re even more excited about how Natal will come into play. You can bet on the next update incorporating hand gestures and voice commands to change the way users interact with their 360. There are plenty of possibilities, like having Natal’s camera sign users in automatically just by seeing who they are. Microsoft has repeatedly said Natal’s technology is about more than just playing games, and we have a feeling they’re going to prove it at E3.
Gears of War 3 & Fable 3
Although Halo: Reach is Microsofts’ flagship action game for this holiday, don’t be surprised if we get some more information on other hot first party properties. In a recent interview with Gametrailers TV, Cliff Bleszinski hyped up Epic’s plans for E3, which could point to an appearance by Gears of War 3. Also, given Fable 3’s impending 2010 release, we’d be shocked if the Molyneux’s baby didn’t make a big splash as well.
There’s no doubt we’re going to be handed a pair of 3D specs after walking through the door of Sony’s press conference. While Microsoft has expressed interest in the technology, Sony has been the one taking action. The 3.30 firmware update for the PS3 has already prepped the system for 3D gaming, which fits in nicely with Sony’s new 3D Bravia TV’s. We already know Killzone 3 is going 3D, so get ready for even more PlayStation games to be announcing 3D support. We also anticipate learning more on how Sony will incorporate 3D with the PS3 in general, such as support for Move titles or PSN downloads.
There’s been so much talk about a paid version of Sony’s online service, we can’t see it not being announced at E3. Dubbed PSN+ by some anonymous sources, the service is said to offer subscribers one free PSN game a month, streaming music and the ability to demo full games. The cost could be about $70 a year, but PlayStation fans who like to game for free need not worry, as the regular PSN will continue to exist as an unpaid service.
Games Games Games
During the last couple of years Sony has finally begun to hit its stride when it comes to exclusive games, and we anticipate them following up with lots of sequels. Rumors of a successor to Sucker Punch’s inFamous have been too frequent to be false. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony capitalize on their other hot franchises by showing at least a teaser trailer for Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3. Also, prepare for Little Big Planet 2 and SOCOM 4 get firm release dates for this holiday.
Let’s face it, the PSP is long due for an upgrade. Even when Sony did make a hardware change, all we got was the PSP Go. A survey by Sony has ignited rumours around a new system incorporating a touch screen, and several publishers are said to be getting set for some sort of PSP news at the end of this year. We realize a PSP 2 announcement would make Sony’s press conference rather crowded, but revealing new hardware makes sense if the company wants to keep up with Nintendo, who will definitely be showing off a new handheld device at E3.
The Next Zelda
Nintendo’s press conference will obviously be filled with anticipated announcements, but there is one everyone wants most. After a semi-reveal at least year’s show, Nintendo might finally stop teasing its fans and give them all the information they could want on the next Zelda title. Several individuals have hinted that the game will release in 2010, and series director Eiji Aonuma has stated the game could be playable at E3. We’re very confident Zelda will make an appearance at Nintendo’s presentation, and in a much bigger way than just a piece of artwork.
We know Nintendo’s 3D capable handheld will be playable at E3, and that’s about it. Details on what the device is really capable of or what it looks like are nowhere to be found. Since E3 has been billed as the 3DS’ official coming out party, we’re prepared to see it receive a name, price and firm release date for sometime this fall. Don’t forget about the games too. Watch for a slew of titles to be shown off this year, and maybe a new 3D Mario game at the centre of the 3DS’ launch line up.
Yes, the Vitality Sensor will be making an appearance at E3 and we’ll finally see what the heck it’s for. However, there might already be a few hints. Recently, Nintendo struck a deal with the American Heart Association to support the fight against heart disease. The deal includes an AHA seal of approval which will appear on Nintendo products that promote a healthy lifestyle, so it seems reasonable to assume the Vitality Sensor might be a flagship product of this new partnership. Be prepared to see AHA sponsored software which will be compatible with the sensor.
Another announcement that’s been way overdue is a new Pikmin game for the Wii. Nintendo has publicly stated a new Pikmin is in the works, but haven’t said anything else for the past two years. E3 seems like the perfect place to bring Pikmin back into the spotlight.