The KultureCade's E3 Predictions
Nintendo Relies on its Past
Absent this E3 is the typical buzz and electricity that comes with several days of gaming announcements and celebrity appearances. In place is the looming specter of PlayStation Pro and Xbox's Project Scorpio. I fully expect the new machines to dominate the press conferences of both Sony and Microsoft with your typical in-house series flooding the Nintendo Switch.
I expect new I.P.'s to be scarce as the money and attention is centered around the new machines. For those that recently upgraded to the Xbox One S, expect to be sold heavily on the merits of Scorpio. For those who currently own a Nintendo Switch, waves of Mario, Metroid and Animal Crossing are in your future.
Return to the Borderlands (or Balamb Garden)
Although a longshot, I expect several returning franchises with release dates ranging from Summer to October. Borderlands 3 will be in our consoles before Thanksgiving, and Dying Light 2 will see the light of day in that same window. Also, alumni of BalambGarden will return home for their class reunion in a Final Fantasy VIII upgrade/remaster available this Summer.
Sony Continues to Embrace the Compilations Trend
Realistically this is more of a long shot due to timing than the idea that it won't actually happen, but I know I'm not the only one whose biggest release on the horizon is the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Set to release on June 30, over two weeks after E3, Sony and Activision are both probably frothing with anticipation over all the money they're about to make on it. Given that Sony has rarely shown much aversion to similar compilations of about three to five games, such as with Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, and Infamous, they might be ready to follow up the still unreleased Crash trilogy with similar, if not quite as lucrative compilations. To make as big a splash as they did with Crash, throwing more money at Activision for licenses, they abandoned long ago could be the answer with a Spyro trilogy to match its beloved bandicoot counterpart. On the other hand, Sony still has plenty of in-house stuff to bring back in the same capacity, including MediEvil, Twisted Metal, Mark of Kri, or Ape Escape.
Nintendo Comes to Play Ball
During what people usually consider their heyday, Nintendo didn't just survive on the iconic franchises we know them for today, whether they currently support them or not. For every Mario or Metroid they brought to the party, they also brought some of the best available titles in different genres including baseball, basketball, and football titles, hand-picked RPGs and adventure titles that Japanese publishers wouldn’t risk without the Big Red’s seal of approval. New experiments in puzzle games featuring secondary characters such as Wario and Yoshi. Imagine then, a gaming landscape going forward in which Nintendo sees the Switch as a way to compete in mainstream genres while keeping their own identity the way they used to on the SNES and N64, including a new baseball or basketball game a la their endearing Kobe Bryant or Ken Griffey branded titles.
A new in-house or second-party developed racing simulator that somehow straddles the line between Forza and Mario Kart or an entirely new, yet more mature release such as we saw on the GameCube in Eternal Darkness or Geist. With the biggest first titles on the horizon for the Switch being Splatoon, Arms, and Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo themselves doesn't seem too concerned with handling matters themselves, but the upcoming releases of NBA 2K18 and Skyrim Special Edition bringing some merit that the Wii and Wii U didn't have. Still, if Nintendo themselves shows some interest in taking some charge and putting their name on something you might see from their competitors, it would prove to me that they're looking to do things a bit differently this time around.
The Last of Us: Part II Gameplay Reveal
Revealed with a stunning cinematic trailer at PSX last fall, the logical next step in unveiling The Last of Us: Part II is a gameplay reveal. I would not bet on it being longer than a few minutes, as we have no idea how far along development is, but it would still be the crown jewel in a Sony lineup that lacks recognizable titles outside of the new God of War. Additionally, expect a tentative release date for the game to cap off the presentation. So far, there hasn’t even been a seasonal estimate of when gamers can get their hands on the follow-up to Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic epic, but I expect that to change by the end of E3 this year.
Metal Gear Rising Gets A Sequel
Konami fired Hideo Kojima and announced Metal Gear Survive, earning almost universal disdain for both decisions. Microsoft canceled Platinum Games’ new IP Scalebound, while the developer is in the midst of releasing remasters of old games. The possible team-up, if any, would be to announce a remaster of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, keeping Platinum afloat and earning back the goodwill of Konami detractors. But let’s think bigger. Metal Gear Rising already looked good and ran at 60fps on last-gen consoles, so why bother remastering it? This spinoff series has been gone too long, and a brand new game would do wonders to demonstrate Konami’s willingness to listen to fans, Platinum Games’ commitment to making new games instead of remastering old ones, and most importantly, that Metal Gear can still excite in a post-Kojima era. Fingers crossed.
Bloodborne Makes a Return
If I had to choose a game that I have a feeling has a chance to be at E3 2017, it would be Bloodborne 2. I say this because From Software, the devs behind the Dark Souls franchise and Bloodborne, have stated that they are working on a new ‘dark fantasy RPG.' This gives me high hopes that they are referencing a Bloodborne sequel and I sincerely hope so as Bloodborne is in my top 10 games list of all time. If this happens to make its way to E3 with even just an announcement, I would be highly pleased. It is either this, a new IP, or Dark Souls 4 and that isn’t anywhere in this realm of reality.
The Elder Scrolls 6?
If I had to predict a game that is highly unlikely at E3 2017, it would have to be the Elder Scrolls 6. Todd Howard and the crew at Bethesda have stated that they are indeed working on the ES6. However not much has been done on the game. I picked this as my long shot as I find it highly unlikely to even hear news on it anytime this year, let alone an announcement.
Nintendo's Parade of Ports Continues
Following the recent announcement of Pokken Tournament DX, I see Nintendo continuing this trend with even more ports of Wii U titles. Given the relative ease with which these titles can be ported to the Nintendo Switch, it wouldn't surprise me to see some of the Wii U's outliers like Tokyo Mirage Sessions make the jump to the Switch. Additionally, I could see Nintendo announcing a port of Super Smash Bros. 4 for the Switch, as it could join it's fellow Wii U ports with a “Deluxe” label.
Of course, I don't believe that Nintendo will only bring ports. I'm sure they'll have some original titles for the Switch and of course, the latest on the upcoming Splatoon 2, Arms, and Super Mario Odyssey.
PS3 Backward Compatibility
This one is a bit of a longshot, but it's something I'd really love to see Sony support. Currently, the only way to play PlayStation 3 titles on your PlayStation 4 is through Sony's streaming service, PlayStation Now. While, while sporting an impressive library of PS3 titles, has a fundamental flaw, since the gaming experience with Now is tied to your internet connection, it can be difficult to play action heavy titles on the service, due to the amount of lag experienced unless you have an incredibly fast internet connection.
My hope is that Sony doesn't see this feature as cannibalizing their PS Now user base, as there are plenty of people out there who would love the ability to play their PlayStation 3 discs on their PS4. After all, Microsoft gave us the ability to play our Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One, so why shouldn't PlayStation even the playing field?