The industry’s biggest showcase, the E3 Expo, is just around the corner, and gamers are already buzzing about what they’ll see. With the Wii 2 and Sony’s Next Generation Portable making their debuts this year, there’ll be no shortage of jaw-dropping reveals. But what else might happen at this year’s big show? The Warp Zoned editors have compiled 11 predictions of what we expect to happen at E3 2011. They may not all come true, but we would bet good money on most of them…
Project Cafe Will Not Be Wii 2, or Anything You’re All Expecting For That Matter
We’ve all been treated to little bits of details, power specs, and visions of controllers with screens on them. But I’m willing to bet that Nintendo is going to come out of left field with this one and completely shatter our expectations. I’ll always remember the chatter in GameStop being about how it’s like a remote controller for a TV, it might have a zillion buttons with volume control, and the clairvoyant few who said, “it’s Nintendo, it’s innovation, it’s gonna be good.” Considering how unorthodox the Wii was and how big it paid off for Nintendo, we can’t imagine them just making a Wii 2 or a Nintendo 360. We can’t say exactly what it will be, but prepare to be shocked.
Wii 2/Project Cafe Will Be Priced at $300
So we know that Nintendo plans to announce the successor to the Wii at E3 2011. We know that the system will be released a year later in 2012. And we know that Nintendo is absolutely allergic to losing money on new hardware. So we think it’s a pretty safe bet that the Wii 2/Project Cafe will only be an incremental step above the Xbox 360 and PS3. Powerwise the system is rumored to be somewhere beyond the Xbox 360, so a $300 price point for the tech level and whatever wild surprises Nintendo comes up with (screens in the controller!) seems about right.
Wii 2 Launch Lineup
So Nintendo plans to release the Wii 2 in 2012. But what about the games? This one’s easy. Look for The Big N to announce New Super Mario Bros. Wii 2, Mario Kart Wii 2 and Metroid Wii 2. All three games haven’t yet had a sequel on the Wii. And all three will show off that four-player splitscreen gimmick of the Wii 2 very well.
Let’s Hear it for the Controller
So-called leaks of the new system and controller have been popping up this week, with people commenting on the controller having both a screen and a camera. Nintendo will have a prototype of this controller at E3, and they’ll show it off to a crowd – though hopefully they won’t have them tethered to attractive girls so people can touch them (the controllers, not the girls). Perhaps the 3DS will double as a controller, giving early adapters of the pricey handheld a head start on their friends.
Bonus Prediction: Speaking of the 3DS, expect Nintendo to give firmed up information on games people actually care about, like Mario Kart 3DS.
Halo: Combat Evolved Remake
2011 is the tenth anniversary of the launch of the original Xbox. Microsoft has yet to announce any celebration plans, but if they’re going to do anything we have a feeling they’ll announce it at E3…
…wait a minute…
Who cares about the tenth anniversary of the original Xbox? Microsoft dumped the big black box as soon as the first Xbox 360 rolled off the assembly line. The original Xbox is your driver’s license photo, your yearbook picture and your first awkward attempt to pick up a girl all rolled into one. It’s something best left forgotten. But 2011 is also the tenth anniversary of the birth of the Halo series, and you know Microsoft wants to do something special for that. And that something special will definitely be a Halo: Combat Evolved remake. Think about it. The new team at 343 Industries needs to get their feet wet in the Halo universe. What better way to do that than to recreate the game everyone already loves? They get practice and Microsoft gets another multi-million seller.
Television Programming For Your Xbox 360
The HD consoles have always had impressive video services, but as Netflix infiltrated our systems, followed by Hulu and options for ESPN, MLB and the NHL, this year’s E3 may finally see the defining moment where video game consoles do what many have predicted they will for a few years now: make cable TV irrelevant. Since Microsoft has always been slightly ahead of the curve, we see them rolling this out first. And with the successful “casual” push with Kinect, don’t be surprised if you see something like streaming Nick Jr. for stay-at-home moms looking to occupy and educate their toddlers in between getting in their workout. After all, Tim Schafer is making a Sesame Street game for it.
Kinect Controller Coming
Microsoft will announce their new controller that will go with their controller-less system, Kinect. There have been rumors of this controller for some time now, and we think they’ll reveal it at E3. I’m sure they’ll have a few game tricks up their sleeves – possibly some kind of deal for exclusive content with Mass Effect 3.
Bonus Prediction: We also wouldn’t be surprised if E3 2011 is the year Microsoft throws their hat in the handheld ring – though it looks like they’re going more mobile than handheld.
Don’t Discount the PlayStation Exclusive
Last E3, Sony made older gamers’ jaws drop and PSOne fans go into seziures when David Jaffe literally came out on stage in an ice cream truck. The year before that, footage from Uncharted 2 and God of War III got the masses ready to storm the gates when the PS3 slim would eventually launch later that year, which was arguably the turning point of Sony’s successes this generation. PlayStation gamers have had something to look forward to always on the horizon, the kind of games that you don’t quite see on other platforms. It may be Agent, Guerilla Games’ new IP, or something we’ve never heard of before. But expect a couple trailers and/or gameplay footage for something big, outside of the inevitable Uncharted 3 extended reveal.
Sony Says Sorry For the 2011 ApocalyPS3
The PlayStation Network has returned, and the lousy “Welcome Back” gifts were revealed, but if Sony knows what’s good for them, they’ll have something big – and free – to announce for their fans at E3. I’m hoping they will also announce a plethora of hard-to-get PSOne games, as well as some more Dreamcast games. More NGP details will be firmed up, including price, which will come amid groans like last year’s Move price announcement did. Sony is really hurting in the eyes of fans right now, so hopefully they’ll keep that in mind when they tell us how big of a dent the NGP is going to put in our wallets. We also predict that by E3, Sony will know who hacked the PSN, and will be ready to announce it publicly.
“I Will Be Making This Game” – Kojima
A recurring joke on our Warp Zoned Podcast is how Hideo Kojima famously said on stage, at the PlayStation event revealing the NGP, how there will be a game that you play on your PS3 at home and then take with you and play on your portable PlayStation. We seriously hope he wasn’t talking about PSOne Classics, as he said “I am very interested in this game. I will be making this game. This game will be announced at E3.” Well, that event is coming, and we’re expecting to finally find out what “this game” is. Personally, we’d be willing to put money on it being Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker 2. Warp Zoned editor Mike Gutierrez says, “I would gladly attend the marriage of the blockbuster, home entertainment system experience of MGS4 with the endless content and co-op of Peace Walker. Hell, I’d crash the wedding if I had to.”
Kojima Productions aside, we would very much like for the next Call of Duty to have the same ambition as “this game.” Being able to get in a a couple online matches before leaving for school, then on the bus or subway there, would take our day to new levels of awesome. Let’s just hope it’s actually on parity with the console version and not just the crappy ports N-Space has been making.
Rockstar Will Announce Grand Theft Auto V
Allow me to quote Take Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick on the company’s plans for Grand Theft Auto V: “So we’re not going to announce it, we’re not going to announce when we are going to announce it, and we are not going to announce a strategy about announcing it or about when we are going to announce it either, or about the announcement strategy surrounding the announcement of the strategy.”
Zelnick gave that epic smackdown during a financial briefing back in 2009 and in the two years since there’s been nary a peep about GTA5 from the publisher. With the Wii 2/Project Cafe on tap for 2012, L.A. Noire successfully in the bag and another entry in the Saints Row series in the offing, now is definitely the time for Rockstar to announce the next GTA. Consider this less a prediction and more of a guarantee.
What’s Your Prediction?
We’ve made our predictions, but what about you? Let us know in the comments what you expect to see at E3 2011. And don’t forget to check out our rundown of games that publishers plan to present with our What to Expect From E3 2011 guide.