E3 2011 Preview
Nintendo: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Wii is in need of a big hit and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword may very well be just what the doctor ordered. Skyward Sword relies heavily on the Wii Motion Plus 1:1 motion controls for its sword combat and various attack items. We're expecting to finally get a concrete release date and additional details, such as whether or not the game is bundled with a Motion Plus accessory.
Nintendo Wii 2?
Nintendo is the first out of the gate in the new console race as they have confirmed that their next system will be revealed at E3. Nintendo is rumored to stray from the more kid friendly stuff we had on the Wii and will be creating more titles for hardcore gamers to compete with Sony and Microsoft. It’ll be interesting to see if motion control will stick with the new console or if Nintendo plans on having a more traditional controller. Rumors are that the new controller comes equipped with a six inch touch screen capable of streaming game content from your television. I expect this console to be available sometime in 2012, most likely closer to the holiday season.
The Next Generation Portable (NGP) is set to be revealed at E3 from Sony and is supposed to run solely on the Playstation Network. Hopefully Sony will be able to keep the network up with enough stability for this idea to work but it’ll be interesting to see what Sony’s vision for the future of handheld gaming will be.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Nathan Drake is back for another globetrotting adventure, this time in a more desert type locale. This one is maybe my most anticipated game for 2011 and Naughty Dog Studios will have a playable demo of it ready for E3. Uncharted is one of the strongest exclusive titles from Sony and has evolved the action/adventure genre with elements of platforming. The multiplayer is also new and improved and getting positive feedback in beta. For a closer look at Uncharted 3, check out IGN’s recent interview with Naughty Dog President Evan Wells: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/117/1171813p1.html.
Sony is also showing off Resistance 3 another exclusive title for the console, but with recent bad press and games like Infamous 2 coming out earlier in the year, Sony really needs to show off a strong slate of titles for 2012 and beyond to stay competitive with Microsoft. Additions to the Playstation Network and Store to keep it up to date with Xbox Live would be welcomed as well.
I have a strong feeling that Microsoft’s unusual silence going into E3 will not bode well for hardcore gamers. The company hasn’t pushed Kinect much in the last 6 months and I expect the add-on to be a major part of their keynote at E3 with a litany of new games coming out for it. Bungie has already said that they will not be at E3 this year meaning that we won’t hear anything about new installments in the Halo franchise. There are some rumors of a Xbox 360 remake of the original Halo to come out in November in time for its 10th anniversary. This could be an easy way for MS to make money off the franchise without having to produce anything new.
Gears of War 3
Microsoft does however have the major new sequel to its exclusive Gears of War franchise up its sleeve. Epic Games will have a playable demo of Gears 3 at E3 and the game’s beta has already gotten many compliments from critics for fixing a lot of the bulky multiplayer problems from Gears 2. The new campaign trailer for Gears of War 3 was released this week to hype up E3 a bit, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6llEUp-jhw
The most anticipated MMORPG of 2011 is Star Wars: The Old Republic. Unfortunately, I think E3 will be an announcement of a delayed release date for the title to spring 2012. It’ll be interesting to see what Lucas Arts shows of the title though as it could be one of the best selling PC games in years.
Another PC game bogged down with delays is Diablo 3. Blizzard will have a playable demo at E3 and will hopefully give some sort of idea of when title will finally be released. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will also be shown and that is definitely set to have a 2012 release.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – This game has been talked about so much in the last few weeks that I almost don’t think Activision has anything new to show for E3. Some gameplay footage or a demo would probably be par for the course but IGN has done a really good job of putting together everything we already know about the game so far here: http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/117/1171345p1.html
Mass Effect 3 – Commander Shepard and crew are back to save the Universe once and for all from the Reapers. Mass Effect 2 was game of the year for 2010 and even though the third title has already been pushed back a few months, there’s no way this game doesn’t steal the show somehow at E3. Expect the multiplayer aspects to be on showcase as well as some information on returning characters and more plot revelations.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – The third and final installment in the Ezio and Altair story line, Assassin’s Creed Revelations will take players to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul). New gameplay additions include an item called the hookblade, which can be used to zipline across the city or grab enemies to yank them in for a combo attack. The Eagle vision has been renamed to Eagle Sense. According to Ubisoft’s Alex Amancio, “Eagle sense lets you focus on a character and see where he’s been. You’ll get an approximation of where he will go. If you’re able to detect the path a guard will take, you can run ahead, set a bomb, and create a trap or an ambush.”
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – the long awaited follow up to 2006’s hugely successful Elder Scrolls: Oblivion will be at E3 and we’ll probably find out some more information about story and possible classes. Bethesda has promised a massive game world and yes the ability to even fight dragons. I expect RPG fanboys to certainly be pleased in November when Skyrim is officially released.
Battlefield 3 – EA has promised to have the biggest launch in its company’s history behind Battlefield and the game will directly up against Modern Warfare 3’s launch come November. I think E3 will either help put Battlefield 3 over the top as the must have FPS for the year or expose any flaws that could bury its success come Fall.
WWE ’12 – THQ is going back to the drawing board and getting rid of the Smackdown vs. Raw title giving it a traditional sports title marketing overhaul. The game visually looks the same but a lot of the mechanics of the gameplay have been improved. Check out IGN’s preview from earlier this week: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/117/1171529p1.html
Bioshock: Infinite – We haven’t heard much about the third Bioshock game since its initial preview last Fall. The story takes place outside of Rapture for the first time in what looks like a city in the skies. I expect a more playable demo for E3 as well as insight into the storyline and how the game fits into the Bioshock universe.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Not sure what to make of this one, graphically the game looks stunning and Deus Ex has solid brand recognition, even if the games themselves are not always solid. Human Revolution is a prequel to the original Deus Ex released in 2000. The difference between this version and past Deus Ex titles is that it’s being developed with the console systems more in mind. There is no multiplayer in the game either. I expect some more gameplay and campaign footage to be shown off at E3.