The E3 prediction game isn’t getting easier. With publishers opting for smaller game lineups, the number of cards they can hold close to their vests is getting smaller and smaller every year. That’s not going to stop us from gazing into the crystal ball to identify some trends, surprise appearances, and new initiatives we expect to see unfold next week. Here are our most educated guesses for what to expect at E3 2014.

More New-Gen Exclusive Trailers Than Demos
Given the small install bases of the new-gen consoles, publishers would have a hard time recouping expenses, let alone turning profit, on triple-A games launching exclusively on those platforms. This necessitates making cross-generation games that can find fans among the large install bases of the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well. We expect this trend to continue through the year as well, which means the majority of new-gen exclusive titles are probably still a couple years out. This being the case, expect the majority of these announcements to be CG trailers rather than true gameplay since they likely won’t come to market until 2015 at the earliest. To see which games we don’t expect to see, check out this feature we ran last week.

Small Game Lineups
Given the rising cost of competing in the triple-A space, we expect publishers to release fewer games each year going forward. This means game lineups will likely continue to shrink as these companies double down on big franchises or a small group of new IP they can throw considerable marketing dollars behind. Some publishers like Activision and Take-Two may only have a handful of games to show.

Star Wars Games Stay In The Shadows
Upon the launch of Battlefield 4 last October (and November for new-gen consoles), DICE turned its focus to Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror’s Edge 2. Visceral Games also has a Star Wars game in development, bolstered by the addition of Naughty Dog/Crystal Dynamics vet Amy Hennig. But don’t expect either title to get much stage time outside of a teaser trailer. Both games are early in development, so we don’t either one is in a condition where EA would feel comfortable showcasing actual gameplay.

Nintendo Unveils A New Metroid
If you don’t include the horrendous Other M tragedy, fans haven’t experienced a proper Metroid game since 2009. That drought should end this year after Nintendo announces a new title in the series. The big question is whether or not the big N will listen to its clamoring fans to deliver a traditional 2D Metroid experience that resembles the classic entries, continues in the vein of the Prime Trilogy, or takes another unexpected detour with the series. We hope Nintendo chooses wisely.

The Last Guardian Migrates To PS4
Given the torturous development cycle that has included countless delays, E3 no-shows, and the launch of a successor console, shuffling Team Ico’s The Last Guardian over to the PlayStation 4 makes sense. Even if the game isn’t ready for a full demo quite yet, Sony can remind everyone the game is still coming alongside the announcement of its migration to the new platform.

PlayStation Now Gets Release Date
Sony’s cloud gaming service has been incubating for a while now, which means we expect to receive some information about when it plans to launch the platform for the first time at E3. It’s tough to say what kind of support Now will ship with, but a handful of games and a demo service for new titles coming to market would be a great place to start.