The lights are on
People go into E3 with all sorts of dreams and expectations. Price drops, surprise game reveals, new hardware – no matter how implausible, these are the things gamers hope to see. These individual announcements are always exciting, but we’re not going to break down every little thing we want to happen at the show. Instead, we’ve detailed five big-picture trends that we hope to see. On some level, they all boil down to “give us lots of good games,” but that’s something easier said than done.
1. Cut the Cord On Last-Gen
It’s been six months since the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Even so, almost all of the biggest and most anticipated titles – like Titanfall, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Watch Dogs – have been cross-generation. It makes sense from a sales perspective; the more users you can reach, the more copies you can sell. On the other hand, this approach seems to be delaying the true arrival of the new generation of gaming. How can we see the potential of the new hardware if developers need to ensure that the same game functions on old systems? This trend is continuing even through 2014 with games like Destiny and Dragon Age: Inquisition. We want this year’s E3 to get rid of the PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms for any new announcements, demonstrating that we won’t be tied to the past forever.
2. The Wii U Redeemed
Sales of the Wii U have not been encouraging, but we still want to see Nintendo’s latest console succeed. This E3 presents an opportunity to pull the Wii U out of its slump, with new game announcements and concrete release dates that give us something to look forward to. For instance, we still don’t know exactly when Super Smash Bros. or Bayonetta are coming, and those games have been carrots-on-a-stick for Wii U owners for too long. We want to see new games for Wii U, but we know that asking for better third-party support is a pipe dream at this point. However, Nintendo’s first-party games, like Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8, have been excellent. If we could see exciting games showcasing Nintendo’s signature charm and polish (like a new Zelda or Metroid), it could help boost enthusiasm that has been flagging in recent months.
3. New Exclusives
Choosing which new console to buy is exciting, because you get to weigh which platform has the most attractive exclusives. Except sometimes you don’t have much to weigh. With the exception of titles like the PS4’s Infamous: Second Son and Xbox One’s Dead Rising 3, neither of the new systems has presented many games to pull gamers in one direction or the other. Maybe third-party publishers like Ubisoft and EA are hesitant to take the risk, but Sony and Microsoft should at least come out with some solid first-party offerings to bolster their line-ups. Neither company has really made the case for why a new-gen console is necessary (see previous entry re: cross-platform titles). Now is the time to make that happen: Announce games that are exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and make sure that these games demonstrate how the hardware can achieve things that weren’t possible before.
4. More Handheld Support
Everyone is looking at the PS4 and Xbox One for new games, but let’s not forget that we still have two excellent handheld systems in the mix. The Vita and 3DS have proven that they can be a great home for genres that aren’t as prominent on the big screen; role-playing, puzzle, strategy, platformer, and visual novel titles have found success on these portable systems. We hope that continues, but that means we need to see more games announced – and not just afterthought ports. This is especially true for the Vita, since Sony’s handheld doesn’t have a deep library of quality games. Sony needs some unique games to make this device more than a PS4 remote-play accessory. Nintendo, on the other hand, just needs to stay the course, presenting a solid variety of traditional titles and eShop oddities.
5. New IP
The last console generation gave us a broad range of new characters and worlds to rally around from titles like BioShock, Assassin’s Creed, and Uncharted. We still love these games, but new consoles means that it’s time for the old guard to step aside and make room for fresh blood. With rising development costs, publishers seem more inclined to fall back on a sure thing, milking established franchises for all they’re worth. This means that we still haven’t seen much of the new crop of heroes that will (presumably) lead us through the coming years. Watch Dogs, Evolve, and Destiny are among the notable attempts at new franchises, which are discouragingly few – and we want to see that change.
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