I've mentioned a couple of times now on Gamespot how E3 always seems to make me excited about the future of video games, even though I've watched several conferences over the years and know about what to expect from the event. There's something magical about it - and for the most part, E3 is the one big event that shows us which major games we can expect to be playing over the next year.
E3 2014 is an important year for the game industry, I think. Each of the major console manufacturers has something to prove this year. Sony needs to show people why the PS4 is on top. Microsoft needs to show consumers that they've changed, and also that they are every bit as good as the competition. And Nintendo needs to show that they're still relevant and they've still got it.
This year I think is the first time in a long time that I find myself rooting for all three. I want Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to all succeed. But this year could really help or hurt any of them. If 2013 was the year that prepped us for new hardware, then 2014 should deliver on promises of good software to play on that hardware.
I've compiled a list of some games, across all of the game systems, which I am excited to learn more about from E3. After E3, maybe there will be more games to look forward to - maybe there will even be some games on this list that I grow more excited about. Let's have a look, in no particular order, shall we?
What?: Sunset Overdrive is an open-world 3rd-person action shooter, set in a fun and upbeat post-apocalyptic world.
When the citizens of Sunset City consume a new Fizzco brand energy drink, they turn into crazed mutants. Luckily for the protagonist and several other survivors, this isn't the end of the world; it's the beginning of a world free of judgement and full of action and excitement.
Players can customize the player character's appearance, and fight mutants with a wide variety of out-of-this-world weapons - including a gun that fires teddy bears strapped to dynamite that burst with cottony blight, and one that launches vinyl records which play music as they soar through the air. The game world is also very fun to explore and traverse, thanks to smart world design and a plethora of rails and lines for the player's character to glide and grind across.
Why?: Made by Insomniac Games, the minds behind the classic Spyro the Dragon games and Ratchet and Clank, as well as the Resistance titles on the PS3; Sunset Overdrive oozes the fun and creativity of the developer's past efforts. It is perhaps the most interesting new open-world game to come along in a while, and it could be one that is very fun to actually move around and play in.
Sunset Overdrive caught my attention big-time. As though you couldn't tell by my total re-haul of my profile and avatar to celebrate and promote the game. A lot of work has gone into making the game over the last 3 years, and the developers found a direction with the game that seems very refreshing and next-gen to me. Microsoft was smart to scoop this one up. And it might just be the game that encourages me to buy an Xbox One.
2. (PS4, PS3, ONE, 360, PC)
What?: DAI is the sequel to Dragon Age Origins and its much-maligned sequel DA2. Set a short spell after the events of the previous game, Inquisition tasks a new player character, the Inquisitor, with travelling across much of Thedas to quell widespread upheaval between the mages and Templars, and to save the world from turmoil.
DAI features some gorgeous graphics, courtesy of the Frostbite 3 engine, and promises to be much larger than the previous games in terms of physical size and depth. There will be more features all-around, and a new playable race with the qunari.
Why?: DAI looks to be an impressive game. EA and Bioware have made grand statements about the game, and so far seem to be backing that up with each new piece of information that trickles out over the passing months. It sounds like the game will look great, and be massive. And it sounds like every aspect of the series, from conversation options to exploration, will be improved in some way with this game.
Inquisition is also important because many fans of the first game were unhappy with DA2. This is a chance for the developers to redeem themselves, and give the consumer a much better game with the lore they've laid the foundations for. Whether Dragon Age Inquisition can live up to its lofty expectations in execution remains to be seen, but it is shaping up to be impressive. And it is the game I am presently most looking forward to on the PlayStation 4.
3. (Wii-U, 3DS)
What?: Super Smash Bros. has been a major slam-dunk for Nintendo ever since the N64 days. Each Big-N console has had a sequel since, and for the most part they've all been really good games. The newest iteration, which has been in the works for at least two years now, is perhaps the most secretive one yet.
SSB4, as I am calling it, will feature the return of many fan-favorite characters, as well as a few new ones. The game will be the first in the series released for both a Nintendo console and handheld; each version having exclusive stages and content. It also aims to address balance issues, and to make the games more fun to play for all kinds of players.
Why?: Super Smash Bros. games have always been good, and though others have attempted to imitate the formula none have quite succeeded. What makes the series so great is a mix of Nintendo charm, that fantastically-refined Nintendo character control, and the unique approach to fighting with the percentage meter - rather than a standard health bar.
SSB4 could attract people to the struggling Wii-U. For me, the 3DS version is the one I'm looking forward to. I have a 3DS, and I have always believed that Smash Bros. would work just fine on a handheld. This game will show that it does. But at any rate, it feels like just the right time for a new Smash Bros. game.
Many people are still skeptical of SSB4 though. Right now, despite frequent updates and factoids about the game from its producer over Miiverse, most of the information about SSB4 remains shrouded in mystery. For starters, the connection between the 3DS and Wii-U versions, if any. And it has recently been rumored that one or both versions of the game will utilize Nintendo figurines in the NFC program for gameplay in SSB4. Whether this will make the game more interesting, less appealing, or won't impact my opinion of it at all remains to be seen. But I am hoping it turns out good.
What?: Rumor has it that a collection of the 4 main Halo titles is coming to Xbox One. It is unclear whether or not it will include other major Halo games, such as ODST and Reach, though most reporters suspect it will not. I am unsure at this point whether the game will feature original versions of each title in HD, brand new versions, or a mix of old and new muttery.
Why?: Halo is one game series that, when I'm away from it for a while, I begin to miss. To me, Halo represents the perfect FPS series, and I don't think I'd mind playing some of those old favorites all over again.
Actually, I have never played Halo 2 or 4, so that is even better. N00b score! But I am disappointed that the collection is rumored to not include ODST - perhaps my favorite Halo game so far - and Reach which was also great in its own right. I am concerned about whether it would include Halo CE or Halo Anniversary - personally I might prefer classic Halo CE in HD. But I guess that is a minor concern when this package would include so much sheer value.
5. (PS4, ONE, 360, PS3)
What?: Destiny is a brand new game series from the creators of the Halo franchise, Bungie. (Halo is now in the hands of Microsoft's 343 Industries.) It looks to be quite similar to Halo, which is good, but also distinguishes itself as a shared online shooter that grows and evolves over time.
Destiny includes some Borderlands-esque features, and players can select a race and class, and outfit their character in different equipment and weapons. Though it is all very similar to Halo, it should feel like a natural evolution of where Bungie wants to take the FPS genre next.
Why?:I am still very on-the-fence about Destiny. Part of the reason is that consoles all require subscription fees to play games online now. The other reason is that I'm not even sure if I'd like it. I mean it's like Halo, but it's NOT Halo. And that is kind of how I felt about Killzone Shadow Fall - it was like Halo, but it wasn't enough like Halo for me to get into it.
I'm interested in the character customization, the different armor and guns you can acquire, all of that... I think it has some potential as an FPS. But I am also not a really social gamer and I don't have a bunch of buddies who I could form a group with to play this game co-op. At the same time, if I don't get an Xbox One, this might be the closest I can get to that sort of Halo style of play that I love so very much. But the online aspect of the game is also something I am wary of.
What?: Before the Wii-U was released, Nintendo showcased an impressive Zelda tech demo for the hardware. Gamers were excited, but since then nothing has come of the news. Leading up to E3, there have been rumors flying around that a new Legend of Zelda game is indeed on its way to the Wii-U.
Why?: The Wii-U tech demo did admittedly look very good, so I can see why people would be excited. But admittedly, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword didn't look all that interesting to me, and I've felt for some time like Zelda is in major need of changes to its formula.
I think a Zelda Wii-U announcement would excite most Nintendo fanboys, but the trailer or gameplay footage or whatever would probably have to be pretty darn good to convince the general gamer that Nintendo has an ace in their sleeve. Truth be told, I would be more excited if Nintendo announced a new IP that looked good. But if it is a Zelda game, I hope Nintendo will do something much different, at least stylistically like they did with Windwaker.
7. (ONE, PS4, ??)
What?: The prequel to the original Mirror's Edge game on the 360 and PS3, this new ME game hopes to reboot the series in the next gen.
Players control a parkour runner named Fayth in a sterile, futuristic city where the law oppresses everyone, and the network of runners seek to transport information and stand up for the people non-violently.
Why?: Some of you may remember that clear back in 2008, Mirror's Edge 1 was one of the games that spurred me to buy an Xbox 360 - alongside games like Dead Rising and Fable (downloadable.) Indeed, it didn't seem like a bad game. The graphics were great, the story and concept were very good, and the game was fairly original.
What got me last time, however, was the frantic pacing of the gameplay. And the emphasis on speed-running, which I usually don't do in video games. I was also overwhelmed by a plethora of 360 games, with new hit games coming out constantly around that time period. So whether I would enjoy ME2, or even have time for it amongst more appealing games, is unclear. But maybe it will turn out quite interesting?
8. (Wii-U or 3DS)
What?: There has been fan outcry for a new Metroid game for some time, and rumors have circulated that fans may get their wish at E3. Whether it's a 1st-person or 2D side-scrolling adventure, I would be interested. But Nintendo has a lot of work to do to live up to the likes of the hit 'Prime' series of games.
Why?: I would prefer a 3DS Metroid game, obviously, but I can see where it would be an important boon for the wii-U. I think the latest game in the series, Other M, looked very uninteresting. Apparently other fans agree. So a new Metroid game would need to have a much better story and better gameplay, than something of that caliber.
There is a lot of possibility for a new Metroid game, there's a lot of lore to draw from, and many different places they could pick up from in the series to continue telling the story of bounty-hunter Samus Aran. They could continue where the last chronological game, Fusion, left off - or go back farther once more, and link together other games and timelines in the series.
I think I would personally enjoy seeing some of the other rival bounty hunters again. Even if it weren't a sequel to Metroid Prime Hunters. Just seeing Samus interact with other characters at all, even without spoken dialogue, is a nice improvement over the older games.
What?: Deep Down is Capcom's answer to Demon's Souls. A free, downloadable game, it will feature micro-transactions and emphasize player assistance to tackle the game. It will also somehow tell a story set in modern times and a fantasy world, simultaneously.
Why?: Well, the game is kinda free. And I like Souls. So that's why. Could either be really win-win, or else a disappointment.
Perhaps I'm really looking forward to hearing more about this game, because I want to know if Sony has another rad exclusive on their hands. After all, I presently have no PS4 exclusives that I'm really looking forward to.
What?: Some great new news I heard last night was that Costume Quest is getting a sequel.
Costume Quest was a nice downloadable game by Double-Fine a few years back, where you played as trick-or-treating kids who could transform into epic versions of the costumes they wore to battle candy-stealing goblins. I've felt for some time that a sequel is due. Apparently Double-Fine realized the potential of a sequel!
What made the game great was its light-hearted and imaginative nature, and its intelligent but childlike child characters and their interactions with each other, with monsters, and with adults who are completely unaware of the goings-on during Halloween night. The battles were also great, too.
Why?: Costume Quest was a great game, but is was short. I was left wanting more, and I felt like the gameplay was good enough to support a full-length adventure. Whether or not CQ2 improves in this way, it is still good that the game is getting some sort of sequel.
Surely, the game will feature more imaginative costume transformations, new abilities, and either a new story or one that continues where the original left off. If we're going by the cliff-hanger ending to the Grubbins on Ice DLC, then this game may involve time-travel, and a quest to save Lucy.
What?: The second of developer 343 Industries' Halo games, Halo 5 Guardians is set sometime after the events of Halo 4, with Master Chief on a desert world with a broken Cortana, and a whole new fleet of futuristic super soldiers.
Making its leap to the next gen, Halo 5 is sure to be an important benchmark for the series, bringing Microsoft's flagship IP to the One.
Why?: This kind of goes along with the Halo Master Chief Collection, but honestly there isn't a game out there that is just like Halo. I could play countless other FPS games, even ones that look wildly similar to Halo - but they are never quite as good as Halo. And also, they don't have the Halo story, rich in lore that only the most die-hard of fans can appreciate, yet accessible enough that you can enjoy each new game like a Hollywood blockbuster.
Seeing Halo continue on and thrive well after its time with Bungie is something. And I hope it continues, by golly!
What?: First of all, that is not an image from Crackdown 3, I'm aware. But yes, there are rumors that a new Crackdown game is in the works. And with Microsoft's Phil Spencer being a big fan of Crackdown, I think it was only a matter of time til they decided to take another crack at it after the mediocre Crackdown 2.
Why?: I could sit here and list the major exclusives that made me an Xbox fan on the 360, and one of those IPs would definitely be Crackdown.
For me, Crackdown defined what an open-world game was, what an open-world game could be. Full of unlockables and upgrades, things to obtain that were worth all of that hard work and effort. Admittedly, I didn't feel quite the same way about the Infamous games.
I never played Crackdown 2, but I never wanted to. I just felt like, they got it right the first time around. Now that we have some new tech, and time and perspective on our side, I am more optimistic about a new Crackdown game. Especially if it's at least as good as the original was.
What?: Nintendo is revisiting the Hoenn region of the Pokémon games with Alpha and Omega versions of Ruby and Sapphire. Unlike previous updates of the older Pokémon games, this update sounds as though it will be more than a simple remake. We might be looking at a sequel, or at least a remake with additional content.
Why?: Ruby and Sapphire are probably the most under-appreciated Pokémon games. They did a lot for modernizing the series after Gold and Silver, and were essentially the clean slate upon which the DS games were built. They also introduced one of the most unique locales in the series with Hoenn - half land, half sea - an island paradise.
Ruby and Sapphire also had one of the more interesting stories in a Pokémon game, with the struggle between Team Magma and Team Aqua to bring about a world of land or a world of ocean. Groudon and Kyogre; the pokemon of land and sea, respectively; were also pretty cool - as was the pokemon of the atmosphere, Rayqueza. They are apparently getting new forms, perhaps through a fusion with Rayqueza, or else a mega evolution. The game may add more content, where the recent X and Y were somewhat lacking.
What?: Leaked in a cell phone photo from the staging area for Nintendo demo stations that will appear at E3, apparently there is a 3DS game that will let people make their own Mario levels, or something.
It may or may not amount to much. It could be a simple time-waster or app. But maybe it could be something more.
Why?: Years ago I thought it would be cool if Nintendo made a Mario game that they could add new levels or stages to over time, after release, free of charge. When Wiiconnect24 was detailed for the Wii, I imagined a service in which new levels would download to the system in standby mode one night, and you'd wake up to find out that your Mario Bros. game just extended its shelf life!
...Nothing quite like that ever happened, of course. But equally interesting is the prospect of being able to make your own Mario levels... Heck, maybe your own Mario Bros. games - to share with others. The question is, what kinds of creation tools will be available to the player, and how good will they be? And, most importantly - is this just a tech demo, or an actual game?
What?: Last year, Nintendo showed off footage of Monolith Soft's upcoming game, aptly codenamed Project X, or 'X' for short. The game showed that gameplay was pretty far along in development, and featured a battle with a large monster.
The reason why there is so much hype surrounding X, is that this is the spiritual successor to the Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles. XC was a huge hit late in the Wii's lifespan, and was the most prolific RPG on that console.
Why?: What better place to start with a hit Wii-U game, than with the company that made the game that got people talking about the Wii again long after it was old news? Monolith Soft has a lot of obscure Nintendo hits under their belts now, and since they developed a popular formula with Xenoblade, they're hoping to refine that formula with X.
The reason why I have my eye on the game is simple. I never played Xenoblade Chronicles, so my interest is piqued. While I might not be a raving fan of Monster Hunter, or a fan of the Wii or Wii-U, I do appreciate a good JRPG. So here's to hoping this one pleases fans of Xenoblade.
16. Project Beast (PS4?)
What?: Apparently a new IP in the works by Demon's Souls and Dark Souls creators From Software, Project Beast seems to continue on as the spiritual successor of those two games and bring their challenging style of gameplay into the next gen.
The supposed screenshots of the game look great, and very next-gen. It's also said that the lead designer of the series, who was promoted within the company, will have more input on this game than he was able to on Dark Souls 2.
Why?: Early last year I discovered Demon's Souls when I finally joined the ranks of PS3 owners. I was intrigued. It took me a while to understand just what the appeal of these games was, but once I did, I felt like I was witnessing an entirely new genre of game being made. And perhaps I was.
Project Beast, tentative title and all, looks to be a great continuation from the Souls games, possibly even finally taking a more original approach to the plot and setting. Little is known at this point, but I'm hoping it will be good, and that it will be a much-needed PS4 exclusive.
What?: I'm as confused as you probably are. But however the idea came about, developer Atlus Software is apparently making a game in conjunction with Intelligent Systems, based on both the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem properties.
All that has been said is that the game is, quite vaguely, "an RPG", and that characters from the SMT and FE universe will appear in the game.
Why?: I love Fire Emblem. I'm not a huge fan of SMT, but it does have its appeal, and a big fanbase. But the Wii-U needs games, and this couldn't happen anywhere else.
The idea is odd, but it just might be crazy enough to work. And you can't just say two big RPG franchises are getting a cross-over, and then show the fans nothing.
And, last but not least...
18. (PS4?, PS3?)
What?: Forever and a half ago, Team ICO was working on their third major game for the PS3, following the success of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. The game, entitled The Last Guardian, received a trailer and screenshots, and convinced many Sony fans to go out and buy a PS3... Only to have the game go into development Hell for years.
But Sony has repeatedly re-asserted that The Last Guardian is not a dead project, and that we will hear something about the game when the time is right. So maybe, just maybe, the time is now?
Why?: The Last Guardian has essentially reached E3-Legendary-Status. For years we've waited to hear if the game is finally ready to come out and then... Nothin'. And the sad part is, we've moved on to the next console gen, and this game still isn't out... So people who bought a PS3 expecting to be able to play this game years ago, may be sadly disappointed whether it still doesn't come out, but does - just for the PS4.
I have no idea if the game is going to be good, but Team ICO's games are something different. And this one deserves a clear-cut verdict. Even moreso than Half-Life 3, which probably deserves space on a list like this. (But it isn't, because I have spent enough time on this list.)
So there you have it. A total of 18 games I'm looking forward to hearing more about tomorrow and over the next couple of days. And those are just the games I'm thinking of and am presently aware of.
I guess we'll find out soon enough what the next year of gaming holds in store.
Are there any games on this list that any of you are excited about? Are there any games you would have included that I did not? Or maybe there is something else you are interested in altogether - perhaps Oculus Rift, or news about a new Nintendo console, for example? Whatever it is, I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts!