Everything We Predicted Right (And Wrong) About Gaming In 2019
Ah, yes. It’s that time of the year. We’re just about to reach the end of 2019, which means it’s time to face the music and ask: “Did we accurately predict some of the biggest things that happened this year in games?” Our annual prediction series is an outlet for GameSpot’s editors to sound off on what they think the future of games might hold!
Last year, we delivered 11 confident predictions, which ranged from logical to, admittedly, potentially absurd. Not all of them came true, but the ones that did were accurate in ways that shocked even us. For a look at everything we got right and wrong about 2019, scroll through the slides below.
If you’re curious about our predictions for 2020, be on the lookout for them in the coming days. We’ll have those on site alongside a wealth of other report cards detailing how this year went for Sony and Microsoft.
GameSpot’s Game of the Year awards are also on the horizon. For a look into how we decide what qualifies as the best this year, be sure to watch our entertaining explainer video detailing our verdict process.
Which one of our predictions do you wish came true in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!
Microsoft Will Release A Disc-Free Xbox One | Eddie Makuch
This one was too easy to get wrong. The rumours and reports pegged it to happen, and Microsoft eventually confirmed what everyone (pretty much) already knew was in the works.
The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, which players quickly pointed out makes it the Xbox One SAD Edition, launched in May in the US and later in the year in other parts of the world. It's the same Xbox One we all know, except it doesn't have a disc drive. People balked at the $250 USD price point, which is around the price of the regular version with a disc drive when it's on sale, but it's hard to know how the all-digital machine is selling because Microsoft does not share sales numbers for its consoles. Microsoft cut the price all the way down to $150 for Black Friday, and that might have made it an eye-catching and attractive option for Xbox fans on a budget this holiday.
For those who have no need or desire for traditional disc-based media, the All-Digital Edition might be an option to consider, but the console continues to be controversial. Retailer GameStop--whose business relies on discs and trade-ins--refuses to sell it.
Microsoft is launching a next-gen console, currently dubbed Project Scarlett, in Holiday 2020--and fans might be happy to know that it will indeed have a disc drive.
A Crash Bash Remaster Will Be Announced | Oscar Dayus
Hello, this is Matt Espineli speaking for my boy Oscar Dayus, and it grieves me to report that my former coworker was sadly mistaken in his prediction last year. While Activision has hit us with so much PlayStation nostalgia the past few years, it seems a remaster of the cult favorite Crash Bash wasn't a part of the publisher's plans in 2019. This Mario Party clone continues to cultivate a small yet dedicated following that yearns for the game to receive the same high-definition makeover of previous Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon collections. After all, if Crash Team Racing can get one, then why not Crash Bash?
While Activision didn't give Crash Bash the love it deserves in 2019, there is a semblance of hope for the future. "When you look at our IP library, we think there's a lot of IP in there the fans are going to want to experience again," said Activision CEO Rob Kostich during a recent investor call. "I'd say stay tuned for some future announcements, but just beyond pure remasters, there are also a lot of opportunities now to innovate and think about totally new content within these IPs."
If that's not a strong indication that the world will one day get a Crash Bash remaster, then I don't know what is. But until we get an official confirmation, we'll have to wallow in the fact we were still wrong.
Sony Combines PlayStation Plus And PlayStation Now For A Premium Service | Chris Pereira
With Xbox Game Pass proving to be wildly popular, I expected Sony to try to push PlayStation Now harder in 2019. And it did, in particular by dropping its price to a more palatable $10 per month in the US. But I also expected Sony to offer a premium version of the service that combined PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, and for standard PS Plus to begin offering limited access to Now.
Neither of those predictions panned out. I was particularly surprised by the lack of any move to bolster PS Plus's offerings when PS3 and Vita games were dropped. On paper, those may not have sounded like real perks with so many people having transitioned entirely to PS4, but Cross-Buy often meant getting some of those PS3/Vita games for free on PS4.
Perhaps Sony deemed it too late in the current console generation to introduce such changes. These additions could be a selling point for PS5 once it launches. I still think these predictions come true--eventually.
Mother 3 Will Get An English Release on Switch | Matt Espineli
It's no surprise that another year has passed, and Mother 3 has yet to release in the West. This GBA follow-up to SNES classic Earthbound remains much-requested by its most ardent fans, as well as my former boss Justin Haywald, who wished so in our prediction series for severalyearsstraight. It's entirely possible to play the game in English thanks to the unofficial fan translation released a decade ago, but many hold onto hope for an official western release.
The hybrid nature of Nintendo Switch still feels like such a perfect home for Mother 3. And considering Nintendo's measured efforts to provide players some of its most classic games via the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, you think we'd get a stronger indication from Nintendo about the possibility of it coming eventually. Still, I was wrong about Mother 3 showing up on Switch, but perhaps this is only the beginning of Nintendo's push for more classic games. Who knows; maybe 2020 is truly the year of Mother 3!
Nintendo Will Announce A Metroid Fusion Remake For 3DS | Jordan Ramée
Back in 2018, I predicted that Nintendo would announce a remake of Metroid Fusion this year. The release and positive reception of 2017's Metroid: Samus Returns--a remake of 1991's Metroid II: Return of Samus--and the Easter eggs therein which point towards Metroid Fusion's established storyline convinced me that Nintendo would skip over remaking Super Metroid and immediately jump into development of a remake of the franchise's fourth mainline entry. It had to be true, I reasoned, claiming that "all the signs for a remake are there already."
Hubris. Pathetic hubris on my part.
In actuality, Nintendo had very little to say about Metroid in 2019. In January 2019, Nintendo senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi admitted development on Metroid Prime 4 had been rebooted as all prior work on the game had not been up to standards. After that, Nintendo had nothing to say in regards to Metroid--remake or otherwise. In August 2019, a VGC analysis suggested that about half of the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption team was reportedly working on Metroid Prime 4, but Nintendo hasn't revealed any insight into how development on the game is going since that January update.
Verdict: So very wrong!
Red Dead Online Will Make, Like, All the Money | Nick Sherman
So Red Dead Online is obviously doing very well financially, but will it approach GTA Online levels of success? Perhaps due to the continuing success of its predecessor and some early missteps, not even close.
How was I supposed to know Rockstar was going to shut down development on nearly every one of its games to keep supporting one they released in 2013 with cars, casinos, and incentives to spend cash?!
I suppose it makes sense. Buying a ranch isn’t as flashy as buying a luxury apartment. Riding into town on a horse with extra stamina isn’t the same as picking up your friend for the latest heist in a Lambo. Getting revenge with a hunting knife on the guy who killed you and stole $2.39 isn’t as satisfying as getting revenge with a Harrier jet on the guy who killed you and stole $10,000. Relativity was not in Red Dead Online’s favor this time around, it seems.
Overall, Red Dead Online is still alive and making tons of money, but thanks to a rocky launch with some egregious play-to-unlock vs. pay-to-unlock structures--even by 2019's standards--the potential for a community the size of GTA Online was torn, weathered, then run out of town on the rail all too willingly.
Kingdom Hearts III Will Be Good, Not Great | Nick Sherman
For a moment, somewhere between dodging boulders while sprinting up a cliff to fight a giant Rock Titan and using Mike Wazowski as a bowling ball, I thought Kingdom Hearts III might actually pull it off. It was the series I knew and loved; the series I had watched grow up throughout the years. But then, the tell-tale signs started rearing their ugly heads like KH II's Hydra.
The Disney worlds were less relevant to the story than ever. The floaty combat never evolved past tap X until you can press Triangle to ride the pirate ship. After screaming at Sora, “Say ‘heart’ again! I dare you. I double-dare you! Sora said 'heart' again!" Like the constant cloaked figures appearing to tell you that you’d never escape the darkness, Kingdom Hearts III itself never managed to find its way out of the maze of threads the last 17 years of spinoffs created.
Despite exhibiting many of the series' most tired faults, KH III still managed to please much of the fanbase. But even at its best, the game fell short of meeting the highs of the first two entries.
In any event, see you in 2026 for Kingdom Hearts 4.
Sony Comes Back With PSX, Officially Announces PS5 Development | Michael Higham
It would've been too easy to simply predict that Sony would reveal details on the PlayStation 5 in 2019, so I had to lump in a time and place for the company to do it. I thought, "If Sony's really going to pull out of E3 but still give us a proper showing of the PS5, it'd have to be through a huge event, right?" Nope, instead the PS5 was detailed in an exclusive article on Wired--props to them.
In that article, console architect and game designer Mark Cerny outlined a number of features that Sony will be packing into the PS5, such as super-fast load times, ray tracing for lighting and shadows, and higher graphical fidelity. Of course, there is much more to a next-gen console than that, but we'll get those details leading up to the PS5's launch in late 2020.
The PSX event was cut in 2018 and didn't return in 2019 like I predicted, and perhaps it would've been too early to hold a big event around the PS5 given its release is still a year away. But Sony has started its own means of disseminating information with its State of Play streams, effectively going the Nintendo Direct route. Maybe I'll lump in a PSX prediction for 2020 as a way for Sony to unveil the actual console itself?
BioWare Will Announce A Mass Effect...Something | Phil Hornshaw
Oh, BioWare. It's been a tough year for the storied RPG maker. Anthem, its take on a live-service game in the vein of Destiny 2, landed with a thud this year, and several key creatives on the game have since moved on. But while the latest title from the developer was a flop, fans are still holding out hope that something new in the Mass Effect franchise could soon grace TV and computer screens. Last year, BioWare made overtures to that effect with a video for its annual November 7 self-celebration, N7 Day. With how thick BioWare general manager Casey Hudson seemed to be laying on the insinuations, I thought for sure a new Mass Effect game would be imminent (or at the very least, a trilogy remaster). Even after trouble surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3 and another flop in Mass Effect: Andromeda, there are still a lot of fond memories and plenty of fan goodwill built up around the series. It seemed like a no-brainer that BioWare would get back to Mass Effect in 2019.
But I was wrong. A year went by with nothing new from BioWare, apart from the turmoil from Anthem. Another N7 Day has rolled up, and again, we're hearing rumblings that BioWare is working on something Mass Effect-related. Rumor has it that producer Mike Gamble is leading a team at BioWare Edmonton and that a future game is in the early stages of development. Gamble also tweeted to ask fans what they want from the future of the franchise. And Hudson showed off some concept art on N7 Day to give fans another glimmer of hope.
It does seem that we haven't heard the last of Mass Effect in 2020, but then again, who knows. There's likely to have been some reaction at the developer in the wake of the Anthem situation, and it's tough to make a prediction about how that might alter the future prospects of Mass Effect (to say nothing of BioWare as a whole). Right now, it seems like BioWare is planning to announce something in its sci-fi franchise--but I wouldn't be willing to bet on it (again).
Bethesda Will Relaunch Fallout 76 | Alessandro Fillari
Last year, I said that Bethesda would relaunch Fallout 76. It didn't quite happen in the way that I expected, but I still stand by the theory that Bethesda would make a significant effort to retool the game into what people wanted in an online Fallout. Sure, it didn't make it a free-to-play game or rework the overall story, but meaningful changes have been made that fundamentally altered the state of Fallout 76 for the better. At E3 2019, the developers at Bethesda Game Studios Austin showed off the newest additions to the game, which included a battle royale-style mode, new events, and other significant changes. In 2020, the developers even plan to add in actual NPC characters in the world, making it seem more like a traditional Fallout game.
Fallout 76 is leaps and bounds in a better state than what it was back at launch. With that said, the game is still in need of a significant rework. As is tradition with other Bethesda open-world RPGs, Fallout 76 is still rife with bugs and other unusual occurrences that are to the detriment of player progression and enjoyment. One of the recent updates introduced a premium service to 76, allowing players to pay a subscription for additional storage and other features. While this has afforded players who spent the additional funds with new resources to take advantage of, the more significant side-effect of this new premium service within 76 is that it's created in-game conflict between the players who do have a special status, and those that don't. Essentially, the recent updates have introduced socio economic unrest in the world of Fallout 76. It has gotten to the point where premium players are building strongholds to protect themselves from less well-off players who've taken to the "eat the rich" mentality.
It's such an odd turn for the recent updates for 76 to unintentionally introduce a situation that shows off shades of Lord of the Flies. You could make the argument that the vault dwellers of Vault 76 are currently taking part in one of Vault-Tec's controlled experiments, which is something that seems in-line with series lore. Still, Fallout 76 will need a lot more work to get to where it needs to be, and I believe a proper relaunch will be the only way for it to succeed going forward.
Nintendo Will Release Updated Switch Hardware | Kallie Plagge
Last year, I predicted--albeit based on early reports--that Nintendo would release new, updated Switch hardware in 2019. That's technically correct! The Switch Lite released this year, and it does have one of the features I predicted at the time: better battery life. The same was true for the standard Switch--it, too, received better battery life in 2019 with a revamp under the hood. It's marginally better, maybe, but still.
However, my pie-in-the-sky predictions did not come true in the slightest. There's no Bluetooth-compatible Switch (yet), and while I expected a bigger screen, the Lite's is, of course, smaller. I also naively hoped for official Joy-Cons with D-pads on them and was both wrong and disappointed. I did say that I would buy any Animal Crossing-themed Switch bundle available, and because Animal Crossing: New Horizons got delayed, that offer still stands.
Verdict: Sort of right!