For we privileged members of the press, E3 has already become a known quantity; with so many of the conference’s titles confirmed by press releases or revealed at events earlier this year, surprising our prepared staff may prove impossible. But there’s always a chance that some unexpected announcement will make us remember why we got into this business in the first place. So, what reveals would make each of us pop our monocles, spit out our drinks, and squeal like newborn pigs? Read on and discover the E3 showings that will probably only appear in our dreams. And make sure you let us know about your own!
Jeremy Parish: I am a simple man of simple needs. Three simple needs, in fact. One: I need Capcom to bring back Mega Man. That’s not so hard, is it? You wouldn’t think so. They’ve managed to churn out, like, 120 Mega Man games in 25 years; surely one more every now and then should be cake. They made a pretty big splash a few years ago by taking the series waaaay back to its 8-bit roots, and after the past year’s worth of Mega Man cancellations and disappointments they could do a lot worse for fan goodwill than offering us a simple reminder that, hey, we remember this series that helped make us a world-class developer in the first place.
Two: I need Nintendo to get on the ball and bring over a few of the more promising Dragon Quest games in recent memory and on the horizon. I could live without the Dragon Quest Monsters remake, but the 3DS sequel to Rocket Slime is completely wonderful and deserves to be playable on my U.S. region system. And the promised-but-not-yet-seen Wii U version of Dragon Quest X would be much appreciated as a first-generation release in the U.S. Consoles take ages to build up a decent RPG library, so why not bring over a single RPG guaranteed to keep us going for months and months?
And three: I need a portable RPG that offers the scope and scale of something like Skyrim or Xenoblade. Gravity Rush beautifully demonstrates the Vita’s ability to play host to a big honkin’ open world game, so lets get some RPG mechanics, quests, and grinding in there. I can sink hundreds of hours into a portable game like Dragon Quest IX or Pokémon ? I can only imagine how much of my life a full-scale modern-style portable RPG would consume. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, game industry.
Jose Otero: It’s safe to say that nothing has gone according to plan for The Last Guardian. After an unplanned leak before E3 2009 thrust the next project from the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus team prematurely into the public eye, the game and its developers have endured a tumultuous journey; one where bad news typically follows even more bad news and public skepticism slowly sucks the wind out of the game’s ambitious sails. But some things are still worth fighting for and, for all intents and purposes, The Last Guardian could still become one of the most memorable titles in the PlayStation 3 library. Don’t believe me? Then look to Ueda’s previous games. Both inspired and well-made adventures honed in on raw emotional touchstones and relationships that many other games typically ignore.
Three years after its unscheduled announcement, The Last Guardian needs some serious ground swell. But in order to do that, someone has to play the game in a live setting — preferably at a major industry press conference like E3 where everyone can see it — and remind us all of its remarkable qualities. Only then will people see what’s so great about The Last Guardian and assuage their fears as they patiently await its release.
Marty Sliva: Hey Nintendo, I’m not sure if you remember, but you released a pretty neat RPG for the SNES back in 1995. It was called EarthBound, and it delivered a strange dose of Americana rife with charm, humor, and a phenomenal (if not slightly illegal) soundtrack. The game was so good that I find myself playing through it on an annual basis. A decade later, you released Mother 3 for the GBA. This spiritual successor never left Japan, but some of us crafty kids played a translated version of it, and we agree that it’s all sorts of great. The fact that the soundtrack is woven into the battle system makes each encounter wonderfully dynamic. So why do you continually pretend like these two fantastic titles don’t exist? If my dreams hadn’t been smothered years ago, I’d wish for E3 2012 to be the event where you announce the Mother Trilogy for 3DS, complete with all three titles and a slew of behind the scenes goodies chronicling the series’ production and subsequent fan base. But like I said, the fire of hope that once resided in me has long since extinguished, so I guess I’ll just continue staring at my 3DS knowing full well that I’ll never use its dual screens to battle a New Age Retro Hippie.
Bob Mackey: I’ll admit it; I’m totally jumping the gun, here. We still haven’t heard thing one about the Deadly Premonition remastered edition, which will supposedly make a showing at E3. At this point, I’d settle for a teaser of Deadly Premonition 2, if only to rest assured that the original’s quirky director isn’t slaving away on Monster Hunter clones like Lord of Arcana. The back story to SWERY’s 2010 cult hit implied a series of past adventures for the intrepid special agent Francis York Morgan, and a sequel could easy shed light into some of the past chapters of his life. Or, we could pick up where the last game left off, with Morgan leaving the Pacific Northwestern town of Greenvale for a slew of new adventures. Whatever the case, SWERY’s take on open world gaming provided a memorable cast of characters with their own distinct personalities and schedules, and the promise of another trip to one of his IP-infringing worlds would make this E3 the best E3 of all time.
Dennis Farrell: More than any game or piece of hardware, I’m hoping for a major step forward in console user interfaces. It’s not that I want them to become more flashy, with 3D menus and integration with the next generation of hands-free eyebrow sensing technology demonstrated by child actors. Quite the opposite, really. UIs should fade into the background and let us get to the content we care about as quickly and easily as possible.
Current dashboards are slow, cluttered, and resource-intensive things attempting to shoulder their way into the center of our entertainment. Clunky layers of unwanted content, extra button presses, constant software updates, and ads serve as obstacles. Each inconvenience is minor, but over time it all adds up to a negative experience that we shouldn’t have to overcome.
Imagine being able to turn on a system and launch a game almost immediately, without a protracted logo sequence to hide glacial load times. Now imagine games running smoothly at higher frame rates as less overhead is tasked to the hardware, with no gameplay hitches from received messages or achievement popups. That, more than anything, is what I’d like to see.
Todd Ciolek: It seems unjust that we remember Yuji Naka chiefly as the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s not quite fair to his numerous other creations, but then again, they’ve never captured the spotlight like Sonic did back in 1991. NiGHTS will forever be a mere cult success, Burning Rangers is underrated to this very day, and even the recent Ivy the Kiwi! didn’t get the reception it deserved. Rodea the Sky Soldier faces a similar fate?and it’s not even out. In an interview last September, Naka stated that his studio, Prope, already wrapped up the game’s development. Yet Kadokawa Games was suspiciously silent about just when they might publish the game in any part of the world. Long silences rarely bode well for games.
Scott Weber: Okay, I’ll be the one who brings it up: Half-Life 3 (or Half-Life 2: Episode 3, depending on whether or not Valve decides to ditch episodic ordering) is the veritable Sasquatch of the gaming industry. Some claim to have seen it, others even claim to have worked on it, but its existence has yet to be scientifically proven. Might this be the year that GabeN and crew finally give us a brief glimpse of arguably the most pined-after title in recent memory? Unfortunately, it’s not very likely — Valve has gone on record to say that they won’t be announcing anything new this year, and besides, they’ll probably be much too busy touting Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — but hey, we can still dream… and pray… and beg… and cry, right? Rest assured, if even one tiny pixelated screenshot manages to make its way out onto the show floor, you will not stop hearing about it for the next year or two (or three, or four, or five, or…).
On a more tangible note, it’s recently been confirmed by LucasArts that there will indeed be a Star Wars announcement at this year’s E3. What they’ve yet to announce, though, is the subject matter. A lot of speculation has pointed towards the well-received and much-beloved Battlefront series — the 3rd title of which having been subjected to one of the most topsy-turvy development sagas of all time. But it appears that’s not to be: SpikeTV is set to premire(sic) the next big Star Wars franchise prior to E3, thus negating any chance of seeing an already-established IP.
It seems, thanks to the appearance of a recent trademark-filing for ‘StarWars 1313′ by Lucasfilm, that the game could possibly revolve around Boba Fett, his former call-sign being that of CT-1313. Or perhaps it may be an open-world game — former Ubisoft and Far Cry 2 dev Clint Hocking has been working as creative director on an unnamed project for LucasArts since 2010. Imagine hunting down a (one-armed) Wampa on a Far Cry 2-esque Hoth before high-tailing it back to base on your Tauntaun. Personally, I’m hoping for something that combines the best bits of Jedi Knight with those of TIE Fighter, and succeeds (commercially) where The Old Republic seems to have failed. That’s not too much to ask for, right? But really, whatever LucasArts announces this E3, I just hope that it’ll be tailored towards the crowd that prefers their scoundrels scoundrelin’, not dancing.
Chris Pereira: With it already receiving a book tie-in, the TV show Archer is begging for some sort of video game adaptation. It’s as funny as anything on TV and its premise — a secret agent and habitual drinker/fornicator/lacrosse player/asshole Sterling Archer and his eccentric coworkers getting into adult-style hijinks — lends itself to any number of genres. An Archer game could be a lighthearted stealth/espionage affair, a first-person shooter like No One Lives Forever (which also starred a spy with the last name Archer), an adventure game (episodic or otherwise), an RPG similar to the upcoming Obsidian-developed South Park game, or a strategy game in the mold of Evil Genius.
Whatever the case, the game would be laced with humor and the obscure references showrunner Adam Reed loves, and accompanied by the show’s voice talent (featuring the brilliant H. Jon Benjamin and regular characters voiced by the likes of Arrested Development vets Jessica Walter and Judy Greer, as well as guest appearances by David Cross and Jeffrey Tambor) and its “ill-defined” time period, there would be no limit to what could be possible.
Nick Todd: For all the talks of Final Fantasy remakes (or just one in particular) it’s about time that possibly the greatest 2D Final Fantasy of them all returns to the industry in the form of Final Fantasy VI on the Nintendo 3DS. Released nearly 20 years ago for the Super Nintendo, this RPG was one of the most ambitious 2D titles Square had produced prior to the franchise’s jump io 3D. With the series having a history of 2D Final Fantasy remakes (Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV) on Nintendo’s dual-screen platform, the 3DS seems to be the most logical place to see a remake of Square’s RPG classic. With Braverly Default: Flying Fairy and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy most likely on display at this year’s show, an announcement of a Final Fantasy VI remake would most definitely cannibalize interest in either of Square Enix‘s new properties, making the likelihood of its appearance at the show slim to none. I have to admit though, the idea of watching VI’s iconic opening in 3D as Terra, Biggs, and Wedge march through a blizzard toward the town of Narshe over the horizon is an exciting one.