E3 is less than a week away so it feels like it's time to start cranking out the pre-E3 articles. This year is my eight time at E3 and I've already started forming a list of the questions that I'm looking to have answered from the show.
Will there be any surprise announcements or will everything leak before the show even starts?
In this age of gaming blogs it's a wonder that Sony was able to have at least one or two surprises at their E3 press conference last year. Every year it seems that more and more of the content of the press conference is either leaked or discovered before E3 week even gets here. This year I think we'll know most of what's going to be shown before the first journalist sets foot inside a conference hall, but I'm hoping that we'll get two or three big surprises during the first two days of the show.
Can the ESA keep the momentum going from last year?
Last year's E3 was a near perfect blend of the old school "shock and awe" E3 blended with the "We're here to do business" E3 of 2006-2008 and I'm interested to see if the ESA can keep the lid on exhibitors this year (I'm looking at you Activision). The show seems to have more exhibitors than last year, but I'm hoping that they can keep the noise down and the aisles clear. I'd mention that I'd see a limit on the beefcake and booth babes but I think that would get me lynched.
When will Move/Natal launch and how much will they cost?
Microsoft and Sony are going to be heavily pushing their motion control schemes at the show this year, so the first question is: when will the devices be available to consumers and how much will they cost. We all know that the systems will be out this holiday season but the big question is who will get their device on shelves first and who will have the cheaper device. Of course the Wii remote has been out for nearly four years so Sony and Microsoft are really battling for number two.
As an aside, it will be interesting to see the launch titles from Sony and Microsoft not only in terms of quantity but quality. Nintendo had a ton of motion games at launch but let's be honest, most of them were tired tech demos that didn't exactly trip the excitement meter. Hopefully Sony and Microsoft can avoid this problem with some engaging titles that don't fall into the shovelware category.
What will the final name for Natal be?
Microsoft has made it clear that Natal is not the final name for their motion control device so the question now is what will the final name be. I'm guessing we'll get this Sunday night at the Natal event but Microsoft could wait until their press conference on Monday to announce it. Of course the name will probably leak the week before making all of the PR planning moot.
What game will be this year's Scribblenauts?
At almost every E3 there is a game that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. Last year it was Scribblenauts, although Katamari Damacy falls into that category. Given that we got Scribblenauts last year I think we're due for an off year.Will the Nintendo press conference not suck this year?
This will be the third year in a row that I've skipped the Nintendo press conference and I've yet to regret it. While my fellow journalists were trapped in a never-ending barrage of "We're awesome" slides, Vitality Sensors, and music games that no one cares about, I've gotten to relax and check out other games like Dead Space and DefJam Rapstar with minimal distractions.
What would that take? Well maybe a new first party IP or some hardware that made sense but honestly I just don't see it happening. Flame away Nintendo Fan boys, flame away. Your hatred only makes me stronger.
What is Insomniac working on?
We know that Insomniac games is working on at least three unannounced games right now as they usually have two games in production at their Santa Monica studio and you have to figure that their North Carolina studio is working in at least one game. Thinking about the Insomniac franchises you have to think that one is Resistance:Fall of Man 3. As for the other two I don't think one of them is a Ratchet and Clank game as they've talked about taking a break from those two for a while so that leaves two new games in development.
Personally, I think we'll see Resistance 3 announced with a holiday 2010 release date and the announcement of a new game. I wish I could tell you what that was or even what genre the game is but I don't have a clue.
Which sequel will be better received?
This year we're primed to get a bunch of sequels to great new IP's. On the show floor we'll hopefully get to see Dead Space 2, Scribblenauts 2, Portal 2, and Arkham Asylum 2, all games that made strong first entries. Of those I'm probably worried about Scribblenauts 2 the most; the game is going to have to introduce some new gameplay modes and fix the serious control issues that plagued the first game.
Is 2010 the year 3D goes big or just the year it's introduced?
There's no doubt that 2010 is the year that 3D hits the gaming world, but the question is if this is the year it goes mainstream. Personally I think we're about two years out for 3D to be widely adopted or not. We know that the PS3 will be getting an update to support 3D gaming after E3 and Nintendo will be rolling out the 3Ds but I don't think this is the year it takes off.
What would make things interesting is if Microsoft or Nintendo (well for the Wii) tosses their hats into the 3D ring. It seems unlikely for Microsoft given their focus on Natal this year although the thought of a 3D Natal game is interesting though and could be something they plan for next year. As for Nintendo a 3D announcement would take mindshare away from the 3DS and would require them to support high definition televisions.
I'm also hoping that Sony announces a date for when the PS3 will support 3D Blu Ray movies as the platform doesn't support it currently.
Half Life 2:Episode 3?
For the love of God, Valve, it's been three years. Stop our suffering already. I know Portal 2 will be awesome, but it's time to finish what you started.
We'll (hopefully) find out the answers to these questions next week so be sure to come back go Gaming Nexus for our coverage of the show.