E3 is less than a month away now, and already rumour is rife and speculation is circulating as to what we can expect from not quite the biggest, but easily the most anticipated expo of the year. It's a bit ridiculous, in all honesty, each and every publisher jostling for attention with bombastic announcements and jaw-plummeting reveals. And we love it.
So we thought, in anticipation of the big day(s) and to appropriately whet your appetites, we'd fill you in on all the big announcements we expect to be made, and what else might occur. We'll be at the event, too, providing you with up to the minute coverage each and every day!
It's no secret Nintendo is preparing to unveil the Wii's successor at E3. It's been confirmed. But just what can we expect from the so-called Project Cafe? It's rumoured to be more powerful than a PS3, it might even feature a blu-ray drive, too. Furthermore, the controller is set to play a large part in defining the Wii 2. According to reports, it acts almost like a tethered DS, allowing you to take games away and play them on the go, only to return to the console proper and continue the progress you'd already made.
We'll be at Nintendo's conference, so whatever shape the Wii 2 decides to take you can count on us to bring you the deets. I have a sneaky suspicion Nintendo is keeping a vital card up its sleeve until the actual reveal.
Kinect, Round Two
It's been a year now since Kinect was first officially announced, and the peripheral once dubbed Project Natal has gone on to become the best-selling consumer electronics device of all time. With the launch now out of the way, Microsoft has it all to prove that Kinect isn't simply a one-trick pony; that it can truly redefine gaming, just as Microsoft promised. We already know about Avatar Kinect, but what else might be on show?
Well, no less than ten non-sequel Kinect titles are due for reveal at E3, apparently, with Microsoft's intention being to serve the hardcore with a slew of titles to reward their patience. But just what might we see? Well, for one, I expect Epic to finally confirm the oft-rumoured Gears of War Exodus, a supposedly on-the-rails Kinect shooter spin on the first two games. Forza World, a sprawling open-world racer, might also be announced, and I expect the Halo: Combat Evolved remake has been so long in development because MS is integrating Kinect functionality, but now might be finally ready to whisk away the curtain. And Lionhead is supposedly hammering away at an all new Kinectified title.
With Move not quite flopping, but definitely not competing with the likes of the Wii or even Kinect, the Playstation Network still in a state of disarray, Sony faces its toughest E3 yet. It's big hitters and jaw-dropping announcements appear spent; with Move, 3D, Uncharted and the like already out in the wild or announced. Sony undoubtedly has a secret or two up their sleeve; but what?
Well, I doubt PSN will quite be up and running flawlessly by E3, but I expect Sony will be forced to shuffle a few announcements and such forward to appease their disgruntled fanbase. I expect improvements to the PSN service to be revealed, possibly a slimming down of the + membership incentives to spread amongst the general population. Starhawk will make a big show, as will the likes of Twisted Metal and Metal Gear Rising. Which brings us to...
Konami's Preemptive Event
Konami is so eager to show us what's up their sleeves, they're holding a conference - due to be screened in five different cities across the American continent - almost a week before E3 proper. Presumably, it's an attempt to get their new announcements and big titles in our mindset before the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo roll in to bulldoze the competition.
So what's on the agenda, then? You can expect Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 to make an appearance, as Seabass and co strive to reduce the distance between themselves and FIFA. Metal Gear Rising, the Raiden-starring katana-simulator, is likely to show up having spent a year in incubation. On top of that, considering its modest critical and commercial reception, I expect Konami will announce a sequel to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow from original developers MercurySteam, who pretty much admitted work has already begun on the follow-up.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Often, before E3 we know next to nothing on the latest Call of Duty iteration being primed for a full-scale reveal. Whereas this time around, we know almost everything! On the story, at least. That said, don't expect Activision to hold back at E3. They'll probably treat us to the usual developer walkthrough of a spectacular, explosive-laden level plucked from the campaign, and then maybe even let us loose on the multiplayer.
Last year, we said Black Ops would be Call of Duty's toughest year, away from Infinity Ward and the popular Modern Warfare brand. We were wrong, but that's not stopping us from repeating ourselves. Along with the West and Zampella controversy, the troubled development itself - where Activision has been forced to allocate three developers - and the eventual, inevitable decline of any series, Modern Warfare 3 is facing its most precarious release yet.
Games, Games, Games!
Along with the big conferences, the potentially mind-blowing reveals and controversial issues, E3 2011 is jam-packed with cracking titles we simply can't wait to play - or afford, in my case. We hope Ken Levine and co are on hand to show off more Bioshock: Infinite; and that Bethesda continue their brilliant marketing of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with some brand new media. We'd love it if Rocksteady would treat us to some more Batman: Arkham City, and considering how close it is to release, is a hands-on demo to much to ask? Zelda: Skyward Sword, Uncharted 3, Twisted Metal. All those and more!
And what about the unannounced titles we're pretty sure will get the full-scale unveiling treatment? The oft-rumoured Thief 4 might emerge from the shadows, and I hope, nay, will Kojima to finally reveal the Zone of the Enders title I know they are - should - be working on! Bungie's supposed MMO under Activision's guidance? 343's elusive Halo project? Much, much more awaits us in nary a month!
But what say you, Dealspwners? What has you drooling at the mouth, jaw gaping open, heart all aflutter at this year's E3? Tell us; go on. You know you want to!