…and the internet goes crazy with speculation as to what will appear at the LA Convention Center, and most importantly, the console manufacturers’ press conferences.
Last year, Joystiq took this annual guessing game and made something fun out of it: Bingo cards. There were cards for each of the Big Three, as well as ones for PC and MMO predictions. Unfortunately, none of them resulted in a “bingo”.
Joystiq is playing bingo again this year, with predictions ranging from the likely to the wacky. I’ll be playing along again, though this time around, I’ve marked the ones I think will be mentioned at each of the companies’ press conferences ahead of time. The cards have been desaturated for clarity; the red pucks mark my “very likely” choices and the orange ones are the “well, maybe this’ll happen” pics.
My Microsoft picks. First off, let’s get the easy stuff out of the way: the second GTA IV DLC pack had been announced not long after Joystiq’s bingo card went up. It’ll probably be mentioned in the press conference, so that’s a shoo-in. A Halo 3: ODST release date and a Mass Effect 2 demo both seem well within the realm of possibility; as for Alan Wake, I think we might hear something about it, but not necessarily release info. New bundles and the oft-speculated motion capture thingie are both damn near sure things, and clan support for the 360 is a bit of “wouldn’t it be awesome?” that I’d very much like to subscribe to and believe MS would go for.
My Sony picks. The three most likely picks for me here are an official “Project Trico” (the next Team Ico game) reveal, more on God of War III, and the highly rumored PSP GO. PS3 Greatest Hits and bundles in place of any price cut also sound like strong possibilities. I think Heavy Rain will be present, though there won’t be a “heavy focus” on it. PS3 doing a Blockbuster rental service smacks of too bold of the kind of “me too” move for which they’ve been criticized for in the past, and runs counter to their Blu-ray strategy. As for a release date for Gran Turismo 5… well, if Final Fantasy XIII could wrap up, so could GT5, I guess. I predict that we’ll see some new GT5 footage at the press conference, but a release date will remain way up in the air.
My Nintendo picks. Nintendo is the company I follow most closely, as the Wii and DS are my de facto consoles of choice this gen. Their press conference last year was underwhelming, but I think they learned from it, which is why I believe that although we’ll be seeing Reggie and Cammy antics, there’ll be less of the latter. As with PS3 Greatest Hits, we’re about due for a Player’s Choice line for Wii, though one must also consider that there isn’t such a line for the DS yet. Game Boy VC games and VC for DSi are both things the fanbase has been clamoring for for months, and although Nintendo doesn’t have the best track record with their obscenely demanding fans, these two things seem very likely to me. The transferable VC games less so, if only due to controller compatibility issues. A new Mario has been briefly mentioned by Shigeru Miyamoto before, but I’m largely playing semantics here, as a North American release date for Mario & Luigi RPG 3 is due any day now (I, for one, am very much looking forward to said announcement, as I enjoy the Mario RPGs much more than the main series these days). A new Wii Zelda seems less likely considering the Spirit Tracks announcement at GDC.
Here’s some announcements—both likely ones and longshots—I would personally love to hear at this year’s E3, besides a Mario & Luigi RPG 3 North American release date: Sly Cooper 4 (even though I don’t have a PS3!), Sigma Harmonics localization, Valkyria Chronicles 360 port, StarCraft II release date (more likely to happen at BlizzCon or some other Blizzard event), Game Center CX licensed for DVD release (more likely to happen at one of the summer anime cons), Game Boy and Game Boy Color on Virtual Console (I really want this too!), and lots more PS1 games on PSN. There’s probably some others I can’t think of at the moment; at any rate, this year’s E3, as it is every year, is sure to have its share of surprises.