Editorial – Electronic Excitement Expo: Our E3 Predictions!

May 24, 2012 in Articles, Editorials, Features by Robin Wilde

Well, it’s that time of year again. In just two short weeks the Electronic Entertainment Expo – E3 for short – will be underway in Los Angeles, and we’ll see what the next year in gaming has in store for us. With upcoming announcements already confirmed for Wii U but very little other information, we’re presenting our picks for what we’d most like to see. Without further ado…

Pikmin 3

Captain Olimar’s bite-sized adventures have been absent from Nintendo systems for going on 8 years now, not counting the Wii re-releases, so it’s exciting to hear that the game is being worked on for the Wii U. It’s one of those games you just irreversibly fall in love with and the Cubed Gamers team hasn’t found any differently – we still enjoy firing up Pikmin 2′s multiplayer and doing deadly battle with one another from time to time!

However, as with any fan-beloved franchise, Nintendo has to be careful to improve on the formula enough to keep things fresh while trying to appease the fanbase they built up with the first game, so here’s what we’d change.

Firstly, make use of the Wii U controller in an innovative way. Perhaps the on-screen action could take place as the Pikmin we all know and love always has, while on the controller it all unfolds from an RTS style top-down view, allowing you to command individual groups of Pikmin with the swipe of a finger. In the Gamecube originals, it was sometimes difficult to use your Pikmin as anything other than an unruly mob, so this would be a welcome addition allowing for more efficient control.

Secondly, make use of the new disc format to give us a lot more levels than there were before. The Wii U disc will be the same size as a Blu-Ray disc, meaning it can fit roughly 16 times as much data as the Gamecube mini-DVDs could. This gives Nintendo the opportunity to incorporate unlockable and sprawling stages with lots of things to see and do – even LittleBigPlanet style level creation if we’re lucky. Given how gorgeous the Wii U will be able to look, we’re certain holding our breath for this one.

Wii U/3DS Connectivity

Well we all knew this was coming. Nintendo console have had some form of integration with their handheld brethren since the days of the SNES and we don’t see this generation being any different. What makes this interesting though is the fact of what the Wii U’s controller is capable of – streaming a game image directly to its controller. Couple this with Nintendo’s explanations of how the new controller might be prohibitively expensive and you have some interesting speculation sauce. Oh yeah, and you know what Nintendo just released? That’s right, an add-on for the 3DS that gives it the same buttons as the Wii U controller.

Do we have to spell it out? Oh fine. We reckon you’ll be able to use your Wii U to play its game on your 3D capable bundle of joy. Don’t you feel special? This opens up several interesting possibilities, since the 3DS is capable of transmitting data by itself. Will you be able to throw your 3DS games over to the big screen, Game Boy Player style? Probably not, but it’d be very cool if you could. Given how Satoru Iwata confirmed in one of his Iwata Asks segments that the Wii U will be 3D-capable, I think it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we could see Luigi’s Mansion 2 on our TV screens before too long.

Gamecube/Dreamcast Virtual Console

First off, apologies for the Nintend-centredness of this article so far. It’s just that they’re the conference we know most about, and frankly they seem to be offering the most exciting possibilities. Speaking of which, this idea would be great! We’re big fans of lots of the Gamecube’s library and seeing as Sega was kind enough to make Mega Drive games downloadable on the Wii, it seems like a reasonable assumption that we’ll see Saturn and Dreamcast games available for digital purchase pretty soon. Thinking about it, the hardware’s powerful enough for upscaling, so might we see Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine et al in glorious 1080p? This writer would certainly need new underwear if so.

There’s really not much more we can say about this one, except for a big caveat we have to set. Nintendo, Sega, you’re both loved, but for god’s sake make sure you strip down the game files before you put them up as downloads. Most of the space on a 1.4GB Gamecube disc is filler data that has no relevance to the game, and most titles can have that removed to make them far smaller (Luigi’s Mansion is really only around 200MB and Animal Crossing only packs in 18MB of data!). Given that some of us live out in rural England with internet about as fast as if the data packets were being delivered by horseback messengers, it’d really help out with downloadability.

PS Vita Price Drop

Well it worked for Nintendo last year and Sony are no strangers to ripping off their ideas are they? But seriously, the Vita’s sales have been flagging since week one, and it’s a shame because there’s actually a lot of potential in the system. Part of the relative failure is the proprietary memory cards that are outrageously expensive, as well as the relative price of the system itself when compared to the 3DS. It’s unfortunate, but Sony are going to have to pull a PS3 and make an early loss in order to pull it back later. A new, cut-price Vita with SD card support? Yeah, we’d buy it. As for the rest of the gaming world? I don’t see why not. Just for the love of god don’t make a PS Vita Go.

Also on the Vita front, the console really needs something big to pull it out of its malaise. Uncharted hasn’t been doing badly, but it’s getting to the point where pretty much everyone who wanted it has got it or at least played it. A Monster Hunter would serve it well in Japan, but for true mass market appeal they’d also need a new Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty. Good luck, Sony!

PS4 Announcement

Oh, we don’t care how unlikely it is, we really want this. PS3 is nice, but it’s beginning to show its age, especially when compared to modern PC games, and gets held back a bit on third-party games by virtue of most of them being equivalent to the versions for the less-powerful Xbox 360. With a brand new system, Sony can jump ahead of Microsoft and reignite the one true console war – Nintendo vs. Sony. It’d be great if rather than being lopsided, this year’s E3 was truly a showcase of the future of gaming. With all the promise, excitement and intrigue that the show usually brings, it’d certainly see them hit the nail on the head in terms of generating publicity. I know they’ve said that they weren’t going to do it, but this industry really is so volatile that ultimately it’s usually impossible to tell precisely what’s going to happen next.

Wait. That… kind of challenges the validity of this article doesn’t it?

I, er, have to go get something from outside.

*crickets*