E3 is less than a month away, and I’m already salivating at the thought of all the new games that I’ll get to see and play. It’s an exciting time for the industry: we’re on the cusp of a new generation of consoles, and there’s lots of high profile, triple-A titles scheduled to come out this Fall… but while I’m sure everyone is excited to see more of Assassin’s Creed III, Resident Evil 6, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, there are a handful of lower key, oft-rumored, unannounced, or un-localized games that I’m hoping will make an appearance at this year’s E3 as well.
We already know that big titles like Halo 4, God of War Ascension, and the Elder Scrolls MMO will be on display during this year’s big expo; and while I’m looking forward to a lot of the blockbuster sequels this Fall (I already have AC3 and RE6 preordered,) this list isn’t about games that we already know are definitely coming out this year or games that are definitely going to make appearances at E3 2012. The following titles I’ve listed are games that are either rumored to be announced at this year’s E3, were announced at a previous E3 and then promptly disappeared/possibly cancelled, or have been announced or released in another territory but have yet to be confirmed for an American release.
As always with these lists, these are just my personal choices regarding the titles I most desperately want to see confirmed for an American release, so there’s probably a game or two that you guys want that I’ve left out. Feel free to let me know what I forgot in the comments, or, like the hundreds of other Asperger’s addled fanboys who seem to comment exclusively on my articles, also feel free to let me know what a dumb-ass I am because I don’t share the same (stupid) opinions as you.
Anyway, enough set-up. Here’s the five games that I hope to see/play/confirmed at this year’s E3:
Beyond Good and Evil 2
The sequel to Michel Ancel’s classic action adventure was first unveiled in 2008, and in the four years since Ubisoft hasn’t shown or even mentioned the game in any way. The original Beyond Good and Evil gained a dedicated cult following thanks to its polished take on Zelda-style dungeon crawling, its unique cast of characters, and engaging story. The original game ended on a semi-cliffhanger that hinted that there was more to the story, and fans have been waiting patiently ever since 2003 to find out what happens to Jade and Pey’j next.
Chances of it appearing at E3 2012: I’d say about 50/50. Beyond Good and Evil has a very dedicated group of hardcore fans who have undoubtedly spent the last four years pleading with Ubisoft to update them on the status of the game.
Despite rumors last year that the game was cancelled, a new, supposedly leaked screenshot from the game showing Jade walking through a deserted town recently appeared on several gaming blogs, which gives me some hope that the game is still in development and will be released soon. Then again, BG&E creator Michel Ancel is also probably busy with the recently announced Rayman Legends, so there’s a good chance that even if BG&E2 is still being made, Ubisoft may forgo showing it at E3 this year in order to give Ancel’s other (probably more profitable) project more attention.
The Legend of Zelda HD
Every Nintendo fanboy in the world creamed their jeans at the sight of Link and Navi in HD at last year’s Wii-U unveiling, and while it’s pretty much guaranteed that the Wii-U will get a fully fledged Zelda title at some point, Nintendo’s been mum on a time frame for gamers’ next trip to Hyrule.
Chances of seeing it at this year’s E3: Sadly doubtful. Nintendo has already announced that they’ll be showing a new Mario and Pikmin title to entice gamers into buying their bizarre new system at this year’s E3, so it seems like the company’s developers already have their hands full. Keep in mind that it’s been less than a year since Skyward Sword was completed, and while I’m sure Nintendo has already entered pre-production into the next Zelda adventure, I doubt they’re at a point where they have anything that’s ready to be shown or demoed. Also, keep in mind that like the Wii-U, both the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube debuted with Zelda-themed tech demos that ended up being nothing like the actual Zelda games that were released for those consoles, so chances are when the real Zelda HD is unveiled it will probably look nothing like the Twilight Princess inspired video we were shown last year. I love the Zelda series (seriously, give Skyward Sword a chance if you haven’t, even if you hate the Wii,) and I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that Nintendo will show more Zelda on Wii-U, but realistically speaking, I don’t think we’ll be hearing about Link’s first HD adventure until next year at the earliest.
Dead Space 3
The next entry in EA’s horror/action franchise was briefly mentioned in a shareholder’s meeting, but we still don’t anything substantial about the next entry in the series. It’s only been a little over a year since Dead Space 2 came out, but I know that there’s a lot of fans out there (including me,) who are already chomping at the bit for more opportunities to eviscerate some xenomorphs.
Chances of seeing it at E3: Probable. EA’s already made it clear that they want to turn Dead Space into an annualized franchise, and I personally don’t mind as long as they can keep the quality on par with the first two games. Hopefully EA and the development team at Visceral Games will find a way to balance the first game’s creepier atmosphere with the more polished action mechanics of the second game. While it’s pretty safe to assume that we’ll see Dead Space 3 at E3, it’ll be interesting to see if EA is willing to release the game this holiday season, where it will have to go head-to-head against Resident Evil 6.
Phantasy Star Online 2
If you’ve read this blog before, you’re probably already aware of my love for the original Phantasy Star Online. I must’ve sunk a few hundred hours into both the Dreamcast and Gamecube versions of PSO, and now, after years of disappointing spin-offs and handheld ports, Sega’s finally giving us a sequel that looks like it might be worthy of the PSO name.
Chances of seeing it at E3: 50/50. Sega recently laid off a large chunk of their American and European divisions following a devastatingly unprofitable year, which has caused the once popular publisher to become pretty conservative in regards to which titles they release overseas. Phantasy Star Online has a sterling reputation among hardcore gamers, but the series has never been Sega’s most popular series in terms of sales, so there’s a chance they may pass over an English release in favor of releasing games that are more likely to turn an immediate profit (i.e. Sonic games and more movie licensed shovelware.)
Then again, PSO2 was recently announced to be a free-to-play game for both PC and Vita, and with the free-to-play market exploding in terms of profitability, PSO2 might just be the thing Sega needs to get back into the business of making money. All in all, I still think it’s probable that we’ll see PSO2 in America at some point, but with the Japanese PC release still a few months away (and the Vita version due to launch sometime even later than that,) it’s questionable whether Sega of America will demo the game at this year’s E3. Also worth noting: I’m completely willing to buy a Vita in order to play PSO on the go, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a console release of PSO2. If the game does show up at E3, it’d be doubly awesome if Sega used the opportunity to announce an Xbox 360 or PS3 version.
The Next Super Smash Bros.
Though Nintendo didn’t have much to show in terms of real games for the Wii-U during their press conference last year, the very mention of a new Smash Bros. game was enough to cause the audience to erupt in thunderous applause and cheers. The director of all the previous Smash Bros. games, Masahiro Sakurai, stated that work on the next Smash Bros. game wouldn’t begin until after he finished Kid Icarus: Uprising, and now that that game has finally been released, many gamers are hoping that this year’s E3 will bring it with it more news regarding the next entry in Nintendo’s popular party-fighter.
Chances of seeing it at E3: Slim to none. As with Zelda, it’s safe to assume that Nintendo has only begun preliminary development into the next Smash Bros., so I doubt they’ll have anything of substance to show yet. At most, expect Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to simply mention the game during their press conference, if only for the guaranteed applause its name generates. Sakurai has hinted that the next game will bring about some big changes for the series, but he’s also admitted that nothing is finalized yet regarding the next game. All we know is that it will come out for both the Wii-U and the 3DS, and that it will feature some sort of connectivity between the two. It’s a shame that Nintendo didn’t get started on the game earlier, because a new Smash Bros would be a guaranteed system seller.
There’s a lot of hardcore gamers out there still skeptical about the Wii-U’s viability as a competitor to the next Xbox and Playstation, and it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo tries to court that audience without Zelda or Smash Bros this year.