Every year, the largest developers and publishers converge on Los Angeles for E3 to show off the next year or two of gaming. The "big three," (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) in particular have an even heftier mission: to have the "best" press conference.
This year, Sony's press conference is on Monday, June 4th at 5:30pm PT, and we're hearing all sorts of rumors and speculation as to what it might be showing off. We've put our heads together to speculate exactly what we might be seeing next week.
A new AAA franchise entry for PlayStation Vita
It’s about time – or long past due, depending who you ask – that one of Sony’s biggest franchises make its way to the PS Vita. Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, God of War, Killzone – all these great series are ripe for the handheld picking, but the ball’s in Sony’s court to see what’ll make the jump to Vita first.
Giving that this year marks the 10th anniversary of Ratchet & Clank’s dynamic lombax-robot duo, it wouldn’t surprise us if they were the first to cannonball into the Vita’s somewhat-shallow pool of titles. Kratos would likely be next in line – after the success of Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta on the plain old PSP, a Vita prequel/sequel only makes sense.
inFamous 3 will be shown off
Sucker Punch has to be up to something, right? Sony proper is handling development of the next Sly gaming, leaving the original creator with plenty of time to jump into creating the next entry in the inFamous series.
We expect at least a teaser to show up at E3 for the game, showing off the protagonist (who might not be Cole) wielding some new, awesome powers in a new, awesome location. If it is Cole, then we expect it’ll simply by a fairly by-the-books sequel, but after how good inFamous 2 was we’re not going to complain about more of that.
No price drop for Vita – but it’ll get some slick bundles
Even though Sony should drop the price on the Vita, we don't think it will. It's too soon, and lowering the price now would create some bad blood that the company - so soon after the hacking - isn't ready to deal with. It has to do something, though, and we think we know what that something is.
One of the main issues with the Vita is the lack of built-in memory. The regular Vita unit comes with no storage whatsoever, leaving it up to the buyer to purchase an expensive memory card. By bundling the Vita with an 8GB-16GB card, Sony would effectively dash the price by $50 without actually technically cutting the price.
Full details on PSN cloud gaming
There have been rumors floating around for years that either Sony or Microsoft would eventually team up with a company like OnLive or Gakai to bring some sort of streaming game service to home consoles. While we feel as though Microsoft would be afraid of making such a leap, we expect Sony is likely planning to jump on top of the futuristic technology.
While it might not release full-fledged games with the service, being able to stream demos instantly, or even being allowed to stream the first few minutes of any game on PSN, would be awesome, and give PlayStation a leg up on the Xbox 360’s online offerings for a change.
The Last of Us will get the spotlight
Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us looks like an outstanding game, but it just isn’t getting the kind of attention it deserves. Yet, anyway – and since Sony’s publishing it themselves, it’s in everyone’s best interest for the game to get as much fanfare as possible. Judging from what we’ve seen, this could easily be another mega-hit Sony franchise in the making, on the same level as Uncharted.
At the very least, expect to see brand new footage of the game demoed during Sony’s press conference. We’re chomping at the bit for more info on the game’s apocalyptic survival horror, and it’ll be all the more bedazzling when it’s shown the big stage.
Sony won’t talk PS4, but it will talk next gen
Logic dictates that it’s still too soon to talk concrete details of the PlayStation 4 – but that doesn’t mean Sony can’t start hyping up the power of their next-generation console. With all the positive attention Epic’s getting from the buzz around Unreal Engine 4, this would be the perfect opportunity for Sony to bring them onstage and demo the kinds of graphical power that the future holds.
While it doesn’t seem all that likely, we’d lose our minds if the UE4 features were shown off using well-known Sony franchises. Just imagine: the stunning particle effects of that demonic-looking knight, but on a Killzone Helghast. Hells yeah.
MGS: Revengeance will have PS-only content
The slash-happy Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance may be making a showing on the Xbox 360, but that doesn’t mean Sony can’t sweeten the deal on the console the franchise is best known for. The possibilities are endless – an earlier release date for PS3? PSN-exclusive DLC? Regrettable-but-nifty Move controls? Tie-in content with Peace Walker?
Speaking of Peace Walker, we wouldn’t at all be surprised if Hideo Kojima himself teased a sequel to the handheld stealth game for Vita, seeing as it’s in dire need of some MGS lovin’. We’d also welcome any mention of the Zone of the Enders HD collection, possibly with Vita-exclusive gyro-sensor or touch-screen content – or even an all-new entry in the ZotE series, for that matter.
Radio silence on regular no-shows
As if to taunt us and/or hurt our hearts, Sony has consistently denied us fresh info on The Last Guardian or Final Fantasy Versus XIII – and we expect E3 2012 to be no different. Call us pessimistic, but we don’t see much likelihood of these games finally getting the limelight… though Sony might be banking on that, and rock our worlds with an out-of-the-blue trailer or – gasp! – demo.
We don’t want to hurry these games or play them in a rushed state – it’s just hard to stay positive when we’re being drip-fed information on some awesome-looking titles. Throw us a bone, Sony! Use your press conference for the powers of good!
Something new from Quantic Dream
After the massive amounts of positive buzz garnered by the “Kara” short film at this year’s GDC, French developer Quantic Dream has got to be riding high. Given the cult-classic status of Heavy Rain, Quantic’s no doubt been hard at work on their next IP; could “Kara” have been a prelude to their upcoming project? After all, it was built using PS3-based motion capture technology, so a full-fledged game based on the “sensitive sentient android” concept isn’t too much of a stretch.
That said, Quantic’s also got quite the track record of never using the same IP twice – we might just see something entirely new from it. There’s no better way for Sony to promote the fact that the PS3’s still got life in it than demoing a groundbreaking new game from Quantic.
Monster Hunter on PS3
Monster Hunter’s a funny franchise – raucously popular in Japan, but mildly appreciated in the States. Thus far, all that MH money’s come from portable systems – it’s time for Sony to double-down on the series and bring it to the PS3 (MH Portable 3rd HD non-withstanding, as it only came out in Japan). This can’t be just a revamped port, either; if Capcom’s blockbuster franchise is going to impress audiences worldwide, it needs to be built from the ground up as a full-blown console release.
We can see it now: Monster Hunter in beautiful high-definition, utilizing Sixaxis functionality and PSN co-op and leaderboards. If it plays its cards right, Sony could have the Western public frothing at the mouth for a series they previously didn’t know existed.
Rockstar’s “Agent” may make a comeback
The Rockstar Hype-O-Meter may be fully focused on Grand Theft Auto V right now, but there’s a slim chance it’ll actually be shown at this year’s E3. But like Darth Vader might say, “There is...another.” Few people remember Rockstar’s teasing of a game simply titled “Agent” at E3 2009. Fewer still remember that it was a PS3 exclusive, sporting stealth gameplay a la Hitman.
This might be the perfect opportunity for Rockstar to refresh gamers’ memories on this unproven franchise, and give us more concrete details to sink our teeth into. Just because a game’s from an unproven IP, doesn’t mean it can’t be amazing - depending on what we see of the game, Agent could have the same “wow” factor of Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire.
Vita announcements complete with cross-play
Like it or not, the Vita needs an injection of awesome games, stat – good thing Sony just got done announcing their work on some stellar new titles. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and LittleBigPlanet Karting would be perfect fits for the Vita – not too graphically intensive, but bite-sized fun that would fit perfectly in our pockets. Things don’t have to be Sony only, mind you - Dead Space 3 on Vita could be genuinely dread-inducing, bringing you in-your-face jump scares on the go.
The possibilities for cross-play between the PS3 and Vita versions is getting us riled up – simple things like content unlocks or transferrable stats would work effortlessly between the systems. But that gets us thinking as to what else might be possible…
...including exclusive content
If Sony expects us to buy AAA titles twice, one for each of its systems, then it’ll have to sweeten the deal with some exclusive content. These would justify the trade-offs between the high-resolution experience versus the handheld – new levels, bosses, characters, or tracks go a long way towards making a Vita version of a console title feel truly worth it.
Cross-play and exclusive content would warrant high-magnitude high-fives with the Sony bigwigs. It could be just like the cross-play between the Gamecube and the Game Boy Advance, only not as a lame – imagine managing Isaac’s communications through your handheld, or controlling the twists and turns of an All-Stars stage as a fifth player on the Vita.
Some character reveals for PlayStation All-Stars
It’s not so much a question of “if” Sony will show off new additions to the roster in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale; more like “who.” We’ve already put together quite an extensive list of our PS All-Stars Battle Royale predictions, but don’t hold your breath for a full reveal of the selectable characters – we’d put our money on Sony revealing two or three fresh faces.
Seeing as we haven’t had official confirmation on Jak and Daxter or Ratchet & Clank appearing as playable brawlers, we’d bet they make their debut at E3. And giving Sackboy a shoutout would also make a lot of sense, given that Sony will no doubt be pushing for attention on LittleBigPlanet Karting.
Sony will aggressively push PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Plus has been a bit rocky lately, when compared to Xbox Live – Sony would do well to offer a variety of incentives to choose the PSN’s premium online service. Things like discounted EA Sports Season Passes, savings on downloadable PS3 games on the day of retail launch, and deeper discounts on downloadable Vita games (compared to non-subscribers) would do a lot to make PS Plus that much more appealing. If Sony raises the bar high enough, it might even turn the tables and make XBL Gold play exclusive-offer catch-up.
We've heard that PlayStation Plus might get some big updates in the future. Maybe it means we'll be getting bigger games for free every month. Maybe it means we'll actually get to keep those games. Maybe it means early access to more awesome demos or betas? We don't know exactly what it will be, but Plus is due for a boost, and this seems like the year to do it.
God of War: Ascension's singleplayer will be shown
Apparently, there was a time before Kratos was a ball of rage and emotion. A time where he used regular swords instead of chains with swords attached to them. A time when the God of War was a man... of... war. We've seen the multiplayer of God of War: Ascension already, but now it's time to take a look at the singleplayer side.
Odds are the multiplayer will take the spotlight at the show, but we figure we're due at least a trailer showing off some additional story details. We want to, at least, see what Kratos looked like before he was covered in the ashes of his family members - we imagine he was quite charming.
What are your predictions?
That’s what we saw in our crystal ball for Sony’s showing at E3 2012 – only time will tell what does or does not come true. What are you expecting to see from Sony next week? Let us know in the comments; if your prediction comes true, then you’ll have the time-stamped evidence needed for full bragging rights to your buddies.
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