It's everyone's favorite time of the year again, when thousands of overcaffeinated journalists descend upon E3 with their live-blogged, 2000-word diatribes on the most minor of details. The objects of their unending speculation? The biggest games of the show, which, oddly enough, have been known to the gaming press for months and will surprise literally no one.
That's why we're interested in games that haven't been seen, announced or discussed - they stand a chance of actually surprising audiences. Forget the heavily rumored and essentially confirmed "Kid Icarus Wii" stuff, we want announcements that come out of thin air.
This article goes up right before all three big press conferences (we'll be there!) so who knows, some of these could actually turn up.
Nintendo's been dropping hints all year, suggesting a game is on the way that'll please both casuals and the seriously neglected hardcore audience. Quote Reggie Fils-Aime: "The gamer is gonna be excited and the expanded audience is gonna be excited." What fits that mold better than a motion-heavy sequel to one of the hardcore's favorite NES games?
Punch-Out!!'s approachable arcade boxing (heavy on memorization and reflexes) is the logical next step for Wii Boxing, and as we saw with Mario Super Sluggers, Nintendo's not above tweaking Wii Sports's basic controls and slapping some mascots on the box. This one's so likely to come Miyamoto has elevated Punch-Out!! to "I can't talk about that until E3" status, seen here in a 1up interview. Thus, it better be announced during Nintendo's 9am conference on Tuesday.
What'll really sell this to both audiences is Balance Board/Wii Remote support. Wii Fit is flying off the shelves like Weight Watchers, so millions of people already have that hunk of plastic begging for a new game. Imagine stepping up as Little Mac, ducking and dodging blows while looking for an "in" to throw some back with the 'mote or chuck. It'd be exhausting, sure, but holy damn in heaven would it ever be fun.
We pitched this one in our earlier Nintendo's Big Secret article and are so taken with the concept we had to mention it again. Starfox, Kid Icarus and the all but confirmed Animal Crossing will get us nerds hooping and hollering, but Punch-Out!! would excite both sides of the game scene.
Sony's Team ICO might be the most beloved, revered, fully-entitled-to-say-"I'm Rick James, bitch!" game developer on the planet to have only released two games. But, when those two games are PlayStation 2 masterpieces Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, it's clear that the cult love is deserved. The first game cast the player as an abandoned, horned boy fighting off shadowy monsters with a stick and leading an ethereal princess out of a crumbling fortress. The second chronicled the sacrifices of a single young man battling to revive his beloved by killing one ancient stone leviathan after another, losing something of himself along the way. Neither contained a single word of spoken English, yet both created a gorgeous, unique world with such moving stories and captivating characters that they're constantly used as evidence in that eternal "Are Games Art?" debate. These aren't simply games; they're experiences, and you're not the same after playing them.
So there's the "why"; what about the "if?" That's actually established. There's no secret that something for PS3 is coming: Team ICO's own job site says as much. Yet, nearly three years after the release of SotC, all we've seen from Team ICO's first PS3 game (possibly first two PS3 games, if a certain internet rumor proves truthful) is an image of what looks like a chain coming out of a manhole, posted on that same job site.
Now, we're journalists and not developers, and we know the PS3 is a tricky device, but we're still pretty certain that three years will get you more than a single screenshot. In other words: Somebody knows a whole lot about this, but somebody's not talking.
It's time to fess up, Sony. We want this. We need this. And, truth be told, so does the PS3. Bring it now. Or don't, but realize we'll just keep bitching about it until you do, because this is more frustrating than being told your next raise depends upon your ability to explain quantum chromodynamics to Heidi Montag.