We heard it through the grapevine
For as much as gaming has grown over the last 15 years, E3 remains the biggest event of the entire year for most gamers and creators. Dozens of new titles are unveiled, and massive changes in the gaming landscape can happen in an instant during a press conference. After looking back at the history of E3, all these memorable moments make it feel like anything can happen during the legendary L.A.-based conference. But dont believe everything you read.
The past is riddled with former E3 rumors that were too good to be true. Over the last five years, all the following rumors seemed plausible at one point, no matter how far from reality they ended up being. Hopefully this retrospective will help all of us be a little more suspicious in the future...
Pikmin 3 at any E3 before 2012
Pikmin was meant to be a killer app for the GameCube. And while the game and its sequel didnt push as much hardware as Super Smash Bros. Melee or Metroid Prime, it still scored a devoted audience that was dying for another entry. Based on how Nintendo usually exploits all of its franchises at least once a console generation, it seemed natural that a new Pikmin would come to the Wii, which explains why rumors were spreading about Pikmin 3 as far back as E3 2009.
Up until the eventual reveal of Pikmin 3 for Wii U in 2012, Nintendo fans spent the last four years worth of press conferences unfulfilled. A big factor for the persistence of the rumor was Pikmin creator/Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto continually dropping hints about a third Pikmin game for about five years straight. When grilled by the press, Miyamoto would usually instruct players to wait till next years E3 for news. The curse seemed to finally be broken in 2012 when Pikmin 3 was announced as a Wii U launch window title, but now its slated for August 2013. Will Pikmin 3 keep the streak alive by teasing players again this year?
GTA V out in October 2012
Developer Rockstar rarely shows up to E3, and Grand Theft Autos publisher 2K is skipping this year's event entirely, despite Grand Theft Auto V launching this September. In fact, outside of rare mentions during a Sony or Microsoft press conference, Rockstar has been skipping E3 for over a decade. But that tradition didnt stop some from presuming that GTA V would make an appearance at E3 (and at retail) late last year. And, once again, GTA hopefuls got nothing at E3 but disappointment.
Rockstars general antipathy for E3 is recounted in the very informative book All Your Base Are Belong to Us. At 2001s E3, the Rockstar bosses said that Grand Theft Auto III was passed over by the press in favor of the flashier State of Emergency (which Rockstar also publisher). After that, Rockstar favored showing its games on its own terms instead of sharing the spotlight, which wed say has worked out well over the last 12 years. Still, the optimist in us cant help ourselves from expecting some sort of system-exclusive GTA V news at this years E3.
Acid Ghost for Wii U
Nintendo may have revealed the Wii U at 2011s E3, but it did so with no actual games. As the hype train for E3 2012 built up steam, Nintendos launch line-up was a huge question mark, so any rumored title seemed conceivable. That includes a survival horror game in which rapper Eminem battled a ghost. Anything seemed possible in the heady days of 2012.
The potential game was said to be a major Wii U exclusive, and would let players control a mischevious ghost that messed with a families in a suburban setting. Rumor had it that the music of rapper Eminem was in Acid Ghost as well, and Konami was either its current publisher, or had planned to publish it for PS3/360 before choosing to make it a Wii U exclusive. It all amounted to nothing, which makes us think that the game never existed in the first place. If it did, we cant imagine Nintendo wouldnt have announced it already for the game-deprived console.
Next generation consoles in 2011 or 2012
This current generation has been the longest of any to date, spanning eight years from the first reveal of the Xbox 360. By this point in previous hardware cycles, wed be entering the golden years of the successors. And because gamers were used to a five year turnaround, the last couple E3s were preceded by hopeful rumor mongering that Sony and Microsoft would unveil some new hardware that year. The console makers couldnt possibly wait much longer, right?
Apparently, both console manufacturers could easily wait a couple more years, and events like advancements in PC graphics or Nintendo launching a new system wouldnt get those publishers to budge. As it turned out, neither company announced their consoles at those E3s, instead debuting the PS4 and Xbox One at dedicated events, months and weeks (respectively) before E3 2013. Now were merely waiting to see if these preemptive premieres will make for stronger E3 press conferences.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII becomes Final Fantasy XV
Sometimes, a rumor comes about because it's preferable to a complete lack of information on a title. Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced in 2006 as part of a planned trilogy of games for Square Enixs Final Fantasy XIII, and Versus would be fan favorite Tetsuya Nomuras return to the franchise after overseeing the Kingdom Hearts series. And outside of a couple leaked trailers, the game hasnt been shown publicly in seven years. With such a drought of updates, fans are ready to believe anything, even a video clearly filmed in a community college classroom.
Just before 2012s E3, a supposed trailer for Versus XIII leaked, showing that the game had been rechristened Final Fantasy XV. Not only that--it was coming to PS3 and Wii U, but not 360. Thatd be a bombshell if it were true, but the video is pretty fake-looking in hindsight. The trailer consisted of previously released gameplay footage and logos that could be easily created by anyone with Photoshop and a free afternoon. And yet, even after being faked out AGAIN by Versus XIII news, we want to believe this will be the year Square finally gives us the update weve been waiting for.
There may be almost 100 million Wiis sold worldwide, but after a few years, the system fell out of popularity with the hardcore crowd--thanks in part to the standard definition graphics. And while Nintendo would need to launch a whole new system to match the graphical horsepower of PS3 and 360, it seemed plausible that Nintendo could at least relaunch the existing system with HD output. And for the E3s of 2009 and 2010, industry scuttlebutt said that Nintendo was prepping a Wii HD as a way to reignite its home console business.
Based on the number of times Nintendo redesigned and repackaged its handhelds, its certainly believable that the company would do the same for the Wii. And hackers have proven that Wii games are capable of HD output, if given the right tech. But outside of some very simple streamlining and the removal of backwards compatibility, the Wii never got an overhaul. The next time people were talking about Wii HD, it was a nickname for the unannounced Wii U. And this time the console actually was HD.
An Xbox handheld
Nintendos portable division has been extremely profitable for almost 25 years, and virtually all its competitors have attempted to take a piece of that pie. Sony had gotten closest, and after the PSP, many expected Microsoft to jump into the portable market as well. Rumors of a supposed "Xboy" had been seen as recently as 2009, and the concept was making its way onto lists of E3 predictions all the way back in the early 2000s. So why did it never come to be?
Well, it took MS years to make its Xbox division profitable, as the company lost hundreds of millions by entering the gaming market. Competing in the handheld market would likely have been costly in a similar way. And ultimately, Microsoft ignored Nintendo and Sony, opting to chase Apple in the pocket computing space by launching Windows smartphones, tablets, and the Zune to compete with the many iOS devices. Not that it ever worked.
Transforming PS3 controller
The PS3 had a difficult birth, with high prices and the infamous boomerang controller that Sony ultimately ditched. By 2008, it seemed like Sony had finally corrected the course of the once-troubled system, but no one knew what other plans the company had to appeal to consumers. Perhaps a transformable controller was the next innovation that would put Sony ahead of the Wii and 360.
The rumored controller change was predicted to be a big part of Sonys 2008 press conference. Like an Optimus Prime for your PS3, gamers would reshape the controller to fit different genres, with first-person shooters as the only example given. Looking back on it now, these rumors could be some of the earliest information about what became The Move, an adjustable controller Sony first showed at E3 2009. The Move eventually got a gun peripheral to use in FPSs.
Half-Life 2: Episode 3 will be there
Seriously guys, its time to let this one go.
Theres always next year
Those are some of the rumors that missed the mark over the last five years, but were there any that you believed up until the last day of E3? Let us know in the comments!