E3 2016 - The questions we want answered

We live in rapidly changing times. VR is changing the way we experience games, new consoles are coming out only years after the old ones did, indie games are on the rise, and AAA developers are realizing they need to get back to basics if they ever want to sell a game again. We are left with a lot of questions about what’s going to happen in the upcoming year of gaming, and here’s hoping that E3 can answer at least a few of them.

What’s Nintendo’s Strategy?

Nintendo has been perfectly clear that they will not be showing their new console-like object, the NX, at E3 this year. They have also been completely clear that the NX will be coming out early next year. So our question is, how the heck does Nintendo plan to motivate people to buy it? If they show off no software for it, and don’t let people get hands on, we will have to purchase the console on a leap of faith. Heck, gamers didn’t purchase the Wii U, even when we had ample demo time! Does this mean the entirety of E3 2016 is going to be dedicated to a soon to be obsolete system? I’m not sure the power of Zelda can carry an entire company like that. Just what is Nintendo going to show us to make us want to buy their new console after their last one failed?

Can Square Win Back Their Fanbase?

The classic JRPG is dead. Final Fantasy XV is getting a mediocre reception at best, the FF7 remake is an action game, and Hitman is getting higher billing than I Am Setsuna, which was modeled after Chrono Trigger! There are certainly big name games to check out at the Square-Enix booth, like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Just Cause 3, but none of these are what Square-Enix fans are looking for – RPGs.

Squeenix recently made a big deal about going back to traditional RPG development, but we aren’t seeing any of that here. I Am Setsuna and Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness are going to have to do a lot of work to retain their fanbase, and it’s important that they do, because their recent projects have been more expensive than anything the company has done in the past. If Final Fantasy XV flops, it might be the end of Squeenix, and the end of Final Fantasy as we know it. Luckily, they do have some backups, like Kingdom Hearts 3, that have such enormous hype surrounding them they will likely succeed no matter what they show at E3.

What Does Capcom Mean By “Going Back to Old-school?”

Capcom recently said that they, too, would be going back to old-school game development, but were fuzzy on what this meant. We know that Resident Evil 7 is coming and is supposed to be more of a horror game than an action game. What does that mean? Are we going to focus on puzzle solving again? Will we see a new Mega Man? Will they attempt another Devil May Cry? Capcom’s booth this year is larger than it was last year, but it seems like they have very little to show besides more Street Fighter, some Resident Evil remakes, and a new Phoenix Wright. All signs point toward Capcom revealing something huge at press conferences prior to the convention. We just want to know what!

Seriously Sony, Where’s The Last Guardian?

Alright… the joke’s over. Haha, you had your laugh. You said The Last Guardian was coming out for the PS3. Then you said the PS4 was going to be its home. Now you are teasing the PS4.5, and we still haven’t heard a damn thing about this boy and his griffon who, let’s face it, are totally going to die. We know you have a lot of great products to show us, Sony. Horizon: Zero Dawn looks awesome. Shenmue 3 has been the dream of many cinematic gamers for several generations. Heck, we have even heard rumors of a new God of War and Crash Bandicoot. But the only thing we really want to know is when the heck The Last Guardian is coming out. Give us closure Sony! You can’t keep stringing us along like this!

Will Microsoft Have Any Exclusives?

Thus far, Microsoft has announced Gears of War 4 aaaaand…..? Yep that’s about it. We already saw a new Halo title in recent times, as well as Forza, and neither of these titles were really considered killer apps that you needed to get an Xbox One for. Analysts are calling Microsoft a “wild card” this year, since they haven’t revealed any plans. However, it’s possible that they just have nothing to show besides their best third party projects. Remember, the Xbox One was losing to the PS4 when numbers were last tallied, so if they want to stay competitive in this race, they will have to step it up.

Are EA and Activision Really Not Participating?

EA and Activision have both said that they won’t be showcasing their games at the show proper. However, both have announced standalone events that will allow the public to play their new titles. They both will also have huge presences at the Sony and Microsoft booths. Of course, this just means that any E3 goers now have to go out of their way to demo EA and Activision products, which will make the already grueling 3 days on your feet even tougher. That being said, we are seeing new entries from the Call of Duty, Titanfall, Mass Effect, and even Destiny series. That’s poised to make EA and Activision the most exciting companies to… not be at the show?

What Will Ubisoft Show?

For this first time in a long time, Ubisoft will not be showing an Assassin’s Creed title. So the question naturally becomes, what will they be showing? For Honor is one title I am particularly excited for. This multiplayer swordsmanship fighter put an interesting spin on a genre normally dominated by shooters. But outside of that, much of their lineup is a mystery. Maybe we will see more Tom Clancy games? Maybe we will see them hype the new Assassin’s Creed movie? Maybe we will get a new Rayman? Knowing our luck… it’s probably just another Just Dance announced at a horribly awkward press conference.

Will Persona 5 Live Up To the Hype?

Atlus, is one of the big names at this year’s event, is surprising everybody. This publisher of obscure Japanese games has had one title on deck for a few years now that fans have been aching to get their hands on: Persona 5. It’s been three years since this much anticipated RPG was announced, and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of a playable demo. Most of the trailers we have seen have been mechanically vague as well. Persona’s 3 and 4 were breakout RPG hits, and Persona 5 could threaten Square’s position as the “king of RPGs.” This is a game that has been in development for six years, an incredibly long time in the video game world. We will have to see if it lives up to the hype, and if not, there’s always that Fire Emblem crossover.

What Is The State of VR?

VR has made a gigantic splash this year. The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are selling like crazy and many are saying they revolutionize gaming. However, both of these headsets require very powerful computers, something most people don’t have. Playstation VR, on the other hand, does not. However, we haven’t heard much from Sony’s VR unit and few games have been announced that are even compatible with the headset. Microsoft has their own offering with the Hololens, but they have focused most of their efforts in the quality of life area. VR might be an amazing technology, but if it’s going to actually revolutionize the state of gaming it’s going to have to be widely adopted, and it will never be widely adopted enough until it snags the console crowd. This E3 will show us whether or not Sony and Microsoft are committing to this new tech, or if it was just a flash in the pan like 3D TVs were.

Is This Console Generation Really Over?

… OK, so who the heck decided we need to move forward with a new console generation already? The PS4 and the Xbox One were released in late 2013. We have barely had 2 and a half years with these things! Now everyone is talking about the NX, the PlayStation Neo and whatever the heck Microsoft has up their sleeve. Microsoft has actually insisted that whatever their next console will be will not be just an upgrade or a slimmer model of the Xbox One, which, once again, makes you think they are trading up.

According to the latest ESA survey, PC gaming recently surpassed console gaming as the gaming platform of choice, partially because the perceived value for this console generation is so low. That value won’t go up if we invalidate our consoles three years after they release! Now everyone is being coy and saying “No, it’s not a new console, it’s a REVOLUTION!” Bullshit… Show us what you are talking about or my money is going to Nvidia so I can upgrade my graphics card.

Why Is E3 Still Important?

Finally, E3’s participation is at an all-time low. Big companies like Activision and EA simply don’t have booths there. Press conferences continue to disappear. Fewer and fewer people are flying out to attend when they can just watch the press conferences digitally. Perhaps the biggest question that E3 needs to answer this year is, “why do we need E3?”