E3 2013 – The Top Five Things I’m Anticipating And Conference Times

(UPDATE – E3 2013 has since passed. If you want to read my recollection of events, then click here for the article)

All eyes on the gaming world will be on Los Angeles later today – it might not be the best gaming conference in existence (that title for me belongs to GamesCom), but E3 is certainly the biggest of them all and as a result garners the attention of the media like no other gaming event.

For the past two years I have produced a relatively in depth live-blog of events as they unfolded through the day (which, if you want to invoke a bit of nostalgia and have a laugh at all the broken promises can be seen here both for 2011 and 2012) – I very much enjoyed typing up these reports, but this year a combination of actual academic work, a lack of a laptop that won’t overheat after five hours and general laziness means that I’ll be producing a much more concise report on events which you should expect around Wednesday or Thursday.

Still, this doesn’t stop me from casting an optimistic eye over what I hope might happen at this years E3; so without further ado, these are the top five things that I will be looking forward to over the next twenty four hours.

1)         Watch Dogs

A potential 'Game Of The Year' in the making?

A potential ‘Game Of The Year’ in the making?

By far, Watch Dogs was for me (and for many others it would seem) the highlight of last year’s E3 conference. An open world action-adventure in which you play as a vigilante hacking into a massive intelligence network to alter the world around you, it’s one of the freshest new IP’s in years and a clear sign that Ubisoft are at the top of their game as we move into the new generation of consoles. We already have a confirmed release date for both current and next gen consoles (November 22nd for Xbox 360/PS3), and we know a bit about the story and how the game plays – really all I’m looking for is another solid showing of gameplay to keep audiences interested. The biggest problem that Watch Dogs has is that in September, the juggernaut of the sandbox genre, Grand Theft Auto V, is going to be released and with all due respect Watch Dogs will not command the same level of attention that Rockstar’s latest project will amass – a good showing here, along with some intensive advertising come November (similar to the approach taken with Far Cry 3) should ensure that it will not get forgotten under GTA V’s shadow.

2)         Super Smash Brothers Wii U

It seems ridiculous that one the best selling and most popular titles of the last generation was released on the least powerful console; but Super Smash Bros Brawl laughed in the face of HD graphics to provide fans with the ultimate homage to Nintendo’s history, and an incredibly fun multiplayer fighter to boot. The Smash Bros series has been integral in helping to sell Nintendo’s last two consoles (Melee for the GameCube and Brawl for the Wii), and with the Wii U still performing under expectation, the time has come for Nintendo’s greatest characters to re-assemble for the ultimate scrap. All we know at the current moment in time is that series creator Masahiro Sakurai has promised news of a new Smash Bros game WILL feature in Nintendo’s pre-recorded conference on Wednesday, with the expectation being that there will be versions for both the Wii U and 3DS which will crossover. As for everything else, it’s the same as it has been for the past five years – wild speculation. Will we see more third party characters like Mega Man make the roster? Will Geno from Super Mario RPG finally get included? I wait with baited breath for the announcement…

3)         Microsoft & The Games They Have Promised

Forza is confirmed for the Xbox One...will the likes of Halo and Gears Of War follow it today?

Forza is confirmed for the Xbox One…will the likes of Halo and Gears Of War follow it today?

I’ve not made a secret of the fact that I am not a fan of the Xbox One – I do not like the design of the console, the focus on TV applications and more importantly the confusing and almost draconian steps that Microsoft are enforcing to block second hand titles. At the moment, it’s been an incredibly hard sell to consumers; the best way that Microsoft can win back the affections of some of the potential audience is by making good on their promises of fifteen new titles to be shown off later today. We already know what some of the titles will be (Forza Motorsport 5, Remedy’s Quantum Break, Ryse, LocoCycle and a ‘historic’ title from Rare), and what I want is some solid gameplay (no more bullshit pre-rendered videos which are passed off as gameplay) and some new titles that AREN’T crappy Kinect orientated ideas. They have just over an hour and a half to convince me to stay with the Xbox family, or I’m probably going back to Sony…provided they then don’t mess up in their 2am conference

4)         The Future Of Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is a right old mess at the moment. The MMO title Final Fantasy XIV flopped and has been re-branded as A Realm Reborn. The third instalment in the Final Fantasy XIII series, Lightning Returns, has been delayed until February next year. Details on Final Fantasy Versus XIII remain as elusive as Shergar and Lord Lucan. And when the head of Square Enix took to the stage to show off a new game at the PS4 reveal, we were shown the exact same video that originally debuted at E3 2012. What was once a series that commanded serious respect has sadly become somewhat a joke.

Square Enix seem to have taken notice; the President of the company has resigned, and a decision was taken to abandon games on portable and iOS devices following the amazing negative backlash for All The Bravest. At E3, they have said we will get more concrete details on A Realm Reborn & Lightning Returns, as well of more on the HD re-masters of Final Fantasy X & X-2 which have been floating around for a while now. Will we see a new Final Fantasy title confirmed for the PS4? Will Square Enix backtrack on everything they have said and make a HD version of Final Fantasy VII? Keep an eye on their broadcasts from the show floor for more details.

5)         That ‘One Big Surprise’…

In and amongst the headline acts at E3, there is always one or two surprise announcements that no-one expects and makes it worthwhile staying up to the early hours of the morning to watch the conferences. While we aren’t going to get the likes of Half Life 3, there are plenty of rumours abound for some titles that may just raise a few eyebrows. Is Mirror’s Edge 2 going to pop up in EA’s conference? Can Ubisoft deliver Beyond Good And Evil 2? Are the leaked images of a logo for Kingdom Hearts 3 a sign of things to come? The hype and expectation for stuff like this always makes watching E3 with friends that much more enjoyable.

Seriously though, I would pay good money for Kingdom Hearts 3.

So that’s a quick run through of the main things that I’ll be looking out for at this years E3 conference. Anything in particular you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments section. And finally, as a quick reminder in case you didn’t already know, the all important conference times:

Monday 10th June (all times indicated are British Summer Time)

Microsoft: 5:30PM

EA: 7PM

Ubisoft: 9PM

Sony: 2AM

Tuesday 11th June

Nintendo Direct: 3PM

P.S I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me when I was writing the article, but I would also like to have a look at the actual PS4 console as well – oblige me why don’t you Sony?

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