It’s that time of year again! As E3 2016 veers ever closer, it becomes my duty as a knowledgeable tech journalist – or, more accurately in this case, giddy enthusiast – to make predictions for what big reveals will emerge from the show floor.
We already know some of the games and console news to expect at this year’s Expo, so I’m going to put safe bets like a PS4 remodel and Ubisoft announcing a new IP to the side and instead go for the stuff that’s really out of left field.
To be fair, the chances of these predictions coming true are slim. Like, really slim. Still, these are the kind of things we hold out for in our heart of hearts. Should any of them come true, it would easily become the moment of the show, but never something to put money on.
Oh, and before I proceed, let me be clear – I’m not going to bring up Half-Life 3. That joke is dead.
PS4 and Xbox One open up cross-console play
Rocket League has a way of bringing people together. The soccer/racing multiplayer phenom has already bridged Xbox One and PS4 to the PC-playing crowd, allowing for as many people as possible to be part of the same arena together.
However, while Rocket Leaguers on PC can challenge both consoles to a pickup game of soc-car, Xbox One and PS4 players remain separated from each other.
Developer Psyonix has revealed that it already has the technology to get the consoles talking, though it’s waiting for Sony and Microsoft to make nice.
I’m hoping that not only will the console wall come down for Rocket League, but also for the floodgates of other multiplayer-focused games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Street Fighter V and Overwatch will open up, ushering in a glorious new era of playing with friends, regardless of which version of a game they own.
Konami snaps out of its stupor
Last year’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a huge hit, but much of that success was in spite of Konami, its publisher, not thanks to it.
The company’s total heel turn over the last few years has been well documented, from tales of mismanagement to inexplicably threatening legal action against MGSV’s auteur Hideo Kojima so he wouldn’t accept an award given for his own game.
With any luck, Konami will swallow its pride – or see diminishing returns exclusively building gambling machines – and make amends, perhaps reviving the star-studded Silent Hill reboot, or at least reinstating P.T.
That, or maybe do a proper remake for one of the greatest games in history, rather than reduce it to a pachinko machine. But, hey, that’s just me.
WWDC keynote becomes a surprise E3 presser
For lovers of tech, this coming week is going to be a double-header for breaking news. Apple decided it would be high-larious to schedule this year’s WWDC during the same week as E3.
But, what if this isn’t a coincidence? What if Apple finally takes a leap into the world of gaming, using the industry’s biggest week as a way of getting the message out? What then?
Whether it be a special controller for iOS devices, its own Apple TV-style take on the console or even a VR headset, the sudden appearance of a new competitor – that’s Apple, no less – would make this year’s E3 one to remember.
Kingdom Hearts III will release this decade
This isn’t a typo. I don’t mean, "Kingdom Hearts III will release this year."
I literally mean that Kingdom Hearts III releasing before 2020 would be enough to qualify as a pie-in-the-sky prediction, given the game’s incredibly slow development cycle.
Square Enix just announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (really?) this week, which is due for a December release. This means that Kingdom Hearts won’t finish rehashing the old games in the series before 2016 is out, leave alone make anything new.
Top that with the fact that Kingdom Hearts III was officially revealed nearly three years ago with only a gameplay trailer or two to show for it so far, and you’ve got yourself another Final Fantasy XV – a decade-long Square Enix project that we’re hoping will be playable in some form within the year.
E3 2017 is open to the public
Let’s finish with the elephant in the E3 room. With publishers like EA, Activision and Disney taking their business elsewhere, it appears the conference may not be the can’t-miss journalist gala it used to be.
The solution? Open the doors to Jane and John Q. Public. In fact, the idea is already being played around with this year’s E3 Live! – a public, albeit limited, taste of the E3 experience.
Couple that with the fact that people will be attending movie theaters just to watch the Sony keynote, and it’s easy to see the demand for a more casual, PAX-like environment.
We’ve also witnessed this work at conventions like San Diego Comic-Con, where people wait hours upon hours in line at Hall H just to catch the trailer for a new Marvel film.
It may not be the way to generate the most hype, but turning E3 into a place for journalists and enthusiasts alike could help invigorate the old blood of the long-time expo.