Tech, Teasing and Torture Porn: Eurogamer's E3 Predictions

Chris Donlan, Oli Welsh and others guess what's next.

E3? Man, that show's so predictable. Or so goes the refrain. But while it's true that patterns have emerged over the years (press conferences trumping the show itself, for example, and at least one of the platform holders trumping its own conference by uploading all the good stuff to its own website by accident two hours beforehand), do we ever really know what's coming? Did we expect Project Natal? Or the Beatles? Or Riiiiidge Racer?

Still, we're supposed to be reasonably well informed people, and since the conferences don't start until later in the day UK time, we thought we would fill some of the time before the chaos with our shambolic attempts to forecast what will happen.

Tom Bramwell predicts...

Over the years I've seen all sorts of things at E3 that I never expected. I've seen a half-cut Richard Branson cavorting with Johnny Minkley and some bikini models on camera at 10 in the morning. I've seen Miyamoto waving a sword while grown men cried at his feet. I've seen someone smile while mouthing the words "five hundred and ninety nine US dollars". I've even seen rain on Sunset Strip.

So I don't really know what surprises this week has in store. But since I'm not actually at the show myself this year, having been to seven out of the last nine, I'll be sitting at home with the rest of you watching it unfold, and with that in mind I've developed my own special E3 Conference bingo card. If I'm not ticking off more than a few of these by Wednesday morning, that'll be the biggest surprise of the week.

1. Ubisoft will announce at least half a dozen Wii U launch titles. (They just can't help themselves.)

1a. One of them will probably be one of those appalling Asphalt GT games.

2. Microsoft will surprise everyone by announcing that it's paid Activision yet again to make the next Call of Duty's DLC exclusive to Xbox for an undisclosed period (which will turn out to be 30 days).

3. Nintendo will announce some sort of lifestyle crossover 3DS game. (My favourite previous example being 2009's "Women's Murder Club".)

4. At least one platform holder will produce a professional sportsman or woman to play a game on-stage, and we will be able to see their 'banter' on the teleprompter at the back of the auditorium.

5. Every single person anybody runs into throughout the whole show will begin the conversation with: "So, are you having a good show?"

6. The Game of the Show as voted by the E3 judges probably won't be playable to actual attendees.

Oli Welsh predicts...

E3 2008 was the year of Shoot the Brown Monster in the Face. At E3 2011, no self-respecting game allowed itself to be seen without a turret section and/or a slow-motion helicopter crash. I yawned and rolled my eyes, but I suspect I'll be yearning for those more innocent times this year - because, in terms of the content of trailers and game demos, my prediction is that 2012 is set to be the Grimmest E3 of All Time.

Is this cool? Is this cool? Is this cool? Is this cool? Is this cool? Is that cool? All these people - are they cool? Is this cool? This guy - cool, is he? This guy - is he cool? This woman - is she cool? So what about me? Do I look cool? Well do I? Do I look cool? Do I really look cool? Do I? Do I? Do I?

The tone's already been set by the controversial Hitman Absolution trailer and also by a hysterically nasty bit of footage showcasing the new Tomb Raider. Stay classy, Square Enix. And speaking of classy, does Dishonored, which is a pretty classy game, really need to sell itself with three minutes of sliced necks and fountains of gore set to a spooky sea shanty?

I'm not a prude, but it's all a bit much, especially when you have to endure hour upon hour of it played at ear-splitting volume in press conferences. And I think that Tomb Raider clip in particular is going to set the tone for a gruesome war of one-upmanship between the big publishers in the sheer nerve-shredding nastiness stakes. My bet is that Ubisoft will go for gross gold with Far Cry 3 - hell, those ads with the guy buried in sand up to his nose are already making me feel uncomfortable. But Splinter Cell (if it shows), Assassin's Creed 3, The Last of Us, Dead Space 3 and the new "mature" Star Wars game, 1313, which I assume to be the work of Far Cry 2's Clint Hocking (now a creative director at LucasArts) - all of these games are likely to make serious attempts to outdo each other in extreme violence, screeching, shuddering camerawork, shock value and bleak moral bankruptcy.

I know the world's a grim old place right now - but all the better reason to serve us up some of that old-time escapism instead. Lighten up, video games!

Rich Leadbetter predicts...

There's going to be a deluge of extremely good games on show - it looks like the strategy adopted by the entire industry is to release the remainder of their top-tier Xbox 360 and PS3 slate in Q1/early Q2 2013.

Expect Epic and Crytek to rev their engines this year.

We all know why: as soon as the next-gen consoles are announced, interest from core gamers in the PS3 and Xbox 360 will fall off a cliff and there's simply too much money invested in those AAA titles for them to be caught in the fallout. Every major game with serious cash behind it will be released with time to spare before the next E3 where we'll finally see what Durango and Orbis are capable of.

In the meantime I expect to see some veiled references to the next-gen work that's already underway, and some more overt demonstrations of what is to come. Epic's Unreal Engine 4 will be competing against CryEngine 3, and I'd hope to see some more EA titles driven by the Frostbite engine. The high-end PC versions of those games should offer some kind of vision of what we can expect from the next-gen consoles: DICE's engine was built to straddle generations and allow projects to co-exist on the current crop of consoles and the next.

In the meantime, I wouldn't be surprised to see a surprise announcement or two surrounding cloud gaming. I still don't think the tech is ready for showtime for a mass-market audience, but it's only a matter of time before the remaining technical obstacles are overcome and games companies will be starting to take a serious look at what the technology can do for them.

Nintendo will be the only company showing its actual next-gen product. I predict that the first-party Wii U games will be met by wonderment and bewilderment in equal measure and third-party games to bear an uncanny resemblance to the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, certainly in terms of the superficial comparisons you'll be able to make on the showfloor.

Robert Purchese predicts...

E3 will be all about avoiding the elephants in the room: Microsoft and Sony's new consoles. It looks like the big confetti-drenched reveals will have to wait until next year, as much as I hate to admit it - and I'm still burning a candle for a tease, for a glimpse, for a cheeky flash of next-gen ankle. Maybe Microsoft and Sony have just been tricking one another with all their PR prattle! Maybe there's an ace up a sleeve for when a back is turned! Maybe.

BioShock Infinite is unlikely to be at E3 after Irrational slipped the game and went dark.

And so, Microsoft and Sony will regale us with commitments to this generation of machinery, and drum into us the reasons why it's still vibrant and fresh and the best thing ever. But all we'll read in to these elaborate distractions is what this all means for next-gen. Was a big-name game brand absent? Oh, well that must mean it's a next-gen launch title! Did Sony and Gaikai announce something? Oh, well that must mean something for next-gen! Putting a curtain up only makes us more eager to see what's behind it.

Tom Phillips predicts...

With half of this E3's announcements already posted on the internet - intentionally or otherwise - it's clear this year's show will be stuffed to the rafters with current-generation games. And that means we're unlikely to hear anything about the next generation.

Early and mid-2013 already has a bustling slate: The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Crysis 3, Lost Planet 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Tomb Raider. And that's before any other games are announced this week.

Talking about the PS4 and next Xbox in detail would currently undermine consumer interest in the remaining titles of this generation. It's simply too early, for gamers and for retailers. E3 2013 will be the sparring arena of Sony and Microsoft's next machines. E3 2012 already has its fair share of competitors.

Wesley Yin-Poole predicts...

Microsoft E3 press conferences are always fascinating. As Xbox has evolved from being a hardcore gamer console into some kind of weird, all-encompassing media hub, so Microsoft's E3 press conferences have evolved from being all about video games to being, well, just a bit about video games.

So while I expect Microsoft's press conference to pack in live gameplay demos, I also expect at least as much attention will be devoted to explaining how the Xbox is the best entertainment device in the world, capable of doing all these fancy social things better than any other entertainment device. And how it's evolving.

With a next-gen showing unlikely, Don Mattrick will be left to purr over the Xbox 360 and Kinect. An announcement of the Xbox Music Center, rumoured to be in the works last week, seems likely.

But what of the games? Well, there's the first-party stuff - a live gameplay demo of Halo 4 from 343 Industries; a live gameplay demo of Playground Games' Forza Horizon (née Forza World); a live gameplay demo of Fable: The Journey by Lionhead; a live gameplay demo of the new Gears of War game by People Can Fly; and a slew of quick demos of XBLA games - Avatar Motocross Madness springs to mind.

The rest of the game demos will be given up to third-party titles that have some kind of Xbox exclusivity planned. So, Treyarch will probably play Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's campaign live on stage; I expect Capcom will show off Resident Evil 6; Bethesda will play Skyrim expansion Dawnguard; Harmonix will show Dance Central 3; Square Enix will show Tomb Raider; Ubisoft will show the new Splinter Cell/Assassin's Creed 3; EA Sports will play Madden with Kinect; and THQ will show something, perhaps the South Park game developed by Obsidian Entertainment.

All very predictable. But will there be any unannounced games revealed? Any proper shockers? Any surprise exclusives? Well, Rare (remember them) have been quiet lately, haven't they?

And my fingers are crossed that Phil Harrison, Sony's former video game development chief, will steal the show with a triumphant return to the stage on which he made his name.

Christian Donlan predicts...

Predictions, someone once said, are for idiots. So here are mine! Just one prediction, actually. It's lacking in specifics, but it is at least based on personal experiences: The True Game of E3 Will Be Something Weird.

Not just that, it will be something weird that we've never heard of. It won't be in the conferences. It won't be on the guided press tours. It won't be on banners hanging from some of LA's larger buildings. (Two quick asides about banners: One year, THQ put Homefront ads - lots of them - all over buildings right near Korea Town. Another year, Ellie Gibson tweeted that a row of trees were blocking the view of a huge Assassin's Creed poster, and the very next day the trees had been cut down.. I love LA.)

Where will it be, then? It will be in a dark corner of some big publisher's booth, largely forgotten about and demoed by the jittery, sleep-deprived designer. It will be this year's Scribblenauts, in other words: a game that you'll only get to see if you actually wander the show floor a bit, a game that's very easy to miss - but very hard to forget once you've spotted it.

Comments (35)

Comments for this article are now closed, but please feel free to continue chatting on the forum!