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With the Electronics Entertainment Expo just around the corner, we asked:“What are you most looking forward to at this year's E3?” With
speculation that the first wave of next-generation consoles are set to
hit stores at the tail end of this year with the Xbox 360, many are
hoping to get more details, and a look at what Sony, Nintendo, and
Microsoft have up their sleeves for this year and the next.
The Next Generation
Microsoft has touted its HD Era; Sony its Cell processor; and Nintendo, its “Revolution”. But while Microsoft will unveil the Xbox 360 on MTV days before E3 and launch it later in 2005, the PS3 and “Revolution” aren't expected to arrive in stores until later, and the latter is certainly receiving the interest of game professionals, thanks to Nintendo's particularly mysterious aura regarding the nature of its next-gen hardware.
Illustration by Adam Reed
There are many things rumored for this year's E3 that sound great and very appealing. The one thing I am highly anticipating is Nintendo's "Revolution." I am curious to see how it plays, what it looks like... and find out what is so revolutionary about it. With rumors flying around about touch screens, connectivity, online, lack of buttons... and a truly new way to play games, I think this is what will make or break the show for Nintendo. Nintendo is venturing into brand new territory as a company and I can not wait to see how they handle everything that is new to them.
-Brooks Pentheny, Microsoft
I'm most looking forward to how Nintendo is going to present itself this year at E3. The company is notoriously tight-lipped and I'm wondering if maybe they won't loosen up a bit this year. Sony and Microsoft are going to be all over the place with PS3 and Xbox 360 stuff, especially Microsoft. While Nintendo will be showing something of their "Revolution", I wonder how much we will really see? Will this will be just a very small teaser in favor of showing off more software for the DS and the trailing end of GameCube titles?
The anticipation of the next-generation consoles, of course! Actually, I'm more interested in seeing how next-generation games will utilize next-generation technology. Most importantly, however, I hope us gamers will witness new creative heights with the new technology. Also, I'm anxiously waiting to see what Nintendo has up their sleeves for the Revolution. Satoru Iwata's GDC keynote really moved me, and made me think of game creation in a different light. He has also given me great pride in what I do, and what I am. I am proud to say… I have the heart, of a gamer.
I will be very interested to see the direction Nintendo has decided to take for the future. If they are able to package something that is both innovative yet accessible to the average gamer, I'll be first in line to purchase - at the very least because the recently-stagnant game industry simply NEEDS it. I'll also be tracking to see if either of the new portable game systems will have a new "killer app" to finally entice me to take the plunge and purchase.
-Scott Brodie, Spartasoft
Easy answer - next-gen stuff! Sony and Microsoft should be devoting a lot of attention to showcasing their PS3 and XBox 2 strategies, and hopefully show some concept videos and work-in-progress games. Will Nintendo present their console there? Ahh the mystery… I can't think of any games I'm truly excited about for this year's show, at most, perhaps some curiosity about Starcraft: Ghost. But besides that, I'm looking forward to NOT going... and having a relaxed month of May for the first time in a few years.
-Javier Arevalo, Pyro Studios
I'm really looking forward to seeing the next generation console systems. Seems like a long time ago that people were losing they're minds over the PS2 and Xbox. The little bit of information we have seen about the machines provides us with just enough to be intrigued. Will Sony step up and silence all the talk about graphics? Will Microsoft bring online gaming and user interface to the next level? Just how freaking powerful are these machines? Just a few things I look forward to having answered. I am also excited to see SOCOM 3. There are tens of thousands of hardcore SOCOM fans looking for an improved product; will Zipper and Sony come through? I'll be there from day one, and I can't wait!
-Tony White, NovaLogic
Beyond the anticipated console announcements are several high-profile games and sequels. Notable mentions include Sony's PS2 title Wanda and the Colossus, from the same development team behind the critically acclaimed ICO, the next, more realistically rendered Legend of Zelda for the GameCube, and Will Wright's Spore, which teased quite a few game developers at this year's GDC:
I'm hoping to see more footage of Will Wright's “Spore”.
-Nick Smolney, Gameloft
Wanda and the Colossus, Zelda, and SOCOM 3 are the three games I'm most looking forward to: ICO was one of the best games ever made (despite its poor sales), so I'm glad to see that the same dev team is making another game; Zelda, for the simple fact that it seems to be the game all of us Zelda fans have been waiting for since Ocarina of Time, and especially since the original Zelda trailer for the GameCube was shown at Spaceworld several years ago; and SOCOM 3, I just love playing this type of game online with friends of mine.
-Bryan Erck, Shiny
Although I will be closely watching the unveiling of the PS3 and the Xbox 2/Next/Whatever and their associated games, there will definitely be other items of interest. I always look for the original titles, they show creativity and innovation on the part of the industry. No matter what hardware you're running, it's the interesting titles that you will enjoy and remember the most (ex. Katamari Damacy). One such title to look for is Wanda and the Colossus - one look at the trailer and I was captivated by the originality of this game. Since it's from the same team that brought us the amazing and original (but short) ICO, I have high hopes that this game will be as polished and enjoyable. Other interesting and promising titles to watch for include Killer7 and Half-Life 2: Aftermath (which will hopefully address some of the story shortcomings of HL2). Oh, and if they reveal a new Halo, I really hope they will change the formula a bit! Look at a franchise like Resident Evil, they really cashed in on the changes in Resident Evil 4 and revitalized the series.
-Maher Mamhikoff, Clever Entertainment
I'm looking forward to getting a close-up view of Ensemble's Age of Empires III and SSI's Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War... as I have a particular interest in historically-based games in the RTS genre from the ancient and classical world through to the imperial ages.
-Ken Wood, Wildfire Games
The Glass is Full
Some just look forward to this year's E3 with an innate sense of optimism:
Unlike most, I am not looking forward to any one game or the newest info on the next Xbox. Instead, I am looking for this year's show to be better than last year's. Two years ago, we saw all these new things that were coming out: Halo 2, Doom 3, Half-Life 2, etc. But last year, we saw those same things so there was nothing really new and exciting for me. I figure that we have cycles which have a peak and a trough, and last year was a trough in my opinion. And if you consider the length of time for game development, I think you will agree that we do have such a cycle. I am looking for this year to be more of a peak where we will once again be shown many new and exciting things to come in the next 1 to 2 years. I am looking forward to it this year.
-Mark Warner, Nexus Entertainment
This being my first time at E3, I'm looking forward to seeing what it's really like to actually be there. Beyond that, I hope I get to meet lots of cool people.
-Josh Jones, Sensory Sweep Studios, LLC
The Glass is Empty
However, other E3-goers are a bit more pessimistic:
The inevitable row upon row of CRTs and plasmas, filled with all the soulless faces of this year's crop of well-endowed heroines, the new special effects (which are neither special nor do they affect), and more aliens, robots, and dragons than you can hurl your joystick at. Yes, that is what I'm looking forward to - it will convince me that I can do better.
-Borut Pfeifer, Radical Entertainment
I would like to see the new original ideas that small studios and big companies are developing for the next generation of consoles. It seems that presently the big companies like Viviendi Universal, Ubisoft, and Electronic Arts are just pushing the smaller studios and themselves to make derivative games based on existing IP: franchise sequels, games based on movies/television shows, and so forth. Some of us are tired of Splinter Cell sequels and we want to see something new!
[Article illustration by Adam Reed of bohemiandrive.com.]