With E3 2010 almost upon us, gamersâ expectations are no doubt ramping up with each coming day, all the while publishers and developers from all over the globe are working around the clock to showcase the latest they have to offer early next week. Before the internet is set ablaze with wave after wave of new media content, we decided to share with you our expectations of whatâs going down from June 13, the day Microsoftâs Natal conference is to take place, until June 17, the last day of E3 2010.
With the E3 2010 event literally just days away now, I canât help but feel the focus of âProject Natalâ from Microsoft is going to overshadow the more important aspect of the event for me â being new games! Sure Iâm interested in a camera I can wave at, but what will we learn this year that we donât already know from last years E3, all this fuss for a ânameâ?
Considering the point has been made in the past that âProject Natalâ is designed and developed using cheap technology, I would be very disappointed to discover that a rumoured price of $149.99 was set in stone because as far as we know to date, it is only supported by Yoga and a small handful of childlike arcade games. Whilst I am blown away by the futuristic controller-less style of using it, unless there is anything decent and worthwhile to use it on, itâs a pointless accessory - I wouldnât want to spend all that money just to wave at the dashboard.
Being an absolute mega Call of Duty fan is an understatement, so it is fair to say that I am biased regardless of the story, the gameplay and any new features â if itâs Call of Duty on the box, Iâm buying it! However I am hoping that E3 this year is one of Treyarchâs memorable moments for Call of Duty, where they can step up for once as developers with more credibility against the crumbling Infinity Ward studio who didnât quite deliver what I was expecting with Modern Warfare 2. For Treyarchâs âBlack Opâs I am secretly (well not so secretly now) hoping for a full co-op Zombie campaign mode. Itâs doubtful to that extent, but I do at the very least hope there is some form of progression with the Zombie parts. It would also be beneficial if they have learnt anything from the mistakes of Infinity Ward and announce the release of a beta where glitchers, cheaters and killstreak boosters can rip it apart for the greater good.
Although not everyone is likely to be excited about this as I am, but John Dalyâs ProStroke Golf I hope gets a good deal of coverage at E3 too. Since I believe TigerWoods PGA has dominated the Xbox 360 golf genre for far too long because it hasnât had any decent competition. Iâm tired of all the EA gimmicks with PGA now as it feels more like a focus on how flashy they can make the in-game menus, plus with the constant stream of in-game advertising it had put me off buying another version again. Fingers and toes crossed that John Dalyâs ProStroke Golf is a fun, classic enjoyable golf game without all the gimmicks and over-the-top effects. I am at the very least expecting details of multiplayer elements, course content and curious if there will be a course designer since ProStroke for the Xbox Original had that feature.
Finally, I couldnât care less if there was an Xbox 360, fat, tall or slim model â do we need it, not really! Iâm more interested in next-gen technology now we are 5yrs on from the release of the Xbox 360, but with the main focus from Microsoft being âProject Natalâ maybe next year weâll start seeing some hints towards the 360âs successor?
Microsoft can live happily in the knowledge that, regardless of what they announce at this yearâs E3, Iâm going nowhere. The Xbox360 is my console of choice, and Iâve no intention of changing that anytime soon. With exclusives such as Halo: Reach and Gears of War 3 looking to blow the roof off the Los Angeles Convention Centre, I firmly believe that itâs a great time to be a Xbox player.
However, I canât shake the feeling that everyone is going to walk away from E3 feeling hugely deflated by Natal. The Eye Toy failed in part because you could only be physical for so long… that and you looked like a tit. So far, nothing Microsoft has announced has made it a must have for me; I simply like the functionality of a controller too much.
Oh and WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011. I may lose all sense of credibility for admitting it, but I canât wait for its unveiling at E3; any game where you can create you mom-in-law and beat her with a chair is alright in my books.
In the same way Microsoft is to kick off E3 2010 with a Natal-centered conference on Sunday, followed by another one focused on all other things Xbox 360 on Monday, Iâll start off by talking about the much-touted ârevolutionaryâ device that appears to be all the rage in the days leading up to the big event. And itâs pretty reasonable too, what with the name, pricing details and game line-up still shrouded in mystery. I hope that the peripheral (assuming thereâs no pack-ins) will be priced below $100, despite what the recent rumours have led us to believe, because I donât see myself buying the thing come Fall if itâs going to be any higher. But thatâs not the only requirement the big M has to make me tick off on my list.
Another big deciding factor that can tip the balance in Microsoftâs favour is what it all comes down to at the end of the day. Thatâs right, the games. Itâs a given that the publisher will try its damnedest to get a nice slice of that casual market Nintendo has been dominating for the last four years, but that doesnât mean Microsoft will simply ignore its core audience. The question is how far the company will go in wooing us to the store shelves when Natal becomes available for purchase later this year. Will they release a couple of games just for the sake of it or will they put out a hardcore title or two that will defy our imagination as to what Natal is capable of? I sincerely hope itâs the latter.
On the other end of the Xbox 360 front, Microsoft will very likely devote the most time in the lime light to its flagship darlings Halo: Reach, Fable III and, last but not certainly least, Gears of War 3. Personally, I want Epic Games to show off a build that will blow me away and announce features that will put the third installment on the very top of my most wanted list. The same goes for Bungie. Itâs 99% likely they will show something from the single-player campaign and I hope that part of the conference on Monday rocks my socks off. Since Reach is their last Halo effort before handing the reins over to Microsoftâs own Industries 343, going out on a high note is not an option, but a necessity.
For me to walk away from my computer screen smiling from ear to ear on Monday, Microsoft has to pull a rabbit out of their hat â something along the lines of last yearâs Final Fantasy XIII announcement would be splendid. Maybe Rare will finally take the wraps off the game weâve been waiting to play ever since they switched sides, who knows?
Microsoft need to have a big year this year. With Apple encroaching on the gaming sphere at an ever increasing rate with the iPhone and more recently the iPad, it means the competition is really heating up. The Wii continues to dominate as it has done since its launch, and Sony have really upped their game after their disastrous entrance to the HD gaming era. 2009 was a relatively quiet year by MS’ standards, who seemed to focus more on the social networking side of things last year. Not necessarily a bad thing, but also not something that is going to get people really excited about (Facebook on your console. Really?). So what have they got to offer in 2010? Motion control is likely going to be the big focus this year and Project Natal will finally get a proper name and some proper hands on time. But is that enough? Nintendo set the gaming world on fire with motion control and the competition has been slow to act. Natal doesn’t really come across as the answer. When MS launched the dreadful gimmick that was the 360 Vision Camera with games like Totemball to support it, unsurprisingly it never really caught on. They need to show a killer app in the same vein as Wii Sports, something universal that even your nan could enjoy. So far there’s been little evidence of that type of game. And unless it’s amazing, this lethargic gamer won’t be buying into it. What would be nice to see is a slimmed down 360, ala Sony. Sure it’s copying the competition but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Launch it with Natal as a bundle and make everyone happy.
Software wise, they have Halo: Reach to get all the fanboys pumped. Not really my kind of game and not something I’ll be getting excited about, but it’s exactly what MS need to generate some more buzz around their hardware. Crackdown 2 is the most exciting exclusive, since the first one was so unexpectedly good. Everything shown thus far on number two looks bigger and better, so the sooner that launches the better. The sound of collecting orbs was so satisfying on its own. Gears of War 3 will technically be within a year of the next E3, though sadly won’t make 2010. Another exclusive that will no doubt make a huge splash when it eventually arrives. Having loved the other two, I’m hoping for much more information, in particular on the four way co-op which more games definitely should have. Call of Duty: Black Ops is of course another title that is hotly anticipated and one that has already got one colleague salivating.
I just hope Microsoft focus on what they were doing best in years gone by. Cut the crap with the social networking side of things and get back to focusing on the awesome exclusives that keep us playing our 360s and remind us why we prefer gaming with a controller in hand rather than with the key presses of our fingers.
The biggest item coming out of Microsoft’s camp at E3 2010 will be the Natal. Speculation is that it might even have a new name, and after conversations with sources, this very well could be the case. Since itâs been announced it will be available this holiday season, we know it is already complete. It will be demonstrated, price point will finally be known (around the $150 mark), and it will be available for hands on. Not one game has been announced up to this point that will be using the Natal. We do already know however there are a slew of games and publishers have been very vocal about some of them not being launch titles. Microsoft has played its cards very close to its chest. Expect to see a long list of games that will be available though.
The games that will make the biggest noise will be Gears of War 3, Halo Reach, Fable III, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. None of these are a surprise, and should be all highly regarded. There will be at least one new IP announced and several sequels in the mix.
If the Natal is as successful as Microsoft says it will be, this will be their year.
Enough about what we think! Sound off your expectations in the comments below!