Every time I sit down to work on this piece, more and more E3 2019 news gets announced or leaked out, so I’m gonna post this while my predictions are still relevant. Some people have called the necessity of a convention like E3 into question because we live in a 24/7 news cycle that allows companies to get media attention when they want, if they make a big announcement. Sony proved this last week, when they announced the release date for Death Stranding alongside a new trailer and dominated gaming news, despite having no intention of showing up at E3 this year. While I can certainly see the argument against it, I think large conventions like E3 are still important. At the very least, it’s fun to speculate on what will get announced, and there’s usually so much excitement leading up to the press conferences, that it can wash away even my cynicism for a while. Predicting what will be at the show is almost as fun as watching the press conferences themselves (at least the good ones).
With the predictions below, I try to stay realistic, while finding some good outlets to express my outlandish ideas. I try to sprinkle in announcements of all levels, including news items that might only get mentioned in passing, or during press releases. I’m probably be wrong, I’m sure, but there’s something fun in being wrong. It always leaves that trail of thought that goes “this didn’t end up getting announced this year, but maybe next year…”
Square Enix Has the Best Press Conference
Here’s my prediction of the Square Enix press conference: it’ll start with a new trailer for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, with a release date for the first episode, and a price point that some will find controversial. After that, a speaker will get on stage and start talking about Square in general terms, including hints at their approach to the next generation of consoles. They’ll then show off Babylon’s Fall, their collaboration with PlatinumGames, which will appear on both current and next generation hardware. A trailer for Life is Strange 2: Episode 4 will follow, with small bits from other games launching relatively soon, like Dragon Quest Builders 2, Oninaki, and Dying Light 2. Tetsuya Nomura will get on stage to discuss Kingdom Hearts III DLC, and as soon as he leaves, the lights will go dark. A cinematic trailer for the Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game will debut alongside a release date for this year. A gameplay demo will follow that illustrates exactly what this game is and why it took so long to make. Next, we’ll see People Can Fly’s new game, Outriders, get a proper introduction as a next generation title, followed up by a trailer for Deck Nine’s new project, which will be an episodic adventure game set in the Deus Ex universe. The conference will begin wrapping up with an early 2020 release date for Dragon Quest XI on Switch, followed by a verbal tease about the “next Dragon Quest,” and a new trailer for Dragon Quest related content coming to Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Then a montage will play showing some of the games that have already been displayed, along with a number of HD remakes including Star Ocean: First Departure, Romancing SaGa 3, Collection of Mana, and a 10th anniversary edition of Nier. For the closer, they’ll pull a “one more thing” card by showing a CG trailer of Final Fantasy XVI – a “launch window” game for next generation consoles exclusively.
That’s a fairly lengthy paragraph of predictions (and I thank you for reading it, if you did) but if Square manages to pull of a press conference anywhere close to this, I think they’ll walk away with the best presentation of the show. At the very least, they’re due to make up for last year, when they introduced The Quiet Man to the world.
Square Enix’s E3 press conference will be at 8:00 PM Central Time on Monday, June 10. Tune in just to see how wrong I really am!
The New Xbox Soars And The Old One Fizzles
My prediction for Microsoft’s press conference consists of two major points: one, that they’ll be debuting their next generation console alongside a number of new games from their development teams, including some reveals of previously cancelled games to excite players. Two: that very few of these titles will come to the Xbox One.
Considering how minimally Microsoft has supported the Xbox One for the past couple of years (Crackdown 3 is their only major title in 2019 so far), I have no reason to believe this will change with a new console on the horizon. The Xbox One will get the titles that have already been announced for this year, like Gears 5 and Battletoads, but beyond the release of Halo Infinite, which may be on both consoles, I feel that it’s too little, too late to hope for their strategy to change. Microsoft, in an attempt to win gamers back, will announce that they’ve greenlit a large number of projects for their new console and stack the eventual launch date as much as possible. Some of these titles will be projects, like Obsidian Entertainment’s Stormlands, that have been publicly canceled, but rebooted in an attempt to get more projects done on a shorter time schedule. This is no guarantee that all of these games will be good (games sometimes get cancelled for a reason), but it’ll be the gesture that counts.
If you’re as curious as I am to see what they announce, Microsoft’s E3 press conference will be at 3:00 PM Central Time on Sunday, June 9.
Switch Streams Worldwide
Google’s Connect presentation for their Stadia game streaming service unofficially kicked off E3 on Thursday, guaranteeing streaming as a major topic of the convention. But will Google have the final say? If anything, they’re leaving the door open for another company to offer a comparable service. Microsoft and Sony will find the time to tout their own streaming ideas, while Nintendo will have the biggest news of all during their Nintendo Direct. Over the past year, they’ve been experimenting with streaming games in Japan and will announce that this service will go worldwide later this year, as a part of their Online Service, launching first in select cities with a small library of games, with further expansion in 2020.
So far in Japan, the focus has been on streaming games that would be too powerful to run on a Switch normally, like Resident Evil 7 and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I believe this will be the focus going forward, especially as we transition into the next generation of Playstation and Xbox. If the Switch seems less powerful than the competition now, imagine the gulf that will exist between Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid and a Playstation 5. By streaming some of the most popular multiplatform games as the Switch as it ages, Nintendo will find a way to keep players coming back to their platform to play essentially whatever they want, alongside the big Nintendo releases everyone knows and loves. This allows them to remain competitive no matter what, even if they release more powerful hardware revisions in the future.
The E3 2019 Nintendo Direct is at 11:00 AM Central Time, on Tuesday, June 11.
The Final Hurrah of the 3DS
Speaking of Nintendo, I have one other prediction: at some point during E3, not during the Nintendo Direct but elsewhere, they’ll announce that more 3DS games are coming to North America and Europe, and they’ll be Yo-Kai Watch games. In particular, they’ll be Yo-Kai Watch Blasters 2 and Yo-Kai Watch Sangokushi – a collaboration between series developer Level-5 and Koei Tecmo, based on the latter’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchise.
I have a few reasons why. First, Nintendo has already been blazing through localizing other Yo-Kai Watch 3DS games in recent months, with the original Blasters releasing last September, and Yo-Kai Watch 3 coming to Europe last December, and to North America this past February. They are most likely trying to get fans of the franchise caught up so they can release Yo-Kai Watch 4 on Switch outside of Japan as soon as possible. If what Nintendo says is true and they’re not announcing a new Switch hardware revision this E3, then releasing these two games throughout the latter half of the year makes sense – the 3DS will still effectively be a cheaper, kid-friendly alternative to the $300 Switch,and it’ll need new games to hold people’s interest. Yo-Kai Watch, with its brand already established on the console, can fill that void. Make no mistake, though: once these games are out, that’s it. Nintendo will bury the 3DS for good at that point.
Everything Gets Remastered
In the lead up to E3, there are already more announcements and leaks of HD remasters/remakes/re-releases than I can keep up with. To list just a few: there’s Destroy All Humans, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and Spongebob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. If licensed games like the SpongeBob title are now on the table, I think it opens the door to possibilities we never took seriously before, and I believe we’ll see a deluge of titles announced this week. More than we know what to do with.
Here’s a few more titles I’m betting will get announced throughout the week: Metroid Prime Trilogy, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Beyond Good and Evil HD (again), Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2 (again), Super Monkey Ball, Kirby: Air Ride, F-Zero GX, and Alien Hominid HD (again). I’m also tempted to say that Sony will slip in and announce some innocuous PS4 ports, just so the attention doesn’t totally get away from them, but if they do that, it’s most definitely got to be something they can cut in with without seeming rude. Like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, or Demon’s Souls. One can hope, right?
]Do you have predictions of your own? Do you think they’re all totally wrong and I don’t know what I’m talking about? Leave a comment below! Or contact me on Twitter. Or email me at dcichocki(at)tiltingwindmillstudios.com if you want. Whatever you want to do, just give it a shot! I’m friendly, I promise.