Andrew’s E3 Wishlist
Thanks to numerous early leaks of titles, E3 this year feels less like an exciting event and more like a checklist to work through. Ironic given how many AAA titles work in much the same way, to varying degrees. It’s easy to become excited at the prospects of a much-awaited sequel — my wishlist certainly exemplifies this in spades — and the expo has largely become a means of promising maturity for a rapidly-expanding industry, in an effort for publishers to prove their integrity without having to really pull through in the long-run.
But I digress. Personally, for as cynical as I am about big-budget game developers jerking themselves off on stage, in front of hundreds of media representatives who are no doubt working to expand their own egos; I cannot help but feel the itch of anticipation each year in lieu of the various conferences.
Be it the announcements of sequels to my favorite titles, gameplay videos of titles finally close to release, awkward moments where developers make cringeworthy attempts to relate to audiences, or simply the promise of surprises littered throughout; there’s much to be excited to see. Here are some welcome surprises to the showcase that I would be happy to see announced or showcased during this year’s E3.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Fifteen years have passed since the original Beyond Good & Evil baffled the world with its mature approach to Zelda-style game design. And from the looks of last year’s divisive trailer, the game’s own universe seems to have grown up, as well. Which is ironic since it is slated to take place before the events of the first game. Gratuitous vulgarity aside, the planet Hillys (or the futuristic setting one may assume is Hillys) seems to have grown exponentially in scale, which hopefully suggests that the narrative ambitions of the game’s head writers have, too.
Reintroduced as a prequel to its predecessor, BG&E2 certainly has the advantage of going anywhere Michel Ancel and his creative team would like to take it. And hopefully this long-awaited new entry now has the capability to break through the restraints which, admittedly, weighed the original game down. The story is sure to explore Jade’s origin at some point, or at least her connection to the mysterious Shauni, which acted as the allegorical force of evil inherent inside her.
But more than anything, it would be encouraging for an E3 showcase to display Ancel’s creative freedom with this project, something which he lacked during production of his original underappreciated masterpiece. Some gameplay footage and character presentation could dispel the mixed notions of the 2017 teaser, and finally prompt some excitement for the future of this promising series. The medium needs more sophisticated games like BG&E, and perhaps a successful sequel will prompt others in the industry to turn their heads and take note.
From Software’s Latest Title (“Shadows Die Twice”)
Look, the game could be anything. But how wonderful a rumor, that From Software, the innovative minds behind Dark Souls and Bloodborne, are likely reaching back into their past to update their aged, creative, and grossly-flawed Shadow Tower series. The teaser trailer from late last year featured only three words: “Shadows Die Twice;” which has a litany of possible meanings to reveal.
The developer’s work is largely defined by ambiguity, so it’s quite fitting for their latest tease to explain little to nothing, and yet imply so much from simplicity. If a Shadow Tower reboot was to arise from the grave, would the first-person perspective return as well? Or would FS reconfigure its traditional roles and scenarios into their modern third-person action layout?
Perhaps the developer will refuse to give any further straightforward details at the expo, and instead offer something ambiguous as the teaser once again? If E3 is a celebration of patting ourselves on the back for welcoming new, expected series entries, and delighting in the details involved; then FS have the opportunity to dispel these notions of promise and information, just as their games do. However the case unfolds, “Shadows Die Twice” deserves some time in the spotlight, regardless of whether it shows us anything definitive or not.
Metroid Prime 4
Metroid Prime has the pleasure of being placed on my E3 wishlist simply because the game will likely fail to disappoint. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Nintendo will share more info regarding the latest entry in this beloved series. And if it actually does not make an appearance, then the conference will be all the worse for it.
Nintendo are brilliant when it comes to pandering to fans’ wishes. The future of Metroid as a series whole was hidden away for years, up until last year’s surprise reveal of both a remake of Metroid 2, and of course this more exciting new installment in the influential series. The Switch has proven a mighty home for first-person shooters, thanks to recent ports like Wolfenstein II and DOOM, so there is little surprise at Nintendo’s decision to finally bring impatient audiences the long-awaited fourth entry.
If a simple title video alone can arouse cheers, I expect a slow-burn of a trailer. Hopefully some gameplay will be on display, but I can assume the first few minutes at least will feature heavily cinematic footage, emphasizing just how long it has been since where the original series left off. But it is exciting to imagine just how immaculate MP4 will look now thanks to the capabilities of the Switch, hopefully promising another wonderfully grim world for players to lose themselves in.
An Open-World Harry Potter IP
For as long as I can remember, my greatest gaming dream has been for a company to develop an open-world Harry Potter game set at Hogwarts. Imagining the possibilities always makes me excited for how promising a venture it could be. With the release of the relatively-popular mobile game, however greedy its philosophy, the prospects of such a title no longer seem so out of reach.
Lite-RPG elements, including character customization and upgrades, would emphasize a student’s educational journey. Wandering the halls of Hogwarts, exploring the transforming corridors, finding secret passages, sneaking through dungeons, making friends with peers or perhaps enemies, the game could be equal parts Bully, Persona, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Fallout: New Vegas, only set within a universe completely unique and familiar.
It is a game which I am baffled has yet to be produced. Legions of Harry Potter fans would fawn over it, and there is simply so much potential for what the game could provide. Learning and casting spells, discovering different fantastical species, flying on broomsticks or in cars, choosing one’s own sense of morality, as dictated by the completion of assigned quests, or simply roaming the isle of Hogwarts could be one of the most wonderful games ever produced, if placed in the hands of a competent developer like Rocksteady or Obsidian.
Each year I await the announcement of some form of Harry Potter IP. With recent acclaimed titles like Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, open-world games are finally becoming more than the chore-heavy collectathons they are often defined as. Now is the time for creative minds to take advantage of this beloved universe and deliver something magical to play.
Yes, I am that guy. Every year, I still hold on to some semblance of hope for a sequel to one of the greatest games in the history of the medium. After Valve promised to start shipping titles again, my heart began to beat for this lost property once more.
It will not happen — right? I mean, that would be crazy if it was revealed. We would all lose our minds with excitement! And that’s what E3 is for, right? I’ll never forget when Gabe Newell came on during Sony’s press conference and announced Portal 2 was coming to PS3 after all. At 13 years old, I ran around my home screaming in absolute elation, thankful I would be able to play my most anticipated sequel after all.
I cannot imagine how I would react now to the announcement of Half-Life 3. That is why I refuse to surrender that hope.