Recently CNET published an article titled E3 2016: The Biggest Unanswered Questions. I thought it would be fun to whip out the crystal ball and attempt to answer these questions. On we go:
What exactly is Nintendo up to? Apparently, they’re having a smoke and relaxing with a fresh margarita until it’s NX time. Seriously though Nintendo didn’t show much. The bulk of their showing amounted to Pokemon Sun & Moon (already knew about it) and the new Zelda game, subtitled Breath of the Wild. Other than that? A new IP called Ever Oasis that looked a lot like Atlus-type JRPGs we’ve seen before on the 3DS was also shown, as well as a new Mario Party. Anything I’m forgetting probably amounts to a mere footnote. Clearly Nintendo is in a holding pattern until they are comfortable with the NX as a finished product. The price they paid was an underwhelming showing this year. Or was it? Breath of the Wild is the most talked about game to come out of E3 week. If Nintendo purposely gambled that Zelda would carry them through the convention gauntlet this year, one could argue they were right.
What is Norman Reedus doing in a video game? This was a surprise, but not as much as the article mentions. I understand that this is a broader audience to whom this is written though, so some background is needed. Yes Kojima is back as we all knew he would be, and he’s managed to bring along Norman Reedus who he once collaborated with before Konami jettisoned the popular developer and his work on the new Silent Hills game. It’s a pleasant surprise but not out of the question to see Reedus getting back with Kojima to finally complete a full-fledged game together.
When will Sony and Microsoft actually allow Playstation and Xbox gamers to play games with each other? As the article mentions much more tactfully than I’m about to, this is a dick measuring contest between two huge corporations. Even worse, it’s something neither of them particularly feels like doing in my opinion. Why do you ask? Because it benefits everyone. What’s wrong with that you say? Well Sony only wants to make their customers happy, and Microsoft only wants to make their customers happy. There’s a lot to be gained here for consumers. If nothing else cross-play just ensures that games will have larger user bases and take longer to die off when it comes to online play. The trouble is that neither company particularly benefits, just the customers, and we can’t have that! I expect this hesitancy from both companies to continue until the issue is dropped for awhile. Behind closed doors I think there is a very simple and unwritten understanding between the two console makers that neither of them feels particularly eager to devote resources to this.
When will Oculus touch controls release? Is there anyone outside of Oculus that can answer this one? I doubt it. Probably the toughest question on this list. The advent of VR was thought to be led by the Oculus Rift but they can’t seem to manufacture enough of these, and as a result past orders have yet to be fulfilled and the HTC Vive continues to gain favor with the masses. Worrying about the touch controls might even be putting the cart in front of the horse right now: Oculus is still struggling to deliver figuratively and literally.
When will all versions of the Xbox One S ship? I’m not certain that many people are wondering about this one honestly. It is interesting to me though that only the 2 TB, $399 version is confirmed for August. Kind of defeats the purpose of all this don’t you think? A 500GB, $299 version is a good stop-gap for people who have been curious about the Xbox One but know Project Scorpio is on the horizon. Even if they’re unaware of the latter it’s still a good entry point for those that wish to jump in this late in the game. It’s odd that all models don’t have release dates set in stone, but I suspect they will all be available within a month or two of each other. My best guess at this point is a slight hitch in production that Microsoft deemed unworthy of a mention. They will not miss the holiday season with these.
Where is Rockstar Games? Great question. I mentioned on the podcast recently that I was pretty convinced Red Dead Redemption 2 was happening. Not a peep from Rockstar though on this, however it is worth noting that they often don’t feel compelled to use E3 for game announcements so there’s still hope for something big in the coming months.
Will there ever be a Kingdom Hearts 3 or Beyond Good & Evil 2? The former is in development and I believe is simply not finished yet. It does make one wonder why at least an obligatory trailer wasn’t shown. A few games endured this scrutiny while the conference was ongoing. It’s very difficult to say. As for Beyond Good & Evil 2, I can’t help but think Ubisoft realized this was only a cult hit, i.e. didn’t translate to profits that well. It’s a game a lot of people love, but twice as many genuinely don’t remember it.
What will Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles look like? Given how reluctant either company is to show their hand when it comes to hardware, I think we’re lucky we got what we did in terms of information. Scorpio exists, teraflops were mentioned, and that was about it. PlayStation Neo, as promised by Sony, was not shown but does anyone really care about that? There have been enough leaks and speculation to put together a pretty reasonable picture of what it will look like: A marginal upgrade over the current PS4 that enables 4K and will be an unspoken recommendation if you want to enjoy VR to its fullest. As for Scorpio, Microsoft wanted everyone to know it was real and that developers had their hands on it. Their hope is to capitalize on this at a later date (likely next year’s E3) but secrecy was still their intention for fear of Sony one-upping them between now and the end of next year when Scorpio releases. Like I said I think we were lucky to receive the morsels we did.
How will Microsoft offer VR? I thought the wording of this question was great. If you ask “Will Microsoft have VR?”, we all know the answer is yes. They showed their augmented reality-based HoloLens last year, but everyone seemed to understand it was in its infancy. So MS is going with AR instead of VR right? You may think that but it’s hard to say. Xbox One controllers are packaged with every Oculus Rift headset, so there is a relationship there in some form. AR? VR? Both? We’re a long way from Scorpio. More tech specs might give us a better idea of what to expect from Microsoft in this space, but I don’t think they will bank solely on AR. It’s too risky at this stage with the still present possibility that VR will take off like gangbusters. Also, from a layman’s perspective it seems like an AR/VR headset is completely in the realm of possibilities as we quickly move along here. Razer has already announced a VR headset that rivals the HTC Vive in terms of specs but with the price cut in half, and the VR era just began a couple of months ago.
Will Detroit: Become Human be any good? Stay tuned for my E3 special on the Snatch Gaming podcast tonight. I’ve got more than a few thoughts on David Cage’s latest mutant brain child.