Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Looking Forward to E3 2015

Way back in 2010 and 2011 I tried to start a Five-O-Rama tradition to write a yearly post about my expectations for the upcoming Electronics Entertainment Expo. I have clearly failed in that endeavour, but with another E3 just a week away let's give it another try, shall we?

I'll be honest, when I began writing this list I really tried to play it straight and make quality predictions, but you know what? That's boring! Let's make some outlandish guesses this time around.

I have a feeling this E3 is going to be all about "retro". Some of the biggest video games companies of our time are floundering and they see all the potential dollars floating around in the collective pool of nostalgic childhood memories.

5. Battletoads

I don't know if you've noticed, but I may have mentioned Shovel Knight once or twice in the last few months. Since it was released there have been several version-exclusive features for all the different releases. On Wii U, for instance, you could leave messages and clues for other players via Miiverse, kind of like you can in the Dark Souls games. For the Playstation release you can fight one of Sony's most iconic characters, Kratos.

For the Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, released in late-April of this year, Microsoft resurrected the Battletoads as exclusive enemies for Shovel Knight to face. This, of course, stirred up some thoughts that maybe MS was considering bringing the iconic brawlers back.

If you don't know, Microsoft bought out Rare back in 2002 and as such they have become an Xbox first-party developer. Any and all characters and series owned by Rare, excluding the Nintendo titles they've worked on, are now in Microsoft's wealthy hands.

From the moment I heard that the Battletoads were making their way into Shovel Knight, I felt hopeful we'd see a new Battletoads title on Xbox One and PC. Top that off with the fact that Microsoft renewed the Battletoads trademark this year? I think this is definitely happening.

It may be little more than a teaser, but I believe we'll see Battletoads at E3 2015. What kind of game will it be? I think it would amazing if Rare and Microsoft farmed this one out to Yacht Club Games so they could make an awesome 2D side-scrolling brawler, like the series is known for. What will it most likely be? Some sort of ultra-violent 3D affair. Either way, I'm looking forward to see Rash, Zitz, and Pimple making their digital return.

4. Mega Man

This is going to seem highly unlikely, but hear me out. Mega Man was first released in December of 1987. That's 28 years ago, which means that Mega Man is having a big 30th anniversary in the very near future.

I know that Capcom has been offbeat in recent years. Cancelling several high-profile Mega Man games and letting Keiji Inafune leave the company were definite missteps. They've also gone in a questionable direction with one of their other flagship titles, Resident Evil. I think they are starting to see the error in their ways, however.

Inafune has gone out on his own and, after an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, is launching the spiritual successor to the Blue Bomber this September with Mighty No. 9. I think after seeing how well received Inafune-san's idea for a new "Mega Man" game went over, the bigwigs at Capcom must have been having some serious meetings about the future of their own mighty little robot.

With the news that Capcom is producing a new Mega Man cartoon show to launch in 2017, I feel like it's a no-brainer that they'll release a new Mega Man title to coincide with 2017. How could they not!?

What will this game be like? I hope that it is an all new title that builds upon the great game mechanics the series is known for, but with a nice fresh coat of paint. I really feel like Sakurai nailed what a 3D Mega Man should look like in the recent Super Smash Bros. release and that's the way Capcom should go. I hope they don't just re-re-release some old Mega Man games or make another new Mega Man title in the vein of Mega Man 9 and 10. I think it's about time the Blue Bomber made a comeback in a more substantial way!

My timestamp of writing this post.
EDIT: I know this post hasn't even been released yet, so adding an edit seems crazy, but I just finished writing the Mega Man part of this list and Capcom has made a pre-E3 announcement regarding the super fighting robot himself.
Capcom's official announcement.
They are releasing the Mega Man Legacy Collection for PS4, Xbox One, and PC this summer, with a Nintendo 3DS release coming in winter 2016. It will include the first six Mega Man NES titles with some included modes, which appear to be remixes of those six games.

This is exactly the kind of thing I hoped they wouldn't announce and I'm pretty saddened by the news. My only hope is that since it is just a re-release and is dated to come out this summer there's still some chance that Capcom is working on something new for the 30th anniversary, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

3. Resident Evil 2 HD Remaster

Speaking of Resident Evil, what can we expect from the king daddy of all zombie horror games? I think there will be lots of RE-related announcements at this year's E3. It will come as no surprise that Resident Evil 7 will be announced at this year's show. Even after a poor showing for RE6, there have been rumours floating around that Capcom intends to continue with the franchise and hopefully return to the roots of what made the series so great. With the popularity of Resident Evil Revelations and its sequel I think there will definitely be a brand-new RE title of some sort shown this year.

That said, earlier this year Capcom also re-re-released (see a pattern here?) the original RE game as Resident Evil HD Remaster on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4. The game is an HD version of the title known by fans as the "REmake", which was a high resolution retooling of the original Resident Evil released for the Nintendo Gamecube and later again on the Wii.

Guess what? The game sold one million copies in no time and they've already announced an HD remake of the Gamecube and Wii-released prequel Resident Evil 0.

If I know Capcom, and I think I do, they are going to be all over this and I think we are going to see an HD remastering of what many consider to be the best game in the series, Resident Evil 2.

It won't be a straight-forward affair, though. RE2 did make an appearance on the Gamecube, but basically as a straight port with some graphical clean up. It was not the complete makeover its predecessor received. Nevertheless, I think that they'll put in the extra effort to get RE2 HD out as soon as possible and that we'll at least see it teased at E3 2015.

Now let me go check the Internet and make sure they didn't announce this while I was writing, as well...

2. Metroid

Every E3 there are two games that gamers, especially Nintendo fans, clamour for and they are Star Fox and Metroid. I can't tell you how many prediction lists I've seen over the years with those two games on them and every single year Nintendo disappoints.

Then at last year's E3, Time Magazine dropped the bombshell that a new Star Fox game was in development by none other than the great Shigeru Miyamoto himself. It was kind of a snafu, actually, because Nintendo hadn't yet teased the game themselves!

Now, it is a fact that we're going to see Star Fox at this year's E3. Miyamoto has confirmed that himself. What I think will shock people is that Nintendo will also finally reveal a new Metroid game at this year's event!

It's no secret that Retro Studios is hard at work on a new Nintendo title. Are they working on a new Metroid game? It would make sense. They successfully rebooted the series with Metroid Prime on the Gamecube back in 2002. Although we can't say for certain that Retro is working on the new Metroid title, I think it is likely.

I'm going to go out on a limb with this one, but I think that we're going to see a new Metroid game released on the Nintendo 3DS. I think that this game will play more like Super Metroid or Metroid Fusion and that it is being developed by Monster Games, the company responsible for the 3DS port of Donkey Kong Country Returns.

It's been a long time since we got a real traditional Metroid experience. Metroid: Other M from Team Ninja left a funny taste in gamers' mouths and I think the best way to continue with the series is to full return to its roots.

Will it be a new Metroid Prime game from Retro Studios? A new 2D side-scroller from Monster Games? Or both? We'll see in a few short days!

1. Final Fantasy VI 3D Remake

This one is a serious reach, and more of a personal wish than anything else, but here goes nothing.

As part of Final Fantasy's 20th anniversary, Square Enix remade Final Fantasy IV in 3D and released it on the Nintendo DS in 2007. The game was successful and saw subsequent releases for PC, iOS and Android in 2012. This was the second 3D remake of a Final Fantasy title on the DS, following Final Fantasy III, which had previously only seen a release on the Famicom in Japan. It was also released on iOS, Android, and PC by 2012.

After the remake of FFIV, the focus was laid squarely (see what I did there) on Final Fantasy VI. Square Enix themselves said that they were looking into doing a remake of FFVI on the DS, but had changed their focus to remakes of FFV and FFVI on the then newly released Nintendo 3DS.

I've laid in wait all these years expecting Square Enix to see the light and realize that they need to produce a 3D remake of what I consider to be their best RPG. It's 25th anniversary came and went, however, and I was starting to think it just wouldn't happen. Square Enix has released a new and highly successful franchise with Bravely Default and with its sequel on the way I just couldn't see them having the resources around to produce a 3D remake of FFVI.

Then just a few weeks ago, Square Enix did something I hadn't expected! In 2008 they also released a sequel to Final Fantasy IV known as FFIV: The After Years. It was released as an episodic mobile title initially, but eventually found its way to WiiWare in North America. It was wildly popular and was finally released as a complete title on the PSP in 2011.

Now, stay with me, I know I've been throwing a lot of dates and releases around here. In 2014 Square Enix ported their 3D remake of Final Fantasy IV to PC with optimized graphics. Then on May 11, 2015 they released a new 3D remake of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years for PC!

That means that they have some resources dedicated to releasing a new 3D remake of a Final Fantasy game and my hope is sparked anew that we could potentially see a 3D remake of Final Fantasy VI hit PC and modern consoles by at least 2016.

I know it's a bit of a pipe dream, but I just can't seem to let this one go, so for my Hail Mary of E3 2015 I'll be sitting and watching Square Enix announcements with the hope that I will finally see FFVI get the love it deserves.