fallout 4

My e3 2015 Predictions

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The “Re-mastered Generation” has stumbled out of the box. When I look over my PS4 collection and observe that its best games are The Last of Us, Diablo 3, and Tomb Raider, an issue arises. Where are the games that define this generation? Super Mario 64 pushed the N64 off selves. Super Metroid rocked our world when it popped up on the Super Nintendo. Sonic the Hedgehog breathed life into my Sega Genesis. Remember Shenmue and Powerstone for the Dreamcast? What about Metal Gear Solid for the PS1? I took a dive onto the Xbox for Halo. I plunged face first into the Xbox 360 for Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Dating back to the original Atari, I don’t recall a single time in gaming history where so many recycled titles dominated the shelves.

Destiny was rubbish. I can say that. For everything the game accomplished, it managed to do a lot more wrong. Let’s review: no story, a bare bones competitive multiplayer mode, a boring grind system, and a repetitive mission structure make for a dull experience. An experience that not even great core mechanics, beautiful visuals, and an excellent frame rate can overcome. Shadow of Mordor hinted at greatness, the nemesis system was real innovation, but its true potential remained unknown, held back by being produced for last generation consoles that are now ten years in age. Dragon Age: Inquisition was a return to form for Bioware, but nothing about it screamed, “This is the future of gaming!” Too many fetch quests combined with unimaginative side quests produced an experience that was good, but not great. I felt I could have enjoyed a similar experience playing it on the Xbox 360 as opposed to the PS4. This generation’s library of games remains average at best.

Add to the dearth of titles the rise of releasing half-finished products and the non-too subtle attempt at inching towards always online connectivity, and I am left wondering if it is worth continuing this hobby? What about virtual and augmented reality? Shouldn’t you perfect what you already have before moving on to the next big thing? Or is sinking into a pool of mediocrity to be the accepted norm? Don’t worry true believers: re-mastered versions of God of War 3, Alan Wake, and Final Fantasy X are set to join the re-mastered versions of Sleeping Dogs, GTA V, Devil May Cry, and the Master Chief Collection that already populate the shelves. Recycle. Recycle. Recycle.

Hope exists. Another e3 is on the horizon. A chance for redemption may be in play. Perhaps this sinking ship can be righted after all. Or maybe it is time for this old guy to put down the controller and move on to reading. Here are my top predictions/wishes for e3 2015:

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Bethesda Steals the Show

They are already making history by announcing their own floor presentation. What do I expect? The Doom reboot, Dishonored 2, a dlc expansion for the Elder Scrolls MMO, and a new IP. I am hoping for Elder Scrolls VI. I think we may be surprised by what Bethsaida decides to do with Fallout. Many are expecting a sequel much in the vein of Fallout 3. What we may get is a trailer for a Fallout MMO instead. Not saying I like the idea, but there is evidence…

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Bioware Continues their Resurrection  

An expansion, similar to Awakening, is shown for Dragon Age Inquisition. A trailer is shown for Mass Effect 4 with a release date pushing it to holiday 2016. Another teaser is flashed for their new IP, and their segment is ended by the announcement that the Mass Effect trilogy is coming to the PS4/Xbox One. My hope is not just for the routine 1080p/60fps with all the dlc treatment. I wish they would also fine tune the combat, give it another level of polish, add additional cut scenes, extend other cut scenes, and transfer the sound effect lessons they implemented in Mass Effect 3 into Mass Effect 1 and 2. A steel case, the soundtrack for the entire trilogy, an art book, and a disc that goes behind the scenes into the making of the entire trilogy would be an added bonus. Alas, I feel my expectations have me set up for a major disappointment. Hey, if you are going to re-master everything, might as well get it done right.

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The Wii-U Swansong

My biggest hesitation last year with Nintendo was my worry that they would abandon the Wii-U and make a run on a new console. They haven’t abandoned the Wii-U, yet. The writing, however, is on the tombstone. The next system will be unveiled next year. If they’re smart, not only does it match the PS4/Xbox1 while introducing a remarkable innovation, it also hits store shelves holiday 2016. This creates a cloud over everything Nintendo decides to show at this e3. My mind is already looking to next year. What tricks do they have up their sleeves to recapture my attention to the Wii-U? Or is it already a lost cause?

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PS4/Xbox 1 Come out Swinging…

With what? PS4 will likely tout exclusive games like Deep Down, Street Fighter V, and No Man’s Sky. Xbox will be all about Halo, Crackdown, Tomb Raider: Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Quantum Break. More re-masters will be shown off. More boring stats that no one cares about will be recited. My hope? PS4 shows off that top secret RPG that Guerilla Games is supposedly working on, a new IP is shown off by Quantic Dream, and a classic like Syphon Filter is reborn. Throw in some more indies, another third party exclusive, and cap it off by showing more footage from Uncharted 4 and a teaser for the next God of War (time to take on the Japanese pantheon), and you’ll have a winner. Xbox needs to hit the first party exclusive scene hard. Perfect Dark? Kameo? Banjo? The next Gears of War? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. How about bringing Starcraft and Overwatch over from Blizzard? Throw in a brand new killer IP, and they will be golden as well. Why? The taste of being burned in the last half of the Xbox 360’s cycle is still fresh in my mouth. The part where they shifted their focus from games to TV. Blow it up with first party exclusives for the second year in a row and that taste may be gone for good.

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VR/Augmented Reality take Center Stage

This is unfortunate. Too many gimmicks have fallen flat on their faces over the last few years in the industry. Right the ship you’re sailing before you tether another boat lest both end up sinking. At least, that’s my take. I expect this season’s technological darling to receive an awful lot of limelight. We will see big promises. We may even be wowed by presentation. Just bear in mind reality. If the history of e3 presentations are anything to go by, looking at you Watch Dogs, keep yourself grounded in fact and do not be swayed by fancy fiction.

Wishlist: Top Ten Launch Titles for Xbox “Durango”

Will it have a 16 core processor? A chip to block used gaming? Will it need to have constant internet access? No disc drive or a blu-ray? A terabyte of cloud space? 7000 AMD graphic card? Kinect 2.0 built-in?

Ok, I’ll briefly jump on the bandwagon here in the midst of the next-gen rumor craze and throw out my suggestions for what would make a killer Xbox launch line-up. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of sports titles from 2k and EA, so I skipped on those for this list.

10.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2.

Why: Yes, I know these games are already out on the PC, but that’s not the point. This would be a statement that simply says we now do MMO’s. Throw in a promise that a Marvel and Fallout MMO are on the way and they’ll have fans eating out of their hands. Speaking of Fallout…

My Vote: 50/50

9.

What: Fallout 4

Why: Fallout 3’s vast open world and general RPG goodness made it one of the best games to appear on the 360. Its sequel is hottly anticipated, would go great alongside a Fallout MMO announcement, and would sell a ton of systems. Oh, and please give a tease for Elder Scrolls 6 while you’re at it. Please.

My Vote: 70/30

8.

What: Killer Instinct

Why: Rare needs to make a comeback. The Durango needs an awesome fighting game to help get it off the ground. Fans have been begging for this years on end. The timing couldn’t be better. Throw in some teases for a new Banjo, Kameo, Perfect Dark, and Conker. Launch it alongside Kinect Fit 2 and prepare to watch systems fly off shelves.

My Vote: 40/60

7.

What: Halo Wars 2

Why: Halo 5’s 2014 release is still another year away. Hype it up by releasing a fully redefined sequel to the Halo RTS. You can even port over Starcraft 2, Shogun 2, and C&C Generals 2 just to show that the Durango will bolster a powerful line of RTS titles. While you’re at it, throw in SimCity. One can dream, right?

My Vote: 30/70

6.

What: Samaritan

Why: Did you see the youtube vid? No, seriously, did you watch it? Then you have your answer. Launch it and announce that a Gears of War prequel trilogy is coming soon.

My Vote: 60/40

5.

What: Dragon Age 3

Why: Bioware pulled a sophomore fumble with Dragon Age 2. Same thing happened with Devil May Cry and they rebounded nicely. Bioware are still some of the best storytellers in the industry and I think DA3 will cement that. A Mass Effect 4 and Jade Empire 2 announcement as well…sounds awesome. Hopefully MS follows that up with a healthy list of coming attractions in the RPG genre including The Witcher 3, Dark Souls 2, and some JRPG goodness.

My Vote: 80/20

4.

What:  Fable 4

Why: I really enjoyed Fable 1-2. Fable 3 felt rushed and I have no intention of trying Fable The Journey. Fable can learn from Kingdoms of Amalur, Elder Scrolls, and, even, Zelda. Make us remember why this series garnered so much praise in its beginnings. If you want to release a new Forza game at launch and push Fable 4 back a few months you won’t receive a complaint from me.

My Vote: 60/40

3.

What: Alan Wake 2

Why: The first one was a true psychological thriller with a killer plot. American Nightmare showed promised for the combat aspects of the title. Combine the combat with the story on new hardware and produce a AAA title worthy of moving systems. Go ahead and use the time for announcing that Splinter Cell 6 will be another Xbox exclusive and is in the pipeline. You can even throw in Rocksteady’s next blockbuster hit to run alongside it as a launch title. But please give us more Alan Wake.

My Vote: 90/10

2.

What: TimeSplitters 4

Why: This one has been a long time coming and plenty of rumors have surfaced in regards to its development. I’m sure the Durango will have a new Call of Duty to play and probably another Battlefield. Maybe you throw in Crysis 3 within a few months of launch? Workout a way to bring Rainbow Six Patriots to the party? Timesplitters 4 gives you a unique First Person Shooter that core gamers will love.

My Vote: 70/30

1.

What: This is it. A brand new IP from Xbox. A beginning to a new series that will show that the Durango is serious about core gamers. What will it be? It best be creative, well made, and lots of fun. A great story. Be what the Uncharted series was to the PS3. A breathe of fresh air.

Why: The Xbox 360, in its later years, began catering too much to the casual player. Fewer exclusives, too many gimmick kinect games, and a lot of bone-head moves that left gamers scratching their heads. Let’s turn that ship.

My Vote: 50/50