The reveal for the next Xbox is exactly three days away, and in anticipation of the big event, we’ve decided to round up our final predictions for Microsoft’s up-and-coming next-gen game box. We’ll be discussing some of the bigger topics, like pricing, mandatory installs and used games policies, as well as some other details like the controller design, user interface, and possibilities for social sharing functions.
Check out our last-minute guesses by clicking below – and feel free to share your own predictions in the comments!
Writing about new Star Wars games, especially long and forgotten Star Wars games that deserved to be made again, may seem a bit pointless in light of the recent news concerning the closure of LucasArts and EA’s acquisition of the property.
However, I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time, even more so since posting my first ‘Return of the Retro’ article, and a little thing like the shakeups at LucasArts isn’t going to stop me. Star Wars games are still going to be made, and while Rogue Squadron has an even smaller chance of returning now than it did last year, the possibility is not an utter impossibility.
Plus, if “Return of Retro” isn’t about seemingly hopeless causes, I don’t know what is.
I don’t know if that rumored “Greatness Awaits” slogan is real, or if it’s really for PS4 or actually for Destiny. I do know, however, that it rubs me the wrong way.
I can actually understand the appeal: latch on to the term “greatness,” which seems to now be a synonym for “awesome” in the colloquial sense rather in the “fear of God” sense, and tie it forever to the PlayStation brand. I get it. It’s a cool campaign.
But the more I think about it, the more I think about where PS4 is headed and about past PlayStation launches and some of the blunders they’ve faced, the more I worry that it’s the wrong message.
When most people look to past Zelda games for ideas to inspire them regarding what they’d like out of future ones, they look to the all-time classics: Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, Twilight Princess, and others. After pondering for some time about features I’d like to see expanded upon in Zelda 3DS, however, I actually found myself gravitating toward a less-loved game: Phantom Hourglass.
And you know what? I don’t feel dirty about it. As a handheld sequel, Phantom Hourglass did some great things to adapt the series to a new platform.
We’re closing in quickly on the official reveal of the next Xbox. Microsoft has been playing their cards close to their chest for months, but that hasn’t stopped numerous rumors from piling up. So what’s true and what’s not? We won’t know for sure until Microsoft spills the beans, but we can make some educated guesses based on what we know.
I love my Wii U. Despite its flaws and all the negativity surrounding Nintendo these days, I find I just really like the system. Perhaps it’s the screen in the controller, which to me makes it feel as though Wii U will be the DS or 3DS of Nintendo home gaming consoles.
Still, I agree that it could be better. For a while I’ve been thinking of ways Nintendo could improve its position, and some of the ones I’ve come up with are pretty crazy – and all of them are unlikely.
My colleague Ben brought up an interesting point in his recent article, “The Wii is Both the Best and Worst Nintendo Console“: Nintendo may have gained a lot of fans with Wii, but it didn’t gain a lot of fans within the Industry. It’s pretty much 100% true. We’re seeing a lot of companies hesitate to bring games to Wii U with the belief that only the first-party games will sell anyway, or that no matter how they use the hardware they’re better off just sticking with PlayStation and Xbox.
According to the article, this was a weakness for Wii – but I’d like to propose something different. Doing differently than what the Industry wanted was actually Wii’s greatest strength.
With any long-tenured series, developers eventually begin to run out of ideas for innovation. Whether it’s story or gameplay, developers find themselves unable to continue creating a fresh gaming experience inside the already-established guidelines of the video game universe that they’ve created. As innovation slips, so do game sales, and eventually it is no longer profitable to continue adding to the franchise.
An increasingly popular alternative to abandoning a stagnant franchise is rebooting. As aging IPs like Tomb Raider and Devil May Cry have recently shown, starting over from square one can give developers a chance to take a game in new directions that would not have been possible otherwise. By rebooting, developers can start fresh in terms of gameplay, story, and character development without completely ditching their well-recognized characters and game worlds.
With many of its characters and franchises approaching the ripe old age of 30, Nintendo has more well-established and beloved characters than any other video game company. While this gives Nintendo a rich library of first party content, it also means that many of Nintendo’s go-to franchises are at risk of lacking innovation as they age. Perhaps more so than any other Nintendo series, Metroid is primed (pun intended) for a reboot.
Among all the overly-familiar elements in Zelda 3DS, we’ve seen one stand-out new feature so far: the new game mechanic that transforms Link into a hieroglyphic drawing and allows him to walk on walls. So far the reactions have been… well, largely non-existent. We’ve seen a few media outlets talk about its effect on gameplay, but there hasn’t been much in-depth discussion of the idea itself.
There’s a lot of potential for the idea to open up exploration of the game’s top-down 2D world in a way that just hadn’t been thought of when A Link to the Past was born. But there’s also the question of whether something like this truly fits in with what we think of as Zelda.
At first, it was a bit of a shock to learn that Nintendo won’t be presenting the usual big press conference at E3 this year. Catching all the announcements out of Nintendo’s E3 shows is usually like waiting for presents on Christmas Eve – you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get, but there’s always a surprise or two for you at the end of the day.
The more I thought about it, however, the more the strategy started to make sense. It’s not about getting rid of that kind of showcase for Nintendo’s biggest announcements and most-anticipated upcoming games – it’s about taking those announcements out of the hands of the press and putting them back where they belong: in the hands of gamers.
Nintendo of America has pledged to make this the year that the 3DS really takes off, and Nintendo UK has dubbed 2013 “The Year of the 3DS.” While the big name franchises likes Zelda and Pokémon are expected to drive sales, Nintendo’s got another secret weapon up their sleeves that may be equally important to the 3DS this year.
The Legend of Zelda‘s transition to the current generation has been an interesting one. Instead of paving the way with wholly new ideas, so far all three confirmed titles for 3DS and Wii U have consisted of re-treads of older ground: Ocarina of Time 3D and Wind Waker Wii U in the “enhanced remakes” department, and Zelda 3DS also-known-as “A Link to the Past 2″ in the “new game” category. Even considering that the 3DS sequel is supposed to be a brand-new title, there’s been an unshakable theme of “looking back” among the latest Zelda games.