Someone left the cell doors unlocked allowing the Press2Reset inmates to escape and meet up to do their favorite thing – talk about video games
In case you hadn’t heard, E3 starts tomorrow and over the course of the week, much of the gaming landscape for the next year will be laid out before us. It is jolly exciting. However, like toddlers whose parents have run out of Ritalin, we at Press2Reset cannot contain our excitement or behave like adults and wait patiently for the news to filter out. Instead, we gathered in the squalid little cave we call the newsroom and portentously (and a little self-importantly) told each other what to expect from the industry’s grandest showcase.
The first person to speak was Press2Reset co-founder Randy Lamberson, who climbed on to his desk to emphasize his points. After a brief appeal from the staff (which was ignored) for him to put on some pants, he went on to tell us his thoughts (not all of them – his therapist has a lot of them under lock and key – so we just got the ones about video games and E3).
He began, “No new consoles will be revealed. If there were to be announcements of this sort then some information would have been leaked by now. Also, Microsoft has come right out and told everyone it won’t be revealing a new console this year. The only thing we will see in terms of new hardware will be a new model of the 3DS with new colors. Other than that, the Wii U will be the only console not currently on the market that E3 attendees will get a chance to play with. It’s possible, however, that we might see footage from the next generation of gaming.
“The Wii U could get a name change though. Not only is it a bit awkward to say, but also it is too similar to its predecessor. Perhaps Nintendo will go back to what it intended to call the Wii and name the forthcoming console the Nintendo Revolution. Whatever the case, it needs to find something new to start naming its consoles before we end up with the Wii-U-Mii.”
With that he sat down to rapturous applause and the sight of his wife, Karla, rolling her eyes.
Graham McCann then leapt to his feet with a feverish gleam in his eye and small plastic Maple Leaf flag in his hand. Urgently waving the flag under Tyler Zehner’s nose in the latest play in their friendly “I’m more Canadian than you” tussle (content overlord Marc Lynch indulges this in the quiet knowledge that his lumberjacking and bacon-chomping easily places him at the top of the Canuck pile), he moved to agree with Randy. “Not only a name change for the Wii U, but a different presentation that tries to put the console in the realms of Sony and Microsoft with more mature titles (and possibly actual screenshots and gameplay to show what the console can do).”
Then, a metaphorical darkness fell on the room as Press2Reset’s other co-founder Aaron Carlisle rose to his feet and fixed the staff with his basilisk stare. In the moments that followed, as the silence stretched, at least one intern was killed outright by the glare and the tuna in my sandwich turned to gravel. With a voice that sounded like a tomb slamming shut, he uttered, “In an attempt to satisfy the core gamer, Nintendo’s E3 presentation will have a darker edge to it. A more mature theme will be present throughout the event with a focus on those games. With Microsoft and Sony swearing no new hardware, this may be Nintendo’s only chance to capture back this segment of gamers.”
Those of us left quietly gulped and thanked our lucky stars that we had made it out alive. But Aaron had more to say and more glares to unleash. “Microsoft will make official the rumors surrounding the release of a media-only set top that has access to XBLA games. It will be priced at $99 and compete head-to-head with Apple TV and Google TV.”
Without another word, he glided back to his seat, feet unmoving. Silence echoed and it took the bravery of an Irish hero to fill the aural void. Rising to speak, Marcus Mac Dhonnagáin once more channelled the power of Cúchulainn and with a voice loaned to him by ancient Celtic gods, he banished the dread darkness that had fallen on the group.
He said, “Microsoft will focus more on its multimedia services, rather than announcing new core games. While, the tech company does have things like Halo 4 on the horizon, which it will show, I don’t expect there to be any sort of massive reveals. What Microsoft will do however is focus more on its multimedia side of things. This means there will be new apps on display, the possible announcement of a new dashboard and further talk about how the Kinect will make the whole experience even better.”
Heartened by Marcus’s courage, Sam Neal bounded to his paws and padded around the room, excitably licking faces, chasing his own tail and, regrettably, sniffing crotches. Press2Reset’s favorite newshound then began a hilarious routine of standing on his back legs while barking out his thoughts on Nintendo. Luckily, some enterprising soul broke house rules and recorded some of his antics. Isn’t he adorable?
Anyway, the young pup had this to say, “It’s a long shot, but I believe (hope) Nintendo will announce the 3DS Lite (Super 3DS?) with [Nintendo of America boss) Reggie Fils-Aime pulling it out of his pocket and saying ‘look’. Reggie will also use the phrase ‘How much would you pay?’ before announcing the Wii U price of $299.”
With that, James Gardiner tossed a handful of dog biscuits across the room and Sam was off. James, an aging plastic Guitar Hero controller slung across his back, dipped his hand into a nearby pot of axle grease and sculpted his hair into a passable Elvis quiff. In a flash, he rolled his hips and pointed to the ceiling, before going on to expound on Nintendo’s plans (all while doing an average impression of The King).
“Nintendo will show off the final specs and design of the Wii U, likely more powerful than previously suggested. While a few titles (including Mario and Pikmin) are already targeted to coincide with the system’s launch, I’d expect more major games from both first and third parties to receive official confirmation for both launch and the months following. Finally, a final price (no more than $400) and release window wouldn’t be unlikely as well.” He finished off with another hipshake before drawling, “Thank you very much.”
“Would Elvis leave the building?” yelled Phil Nachum as he took the floor, pushing James roughly back towards his chair. Striking a stern neo-punk pose, Phil proceeded to push a safety pin through his nose to the visible shock of some of the writers near the front. Jutting out his chin while sticking it to the man, Phil let rip on Sony in a staccato prose poem. “Both models of the PS Vita will receive a $50 price cut, plus a packaged in 4GB memory card. Infamous for Vita, Jak and Daxter for Vita, and Dragon Age 3 will be announced. Quantic Dream’s next game will also be announced for both PS3 and Vita. No new consoles or hardware redesigns of any kind will be mentioned or teased.”
With nary another word, he turned on his heel and sulked all the way back to his chair.
The air suddenly turned chilly as, gliding around the edge of the room, came Aaron once more. Another intern bit the dust. Our attention rapt, he intoned, “Sony, still reeling from massive losses, will focus all attention on the Vita, hoping to recapture gamers after the poor hardware launch. PSP will be all but forgotten and the PS3 will be left with limited mention as they begin to wind down the console. Vita will be the star of the show, but…” he smiled evilly, “… will fail to deliver.”
Bounding back across the room and jumping up into Aaron’s surprised arms, Sam broke the tension and barked out a response. “At some point during the show, Microsoft or Sony will confirm the production of new consoles by announcing their codename, but very few additional details will be given.”
Backing away, trying to remove the doghairs from his once pristine black shirt, Aaron slid out of view once more.
Suddenly, there was a clap of thunder and a plume of smoke filled the center of the room. Coughing and choking, the staff flapped at the acrid fumes. Finally, they cleared to reveal Press2Reset’s resident Bond villain Sean Knight, clutching a hairless cat (although the presence of shaving foam behind the feline’s ears suggested it had only recently become hairless).
“I have come to present my demands that the world governments pay me $100m or I will destroy Los Angeles from my secret cloud base but first…”
He set down the cat and then turned to a Powerpoint presentation that had miraculously appeared in the room.
“Price cuts for PS3. If Sony really wants to try to get out of third place, it will need to make its console even cheaper. If more people own the console it will, most likely, encourage more sales of exclusive games. Considering that Microsoft has announced an Xbox 360 for $99 with two-year Gold subscription, Sony might even offer the 250GB console for a cheaper price as well.” Also, it would do well to remember Sean’s giant orbital death ray is trained on the company’s headquarters at all times.
He clicked a button and the presentation page turned dark with color seeping into the image slowly. Sean quickly began speaking before the picture coalesced. “BioWare will announce plans to switch Star Wars: The Old Republic to a free-to-play model with microtransactions but won’t set a timeframe for when the change will occur. Having lost 400k subscribers since launch it appears that the MMO doesn’t have enough juice to keep people interested enough to pay $15 a month. I expect that number to dip under one million subscribers within two months.” By the time, he had finished speaking the picture on the screen had resolved itself as a smirking troll’s face bearing a passing resemblance to Mr Knight.
“Next, Crytek will provide more information about its upcoming title Ryse, such as how the Kinect controls will work and whether it will be an on-the-rails kind of game. While it is a longshot they might even give us a teaser for Homefront 2. Meanwhile, Creative Assembly will show a teaser for the Aliens game it is currently developing. There is a slight chance that it might announce the next title in the Total War franchise and that it will be released on the PC and next-gen consoles.
“Finally, Valve will show off more of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (obviously).”
With a flourish, he snapped off the display, scooped up the cat and stepped backwards with a parting line, “Remember, $100m by midnight tonight. My usual account.”
Having missed most of Sean’s opinion/threats because he was being taken for a quick walk around the block, Sam skidded back into the room. “Epic Games will announce a sequel to Shadow Complex, which will have the same formula as the first game, but new weapons, powers, a different style of location, and a heavier emphasis on story. Very few, if any, new IPs will be announced, seeing as it’s rumored to be the last year of the current console cycle.” Unfortunately, he then started licking his own backside so we all looked away in embarrassment.
The awkward tone was luckily broken when a late arrival appeared at the back of the room. Normally eschewing these roundtable discussions owing to his habitual cynicism, Chris Root had finally turned up when he had heard that there was free cake. Alas, the cake was a lie. Nevertheless, he threw out some thoughts for us all to consider. “Sony will announce either a new God of War game for Vita, or will state that the already revealed Ascension will have Vita compatibility. Remedy will reveal a new, full-retail entry in the Alan Wake franchise, which will no longer be an Xbox exclusive.”
And so the opinions began to run dry as the clock ticked down to the start of the biggest game showcase of the year. What do you think? Are we wide of the mark or right on the money?
Follow Richard on Twitter: @HaydenOnP2R