Filling this feature is more difficult than it looks. Why? Because of rumors. So many that we can swim through them like Scrooge McDuck. (Except we aren't rich.) How unexpectedly would our eyes explode if we were to see Mass Effect 4, Halo 5, Killer Instinct, a new Zelda for Wii U, and the ever-fabled The Last Guardian? For sure, we anticipate them feverishly, but who knows whether we can truly expect them to be show at E3 2013. What we note below is what we're fairly to very sure will be shown… we can't wait. ~ Nick
Anthony Severino: Leave it to me to start a feature about the most anticipated games off with some hardware instead. But hey, if it weren't for the hardware, we wouldn't be playing any games, now would we? And as you might have noticed over the years, I get much more into the hardware than the games themselves. You also may have noticed that I tend to swing more toward the side of PlayStation, which is why the PS4 tops my list of E3 hype.
Sony started off extremely strong with the PlayStation 4 reveal back in February, and hasn't slowed since. They've got the support of indie devs, PC developers, and an armada of first-party studios readying new projects for the next-generation console. That said, I'm still dying to know about the rest of the console features, the services, the OS, and the look of the system. Oh! And the games, too! Sony has a lot riding on the success of the PlayStation 4 considering the rest of their business is still struggling, and the PlayStation Vita has been mostly a dud. The gaming community seems to be behind them and is willing to forgive the mistakes made early on with the PS3. It's Sony's chance to redeem itself, and it better not fuck it up.
Nick Tan: I was jealous when Daniel saw Watch Dogs earlier this year, as it represents one of the few Ubisoft titles that I know I want in my library without a shadow of a doubt. The idea of the vigilante and hopefully altruistic hacker purging the corruption of the world is a modern concept of the superhero that should be explored. With any luck, I hope there's a sequence in the game where all of the funds from crooked bank executives are drained from their greasy hands.
Of course, I can settle for Aiden Pearce's street justice too. Tapping into the knowledge he learns by passively hacking everyone he passes, he can strategically deliver righteousness (however you interpret that to mean) to criminals and otherwise sleazy people. Barring technology, he can run them down and take them out.
The more society relies on technology, the more power is given to those who can control it. Anonymous-ly, yes? Knowing this, our own government has convicted numerous hackers to prison, so the relevance of Watch Dogs is unquestionable. So on anticipation alone, I know I'm barking up the right tree.
Alex Osborn: Back in the day, I absolutely loved the Pokémon franchise. It was the reason I owned a GameBoy and carried it around with me wherever I went. But when the third generation of the franchise launched on GBA, I lost my passion for the portable monster-collecting series. Since then I've fallen out of love with Pokémon and portable gaming as a whole, but I'm hopeful that GameFreak's new take the super-popular (and undeniably cute) RPG ropes my back in.
Thanks to the "power" of the 3DS, a proper 3D Pokémon adventure is now possible, and that is exactly what Pokémon X/Y promises to deliver. The way the studio has managed to bring the franchise into three dimensions while retaining the same look and charm of the originals has me itching to explore the game's new towns for myself. Gamers have been asking for a fully-fledged console-esque Pokémon game, and while this isn't quite that, it certainly appears to be the next best thing.
Nick Tan: Haven't heard the controversy about Dragon's Crown? Don't worry, it's not that big of a deal. (Okay, poor choice of words.) The problem is that the Sorceress has big tits. That's about the long and short of it, to which I respond: Well, play the Elf archer then. Or just get over it. The concept of magical sorceresses having equally magical boobies is hardly a new one, and besides, we have little idea how the Sorceress will actually play in the game. Her breasts are more comically silly than seriously objectifying, anyway.
Regardless, Dragon's Crown was one of the reasons I purchased a Vita near launch, and now it's one of the reasons I still own one. Everything about it appeals to me: the classically side-scrolling beat-'em-up combat, the hand-drawn Muramasa-style art style, the four-player multiplayer support, and the data-saving between the PS3 and Vita versions. It's essentially Castle Crashers except with an exotic "East Meets West" aesthetic. What's not to like?
Anthony Severino: While I'm fairly certain the fact that Metal Gear is in the title, it speaks for itself. But truth is, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was a long time ago now. Peace Walker was stellar, but this is the first console Metal Gear since, with an all new engine, and what may be the most twisted plot yet.
Kojima is splitting the game into two segments, Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, which is so confusing even Konami PR wasn't sure what exactly is going on with the game's release. And with so much hype and controversy surrounding what's been revealed so far, there's bound to be some shocking revelations during E3… like who will actually voice Snake.
Nick Tan: You are the leader of the Three Street Saints. You are The President of United States. You are the hero who will save the world from the alien invasion. You are totally playing this game.
There's a part of me that wanted Obama to add some street cred, some flava, to the White House. Now we can have that fantasy by living vicariously through the Saints. Is whacking people with a giant purple dildo not good enough anymore? Then how about a weapon that inflates your enemies until they pop like a balloon. Or killing people with dubstep. Or how about infusing your Saint with all the superpowers you wish you had in real life – super speed, ice beams, telekinesis, leaping, and who knows what else.
Saints Row IV is going to be so good that it's stupid.
Daniel Bischoff: Every new Super Smash Bros. game expands to include more arenas, more characters, and an even bigger feature set… so what could the Japanese publisher of gaming's most beloved franchises possibly do next? With the next SSB game coming to 3DS and Wii U, will connectivity and a dual-platform launch hurt or help the title? We know so little about the next brawler from Sakurai, Nintendo, and Namco Bandai, that it's hard not to anticipate.
Nintendo has confirmed that we'll learn more about the game during their E3 Nintendo Direct address, but will a playable build be available at the expo? How many characters will they show and are we only going to get obvious choices like Mario confirmed? How will dual-screened platforms change the way we pit Bowser and Samus against each other? Hopefully we won't have to wait for Nintendo to build our excitement to 300% before smashing us with an incredible reveal.
Alex Osborn: Bungie's latest effort has the potential to be the most revolutionary experience of the last decade, or a complete and utter disaster. The creators behind Halo aim to once again change the way we play first-person shooters, this time by expanding the scope to an entirely new magnitude. While Bungie refuses to call it an MMO—the company prefers the term "shared-world shooter—it boasts the ambitions of such a game.
While we have yet to see any extended gameplay footage, the studio has proven its ability to make a compelling universe rich with lore and intrigue. Not only that, but these are the guys who made Halo—you know, that game the forever changed the way we play shooters on console. There's no doubt that the game will control great and the universe will be interesting; the big question here is whether or not they can pull off this ambitious, highly-integrated multiplayer experience. For that very reason, I am super pumped to see Destiny for myself at E3.
Nick Tan: Ever since Electronic Arts purchased the UFC license from THQ's dying corpse, we wondered how the developer would approach it. Would it follow the road of Yuke's successful model that emphasized depth at the cost of complexity? Or would it follow the simpler but less successful model of its own EA MMA? Perhaps just sticking "UFC" on the box is all it takes to convince gamers of a sale.
So far, all we know is that (apart from Dana White awkwardly and begrudgingly walking out on stage with Electronic Arts as if there wasn't any bad blood between them) EA Sports is using the EA Sports IGNITE engine and has halted production of another Fight Night to concentrate all its effort on this new UFC title, as well it should. UFC Undisputed 3, which released more than a year ago, had nearly everything MMA video game fans wanted, and the gap from EA MMA to UFC Undisputed 3 is not so easily conquered. But as long as they don't half-ass it, we should be fine with the outcome. Otherwise, there are many kinds of chokeholds.
Alex Osborn: We know virtually nothing about the Wii U's first 3D Mario adventure, but if it's anything like Super Mario 64 or the Galaxy games, I'll be drooling all over the Nintendo booth like my sister-in-law's bullmastiffs. Everything Nintendo EAD does is absolutely incredible (see Super Mario 3D Land) and with the Wii U struggling at the moment, you can bet that the Big N is counting on this new Mario title to sell consoles this holiday season.
Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are two of the most highest rated games of all time, and with good reason. Will the pipe-traveling plumber's latest outing prove to be just as amazing? One can only hope. Even if it turns out to be a complete disaster, I can't wait to see how Nintendo plans to incorporate the GamePad into the experience. This industry could use a bit more creativity and I'm confident the Big N is up to the challenge.
Oh yeah, and I'm really excited about The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, but I figured dedicating an entire section to a high-def port might be a little unnecessary.
Daniel Bischoff: Even if I'm not the most dedicated fan decades after Matt and Trey introduced the world to Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny, The Stick of Truth shall beat some glorious sense into me and any other lapsed South Park fans… uh, that also happen to be gamers. Above this text? That's an actual in-game screenshot. The game looks exactly like an episode of the show. The animations, interactions, dialog, everything!
Even better, Matt and Trey have been with the project since its inception, and continue to work with new publisher Ubisoft after the French picked South Park out of THQ's smoking remains. All the dialog and quests are written by the same dudes who write the TV show every week. I don't think you could get closer to a more idyllic sounding South Park game.
Nick Tan: BioWare has a consistent cycle going, for the most part alternating between Mass Effect and Dragon Age for its yearly release. However, Dragon Age II came out a bit too rushed and wasn't as polished or conceptually thorough as Dragon Age: Origins. But that doesn't mean that we forbode the coming Dragon Age III: Inquisition. Quite the contrary.
Dragon Age III will not only incorporate your decisions made in both of its predecessors for the purpose of world consistency (Alistair better me king in my save, damn it), but it will be more open-world, having been influenced by the popularity of Skyrim. It will have armor customization, fewer repetitive button presses, and present gamers with the extravagance of Orlais. Perhaps you might even be able to see the original protagonists you've made in the prior games during your adventure in Inquisition. With luck, a little bit of redemption for Dragon Age will be in order.
Daniel Bischoff: We could go on and on about hotly anticipated games making their debut or offering further details at E3 2013, but ultimately it's all come down to a matter of personal preference. Obviously, that's compelled me to include the next great Atlus RPG, SMT IV, headed to 3DS this year. Having popped my Persona cherry, many Atlus-branded doors have opened in the past several months. Soul Hackers, Etrian Odyssey IV, Persona 4 Golden… the list of unbeatable RPG experiences from the Japanese publisher can seem endless.
Thankfully, Shin Megami Tensei IV is just ahead on the horizon, but with E3 only a weekend away, we want to know your most anticipated games. Use the comments to inform us of the most important games at E3 and we'll do our best to get hands-on impressions for you right away.
Anthony Severino: What is the world coming too when I am excited about an Xbox product? Amirite? Still, it's hardware, and that means I can't wait to find out more. And because the Xbox One reveal was met with such disgust, I'm dying to see how they clean up the mess they created.
Plus, the Xbox One reveal had so little in the way of games, Microsoft really needs to bring the big guns and put them on display. I know they will, and soon everyone will forget about the always-on DRM and used game fiasco because there are just so many games to go around. At least that's what I'm hoping.