It’s that wonderful time of year again – E3 is back, following the COVID-19-forced absence last year. I don’t know about you, but I welcome its return, as laughing and cheering along with my friends at the hype-fueled reveals from various publishers each year is something I eagerly look forward to. In the run-up to E3 2021, I have collaborated with a group of friends and writers to bring you a set of predictions for the reveals we might see; as with the Xbox Games Showcase predictions Ashley Harrison and I did in 2020, we’ve followed the format of Expected, Hopeful, and Ridiculous. This means that each of us got three predictions: one Expected, which is a game we are almost certain is making an appearance; one Hopeful, which we have reason to believe is showing up but do not know for sure; and one Ridiculous, which is an out-of-the-box theory that would be shocking for us to somehow get right.
Thanks to everyone who kindly agreed to join me for this piece, which includes Stephen Brown making a fancy Nintendo Switch Pro logo mock-up below! Furthermore, included is a link to find Josh Stevens on social media for more fun posts on anime, Pokémon, and more, and in the case of fellow blogger Naithin, you can go to their own site Time to Loot – and I recommend you do! They cover a variety of games, from Cities: Skylines to Dark Souls and XCOM. Right, then, into our predictions, starting with our Expected picks (before soon deteriorating into the ridiculous theories later on… )!
Nintendo Switch Pro
Ashley Harrison: Believe it or not, I’m actually starting my piece with my “Expected” prediction, and not the “Ridiculous” most people would have this prediction categorised under. After months of speculation, a seemingly new rumour every week, and new “leaks” popping up everywhere, I believe that this E3 is the one where Nintendo finally unveil the Nintendo Switch Pro (as it has been dubbed so far by the internet – though I’m still hoping for Super Nintendo Switch as the official name). Nintendo are no strangers to hardware revisions, and almost all of their previous consoles have received at least one mid-generation upgrade, most recently (ignoring the Switch Lite because that invalidates the point I’m about to make) being the release of the New Nintendo 3DS range. This saw Nintendo increase the device’s processing power, as well as add quality of life improvements such as super-stable 3D and a built-in second thumbstick.
I’m expecting Nintendo to follow suit with an upgrade to the Switch, and with multiple rumours circling about a new Switch that’s capable of 4K display entering factory production, as well as including an OLED panel for playing in handheld mode, there seems no better time for Nintendo to unveil this than the coming E3. As well as allowing for Nintendo to make even more visually stunning games (Super Mario Galaxy 3 in 4K anyone?), imagine if the new Switch model were to follow suit with what Microsoft has been doing with its backwards compatibility on the new Xbox consoles, allowing boosts to previously released games to increase their framerate and graphical fidelity without having to resort to any homebrew options. Imagine playing a boosted version of either The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey – arguably the two best looking Switch games already, in my opinion – at a 4K resolution and/or at 60fps. It genuinely makes me already want to buy a Nintendo Switch Pro.
Jed Harling: When I saw that Gearbox nabbed themselves their own stream slot, I locked this prediction in [before a new Borderlands was pre-emptively revealed prior to the Gearbox showing, so this still counts -William]. I think we can pretty much guarantee a new Borderlands entry in some fashion. I highly doubt this will be a fully-fledged Borderlands 4, but more likely a spin-off style game, which would have me excited for several reasons. It’s also worth mentioning that they’ve got a Borderlands movie on the way, with a cast list that’s actually got me excited for how fun a romp Borderlands on the big screen could be! With the exposure the series is getting, it seems like a great time to cash in on some of that hype. Harken your minds back to the reveal of Borderlands 3 a few years ago at PAX 2019. The trailer for the game runs at about 10 FPS, Randy Pitchford starts doing the longest magic card trick in the history of magic, and the Windows Media Player interface steals the presentation. It wasn’t exactly a great initial showing for their new mainline entry, so let’s hope that having a digital showcase helps them out this time – and, hey, Borderlands 3 held up for the most part, and I had some good fun playing it. I just didn’t love it. Not in the same way I loved Borderlands 2.
The second entry to the series felt like it added and expanded on all the bits the first game got right, whilst trimming the fat and speeding up the gameplay. Borderlands 3, however, just felt like more of the same whilst being less compelling, a problem exacerbated by the spin-off Pre-Sequel generally underwhelming me a whole five years prior. Borderlands 3 just didn’t feel like five year’s worth of progress; therefore, I think the series needs a kick of fresh ideas. Cue a new Borderlands spin-off, rumoured to be centred around the escapades of one Tiny Tina. This could (and probably should) be the last hurrah for the current Borderlands gameplay mechanics that have worn a little dry. Any entry after this one, I.e., a Borderlands 4, I would hope to drastically change the game somewhat. Let’s just hope Windows Media Player doesn’t make a guest appearance for this one…
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl
Josh Stevens: One thing I should probably make clear right away, is that I’m a huge Pokémon fan. I have fond memories of the first ever game I imported from Japan, a copy of Pearl, arriving just as I was leaving for school one morning all the way back in 2006. I ran upstairs to grab my DS, and at lunch time, people crowded around in awe at my Starly’s indestructible, murderous spirit. Fifteen years later, even though I’m pushing thirty, I’m expecting and looking forward to seeing more from their remakes Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl from E3 this year. The chibi art style put some people off at announcement, with some calling it a lower effort attempt at the Link’s Awakening art style but, whilst some aspects like the player character models admittedly looked a little undercooked, it grew on me really quickly. What interests me though, is a statement on The Pokémon Company’s website about the “faithfully reproduced” story, and how far this pursuit of faithfulness will go.
One of the biggest complaints about the previous pair of remakes, 2014’s Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, was the lack of changes from the original games’ revised third version Emerald. The sour cherry on this cake was undoubtedly a nod to the later game’s Battle Frontier post-game island, which was referenced as being “under construction” through a scale replica. Some speculated that it was a hint towards future DLC, but that didn’t come to pass. In the Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl reveal trailer, we glimpsed Porygon-Z, which wasn’t added to the regional Pokédex until a much-needed expansion in Platinum (Why did Game Freak think it was a good idea to make a Fire-type Elite 4 member when the original Pokédex only had two Fire-type evolution lines?). I’m very much expecting a new trailer for these remakes to be part of Nintendo’s showcase next week, but I’d love for it to show a commitment to taking cues from Platinum, such as the Battle Frontier (and maybe even the Distortion World, if I can be greedy?).
Naithin: FromSoftware’s Elden Ring was first revealed on the Microsoft stage at E3 2019, hot on the heels of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice‘s release. From that initial reveal, we knew it would be a project with George R. R. Martin attached to the story, and that the game would return to a more classic Dark Souls feel, with the twist of being set in a much more open world. After bouncing off Sekiro somewhat, I was ALL about this. Open world Souls-like? Holy moly, sign me up. However, since that initial reveal? Radio silence. Not so much as a whisper. Not officially at least – we did have some low-res, off-screen recorded footage earlier. But aside from that, nothing.
But between the leaks and the fact Bandai-Namco has their own stage slot booked for E3 this year, I had a pretty good feeling about Elden Ring making an appearance. Then today we were gifted with this new trailer… Sorry. I’ll stop drooling now. Clearly ‘new trailer’ isn’t really much of a prediction anymore, so here’s what I reckon: there’s still more to come for Elden Ring this E3. We will get a chunky gameplay video at least 15 minutes in length, perhaps as much as 30 minutes. A large focus of this video will be to reassure people that the open-world aspect is a) cool and b) not a detriment to the overall ‘Souls-like’ experience. Having an open world is in some ways anathema to the more curated, interlinked journeys of the games to date. How can that be maintained? How can enemy and item placement still be purposeful? The gameplay video will go into a dungeon or other such curated area and show us exactly how.
The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Stephen Brown: To coincide with the 35th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, I expect we will see more news about the much anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild (BotW2) at E3 this year. During the February Nintendo Direct, we were told that unfortunately they did not have any BotW2 news to announce at this time, but were hopeful to reveal more later this year. Whilst four months isn’t exactly much later, I do believe Nintendo will take the opportunity of a large scale event like E3 to discuss more about the sequel. This would be a great chance to showcase the game and allow us to compare it to its 2017 predecessor, and they may even highlight some small quality of life changes that allows gameplay to be more immersive. Additionally, I think we will potentially see a new character for fans to draw and theorise about until the games release. At the very least, I think we might get another small animated trailer with a release date. This trailer will no doubt be chocked full of exciting things to come, as well as maybe even revealing that Zelda is now a playable character [also more short hair Zelda – William]! Either way, I am excited to see what is next for the Zelda series.
Life is Strange: True Colors
William Robinson: We basically know that the E3 Square Enix Presents will be showing more of the third mainline Life is Strange game, True Colors. The Deck Nine-developed entry into the series was announced earlier this year in a stylish reveal, and it is not that long until the September 10th release date, so it makes sense to show off a bit more. I am especially curious on exactly what is going to be shown, though. That initial presentation was a compelling introduction to the new setting of Haven Spring and the new characters, led by protagonist Alex Chen (played by mxmtoon), who has the customary supernatural ability of a lead Life is Strange character; in this case, they can read and feel the emotions of others. For me, whilst I am sold on the game, I would like a bit more on why this game is different to the ones before it. We’ve got a lot of the Life is Strange staples, and they seem to be wrapped in a well-thought-out package, but I am not seeing the key innovation that would lift it into something completely fresh for the series – yet. In addition, it would be cool to see some new footage of the Life is Strange: Remastered Collection, a stunning update for the original game that kicked it all off. We don’t necessarily need more, but y’know… It’s so pretty! As well as this, a topic I – and I imagine others, too – are keen to hear about is the release strategy. True Colors is being released all at once, not episodically, which is fine – however, the Ultimate Edition is currently the only way to get certain content – and there is not a physical edition for it right now, so if you would like the box and/or steelbook (which I would), you are missing out on content in the digital version. Yeah, it’s a mess. I am really hoping that there is an announcement for a physical version of the Ultimate Edition, to clear this confusion up!
Mario Strikers 3
Ashley Harrison: Long-term readers of Let’s Chat articles will likely be aware of the bingo card of things to mention that Will & I always find a way to include [which, with the likes of Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Skyward Sword HD, is somehow actually happening over time – William], and it’s that time to cross a mention off once again! It’s been 14 years since Mario Strikers Charged Football released on the Wii, and after skipping the Wii U generation, I think it’s high time that the Nintendo Switch finally saw the next entry into the series. “But Ash,” I hear you say. “We’ve had Mario football games included within multiple releases since then, we don’t need a new game.” And to that I say “well, yeah, but also those were all terrible and nothing matches the pace or just outright ridiculousness of the Charged series.” A good football game is something that the Switch is sorely lacking, with EA opting to release “Legacy Edition” versions of its FIFA series on the console and focusing on exploiting people with Ultimate Team lootboxes on PlayStation and Xbox consoles; meanwhile, Konami are opting to skip the console completely with its Pro Evolution Soccer series.
With a gap in the market that huge, why not release something as low risk and presumably low budget as a new Mario Strikers game? In my opinion, sports games are always more fun when they don’t take themselves too seriously, and Mario Strikers is the epitome of that. The previously released Football games bundled in with Mario Sports Mix and the Olympics titles stick too closely to the actual rules of football for me, and still feel lacking in features at the same time. Give us a ridiculously over-the-top arcade-style game, where the whole objective is really to earn as many Megastrike shots in one game as possible, let’s be honest, and I’ll be more than happy. Next Level Games have been relatively quiet since the release of Luigi’s Mansion 3 back in 2019, so I’m hoping that they’ve been working on reigniting the Mario Strikers franchise in the time since and restoring Mario Football games to their former glory.
Mario Kart 9
Jed Harling: This one is a bit of a shot in the dark, without any major rumours or whisperings backing it up, but nevertheless, it’s something I’m hopeful of seeing. There are a lot of reasons, obstacles, and caveats as to why this game might not have happened already, and why it potentially may not ever exist. But let me start with this simple statement. The Nintendo Switch does not have an original Mario Kart game developed solely for it. This is insane. I’m not your typical Nintendo flag bearer. The first Mario game I’ve ever owned was Odyssey and don’t tell anyone this, but I don’t actually know what a Metroid *is*. But the Nintendo Switch is a fantastic bit of kit. This is amplified because Nintendo know exactly what kind of games will sell best on it, and in turn, will help them sell more consoles. Nintendo own the pick up and play, easy to grasp, hard to master gameplay style. And Mario Kart is a guaranteed seller. So how on Earth have we been getting by with an expanded port of a Wii U game for so long?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. But I can’t help but think Mario Kart has got so much more to give. I love how it’s a game series that has the power to destroy friendships and relationships, and make you scream expletives at a baby overtaking you in a pram. But I just can’t understand how there isn’t a Mario Kart 9 for Switch? Yeah, 8 Deluxe still sells stupidly well. But I’d argue that’s partly because there’s no Mario Kart 9 yet! The moment that game came out, we’d all run out to buy it. Don’t say you wouldn’t. You’re a liar. The insanity of the situation can start to make sense though. If you take a step back, chug on some conspiracy juice and read deep into those Samsung technical documents you found at 3am talking about construction of portable, 7 inch, 720p OLEDs. Consider… could it be? Mario Kart 9 has been watching and waiting in the shadows, for when the definitely-real and definitely-coming-soon Super Switch reveals itself? I don’t know. But basically, I’m just really traumatised and bitter at being blue shelled by Baby Peach, and I need a new game for my revenge.
Kid Icarus: Uprising Switch
Josh Stevens: Now, as for what I’d hope to see this year. How many of you remember Kid Icarus: Uprising? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Released on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2012 as a reimagining and reboot of a franchise last seen on the original Game Boy twenty-five years prior, the Greek mythology-inspired on-the-rails-shooter was helmed by Masahiro Sakurai during a brief reprieve from Super Smash Bros. I loved its characters like the adorkable Pit and precious gremlin Viridi, whose humour ensured that the game never took itself too seriously, but the game was heavily criticised for an awkward control scheme that led to the game including a 3DS stand (yes, really). You know what could remedy that? Joy-Con, and the motion controls that Nintendo has enjoyed since the Wii era. Kid Icarus: Uprising’s multiplayer was also severely underrated. In short, it was basically a six-player battle royale mode using the various chaotic fantasy weapons you’ve found during the game. You could either play as a 3 v 3 team match or an absolute free-for-all, which might sound underwhelming now that we’re in a world with Fortnite and countless other pretenders to its throne, but it was an absolute blast. Also, it was on the Nintendo 3DS, which couldn’t even run Minecraft until a later bumped up revision.
Nintendo seems to have a pretty happy relationship with Epic Games, with Fortnite branded Switch bundles and Joy-Con, but imagine if a remade Kid Icarus: Uprising expanded on this multiplayer to give Nintendo their very own battle royale game? It could make for a great third pillar of Nintendo’s official eSports scene, alongside Smash Bros. and Splatoon 2. How likely is Kid Icarus to appear, though? Well, Sakurai is currently hard at work on developing the last two Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter pass characters, and has recently discussed the possibility of early retirement, so his involvement is unlikely. However, a remake could be the perfect opportunity for a new creative team and studio to get to grips with the property. I just hope the joke at the end of the game’s credits, where the main villain suggests it’ll be another twenty-five years before his return, doesn’t come to pass. Kid Icarus: Uprising was a spectacular game that deserves a new coat of paint, and another chance.
Cities: Skylines 2
Naithin: PDXCon (Paradox’s own convention) has been and gone already, done and dusted before E3 even started. Some things were announced, such as Victoria 3, which I know made a number of people very happy. But for me? I had my eyes out for just… one… thing. Cities: Skylines 2. And… it wasn’t there. Paradox put out a statement ahead of PDXCon, one that felt somewhat reminiscent to me of Blizzard’s ‘Stop expecting Diablo 4!’ commentary the same year they would announce Diablo: Immortal instead (except without then going on to announce a mobile port and asking their community if they had phones or not, thankfully).
So we knew Cities: Skylines wouldn’t be there. Still – the thinking is that Colossal Order has been strangely quiet on the DLC front of Cities for quite some time now. We all but know a Cities: Skylines 2 is in the works. Could it possibly be showing up at a partner presentation? Paradox work with Microsoft these days; their catalogue even forms part of the excellent Xbox Game Pass. So, this is my hope and prediction: Cities: Skylines 2 announced at a partner event. I’ll even go so far as to call it being Microsoft’s stage. It’ll only be a trailer rather than a full-on extended look at gameplay, but it will show off how things look in-game rather than just CGI. We’ll get a release date, too; whether it lands on it, well, that’s another story. But they’ll tell us one!
Stephen Brown: Ah Pikmin, those adorable and helpful little creatures. I’ve been a huge fan of Pikmin since its first release on the GameCube in 2001. Since then, we’ve had two amazing sequels that have given us more varieties of Pikmin, new mechanics, and entertaining storylines. Back in 2017, we were told during the Nintendo E3 presentation that a Pikmin 4 was currently in development, and no, this was not referring to the Nintendo 3DS release of Hey! Pikmin. Since then, we have not heard anything more about these cute creatures and how they will be assisting us in our next visit to their planet. At present, the series is yet to make an original release for the Nintendo Switch. We were recently given an enhanced version of Pikmin 3 on Switch, which showed us how a sequel might operate as well as showcasing that there is still a hungry fanbase for the Pikmin series. Hopefully, this is a sign that they were building up their audience and getting fans excited for a Pikmin 4 announcement this year. As always, I am hopeful to see if they reveal what the latest quest to command Pikmin will be, and I am hopeful for the return of some old favourites (please let us have Purple and White Pikmin again).
Super Mario Odyssey 2
William Robinson: The Nintendo EAD team that works on the 3D Mario games has been relatively quiet for quite some time after the hit 2017 release Super Mario Odyssey, and I think this is because they have been hard at work on a sequel. For me, one of the signs of this is the lack of much DLC for the first game. With the piecemeal set-up of exploring mini-open-world Kingdoms, it seemed ideal for DLC, where Nintendo could release some bonus Kingdoms at a modest price – especially when you consider how a lot of other successful Nintendo games tend to get DLC nowadays, for example The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Splatoon 3. Outside of the Luigi’s Balloon World mode, though, there was practically nothing post-launch. That may well be a sign that, internally, Nintendo decided to put their efforts into working on the direct sequel instead, and implementing any leftover ideas that way – similar to Galaxy, where Galaxy 2 acted as an incredible spill-over of creativity. With Odyssey launching in the latter stages of 2017, it seems like it is time to find out exactly what is going on with the 3D Mario series of games, and I even think we will get a release date for later in 2021. That’s right, Odyssey 2 as a holiday release, roughly 4 years on from the first. In terms of the game itself? Well, if previous 3D Mario releases are an example, we’d be in for a treat as those talented developers expand on the more open approach to wow us once again. Also, more Odyssey would mean more Captain Toad, and you know I’d be excited for that (speaking of, Treasure Tracker 2 when?).
The Last of Us Part II Factions
Ashley Harrison: BINGO! My unrealistic prediction is just that, considering it relates to Sony, who once again aren’t even having a press conference at this year’s E3. Instead, I’m hoping for a secret State of Play drop during E3 week pertaining to extra content for The Last of Us Part II, namely Factions and a piece of DLC akin to Left Behind for the first game – this time, focusing on Tommy and his actions whilst Ellie is chasing him. I’m the furthest thing from an online gamer you’re likely to find, usually opting to stay far away from those modes, but in the original The Last of Us, Factions was – to me – something completely different. For once, I’d actually found an online mode I genuinely enjoyed playing, so kudos to Naughty Dog for that. It felt like an extension of the main game, rather than developers going “oh shoot, we need to have an online mode in here” for no reason. For those unfamiliar with Factions, it places you as the leader of a clan trying to survive for 12 weeks within the apocalyptic hellscape, with the objective of each game to find more supplies to help keep your clan healthy, as well as encourage new survivors to join you. Whilst the actual game modes are generic variations on those you’d find in basically any online multiplayer shooter – Supply Raid, Survivors, and Interrogation – it’s the story behind it that appeals; it feels as though each game serves a purpose beyond just getting the highest amount of kills or reaching the furthest round of zombies, and that kept me going back to it.
We’ve already seen a literal snippet of leaked footage for Factions in The Last of Us Part II and recent job listings at Naughty Dog, revealing that production is in full swing on a standalone multiplayer game, so here’s hoping Sony drop a very surprise reveal this weekend. As far as the Tommy-centric DLC goes, I’m not sure what it is that I’d want. Maybe Naughty Dog could use this opportunity to bring Joel back to life for a while – we could get more background about Joel re-connecting with Tommy and living their life in Jackson during the 5 years between the first and second games, whilst also jumping to what happened to Tommy on his journey to find Abby. Basically all we know is that Tommy tortures a couple of guys by playing them off against one another in the same way Joel does with David’s goons in the first game, and that he ends up being the Bridge Sniper in a later section of the game, so a further expansion on that would be very much welcomed by me.
Jed Harling: At this point, I’d be happy to just hear a developer mention Silent Hill in a positive way, and not just like they were discussing a long-lost great uncle who disappeared at sea, and all he left behind was a crappy HD remaster of Silent Hill 2 & 3 for the PS3. Is he still out there? We just don’t know. Seriously, though. I think people are clamouring for survival horror games. And I’m not talking about the jump scare filled, Twitch-streamer-shouting and ‘offensive on the eyes YouTube thumbnail’ kind of game. I’m talking about the kind of thing that almost literally gives anyone who plays it PTSD. I am really bored and cynical of people telling me, ‘Hey Jed, you like scary games, you should check this one out’, only to play it and discover it’s entirely predictable and uninteresting to play. Nothing scratches that Silent Hill itch.
Team Silent’s original run of games are all masterpieces in their own right, whilst differentiating themselves between each other in leaps and bounds. Maybe those games might never come back. That studio is long-since-disbanded and its influential figures scattered both across and out of the industry. But every now and then, there is a sprinkling of hope and excitement that something might just grow out of the ashes. There have been rumours abound in recent years about Sony acquiring the IP from Konami, but frankly, this is far-fetched to say the least. We can’t talk about the potential Return of the King Kojima-san, without mentioning the doomed P.T. and Silent Hills, because it really was a zeitgeist moment. That demo, that concept trailer, and that creative talent on offer sent minds racing about what kind of PTSD experience we could all happily sign ourselves up for and shoot into our veins. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Sony didn’t announce a spending spree to rival Xbox and buy Konami’s IP’s. In recent years, us Silent Hill hopefuls have come to realise that Bill was right, and that ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’. That it’s time to lay those hopes and dreams to rest. And its okay, because after all, ’tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all (though I suspect Tennyson didn’t get to crap his pants playing P.T.). It’s finally time to dig a hole, bury that god awful copy of Silent Hill HD, and bury the idea of your long-lost great uncle to rest for good.
Wait a minute lads! ‘Konami outsource Silent Hill project’?, ‘Bloober Team say they’re working on an existing IP from a very famous publisher’!, ‘Multiple Silent Hill reboots could be in development’?!. Grab a shovel.
Ghost Trick 2
Josh Stevens: My absolute dream announcement is the return of a hidden gem, by an auteur known for greater things. Sure, Ace Attorney is cool and all, but what if I told you that Shu Takumi once made a game where you control a ghost trying to solve their own murder? It sounds absolutely wild, doesn’t it? Well, it happened all the way back in 2010 with Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on the Nintendo DS. Honestly, if you remove my Pokémon fandom from the equation, this is my favourite game in the Nintendo DS’ vast library, thanks to an absolutely incredible story supplemented by fun, intuitive gameplay, and some slick sprite work from developer Capcom. The game follows the spirit of Sissel who, after waking up in a junkyard with no memories and seeing his dead body, learns how to possess people and objects as he manipulates the world around him to try and change the fate of those who may be key to solving the mystery of his own murder. This presents itself in the gameplay through inventive puzzles, such as moving certain items or operating machines to encourage different character interactions.
I’m regularly asked the question “if you could erase one game from your memory and play it for the first time all over again?” I don’t even hesitate. It’s this one. The game’s characters are so charming (did I mention that one of them is a pomeranian?), and the narrative is an absolute rollercoaster that culminates in one of the greatest endings I’ve ever seen. I’d find it hard to go back to the game, though, as I already know all the answers to its questions. However, the story was also wrapped so neatly that I also wouldn’t want Takumi to risk tarnishing it with a disappointing sequel, either. So, what do I want then? A brand new Ghost Trick game with the same core ideas and gameplay, but with a brand new cast and story. Another idea, might also be one floated by Takumi back in 2013: a crossover with Ace Attorney that sees Sissel having to solve (and go back to prevent) Phoenix Wright’s murder! However, given that it’s taken Capcom and Takumi this long to finally answer fan’s wishes with The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles this year, maybe I’ll have to wait a little longer. If you haven’t experienced Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective before, the Nintendo DS version is admittedly a little pricey these days, but it was ported to iOS and released worldwide back in 2012.
Neverwinter Nights 3
Naithin: Dreams are free, right? Neverwinter Nights – the complete package of game, toolset and Dungeon Master client – is, outside of MMOs perhaps, my longest enduring and most loved ‘game’. Bioware might not have exactly knocked it out of the park with the ‘OC’ (Official Campaign) or the ‘game’ part that came along with NWN at launch, but I’m not sure that was ever the intent. Bioware instead gave us a platform for storytelling by way of gaming. A way to play a CRPG/Tabletop hybrid experience, replete with Dungeon Master, well before the likes of Table Top Simulator became a thing. The toolset was easy enough that anyone could pick it up and design basic encounters and stories easily, but held enough power through its C-like scripting language to really let people go to town with it. There were many, many examples of player-created stories that far exceeded the quality of Bioware’s own offering. The expansions (whilst offering far superior stories) were, in turn, more about the additional tilesets and assets made available to creators and dungeon masters than the stories they came with.
Obsidian had a turn at the reigns with Neverwinter Nights 2, but never quite landed the magic of the original. The toolset grew in complexity, and the hosting requirements jumped to match. As a result, NWN 2 never grew to match the status of its predecessor as a platform, but did at least host the amazing Mask of the Betrayer story – one of the best CRPG stories to this day. So my prediction here? Someone will take up the mantle anew, and announce a Neverwinter Nights 3 — the whole set. Singleplayer, multiplayer, Dungeon Master client and toolset. I’d love to see this during EA’s presentation as a return to form for BioWare, but with new Dragon Age and Mass Effect games both underway, I’m unsure their studio has the capacity for another project ready for announcement. If Obsidian does take it up — an equally busy studio, however — then perhaps we’ll see it on Microsoft’s stage?
Donkey Konga: Encore
Stephen Brown: Who remembers Donkey Konga and, more importantly, the bongo controller for the GameCube? This rhythm game holds a special place in my heart, so how amazing would it be it they brought it to the Nintendo Switch?! Now, we already have a Switch rhythm game that comes with a unique controller in the form of 2018 release Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!. Imagine that, but Donkey Kong-themed. We could easily incorporate Donkey Kong and his bongo drums, but what if we went further? We could introduce more characters, each with their own unique instruments: Diddy Kong could get maracas, Funky Kong could get a keyboard, Cranky Kong could get a banjo, and so on. We’ve seen the Tiki Tai Tribe as the main antagonists of Donkey Kong Country Returns, so what if they came back, but this time, for a party? It’s possible! Now you might be thinking “Surely they won’t create a unique controller for each instrument?” well I have one word for you… Labo! We know the cardboard creations of Nintendo Labo can already be used to make a piano, so why not expand upon this with a bunch of new Labo sets that can be implemented into a game full of funky jungle beats?!
The Elder Scrolls VI: Starfield
William Robinson: Yes, you read that right. When Bethesda revealed that both Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI were in development at E3 2018 – complete with vague CGI logos – it seemed immediately apparent that they were both very, very far away. Especially for the latter of the two RPGs, as the sci-fi-themed Starfield was supposedly going to be coming out first. We have heard very little in the years that have followed, but with Microsoft having now acquired Bethesda and their IP, you’d think Phil Spencer and co. have grand plans; indeed, the Bethesda E3 showcase has now been absorbed into the Microsoft presentation, which should make for quite the event. Even with the might of Microsoft behind them, though, it has seemed inescapable that The Elder Scrolls fans in particular have a long, long time to wait. I propose a simple fix: what if these two mysterious RPGs that we keep hearing the names of are actually the same game? Starfield is the codeword for The Elder Scrolls VI, in the vein of Oblivion and Skyrim, and instead of being a brand new IP, it is instead Bethesda revolutionising their popular fantasy series? Perhaps this is The Elder Scrolls in the far future, where we now have space travel enabling us to explore brand new planets.
This would solve the issues of Bethesda having these stacked highly-anticipated releases, and the community could all get behind being excited for this one game. Yes, it is a ridiculous prediction, but think for a second; wouldn’t all the mechanics and world-building of The Elder Scrolls be potentially awesome in a sci-fi format, with all the new weaponry, settings, and races it could bring? Also, there would be the appeal of it not being a brand new, start-from-scratch world, but one with a sense of history and lore to it from the events of previous The Elder Scrolls, giving it that unique adaptation feel. Somehow, the more I consider this concept, the more I like it, and can you really tell me that The Elder Scrolls VI: Starfield doesn’t have a great ring to it?
Whew, that’s a spicy set of predictions. We’ll see just how many of them are correct or completely off the mark as the shows continue to roll out – I hope you enjoyed reading through our speculations! For more collaboration posts, you can read the Let’s Chat series here, or see my various other miscellaneous tags & collabs here. Enjoy E3!