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May 28, 2012

What to expect from Sony at E3 2012: Vita price cuts, Infamous 3, Last Guardian, and more!

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Written by: Steven Strom
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What to expect from Sony at E3

SideQuesting is preparing you for E3 with our guides for what to expect from the show. You’ve already seen our specials on Nintendo and Microsoft, now it’s Sony’s turn. You can also listen along to our Sony E3 podcast, where we throw down even more predictions!

Sony has already confirmed that those attending E3 this year will be “…the first to witness the launch of more than 20 new gaming experiences.” With such high profile franchise exclusives like God of War: Ascension, LittleBigPlanet Karting and Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale already having been revealed, we the SideQuesting crew are guessing that Sony’s press conference is going to be all about new games. And with Sony’s own admitted awareness that their latest portable needs more games, this could be the company’s big chance to make a hard push for new Vita software.

With the tagline “The Future of Gameplay and Innovation”, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to guess that Sony might also be touting some of their handheld’s exclusive features like cross-system play/purchasing. But just what games and features will they be dropping on the always suspecting public this year? Let the speculating begin, suckas!

PLAYSTATION 3

HARDWARE

Playstation E3 2012

Will the PS3 see a price cut?

Let’s start with the core of the Playstation brand; the Playstation 3 itself.
Right now the PS3 is resting on a pretty comfortable $249 price tag. While that’s certainly a fair price, a nice, even $200 sure would look good in a Powerpoint presentation and even better on store shelves. That being said, it might be asking a bit too much of Sony to price the big black box at half a c-note less than the Vita, which is already struggling with an image problem.

Probability: 50%

Will there be a new Playstation 3 bundle?

Somewhat more likely that we see the announcement of a brand new bundle, perhaps one including a limited subscription to Playstation Plus as well as one or two new games.

Probability: 80%

Will Sony update the Playstation’s user interface?

Here’s one that Dali has been begging for for quite awhile now: a new user interface for the much maligned Playstation Network.

A UI change-up certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented. The Xbox 360 modifies its dashboard about as often as I change my Green Lantern underoos. And even the Playstation 3 itself has made a few slight modifications in the past, changing the store front, spacing out options on the cross-media bar and adding several new features.

However – aside from the boss-man – I just haven’t witnessed enough people clamoring for an update recently. Most people have either gotten used to the interface or have resigned themselves to the fact that it’s the best that they’re going to get. Should Sony change the layout of their system? Most definitely. Will they? I just don’t think that the demand is quite high enough for an overhaul this late in the console’s lifecycle.

Probability: 25%

GAMES

Playstation AllStars Battle Royal

Will we get to see Playstation All-Stars’ final roster?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this one is a lock. Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale is sure to be one of Sony’s biggest exclusives this year and there’s no way that they won’t be trying to drum up interest at the biggest event in the industry. And there’s no better way to drum up interest for a game that trades almost entirely on nostalgia than by drudging up a bunch of characters from games that you remember being way better than they actually were?

It worked for Nintendo. Three times.

Probability: 99%

Will Musashi from Brave Fencer Musashi be confirmed as a playable character in Battle Royale?

Dear god, I hope so.

Probability: 5%

Will Killzone 4 receive a February 2013 release date?

Edge already confirmed late last year that a new Killzone game was on the way with Steven Ter Heide, senior producer of the previous two games, at the helm. Combine that with the fairly open ending of Killzone 3 and you’ve got a pretty good case for Killzone 4 to drop right on schedule in February of next year (both Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 were released in February).

Probability: 85%

Will we see a Killzone 4 trailer?

Assuming that I’m right and the game is coming in 2013, I’d be willing to guess that Guerilla isn’t quite ready to let the press play it openly. But who needs public gameplay demos when you’ve got fancy trailers and scripted, hands-off playthroughs?

That’s almost as good, right?

Probability: 85%

Will we see that new IP from Guerilla?

We’ve known for some time that Killzone developer Guerilla has been working on a new IP outside of their other franchise. What it’s called, what it’s about and what sort of game it will be are all still in the dark. That’s all going to change this year as I predict that Sony will cap off a Killzone heavy showcase with teaser for the company’s new product. Perhaps we’ll get a teaser, perhaps just a logo or perhaps just a name, but I would put down money on something being there.

Probability: 95%

Will there be a new Resistance game from a different developer?

Even with Killzone taking up the majority of Sony’s exclusive FPS marketing, let’s not forget about the (superior) Resistance franchise.

With Insomniac departing from the series to work on Overstrike a new developer will obviously need to take the reins. And while it’s sad to see the developers that created the series step aside just as it had hit its stride, I’d be lying if I wasn’t excited by the idea of seeing a fresh take on the universe.

One candidate that seems likely to step is Sony Bend, probably best known for the Syphon Filter series and more recently Uncharted: Golden Abyss. They also worked on Resistance: Retribution for the PSP. Meanwhile, Resistance: Burning Skies for the Vita just wrapped up production under Nihilistic. With Golden Abyss out the door and the studio announcing that they were already in pre-production of their next project before the Vita title’s release, they’ve obviously got something cooking. Perhaps Sony Bend is finally making a return to console development.

Probability: 60%

inFAMOUS 2 review

Will Infamous 3 be revealed?

If there’s one thing that Sony’s got plenty of, it’s mid-tier exclusives franchises.

A lot of fans are skeptical about the idea of a new entry in the Infamous brand. Infamous 2 was undoubtedly better received and more profitable than its predecessor, neither of the two endings really left much room for a standard sequel.

To all of those skeptics I say “None of that matters when time travel is involved.”

I can’t be quite as certain about a Playstation 3 sequel as I’d like to be, if only because I’d also like to say that a Vita based follow-up seems equally likely. Still, I’d say we haven’t seen the last of Cole and Zeke this generation.

Probability: 70%

Will we finally get a release date for The Last Guardian?

This is absolutely the last year that Team ICO can get away without giving us some hard facts concerning The Last Guardian. Sony knows this, too, and they’re not about to let what could be (and should have been already) one of their biggest games this generation slip out of the public consciousness and be trampled by next-gen talk next year. It’s all or nothing for The Last Guardian, even if Sony has to drag it kicking and screaming from Team ICO’s massive, kitty-dragon claws.

Probability: 85%

VITA

HARDWARE

PS Vita White

Will there be a full hardware redesign?

What are you, nuts?

Proability: 1% (Includes the Jaffe-Curve)

Will the Vita get a price drop?

As I said before, that $199 price tag looks mighty nicer than anything over two hundred. That being said, some would argue that the Vita needs an even steeper price drop to compete with other portable gaming alternatives. Between the cost of games, accessories and the system itself, there’s no denying that one of the primary obstacles to the Vita’s success is price. It might also pave the way for a PS3 drop before the holiday season.

That being said, the company would be taking quite a loss on each unit sold post-price drop, unless they’ve found a cheaper method of manufacturing the consoles already. Can Sony afford to take the plunge the same way that the 3DS did last year? I’m leaving this one up to chance.

Probability: 50%

Will there be a new Vita bundle?

Now we’re talking. A bundle including a copy of something like Uncharted or Mortal Kombat, as well as a mid-tier memory stick sounds a lot more likely than a price drop. Of course, one doesn’t necessarily preclude the other as Sony could just as easily drop the price of the core system and release a bundle at the standard $249.

Probability: 75%

Will the Vita’s standard user interface get a facelift?

While I never really had any problem with the Vita’s interface, a lot of people did. Unlike the PS3’s XMB, the Vita is still fresh enough and enough people are still unaccustomed to its design for there to be sufficient time and demand for a change. That being said, Sony still isn’t exactly renowned for their willingness to adapt their designs despite being so liberal with things like connectivity and online services.

Probability: 40%

GAMES

Little Big Planet Karting

Will Killzone Vita be playable at the show?

Yes.

Probability: 99%

Will there we see new games become cross-purchasable between PS3 and Vita?

If Sony really, really wants to impress us, they’ll tout the one feature that makes those painful Vita prices bearable; games that can be bought for either PS3 or Vita and be playable on either.

It’s almost guaranteed that at least one major game featured at E3 will feature this… feature, if for no other reason than that it will give Kaz Harai something to look incredibly (and justifiably) smug about. Just how many games will follow this example in the future and which games they may be is the real question.

Probability: 99%

Will there be an Assassin’s Creed game for Vita announced and will it connect to AC3?

With Sony’s past partnering with Ubisoft on the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the buzz surrounding Assassin’s Creed 3 and the Vita’s need for attention grabbing titles, this one seems like a no-brainer. It’s really just a guess (as is everything in this article) since there’s really no hard evidence to support it, but I’m going with my gut on this one.

If there is such a game, you can bet that it will feature some form of cross-game functionality with Assassin’s Creed 3.

Probability: 70%

Will there be a Vita version of Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale with cross-game functionality?

“The future of gameplay and innovation”, for Sony, is going to mean a lot of PS3/Vita cross-game functionality this year. You can bet your nana’s dentures (the good ones) that Sony is going to want to use Playstation All-Stars to spearhead that sort of cross-game play. They’re going for their core market fan base with this one and, if it works, that could mean a whole lot of people taking notice of the Vita’s more interesting functions.

There are a whole lot of Playstation 3’s floating around out there and you can bet that Sony wants every single person that owns one to want to buy a Vita.

Probability: 90%

Will we finally see that Bioshock game for Vita?

I swear, this one has all the makings of typical, handheld vaporware. Remember that Elder Scrolls game Bethesda promised us for the PSP? How about that exclusive Resident Evil title? No? Well, we’ve heard about as much about Bioshock Vita as we did about those other games.

Despite this, Ken Levine is a man known to keep his word. And Sony must be putting the pressure on for big names on their little platform. I’m chalking this one up just shy of an even bet.

Probability: 49%

Will the Playstation Portable backwards compatibility library be expanded?

A list of upcoming PSP games in the works to come to Vita has already been shown off in a much less auspicious manner than a press event. Besides, it’s unlikely that Sony would want to waste precious time discussing anything besides games made specifically for the Vita itself.

I do think that expanded compatibility is coming, I just don’t think it will get much attention at E3.

Probability: 20%

Will we see that Monster Hunter game for Vita?

A demo or a trailer for the latest Monster Hunter game is definitely something that would make a much bigger splash at the Tokyo Game Show than at E3. That being said, Sony has a whole lot of slots to fill if that over 20 games blurb is to be believed. Perhaps teasing the game here in the states, as soon as possible, and then going for an all-out blow-out at TGS would be a prudent decision.

Probability: 65%

OTHER

Will Orbis (Playstation 4) be shown?

Sony has been quite adamant about their next-gen console not making an appearance at E3 this year. Still, nothing is a sure thing in a post-David Jaffe world.

That bastard.

Probability: 5%

Will the Vita’s memory cards receive a price drop?

Memory on the Playstation Vita is expensive. Prohibitively expensive. Stupidly expensive. If Sony wants to keep gamers shopping on the PSN instead of losing money to Gamestop, they have to drop the price of memory cards on the Vita. One hundred dollars for a 32-gig memory stick isn’t a price, it’s an insult.

Probability: 75%

Will Playstation allow for cloud gaming?

Sony is becoming steadily renowned for its open-ended approach to which third-party services it will allow on its consoles. Their previous collaborations with OnLive and Valve could lead to some very interesting things… down the line.

Perhaps they intend to use the PS3’s golden years as a test bed for experimenting with new products and services like cloud gaming. But I’d find it far more likely to see such a thing brought to light on the system’s successor. As for who will bring cloud gaming into the Sony fold, OnLive seems like a likely choice. As for an entirely off-the-wall guess/wishful thinking it would sure be crazy to see Valve get into the cloud gaming and console markets in one fell swoop by integrating their own service through the PS3 or Orbis.

Probability: 15%

Will Playstation Suite make it to iOS?

Good ol’ Kaz Harai has publicly stated that Sony is looking to expand Playstation Suite onto as many devices as possible. And last year’s cooperation with Valve on bringing Steam to the PS3 shows that their willing to play ball, at least when not working with a direct competitor.

And that’s really the issue here. Allowing for even the possibility of Playstation games to be playable on a device that is directly competing with the company’s own handheld would appear to many as though Sony was admitting defeat. It might be a sound business move, but I just don’t predict enough people seeing it that way.
Probability: 5%

FINAL THOUGHTS

Our accurate fortune-telling machine!

There’s not a doubt in my mind that this E3 will be the Year of the Vita, assuming that Sony doesn’t want it to become the next N-Gage. That means new games, cross-system play, cross-system saves and most importantly cross-system purchasing. Sony is going to do whatever it can to keep the Vita afloat this year and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the PS3’s baby cousin.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Playstation 3 doesn’t have some life left in it.

Last year really should have been the PS3’s year to shine. However, Anonymous’ bastardly hacking of the system coming a couple months before E3 and the launch of three of the system’s big cross-platform multiplayer games really choked the life out of it. But with the 360 bringing so little that’s new and Nintendo’s Wii U being a giant question mark, this year looks like it could be hell of a bright sunset year for Sony’s warhorse.

Let’s hope nothing goes wrong this time.



About the Author

Steven Strom
Steven is a freelance journalist and editor for SideQuesting, as well as several newspapers. He is a podcast co-host for The Side Quest, Lonely TARDIS and Drunks and Dragons. His interests include comics, books, games you've never heard of and fettucini alfredo.




  • kewlrats

    I can’t believe you TOTALLY forgot Gran Turismo 6. I think that will debut for SURE at E3 this year! No way Sony is going to let TWO Forza games arrive before another GT game!