E3 is once again upon us. Announcements will be made, and Nintendo will do doubt use the show to outline some of its plans for the future. The anticipation is part of the fun, so we're looking into our crystal ball to predict some of Nintendo's next moves.
More Amiibos On The WayThis is a no-brainer. Amiibos have been very successful for Nintendo, so much so the company has a hard time keeping up with the demand. While that isn't winning Nintendo any points with fans, they're still selling out fast with every new wave. We suspect Nintendo is going to capitalize on this even more at E3, announcing a new wave or two. We wouldn't be surprised if a new line was attached to Zelda or Star Fox. Furthermore, Nintendo could also do more with Amiibo cards, which they introduced with Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer. These portable cards contain Amiibo functionality, and Nintendo is likely to use them for more than just Animal crossing. We expect more franchises to be featured in Amiibo cards.
As I discussed in this accompanying article, Destiny is at increasing risk for alienating its solo players, who desire more activities to engage in at or near level-cap. One possible solution is for Bungie to more fully embrace its existing bounty system, providing new storytelling and gameplay for both solo and group players, but without having to invent an entirely new mechanic. Bounties are flexible tools for getting players to engage with the game in novel ways, and additional bounty options would provide activities for those who, for whatever reason, might not want or be able to play new activities like Prison of Elders or Trials of Osiris. To illustrate the potential, we’ve pulled together 21 new (and totally fanciful) bounties we’d be excited to see implemented in the game.
As I noted in my write-up about House of Wolves, now is the best time for lapsed or new players to get into Destiny. The Prison of Elders arena mode and end-game PvP Trials of Osiris event round out an already compelling package of activities. At the same time, the endgame experience is increasingly group-centric. Lone wolf guardians (or just players who hop on at odd hours) are at a severe disadvantage, both in activities they can enjoy, and in the rewards they can reap. However, Bungie already has the tools and mechanics in place to solve the problem, and in the process the developer could enrich the anemic storytelling that has plagued the title since launch. The answer lies in further embracing the potential of the bounty system.
Blizzard's take on the MOBA genre officially launches today after an extensive alpha/beta phase, bringing all your favorite franchises together for grandiose matchups and battles. Diablo and Jaina team up to take on Kerrigan, Thrall blasts Sergeant Hammer in her siege tank, and Murky... well, no one likes Murky, he just kind of splashes around and dies a lot.
Blizzard's take on the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is a highly accessible and decidedly different take from the three-lane base brawls that define other genre titles, featuring shared team experience, no item shops, and objective based gameplay on a variety of different maps.
Our full review will be live sometime in the next few days, but for now you can watch Daniel Tack and Wade Wojcik play a game in Hero League, one of Heroes of the Storm's ranked modes. Want a chance to win a Malfurion character and Storm Mantle skin? We've got 100 codes to give away, just say "Illidan" somewhere in a comment on this post!
I’ve often told the story about how I used to visit my aunt and uncle’s house in my pre-elementary school days and immediately disappear into the basement where they kept their NES. I would be so excited in the days leading up to my visits, and finally getting my hands on the rectangular NES pad is one of my first memories of what it felt like to be in control of something that wasn’t my Ninja Turtle action figures. The feeling of progressing with each return visit, the rewards presented by just getting one level further than the time before, and the fact that every input I gave was greeted by a response on-screen provided me with a high unlike anything I had seen in my life to that point.
I was completely enthralled by the two cartridges they owned: Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and Tetris. I poured hours into those three games and was completely blown away by this new kind of entertainment. I remember being upset when they pulled me away to take me roller skating… until I found the arcade at the roller rink.
Traveller's Tales long-running Lego series has taken us to to the Death Star in Star Wars, down into that weird snake pit in Indiana Jones, and to a mountain of doom in The Lord of the Rings. As memorable and fun as these experiences are, Traveller's Tales' Lego games take players on guided tours. The Lego integration is mostly about the look of the world and smashing objects into studs. Creation is tapped mostly to assemble predetermined items that open up new paths.
Enter Lego Worlds, a game about creation. The player is dropped into a procedurally generated world with nothing to do but create and destroy. You can quickly build a mountain with a gun that sprays Lego pieces, or take your time to build the house of your dreams brick by brick.
Lego Worlds is the latest game to release on the same day of its announcement, and is currently available as an Early Access title on Steam for $14.99. Ben Hanson joined me for a brief hands-on look at this exciting title, and showed us that he can dig a hell of a hole, but isn't that great at building a home.
We're ramping up to this year's E3 with our best guesses of what new announcements the show will offer fans. Today we train our crystal ball on Sony.
Sony Celebrates Its Own BirthdayThe PlayStation launched in North America 20 years ago, which we're guessing will serve as a convenient wrapper for the company's press conference this year. Expect plenty of talk about Sony's history of innovation (leading up to new Morpheus announcements), sales dominance (expect plenty of boasting about how the PS4 is leading sales), and fan-favorite franchises as the company touts its own legacy and what's to come.
PS4 Price DropSony's PlayStation 4 has a healthy sales lead over the competition, but the race is far from over. The Xbox One has outsold the PS4 during a number of months (including this past April), thanks especially to a temporary price drop during the holidays. We're guessing Sony will aggressively protect its lead with a price cut of its own, and what better time to announce it then during its own E3 press conference?
Ask any Amiibo collector (or former enthusiast) and you'll likely hear the same things. They'll tell you that the process for pre-ordering and acquiring new releases is broken. Nintendo isn't producing enough to fill the supply chain. Things need to get better.
As a consumer, I wholeheartedly agree. I've almost stopped collecting them. I couldn't help but pick up the lone Girl Inkling Amiibo that was available alongside my Splatoon purchase. I did turn down Pac-Man, though.
Retailers have dropped the ball. GameStop [Disclaimer: GameStop is Game Informer's parent company] saw a meltdown of its point-of-sale system on pre-order day. This led Toys R Us to stealthily put its exclusive character up for order in the middle of the night. The ire Toys R Us incurred led Amazon to save itself with a scheme that saw individual characters up for sale at very specific times.
As the image above proclaims, E3 2015 is a mere two weeks away. In preparation for the show, we're sharing our predictions and hopes for the publishers and developers that will be appearing and presenting. Here's what we have for Microsoft.
An Xbox One dashboard redesignOne of the biggest complaints against the Xbox One is the difficulty of using its interface. It's difficult to tell where things are and how to get to them until you've developed some familiarity with the system. Xbox One has been receiving regular updates to add features, but E3 2015 could be a good platform to show off a complete redesign. The Xbox 360's interface went through multiple extreme changes ad refreshes, and it might be time for the Xbox One to do the same now that we're coming up on two years since launch.
Not much in the way of new IPWe saw a number of new IP surface in the last two years, like Sunset Overdrive, but that early grace period is over. Now it's time to push out the sequels and get people excited about the franchises they're familiar with.