E3 is right around the corner, and that means the rumour mill is in full flow, churning out leaks and conspiracy theories and predictions at the same rate as Doomguy ripping demons into tiny chunks of flesh. As is the nature of rumours, some will prove to be correct, some will be vague enough that they seem right in hindsight, and others will be wrong. Because we know the line-up of which publishers and studios are attending E3, there’s fertile ground for these predictions. We know Sony isn’t going to be at E3, and that means no news on God of War. Halo Infinite, on the other hand, is nailed on to feature in some capacity thanks to the Xbox showcase. Final Fantasy, whether that be 7 Remake 2 or 16, will likely make an appearance, as will Donkey Kong. Breath of the Wild 2, as ever, is highly anticipated but remains a firm ‘maybe’. Elden Ring doesn’t exist.
The point is, it’s a games expo. Some games will be there and some won’t. I know that’s hardly breaking news, but it’s not me that’s going to be punching my screen or sending death threats or vomiting out of sheer unbridled sadness when they don’t do a Fighters Pass reveal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Personally, I’m really hoping for Spyro the Dragon 4, and yes, I want it to be 4 – a direct continuation from Reignited a la Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time following on from The N.Sane Trilogy. I’d love Saints Row 5 and Goodbye Volcano High to appear too. If you gave me a magic lamp I’d wish for a Simpsons: Hit & Run remaster, or maybe just a completely new Simpsons game.
Maybe I’ll get these things, maybe I won’t. Okay, so I definitely won’t get my new Simpsons game. Whatever. But regardless of what we see and what we don’t, I promise you that you don’t need to tear some random indie game that gets four seconds of spotlight to shreds because you think it stole Pragmata’s moment in the sun. Nintendo is hard at work on Breath of the Wild 2, whether we get to see any of it or not. Same goes for Rocksteady and Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League. Not every single game currently being made will make an appearance, including whatever ones you’re personally hoping to see.
E3 and similar shows can be wonderful. Bugsnax grabbed its chance with both hands when it featured in the PS5 showcase – right before its hands turned into curly fries. The whole reason I want to see more of Goodbye Volcano High was because its ‘Life is Strange but gayer and with dinosaurs’ pitch from the same event had me instantly hooked. But at the same time, it introduces yet another deadline to an industry already crammed with them.
When developers talk about deadlines, it’s easy for us to think of it as ‘the game is set to launch November 8, so it needs to be ready by then’ – but deadlines are much more complicated. There are various quality and content checks games need to hit prior to launch, day one patches need to be worked on, there are internal playtests and QA runs… and that’s just for the game as a collective object. Triple-A games are now made by hundreds (occasionally thousands) of different developers all working in different departments, making various parts of an interconnected machine, each working together based on a huge list of interconnected timetables. ‘Just have the game ready by this date’ is the final deadline, and it’s the one players have eyes on, but the devs hard at work are too concerned with the deadline this afternoon, and tomorrow, and next week to worry about the whole thing being ready six months from now.
E3 introduces another deadline into the mix. You need to have something ready for E3 – they even made a movie about it, one that immediately drew ire from actual developers. Just because a studio didn’t hit the E3 deadline or chose to ignore it in favour of knuckling down with actually making the game is not a disaster, and even if it was, screaming about it isn’t going to make it any better. Delays can sometimes be a bad sign. If a game gets delayed over and over and over again, that often means something has gone wrong behind closed doors. But at the same time, do you really expect Breath of the Wild 2 to be bad? Some games will be there, some games won’t. Except for Elden Ring, since that’s just an elaborate ARG to promote The Winds of Winter. What’s that? Wait, I’m just hearing Winds of Winter has been delayed again. Guess we won’t be seeing Elden Ring this month, huh?
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