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91 Features

The ten biggest questions of E3 2014

By Rob Crossley on Wednesday 4th Jun 2014 at 9:50 AM UTC

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Will indies inherit the earth?

With regards to the above: If triple-A games continue to decline in number, and if publishers continue to hang their hopes on a few big brands, will indie developers continue to fill the obvious gaps?

Indie projects continue to grow in significance for traditional platform holders, and last year Sony stole the show at E3 by showcasing eight such games that had some exclusivity ties to PlayStation.

2014 so far has been dominated by indie games. The likes of TowerFall, OlliOlli, Nidhogg and Monument Valley have outnumbered their triple-A peers and, crucially, have tended to draw in more positive reception from critics. If this trend continues then it is inevitable that, perhaps sooner than we think, indie games could become the biggest talking points of E3.

No Mans's Sky, in development at Guildford indie studio Hello Games, stole the show at the most recent VGX

Is it over for last-gen?

Publishers are currently dealing with two fairly unwanted trends. The first; game sales for last-gen games are declining far more rapidly than expected. The second; building cross-gen games puts a strain on resources, often leads to delays, and puts a natural limit on how ambitious a project can be.

Will the major franchises continue to support PS3 and Xbox 360, much like Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, or will they take the Batman Arkham Knight approach and abandon last-gen entirely?

Where next for Vita and 3DS?

Nintendo has defied the odds by making the 3DS an unquestionable success an age dominated by smartphones, so it continues to be perplexing that so few third-party publishers support it. Nothing says "safe bet" quite like more than 40 million customers, so it's entirely possible that major developers other than Nintendo will announce games for the handheld. Whether the industry follows them or not, it's safe to expect another string of major games announced by Iwata and co.

Sony, meanwhile, has a similar problem with PS Vita. It has a core dedicated audience that happens to be ideal for indie developers, but the platform struggles to allure major publishers. This issue is harder to overcome, especially since the PS Vita installed base is so low that Sony hasn't even declared it since January 2013.

Are Valve and Rockstar still too cool for school?


Firstly, yes they are.

However! It has been long rumoured that Rockstar is developing a PC version of GTA V, as well as a sequel to Red Dead Redemption. And recently Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive of Rockstar owner Take-Two, claimed that a next-gen Rockstar game will be released by April 2015. The smart money is on GTA V for PCs and consoles, but it's not incredibly likely that E3 will be the place to announce this.

Valve, meanwhile, has not publicly shown any interest in consoles since 2010, and now its focus is on supporting PC hardware built for living-rooms. Even if the company was ready to announce Half-Life 3, the simple truth is it doesn't need E3 as a stage to announce it.

Will Besthesda reveal its major new project?

Unless there has been a major delay or certain compications, the next major Bethesda project is overdue an announcement.

In April 2013, Bethesda's Skyrim studio announced it is fully switching to its next major project. And clearly what one everyone is clamouring for more is Fallout 4. E3 seems like the ideal time for show and tell, though nothing is confirmed yet.

Will VR steal the show?


It may be too early for Microsoft to reveal its long-rumoured "Kinect glasses", but with Kinect itself now dissected from the console, some distinguishable hardware feature has become even more important.

Sony, meanwhile, should have enough encouragement from user feedback that its Project Morpheus device makes people believers from their first go.

And with Oculus Rift still the trendsetter in VR, E3 could provide new insight on how much the industry is supporting this exciting new technology.

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