E3 2011 Anticipation: NGP (PSP2) and PSP1
Four months ago, when the NGP was unveiled, I didn’t spend much time thinking about the way the system would interface with PlayStation 3. That, however, was before the rumors for Wii 2 (aka Project Café) began to pour in.
Now let’s think about this for a moment: after the hype for the original Wii began, Sony unveiled the SIXAXIS controller--a motion-based disaster with technology that few developers utilized. To combat the threat of Wii 2 (which is expected to have a touch screen controller), Sony is likely to hype some new NGP features that will allow the system to work in a similar fashion with PS3.
This will be just the beginning of the NGP hype machine.
E3 Predictions: NGP Announcements
Final Fantasy: Sony and Square Enix might not be the bonded-for-life buddies they once were, but the duo is still madly in love. Thus, it's practically a given that this year’s E3 will be met with some kind of Final Fantasy-related announcement for the NGP. It might not be more than a remake, another offshoot, or simply the first next-gen Dissidia sequel. But trust me: an announcement is coming.
(I personally wish that Square Enix would announce the illusive and still nonexistent Final Fantasy VII remake, which was once teased as a handheld game. Or, if not that, a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics would be nice.)
LittleBigPlanet: I’m almost tempted to throw this game on my PSP1 list, as I believe Sony will use most of 2011 to persuade consumers into buying a system that’s about to be retired. Regardless, you can be certain that a next-gen LittleBigPlanet is on its way. And while it might not be due for a good 18 months, Sony hyped both LBP1 and LBP2 for a solid two years before they were released.
Team ICO’s First Handheld Project?: Right now, Team ICO has its hands full with a delay of both The Last Guardian and the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus collection. At the same time, this remarkable development team has finally been given a handheld that is powerful enough to handle their creative game concepts. The team was rumored to be making a PSP game for years, but that game never materialized. Could it now appear on the NGP? Yes, it could. But don’t expect it to be released before 2013, as we won’t even get to purchase The Last Guardian until 2012.
Ridge Racer: This isn’t so much a prediction as it is a reiteration of the obvious. Namco Bandai loves releasing new Ridge Racer games. The company loves to release them at the launch of new game machines. And this series has been a part of every Sony launch since 1995 (and many other console launches since that time).
Price Point Tease: Sony has made it clear that while the NGP isn’t delayed in North America, it isn’t coming out this year. Take that marketing speak for what you will, and know that Sony isn’t likely to announce a specific price for the NGP at E3.
However, given the handheld’s imminent Japanese release (it is still on schedule for a fall 2011 launch in that region), Sony is bound to provide a few more clues regarding how much the system will cost. But don’t expect these clues to come at the press conference. Instead, watch for interviews with senior Sony execs--those will be the articles with the juiciest details.
E3 Predictions: PSP1 Announcements
One More Price Reduction: How do you ensure that the original, six-year-old PSP continues to outsell the brand-new Nintendo 3DS? Continue to lower the price.
Third-Party Treats (But Nothing Mind-Blowing): With the NGP a good 10 to 12 months away from release in most regions, third-party developers should still be interested in the original PSP. Right now, only a handful of PSP games have been confirmed for E3 2011, none of which are particularly exciting. Madden 12, Battle vs. Chess, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Adventures of TinTin are anything but system-sellers.
Still, the original PSP is in the hands of more than 50 million gamers worldwide. It's hard to believe that at least a few third-party developers won’t step up and announce some exciting titles at E3.
Sony Will Be Supportive, But Not Too Supportive: If Patapon 3 hadn’t just been released, you could bet that the fourth game in the chapter would be touted at E3. Actually, this might be the game Sony pushes anyway. Why? Because it’s cool enough to be exciting on the PSP, but is not popular enough to make gamers ask, “Why isn’t Patapon 4 on NGP instead?”
Expect Sony to follow this rule of thumb at E3 and save all of its top-tier games for NGP.
Monster Hunter: Before the series comes to NGP, don’t be surprised if you see another for the original PSP.