Somehow it’s June again, which means it’s almost time for E3 to start—and also, depending on who you ask (Sony, Sega, Blizzard), it’s already started. Still though, this must mean that several volcano bursts of white-hot excitement are just around the corner, right? You’d think, but after the year we just made it through, you might be better off tempering your expectations. On this week’s Splitscreen, we make maybe the most tepid E3 predictions ever.
To kick off this week’s E3 pre-interlude (pronounced “printerlude”) episode, Ash Parrish, Mike Fahey, and I prepare for this year’s weird E3 by going down a historical rabbit hole of all the other weird E3s—from the ones in Georgia in the late ‘90s to those miserable couple years where the show downsized and mostly took place in hotel rooms. Oh, and then there was that one year where E3 admitted the general public and was not really prepared for the effects of it at all. That sure was a treat.
Next, Fahey and I exchange E3 war stories, while Ash—who has never been to E3—tries to figure out if we’re telling her the truth or just making up the most outlandish shit we can think of (spoiler: it’s all true). Finally, we make our predictions for what’ll happen at this year’s all-digital show, which is sharing space with heaps of publisher-specific events and former E3 presenter Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest. It’s definitely gonna be...something.
Get the MP3 here and check out an excerpt below.
Nathan: Ash, give us some good predictions. What do you think is gonna happen at this year’s probably underwhelming E3?
Ash: That was my thought: Like, it’s gonna be so underwhelming. Because E3 is this monolith, this cultural institution to video games, a bunch of developers are gonna announce a bunch of games that are actually, in reality, ho-hum. But everybody’s gonna latch on to it with this rabid fervor, because it’s E3 and you have to. Otherwise, what are you doing with your life, right? Because we associate video games with our identity sometimes—like people do it with consoles, or they do with a specific franchise.
And people do it with E3 too, for their chosen developer or console or whatever. So these completely underwhelming games nobody’s even heard of that don’t inspire much innovation or whatever are gonna get announced, and people are going to go absolutely batshit about it. That’s my realistic prediction for E3. My unrealistic prediction for E3? Bayonetta 3 gets a release date.
Nathan: Maybe they’ll even pull a Sega Saturn and be like, “It’s out now.”
Ash: Haha, that will never happen. But I would absolutely lose my mind.
Nathan: That’d be dope. But I think your first prediction is actually right, and I’m thinking about it now, and it’s like, well, what if that’s actually good for a lot of game companies? Because they have these second-tier games that normally wouldn’t make a splash. But now they have this chance to make a huge splash because all the top-tier games are just not really ready to be shown, because of covid and stuff like that. So there’s this chance for all of these lesser-known games or studios to make a huge splash.
Fahey: That’s what happened last year with Bugsnax. Bugsnax was good, but it wouldn’t have gotten the attention it got if not for the fact that all these other games did not happen. It got a great showcase spot and a great song, and then bam: It caught everybody by the heart and yanked the heart out and then fed it to bugs.
Ash: It had a really dark ending that’s also Mass Effect 2.
Nathan: Alright Fahey, what’s your prediction for this year?
Fahey: I don’t know. See, my thing with E3 this year is, I don’t expect a lot to come out of it. Since we’ve been getting all these streaming things throughout the year, I don’t know if there’s going to be a big huge “bam” this year. My prediction overall is that E3 is going to go by with more of a whimper—just a constant flow of small stories, but nothing really like, “Oh my god, they announced blahdy blahdy blah.”
Ash: It’s interesting because what you would have thought was safe for E3, like Horizon Forbidden West, was last week. Usually something like that, so close to E3, just would have been saved for E3, but Sony was like, “Eh, nah. We’re just gonna do it on our own time.”
Nathan: Right, they’re definitely making it more diffuse this year. In previous years, a few companies have had their own little dedicated showcases that happen before or after normal E3 time, but now that’s just everybody.
Fahey: I’m hoping we’ll finally see some footage from Breath of the Wild 2 and maybe some footage from Metroid.
Nathan: My Nintendo prediction is that they’re going to show neither of those games. They will instead dedicate the entire Direct to Pokémon Sleep.
Fahey: Go fuck yourself, sir.
Ash: Nathan, what are your predictions?
Nathan: Mine also revolve around how most of it will probably be kind of underwhelming. We have it on pretty good authority that Starfield is gonna be there in some limited capacity, but it’s just going to be a release date tease for the end of 2022. So whatever. And then theoretically there’s some Elden Ring footage that’s been floating around online since the end of February, that’s going to be shown off at some point. E3 feels like as good of a time as any. But it’ll probably be pretty limited. There’s gonna be a new Switch. Again, that’s been credibly rumored over and over and over.
As for things that could happen that might be a little tiny bit exciting: Hideo Kojima is clearly working on something new. Maybe it’s a Silent Hill spiritual successor. He’s gonna finally make whatever P.T. was supposed to be—albeit sans the license, but still with Norman Reedus hopefully. So maybe we’ll see that? I don’t know.
Let’s see, what else? I have written down the phrase “Banjo Kaz-newie.”
Ash: Oh god. That was physically painful to listen to.
Fahey: God dammit no.
Nathan: I could see it happening. They put Banjo in Smash, so why not bring back Banjo in greater capacity? But Fahey, to your point about a bunch of different, other events happening, EA’s not doing anything until July, so they’ll be well outside of the regular E3 window, but I’m sure they’ll give us—
Ash: Dragon Age 4.
Fahey: They’ll give us a screenshot of another screenshot, with some concept art.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s gonna be a couple pieces of concept art.
Fahey: Something only Ash will get.
Ash: And I’ll be able to spin, like, a book’s worth of information from it.
Nathan: Right, it’ll be like that and also Battlefield 6.
I’m sure there will be a few things in the next few weeks that stand out as relatively surprising, and this will also be a year where companies can lean into something they’ve done in previous years and be like, “We have nothing substantial to show of this, but we’re making this thing.” A logo, a splash screen—everybody goes nuts. It’s not gonna be out until, like, 2025, but here you go. “We’re making a new Jet Set Radio. Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2 is real.” Obviously it’s real, but they’re going to acknowledge it. Stuff like that. They’re gonna go, “This is real, probably. It could get completely revamped or canceled in the intervening period between now and when it comes out, but it’s a thing.”
Fahey: “In the meantime, we’re remastering all the old ones.”
For all that and more, check out the episode. New episodes drop every Friday, and don’t forget to like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. Also, if you feel so inclined, leave a review, and you can always drop us a line at email@example.com if you have questions or to suggest a topic. If you want to yell at us directly, you can reach us on Twitter: Ash is @adashtra, Fahey is @UncleFahey, and Nathan is @Vahn16. See you next week!