E3 2012 is close at hand, and is set to take place in Los Angeles from June 5 to June 7 this year. Barring any complications—like an earthquake swallowing the entirety of Southern California—the whole event is expected to go without a hitch, and allow games developers and publishers to announce dozens of new games, hardware, and all manner of things for us to be excited about.
With all this excitement comes the inevitable speculation leading up to E3, some of which is not only plausible, but entirely possible, and others of which—like the ones I've written about in this article—that remain in the mythical realm where the unicorns dwell and Justin Bieber doesn't have a multi-million dollar recording contract.
Like the James Randi of game journalism, I'm here to debunk ten pieces of speculation. Read on!
10. Beyond Good & Evil 2 Announcement
While we may know that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is currently in development at Ubisoft, the chances that it'll be announced at this year's E3 are unlikely given the stage of development it's currently in and the fact that announcing it might well eclipse anything else they have to show.
Notably, Ubisoft is counting on Assassin's Creed III to be the talk of the show this year, and bringing up BG&E2 could put a slight damper on that. That said, surprises have been known to happen at E3 so we won't rule it out from happening completely. It's just very unlikely, is all.
If anything, the game is likely slated for release on the next generation of consoles, and not the current ones.
9. Console Price Drops
This year's E3 is an unlikely venue for console manufacturers to announce price drops to their existing consoles. Given the recent leak that Microsoft was planning to announce a new subscription-based service for the Xbox 360, we're not likely to see any actual price drop for the actual console, as it would undermine their plans for the service.
Likewise, the price of the PlayStation 3 is unlikely to get any lower simply because of how cheap it already is and how well it's been selling in recent months. There's no reason for Sony to take a further hit on its profits.
Finally, the Wii's a little too old—and it costs less than dirt—so Nintendo's unlikely to lower the price any further.
That said, any of these companies might announce a new bundle for their preexisting consoles, but we're unlikely to see any real reduction in prices.
8. Xbox Handheld
There have been rumors about Microsoft's desire to jump onto the handheld market with a kind of handheld Xbox akin to the PlayStation Vita, but it's unlikely to happen as they're heavily invested in the Windows Phone with their collaboration with Nokia.
In that regard, Microsoft is struggling to gain a foothold on the market going up against Google's Android and the iPhone, so it's unlikely that they'll want to cannibalize their own market with the release of yet another handheld device. Beyond that, we've seen nothing on the development front that indicates that any developers are working on a new Xbox-based handheld platform.
7. Kingdom Hearts 3 Announcement
Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura makes references to both Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII in every other issue of Famitsu—and there's no denying that both games are in development—but Nomura-san has yet to make any statements committing to either of the games' announcements. He just likes to talk about them.
Should an announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3 ever be made, it's likely to be made at the Tokyo Game Show in Japan than at this year's E3, where the series has enjoyed a far better reception. That being said, we won't rule out the possibility of Final Fantasy Versus XIII making a showing at E3 simply because it's where it was first announced back in 2006.
Fingers crossed, it'll be the big game Square Enix presents this time around.
6. Xbox 720 / Next Xbox
The next Xbox is currently in development, and that is an open secret.
However, Microsoft is unlikely to announce it this year as it would go against their announcement of the new Xbox 360 subscription and dampen everyone's excitement for Halo 4—arguably their biggest title this year.
Microsoft will want the Xbox 360 to last for as long as they can, and they'll do so by playing up enthusiasm for Halo 4 and videogames exclusive to the Xbox Kinect. Announcing a new console would make the Kinect seem obsolete and it'd dissuade anyone from wanting to pick up a new Xbox 360 in the meantime.
5. PlayStation 4
Just as the successor to the Xbox 360 is unlikely to make a showing at this year's E3, so too is the PlayStation 4. With several exclusive titles down the line slated for release both this year and the next, Sony is unlikely to want to hurt the strong sales of the PlayStation 3.
The company will, if anything, push the existing strengths of the PlayStation 3 by trumpeting its longevity with hype for games like God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us, and The Last Guardian.
Given that these titles will only be released at the end of the year, or early next year, we're not likely to see a new console announced at least until these titles are out. We can expect the PlayStation 4 to be announced in 2013, but not this year.
4. Wii U Name Change
There was a report awhile back in January which suggested that Nintendo would change the name of the Wii U ahead of E3. These months have since come and gone and Nintendo remains committed to the Wii U brand.
Even companies like Ubisoft, which would be privy to any changes before the rest of us, created internal presentations with an emphasis on the Wii U giving absolutely no hint that Nintendo would be changing the name.
As laughable as the name itself may be, it's since stuck, and changing it this late in the game would kill off any hype Nintendo has managed to build for the brand thus far.
Unfortunately for everyone—but fortunately for those of us who value facts over baseless hype—the rumor was shot down and flat out denied by Valve head honcho Gabe Newell who wrote:
"We are not announcing anything at E3. Really. We are not announcing Half-Life 3 or Portal 3 or Left 4 Dead 3. We are going to be showing stuff everyone already knows about."
If Valve should make any announcements, it'll likely be at their own press event and not at E3. They're that big these days.
2. Grand Theft Auto 5 Release Date, Wii U Port
The game exists. It's in development. But Rockstar Games has said next to nothing about it since its announcement late last year. The reason for that is because Rockstar doesn't want any talk of Grand Theft Auto 5 to cannibalize the company's current marketing drive for their only game this year, Max Payne 3.
Rockstar Games, like Blizzard Entertainment, is a studio with a tradition of releasing only one game a year, and this year isn't likely to be any different.
Furthermore, it's unlikely that the studio will make any commitments to the Nintendo Wii U with Grand Theft Auto 5, especially given that they have yet to do so with Max Payne 3. It'd be more likely that they would announce their existing games like Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire for the Wii U before committing to it with a game with no release date.
1. Apple Steam Console
It was reported (albeit incorrectly) awhile back that Apple CEO Tim Cook had paid a visit to Valve. The things that Apple and Valve may have talked about were hotly speculated, at least until it was discovered that the report had been completely fabricated and regurgitated thoughtlessly by countless news sites and blogs without a single person bothering to check the legitimacy of the original report.
Valve may be working on wearable computing as an R&D project and it may have some interest in creating its own gaming system, but Apple and Steam are unlikely collaborators. As it is, Valve can barely get Steam to work without a hitch on the OSX. A hardware-based collaboration between the two is simply out of the question.