I thought I’d do something a little fun for once and take guesses at what games will release when, what games might finally make an appearance from the depths of vaporware, and what new hardware may be on the horizon. Obviously, take everything I say with a grain of salt. Don’t shoot the messenger if absolutely none of this happens.... please.
1) Nintendo Will Announce the Nintendo Switch Dock+ at E3 2017 and Release it in the Fall/Holiday Season
I decided to just get this one out of the way immediately because you’ve all heard me preach it before and I’ll continue to preach it. Nintendo has a patent for a supplemental computing device. Do they always make good on their patents? No. But the existence of a much beefier dev kit suggests that there is another piece of Switch hardware that is not known to the public, and the specs of said hardware match up with NVIDIA’s GTX 1060 PC graphics card. Since Nintendo is partnered with NVIDIA for at least 10 years, it makes sense that if Nintendo can foot the bill, NVIDIA will give them whatever they want. Making a new version of the dock that has a GPU built into it that can directly compete with the PlayStation 4 Pro will give the Switch’s TV mode a much needed competitive edge and potentially attract more third party developers to the system who like shiny things. It would be an extra expenditure for people who already own a Switch, but it isn’t a required component either so it isn’t like you would absolutely have to go out and buy one which would probably cost no more than $250 and no less than $150.
I just have that bad feeling about this game. It’s going to be an amazing game, there’s no doubt about that, but I can’t help but feel like it’s going to need more time in the oven than a Fall/Holiday 2017 release could provide. Everywhere I’ve looked has said the game is dropping this year, but I have a hard time believing that to be true. It’s a 2018 game to be sure.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy and the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII in particular, that’s quite the occasion and deserves the right game to celebrate it. What better game than the long anticipated remake of Final Fantasy VII? Voice recording, at least in Japanese, was apparently wrapping up last month which indicated that VII Remake was farther along that the developers intially led us to believe. If I were a betting man(Which I’m not.), I’d say that at Sony’s E3 2017 press conference they’ll announce that Final Fantasy VII Remake Episode 1 will release at the end of this year.
Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XV making their way to PC is inevitable. Square has been slowly moving all the mainline entries in the Final Fantasy series over to PC. When they hit, expect both of them to look even better than their console counterparts, especially XV which as the video above suggests, will be getting a visual overhaul thanks to a partnership with NVIDIA. Everything they couldn’t do on consoles? They’ll do it on PC.
It’s been a year since Fable developer Lionhead Studios was shut down and their Fable Legends game cancelled. And while its tragic to see a beloved developer close down, I can’t help but feel that they brought that upon themselves(No disrespect to the employee’s who lost their jobs of course, just being realistic here.). While Fable III may have basically been a flop, people were still excited for a next-gen Fable IV. Instead we got the Kinect game Fable: The Journey and then a free to play 4v1 game in Fable Legends that no one asked for and didn’t even make it to release before getting canned. All we wanted was Fable IV and Microsoft knows that. Which is why, in this post Lionhead, post-Peter Molyneaux world, Microsoft will look to bring the franchise back. After all, they own the IP and they are in desperate need of exclusives, they can’t afford to let an IP as big as Fable fall even further into obscurity. An announcement that they are at least working on another entry in the franchise, be it a sequel or a reboot, would go a long way towards getting some faith back from consumers. I’m willing to budge on this prediction a bit because I feel that E3 2017 might still be too early, so E3 2018 might be a safer bet.
The Metroid franchise is overdue for a new console entry and with the Switch now on the market, it’s about time that Nintendo reveals what they’ve been up to for the last couple of years. They’ve obviously got some goodies tucked away and Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime hinted back in January that they’d be announcing a new Metroid game this year. My bet is on E3 2017 and it’ll be a 2018 title in order to start filling out the Switch’s future first party line-up.
7) Halo 6 Revealed at E3 2017, Multiplayer Beta Coming in December, Releasing Worldwide in Fall 2018
In a move that surprises no one, Halo 6 will release in the Fall of 2018. As much as I wish they’d give it an extra year of development time, they won’t, so it’s definitely coming out in 2018 as dictated by the standard three year development cycle for main Halo titles. As a result it will have its scheduled reveal a year and a half beforehand at E3 2017 and a multiplayer beta(more like a playable alpha) sometime during the holiday season, probably December like Halo 5's beta was. Thankfully, I’m cautiously optimistic about Halo 6's campaign because Halo Wats 2, while criminally short, actually wasn’t half bad, and 343 Industries is hiring a new lead writer, indicating that Brian Reed, Halo 5's lead writer, has either stepped down from the position, left the company, or been fired. I don’t care which one so long as he is not in that chair.
Like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue III came out of left field at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference. It was a game no one expected and while it needed Kickstarter funding it did reached its goal in something like two hours. However, like most crowd-funded projects, regardless of any financial backing from partner companies such as Sega and Sony, the game will probably be finished and ship later than the developers originally intended. But that’s OK, you can’t rush perfection and that’s coming from someone who has never played a Shenmue game. Which is why Sega’s efforts to bring HD remasters of the first two games to fruition warms my soul because I want to know what people find so great about these games and there would be no better time to do it than just before Shenmue III releases, get everyone primed for it.
It was recently mentioned in I believe an interview that Valve’s R&D phase is now over and they’re returning to software development. Their Source 2 engine has been ready for some time and there were multiple leaks suggesting that both Left 4 Dead 3 and Half-Life 3 were in development, though L4D3 was probably much farther along. Hence why I’m suggesting that Left 4 Dead 3 will be the primer for Valve’s return next year, demonstrating the power of their next-gen Source 2 engine and laying the groundwork for their parade of 3's(Portal 3, Half-Life 3, Team Fortress 3, you get the idea.).
Lets face it, last generation went on way too long, it was a fluke, and with Microsoft being the first to chuck generations to the curb, it’s only a matter of time before Sony follow’s suit. The PlayStation 4 Pro is a half-step compared to what Scorpio supposedly is and I have no doubt that Sony won’t take kindly to having the proverbial graphical rug pulled out from under them when they’ve essentially built their lead on being the superior console of the generation. With the announcement of the PS5 which will definitely surpass the Scorpio because Sony will have had two years to prep more powerful hardware, it will begin a leap-frogging match where they continually try to one-up each other every 3 or 4 years. Which brings me to my next prediction.
The Nintendo Switch was designed from the get-go to be a modular device. You can replace the dock with newer models, you can replace the Joy-Con controllers with newer models or alternative versions such as ones with analog triggers(Keep in mind these are what-if’s, don’t go looking for them.), and buy all sorts of accessories to freshen up your hybrid experience. Nintendo has created the perfect environment for constantly upgrading their hardware like it’s a cell phone with consumers being able to pick and choose what they want to swap out, when they want to swap out. Everything is optional. It stands to reason that in three years at most, Nintendo will take advantage of NVIDIA’s advancements in the GPU space and apply those to the Switch portable device, upgrading from a Tegra Maxwell X1 refresh chip to a brand new Tegra Volta GPU and possibly the latest ARM processor that released too late for them to incorporate in the initial model. The reason I suggest it’ll be Volta instead of Pascal is that #1) Pascal is more like a half-step up from Maxwell, it’s not a full leap. Volta is the full leap, it’s the hardware generation that NVIDIA has been building up to over the last two years and it’s due out sometime either this year or next year, and given the timing of its release, a Tegra Volta chip would definitely be on the table for 2019 and beyond, and since it would be a smaller chip(10nm or 12nm compared to the 16nm of Pascal and 20nm of Maxwell) with better power efficiency and less heat production, Volta makes logical sense to be the next upgrade from the outdated Tegra Maxwell chip. And 2) the rumor was that Switch could have had a Pascal chip in it if Nintendo had been willing to wait to release the Switch until this Fall. If Pascal was going to be ready for Switch by then, there’s no reason why Volta couldn’t be ready for Switch by the end of 2019 at the earliest.
With the groundwork of what I imagine will be a trilogy laid in 2017 by the first episode, it stands to reason that work on subsequent episodes would be faster. So a 2019 release is certainly not out of the question, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it slipped to 2020
You may not want to hear it, I don’t either, but the next chapter of The Last of Us is a ways off yet and while I originally intended to say 2019, I took into account that Naughty Dog takes their time with their games and if it isn’t ready by 2019 it isn’t ready by 2019, so 2020 is a safer bet.
I told you before, it’s gonna be a game of leap frog from here on in ladies and gentleman and I doubt Nintendo is gonna sit it out. As with the Switch Volta revision, the TV experience will need to remain competitive in an ever shifting battlefield and that means putting out a new dock revision with a shiny new NVIDIA 12 Series GPU at least, meaning it’ll either be the half-step after Volta, or the full leap. Who can say at this point?
I think I’ll wrap it up there because I’m getting so far into the future that things get crazy.