E3 Web Screen Shot

We asked some of the biggest names in gaming this year to sound off on what they were most excited about at E3 this year. What follows are their own words on the biggest commercial gaming spectacle in the US at this time. So, without further editorialization from us, here are their answers to the question, “What are you most excited to see at E3 this year?”

David JaffeeDavid Jaffe, Game Designer, EatSleepPlay, @davidscottjaffe
Besides all the cool people I’m meeting with? The game I’m most excited about is Darksiders II. I’ve been trying to not see anything, so as not to spoil it. I’m excited to see the new Halo, and the new Call of Duty trailer was amazing. The Last Of Us is interesting, the trailer was amazing, but how will it play?

Any comic book stuff makes me happy, of course, I’m a huge Marvel fan, and basically, I’m looking forward to seeing all the triple A stuff I’ve been reading about in the press over the past year. I’m also excited for the indie stuff, free to play, mobile. Like PAX last year, I hope to see a big theme at E3 starring these kinds of games.

Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director, Epic Games
As our industry’s ‘Superbowl,’ there isn’t a video games spectacle larger than E3. It’s inherently exciting as our business reaches more people on more screens every year.

I’m curious to see how a traditionally retail-oriented show is going to cater to a rapidly changing landscape in which digitally streamed, free-to-play, and mobile games are skyrocketing.

Peter Moore, Chief Operations Officer, Electronic Arts
E3 is always about the sizzle – big titles, big presentations, big buzz. We’ll bring our fair share of that. But in fourteen years of E3, I’ve seen a lot of change, and what I’m most interested in this year are some of the whispers – the conversations that show how the industry continues to embrace the shifts of the digital revolution, exploring the possibilities of new devices, new models for games and new ways to connect with gamers.

This is a time for the passion in gaming to shine through – and for me, I’m most excited to see how that passion is manifesting in entirely new directions.

Scott Rohde, Sr. Vice President, Product Development, Sony Computer Entertainment America
What am I most excited to see at E3 this year…? Of course, it would be easiest for me to say that I’m most excited about titles like God of War: Ascension, The Last of Us, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, or LittleBigPlanet Karting, but I get to see progress on those games all the time, so I’m already excited. I’m probably most anticipating the opportunity to see the crazy innovative indie titles that seem to appear out of thin air. There’s always something that takes everybody by complete surprise and generates a ton of buzz, like JS Joust for example. I Love the wild innovation within the indie community. In general…I’m looking forward to discovering the unexpected. Really curious about Far Cry 3 and the next GTA – it’s always easy for me to get roped into open ended experiences. From a business perspective, it will be fascinating to see how developers find creative ways to tie mobile into console and dedicated portable gaming. It really never gets old to see how devs innovate in an evolving industry.

Nathan Fouts, President at Mommy’s Best Games
Hoping for something inspired for Wii U such as Zak and Wiki was for Wii, a new franchise that makes unique and fun use of the hardware. Or that Nintendo reboots their router and getting their online-store-multiplayer-act together to join everyone else in the 21st century. Besides that, hearing Arc System Works is doing a Hard Corps sequel, this time with monsters, would be a dream. I’m also fully prepared for Microsoft to go back on their word, and wow us by re-re-committing to XNA, saying that it will in fact, be natively supported for Windows 8. Oh, and Apple shows up unannounced and demos their new iPadsole, that comes with gamepads and wirelessly connects to TVs. Currently hard at work on the upcoming Serious Sam Double D XXL for XBLARandy Pitchford, CEO and president of Gearbox
Since my studio has two huge games at E3 in 2012, Aliens Colonial Marines and Borderlands 2, I’m hoping I have enough time to look around at all of the exciting games from other creators. I think the big blockbusters are obvious excitement points, but I like to use E3 to learn more about titles I’m interested in that aren’t already automatically going to get a ton of other media attention. If I’m lucky, the new project from Team Ico, The Last Guardian, will make some kind of appearance and I’m holding out hope that I can learn more about an English localization of the Studio Ghibli / Level-5 game, Ni no Kuni or Another World. I am also really excited to see what Nintendo has in store for us this year with the Wii U.

Donald Mustard, Creative Director, ChAIR, @donaldmustard and @ChAIRGAMES
I think some of the very best games of all time tend to be released near the end of a console cycle. Games like Super Metroid on the Super Nintendo, and Shadow of the Colossus on the Playstation 2.

Developers have had time to really understand and push today’s systems and are really comfortable with the technology. I hope the true masterpieces for the current consoles will be unveiled at E3 this year!

Alex Seropian, game designer, Industrial Toys, @steakbacon
This year will be a particularly interesting one at E3 for me. I’ve been heads down for the last few months doing the formative work on a new startup and designing a new game so the show will be a crash course on what I’ve been ignoring since then! But of particular interest to me is getting the latest from our friends at Epic on UE4. Great middleware is one of the ingredients fueling the best wave of game innovation I’ve ever seen (mobile and digital being among the others). I’m also excited to catch up with my friends at Disney. I expect amazing things from the mouse this E3 – I think they will impress. And, of course, can’t wait to get a peek at Halo 4 and catch up with friends at Microsoft. So, there’s my completely personally tilted list of stuff I will be seeking out. I’m honestly not a huge fan of the obnoxiously loud and wasteful display that E3 is. But I do love the occasions we have as an industry to come together and share ideas. I’m looking forward to it.

Tim Harris, Game Designer, Producer, Industrial Toys, @thewzrd
I’m always fanboy-geeked for the big stuff at E3, but it’s the trends that always seems to show themselves in between the booths that I’m most interested in this year. New hardware specs and announcements will chart a course for players and developers alike, but I also think that those announcements will shine a light on what’s happening outside of pure console development. Since every area of modern gaming has been borrowing from one another as far as features and design, I want to see how console, PC, mobile, browser and social gaming blur the lines and compliment each other (or don’t). Naturally, I think this year mobile will make its biggest splash ever, but it seems like we all say that every year, don’t we?

Ted Price, CEO, Insomniac Games
The two games I’m most hoping to see at E3 are The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite.

I thought Naughty Dog knocked it out of the park with Uncharted 3. The Last of Us looks like they’re taking cinematic action to new heights. And Bioshock Infinite sparked a lot of conversation at Insomniac when it was first revealed. Beautiful and twisted. We’re all hoping it’s playable at the show.

Paul Raines, CEO, GameStop
We think there will be a lot of buzz coming out of E3 this year. We are definitely interested in learning more about the Wii U, which kicks off the new console cycle. As you would expect, the next wave of consoles is exciting news for the whole industry. In fact, we recently engaged our PowerUp Rewards members in a dialogue around gen 4 consoles and they clearly indicated their intent to purchase. We expect demand to be high and GameStop is better positioned than ever before to help drive gen 4 console launches. Our 18 million PowerUp Rewards members have 24 million consoles in their game libraries, meaning GameStop’s trade-in program will be instrumental in helping defray the costs of purchasing new consoles. We expect to put an estimated $1.8 billion of currency back into customers’ pockets as they trade existing consoles toward gen 4 consoles.

We’re also looking forward to seeing some of the great new games that are due out this year, like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Assassin’s Creed III, Halo 4 and FIFA Soccer 13. We’re already hearing great buzz on these titles and expect this to increase further after E3.

Social and mobile games will also have a significant presence, so we’re interested to see what will be showcased in that category.

Casey Lynch, Editor-in-Chief, IGN.com
While I’m incredibly excited about games like The Last of Us, Tomb Raider and Metro: Last Light, I’m probably most looking forward to playing Halo 4. We’ve only seen one brief demo since it was announced last year at E3, now it’s time to play it. In addition to hands-on, I’m excited to learn about the new enemy and figure out just what this new Reclaimer Trilogy is all about. I’m also eager to see what else Microsoft has behind its heavily protected curtains. With all the talk about a new Xbox console, this could be a huge year for Microsoft to surprise everyone with a glimpse. And even though Halo and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be front and center, I’m still holding out for some Gears of War news. Imagine a Microsoft conference with Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, new Gears of War, and even console news… now that has me excited.Kirk Hamilton, Features Editor, Kotaku
I’m looking forward to seeing what Ubisoft brings, even though we mostly know what it’ll be. I haven’t seen Assassin’s Creed III in action yet, but many members of the gaming press (including my boss Stephen) have put aside their jadedness and enthused over the demo, which makes me curious. Is it really that good? I’m also looking forward to seeing Far Cry 3–I’m a Far Cry 2 diehard, and while at this point I’m certain that Far Cry 3 will be almost nothing like Far Cry 2, it will still (hopefully!) be a good video game.

Past that, I long to be surprised! I think we have a pretty good idea of what the big three press conferences will involve, and I’m not all that excited about any of it. It’ll take a lot for Halo 4 to knock my socks off, for example. I’d love to see Sony drop a few Vita surprises, since I’ve really taken to that system. I’m curious to know what Bethesda will be doing with DLC for Skyrim–Todd Howard’s said enough to make me think they’re really going to try something different than they did with Fallout 3. Hopefully there will be some surprises from other third-party developers, too–maybe we’ll get to hear what new games Eidos Montreal is working on?

Mike SchrammMike Schramm, Journalist, Joystiq, TUAW; iOS Game Designer
I would be most excited about the new consoles at E3, except Microsoft and Sony have both said they wouldn’t be showing any new hardware. Assuming they’re not outright lying, I’m personally excited to see what’s going on with Darksiders 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, Tomb Raider, and Hitman Absolution. Video gaming has changed so much in just the past year, with huge free-to-play titles and the big Kickstarter trend, that I’m curious to see if these blockbuster titles can still hold anticipation for fans. I’m betting they can.

James Brightman, US Editor at GamesIndustry International
E3 2012 may not put an emphasis on next-gen this year, but the Wii U exposure should be fascinating to watch. How will Nintendo position the new console? Will attendees go nuts the same way they did when Wii was properly unveiled? How many third parties will actually showcase Wii U titles at their respective booths? These are all questions I’m eager to have answered. From a games standpoint, I’m very excited to see the latest on Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Naughty Dog is aiming to elevate storytelling in this industry, and if the game’s first trailer is at all indicative of what’s coming, we should be in for a wild ride. Finally, looking specifically at technology, Epic’s about to unveil Unreal Engine 4, which will demonstrate just how incredible graphics on next-gen might look. I’m attending the presentation at the show and can’t wait to see what’s in store!

“I think some of the very best games of all time tend to be released near the end of a console cycle. Games like Super Metroid on the Super Nintendo, and Shadow of the Colossus on the Playstation 2. Developers have had time to really understand and push today’s systems and are really comfortable with the technology. I hope the true masterpieces for the current consoles will be unveiled at E3 this year!”

Frank O’Connor, Creative Director, 343 Industries
Honestly I’m most excited to see people’s reactions to what we have to show, and to start having conversations about the game and the universe I love, outside of our pre-E3 chaos. But that is pretty egocentric. Usually I don’t get to see much at E3 and end up locked in our booth, or meeting rooms, or hotels, but if I can get out this year at all, I think I really want to check out Assassin’s Creed and Tomb Raider, but as usual I am also going in prepared to be really surprised and excited by the unexpected.

Michael Pachter, Analyst, Wedbush Securities
“I’m most excited about the Wedbush/Intel E3 Networking Event. It’s the party of E3, and I hope [GamesBeat editor-in-chief] Shoe shows up.”

[Editor’s note: We thought that was funny but then followed up and asked for a real response.]

“I was serious. It’s a relatively uneventful E3.”

[Editor’s note: Final answer?]

This is the longest console cycle in history, the publishers are making fewer games than ever before, and nobody is launching new IP until new consoles come out. Nintendo might have a Mario game, but nobody else will announce anything but sequels, and that’s just not exciting. It’s obvious that we will hear about CoD and Halo, but I don’t expect anything earth-shattering, and there will be no mention of next generation consoles.

Martin Rae, president, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Far Cry 3 – I’m a big sucker for shooters, so I’ve got to say that I’m really looking forward to checking out Far Cry 3 from last year’s E3 press conferences. The amount of freedom and the tropical setting are something I’ve always enjoyed about the series. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

What’s next for the Academy – we will be showcasing the new 2012 Into the Pixel art collection at E3 in the Concourse Foyer of the convention center. If any of you are going to E3, please come check it out!

Jesse Divnich, Vice President of Insights and Analysis for Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR)
Nintendo’s press conference is likely to draw the most eyeballs this year. Nintendo’s backs are really up against the wall and E3 will be the time for Nintendo to begin to showcase the WIi-U’s true identity. Who the Wii-U will be targeting, the games we can expect at launch, and more importantly, where the Wii-U will fit in the HD gaming ecosphere.

I remain positive and optimistic on the Wii-U’s success, but that doesn’t mean others are looking closely to determine what direct Nintendo will be taking the Wii-U.