My original plan was to carry out this preview next week (right before E3), but my commentary schedule requires me to write it now. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to think up some shocking events that might turn out at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. However, it appears that some of the predictions I have made have already come true.
As everyone may recall, I was the one who mentioned the possibility of a GameCube remake of the original Metal Gear Solid, thanks to a very credible source (thanks, Snake!). Earlier this week, Konami has come out of the closet and made the official announcement that Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes will be making an appearance on GameCube. Not only that, but it will be developed under the cooperation of not only Hideo Kojima, but "ol' bug eyes" himself, Shigeru Miyamoto. The game will also be developed by Silicon Knights, who GameCube owners might remember for their work on Eternal Darkness.
Granted I may not have played Eternal (I'm not a big survival horror fan), but I know their work is of high quality, and to see MGS remade for the GameCube will be on the top of my interest list this year, not to mention that the ORIGINAL voice cast WILL be returning to reprise their roles (also revealed to me by Snake himself).
While I'm on the subject of Konami, I will definitely be asking them some questions about their upcoming releases. On the plus side, I am glad to see that they will finally be making an exclusive Gradius title for the PS2 (Gradius 5. Remember that three and four were emulated from the arcade versions albeit four was sadly never released in the States.)
But I am concerned about the PS2 version of Castlevania being 3D. We already went through this with Contra, and it did not work out at all (thank God that Shattered Soldier was classic 2D goodness). From the early picture I saw in EGM, it reminded me a bit of Rygar, which fortunately is a good thing considering how good Rygar was (if a bit short). We have been promised by producer Koji Igarishi that this will not be another "Castlevania 64" monstrosity. Please let it be true. I will be keeping a close eye on this one.
I will also be getting in touch with Rockstar Games, hopefully to get a close look at the almost inevitable Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I haven't had much info about the new release, but if Vice City is any indication, I wouldn't be surprised if GTA: SA will take place in the 1970s with more of a Starsky & Hutch theme (compared to Vice City's Miami Vice setting). I have a feeling that SA will be behind closed doors but hopefully I can be able to hear about something.
Sega will also be interesting this year. After all, this is the one company that I have had a "love-hate-confused" relationship with. In 2000 they treated me like a god as I was wowed by their Dreamcast lineup, then I was heartbroken in 2001 when they betrayed me, resulting in me giving a PR rep the third degree about the inevitable cancellation of Shenmue 2, right up to last year when I didn't even get a meeting with them and could only see their sports lineup. What will happen this year with all the rumors of Namco and Sammy mergers?
Finally the company I feel will have a case of "now or never" will be Nintendo. They are hurting sales wise, as even breaking pre-sell records of Zelda: the Wind Waker couldn't help out. They must come out of the gates fighting this year, but with titles such as FZero, Metroid Prime 2, Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike, and the previously mentioned MGS: Twin Snakes, they do have a strong chance. Nintendo's booth always has a large turnout, and they will need it now more than ever.
As for final predictions, I can say that come E3 there will be price drops for all the systems. GameCube will go to $99 while PS2 will go to $149. Xbox might just drop to $179, but we will have to see. In addition, I predict that the so called "Phantom" system will also be non-existent; just another piece of vaporware that will disappear just like Project X and the Indrema.
I will be providing as much information from E3 as possible. Keep posted to my commentary for further details.