Like anything popular enough to spark rabid fandom, the video game industry is full of secrets. Companies wait for just the right time to announce new games and hardware in hopes of making the biggest splash possible. Fans, on the other hand, want to know everything that’s coming down the line as soon as possible. In that kind of environment, video game rumors are bound to trickle out.
This week we’ve uncovered six rumors and leaks that have a decent chance of being true. So follow along as we pull back the curtain to see what might be coming up in the world of video games.
1. Is a PlayStation 4 Slim coming in addition to Neo?
At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft announced two new versions of the Xbox One. First is the Xbox One S, a smaller white version of the hardware that’s set to launch in August. The other is a much more powerful version of the console, code named Xbox One Scorpio, which will launch in late 2017.
It looks like Sony may follow suit. The company has already acknowledged it’s preparing a more powerful version of the PlayStation 4 called Project Neo. But a slim version may also be in the works, according to an analyst cited by The Wall Street Journal.
While the analyst has no details, and Sony wouldn’t comment on it to The Wall Street Journal, a PS4 Slim wouldn’t be a big surprise. Console makers almost always release smaller versions of their consoles several years after the initial release. These alternate designs spark new interest from fans and tend to be made of cheaper parts to save money. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a redesigned PS4 by the end of the year.
2. Will the Nintendo NX offer virtual reality?
Between PlayStation VR and the virtual reality component Microsoft announced for Xbox One Scorpio — not to mention the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on PC — it looks increasingly like VR will play a major role in the future of gaming. If that’s true, will Nintendo be left behind?
Maybe not, according to a Twitter user who live-tweeted Nintendo’s recent shareholders meeting. If the tweet is correct, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto said the company is researching VR.
Obviously, that’s a long way from confirming the NX will have a VR component. But in another interview, Miyamoto said the reason Nintendo hasn’t revealed the upcoming console yet is because of “an idea that we’re working on.” Could that idea be VR? It certainly could be. If it is, we’ll be looking at an all-out VR war between console makers in the coming years.
3. Is Diablo 4 in the works?
It’s hard for video game developers to keep a project under wraps when they have to hire a large team of people to make it. So when Blizzard posts a job listing for a game director of an “unannounced project,” fans read on for clues. In this case, the job listing says a qualified person will need “… proven experience in creative direction, strong ability in system design, and a stellar track record of shipping AAA games to lead the Diablo series into the future.”
Hints don’t get much clearer than that. More Diablo is on its way, though we don’t know what form it will take.
4. Is Left 4 Dead 3 happening?
Valve’s Left 4 Dead series has been a major hit with fans of co-op gaming, thanks to its focus on teams of four fighting through hordes of undead creatures. But Left 4 Dead 2 launched in 2009, leaving gamers wondering if they’d ever get another go at it.
They just might. The fan site Valvetime recently noticed something interesting in a tutorial made by a Valve employee. A screenshot in the tutorial happens to show some folders on the employee’s computer. One of the folders is called “left4dead3.”
Was this an accident? Was it a purposeful hint about an upcoming game? Hard to say, but the day after word got out, the image was replaced with a new one that doesn’t have a “left4dead3” folder in it. Seems fishy.
5. Did Ford steal Firewatch art?
A local Ford dealership recently sent out the ad above. One recipient, who happened to be a gamer, noticed that the art was lifted directly from the game Firewatch. The image, created by renowned artist Olly Moss, also bears a striking resemblance to art in this Ford commercial.
What’s going on? All we know so far comes from a tweet by the Ford dealership, which said Ford was not involved in creating the ad above and apologized to Firewatch developer Campo Santo. The developer took it in stride, replying with, “Thank you! No hard feelings :)”
6. Will the NX be a console for kids?
This might go without saying, but Nintendo tends to make family-friendly games like Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda. So it’s safe to assume the NX will be just as family-friendly as the Wii and Wii U. But a new note from the research firm DFC Intelligence underscores the importance of the under-12 gaming market for Nintendo.
It’s a market, the firm suggests, that’s been largely ignored by Sony and Microsoft, with their focus on state-of-the-art technology and M-rated games. Meanwhile, young gamers have been getting their gaming fix from mobile games. From Games Industry:
“One of the ironies of the latest generation of console systems is how children under the age of 12 have been largely ignored. The Nintendo Wii U is the only dedicated system remotely targeted at kids and it has been a failure. Twenty years ago many casual outside observers viewed children as the ONLY market for video games. The fact that console systems can thrive without targeting a younger audience speaks volumes to how the industry has grown. However, it also highlights a major missed opportunity,” DFC says.
The question is whether Nintendo will be able to make headway into the young gamer market. It failed with the Wii U, so it’s up to the Mario company to give kids a reason to put down their tablets in favor of a dedicated gaming console.
That’s it for this week’s video game rumors. Check back next week for a whole new batch.