While the loyal and usual suspects like XSEED and Atlus prepare some good stuff for the western Vita audience at E3, its a mixed bag for the larger players. Namco finally seems to be kicking into gear with One Piece Unlimited Red and more, and Sega (Hatsune Miku 2nd only at E3) while Capcom continues not to give much of a rat's ass.
It looks like the same old wall of silence from western developers, EA, Take 2 and Activision continue not to bother (unless Sony pays up front) and Ubisoft seems to muddle along with the odd quirky title. Leaving Sony to somehow try and drive some enthusiasm for the Vita.
Despite the mixed reviews, Borderlands 2 has clearly had an effect and impact, and most of those playing it love the game, regardless of its flaws. That might help pique the interest of the major publishers, but is probably not enough for any major project.
So what we might see at E3 then? Just one big game will do, and none come much bigger than the one most recently hinted at.
Grand Theft Auto Stories? Be it an upgraded version of the PSP originals, or a trimmed down edition of GTA 4/5 for handheld, there's enough info out there to suggest something is coming, but who says it has to be for the Vita.
Another Vita FPS? The engine that Guerilla built for Killzone sits dormant, as far as know. But why would Sony waste that slick piece of code when it could farm it out to another studio to create something all-new or an off-shoot of another series?
Old third-party titles? Sony made some big noise about this late last year, then not too much actually happened. Is Sony sitting on a goldmine of classics to be reborn across the PlayStation platforms, we can but hope. I still can't believe Sony hasn't rolled out a LocoRoco Vita edition, and there's near endless supplies of this stuff that would generate interest in the Vita, perhaps the handheld's best chance.
And finally, how about PS Vita 2? With the 2000 only just launching in parts of the west, I doubt we'll see anything until Tokyo Game Show at least, if ever. However, if Sony wants to relight the Vita's mojo, it could update the internals with new hardware (octa-core Cortex and the latest PowerVR series 6XT GPU) capable of driving newer Unreal Engine and similar games.
Will backward compatibility, a full HD screen, proper Android support, and hardware that can do a better job of PS3 conversions, it could become a more relevant piece of kit for gamers. It would cost more, sure, but the PSPs 10 year life-span came before annual upgrades for mobile devices. If the Vita follows that trend, it gets more interest from the world, rather than being a three-year old dinosaur, no matter how Sony paints it. Either way, somewhere in a lab, I bet there's a kick-ass prototype being spun-up.
Final, final point. Sony's drive with the Vita is almost all insular to the gaming community (indies, remakes, sequels). I hardly ever see anything new reaching out to non-gamers, beyond lifestyle or kids mags. Sony needs a game, a mascot, a something that will rekindle interest from the rest-of-the-world - an Angry Birds for 2015 - whatever that magical ingredient is, Sony needs to find it, put it in a game and make the world take notice.