When developers and publishers of the world’s most popular games get together, expect big announcements, big promises and a few surprises. This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles promises to be bigger than ever.
Most of the focus will be on console makers with motion controller and 3D news from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. But game makers are ready to make their own noise with titles that should be ready to take advantage of the console advancements.
Fan favorites “Gran Turismo 5″ and “LittleBigPlanet 2″ will be getting upgrades with more realism, better graphics and more sharing between players. “SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs” will allow players to lead a 5-person squad on a six-day battle in Asia and it will be supported by the new Move controller.
“Killzone 3″ is ready to bring the realism into your gaming room. The first-person shooter will support full 3-D gameplay. Steven Ter Heide, Senior Producer of Killzone 3, said having larger areas to explore and an increased sense of immersion was challenging, but ambitious, to pull off.
“3-D really helps to heighten that sensation of being in the middle of this epic war,” he said. “The increased sense of immersion makes the environments and enemies almost tangible. It’s very much a foreground thing.”
Sony will also be showcasing their online role-playing game, “DC Universe Online”, and the latest incarnation into the God of War mythos, “God of War: Ghost of Sparta” for the PSP.
“Halo Reach” was released as a beta in May. More than 2.7 million players played over 17 days and Microsoft is ready to show the rest of the game during E3. It has already been tapped as the biggest seller in 2010 by a survey of game insiders.
Microsoft showcased many exclusive titles at a press conference prior to the opening of E3, including many games that will utilize their new motion-controller called Kinect. Big names like “Call of Duty: Black Ops”, “Gears of War 3″, and “Fable 3″ will be coming out later this year.
The early Kinect games (“Kinectimals”, “Kinect Sports”, “Kinect Joy Ride”, “Kinect Adventures”) are all played without a controller. Many will require games to be in pretty good shape to truly succeed and enjoy.
Likewise, Nintendo will be announcing games to go with their new 3-D handheld console, Nintendo 3DS. But they aren’t neglecting the Wii.
Samus returns in “Metroid: Other M”, which is expected to be release in 2010. They are also going to release info on a game that is currently called “Zelda Wii”, although that title is expected to change.
UbiSoft is trying to aim for the major genres with a first-person shooter, a driving game, and a sports game. “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” will offer players the ability to become nearly invisible while completing their missions.
“Driver: San Francisco” brings the series to UbiSoft for the first time, staying true to the franchise while offering a high level of grittiness. And Olympic medalist Shawn White returns to his roots for the new “Shawn White Skateboarding” game.
Ubisoft president Laurent Detoc said this is a great time to be into gaming.
“3-D gaming will improve our storytelling, immersion and experience for the players,” Detoc said. “We think it is going to be enormous and continuing down a path we’re already on.”
Holding a press conference the day before E3, the company also unveiled a new fitness game to be used with Kinect, a shooting game that isn’t played in front of a computer and a video game inspired by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Best of the rest
Starkiller is back to take on Darth Vader in “Star Wars: Force Unleashed II” from LucasArts. The cinematic trailers for the game have fans gasping and an early demo video shows some new powers. Then again, it is Star Wars, which means it will have an instant fan base ready to praise or bury the game.
Electronic Arts will have their latest versions on “Madden NFL 11″ and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11″, which will offer online play for Ryder Cup action. “Bulletstorm” is a new game that will be revealed for the first time at E3 and offers “kill with skill” gameplay. EA is also ready to show off follow-ups to two of their big titles — “Crysis 2″ and “Dead Space 2″.
2KGames will be revealing more about their work on “Civilization V” and “Mafia II”.
Disney Interactive Studios is banking on games with movie tie-ins. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned”, “Tron Evolution”, and “Toy Story 3″ (which will be Move compatible) are going to be featured at E3. Mickey is also going to make an appearance for a new title called “Epic Mickey”.
Bethesda will be display their follow-up to the 2008 Game of the Year “Fallout 3″ with “Fallout: New Vegas” (Oct. 19). Imagine all the post-apocalyptic grime and grit, but amp it up and set it in Vegas. And what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there.
Capcom is showing off the latest installment in the VS series with “Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds”. And what would a gaming conference be if there wasn’t a zombie sighting? “Dead Rising 2″ will give players the opportunity to turn everyday objects into weapons to repel massive zombie attacks.
There will be music games (“Rock Band 3″, “DJ Hero 2″), re-imagined classic characters (“Sonic the Hedgehog 4″, “Mortal Kombat”, “LEGO Harry Potter”), and sports games (“NBA Elite 11, NBA Jam”).
Many more game titles are going to be announced once the console makers release the new information about their hardware changes. There are sure to be some surprises (possibly a Michael Jackson dance game?).
As one participant said, “We’re going to have the biggest entertainment announcement of E3.” We’ll see at the end of the week who can really lay claim to that title.