With E3 2002 almost on our doorstep its time to look at what games the developers and publishers will be showing off, some which are almost finished, some in progress, and some which we will never see again - Team Fortress 2 anyone (1999)? With over 150 titles already announced, and naturally the developers will surprise us with unannounced games, it is bound to be an exciting week.Sony Online Entertainment – MMORPG’s and more MORPG’s
Sony will be showcasing their up and coming range of MMORPG, of which they seem to be gaining a dominant hold over (except for the more elite DAOC players). The sure hit Star Wars Galaxies (PC), 3 Everquest titles, including Planes of Power (PC Add-On), Everquest Online Adventures, the PS2 version of the game with the online pack coming soon, and last but not least, the most anticipated for 500,000 fans around the world, Everquest II (PC) which is due out in Spring, 2003. EQII will feature a new engine, all-new areas, more animals to ride and real-estate to buy. Finishing up the list is Planetside (PC), the first FPSMMORPG (could these acronyms get any longer?), but will it again be featured at next years E3?Eidos Interactive – Sequel Bananas
Eidos have gone sequel bananas with their line-up of some old favourites. Lara Croft will be making a return in The Angel of Darkness (Due Nov on PS2/PC). The latest Lara will add small additions such as character interaction and the ability to improve Lara’s abilities (I’m not sure whether this include dimensions) throughout the game. Hitman2: Silent Assassin (PC/X-Box/PS2), Timesplitters 2 (PS2/X-Box/GC), Legaia 2: Duel Saga (PS2), and the biggest surprise of all which was just sneaked in by Eidos is Deus Ex 2: Invisible War (PC/X-Box). A heavily anticipated game, with no info on it as yet, will be one to watch though. A non-sequel addition is a much raved about upcoming game Republic: The Revolution (PC), where the player takes control of a small nation through assassinations, bribery and all other political misdenemours. One Johnny is sure to look into.Sierra – Off the pace?
Sierra claims that their line-up “really offer a glimpse into the future of this industry”, personally I’m far from convinced. Malice (X-Box/PS2) will be shown off (little is known about the actual game), Tribes: Aerial Assault (PS2) is being given the run over for PS2’s online capabilities, while GameCube fans (all 2 of you) can look forward to The Hobbit. The PC users can expect a showing off the tried and true formula games of Nascar Racing 4 and Swat: Urban Justice.THQ
THQ will be showing off the aerial combat game Yager (PC/Xbox),a sequel to the Summoner (PS2), Pride FC (PS2), Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology (PC, Xbox), bike whatsit MX Superfly (PS2, Cube) and first person shooter sequel Red Faction 2 (PS2/thank god not PC).Konami – Consoles
Pro Evolution Soccer (PS2), Winning Eleven (GBA) Suikoden III (PS2), Silent Hill 3(PS2), Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side (PS2), New Contra (PS2/GBA/GC), Castlevania:White Night Concerto (GBA) will round out Konamis all console games.Infogrames – 41 Game Spectacular
Infogrames is planning on squeezing many titles into their E3 booth with some big names and small names. Making the list as short as possible, here are some of the highlights, Civilization III: Play the World (PC), Dungeons and Dragons Heroes (Xbox), Master of Orion III (Mac, PC), Neverwinter Nights (PC), RollerCoaster Tycoon II (PC), Thomas & Friends: Building The New Line (PC, I just had to chuck that one in), Unreal Championship (Xbox), Unreal II: The Awakening (PC), Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC) and V-Rally 3 (PS2). Phew! So many games to look forward to with NwN expected to be a winner as will Unreal II, but as said earlier does UT2003 have what it takes. Let’s not forget those dedicated MOOIII fans who have been waiting along time for this game. Personally I’m looking forward to taking on the Fat Controller in my Thomas the tank engine in a duel to the death (although maybe its not that kind of game.)Bungie – Should we expect them
The E3 rumour mill is already churning over with reports that Bungie, the creators of Halo, will not be making an appearance at this years E3. Don’t be surprised though if there will be no Halo for the PC, with X-Box’s flagging sales and Halo the only game x-box game selling well, that those with high hopes will be disappointed.Lucasarts – May the force be with you
Lucasarts have one of their better line ups in recent years with several new games planned and rumoured to be shown. RTX Red Rock (GC/PS2) and Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb (PC/PS2/X-Box) will definitely be on display. Four new Star Wars games will be shown also including Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (PC/X-Box), Bounty Hunter (PS2), The Clone Wars (PS2) and Galaxies (PC). Finishing up the line up is Gladius (GC/PS2/X-Box) and Full Throttle, although little is known on Full Throttle as to whether it is a remake of the original or an entirely new game.Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts has a decent line up of games for this years E3, leading the way in my eyes is the eagerly awaited Battlefield 1942, from the developers of Codename Eagle. Featuring tanks, rockets, planes, bombers, battleships, aircraft carriers and many more with up to 64 player server support it's one to watch. Term's favourite gaming franchise, The Sims, will be showing The Sim's Online, basically a MMORPG of the Sims. Simcity 4 will also be on show as well as the usual EA Sports rehashes such as Madden NFL 2003, NBA LIVE 2003, NASCAR Thunder 2003, 2002 FIFA World Cup, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2003, NHL 2003, F1 2002. Also making an appearance will be James Bond 007: NightFire, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 and 1503 A.D.: The New World.Acclaim
Acclaim have announced a primarily console list of games that they will be displaying including the following: All-Star Baseball 2003 (PS2/GC/X-Box), Aggressive Inline (GC/PS2/X-Box), Burnout (GC/PS2/X-Box), Dave Mirra BMX 3 (GC/PS2/X-Box), Headhunter(PS2), Legends of Wrestling(GC/X-Box), Mary-Kate and Ashley Sweet 16(GBA), Punch King(GBA), Turok: Evolution (GC/PS2/X-Box), Vexx (GC/PS2/X-Box), and ZooCube(GBA/GC). Dear holy god, the Olsen twins?Namco
Namco has announced their line-up leading the way with Dead to Rights(X-Box) and Tekken 4(PS2). They will also be joined by XenoSaga (PS2), Ninja Assault (PS2), Pac-Man World 2 (PS2/GC/X-Box), Pac-Man fever (PS2/GC), and Namco Museum (PS2/GC/X-Box). Rumoured to make an appearance will be infamous Soul Calibur II...Blizzard Entertainment – The Orc
Blizzard entertainment have only announced two games that they will be showing this year. The much-awaited Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (PC) and the little known about, but the definitely wanted, MMORPG World of Warcraft (PC). Can these two games live up to the franchise’s reputation?Codemasters
Codemasters are set to improve on there already strong games, with many sequels and franchise returns with Colin McRae Rally 3 (PC, PS2, Xbox) and Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (Xbox), with Operation Flashpoint: Resistance (PC). The rest of the line up with consist of Dragon Empires (PC), IGI2: Covert Strike (PC), Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing (PS2, Xbox), Pro Race Driver (PC, PS2, Xbox), Prisoner of War (PC, PS2, Xbox) and WWII: Frontline Command (PC). Very excited about Prisoner of War where the objective of the game is to escape the various POW camps during World War II. I wanna be the next Steve McQueen.
|Colin McRae Rally 3|
|Mike Tyson||Prisoner of War|
TT must have a small booth this year with only 3 games on display. Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne (PC), Grand Theft Auto III (PC), and Stronghold: Crusader (PC) is their line up, but one must wonder whether GTA3 will generate as much interest this year after the recent announcement that it will no longer have multi-player support. After all we have already seen it for a while on the PS2.Ubi Soft
Ubi Soft seem to be largely going all out on their Tom Clancy franchise with a slew of games, mainly fps shooters, being churned out on display. Here is a selection of their lineup - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PS2), Deathrow (Xbox), Dragon's Lair Harpoon IV (PC), Myst III: Exile (PS2, Xbox), Sum of All Fears (PC), Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (PS2, Xbox), Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Raven Shield (PC), Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (PC, PS2, Xbox), Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria (PC), XIII (PC, Xbox)Vivendi Universal
Vivendi are hitting E3 with an expansion pack of AvP2: Primal Hunt (PC), some console games in Die Hard: Vendetta (GC) and Enclave (Xbox), wrapped up with Ghostmaster (PC), Starsky & Hutch (PS2) and No One Lives Forever 2 (PC). NOLF was highly rated in the gaming world, but unfortunately the rating didn’t transfer so well into sales. Early shots of NOLF2 have shown that the game will have some promise, but do people really want to go sneaking around or just go in with guns blazing ala Doom.Westwood
A short video recently hit the web showcasing Command & Conquer: Generals (PC) in full 3d. The real-time shadowing, massive explosions, and good old fashioned gameplay impressed all those who saw it and many will be looking forward to its release. Westwood will also be showing Earth and Beyond (PC) and hopefully these two games can go on further than Westwood’s last main showing at E3, the disastrous C&C: Renegades, which was enjoyable for about 30 seconds.Misc
Bethesda Softworks announced that they have secured the rights to publish Black and White for the Playstation. Dreamcatcher Games will be running a Gore tournament. David Beckham World Soccer will also be there. Interplay will have Icewind Dale 2 (PC). Simon & Schuster will have EVE Online: The Second Genesis (PC). Mythic will be showing off their expansion pack to DAOC featuring a newer engine.Activison – The Return of Doom
Yes that’s right, Doom will be making a return to E3, although behind closed doors to selected journalists. Trog is so excited he has had to be sedated. What else can you say about this game other than I’m sure Carmack is bound to once again revolutionise the 3d engine as we know it. Activison will also be showing off Medieval: Total War (PC), Star Trek: Elite Force II (PC) and Star Trek: Starfleet Command III (PC).The No-Shows (yet again)
All the favourites are rounding out the no-shows at this years E3. Duke Nukem 4ever is living up to its title once again, maybe they changed engines again. Team Fortress 2 is looking more and more like vapourware. Halo PC is also looking like a no showThe Lack of Innovation
What stands out from this years E3 line up is that it is clear that developers are no longer willing to take risks on creating innovative games. The big thing once again is the sequel, or the franchise. Lucasarts are showcasing a large line up of Star Wars, a sure hit, while id, Sony, Sierra, Eidos, Infogrames and EA’s line up’s are all dominated by either sequels or a genre/franchise that has proven to sell well. In an experience that has been all too familiar since the burst of the dot.com’s, developers would rather improve on a well selling game, rather than innovate and revolutionise the game, hence the wide abundance of expected expansion packs.
Although this raises the bigger question of whether game developers have hit a brick wall in what new ideas they can come up with. Looking at the current line up of fps’s and upcoming games, they largely feature all the same style of gameplay, graphics, and general style. Here’s hoping that a developer who hasn’t announced their entire line up comes up with the goods and surprises them all. Maybe Battlefield 1942 could be that game? (BF1942 plug).