E3, the biggest video games convention in the Western hemisphere, starts on 15 June so is very nearly upon us. And speculation is rife on what titles will "steal the show".
It's a hard one to call, because we fully expect there to be all manner of likely contenders, running on all manner of systems, and a few hardware options are to be given a public airing which may take all the attention.
So, to give you a heads up on what to look for, and to prove that we're an even-handed lot at Pocket-lint, here's a stack of games and gadgets we'll certainly be keeping our eyes on...
Project Natal (Xbox 360)
Obviously, this is big big news, having been unveiled at last year's event, and hyped to heck ever since. However, this is the first time the games industry, en masse, will get to wiggle and whirl about in front of one, looking like irate commuters who've missed the last train.
Sony Move (PS3)
Air traffic controllers have never looked so trendy. Sticking a glowing ping pong ball onto the end of a tube of Smarties, while paying homage to Nintendo's Wiimote, could be either the smartest move by Sony yet, or an unmitigated, and very public, disaster. We reckon it'll be somewhere in the middle, but we'll definitely give it a go.
While not a lot is known about the handheld, we do know that its major unique selling point will be the adoption of an autostereoscopic 3D screen. That means you'll be able to play games in 3D without the need for special glasses. Admittedly, most of the non-glasses 3D screens we've seen before have been bobbins, but we've got a sneaking suspicion that Nintendo might just be onto something.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The first Deus Ex may have made its PC debut 10 years ago, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a loyal and dedicated following, one that's been clamouring for a second sequel. And here it is, in trailer form. We're particularly excited about this one. We're geeky like that.
Rock Band 3 (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2)
We cannot wait for the third in the trilogy of standard Rock Band games (we've also had AC/DC, The Beatles and, recently, Green Day editions, of course), not only for the fact that it'll feature keyboards for the first time in the franchise, but also that you'll be able to strum, bash, sing and plinkety plonk along to Bohemian Rhapsody. Althogether now "Mama..."
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (PS3, Xbox 360)
The big addition to the Guitar Hero franchise this year promises a story-driven quest mode, and 90 or so tracks to thrash the axe to. Plus, there's the new, mean-looking guitar controller. Let's raaaawk!
DJ Hero 2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Yay! It may not have been the most successful of the music games out there, but the original DJ Hero was certainly one of the most fun. Now the sequel is coming and it allows you to hook two turntables up for head-to-head battles, and brings microphone support. Yep, you too can be 2Unlimited. We know. It brings shivers to our spines too.
Brink (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Multiplayer missions with authored narratives are high on Brink's agenda, and we're interested in finding out whether it manages to capture the exhilaration of parkour in a slightly less stomach churning way that Mirrors Edge. Could be the sleeper FPS hit of the year.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC)
Where other FPS franchises are becoming more contemporary by the day, the new Ghost Recon is heading towards more sci-fi realms. You'll have to battle invisible/cloaked soldiers and robots and, if they manage to keep the gameplay as responsive as previous instalments, this is sure to be a winner.
Crysis 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The original Crysis is still being used as a benchmark for PC graphics cards, with its exquisitely rendered jungle landcapes. This time, though, the action switches to the urban playground of New York and makes its way onto consoles for the first time. Interesting.
Medal of Honor (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
As the first time this franchise has moved from World War II to a more contemporary setting, the new Medal of Honor will obviously be held up to Modern Warfare. However, the team insists that this particular FPS will be more realistic than its most obvious rival.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
It's going to be the first COD game in 2 years without Infinity Ward being involved, but, if the trailer is anything to go by, it's going to be an absolute stormer. We genuinely can't wait. And you can also check out our behind the scenes when we sat down with developers Treyarch last month.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii)
To be honest, we don't even know if there will be anything to see of this at this year's event, but we'll be scouting around for even a hint of playable action.
Final Fantasy XIV (PS3, PC)
The second stage of Alpha testing on this MMORPG started on 10 June, so Square Enix will no doubt have plenty to show at E3. Multiple quests and numerous features are expected to be confirmed, but its subscription model details may have to wait for nearer the launch.
Infamous 2 (PS3)
Already announced by Sony, but with few other details, the second Infamous is sure to offer a similar sandbox/open world playfield and the same kind of super-heroics as the original.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
More a case of Assassin's Creed 2.5 than a true sequel, this stand-alone episode continues with Ezio as the main protagonist, although he's now far better at his trade than before. There's a 15 hour single-player campaign included, but its multiplayer action that will be most improved.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Coming as digital downloads via XBLA and PSN, rather than through solid state media, the latest chapter in Lara Croft's heady, adventurous life is an isometric platformer, breaking from the 3D action of its franchise stable mates. The tone and graphical feel remain familiar though.
Dead Space 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Let's be honest, although it wasn't as big a hit as it should have been, the first Dead Space was brilliant. And terrifying. Expect the sequel to offer more pant-wettingly scary moments.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii)
Boy, are we really looking forward to this. Not only is Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions a comic book fan's dream come true, with four different Marvel continuity Spider-Men featured in different in-game scenarios, but the Spider-Man Noir section looks as if it pays homage to Batman: Arkham Asylum. That'll do for us.
Mafia II (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
We adored the original Mafia on the PC back in 2002 (not so much with the shabby Xbox and PS2 ports), it was everything the two Godfather games are not, and showed that Grand Theft Auto 3 wasn't the only open world kid on the block. The new one is set slightly later, 1945 - 1955, so expect the clothes and style to be a tad more fancy and garish.
FIFA 11 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii)
As revealed a few days back, the big new feature of the awesome FIFA franchise is Personality+, making each of the footballers a little more individual than in previous iterations. Surely, it'll keep its position as king of the footy games?
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii)
Or will Pro Evolution Soccer finally get back to the quality of its forebears? Dedicated followers demand it, and we expect the rot of PES 2010 to have finally been turned around.
Fallout: New Vegas (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
A switch to Las Vegas for the latest sequel of, possibly, the best role playing game franchise of all time, brings a whole new series of challenges and post apocalyptic dark humour. If this isn't one of the biggest games of 2010 we'll eat our anti-radiation hats.
Dungeon Siege III (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
The developer of New Vegas (and Neverwinter Nights 2), Obsidian Entertainment, has been entrusted with the new instalment in one of the most popular action RPG franchises of all time. It's looking pretty impressive, thankfully, as it makes its debut onto consoles.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC)
It's a Star Wars MMORPG developed by BioWare (Baldur's Gate, Mass Effect 1 & 2, Dragon Age). Star. Wars. BioWare. 'Nuff said.
So there you have it, or should we say "them", a veritable cornucopia of games entertainment superstars that we're all fizzing with anticipation to get our hands on. And hopefully, over the next week, we shall.
Stay tuned to Pocket-lint's dedicated E3 microsite for the updates on these and much much more. Also, let us know what games you're most looking forward to in the comments below...