The year’s biggest gaming convention, E3 2011, is about to kick off in Los Angeles (on Monday 6 June) and the great and the good of the gaming world will be there, including Pocket-lint.
And while there are still plenty of surprises to be had, a few trailers and teaser clips have been seeped out prior to the big event, so here are the hottest games and kit we can’t wait to have a play with when we get to the show.
Microsoft is playing its cards very close to its chest at the moment, but it’s fair to say there is going to be plenty of Kinect action to get excited about. Chances are we aren’t going to see a next generation console (the Xbox 720, if you like). However, we do expect to see more on the home entertainment front, as well as more details on games like Gears of War 3.
There’s also Forza Motorsport 4 and Star Wars Kinect, first shown at E3 in 2010, but now supposedly ready for primetime. And there's rumours that the company is about to launch a TV subscription service to take on cable television; Xbox LIVE Diamond.
Sony’s E3 is going to be a tough one for the company. It’s got to put down and dispel any fears gamers still have over the security of its PSN service, as well as talk up the excitement of games and hardware to come in the next 12 months.
Guaranteed to be on show is the company’s brand spanking new handheld console, the Sony NGP, which was first announced in Japan earlier in the year.
Now rumoured to be called PS Vita, the console will be touting its stuff for gaming journalists to man-handle and that means a stack of new games too, like Wipeout.
But, it’s not just going to be about handheld gaming. Expect details on Infamous 2, Uncharted 3, God of War 4 and Resistance 3, to name but a few finely honed sequels.
With the launch of the 3DS now behind it, Nintendo is set to debut the Wii 2 at this year’s E3. Currently called Project Cafe, it’s Nintendo’s stab at re-inventing the ageing Wii console that’s done so well over the past couple of years.
There are plenty of rumours floating around on what it will and won’t include, but the money is currently on a console that will equal the power of the PS3 and come with a controller with a screen, so you can enjoy a gaming experience akin to the Nintendo DS.
Aside from hardware, there’s likely to be a bevy of Nintendo titles we’ve seen before, albeit new and improved. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword should be getting a look in, as will Super Mario 3D for the 3DS. Also expect more adventures for Kirby.
While Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will dominate the proceedings on the hardware front, E3 is about the games, and there are plenty getting a showing at E3 this year:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Activision
Not due out until 8 November, Call of Duty: MW3 is going to be strutting its stuff at the show, giving us yet more teasers for what’s in store come Christmas. Will it be as big as last year’s effort? Time will tell.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – Ubisoft
At E3 2010 we had Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and this year we have the follow up - Revelations.
"Assassin's Creed Revelations follows master assassin Ezio Auditore as he walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey to recover five ancient seals that hold the keys to the future of the Assassins brotherhood," reads the official blurb from Ubisoft. Expect plenty of new moves to master, new characters and new challenges, as well as the return of Altair as a playable character and Istanbul as one of the locations.
Batman: Arkham City – Warner Bros Interactive
The BAFTA-winning franchise is back and this time it’s broken out of the asylum and headed into the city. What to expect? Well, the focus has been shifted to a more “open world” environment and Catwomen is now on the scene too, letting you play both her and Batman as you battle your way through the levels against the likes of the Riddler, Two-Face and Harley Quinn.
Battlefield 3 – EA
Battlefield fans are likely to be most excited about a new update to the franchise in the guise of Battlefield 3. Set in 2014, it’s business as usual for those that like to take down the bad guys in the midst of war. Improved graphics, new locations and plenty more should fulfil any urges you have.
BioShock: Infinite – 2K Games
Not due out until 2012, BioShock: Infinite, however, is likely to be around the show - although probably not as one of the main attractions as it’s still a little bit too early for 2K Games' shooter.
Rather than send you under water, this time you reach for the skies as you assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to a lost flying city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood.
You then develop a relationship with Betty, augmenting your abilities with hers, so that the both of you can escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. As DeWitt, you must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and harness the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Square Enix
Yep, another sequel. This time it's Deus Ex that's back for more action. Not due out until 23 August because of delays (it was originally pipped for a Feb launch) the game is being touted as one of the top must see titles at the show. Yeah, we know we said that last year, but these games take time to make... it seems.
Driver: San Francisco – Ubisoft
Another game that was shown at E3 2010, this title is yet to make it into the shops. Driver: San Francisco is gunning for a return to its driving roots and you can expect to see some Bullet movie homage action, no doubt. Where Driver is hoping to impress most is with its "shift" mode that lets you change cars and drivers at the press of a button.
Forza Motorsport 4 – Microsoft
With the promise of Kinect support, new cars and plenty more, Forza 4 is going to be the one to watch for car racing fans out there. It cunningly uses Kinect to track your head when you play and allow you to look around the car as you drive, and that should, says Microsoft, help you get a better sense of what’s coming up. We’ll let you know how we get on.
Gears of War 3 – Microsoft
Yep, this is going to be a biggie too. The limited invite-only beta has been out already, but we're sure Microsoft will have some tricks up its sleeve, and we hope they'll all be spilled forth in Los Angeles. You can read our hands-on of the multiplayer here.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Sony Computer Entertainment
If you’re a fan of the Uncharted series then chances are this is going to be one of your most eagerly anticipated games. Uncharted 3 will see protagonist Nathan Drake and mentor Victor Sullivan travelling around the world to such places as the Rub' al Khali desert, in search of the legendary lost city, the Iram of the Pillars. The plot will draw from the archaeology days of T. E. Lawrence, and it’s due out in November.
Super Mario 3D – Nintendo
Not much is known about Super Mario 3D other than it’s in 3D, will be on the Nintendo 3DS and feature everybody's cheeky moustachioed plumbing chum. We also know there is something to do with a tail, but little more. Hopefully, come E3 all will be unveiled.
Mass Effect 3 – EA
Another follow up, and rumour has it that this iteration of the RPG franchise will come with Kinect support too. One of the most anticipated games of the show - probably just so we can see what they are going to do with the Kinect accessory if that rumour is true, Mass Effect 3 is currently set for a early 2012 release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Bethesda Softworks
It’s not just about first person shooters, as the latest instalment of this mega RPG series will confirm. Following on from Oblivion, there be dragons, lore, magic, melee and plenty of everything else that you know and love so much - except buffed up a bit. There’s a new graphics engine to make it all look stunning.
Rage – Bethesda Softworks
Created by id software (yep, the people behind Doom and Quake), Rage is a first person shooter that aims to take over from the Quake mantle. It brings a stack of new FPS features to the table and, new for E3, there will be the chance to see the “Authority”, a military based enemy rather than the bandits and mutants that we’ve seen before. We'll also, for the first time, get the chance to actually play the game. Ding dang do.
Max Payne 3 - 2K Games
It's been 2 years after its slated release date, but we’re still waiting for Max Payne 3. That could change come E3 2011, however, as it is expected to be present. If so, we will be on the ground to find out more. If Rockstar is serious about releasing this title, now is the time to do it.
Tomb Raider: Turning Point – Square Enix
Rebooting the Lara Croft franchise, Tomb Raider: Turning Point isn’t out until Fall 2012, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about it some 18 months ahead of schedule. Judging by the trailer, it’s going to be stunning. But then, judging by the trailer, so did the movie Shark vs Octopus. Hopefully, E3 will shed some more light on the game.
And the rest
There are plenty of other games that we’re looking forward too as well. There’s Hitman: Absolution from Square Enix, Ninja Gaiden III from Tecmo, EA’s FIFA 12, Diablo 3, Fiv3 (or five as it’s more likely to be pronounced) from the makers of Heavy Rain, and Destiny; Bungie’s new IP for Activision. There’s also Prey 2 from Bethesda Softworks, and Sega’s new Aliens title.
Phew. Our works certainly going to be cut out for us. Make sure you check back all next week for our E3 reports.
What game are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.