E3 2013 preview: 10 games that will steal the show
The annual gaming jamboree that is E3 is just around the corner, being held in Los Angeles from 10 to 13 June, so it's time to take a look at some of the hottest titles we expect to see there. Microsoft will be showcasing the Xbox One, Sony will be showing the actual PS4 console for the first time, and let us not forget the amazing Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii U games that will be playable at the show.
In short, 2013 is geared up to be one of the greatest for gamers everywhere. And here are 10 reasons why, counting down to the game we think will attract the longest queues.
10. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
(Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
The latest in Ubisoft's incredibly successful franchise appears only relatively low down on our list because we already saw some of the game at a preview event in March.
We expect to see much more at E3 and even be able to take new hero Edward Kenway for a spin ourselves. It promises to be full of piratey goodness and the biggest question for Assassin's Creed fans is how the series is carrying on after some shocking revelations at the end of the third chapter.
As it's also the first in the series to make it on to next-generation consoles, it will be interesting to see what changes there are in the different versions.
9. Killzone: Shadow Fall
Shown briefly during the PlayStation 4 announcement event in February, Killzone: Shadow Fall certainly looks pretty, with cascading waterfalls and high-definition textures a-plenty. How it plays will be the pressing issue for E3, however.
The first-person shooter will be the fourth game in the series for console and the initial tech demo used during the Sony press event used only half of the memory available to developers, showing that this is merely the first step for the next-generation machines. Being a PS4 exclusive, a lot of eyes will be on this as it could prove decisive in the next-gen battle for Christmas.
(Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Not content with bringing its Tomb Raider and Hitman franchises back to the fore in recent times, Square Enix has also delved into its archives to resurrect another big intellectual property for next generation console goodness.
The first-person shooter/stealth-'em-up exudes shades of Dishonored in the brief teaser video revealed so far, but it will be interesting to see if level design will be more restricted to sneaking around than Bethesda's big sleeper hit of last year. Pick-pocketing is definitely a big focus, it has been said. And the PC version will apparently be more than a copy of the console version.
7. Super Mario 3D Wii U
Announced during one of Nintendo's Direct web broadcasts, little else is known about the first 3D platformer for the company's latest console.
Nintendo certainly believes that a main reason why the Wii U has underperformed in worldwide sales is the lack of quality homegrown games. So a spectacular 3D Mario game is a must. And while the Japanese firm will be forgoing its annual E3 press conference, we seriously hope for its sake that a playable version of the game is at the show.
With this, Pikmin 3 and Mario Kart Wii U, Nintendo may just bring back fans who are currently sitting on the shelf.
6. FIFA 14
(Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
A number of key features on top of the already excellent FIFA 13 engine will ensure FIFA 14 will be there or thereabouts when it comes to the Christmas number one spot. For the umpteenth time.
EA has already announced new ball physics, which will make the ball fly in a much more realistic way during goal attempts and elsewhere on the pitch. Plus, there is a new Pure Shot feature, which changes the way players set themselves before a during shooting, for realism again. And there will be a number of other key features announced during the show that will further enhance FIFA's well-earned reputation as the king of footy games.
The next generation versions should also be on show, with several graphical and presentation enhancements. We really cannot wait.
5. Forza 5
Shown briefly during the Microsoft Xbox One unveiling, a more in-depth look at the next-generation racing thrills of Forza 5 is promised for E3.
The key new feature will be the radically enhanced graphics, making use of the huge amount of extra graphical processing power available to developer Turn 10. It's probably wishing for too much to expect a playable version of the game being on the Microsoft stand at the show, but we fully expect to see a demo of the in-game graphics during the company's press conference at least.
READ: Xbox One: All the games
4. Call of Duty: Ghosts
(Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Another year, another Call of Duty. However, this particular instalment breaks from the Modern Warfare, Black Ops cycle. Sort of.
It is being developed by MW's Infinity Ward and is based in the same world, but focuses on the more secretive special operatives known as Ghosts, as they often get in and out of battle situations without anybody knowing they were there.
The game will be the first on next-generation consoles, and caused much "oohing" and "aahing" during the Xbox One announcement event, so we'd expect a lot of interest in Activision's preview rooms.
3. Battlefield 4
(Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Going up against Activision's Call of Duty is Electronic Arts' latest in its own hyper-real military-based first-person shooter franchise, Battlefield 4.
Designed for all the major consoles, current and next-gen, bar the Wii U, this game has been on our radar for a while, partly because it features the acting talents of Pocket-lint fave Michael K Williams, best known as Omar in The Wire and Albert White in Boardwalk Empire. Just from the teaser trailer alone, the face and motion capture of the main characters show that DICE is taking its graphics engine up a notch or two.
We expect to be able to play multiplayer for the first time at E3.
2. Batman: Arkham Origins
(Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
Ask many gamers to name their favourite games from the past five years and you'll invariably get a Batman: Arkham Asylum or Batman: Arkham City thrown in there. Both games took the Batman licence and ensured that gameplay was the king - with increasingly larger open world playing fields and intuitive combat controls.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be the first to be developed in-house by Warner Bros Games Montreal - the previous two being Rocksteady Studios' games - and is a prequel. It deals with a younger version of the Arkham universe's version of Batman and how he meets and squares up to many of the most infamous villains for the first time.
What will be interesting for E3, apart from seeing the game in action, is whether Warner Bros also announces Xbox One and PS4 versions of the new title.
(Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
No matter how tantalising the other titles are, the one game we fully expect to get the most attention is the first in an all-new intellectual property from Halo creator Bungie Studios.
After splitting from its Halo deal with Microsoft, Bungie partnered with publisher Activision for a new franchise of which Destiny will be the first part. The game is hugely ambitious, and will appear across all consoles, next and current generation.
It will be always online and will offer a persistent, changing world with other players occasionally straying through your path rather than all appearing at once as in a traditional massively multiplayer online game. To add to the scope and mystique, even Sir Paul McCartney supplies some of the soundtrack. And Giancarlo Esposito, Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, appears in the latest teaser video.
Destiny is likely to be the biggest game of 2013 let alone E3.
There are plenty of other titles we're looking forward to seeing/playing, including Dragon Age III: Inquisition, Gran Turismo 6, Murdered, Mario Kart Wii U, Watch Dogs, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Quantum Break, Beyond Two Souls, Disney Infinity and, if Rockstar is there, Grand Theft Auto V, but the list could go on forever if we don't cap it.
Needless to say, Pocket-lint will be at the show to bring you the latest on all of these top games and more.