Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The E3 2006 Preview

There may not be many new games hitting the shelves this month, but no matter, because there’ll be a wealth of hot new game info at this years ultimate gamer’s gathering – E3. Here’s a sneak peak at the sneak peak; a look at the could-be-good, the could-be-bad and the will-be-ugly. In other words, a short list of the notable 360 games taking up table space at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Enjoy.

Chromehounds
Sega will launch this online multiplayer, robot-battling, action-oriented shoot’em’up this summer. Screenshots suggest something similar to MechAssault, but Sega’s promise of a show-floor demo may prove otherwise.

Dead Rising
Capcom is releasing another zombie-infested video game other than RE 5 (see below). Why aren’t they just calling it Resident Evil 6? Because this time-round, the emphasis isn’t on horror, but rather all-out, blood-and-guts, bats-and-clubs fighting. Early screenshots show literally hundreds of enemies on screen at once. More information and a rough launch date should be revealed at the show… hopefully along with a playable demo.

Superman Returns
Developer Tiburon, the folks responsible for the invincible Madden Football series, are currently at work creating their first non-sports title, Superman Returns. The game, based on the upcoming film of the same time, hopefully won’t be merely another quick movie cash-in, we seriously don’t need any more crappy Superman games. The release will feature the voices of a number of hot-shot actors from the flick, so at least the audio should be good. Electronic Arts will launch the title this Fall.

Too Human
Silicon Knights has left Nintendo to create this long-awaited action title for the Xbox 360. Little is known about the game except that it will be running off the Unreal 3 game engine and feature a plot too complicated to explain here. Microsoft will publish the game in time for the next holiday season.

Crackdown
The creators of the original Grand Theft Auto, Real Time Worlds, are hard at work on this GTA3-inspired game in which players take on the role of an angry cop with superhuman powers. Microsoft will likely announce a rough shipping date come E3.

Def Jam 3
A release date hasn’t been revealed for this latest incarnation in the bestselling combat series from EA. Expect more focus on realism this time round, as well as some awesome visuals.

Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II
Hopefully EA Los Angeles won’t destroy this popular RTS in porting it over to the Xbox 360. EA Games will launch the title in the Summer.

Alan Wake
Apparently developer Remedy got bored of the name Max Payne, so their next action title will be called Alan Wake instead. Thankfully, it’s a little more than just a name change. Rather than the run’n’shoot gameplay of Payne, Alan Wake will feature more stealth/horror stages and possibly supernatural enemies as well. 2K Games will let the title fly this Fall.

Mobile Suit Gundam
Bandai will launch this giant robot romp from developer Dimps next Fall. The screenshots and videos are looking great, though potential gameplay quality has yet to be revealed.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Activision will bring together dozens of classic super heroes yet again this Fall with Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, expected to be a combat/action title with RPG elements. The game is being developed Raven Software.

House of the Dead 4
Those bloody zombies are back again, infesting yet another house. House of the Dead 4 has yet to be officially announced for the Xbox 360 (it’s currently only in arcades in Japan), but fans are hoping Sega will reveal something about the title at E3.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent
In this latest Splinter Cell title from Ubisoft, players will be able to team up with a friend and complete the entire campaign mode in cooperative multiplayer. The game will hit current-gen systems as well as the Xbox 360 in Fall. It’s expected that the first playable demo will be present at E3.

Madden NFL 2007
Another year, another Madden. 2007 is expected to feature way more Live content than previous endeavours, as well as even more realistic gameplay. EA will launch the title sometime next season.

Resident Evil 5
Capcom is expected to reveal plenty of new information about this mysterious zombie installment in LA. All we know for sure is that the disc will remain much the same as Resident Evil 4 in terms of gameplay and will hit store shelves early next year.

Saints Row
You guessed it, another GTA rip-off. Thankfully though, early demos show off more visual and gameplay features than current-generation games could pull off, so hopefully it won’t be just another cheap cash-in. The game is being developed by Voilition and will be published by THQ in the Fall.

Gears of War
Yes, it’s another action game, but it also has the potential to be a whole lot more. Microsoft promises this FPS, developed by Epic Games, will also feature original RPG and puzzle elements, and fully-interactive environments. The game is stunning visually, and will likely be one of the big M’s more original titles when it hits store shelves in the Fall.

Stranglehold
The title may be lame, but Stranglehold could be one of those rare games that successfully blends common cinematic trends into a video game. Considering the game is being created under the watchful eyes of action-flick aficionado John Woo, it could just serve as the perfect distraction while waiting for those Jackie Chan films from the online rental store. Expect Stranglehold to feature plenty of martial arts and gun-fight combat when Midway ships it this Fall.

The Darkness
Gamers will take on the role of a pissed-off hitman with supernatural powers in this action/adventure title from the creators of the popular Chronicles of Riddick Xbox game. 2K will release Starbreeze’s first next-gen project early next year.

Mass Effect
The hopes are high for this sci-fi RPG from Bioware, the famous parents of Knights of the Old Republic I and II. Though perhaps it’s doubtful, we’re crossing our fingers Microsoft’s E3 booth will feature the first playable demo. After all, the game isn’t really so far away from release with a late Fall ship date.

That’s all for this month.

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