MCV's essential E3 guide

Ben Parfitt
MCV's essential E3 guide

SONY

All eyes will be on Sony this year as the platform holder looks to unleash its second wave of PS3 titles and prove to the world that it really does have the most powerful machine on the market. Alongside Killzone 2, Heavenly Sword, SingStar, a new SOCOM and Ratchet and Clank: Future, expect much more detail on Home, LittleBig Planet and the more casual fare on offer from the PlayStation Store – alongside a few surprises.

New iterations of Gran Turismo, Tekken, Wipeout and God of War would also be well received – and a few new triple-A PSP titles to go alongside a much-rumoured new PSP model would go down well too…

MICROSOFT

While Sony concentrates on hitting back at the critics, Microsoft has the task of maintaining the momentum of a console fast approaching its second birthday. Halo 3 is undoubtedly the jewel in 360’s crown, but more news on the Halo/Peter Jackson project revealed at X06 last year would boost the hype through the roof.

Alan Wake, Project Gotham 4, Mass Effect, Blue Dragon and Lost Oddysey will provide gamers with plenty to get excited about, but the much-hinted-at casual gaming push (as revealed in MCV last week) and another helping of Gears of War could yet offer the biggest surprises.

NINTENDO

The Japanese platform holder has a wealth of IP the envy of the industry – so expect more details on Wii titles Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime: Corruption alongside Zelda’s DS debut Phantom Hourglass.

Nintendo’s famed secrecy means that little else is known about what will be on show at E3, but the smart money’s on Wii Music, Wii Fitness, Mario Kart Wii and possibly even Nintendogs and Starfox on Wii, alongside news of Wii Brain Training coming to the US and European territories. More online functionality for both Wii and DS and a couple of extra surprises will have the internet fanboys (and maybe a few industry execs) frothing at the mouth too…

EA

Plenty going on at the industry’s market-leading publisher this year – not least the much-hyped shooters Crysis and Army of Two. More details on titles like Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, Spore, The Simpsons Game, Boogie, Skate, Burnout Paradise and Rock Band also look set to cause a commotion.

Fresh offerings from EA’s stockpile of franchised IP will be more than enough to raise retailers’ eyebrows – new Need for Speed, FIFA, Sims and Tiger Woods titles are guaranteed. There’s been whispers of Criterion working on Black 2, and perhaps we’ll see something from the projects being overseen by Steven Spielberg, plus new some new IP thrown in the mix too. Phew.

MIDWAY

Unreal Tournament III, Stranglehold and The Wheelman will be making a splash this Q4 and are sure to be on show at E3, alongside Q3 shooter Area 51: Blacksite. And don’t rule out a another Mortal Kombat either…

NCSOFT

MMO specialist NCsoft will have its fans doing cartwheels over Tabula Rasa, the new Richard Garriott project. Guild Wars: Eye of the North should also be on show to ensure that the publisher’s existing IP is still as strong as ever.

EIDOS

Kane and Lynch has already been highlighted by the specialist press as one to watch – expect more news on the next-gen action thriller. Tomb Raider Anniversary on Wii will be showing off its motion-sensing capabilites, while Eidos’ first foray into MMOs will be marked by potential Warcraft-beater Age of Conan.

DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS

The long-awaited revival of the Turok series is all set to wow the execs in attendance, as well as the first peek into what Disney has lined up since it redoubled its commitment to developing its own titles in-house.

ACTIVISION

The US publisher’s stable of big name franchises is set to stake a claim for Q4 sales with the return of Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, Call of Duty and another Spider-Man title rumoured to be in the works. And let’s not forget Transformers, Bee Movie and Activision’s high profile deal for all future James Bond games, alongside a potential Soldier of Fortune revival.

UBISOFT

The French publisher has – as ever – seemingly got all the bases covered this year. Alongside more core titles from its Tom Clancy stable of releases (especially the new EndWar) and another dose of Rayman and Brothers in Arms, there’s Ubisoft’s new assault on the casual games space under its Games For Everyone range. Much hyped titles Haze and Assassin’s Creed will also get plenty of attention.

TAKE 2

No doubt about the main attraction here – GTA IV is bound to gain plenty of column inches from the specialist and indeed mainstream press. Music title Beaterator and a new Midnight Club title will surely be overshadowed by all the GTA madness too – and what of Manhunt 2? 2K will have its US sports titles on show, and more hype is expected for the forthcoming Bioshock too.

CODEMASTERS

The Britsoft firm will be showcasing two of its big hopes in the core gamer segment – Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and horror title Jericho, from the distrurbed mind of horror legend Clive Barker. Other forthcoming attractions from Codemasters include Heist, Rise of the Argonauts, Race Driver One and Operation Flashpoint 2.

ATARI

Industry stalwart Atari is set to fill in the blanks on the revival of the classic Alone In The Dark franchise, while other forthcoming attractions will include role player The Witcher, Dungeons and Dragons Tactics on PSP and new signings Ace Combat 6 and Eternal Sonata. Expect more Tamagotchi and Dragon Ball Z titles too – solid franchises that have seen great success before.

KONAMI

More details on one of the stars of last year’s show, Metal Gear Solid 4, will surely be forthcoming from Konami’s star developer Hideo Kojima, while football fans will be able to play the latest build of the newly-unveiled Pro Evolution Soccer 2008.

KOEI

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War, Dynasty Warriors: Fighters Battle, and more long term titles like PS3 racer Fatal Inertia and DS release Prey the Stars are likely to be the big titles for Koei.

SQUARE ENIX

Expect the Japanese publisher to unleash a host of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy titles to get hardcore consumers whipped up into a frenzy, alongside Heroes of Mana, Star Ocean and The Last Remnant.

THQ

Another decent array of recognisable IP is expected from the ever-ambitious US publisher, including the return of Stuntman, new DS IP Drawn to Life, Juiced 2 and big movie licence Ratatouille. Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Warhammer 40,000, Cars: Mater national, WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2008, Frontlines: Fuel of War and Saints’ Row 2 are expected to complete another bumper year for the publisher.

SEGA

A prolific line-up for Sega as it looks to cement its position as a power publisher of both its classic IP and more Western-flavoured delights. More news is expected of the recently confirmed Nights and as-yet-untitled Sonic RPG, while SEGA Rally, Football Manager, Golden Compass, Mario and Sonic At the Olympic Games, Alien Syndrome, Medieval 2: Total War Kingdoms, Sonic Rush Adventure, The Club, Condemned 2 and Golden Axe will keep Sega fans more than happy.

VIVENDI GAMES

Big name titles set for the E3 treatment this year are the much anticipated shooter TimeShift, strategy title World in Conflict, and the return of Riddick in a title dubbed Assault of Dark Athena. There’s also family-friendly titles Crash of the Titans, and Spyro: The Eternal Night for the more casual end of the market.

CAPCOM

A duo of triple-A titles will get gamers hyped up at E3 this year – alongside some other surprises. Having just released a Wii re-working of the phenomenal Resident Evil 4, all eyes will be on Capcom to provide details of the next title in the mega-selling series. Meanwhile more footage of Devil May Cry 4 will please hack and slash fans.

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