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E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward To

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Posted May 31, 2011 - By Guest Writer









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E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward To

E3 2011 is a week away, and when the Expo is finished, the consumer narrative for the rest of 2011 will be laid out. We could predict much of that narrative already, as the list of games to be shown has been confirmed and widely discussed in the games press, but there are a few surprises we should discuss first, before focusing on what we already know. Check out the full list below, and then let us know what's starting to tickle your fancy about E3 this year.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward To

Sony’s press conference is a five-hour event. Scuttlebutt is that after the presser, the space will be turned into a huge play area where journalists will get their hands on Sony’s big games of the show like Resistance 3, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and inFAMOUS 2 (which comes out the next day). The NGP is going to be there in all likelihood, although it will probably have a proper name before the press gets its hands on the system.

What's most important for Sony this year is not their games, or their new hardware, but how they address the PlayStation Network outage. It’s the biggest gaming story from 2011 so far. Development studios continue to lose millions of dollars while the PlayStation Store remains offline. Sony’s E3 presser is their chance to heal wounds and move forward, or stumble yet again in how they’re handling the situation.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward To

Nintendo has two confirmed titles for the show, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Super Mario 3DS. We saw the first game already last year, and with enthusiasm for the 3DS platform fizzling in the marketplace, the new Mario game is unlikely to make waves. What matters most for Nintendo at this year’s E3 is the reveal of their new HD platform, code-named Project Café.

The reception for this new console has huge implications for Nintendo. Project Café is the publisher’s opportunity to answer critics who have lambasted their failure to embrace high-definition graphics and online community. This is Nintendo’s chance to show they have what it takes to make a play for the core gamer, rather than be locked into the family-friendly market they’ve carved out for themselves so decidedly over the past few years.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward To

If Microsoft has any big reveals coming for the Expo, they’ve kept them under wraps. We know that Gears of War 3 will be there, and it’s possible that the campaign will get the lion’s share of attention, as the public multiplayer Beta recently ended and Epic will want to show something new. A new Gears 3 campaign trailer is up on the Xbox Live dashboard, which might be whetting our appetites for a larger campaign reveal at E3.

The most exciting news for Microsoft at the Expo might come from LucasArts, as the Star Wars Kinect game hinted at during the Kinect reveal at least year’s show, will be on display at E3 2011. No word yet on whether this will be a hands-on demo, or hands-off if you like, but we can’t imagine it won’t be. Whether or not Kinect can deliver titles for core gamers has been the big question since the peripheral was announced, and if Star Wars Kinect has pulled it off, this is the sort of thing the press needs to experience for themselves, rather than gleam it from a trailer.

There have also been rumors of Kinect support for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, as well. Ghost Recon and Assassin’s Creed Revelations will be Ubisoft’s two big games at the show, though one wonders if they have something curious up their sleeve for their June 5th press conference. Something better than last year’s laser tag game, we can only hope.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToThe new trailer for BioShock: Infinite has already been shown to journalists, and they’ve been excited about it. Ken Levine and the crew at Irrational work very hard to build these trailers. Levine’s background in film surely comes into play, and might have much to do with why the first Infinite trailer was a hit, and why the second one will almost assuredly follow suit, and be a huge draw on the E3 show floor.

Besides BioShock: Infinite, 2K Games is also showing Duke Nukem Forever, which will be released very shortly after the Expo. There’s likely isn’t much in the way of reveals for the title, unless 2K and Gearbox are going to demo Duke's multiplayer, which we haven’t heard much about so far.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToBioWare and EA have already spilled a ton of information about Mass Effect 3, so it stands to reason that whatever they’re planning for the game at E3 will be something impressive. BioWare is also offering yet more hands-on time to journalists with Star Wars: The Old Republic, which had a huge floor show at PAX East in March. We can hope that a solid, set-in-stone release date for the title is given at the show, because these hands-on demos are becoming old hat. It’s time to see the whole title.

Electronic Arts is also offering a Battlefield 3 hands-on demo. DICE has sung the praises of their Frostbite 2 engine to anyone who will listen, but graphics only get you so far. The proof is in the gameplay, and it will be interesting to see just how much of a taste of the game DICE and EA give the press. They’ve been advertising the title very early considering it’s been given a Fall 2011 release date, so it’s possible that the hands-on demo will be substantive.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToActivision will be showing Modern Warfare 3, and the showdown with BF3 in terms of who takes the larger share of press attention from the show is something to watch. The recent leak of the entire MW3 storyline threw a huge monkey wrench in the marketing plan for the title. Activision followed up quickly with a trailer, but perhaps that was the intended E3 trailer, which had to be let out of the bag early? This alongside Prototype 2 mark an interesting E3 for the publisher.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToBethesda will be offering hands-on time with iD Software’s highly-anticipated first person shooter Rage, and will also be showing Prey 2, but it’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which is likely to be their E3 hit this year. Everyone went nuts when the first trailer was released, so expect similar reactions of enthused insanity based on whatever Bethesda chooses to show off the game at the Expo.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToTHQ’s two big E3 titles this year are Saints Row 3 and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. We haven’t had a proper open-world game yet in 2011, so there’s a real opening for Saints Row 3 to make a splash, and despite the games media mocking Space Marine for ripping off Gears of War, we can expect a ton of attention on this title as people make that assessment for themselves.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToThe best offerings from Warner Brothers this year are a pair of Batman games. Batman: Arkham City has seen a ton of hype already, and we can therefore assume that it will be received well at E3, and Gotham City Imposters made a strong impression on the Game Critics Awards judges during pre-E3 week. The idea of a Batman-themed first person shooter is pretty out there conceptually, but perhaps it works?

Capcom has two high-profile, confirmed games for the show: the Devil May Cry reboot title DmC, and the latest Resident Evil game, Operation Racoon City, which is one of three big zombie titles at the Expo.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToDeep Silver drew a lot of attention with its Dead Island trailer back in March, and now they’re offering some hands-on with the title. They’ll also be showing the pirate-themed RPG title Risen 2, but Dead Island is going to be their big game of the show.

The third undead title, and the last game we’ll talk about, is The Walking Dead.

E3 2011: What We’re Looking Forward ToConceptually this game is a toss-up. It might just be a cheap attempt to cash in on a franchise, as the television adaptation just finished a very successful first-season run on AMC. The video game is meant to be tied more closely to the comic book, however, and the comic is much, much better than the television show. The game is also following an episodic model, which could be interesting. This could turn out to be a gritty and brutal game whose appeal goes beyond fandom of the comic that inspired it.

Keep in mind that these are only the games which have been confirmed for E3. There’s a long list of rumored titles that may pop up, and there could very well be some genuine surprises. As always, there will be a tremendous amount to talk about after the show ends on June 8th.

Dennis Scimeca is a technologist and freelance writer from Boston, MA. Besides G4, he has also contributed to Gamasutra, GamePro, The Escapist, Joystick Division, and @Gamer magazine. He blogs at punchingsnakes.com, and has been known to drop a quip on Twitter.

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