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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Assassin’s Creed II
Xbox 360, PS3
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Mature

All Assassin’s Creed II Content

Videos   |   Previews   |   Screenshot Galleries   |   News Stories

What kind of game is it?

Assassin’s Creed II is the sequel to Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft’s 2007 blockbuster action title. It combines stealth mechanics and silent kills with heavy amounts of platforming and free-running, all within a historical context and complete with plenty of visual splendor.

Who's the developer?

The Assassin’s Creed team is housed within Ubisoft’s Montreal facility, which is the biggest development house for the publisher. The AC team brushes shoulders with the likes of teams working on Avatar, Shaun White, and the Tom Clancy franchises (Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon), among others. According to the in-game factoids, the AC II team numbers over 300, which is massive for a game development group.

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  • News
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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

‘Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles’ Impressions

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Nintendo Wii
MSRP: $49.99
ESRB Rating: Mature

All Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Content

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What kind of game is it?

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is an "on-rails" (meaning the game automatically moves you along a pre-determined path) shooter in which you use the Wii remote pointer as a gun reticule.

Who's the developer?

Resident Evil is one of Capcom's marquee franchises, and Darkside Chronicles, like Umbrella Chronicles before it, was developed in conjunction with Cavia Studios. Cavia's notable games of past include Drakengard, Bullet Witch, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and KORG DS-10. They are also currently working on Nier for Square-Enix.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

New Super Mario Bros. Help System Has Real Name:

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Nintendo Wii
MSRP: $49.99
ESRB Rating: Everyone

All New Super Mario Bros. Wii Content

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What kind of game is it?

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a 2D side-scrolling platformer in the grand tradition of the Super Mario Bros. games, dating back to the mid-1980s on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Who's the developer?

Nintendo internal teams are responsible for the main Mario series, most notable of which is EAD ("Entertainment, Analysis, and Design"). This is Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto's original design team.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Box Art Face-Off: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare vs. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99 (all versions)
ESRB Rating: Mature

All Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Content

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What kind of game is it?

Modern Warfare 2 is a first-person shooter set in the near-future. Previous games in the Call of Duty series took place during World War II, but that changed with 2007's Call of Duty 4. It is also unscientifically the most popular game in the world at the moment.

Who's the Developer?

Infinity Ward is a game studio based in Encino, California (just north of Los Angeles). It was founded in 2002 by former members of the Medal of Honor development team, which was Electronic Arts' World War II shooter franchise. They have put out four games to date: Call of DutyCall of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Other games in the series, such as last year's World at War, were developed by Treyarch.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010
Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP
MSRP: $59.99 (360, PS3), $49.99 (Wii), $29.99 (PS2, PSP)
ESRB Rating: Everyone

All Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Content

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What kind of game is it?

Is there a game with a more self-explanatory title? Pro Evolution Soccer is Konami’s long-running footy sim series. Formerly known as Winning Eleven in the States, Pro Evolution Soccer (or PES) is a franchise that prides itself on highly in-depth simulation of the Beautiful Game. Outside of basketball and hockey, there are few sports game feuds with the fiery rivalry found between PES and FIFA. During the PS2 era, EA’s game consistently outsold PES (especially in North America), but most hardcore gamers preferred Konami’s fanatical attention to detail. With a new console generation, Konami’s grip on gamers has weakened a bit, but the team has sworn to regain its footing with PES 2010.

Who's the developer?

The PES team is housed within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. Although executive producer Shingo “Seabass” Takatsuka isn’t particularly well-known in the States, he’s a celebrity name in Europe and Japan. Sports game producers usually don’t have the cred associated with the likes of Cliff Bleszinski, but Seabass is an exception.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier Hands-On Preview

Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier
PSP, PS2
MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

All Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier Content

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What kind of game is it?

It's a 3D platformer for the PlayStation Portable and PS2 featuring the PS2-era mascots Jak & Daxter. There's also an aerial component to the game, with combat and exploration elements. The J&D games were originally made by Naughty Dog for PS2, who have since been busy with Uncharted on PS3. Developer High Impact games is creating this original title.

Who's the Developer?

High Impact Games is located in Burbank, CA, and was started by former employees of Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Resistance) and Naughty Dog. Their previous two games were original takes on the Ratchet & Clank franchise: Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
MSRP: $59.99 (Console), $49.99 (PC)
ESRB Rating: Mature

All Dragon Age: Origins Content

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What kind of game is it?

Dragon Age: Origins is a 3D role-playing game for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Combat is based on animation instead of a number-based ruleset, so it's a little more friendly to people unfamiliar with traditional Western RPG design. You can either hack it out in real time or pause the fight and strategize your next moves.

While Dragon Age doesn't have any multiplayer, you do fight alongside game-controlled allies. You can adjust their fighting strategy and tactics based on pre-set rules, so that they're almost fighting on auto-pilot. But your party members can also leave your party based on a loyalty system, so be sure to treat them right.

Who's the Developer?

BioWare was founded in 1995 by Dr. Ray Muzyka (General Manager, CEO), Dr. Greg Zeschuk (VP, Development Operations of BioWare), and Augustine Yip. (Muzyka and Zeschuk are commonly referred to as "The Doctors.") The primary studio is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and there are additional studios located in Montreal and Austin, Texas.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony Multiplayer Details Revealed

Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Xbox 360
MSRP:
$19.99 (Xbox Live Download, 1600 Microsoft Points)
$39.99 (Episodes From Liberty City retail disc, includes The Lost And Damned)
ESRB Rating: Mature

All Ballad of Gay Tony Content

Videos  |  Previews  |  Screenshot Galleries  |  News Stories

What kind of game is it?

It's a standalone expansion to Grand Theft Auto IV, much like its predecessor expansion The Lost and Damned. Many view the GTA series as the epitome of open-world game design, with rich characterization and 3D action that varies between shooting and exploration. It is also possible to steal cars, and then drive them.

Who's the Developer?

The bio on Rockstar Games is worth an entire feature story by itself, but we'll be brief: the New York City-based company was founded in 1998 by a group of developerse, most notable of which are the brothers Dan and Sam Houser. Their three marquee game franchises are Grand Theft AutoMidnight Club, and Max Payne, while other offerings include Red Dead Revolver/Redemption, The Warriors, Manhunt, and State of Emergency. Besieged by the mainstream media for the "Hot Coffee" incident, Rockstar Games is no stranger to controversy. (You may now hand me the award for "Understatement of the Year.")

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time
PlayStation 3
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

All Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time Content

Videos  |  Previews  |  Screenshot Galleries  |  News Stories

What kind of game is it?

A 3D action platformer at its core that focuses on creative weapons and gadgets, with additional gameplay elements such as space shooting and time-based puzzle solving.

Who's the developer?

Insomniac Games was founded in 1994 by its current president and CEO Ted Price. Though technically they are an independent developer, Insomniac has only produced games for Sony systems, beginning with their first game Disruptor for the original PlayStation. After creating and maintaining the Spyro the Dragon series, they moved on to Ratchet & Clank for the PlayStation 2. When the PlayStation 3 launched, Insomniac provided Resistance: Fall of Man as a launch title, which was their first attempt at an FPS. They are located in sunny Burbank, California.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Tekken 6
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Teen

All Tekken 6 Content

Videos  |  Previews  |  Screenshot Galleries  |  News Stories

What kind of game is it?

The sixth installment of a 3D fighting game series. Unlike its cousin Soulcalibur, Tekken is based on martial arts and hand-to-hand combat instead of weapons.

Who's the developer?

Tekken games are developed by an internal Namco team, of which information is not readily available. The series itself began in 1994 with the arcade release of Tekken, which subsequently appeared on the PlayStation the following year and was established as a top-tier fighting series, and chief competition to Sega's 3D brawler Virtua Fighter.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

DJ Hero
 

DJ Hero
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2
MSRP: $119.99 (with turntable), $199.99 (Renegade Edition)
ESRB Rating: Teen

All DJ Hero Content

Videos  |  Previews  |  Screenshot Galleries  |  News Stories

What kind of game is it?

As if you don't already have enough plastic instruments, Activision is adding another one into the mix (get it?) with DJ Hero, the company's gameified take on the art of DJing. Like Guitar Hero, DJ Hero takes the primary elements of an instrument -- this time, fading between songs, scratching over tracks, adding samples -- and makes that gameplay. Also like Guitar Hero, it's not a very realistic interpretation of actual DJing, but it's just enough to give you the flavor of being in control of the turntable. Plus, it's a whole new genre of music, as the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises are largely limited to rock, rock and more rock.

Who's the Developer?

Activision actually trademarked DJ Hero after Guitar Hero exploded, long before the project that would actually become DJ Hero came to fruition. DJ Hero was originally an untitled, unannounced DJ take on Guitar Hero in development for Vivendi Games by FreeStyleGames before Vivendi merged with Activision. Thus, FreeStyle Games' DJ game became…DJ Hero! Neversoft, who picked up control of the Guitar Hero series after Harmonix was purchased by MTV Games, collaborated with FreeStyleGames to incorporate the guitar-plus-DJ sections included in a handful of tracks in DJ Hero.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Forza 3

Forza Motorsport 3
Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99 (Regular) | $79.99 (GameStop Limited Edition)
ESRB Rating: Teen

All Forza 3 Content

Videos  |  Previews  |  Screenshot Galleries  |  News Stories

What kind of game is it?

It's a simulation racing game, the third installment of a series that began in 2005 late in the life of the original Xbox. Forza 3 features a large amount of cars, a livery editor that allows custom graphics, and an active community.

Who's the Developer?

Turn 10 Studios is based in Redmond, WA. As racing specialists, the Forza series is their first significant game franchise.

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

Borderlands

Borderlands
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Mature

All Borderlands Content

Videos  |  Previews  |  Screenshot Galleries  |  News Stories

What kind of game is it?

A first-person shooter with role-playing elements. Aside from certain areas like towns, the game features randomly generated environments and countless permutations of weapon combinations and attributes. There are four player classes to choose from:

  • Berserker - Melee class, temporary invulnerability, good with explosives.
  • Siren -- Teleportation, invisibility, psychic powers.
  • Hunter -- Has a pet, adept with pistols and sniper rifles.
  • Soldier -- Can deploy a turret, generally good with most weapons, and is also the healing class.

Who's the Developer?

Gearbox Software was founded in 1999 and is located in Plano, Texas. Current CEO and president Randy Pitchford is one of the founders, and is the most widely-known representative of the company. Gearbox made their name with the well-received expansion packs for the original Half-Life: Opposing Force, Blue Shift, and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. Their most prominent original property is the Brothers in Arms series, and along with Borderlands, they are currently working on Aliens: Colonial Marines for Sega.

What's the story?

The planet of Pandora was beset by colonists, who arrived believing that the planet held a vast amount of valuable resources. What they found was...nothing. Most of them left and continued their galactic gold rush elsewhere, leaving those left behind in a state of semi-lawlessness. At some point, somebody found out about a legendary stash of ancient alien tech, and that means it's time for people to start killing each other in pursuit. You are those people.

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  • News
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  • Screenshots
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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.

 
brutal legend
 
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Mature
 
All Brutal Legend Content
 
What kind of game is it?
 
A 3D action game that primarily takes place in an open-world environment. There's a heavy emphasis on melee combat, but there are also strategic elements in play as you control your assembled army of rock. At times, it even mimics a real-time strategy.
 
Who's the developer?
 
Double Fine is a San Francisco-based developer founded and ruled by Tim Schafer, who is known for his work on the classic PC adventure games The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. Double Fine's first project was the critically-acclaimed PS2/Xbox platformer Psychonauts. Games made by Schafer/Double Fine have the tendency to make the player laugh out loud to themselves -- commonly referred to as "the LOLs." Brutal Legend is no exception.
 
What's the story?
 
Disillusioned roadie Eddie Riggs (modeled after and voiced by actor/musician Jack Black) finds himself transported to a dimension inspired by the elements of heavy metal. Armed with axes of both the bladed and musical varieties, Riggs travels through this land in search of the Artifacts of Legend, and hopefully, a way home.
 

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Ever find yourself in a situation where all of your friends are talking about the latest and greatest game, and you can't contribute to the conversation because you haven't been paying attention? Solve that problem with our Launch Primers: everything you need to know (except the spoilers) about a game that's about to be released.
 
Uncharted 2 screenshot
 
PlayStation 3 (Exclusive)
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Teen
 
All Uncharted 2 Content
 
What kind of game is it?
 
A 3D, third-person perspective action game featuring environmental exploration and copious amounts of gun- and melee-based combat.
 
Who's the developer?
 
Founded in 1986, Naughty Dog is best known for creating the Crash Bandicoot series for the original PlayStation. They continued to provide mascot support to Sony's PlayStation 2 in the form of Jak & Daxter, but when the PS3 arrived, they switched gears to something a tad more realistic with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Naughty Dog is currently helmed by co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, and employs Amy Hennig as studio creative director. Along with her work on the first Uncharted, Hennig is responsible for writing and directing the critically-lauded Legacy of Kain games Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver II, and Defiance.
 
What's the story?
 
Freelance adventurer and reluctant hero Nathan Drake finds himself entangled in another complicated treasure hunt as he follows the path of another famed adventurer, Marco Polo. Naturally, there is competition for the ultimate prize, and the stakes turn out to be higher than originally thought. Basically, it's your classic adventure story.
 

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