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E3 2011 preview

Elder-Scrolls-V-Skyrim-coverElder Scrolls V: Skyrim

While Elder scrolls V: Skyrim won’t have the jaw-dropping sales figures that Modern Warfare 3 will collect, it probably will have a fan base that is equally rabid, maybe more so. Since the series began in 1994, the Elder Scrolls games have grabbed the fantasy fan by the throat and kept the pressure on until gamers passed out with glee. Not literally, of course, but the world is immersive, and each game has pushed the limits of what an open-world game can be.  Sure, it is cool to be able to go anywhere in a city that is a clone of Manhattan like you do in Grand Theft Auto IV, but Skyrim (like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion) will be roughly 16 square miles. It will also feature five major cities and 130 dungeons. This game will end relationships, as your significant other packs their stuff and moves out. But you will be busy fighting dragons, so you might not even notice.

One thing that may be working against Skyrim is its release date of November 11, just three days after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is released. In fact, November is shaping up to be the biggest month of the year for releases.  So while the longtime Elder scrolls fan will probably be waiting in line at midnight to pick up their copy, the casual fan will have a tough choice.

(Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is due out for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 11)

Gears of War 3

With Bungie having completed its work on Halo for good, and leaving the exclusive bosom of Microsoft to pursue the artistic dream of making a ton of money, the Gears of War franchise has become the flagship game among the Xbox 360 exclusives. There will be more Halo games in the future, but for now the 360 belongs to Gears of War.

Gears 3 marks the finale of the current trilogy. There will be more Gears games in the future, but Gears 3 will end the current storyline and bring to completion a story that began in 2007. Finally. It is something of a surprise to see Gears 3 at E3 once again, as it was originally due out in April of this year. But unlike movies, when a game is delayed, it is usually for the best. So we wait, patiently observing the trailers, keeping an eye on the betas and pre-ordering our copies. If you own a 360, this game is almost a must have. Not only because it is a good series, but so you can finally taunt your PlayStation-3-owning friends and have something to hold up against their impressive collection of exclusive titles.

(Gears of War 3 is due out as an Xbox 360 exclusive on September 20)

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword is the 98th game in the Zelda franchise (roughly), but the first designed for the Wii. But wait, what about Twilight Princess you ask? That title was actually developed for the Gamecube, then ported over to the Wii. So basically, it just confirms that the timing of the team behind the Zelda games suck, as it will be released after the Wii 2 will have been announced. That probably won’t stop the close to 90 million Wii owners from considering picking it up though.

This will be the third E3 where Skyward Sword has been featured. It’s becoming tradition. It will almost be sad when it is released, because then it won’t be at E3 2012. But by then maybe they will announce another Zelda for the Wii 2 that will be out in three to five years. Here’s hoping. And speaking of hoping, with luck Nintendo will announce a release date for the game. Maybe it will be released in November along with all the other games.

(The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is due out as a Wii exclusive later this year)


RAGE is the weirdo of this list, as it carries the distinction of being the only original intellectual property on this list. Every other game is either a sequel, or at least part of a long-running franchise. RAGE is a freak, but it should not be shunned. Who are you to judge it because it is different? You are a terrible person! Anyway, the creators Doom and the developers that created first-person shooters (we look forward to your corrections, readers) are back with a new FPS.

Last year, RAGE stole the show at E3, and there is no reason to believe that it won’t do so again this year. With the game due out in September, there should be plenty of gameplay footage, playable demos and videos galore. Without the lucrative “Call of Duty” tag on this, or any other signs that RAGE is part of a series or a sequel, it will have to earn street cred the old fashion way—by being a good game. If any game on this list has the potential to become a hit based on its merits, it is RAGE.

(RAGE is due out for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 13)

Uncharted-3-Drake-Deception-coverUncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

One of the best franchises around right now (and an excellent reason to shell out the cash for a PlayStation 3), the third game in the Uncharted series will be showing off a bunch of new details at E3. The story has already been teased, and it will likely follow the pattern set by Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, where the game feels like you are playing a movie. And if the movie-like nature of the game wasn’t clear, having Sony show the game in the “Uncharted Theater” should end that discussion.

Without cheating and looking down, go ahead and guess when Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception will be released. Here’s a hint, half of the biggest games of the year will be its direct competitors. With a November release, that makes five games all due out on the same month. To put that in perspective, if you bought all five, you would be out $300, and that is before tax. It is an expensive month to be a gamer. On the bright side, Christmas will be interesting this year.

(Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is due out as a PlayStation 3 exclusive on November 1)

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