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E3 2011 preview

Next week the eyes of the video game world turn to Los Angeles like the Eye of Sauron hunting down hobbits, as E3 2011  gets under way. Beginning on Monday, when Microsoft kicks things off with a press event, until the doors close Thursday evening, it will be a time for game fans to revel in the future of the industry and see what it is that they will be playing in the coming months and years.

While you can be sure to anticipate several unannounced titles that will leave us muttering about the unfair nature of time that forces us to wait for their launch, here are a few of the biggest games that we are excited to see at E3.

[Warning: Many of these trailers may be unsuitable for all ages]

Batman-Arkham-City-coverBatman: Arkham City

The first Batman game from Rocksteady, Batman: Arkham Asylum surprised a lot of people by doing something few video games based on comics had done: It didn’t suck. In fact, it was actually very good, and became one of the best games of 2009. Arkham appealed to both Batman fans and gaming fans in general, and the second Batman title looks to build on that with a bigger world, more bad guys, and Catwoman.

Fans of Batman will have to wait until next summer for the next Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Rises, but until then this should help keep the Batman tremors at bay for those that need their fix.

(Batman: Arkham City is due out for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 18)

Battlefield-3-coverBattlefield 3

If there is any first-person shooter that can give Call of Duty a run for its money — or perhaps a run for your money — it is Battlefield 3. Actually, it probably can’t come close to reaching the audience that Call of Duty can, but for those who are a little burned out by the gameplay of Call of Duty, or maybe they are just tired of some of the foul mouthed swine that play CoD, or perhaps they just want a new online shooter, they may be drawn to Battlefield 3. And EA is always happy to take money from Activision.

Last year, EA tried to push the new Medal of Honor, but multiple glitches and a dumb controversy over the inclusion of the Taliban stole the momentum from that game. With Battlefield 3, EA knows that it has a winner and is preparing to let loose the dogs of PR on the world. So far, there is still a lot to be revealed about Battlefield 3, especially more on the online multiplayer. It’s easy to make a few guesses based on the past games and the handful of details released, but hopefully E3 will satiate our curiosity. Then the battle for the hearts and minds of foul-mouthed preteens begins, as both BF3 and CoD: MW3 are released in November.

(Battlefield 3 is due out for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 sometime in November)

Assassins-Creed-Revelations-coverAssassin’s Creed: Revelations

Ubisoft has decided that it likes money, and to that end, it has declared that we can expect a new Assassin’s Creed every year. Multiple teams are working on multiple Assassin’s Creed games, so hopefully they can get it together. It will be harder on them to keep the story linear with multiple developers all having a go, but time will tell if it works out.

The real question is what’s new with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations? The last game introduced the brotherhood (your pet assassins), as well as a multiplayer mode. It was also a new city and an original story. It’ll be interesting to see how Ubisoft can keep the series fresh. A lot of people were hoping for a new character and time period — not that Ezio isn’t boss, but the change between characters in the first and second game opened up so many possibilities that haven’t yet been exploited. A new city to explore, new missions to try and a new plot to unravel could make up for that, as long as the game is well polished.

(Assassin’s Creed Revelations is due out for the PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360 sometime in November)

BioShock Infinite

Although it isn’t due until sometime next year-ish, BioShock Infinite is easily one of the most anticipated games of this year’s E3. Irrational Games, which created the original BioShock before going walkies and leaving the sequel to 2K Marin, is back with a new story, a new setting and a new enemy. Set in 1912 in the floating city of Columbia, Irrational decided to take all the work they did on the underwater city of Rapture and throw it out, then head in an entirely different direction. In an industry where sequels and franchises rule (9 out of 10 games on this list are sequels), BioShock Infinite is basically an entirely new game that just happens to use the same name. There will probably be some plot connections between the games, but for the most part, BioShock Infinite is something totally new.

And what more do you need? You have a floating city, a warped look at American expansionism and a 20-foot tall abusive bird that wants to eat you and steal your lady. That probably isn’t exactly what the back of the box will say when it is released, but the ideas are the same. A decent amount of gameplay footage has been released already, so there should be plenty of stuff to see at E3.

(BioShock Infinite is due out for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012)

Call-of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-3-coverCall of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

To be honest, Modern Warfare 3 could be a steaming pile of poo and it would still make a billion dollars. And that’s not a rhetoric-filled “billion” like Dr. Evil might say when demanding a ransom of the world, it is literally one billion dollars in sales. At least.

The game has a lot of drama wrapped around it. The original Infinity Ward heads were fired, lawsuits were bandied about, feelings were hurt, blah, blah, blah. While it is a shame that the Infinity Ward founders aren’t working on Modern Warfare 3, once the game is on shelves, all of the behind-the-scenes stuff will be forgotten as long as the game is good. If it isn’t, expect plenty of people to bemoan the loss of Jason West and Vince Zampella. If it is good, expect the dollars to flow.

(Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is due out for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 8)