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E3 2012 preview

E3 2012 PreviewFor the video games fans of the world, next week is one that has been circled on the calendar for a long, long time now. The video game industry comes out in their figurative Sunday best, games will be unveiled, and new hardware will get a closer look. It is the Super Bowl for gamers.

There will, of course, be other games debuted at various times throughout the year, and there will always be new trailers, previews, interviews, and more during the other 51 weeks out of the year. But this is the most hectic, most productive, and most fun week for those that love their gaming.

So with that in mind, here are a just a few of the things we are most looking forward to, as well as the things we wish we would see but know we won’t. Believe us, we know that there will be many other games that will attract our attention, and many that will catch us unaware, so check back next week for our week long coverage directly from LA for more!

Most Anticipated

Assassin’s Creed III

Assassin's Creed 3The AC series is always near the top of our interest list, but this one has hit new heights. After several years focusing on the exploits of the Renaissance-era Italian Lothario, Ezio Auditore, the series is about to be turned in an entirely new direction with a new character, a new setting, a new set of mechanics–not to mention at least a partial conclusion to the story of the modern day protagonist, Desmond.

The new game will feature the character of Connor as he witnesses the birth of ‘Merica and tomahawk chops his way through history during the Revolutionary War. It is definitely intriguing to play through the forming of the nation, but Ezio is going to be a tough act to follow. We’ll trust in Ubisoft though, and prepare to be impressed.

Crysis 3

Crysis 3Crytek has become famous for creating games that are graphical powerhouses, and that is a reputation that is well deserved. But great graphics are only a small piece of the puzzle, and Crytek does more than just make games look pretty. This E3, the creators of the Far Cry and Crysis franchises are back with the first look at Crysis 3.

With Crysis 2 just over a year old, we will probably have to wait a few years until Crysis 3 hits shelves, so the first look is just going to be an appetizer for what is to come and a glimpse at the future.

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3Man, this game looks creepy. But in a good way. The Far Cry series has jumped around a bit, from Crytek to Ubisoft to a god-awful Uwe Boll movie that can physically damage your brain by watching it. The property has been around the block. The newest iteration though, looks to be the best by far, as well as one of the most promising first-person shooters of the year.

If the trailers are any indication, Far Cry 3 is more than just a run-of-the-mill shooter, it is an intense and disturbing trek through a lush and vibrant world filled with killers, thieves, and a full retinue of characters to interact with. This definitely has the potential to be one of the top games of the year.

Gears of War: Judgement

Gears of War: JudgementWe only just found out about the next Gears of War game, but it already has a spot on the list. Part of that anticipation is simply to learn more about the game–like where and when it is set (the good money says it’s a prequel), and partly because Gears as a franchise is worth keeping an eye on.

With the makers of Bulletstorm hard at work on this mystery Gears title that is rumored to star the character of Cole, there are a lot of unanswered questions that will hopefully be resolved next week. But even if the campaign doesn’t wow anyone, there is always the multiplayer (that thousands still play fanatically) to think about.

God of War: Ascension

God of War Ascension Sony has been playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to this game. We have seen a fair amount about the multiplayer already—at least the basics—but almost nothing about the campaign has been announced other than that it’s a prequel. The multiplayer is an admittedly fascinating addition to the series, but it’s the single player experience that has made these games legendary.

Prequel games are a tough sell. The narrative is moving backwards, and when you are using the same character that has already reached their destiny (or at least a significant portion of it), the stakes aren’t quite as high. There are exceptions though, and if anyone can pull it off it’s Sony Santa Monica. That makes Ascension one of our most anticipated.

Halo 4

Halo 4Typically, when a franchise switches hands from its creators to another group, there is cause for concern. When that franchise then has to begin almost from scratch as far as the narrative goes, it is understandable that people treat it with caution. And yet somehow Halo 4 has managed to avoid those pitfalls and generate a fair amount of interest and hype. In fact, many are claiming that Halo 4 is the game they are most interested in from this E3.

Maybe it is because the series has earned the benefit of the doubt, maybe it is because the new developer, 343 Industries, is loaded with people that have worked on Halo games for years and bring a passion to the series. Regardless, Halo 4 is near the top of our list as well.

The Last of Us

The last of usWhen the developer of the Uncharted series announces that it is going to try something new, it is worth paying attention to. And when that something new is post-apocalyptic world where a guy goes “Lone Wolf and Cub” with a young girl, helping her survive mutants and scavengers, then color us intrigued.

It is also nice to see a new IP that has a shot at greatness as opposed to the flood of sequels and franchise games that typically grab all the headlines. The post-apocalyptic/mutant/zombie thing has been done–a lot–but with Naughty Dog at the helm you can expect a decent bit of character development and a substantial emotional investment in those characters. That makes this one to watch.

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops The LineThere are plenty of games out there that claim the title of “military action shooter,” but few have the possibility to disturb and raise the ire of many as much as Spec Ops: The Line. It is a gruesome and disturbing look at war that will challenge gamers to keep playing, and kick the borders of conventional shooters in the face. Or so we hope.

Spec Ops: The Line could be one of those controversial games that ignites discussion from all levels, and results in the industry maturing and expanding a bit, as long as the gameplay is up to the challenge. We’ll find out soon enough.

Star Wars 1313

star wars1313Despite some stumbles over the years, Star Wars games continue to keep our interest, and the recently announced bounty hunter-centric title is no exception. LucasArts is promising a darker and more mature story, which will certainly appeal to the hardcore fans that have had Star Wars in their lives for decades now.

Not much is known about the next SW title, but hey, it’s Star Wars. If the franchise can survive George Lucas’ constant reworkings, it can survive anything. We all know the potential is there. We’ll find out next week if it can come close to living up to it.

Tomb Raider

Tomb RaiderAlthough it has been pushed back to 2013, the next Tomb Raider still has our full attention. And while this is far from the only prequel on the way, this one is a bit unique. Rather than just introducing a new story into the existing canon, this story will fill in a long missing blank in the Tomb Raider mythology and show Lara Croft’s journey from aristocrat to tiger-killing bad ass.

Beyond that, the game just looks great. The trailers have been exceedingly well made, and the gameplay videos have looked solid. The Tomb Raider franchise was always one of the most important in gaming, but the series has been on the decline recently. That looks like it will all change soon.

Wii U

Wii ULast year Nintendo stole the show with the debut of the first next-gen console, the Wii U. It was an exciting prospect. But like a kid coming down off a sugar high, once the moment had passed we were left wanting details. The new console looked shiny and neat-o and the tablet-like controller was somewhat squee-worthy, but the announcement was brilliantly devoid of any actual details, like price, release date, or the system’s technical specs. All of that should change next week.

Following Nintendo’s press conference next Tuesday, we should have all our long standing questions answered. The specs, the cost, when we will get our hands on it, will all soon be well known facts. If not, there may be riots. But beyond our sheer curiosity, there is a greater reason for our desire to know more: the Wii U specs will be the beginning of the next step in the console war. The next era is about to begin, and it goes through Nintendo.

Notably Absent

BioShock Infinite

BioShock InfiniteIt was a sad day when Irrational Games announced that BioShock Infinite would be delayed from October until February of next year. It isn’t uncommon for a game to be delayed, far from it, but this is BioShock! One of the most anticipated games of the year and one of the belles of last year’s E3 ball.

But even with the delay, it is somewhat surprising that there won’t be any sign of the game at this year’s show, even if it is still several months from release. There was enough to show off last year, so why not this year? It won’t hurt the game in any way, but BioShock Infinite will be missed.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto 5GTAV is on the way, and there will probably some news coming soon regarding it, but Rockstar is not going to be showing it off at E3. That means nothing in the grand scheme of things and is in keeping with Rockstar’s strategy, but from purely selfish point of view we would like to see more about this game!

It will come though, and no doubt GTAV will be a huge hit. It will be missed at E3 though.

The Last Guardian

The-Last-GuardianNow, there is still a chance that this title will sneak into the Sony lineup, but recently there has been very little good news about this game. Multiple delays, key people departing, and a generally slow development cycle threaten to be the legacy of this title.

But still, Team Ico have earned a reputation for creating some of the most challenging and original games of the last decade, and The Last Guardian seems poised to join the ranks. We just want to see more of it.

Microsoft and Sony’s next gen consoles

Microsoft and Xbox 360There have been rumors for months—maybe even years now—claiming that the PS4 and Xbox 720 (or whatever it is called) will be debuted at this E3. Both manufacturers have flat out said this isn’t the case, but you can never stop the internet, you can only hope to contain it.

The Xbox 360 and PS3 are both still doing well. Sales are looking good, and both consoles are continuing to add new features that will attract more and more gamers and non-gamers alike. There is a chance that one or both may introduce a modified version of their existing consoles, and we could be wrong, but it seems highly unlikely that we will be picking up our jaws next week after the next gen powerhouses are unveiled. That said, there will no doubt be those that will cry out for the lack of new hardware from Sony and/or Microsoft though. Maybe next E3.

Prey 2

Prey 2Like BioShock Infinite, Prey 2 has been hit with a fairly significant delay following an impressive showing at last year’s E3. But unlike BioShock, Prey 2 does not have a release date so it’s likely that the game is undergoing a fairly massive overhaul and is in no shape to be seen.

It would have been nice to know that the game–which was rumored to have been on the brink of cancellation–still had some life in it. Its absence makes us all wonder how healthy the game really is, and how much it has been changed since we saw it last year. Bethesda gets the benefit of the doubt though, but seeing the game would alleviate a lot of concern. 

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