E3 2009: What to Expect

Developers are furiously fine-tuning experimental builds of their latest games, ostentatious displays the size of small cities are speeding their way to Los Angeles in semis, and booth babes are packing their make-up bags and pushup bras as we speak. That’s right… This year’s edition of annual PC and video game industry tradeshow the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) – one that should herald the return to the over-the-top antics gamers love and miss – is just around the corner. And that means the gaming world is already boiling over with news, rumors, and utter speculation about what we’ll see when the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center officially fling open on June 2nd.

Granted, we’ve already heard whispers that Sony will debut a PSP that only plays downloadable games and a motion-sensing PS3 remote, had no less an authority than the Wall Street Journal confirm that Microsoft will debut a 3D camera for the Xbox 360, and seen teaser shots of the motion sensing skateboard controller for Tony Hawk Ride. But these juicy tidbits barely scratch the surface of the high-tech smorgasbord that’s to come, especially if you’re a joystick-loving geek. Can’t wait to find out what’s in store? Fear not: Here’s a sneak preview of a few of the biggest titles we’re looking forward to getting our grubby hands on with when a pasty flood of gaming journalists (us included) spills through the event’s front doors next week.

Forza Motorsport 3Forza Motorsport 3

Gearheads and geeks alike anticipate the third edition of this hyper-realistic racing game, which should have so many real-life cars to choose from (rumor has it, around 400) that it will have to come on two discs. Though it’s almost a guaranteed showing at E3, the real test for fans will be to see whether the title includes 24 Hours of Le Mans, a popular race long missing from the series that will occur only weeks after E3.

BioShock 2BioShock 2

When an original game mops up as much praise and awards as BioShock, it’s safe to say the sequel will catch some attention. BioShock 2 will place players in the role of a Big Daddy – one of the most imposing and ominous adversaries from the first game – on a new romp through the underwater world of Rapture.

Assassin’s Creed 2Assassin’s Creed 2

After offering players a chance to cut, stab and slice their way through the Holy Land circa 1189 in the first Assassins Creed, Ubisoft will drop players to another violent historical sandbox in the game’s second version, which will take place in Renaissance Italy. Ezio Auditore Di Firenze, a young nobleman, must become an assassin to avenge his family, sending players on a quest to dispose of evildoers all over Florence.

Lionhead Studios LogoRichter

Little is known about this upcoming title from Lionhead Studios besides said codename for now, but with gaming great Peter Molyneux (most recently acclaimed for his work Fable II) at the helm, we’re expecting great things. If the studio can maintain the secrecy surrounding the title up until next week, this will be one game to watch when the curtains lift.

Modern Warfare IIModern Warfare II

Despite recent trailer goofs during a TNT world premiere, the hype machine for the top simulation of modern military combat is officially in high gear. Early previews are rife with all the jaw-dropping high-definition gunfire and explosions you would expect, plus some unexpected tidbits like playable snowmobiles and guys getting stabbed off of them. We can’t wait to get behind the controls.

Halo 3: 0DSTHalo 3: 0DST

Suffice it to say that the team working on “the new Halo” has some Master-Chief-sized boots to fill and expectations to meet. Though it will use the same game engine as Halo 3, 0DST will actually serve as a prequel to the events of that game, putting players in control of a less-rugged soldier who must use stealth and tactics to survive while searching for his teammates inside the city of New Mombassa.

Splinter Cell: ConvictionSplinter Cell: Conviction

Elite super-soldier Sam Fisher returns for a seventh Splinter Cell game in Conviction, which will have the gravelly-voiced hero returning to action two years after the events of Double Agent. This time around, he’ll ditch the resources of Third Echelon to go rogue, blending into plain sight rather than hopping from shadow to shadow, on a mission to save his friend.

Lucas ArtsLucasArts Mystery Title

Here’s a treat for the classic gaming crowd who can recall the glory days of this game studio back in the ‘90s: Rumor has it the company will be reincarnating one of its older franchises in an upcoming game. Grim Fandango? Full Throttle? Monkey Island? With Sam & Max already alive and kicking again as a successful episodic series courtesy of Telltale, we’re itching to find out.

Alan WakeAlan Wake

With some gamers almost ready to chalk this title up as vaporware, E3 will be a critical show for Max Payne developer Remedy to strut its stuff and prove to the community that it can deliver another blockbuster. Gamers will play as Alan Wake, a writer who becomes trapped in the story of his latest work, dodging darkness to stay alive.

God of War 3God of War 3

Sony resurrects characters from Greek mythology yet again for the latest installment of this ultra-violent third-person action game. Supposedly the last of the series, God of War 3 was announced at last year’s E3, and by the looks of screenshots, will feature the most photorealistic head-tearing action you could ask for.

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