In yesterday's feature we took an brief look at the unconfirmed and unannounced E3 titles that we wanted to see at this year's show. Today, we take our speculation caps off, or at least turn them sideaways, and focus on what we know is definitely going to be at the show. Expect a lot of the huge franchises to make an appearance in this countdown mixed in with a few titles that we think will shine the socks off all the journalists as they dash from appointment to appointment. Let the battle commence!!
10. The Beatles: Rock Band
What happens when you mix two of the world’s biggest franchises/brands together? Simple, you get a Big Mac flavoured Coca-Cola ... Orrrr if that doesn’t float your boat, you get The Beatles: Rock Band. As MTV and Harmonix’s yearly Rock Band title, The Beatles: Rock Band will follow one of the world’s greatest bands from their first album right the way through to their final album with what is bound to include some memorable songs along the way. The track list and the general difficulty are currently a mystery at the moment but we look forward to seeing how it shapes up as we go hands on with it at this year’s E3.
9. Mafia II
2K’s line-up this year is certainly very strong, especially if you take into account their sister company, Rockstar, who have some gems lined up as well. Two of their bigger titles feature in our list this year with the newly revitalised Borderlands just missing out. The original Mafia title (The City of Lost Heaven) was a huge success on the PC but failed to make any impact on the consoles with the port sacrificing many aspects that made the PC title so successful. Here we are though, 7 years later with a bigger and more powerful console at their disposal and the original developers 2K Czech (formerly Illusion Softworks) still at the helm ... the future sounds bright. The screens and trailers have all been great so far, and we can’t wait to see it in action.
8. Dirt 2
The original Dirt title on the Xbox 360 was the start of Codemasters’ rise to the top of the racing genre on the Xbox 360. The title offered a beautiful backdrop for gamers to really get immersed in, a real time damage game system that meant you had to think fast and react even quicker, and a pretty damn responsive racing mechanic. With Dirt 2 already looking absolutely incredible and the developers placing a huge amount of emphasis on car customisation, Dirt 2 could be one of the best racers at the show ... and yes, we realise that Forza 3 is likely to make an appearance.
7. Bioshock 2
Don’t get us wrong, we expect Bioshock 2 will be one of the biggest games for 2009 but it feels like we’ve seen so much already. The ten minute gameplay clip that 2K released earlier on in the year gave us enough to satisfy us that the title is going to build upon its predecessor and then some. However with a slightly different development team at the helms, will it have the impact that the original had? Will it be original enough to be not just another sequel than rides on the coattails of its predecessor? Only time will tell and E3 seems like a perfect platform to eradicate those fears and anxieties.
APB is set to feature behind-closed-doors at this year’s E3 and the MMO from Crackdown creators, Realtime Worlds, has some pretty impressive ties to it that involve some of the original GTA creators from the then DMA design (now Rockstar North). Described by Realtime Studios boss, Colin MacDonald, as the “the bastard child of everything we’ve been striving towards over the 15-20 years that Realtime Worlds, DMA and David Jones have been making games,” APB sets to pit the good guys, the Enforcement, against the bad guys, the Criminals, in a nitty-gritty street MMO. At current time, the 360 truly lacks an immersive and successful MMO and we have a feeling that this may be just what the doctor ordered.
5. Aliens vs. Predator
SEGA undoubtedly have a strong line-up at this year’s show but it’s one of their more unknown titles that manages to sneak on to our list ... and by sneak, I mean jump straight in at number 5. This year we decided to look past Bayonetta and Alpha Protocol, and put our faith in the already fantastic looking Aliens vs. Predator. With three campaign stories already confirmed and a pretty unique sounding multiplayer, we’re predicting that their big title this year will involve some ugly ass aliens and some high tech extraterrestrial bad ass.
4. Splinter Cell: Conviction
Unlike most titles in our top 10 this year, we don’t really know what to expect from Splinter Cell: Conviction at this year’s show, and frankly ... that excites us. After a pretty torrid few years of the title being dragged back to the drawing board, Splinter Cell: Conviction is set to storm back guns blazing at this year’s E3. The Xbox 360 console exclusive, will star fan-favourite Michael Ironside once again who returns to voice Sam Fisher and with around 3 years of development under its belt, we expect Splinter Cell: Conviction to be one of the top games at the show.
3. Modern Warfare 2
Where would a Top 10 list this year be without Infinity Ward’s follow-up to their 2007 award winning game? Call of Duty 4 still currently floats around and occupies the top spots in the Xbox Live usage table and that is a true testament to its staying power and inspiring quality. We’ve not seen much of the title in action so far, barring a short commercial recently, but what we want to see is some actual gameplay footage, something that the commercial rarely gave us. Sure it was all in-game engine, but that’s not enough for us. Expect more of the same from Infinity Ward this year in Modern Warfare 2 ... a mouth watering statement on its own, and expect it to be one of the hits of the show.
2. Assassin’s Creed 2
The original Assassin’s Creed is what we’d classify as a “marmite” title – you either love it, or you hate it. Whether you fall into either of those camps, you can still appreciate how beautiful it looked and how it tried something different. Either way the title sold excruciatingly well, so the sequel was pretty much a given. This time however, the title boasts a new character .. that can swim (huzzah), a new setting and a ginormous development team behind it. Assassin’s Creed 1 was an extremely noble and impressive effort, but its sequel could be out of this world!
1. Mass Effect 2
Shepard’s dead!? Shepard’s alive!? He’s dead!? Course he bloody isn’t ... BioWare aren’t that stupid ... or are they? Not only have they successfully got people talking about Shepard’s so called demise in the build up to E3, but Mass Effect 2 seems to be leaving the impressive original standing in its wake. With new races, new weapons, no more texture pop-up, a darker plot, more side missions, better unchartered worlds navigation, a better Mako, more consequences which ultimately cause death and so much more, Mass Effect 2 is shaping up to steal the show.
That about wraps up our pre-E3 coverage with the show set to start on Monday and the 20 games we’ve run through in this feature and yesterday’s feature pretty much guarantee that E3 will be returning back to its best. Check back tomorrow as we lay down our plans for the show with plenty of coverage coming at you from the show floor coupled together with our trademarked sarcasm and genuine excitement. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a plane to catch.