E3 2009 Preview: The ‘Real’ E3 Returns

e3_logo_mediumThe past few years the Electronic Entertainment Expo has gone through a few strange iterations. After the week long gaming binge trade show became the nerdcore equivalent of Las Vegas, the video game industry decided it needed a change. Two years ago, it was spread throughout LA with conferences occurring all around the city at different hotels, which made it a nightmare for attendees and the press covering the event. Last year, E3 invaded a large hangar in Santa Monica but got virtually no coverage by the mainstream press.

This year, E3 returns to the LA Convention Center to its full, overindulgent style with huge press conferences, over the top million dollar booth displays and, of course, what every attending GameStop employee dreams of: booth babes. What reporter attending the event doesn’t love trying to get information about a huge upcoming title from an extremely hot yet air headed and underpaid Los Angeles model/actress who barely knows the name of what she’s promoting, let alone any useful information about it? Sign me up!

So, with the show returning to its former lavish size and style, what are E3’s biggest announcements going to be this year? Unfortunately, I’m not a mind reader so I don’t know what they are yet, but I will tell you that there are five possible times when this big news might come down. Starting tomorrow and streaming live on the shows’ official site E3 Insider, Microsoft will be giving their press conference at 10:30 am PT. This year, Microsoft has been very quiet as to what could be announced at E3. Most likely are Xbox 360 exclusives Alan Wake, Halo 3: ODST and Mass Effect 2 but it wouldn’t be E3 without a big surprise announcement such as the Grand Theft Auto 4 and Gears of War 2 announcements from previous years.

While Alan Wake has garnered intrigue based on the lack of information being given out about it, Halo 3: ODST has not gotten the attention like previous Halo franchise titles. Most likely because players will not be able to be Master Chief for the first time in this new game. Along with Microsoft’s expected announcements, there has been a rumored big announcement from Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios, the man behind hits such as Fable, Fable 2 and Black and White. What he will be announcing, if anything, remains a mystery at this point.

The rest of day one’s big press announcements will come from publishers EA at 2 pm PT and then Ubisoft at 5 pm PT. After all of Activision’s Guitar Hero announcements over the previous week, EA will probably give a big splash for their upcoming Beatles: Rock Band game along with footage of other EA staple franchises such as the next Madden. Ubisoft will likely follow up on last year’s hit, Assassin’s Creed with this year’s sequel and the upcoming Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, a new FPS set in the Old West.

e3floor1Day two will focus full attention on heavy-hitters Nintendo at 9 am PT and Sony at 11 am PT. Like Microsoft, Nintendo hasn’t given a lot of information about what to expect coming in to E3.  Right now, Nintendo’s most anticipated title is Wii Sports Resort, the follow up to the top selling Wii game of all time Wii Sports — which uses the Wii’s new controller attachment: Wii Motion Plus. In addition, there are expectations for a new Mario title coming this year to Japan before year’s end and a rumored Wii Fit Plus, following up on the popular fitness driven non-game.

Sony, on the other hand, has tons of attention from the plethora of information about upcoming games for their Playstation 3 system. With a promotional countdown timer set to end the day before their E3 conference, Kojima Productions has hinted very heavily at another iteration of the top selling Metal Gear Solid franchise. In addition, Playstation Triple A level Exclusives God of War III, Ratchet and Clank Future and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves will all be prominently on display.

Not to be outdone by the next-gen consoles, the PC will be properly represented by real time strategy title Supreme Commander 2 and Lucas Arts and Biowares’ second attempt at a Star Wars MMO called Star Wars: The Old Republic. Sadly, some upcoming games won’t be properly represented at E3, most specifically the now multi-platform zombie epic  Dead Rising 2. Due to the swine flu scare, Japanese developer Capcom won’t be sending many, if any, representatives to E3.

In addition to what has already been mentioned, there are tons of games to look forward to hearing information and seeing some gameplay footage from. First and foremost on my own list comes from Activision’s DJ Hero. After the success of the Guitar Hero franchise, turntableism is brought to the video game world once again, this time being backed by named artist such as Jay-Z and Eminem. Hopefully, Activision will keep the hits coming with more information about The Flickcast favorite Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. After seeing the awesome Deadpool character trailer, we can’t wait to see what other characters might be announced at the big event.

boothbabesFinally losing the Call of Duty surname, Modern Warfare 2 will also be on display as one of the greatest shooters ever finally gets its much anticipated sequel. 2K Game’s Bioshock 2 will most likely make its way to the shore floor with some information on more of the single player campaign and the series first ever attempt at the multiplayer arena.

Any other predictions or hopefuls on what may be on display or announced? After patent technology rumors proved to be truth, it may be possible that Microsoft will move in to the motion control territory that the Playstation 3 failed to grasp while the Wii dominated. After years without any details being discussed, Valve will finally give information on Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Microsoft, after being very quiet on the news front thus far, will reveal a new triple A franchise title that will release before the end of the year.

Regardless of how accurate any of these predictions may be (and many of them may not be), it’s likely that with E3’s return to its old ways with booming music, million dollar spectacles and most importantly, big announcements, this year has the potential to be the biggest and best E3 yet.

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Be sure to keep checking back right here this week for more E3 coverage.

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