The biggest video game announcements of the year are just days away! Each year at the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo, top game developers show off their upcoming games and systems, hosting huge press conferences to get us excited about their new titles and start us pining away for a chance to play them ourselves. iPad and iPhone owners can experience it for themselves courtesy of the free Official E3 2012 App, which will bring the news directly to you. Additionally, the major console makers will each be streaming their press conferences on the web, so we’ve picked out the biggest announcement expected at each and rounded up the links below.
Nintendo: Wii U - Without a doubt, the most anticipated press conference to come out of this year’s E3 convention is from Nintendo. The pioneering Japanese video game company is set to unveil major details about their next upcoming console, the Wii U, their follow up to the super-mega-ultra-popular Wii system and a direct response to the growing trend of tablet gaming. First revealed at last year’s E3, the Wii U will build on the concept of motion-controlled gaming by allowing gamers to play a single game on two displays: a television and a portable, tablet-like controller with a 6” touchscreen embedded in it. While it will be up to Nintendo and other game makers to create compelling games that use these dual screens in interesting ways, some examples from last year’s demonstration were very promising. Additionally, Nintendo and their partners have been designing dual-screen games for the handheld Nintendo DS and 3DS systems for several years now and will be able to use that as a jumping off point. Expect a new Super Mario Bros. title to be shown off, as well as new entries in at least a couple other popular Nintendo franchises such as Zelda, Mario Kart, Pikmin, Wii Sports, Smash Bros, Metroid or even Star Fox. Nintendo will be broadcasting all of their announcements online, so watch this page to see what happens with your very own eyes.
Playstation 3: The Last Of Us - It seems less and less frequent that a whole lot of time, energy, and (of course) money is thrown behind a brand new franchise. However, based off of the success of their last trilogy of games in the Uncharted series, developer Naughty Dog has earned Sony’s trust and has been given a full set of resources to try something different with. Pitched as a post-apocalyptic survival/action game exclusive to the Playstation 3, The Last Of Us sees you and a companion rummaging through an overgrown, underpopulated future for supplies and sustenance while dodging bandits and mutants wherever you go. With Uncharted, this team of developers proved that they know how to make a visually stunning game, as well as how to craft long, cinematic action sequences with a high adrenaline factor. With their next game they’ll up the stakes by presenting a more personal and precarious tale where shooting your way out won’t always be an option. Rather, stealth, cunning, and knowing when to high-tail it out of there will be a requirement for every encounter, if you hope to survive. Check out a cinematic trailer for the game here, and expect to see gameplay at Sony’s press conference, which you can stream here.
Xbox 360: Halo 4 - The jewel of Microsoft’s Xbox system, first-person shooter and multiplayer favorite Halo has always been a juggernaut and isn’t about to stop now. In terms of the single-player experience, we’re going to witness the rebirth of one of gaming’s most popular characters, the laser-toting, cybernetic super-soldier Master Chief, in a game that will expand that popular sci-fi universe and serve as the jumping off point for several sequels to come. This will also be the first Halo game to be taken out of the hands of the original (Microsoft-owned) designers, Bungie Studios, who have moved onto other projects. Halo 4 should serve as a fine example of the dual-edged nature of big budget video game development; because it’s a known quantity with a massive fanbase, Halo 4 has a gigantic budget that supports hundreds of artists, engineers, and designers set to deliver an epic blockbuster. But because the fanbase is so fervent and the game’s mechanics have already been refined over more than a decade’s worth of iterations, it must stay close to its own billion dollar formula. Luckily, that formula is a lot of fun. Until Microsoft’s press conference, here is a great video about the game’s development to keep you busy. Then stream the press conference online via YouTube right here.
Alexei Bochenek is a lifelong tech nerd & film buff based in Los Angeles. When he’s not playing with his phone, it’s because the movie has started. Shhhhh!