E3 2002 Preview: The Action Genre
This years LA-based event could be the best yet for the worlds favourite gaming-genre...
The time has come, and finally publishers who’ve been saving themselves for E3 (or at least using that as an excuse to be generally unhelpful to people like me) are to let-rip with everything they’ve got in a bid to out-hype the competition at what has to be the premier event in the games industry calendar. Not only will the public eye and mass-media be focussing it’s gaze on the products on display for the three-days of the event; it is this showcase that will make or break many of the titles and products on display. A poor-response to your hottest triple-A title, could seriously damage your intricately planned marketing push. So without further ado, lets take a look at whose got what in-store for us that we’ll be hearing a lot more about during, and after, E3. The Action Genre Always the most eye-catching genre, and often at the forefront of the most envelope-pushing technologies, the action bracket will be amply represented in LA this year. Most anticipated of the bunch has to be id Software’s Doom III, which will be on display at Activision’s stand and we fully expect the first detailed information and ‘proper’ screenshots to arrive, too. "DOOM III will change what people expect to see and experience in a PC game," gushed Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software. "We couldn't be more psyched about DOOM III, and are thrilled to debut the title at E3 with Activision. Get ready to be terrified." Certainly sounds promising, especially for those that remember with spine-tingling relish their first Doom encounter on the PC all those years ago. Activision will also be pushing other action-centric offerings such as their Spider-Man cash-in, sorry, ‘tie’-in. As well as Blade II, and a couple of X-Men games. Another title sure to be up-there with the most high-profile will be Acclaim’s return to the lost world in the shape of Turok: Evolution, a big release for the publisher, the game is out on pretty much every next-gen console format going. Not one of the big-boys in the traditional sense, but Turok has the potential to sell massively providing it lives up to expectations. What’s more, we fully expect a deluge of new detail on the game at E3. Crave will also be out in force at the show, and touting most-notably the interesting Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter, a game which promises to blend ‘seamlessly’, the transition from first-person shooter to space combat action. Certainly has potential, and we expect more on this innovative beastie at E3. An important title for Crave, given that it is scheduled for release across every next-gen console and PC late this year. Believe it or not, Disney are also up there this year among the most exciting action-games on show, albeit in conjunction with Monolith who are currently developing a Tron game using their latest Lithtech engine. News on this one is scarce, to say the least, but with original-movie design guru Syd Mead at the show, there’s sure to be some new images and details to be had. Eidos Interactive have struggled in recent years, but to their credit their E3 line-up shows a great deal of quality, rather than quantity, with even the new Tomb Raider game looking to be far more than the usual bland update. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness will be out on PS2, followed by PC, come the end of the year – and from what’s been revealed so far the game looks rather more creatively original than past sequels. Expect more detail on this; sure to be one of E3s most interesting action games. Hitman 2, due for a release this September, will also be in the public eye – and could prove a surprise hit with the crowds. Another company returning en force is LucasArts, whose reputation seems to have degenerated of late, but whose E3 line-up is quite inspiring. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Bounty Hunter, Indiana Jones and the Emperors Tomb (following on from the excellent ‘Infernal Machine’), and the deeply-impressive looking Gladius, will all be on-display from the action genre. Making this E3 one of LucasArts’ biggest yet. A few potential show-stoppers there, for sure, and we fully expect and hope for more information and screenshots to deluge you with. Vivendi, or Sierra if you prefer, also have a few new tricks up their sleeve, perhaps most notably the PS2 multiplayer game Tribes Aerial Assault, as well as the excellent-looking Malice, and a new SWAT game. All of which looks promising, and we hope for a few new announcements, too. Something from Valve would be lovely… Also hailing from the continent, Ubi Soft have an impressive variety of original action games on show this year, including possible ‘best of show’ game, XIII; a cell-shaded first-person shooter which will use the Unreal engine to deliver a graphic novel. Sounds exciting, certainly. Ubi Soft also have Rayman 3, Raven Shield (in the Rainbow Six line), and Splinter Cell. A new game will be unveiled, too, tentatively titled Project BG&E, which is from the creator of Rayman. “What propels this game into the upper echelon of next-generation games is not only an engrossing storyline but the Promise of Discovery”, said Michel Ancel, Game Designer. “We’ve designed a brand new, exclusive game engine from ground up that has allowed us to integrate a whole universe in one game including mountains, cities, towns, planets and more. Our goal was to provide gamers an opportunity to experience absolute immersion through a unique story and free roaming environments – a world with no bounds.” More news from the show as we get it on that one. Behemoth publishers Electronic Arts, will be at the show – no doubt sporting the usual massive presence, and they’ll be touting the likes of James Bond 007 NightFire – which is out at the end of 2002, on all-formats. Medal of Honour Frontline will also be selling itself, as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which will no doubt draw the crowds. Hopefully plenty of goodies on all of these from LA on the 22nd. CDV’s Halo-alike Breed will also be on show, shortly before its ever-looming release, and we hope to get a better look at that one, while Codemaster’s will pimp IGI 2, and the excellent looking Prisoners of War – which could prove another surprise hit with event-goers. We hope for more images and detail from the latter, especially. On a more unwholesome note, any award for the most controversial game of the show would surely have to go to Running with Scissor’s Postal 2, which could quite possible be the most tasteless game ever-created, and is sure to be a hit with the Daily Mail crowd. Drawing to a conclusion now, another big-name game quite capable of causing a stir is Verant’s Planetside, which will be proudly displayed at the Sony Online stand, and we’re looking forward to news on its progress. Westka Interactive also bring up the rear with their impressive action-adventure-RPG hybrid The Y-Project, which is another candidate who could take the show by storm. We look forward to bringing you more news on these games and more (including a few new announcements), when E3 kicks-off in LA on May 22nd. See you then!