E3 2002 Preview: The RPG Genre
I'll give you a clue: 'multiplayer', and 'massively' feature heavily.
Undoubtedly the genre that has enjoyed the biggest revival in popularity of recent years, the humble ‘role-playing’ adventure has benefited greatly from the new opportunities of online play. What’s more, the future looks exceedingly bright, as this years line-up of top RPGs at E3 proves. Here’s the lowdown… The massively multiplayer online role-playing game will perhaps be the biggest and most high-profile sub-genre at the show, certainly in terms of attention games are likely to receive, perhaps most notably Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, one of the shows grandest titles, and one we hope to glean a lot more information on from LA. A number of companies are also launching new forays into this burgeoning market; including UK-giants Codemasters who’ve gone from strength to strength in recent years and have an impressive habit of adding their own unique-twist to popular genres; they’ll certainly be hoping to just that with Dragon Empires. We’ll be bringing you more detail on this as the game debuts at the Expo. Another title which could surprise, is CDV’s long-hyped Neocron, a Blade Runner-esque MMORPG, which, if nothing else, is set in a beautifully realised world. We’ll be seeing what’s new to be had on that one, too, having enjoyed playing the beta earlier this year. Another ambassador for the genre that could surprise everyone is Horizons, from Arxel Tribe, which looks more than capable of turning a few heads with its promised innovations; what’s more, there’s sure to be some new details released on it at the show. Meanwhile, Funcom will attempt to add a new life to the ailing Anarchy Online, with their ‘Anarchy Online: Shadowlands’ expansion – which could prove quite enterprising, as it’ll need to be! More juicy goodness on that one from E3. Infogrames will of course be gushing about Neverwinter Nights to their hearts content while the usual crowds gather to wonder - we may even have some new images on this one. We hope. Mythic will use the expo to add weight behind the Dark Age of Camelot push, displaying their ‘Shrouded Isles’ add-on to the hugely popular MMORPG. Meanwhile Sony will pile the pressure on the competition with their showing of Everquest II, which could prove the toast of LA if it lives up to expectations; we’ll certainly be on the look out for more details and images from this new beast. Sticking with the online genre for the moment, Ubi Soft will also be hoping to win Shadowbane a few new friends, and it certainly looks promising. While Westwood will have Earth and Beyond on offer. Continuing from the critical acclaim currently being garnered by Morrowind, Bethesda will be pimping Sea Dogs II, an RPG in the traditional sense – with some lovely looking graphics, at the show. Meanwhile, Eidos will be showcasing, for the first time, Deus Ex 2 on PC and Xbox. Now that will be one worth looking out for. The Hobbit, Vivendi’s take on matters of the Tolkien will also be available, so we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for juicy goodness on that one, too. Exciting-announcements abound as Interplay promise a new RPG unveilment, while leaving the online realms for a moment, they’ll also be showing off the impressive Icewind Dale II. Meanwhile, LucasArts will also display Star Wars Galaxies (back to online!), to the masses, and we dearly hope for more on this. This is definitely a high-profile title that may well live up to hopes, and could certainly prove a favourite with crowds. Bringing up the rear in the online RPG stakes is Asheron’s Call 2, Microsoft’s hotly tipped sequel which could well prove popular at the show; and with Bill’s bucks behind certainly has a great deal of potential. It already looks stunning. More news on this as we get it. Indeed, we’ll be bringing you more coverage and announcements concerning all RPG goings-on come the 22nd, so stay tuned.