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Star Wars The Old Republic

EA

The Q&As I posted earlier this week with Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony executives touched on many of E3's biggest announcements, including major first- and third-party platform exclusives as well as Kinect, Move, the Nintendo 3DS, and associated software. Before that, I previewed some of the independent and blockbuster games Canadian studios would have on offer at this year's show.

Now it's time for everything else that's come across my desk over the last few days.

Here are 46 bite-sized bits of information concerning E3-related games and announcements.

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Q? Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi, maker of the popular rhythm-based shooter Rez, will release the psychedelic music-based Child of Eden for Xbox 360 this fall through publishing partner Ubisoft. Players will be able to choose whether they want to use a standard controller or Microsoft's new Kinect interface.

Richard Branson's Virgin Gaming website ( www.virgingaming.com) timed its launch to coincide with E3's opening day Tuesday. It promises to act as a destination for competitive gamers who want to compete in tournaments from the comfort of their living rooms. $1,000,000 in cash and prizes will be handed out in the first 12 months.

Journey , the latest effort from ethereal game maker thatgamecompany ( Flower, flOw), was leaked a day before its E3 announcement via a NeoGAF forum and later confirmed by the studio via Twitter. The new game looks to have a lovely but desolate desert setting and will apparently feature the sort of minimalist, accessible play its developers are known for. Expect it on the PlayStation Network.

Another World mastermind Eric Chahi is working on a downloadable game for Ubisoft code-named Dust that involves a tribe that uses the elements to control a planet crumbling around them. It will be available for download on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2011.



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Valve Software will launch Portal 2 in 2011. A new trailer features locations outside Aperture Laboratories, a familiar computer voice, some lovely music, and a bit a humour. It's coming to Xbox 360, PC, Mac OS X, and-surprise-surprise-PlayStation 3.

St. Catherine's-based Silicon Knights announced that it will collaborate with McMaster University, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and Mohawk College to develop a research institute focused on interactive digital media. Dubbed " Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media," the organization aims to "pioneer and shape cutting edge advances in the interactive entertainment arena."

Microsoft has announced the 2010 line-up for their annual Summer of Arcade series of high-profile downloadable games. It includes: Lara Croft and the Guardian of the Light Monday Night Combat, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, and Limbo.

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More information trickled out regarding Crysis 2 , Crytek's ballyhooed multiplatform shooter slated to release February 22nd next year. It apparently offers a different sort of sandbox gaming experience, one in which players have freedom to roam but also experience the benefits of more linear play. Publisher EA confirmed that it will be available in 3-D on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Ubisoft announced a new music game based on the catalogue of pop star Michael Jackson. It will apparently involve both singing and dancing, incorporate several of his most famous recordings, and be compatible with Microsoft's Kinect motion control system.



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New footage of EA and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic (pictured at the top of this post) has been released. It's just one long cut scene, but it's enough to make one think that the Edmonton studio's cinematics department really needs to just quit fooling around and make an animated Star Wars film. At this point BioWare seems to have demonstrated they a better feel for the franchise than LucasFilm.

A multiplayer beta for EA's Medal of Honor reboot is set to start June 21st on Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 with maps set in Kabul City and Helmand Valley. You can get in on the action by pre-ordering the game, via your Battlefield: Bad Company 2 game disc, or by taking part in EA's new loyalty program, Gun Club.

On the subject of Battlefield Bad Company 2 , an expansion dubbed Vietnam that features new multiplayer maps, gear, and achievements will hit this winter.

And on the subject of Gun Club-an unfortunate name seemingly certain to draw ire from anti-gaming groups-you can learn more at www.gunclub.ea.com. It appears to be a rewards program for fans of EA shooters that will offer early beta access to various games, special unlocks, and the latest news on EA's military-themed wares.

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The latest Raving Rabbids party game, Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time , will arrive on November 9th. Ubisoft's gaping-mouthed, bunny-like creatures will become chronologically displaced and run up against prehistoric men, Roman gladiators, and medieval knights in a series of brand new mini-games.

A few more details on this fall's PC-exclusive Sid Meier's Civilization V were sprinkled by 2K and Firaxis. The fifth numbered entry in the popular world history simulator will offer bigger battles with armies that "spread across the landscape," ranged bombardment capabilities, improved diplomacy features, and an "unprecedented" set of modding tools for the DIY PC gaming community.



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Dead Space 2 , the follow-up to Visceral Games' hit sci-fi horror game, will arrive on January 25th next year. New trailers for the EA-published game indicate that we'll get a better look at protagonist Isaac Clark, that he'll be exploring a planet-side setting known as the "Sprawl," and that he'll be involved in even more gruesome combat, some of which involves alien vomit. Also, the PlayStation 3 Limited Edition version will include a Move-enabled edition of the formerly Wii-only game Dead Space: Extraction.

Despite losing the talents of franchise creative director Patrice Desilets, who left Ubisoft earlier this week, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will arrive on November 16th this year. The third game in the blockbuster action franchise promises new experiences including the ability to fire cannons, ride horseback in cities, online play, and new acrobatic moves and combat mechanics. Look for an exclusive beta on PlayStation3 later this year.

A registration site for Fallout Online was launched by Interplay Tuesday. It seems likely the new game will be headed up by original Fallout creator Christopher Taylor, who purportedly has been hard at work on it for more than two years as Interplay battled Fallout 3 creator Bethesda Softworks over the right to use the Fallout brand. Nothing about the game has been revealed.

EA Sports says this summer's incarnation of Madden NFL will boast simpler play calling, shorter online game lengths, and 3 vs. 3 online play. A new optional mode called Game Flow will allow for on-the-fly play calling and suggest plays for those who require a bit of guidance.

Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will feature a four-player co-operative campaign, stereoscopic 3-D functionality on consoles, and futuristic technology such as an optical camouflage suit that will make it easier to get closer to enemies. Look for it early next year on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

Criterion's take on EA's popular and long-running Need for Speed franchise will take the form of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit . The multiplatform game will feature separate campaigns for the fuzz and the crooks they chase, and a new feature called Autolog will track player performance online and offer tips on how to drive better.



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Swarm , a downloadable title from Vancouver's Hothead Games, was unveiled via a short teaser trailer by UTV Ignition Entertainment. Players will apparently steer groups of as many as 50 "swarmites" using "mass character control" to lead them through dangerous gauntlets with the objective of reaching goals with at least one member surviving.

Ubisoft's open-world driving franchise will put the pedal to the metal this fall with Driver: San Francisco . The new game will apparently go back to the feel of the original Driver as players take on the role of returning protagonist John Tanner. New features include 100 licensed rides, improved vehicle damage models, and the ability to "shift" from one car to another on a whim (the story takes place in Tanner's mind while he is in a coma, providing context for this seemingly fantastical mechanic).

The debut trailer for Tomonobu Itagaki's ( Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden) Devil's Third , published by THQ, was unveiled, and it looks to be a slick, stylish, and extremely violent swords 'n' guns action game set in modern times amidst a catastrophe. No date has been announced, but it will be coming to both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

EA's The Sims 3 will come to PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 this fall. New footage makes it look a lot like the PC edition. It also looks like it may incorporate elements of the PC expansion packs, such as the ability to choose deeper, playable careers, as seen in The Sims 3: Ambitions.

A new cinematic trailer for LucasArts' Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 shows our returning protagonist getting closer to his Dark side as he takes out his anger on a squad of feckless Stormtroopers. This is followed by a sequence that suggests his anger may be righteous. Alas, he then he incinerates some guys with his mind. But there's still good in him. We can feel it.

Ubisoft is launching a new platform for PC gaming this fall called ManiaPlanet. Games will be released in three genres-first-person shooters, RPGs, and racing games-and place an emphasis on user-generated content that can be tied to games across the platform.



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A new trailer for 5th Cell's Super Scribblenauts makes this DS sequel out to be more accessible and even more imaginative than its predecessor. The big change is the addition of adjectives-angry, crazy, magical, explosive-to the game's already vast dictionary of words that can be translated into onscreen objects, but the trailer also promises deeper levels and better controls.

Warner Bros. Interactive and Snowblind Studios unveiled a trailer for an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC action game dubbed The Lord of the Rings: War in the North , due next year. It's naught but cinematics, but the battle sequences are high quality and feel much like the films.

EA Sports Active 2 , the follow-up to EA's active gaming hit, will come with an armband heart-rate monitor, be available for Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3, and offer Kinect and Move compatibility. Users can expect 70 exercises and the ability to upload progress to a website when it hits shelves this November.

Konami announced a new IP from internal studio Rebellion called Neverdead . A third-person action/horror game, players will apparently engage in sword-based combat and have the ability to "re-assemble [the protagonist's] body to evade death."

Ubisoft's Battle Tag for PC combines laser tag with video game style objectives. Players will play in the real world using physical laser guns, harnesses, and scan-able tags while the software tracks score and provides objectives. This meatspace/cyberspace mashup will hit stores before the end of Ubisoft's fiscal year.

Launching in conjunction with EA Sports MMA this fall is EA Sports Live Broadcast , a service that will see people playing publicly viewable matches online for real prizes with live commentary from actual broadcasters. Look for the action to begin October 19th.



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The E3 trailer for Disney Interactive's Tron: Evolution , developed by Vancouver's Propaganda Games, features some lovely imagery of light cycles, a couple of disk fights, and lots of glowing blue program people, but no actual gameplay footage. Disney says it is designed to give players a feel for the sort of action they will see in the game and create a narrative bridge between game and film.

Not to be confused with the Wii Vitality Sensor Nintendo announced at last year's E3, Ubisoft's Innergy for PCs is a sensor placed on the finger that will monitor the wearer's heart rate. As you concentrate on breathing in and out and following onscreen instructions you work towards something called "cardiac coherence." Used over time it will purportedly help rid the body of stress and allow you to live a longer, healthier life.

Bethesda Softworks released a debut trailer for Hunted: The Demon's Sword , an action game with two-player co-op. It looks to offer old-fashioned sword and bow fantasy combat with plenty of modern graphical glitz.

de Blob 2: The Underground , the follow up to THQ's popular colour-based puzzle/platformer for the Wii, will come to PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS in 3-D, and the Xbox 360 in plain old 2-D. The sequel will see the game's titular hero taking on Comrade Black again, bringing colour back to Prisma City along the way.



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Most of MTV Games' and Harmonix's news for this fall's Rock Band 3 was announced pre-show, but here's a quick rundown of the highlights: expect a new keyboard, a "Pro" mode that promotes a more authentic style of play by forcing drummers to strike specific cymbals and guitarists to employ more precise fret fingering, and a complete game design overhaul.

Shaun White Skateboarding , an Ubisoft release with no set date, will see players altering their environments by skating through them as they try to reclaim the world from a tyrannical government body referred to as "The Ministry."

An E3 trailer for the Platinum Games-developed, Sega-published third-person shooter Vanquish makes the game look like a faster-paced Gears of War with Japanese sensibilities. Think super mean marines with lightning quick movement and lots of flashy effects. Keep an eye out for it on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year.

The as-yet unnamed eighth entry in Konami's Silent Hill series was unveiled via a spooky debut trailer. Konami reps promise it will go back to the series' roots while at the same time offering evolved, "next-generation" survival horror game design. It's slated to come to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 next year.

THQ's Homefront , targeted for 2011 release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, will play on the western hemisphere's fear of North Korea by having the tiny nation-now backed by a nuclear arsenal-invade the United States sometime toward the end of the next decade. A trailer with plenty of impressive live action footage that details the game's back-story was released this week.



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A trailer for 2K Games' reboot of XCOM (fans will notice they've removed the dash between the first and second letters) shows off a picturesque '50s-era world being invaded by inky black amorphous aliens. A first-person shooter exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Windows PCs, players will apparently have the ability to choose from missions located across the U.S. to direct the flow of the story.

Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment released new gameplay footage of Fallout: New Vegas that makes the game look like Fallout 3, only with more gambling, stage shows, and bright lights. We'll find out if there's nothing wrong with more of a good thing when it arrives this fall for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3.

A trailer for Rayman Origins , a 2D platformer in development by Beyond Good and Evil's Michel Ancel, depicts a game with a hand-drawn visual flair that shares little in common with previous Rayman titles. It will be digitally distributed by Ubisoft for the Xbox 360 at a date yet to be determined.

Traveller's Tales Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars made its debut with an E3 trailer that captures the cartoonish vibe of the animated series while offering an HD crispness lacking in the franchise's previous entries. Expect it on pretty much every platform next year.

Follow me on Twitter: @ chadsapieha

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