We saw a lot of great games from a lot of very talented developers at E3 2012. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down, but after careful consideration, everyone who attended E3 on behalf of The Electric Playground have come up with 24 games and products that stood out above all others.
The Last of Us – Naughty Dog/Sony (PlayStation 3)
From the creators of Uncharted comes this gritty game of post-apocalyptic survival. The E3 demo showed ruined cities overgrown with years of vegetation, visceral combat and believable AI behaviour, both from the enemies and your companion.
Injustice: Gods Among Us – NetherRealm/Warner Bros. (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was a surprise hit. Now NetherRealm Studios is doing an all-DC fighting game. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash go to toe-to-toe with villains such as Solomon Grundy and Harley Quinn.
Ed Boon accepts for Injustice: Gods Among Us
Halo 4 – 343 Studios/Microsoft (Xbox 360)
Five years after the events of Halo 3, the Master Chief is back and up against a new enemy, the Prometheans. Halo 4 brings back the persistent character growth introduced in Halo: Reach, and introduces new co-operative missions and episodic content in Spartan Ops.
343 Industries Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill & Creative Director Josh Holmes accept for Halo 4.
Assassins Creed III – Ubisoft (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
From the moment Ubisoft announced that Assassins Creed III was going to take place during the American Revolution–a rare setting for videogames–we knew we were in for something special. Seeing the game at E3 only enforces that impression. We saw cool naval battles and Connor the assassin adding extra red to the Redcoats with a suite of awesome weapons.
Mission Director Philippe Bergeron accepts for Assassins Creed III.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Firaxis/2K Games (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
2K Games is having two XCOM titles developed. There’s the first person strategy shooter, and then there’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a remake of the original XCOM, which is often cited as one of the best strategy games of all time. Imagine a fully 3D turn-based XCOM game where you can fly with jetpacks and shoot your old nemeses like Chrysalids and Heavy Floaters. The E3 demo featured Sid Meier as one of the characters leading the squad. We hope that makes the final game.
Producer Garth DeAngelis and Associate Producer Pete Murray accept for XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
SimCity – Maxis/Electronic Arts (PC)
Another all-time great reborn. The new SimCity will feature multiplayer exchanges where your actions not only change the state of Sims in your city, but in other cities as well. There’s also an insane amount of detail. Welcome back to the city.
Producer Kip Katsarelis accepts for SimCity.
The Unfinished Swan – Giant Sparrow /Sony (PlayStation Network)
Everyday Shooter, Fez, Journey… PlayStation Network has been a big boon for gamers who are looking for something new and different and the creative indie game developers who provide just that. Now welcome The Unfinished Swan to the fold, a game where you venture into a kingdom that is a completely white space and you need to fill it in with your ink in order to explore. Think Epic Mickey taken to its logical extreme.
Producer Max Geiger accepts for The Unfinished Swan.
Beyond: Two Souls – Quantic Dream/Sony (PlayStation 3)
Featuring some of the most realistic and beautiful facial rendering and animation we’ve ever seen, Beyond is the latest game from the studio that loves to mess with our heads with games like Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy. The main character, Jodie Holmes, is voiced and modelled after actress Ellen Page. The game promises to show us 15 years in the life of a (literally) haunted young woman.
Gaikai is an open cloud gaming platform and one of the people behind it is industry legend David Perry. Perry wants gaming to be accessible everywhere in the same way that movies and music are accessible through the web and mobile devices. With Gaikai, users can hop on a webpage and download and play big name games like Mass Effect with a few clicks.
David Perry accepts for Gaikai.
Retro City Rampage – VBlank Entertainment (Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare, PlayStation Network, PC)
A videogame that lampoons other games and game systems, like Grand Theft Auto and the Virtual Boy. That’s what Retro City Rampage is about. Despite the retro appearance it has the trappings of modern games, like an open world and mission structure.
Designer Brian Provinciano accepts for Retro City Rampage.
LittleBigPlanet Karting – United Front Games/Media Molecule/Sony (PlayStation 3)
The two studios who made LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers getting together? Expect crazy customization and mods so deep that they game might as well come with a PlayStation dev kit and a copy of 3DS Max.
Associate Producer Jason Coker and Sackboy accept for LBP Karting.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Treyarch/Activision (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U)
The usual mix of story-driven shooter and deep multiplayer. Black Ops 2 takes place in a near future setting and features the elaborate set pieces we expect from Call of Duty. We saw sequences where you’re in a limo with the president as the city comes under attack and you hopping in a VTOL jet and fighting in the air. And yes, there will be zombies.
Treyarch Studio Head Mark Lamia and VP of Production Daniel Suarez accept for Black Ops 2.
Pikmin 3 – Nintendo (Wii U)
The cute little Triffids are finally getting a new game. Pikimin 3 introduces new Rock Pikmin who can smash through things faster and the Wii U pad acts as a map to guide you around the gardens. Pikimin 3 also adds bigger bosses that will require your best tactics and twitch skills to take down.
Watch Dogs – Ubisoft (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
There are quite a few titles from Ubisoft on this list. One of the most interesting and unusual titles came from Ubisoft Montreal, a game where you play hacker/surveillance expert Aiden Pierce. You can infiltrate locations by hacking into a city-wide network and causing disruptions in everything from security systems to cell phones. Hey, anybody else remember the old Activision game Hacker?
Creative Director Jonathan Morin accepts for Watch Dogs.
Crysis 3 – Crytek/Electronic Arts (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Look at those visuals. Droooooooool…
Senior Creative Director Rasmus Højengaard accepts for Crysis 3.
Joe Danger: The Movie – Hello Games (Xbox Live Arcade)
Stunt driver Joe Danger is getting a movie based on his exploits… well, at least within this game he is. It’s time for more epic races, jumps and other daredevil exploits on levels based off of famous action movies.
Artist Grant Duncan accepts for Joe Danger: The Movie.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two – Blitz Games/Junction Point Studios/Disney (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
Mickey and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit team up to take on a new threat in Epic Mickey 2. The duo can play co-operatively and help each other through the game, and it has a nice boost in visuals thanks to the power of the 360/PS3. There’s also a lot more life thanks to the addition of full voice work for the characters. Expect even more references to Disney movies and cartoons.
Design Director Chase Jones accepts for Epic Mickey 2.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate – Mercury Steam/Konami (3DS)
Handheld games definitely had a reduced presence at this year’s show, to say the least. However, this offering from Konami stood out for its great gothic environments and tight side scrolling combat action.
Sleeping Dogs – United Front Games/Square Enix (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
United Front Games tries its hand at an open world crime game, and we’re very impressed with the results. The game uses a hand-to-hand combat system reminiscent of Batman: Arkham Asylum, and a deep story about a cop who goes deep undercover in Hong Kong in order to smash the Triads. You’ll love the special environmental attacks. During one rooftop rumble, we were slamming heads into industrial fans.
Lead Designer Mike Skupa and Exec Producer Stephen Van Der Mescht accept for Sleeping Dogs.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist – Ubisoft (Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3)
Three words: Killing in Motion. It’s a new version of the Mark & Execute feature we saw in Conviction. It allows you to do more ninja-like instanta-kills. Sam Fisher gets a new voice/mo-cap actor (Eric Johnson) and a new job: head of Fourth Echelon. Terrorists, your game is through, because now you have to answer to… C’mon, sing along everyone!
Creative Director Patrick Redding accepts for Blacklist.
Tomb Raider – Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix (PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360)
Something a little different for Tomb Raider. This is an origin story for Lara Croft, in which she is stranded in the jungle and must fight for survival. From the demo, we see that Lara gets the living crap kicked out of her, grits her teeth and keeps on going. It looks like a cross between Indiana Jones and Deliverance, minus the squealing.
Metro: Last Light – 4A Games/THQ (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
The winning mix of horror survival, 1st person action and scavenging is back. New weapons, new locations and the gore flies so much you may have to wipe it off your goggles.
Global Brand Manager Mark Madsen accepts for Metro: Last Light.
Dishonored – Arkane Studios/Bethesda (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
From our demo, it looks like Dishonored has a little bit of every top action/stealth game. You can be a sneaky assassin, using special abilities to possess people to infiltrate places or walk targets into places where you can kill them. You can rig environmental traps to cause “accidents.” Or you can be a steampunk terminator and use your time manipulation ability to put a crossbow bolt into three guards, then walk away casually before they land. A touch of Assassins Creed, Thief, BioShock and Hitman and we can’t wait.
Executive Producer Julien Roby accepts for Dishonored.
Dead Space 3 – Visceral Games/Electronic Arts (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Isaac Clarke steps outside on to the planet Tau Volantis, which may be the source of the Necromorph infestation. This Clarke isn’t alone in the fight: he’s assisted by Sergeant John Carver, who brings more military weapons to the fight in drop-in, drop-out co-op.
Producers Yara Khoury and John Calhoun accept for Dead Space 3.
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