Though this year's E3 may not have overwhelmed us with new material, or knocked us for six with left-field surprises, we can't deny that there are a lot of games that we'll be keeping our eyes on in the foreseeable future. Jon's already handed out a whole bunch of awards pertaining to this year's show, but here are our most anticipated games following this year's show. It might not have been all about the games every step of the way, but we'll hope you'll agree that these undoubtedly warrant a second glance.
Honourable Mentions: Quantum Conundrum, The Last of Us, World of Warplanes, Sleeping Dogs, ZombiU, Dishonored, P-100.
Massive, intricate level design, and an emphasis on freedom has been what has firmly kept Arkane's Dishonored at the forefront of our excited minds since we first laid eyes on it last year. It's a game that destined to take on Skyrim's mantle in lunch break conversations, forum threads, and water cooler moments, as the emergent gameplay leads to innumerable approaches to objectives. Including the ability to possess a fish.
You can possess a fish!
No it doesn't have Ironside voicing Sam Fisher (Which I'll have to get over sooner or later - Ed.), but what you didn't see in the trailers is the vast array of gameplay options available to Mr. Fisher. The sprawling levels and tiered objectives are back, but so is the utter freedom to be as much of a badass or ghost as you want. Ubisoft Toronto are taking on some brave choices, and they knew exactly the buttons they were pressing with those bright, action-packed trailers, but Blacklist looks as if it will cater to all comers very comfortably. And that suits us just fine.
In our wildest dreams we often indulge in flights of fancy that seem impossible to us. But we have been spoiled in many ways in this past year or so, because a number of them are coming true. Tim Schafer is making an adventure game once more. Guillermot Del Toro is bringing his fantastic imagination to our industry. And Studio Ghibli are making a game...with Level-5!
It's the sort of partnership that someone might suggest offhand down the pub, to be greeted with cries of "I'd pay good money for that!"
Only a few more months and we will! Gladly.
Sony deserve credit for sticking firmly to their guns when it comes to brave ventures and nurturing artistic talent. But for each Journey, there's a Datura, with the latter sadly failing to create a compelling experience involving the Playstation Move (an ambitious aim, to be fair). But The Unfinished Swan looks like it might rectify that. Sumptious visuals, innovative puzzles, glorious mechanics, with a simple artistic premise at its core, and an emotional, layered narrative, The Unfinished Swan could well be another knockout title for the PS3.
And the PS Move. Which we don't say very often.
As Ubisoft rode into everyone else's pressers to save the day, they held their flagship title aloft, showing off diverse gameplay experiences in each of its three presentations. AS huge fans of the series, we're naturally eagerly anticipating this sequel, but it's the refreshing nature of everything we've seen that really appeals. Whether scampering through a snowy forest and dancing with wolves, dropping in for a spot of tea and murder with George's finest, or fending off miscreants on the water (ohhhh naval combat), we can't wait for Connor's adventure to begin.
Fingers crossed for minimal Desmond, natch.
The first question I asked Jon when he returned from E3, aside from enquiring as to whether or not he'd wound up in hospital again this time, was very simple: do I need to worry about Hitman: Absolution?
The answer, pleasingly, was no.
The mini sandboxes are back, the plethora of opportunities to plot the perfect murder are well and truly implemented, the hardcore nature of aspiring to be the finest Silent Assassin is most certainly intact. Can we say for certain that IO have crafted a brilliant game? No. But have they created a series of cerebral, open experiences that give the player ultimate freedom? Well probably, yes.
After months of scepticism, colour us excited.
In all honesty, by this point we may be a little bit more excited about the potential of the Namco Bndai co-developed Smash Bros., but Nintendo announced that post-E3 so we can't include it here. Pikmin 3, though, is a worthy addition to the roster. It was the perfect antidote to the ultraviolence of this year's show, and a fantastic game to encapsulate Nintendo's dual approach of core and casual when it comes to the Wii U. Colourful, clever, and utterly charming, it showed us that Nintendo are still capable of crafting a game that can drop jaws.
Just in case you missed last week's PWNCAST, this is a game that lets actively encourages you to skip up a stream of missles like stepping stones, before slicing a chopper in half as wailing guitars explode in the background.
We love you Platinum, we really really do.
No, Revengeance (even the name is amazingly badass) won't be your usual MGS affair, but that's what spinoffs are for. And with Platinum at the helm we fully expect it to be an over the top, incredibly slick and responsive, balletic slaughterfest of deeply satisfying proportions.
You can hear the excitement in the voices of Maxis representatives when they start talking about multiplayer in SimCity, you can see it in their eyes. It's quite touching, really, to be faced by that kind of excitement and passion about one's own project, and we're utterly convinced too that SimCity will be nothing short of spectacular. The chance to create a massive, interlinked community is an incredibly appetising one, to found countries will your friends and help (or hinder) one another to become urban legends. The Glassbox engine looks nothing short of spectacular, with all of the depth now augmented by a system that provides incredibly detailed visual feedback.
We can't wait.
In similar fashion to Pikmin, Beyond: Two Souls received a rapturous reaction because we knew that Quantic Dream would try something different. Never one to settle for being part of the pack, David Cage's latest project has all of the cinematic flair for which QD have become famous, but with a bigger budget, Hollywood talent in the form of Ellen Page, new tech that can capture the emotion held in a virtual character's eyes, and...best of all...it's going to actually be a game.
There's still so much to find out about Beyond: Two Souls, but as much as we want to know more, there's a part that really doesn't. E3 gave us enough to know that Cage and co.'s new game will be a surprising affair indeed. We strongly suggest you check out our Beyond preview, for an eyewitness account of the dev demo shown behind closed doors (featuring poltergeist playground sandboxes for one), and then join us in hugging our knees and rocking back and forth to patiently wait for a date we can look forward to.
Enthralling, intriguing, exciting, and inticing, Beyond: Two Souls was all of these and more, and it gets our coveted BioShock Infinite Award for being our Game of Show.
As always we're keen to hear what you think, so how about popping your picks of the show in the comment box below.