E3 2011 – What to expect from the major third-parties

By Johnny Cullen, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:26 GMT

It’s nearly time. We’ve previewed E3 2011’s press conferences, but what about everything else? It’s showtime for the likes of Activision, Take-Two and THQ, too: here’s what to expect.

E3 2011

Takes place the week commencing June 6 in LA.

The show’s biggest stories this year are likely to be Nintendo’s Project Café and Sony’s NGP.

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft and Konami will all hold press conferences.

Official E3 site.

Following a look at what to expect from E3 2011’s press conferences last week, we today move onto the stage-averse third-parties. Take it away, Big Bobby.

Activision – We’re going to see Bungie’s new IP, right? It’s unlikely. Bungie already said it’s not going to be in LA, so unless a teaser’s shown at any of the press conferences, it’s a no.

Activision’s show is all about Modern Warfare 3. Expect details Beachhead’s Call of Duty involvement as well.

We’ll definitely get a further look-in at Prototype 2, Spiderman: Edge of Time and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Activision’s E3 won’t include a music game this year, so there’ll be nothing from Guitar Hero or DJ Hero.

In addition, True Crime: Hong Kong has been canned and Tony Hawk been put on ice: expect the latter to be back next year, though.

As for Blizzard, it tends to skip E3. Look for your fill of Diablo III and potentially news on Titan at either gamescom or Blizzcon in October.

The first look of the second part of the StarCraft II arc, the Zerg-based Heart of the Swarm, will be shown to media later this month.

Take-Two – Expect Take-Two to go large at E3 this year. In the week where Duke Nukem Forever will finally release after more than a decade in development, the publisher will have some of its 2K core line-up on show, including BioShock Infinite, X-Com and maybe even Spec Ops: The Line, which we haven’t seen much of since its VGAs announce in 2009.

Rockstar may show Max Payne 3 and possibly the PS3-exclusive Agent, but the big one is Grand Theft Auto V. It’s highly likely we’ll see GTA V announced at the show, and it may well be Microsoft’s press conference gigaton, assuming it’s tied up another exclusive DLC announcement.

Expect to see first official mention of Borderlands 2. Is it for a holiday 2011 release? Who knows. But Pitchford and co will be lining this one up for LA. Watch for it.

THQ – Going on THQ’s showing last year, expect surprises. What’ll appear, exactly, is a bit of a mystery as yet. inSane? Doubtful. Devil’s Third? Maybe. Darksiders 2? Likely. Metro: Last Light and the next UFC iteration? Dead set.

You’ll definitely get Saints Row: The Third, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, MMO Dark Millennium, a promised reboot to the main WWE series and more.

THQ has other unannounced possibilities, such as Patrice Desilets’ new IP at THQ Montreal or Relic’s new strategy title, although that’s being announced in August. That’ll be Cologne, then.

Still, watch Danny closely. LA’s home turf for the studio head, and he loves to showboat.

Bethesda – The publisher is in the middle of its strongest year ever. Brink is out now, and Hunted will launch on E3 week. The company’s key titles at the LACC will undoubtedly be Skyrim, RAGE and Prey 2. Expect Skyrim to pick up a ton of Game of the Show awards, going by what we saw in Utah at Bethesda’s pre-E3 event in April.

In terms of announcements? Bethesda didn’t reveal anything at E3 last year, instead just issuing new media for already announced titles like RAGE, Brink and Fallout: New Vegas.

That said, isn’t it time we heard what Arkane was up to? “And Tango too,” we hear you shout. No chance on that: PR boss Pete Hines told us on the phone back in January that Mikami’s next was very far out. And id? The studio will have RAGE, but announcements? No: a DOOM 4 announce, if any, will be kept for Quakecon.

Despite past form, there are two major announcement possibilities from Bethesda: the next Fallout game, and the heavily rumoured Elder Scrolls MMO.

Bethesda said in March it would open a customer service centre in Galway for ZeniMax Online, which has been working on an online game for years. It may well be time for a reveal.

Square Enix – Squeenix is expected to be a force in LA this year, both in terms of Japanese and western output.

On the Japanese side, you’re going to most likely get Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy XIV PS3 and confirmation of western launches of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Outside FF, there’s Kingdom Hearts 3DS too.

Arguably, though, the firm’s western line-up is the place to be. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman: Absolution and Tomb Raider will be there, with hopefully a release timeframe for Lara’s latest.

And announcements? Square has an announcement in some form every year. E3 ’08: FFXIII 360. E3 ’09: FFXIV PS3. E3 ’10: the full reveal of Deus Ex to press. This year? Versus XIII 360? FFXV? FFVII remake? Thief 4? Take your pick.

Namco Bandai – Don’t expect too many announcements from Namco after its Level Up event in Dubai, but the firm will have a strong show regardless.

Dark Souls, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, Ridge Racer: Unbounded, Inversion and western releases of Tales of Graces F and Tales of the Abyss are bound to be re-trumpeted at the show.

We’ll also get a first proper look at Soul Calibur V at E3, following its Dubai announcement.

On the Tekken side, maybe confirmation of a console version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2? It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Capcom – Capcom has announcements practically every month. Don’t expect E3 to pass by with the company sticking its oar in. Quite what they’ll be is unknown, however.

In terms of what Capcom will show, expect the usual suspects from Captivate: Street Fighter x Tekken and SSFIV Arcade Edition, Dragon’s Dogma, Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City, Resident Evil: Mercenaries and Revelations, Asura’s Wrath and Dead Rising 2: Off The Record.

There’s also a couple of games we haven’t seen in a while too. Where’s Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor? And where’s Ninja Theory’s DmC? We’ll hopefully find out next month.

Sega – Sega’s a bit trickier to predict. There’s Captain America and Rise of Nightmares for Kinect as well as Avalanche’s Renegade Ops, which is due out in summer.

Platinum’s Anarchy Reigns and Binary Domain from Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi are more interesting: the latter’s now been confirmed for the show.

Creative Assembly’s just announced an Alien title, but that’s only just kicked off, so don’t expect much more on that for a while.

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