E3's shadow can't darken summer's blistering line-up
E3 used to be all about publishers prepping for the annual gift-fest, but it's now a primer for the rest of companies' entire financial years - including summer.
Next week, there'll be a lot of attention focussed on big holiday season releases, as well upcoming blockbusters as distant as 2013, but the E3 show floor will be crowded will current releases vying for a little limelight. Don't stare too hard at the future - the next few months are going to be epic.
Hunted: The Demon's Forge is due this very week; the dungeon crawler has really gone under the hype radar despite developer inXile's pedigree. Bethesda may be counting on it being a slow burn, but if you're looking for some co-op fun over the break, you'd do well to check it out.
Shortly thereafter, on June 7, Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition drops, and although it's just an add-on, it could well rejuvenate the bestselling fighter's multiplayer scene for a few weeks. What better time to come to grips with the new content than with a fresh influx of vacationing players?
June 10 is a big day, with three major releases. InFamous 2 also pulls a multiplayer card, in a way - joining Sony's Play.Create.Share brand with user-generated content tools. It will probably take a while for creators to start producing really ripping stuff, but there'll never be more pumped out than during the release window.
Action fans will be well catered for in mid-June. Red Faction: Armageddon will be looking to continue Volition's ascension, but it'll be overshadowed by quite literally one of the most anticipated launches of all time - Duke Nukem Forever.
Alice: Madness Returns follows on June 14, resurrecting a decade of nostalgia. Speaking of nostalgia, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS drops on June 17, while those more keen on new experiences can pick up Child of Eden.
After a short break, the madness resumes on June 24 with F.E.A.R. 3 and Shadows of the Damned, both excellent excuses to throw a spooky-themed party.
Heading into July, there's fewer reasons to stay inside, but Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 should satisfy your robotic hack-and-slash desires on the first of the month. Plus, UFC Personal Trainer offers the opportunity to point out how well you can exercise indoors, mum.
Assuming you actually do want to go outdoors, take your 3DS and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D with you.
This is where things start to get quiet again, but Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will hit in August, and we're expecting Catherine before the weather gets much cooler.
Bloodrayne: Betrayal and Deathspank: The Baconing fill the downloadable quota, alongside a pair of Fallout: New Vegas DLC packs expected to drop sometime during the summer, and a couple of movie tie-ins - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon should keep you busy.
Now that we've finally kicked the traditional release drought of mid-year, there's a sterling line up over the next three months which should keep you happy until the deluge begins building in September. No excuses, kid: close the blinds and snuggle closer to the cool glow of the screen. It's going to be a log, hot summer.