Talk about a massively multiplayer experience. The video game industry extravaganza the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which ended Thursday in Los Angeles, showed off thousands of games to 40,000 attendees. USA TODAY hits the high points of the week.
The Beatles bop on 'Rock Band' For the benefit of Beatles fans who might not be experienced players, The Beatles: Rock Band has been designed to hold your hand when you need help.
Shown in full for the first time, The Beatles (Sept. 9 for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, $60-$250) accommodates beginners with a quick-play mode that gives instant access to all 45 songs rather than having to perform well to unlock tracks, and an automatic no-fail mode when the difficulty level is set to "easy." "There are tens of millions of Beatles lovers who probably aren't already playing games," says Alex Rigopulos of game designer Harmonix. "We wanted to create an experience as accessible as possible."
The first 10 songs announced: I Saw Her Standing There, I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine, Taxman, Day Tripper, Back In The USSR, I Am The Walrus, Octopus's Garden, Here Comes The Sun and Get Back. All You Need is Love will be downloadable when the game comes out, with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. The album Abbey Road also will be released as a download.
For a chronological challenge, a story mode traces the band's career from Liverpool's Cavern Club to London's Abbey Road studio, including stops at The Ed Sullivan Show and Shea Stadium.
Dushku: Has gun, will travel Dollhouse star Eliza Dushku aims to be the next Lara Croft in a new action game called WET (for "wet work," as in assassinations), for which she voices the character Rubi Malone, a hired killer. "She's hard," Dushku says. "She's Jack Daniels-drinking, catted-up and aggressive, and she's really there to get the job done. Anyone or anything that gets in her way is a casualty."
Sounds like Lara, right? "In my mind, she's really like a working-class Lara Croft. And I love the scope of it. It plays out in Arizona, San Francisco, Hong Kong and the U.K. I love that she's on the move and that she's international like me."
Raven-haired Rubi wields guns and swords while performing Matrix-style acrobatics. "The way you can make her move is extraordinary," says Dushku, who recently returned to the studio for new dialogue. "They've made it a little more mature. Added a few more F-bombs. So my nephews won't be able to play it for maybe five years."
Due this fall for PS3 and Xbox 360, WET's storyline was created by screenwriter Duppy Demetrius (24, The Closer) and also features Malcolm McDowell.
Can Wii be of service? Talk about being user-friendly. Nintendo's Wii, already the most accessible system, confirmed an unannounced new feature will be built into future titles. Beginning with New Super Mario Bros. Wii this fall, players will be able to pause during a difficult level, let the game take over to complete the level, and press a button to resume playing.
Legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto says the feature is tentatively called "demo play."
"In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, if a player is experiencing an area of difficulty, this will allow them to clear troubled areas and take over when they're ready" Miyamoto says. "And yes, we're looking into this for future games."
By Brett Molina, Mike Snider and Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY