E3 '08 gives glimpse of games on the horizon

Gamers, get your thumbs ready. The 14th annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or "E3" — the world's premiere video gaming convention held each July — once again served as a glimpse into the future of the multibillion-dollar interactive entertainment industry.

Media, retailers and analysts packed the invitation-only industry event held at the Los Angeles Convention Center to play games coming soon to a platform near you.

On that note, E3 '08 was less about the "console wars" between Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii, and more about the video games themselves — most of which are available on multiple systems anyway.

Here's a look at some of the most impressive titles worth saving for.


In Electronic Arts' Mirror's Edge, you play as Faith, a "runner" who is an information courier in a world where all communication is tightly monitored by the state. By traversing rooftops and alleyways and navigating through underground waterways, you'll perform your tasks — played from a dizzying first-person perspective — while working toward a greater goal: saving Faith's sister, who's framed for a murder she didn't commit. This gorgeous game will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PC by year's end.

Fans of "survival horror" games can look forward to a couple of scary thrillers including Capcom's chilling Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360, PS3), which drops the player in a zombie-filled African nation and will introduce a new online co-op feature when it launches in March 2009. Due out this holiday, however, is Dead Space, a new franchise from Electronic Arts (for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) that takes place on a giant spaceship a few hundred years in the future. Konami's Silent Hill: Homecoming also looked downright creepy.

Other impressive action games include LucasArts' Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (all major platforms), Ubisoft's new Prince of Persia (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) and Midway's Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe fighting game (Xbox 360, PS3).


Sony kicked off its news conference with a jaw-dropping live demo of Resistance 2 (for PS3, out in November), which takes place in an alternate 1950s. Rather than fighting each other in post-WWII battles, humans are working together to take on menacing aliens bent on world destruction. This gorgeous first-person shooter includes multiple weapons, enormous creatures (including a 300 foot-tall leviathan stomping through Chicago) and online support for up to 60 players.

Also due out in November is Microsoft Game Studios' Gears of War 2 (for Xbox 360) that also pits man against vicious aliens but requires a more tactical approach than merely running and gunning. As with its best-selling predecessor, you must hide behind walls and vehicles to take aim, find precious health packs and ammo, and work with your squad mates to make it to the end of the levels. This Xbox 360 exclusive also offers a host of online multiplayer modes playable over the Xbox Live service.


Available this October, Sony's LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation 3 is an innovative puzzle/platformer hybrid starring small, burlap-covered dolls that must reach the end of trap-laden levels before their opponents. But this innovative title blurs the lines between game player and game designer as you're given the tools to create and share an unlimited number of levels over the Internet. LittleBigPlanet supports multiple game modes (including online play), challenging mini-games and plenty of unlockable items.

Fans of genius designer Will Wright (The Sims,SimCity ) can circle Sept. 7 on their calendar as the highly anticipated Windows and Mac game Spore from Electronic Arts will finally be ready for play. In case you haven't yet heard of its ingenious (and ambitious) premise, Spore can best be described as a life simulation that begins with a single cell before evolving into a land creature who must explore, eat, fight and mate. Advance through the tribe and city stages and you'll visit other civilizations for diplomacy or war, and eventually will reach the space age to travel to other planets, galaxies and universes.

Strategy fans should also wait for Microsoft Game Studios' Halo Wars (For Xbox 360) and Electronic Arts' Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 (for PC).


As one of E3's most impressive showings, Bethesda's Fallout 3 (for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) reintroduces players to an enormous post-apocalyptic world filled with memorable characters and radioactive mutants. Gamers can choose from multiple paths, each resulting in unique outcomes and experiences, and also play either from a first- or third-person perspective with the push of a button.

Other RPGs on the horizon include Microsoft Game Studios' Fable 2 (Xbox 360) and EA Mythic's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (PC).

Music and more

Slated for a September launch on all console platforms, MTV Games' Rock Band 2 turns the original hit music game "up to 11" with brand-new instruments, new local and global online group play options (with a new "Battle of the Bands" challenge mode) and more than 80 master recordings from the likes of AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Metallica, The Allman Brothers Band and Guns N' Roses (debuting the new track Shackler's Revenge from the highly anticipated GN'R album Chinese Democracy).

Due out this holiday, Nintendo's Wii Music (for Wii) will let up to four gamers play more than 60 virtual instruments by using the motion-sensing wireless controllers and other peripherals.

Other interesting games include Nintendo's Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii, EA Sports' Madden NFL 09 and 2K Sports' NBA 2K9.

Contact Saltzman at gnstech@gns.gannett.com.