We at BallerStatus.com didn’t make it out to E3 this year, but we heard a lot of good things about upcoming things within the gaming world.
Not only can we expect new installments of sports franchise titles like NBA 2K and Madden, but also Mike Tyson’s appearance in the upcoming Fight Night installment from EA, a new Mario Bros. game, and new, innovative ways gamers will, well, get their game on.
Here’s a top 10 list of things WIRED says kids will want that were unveiled at E3:
1. Nintendo: Mario is back!
A total of four new Mario games were announced during Nintendo’s press conference at E3. First up is a sequel to the fabulous Super Mario Galaxy, surprisingly titled Super Mario Galaxy 2 — must have taken them ages to come up with that one! Miyamoto has promised that more than 90 percent of the game will be new, maybe more, as the team are using ideas that they couldn’t fit into the first one. So expect plenty more upside-down, running around odd little planets and asteroids, let’s just hope the camera positioning can be improved even more.
Next up, a brand new Super Mario Bros for Wii. Taking a leaf from the underrated “Zelda Four Swords” game, this time out Mario is accompanied not just by Luigi, but by two other characters — Toads initially, but who knows what you can unlock later.
The DS has two games coming soon. In the fall, the DS Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story RPG will be released in a localized version, in which the characters move through Bowser’s body on the lower screen, while Bowser is up to his own mischief on the screen above. And if you can’t wait that long for a new Mario fix, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis is a Mario puzzler game, downloadable from the DSiWare service on Monday.
2. Microsoft: Project Natal
On Monday, Microsoft unveiled Natal their “no-controller” control system for the Xbox — a 3-D camera recognition system that turns your body movements directly into movements on the screen for your avatar, a car, a monster or whatever the developers can think of. Unveiled with the help of bigwigs like Steven Spielberg and Peter Molyneux, it promises a whole new way to interact with your games.
This slick demo movie shows a third-person martial arts fighter — where your punch and kicks are translated directly to the screen, a racing sim — complete with gear changes and pit stops, and a family quiz game show where you use your fist as the buzzer.
The interactions don’t stop with games though. Molyneux’s Milo demo was a slightly creepy virtual friend who can recognize you and have a chat. You can use the camera to “capture” real life items to use in the games, like riding your own deck in a skateboarding game. The cameras also take over the on-screen interface, allowing you to swipe Minority Report-style though your menus and use voice recognition to start a movie playing.
If they can deliver half of the stuff shown here (and it works properly) then it could help usurp the Wii’s current top slot. And it was very hard for me to write that — I really like disliking anything that comes out of Redmond!
3. Sony: PlayStation Motion Controller
Not to be outdone in the catch-up game, Sony announced its own motion-capture system for the PlayStation. Basically, it’s a kind of “magic wand” that uses the PlayStation 3’s camera to track your movements in 3-D. While not as far along the development cycle as Natal, Sony was able to show a host of uses for the technology — aiming first-person shooter weaponry, using it as a tennis racket, a golf club or a bow and arrow, writing with it, and all with “sub-millimeter” accuracy. Expect to hear more about it next spring.
4. Nintendo: Wii MotionPlus
Nintendo of course already has the motion control and tracking sorted, but its not a company to rest on its laurels — well not at the moment at least. The Wii Motion Plus is essentially a fine tuner for the regular Wii-mote, giving it more accuracy, and plugs into the little slot on the bottom of the controller. It was actually announced at last year’s E3, but it’s only now that we’re really starting to see it action.
The first games that makes use of it — EA’s Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Sega’s Virtua Tennis 2009, as well as Nintendo’s own Wii Sports Resort are about to hit the shelves, and the improved accuracy helps you put proper topspin on a tennis ball or draw and fade your golf swing manually. Miyamoto has also hinted that the WMP will be used in the new Zelda game currently under development too.
5. Microsoft: Xbox goes social
As if we all needed another way to access our Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm info, soon you’ll be able to do it all on that big HD-TV screen from the comfort of your sofa in a big unified package with your Avatar and Xbox Live friends. You’ll even be able to post things like screenshots and data live from games like EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour directly to your Facebook profile using Facebook connect.
6. Sony: PSP Go
So what if you’ve already got a DS or a PSP? You’ll still want to get your hands on Sony’s new handheld, for a mere $250 when it’s released on 1st October.
The new form factor has a sliding screen similar to a mobile phone, which reveals all the controls and buttons, it’s half the size of the original PSP, and has 16 GB of internal memory, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support and a Memory Stick expansion port. The biggest change is the lack of UMD drive — all games for it will be distributed digitally and synced to the internal memory. Is this the beginning of the end for another failed format from Sony?
New software included with the PSP Go will also sync your music, video and photos from you PC, just like iTunes does for your iPod.
7. Nintendo: More Metroid
Proving that there’s more than one M in Nintendo’s arsenal, Metroid fans also had something to cheer about from this year’s E3. Firstly, there’s the “Wii-make” of Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime series, all three episodes of the GameCube trilogy in one package, with an updated and unified control scheme.
Then there’s a whole new game, developed by Team Ninja, Metroid: Other M, due for release in 2010. The trailer shown continued the theme of the Prime games, with both first-person shooting and third-person action, with both in-game footage and some CGI sequences, featuring Samus and an unknown second female character.
8. Microsoft: On Demand Games and more
Downloadable games are starting to become more prevalent nowadays and Microsoft is ramping up its offerings by adding a number of Xbox 360 titles to the available Xbox Originals. Add to this the rebranded Zune Video, with its 1080p, instant-on movies, Netflix and Last.fm streaming and, in the UK at least, live sports from Sky, and the Xbox is looking like so much more than a games console.
9. Sony: More PS3 Exclusive Games
They may have lost the exclusivity of Grand Theft Auto to the Xbox and, a lesser extent, the DS, but Sony announced that the studio behind the GTA series — Rockstar North, are hard at work creating a new exclusive game for the PS3. Called Agent, it’s a story of global espionage and assassins set in the late 1970s and that’s about all we know about it, apart from a neat-looking logo.
Then there is ModNation Racers, a kart racing game that borrows LittleBigPlanet’s super customization theme, allowing almost unlimited variations of characters, cars, and tracks. The track editor seems remarkably simple: Essentially you just “paint” the tracks, terrain, scenery and power-ups in with a brush, and then they can be tested almost instantly.
Other exclusives include a new online version of Final Fantasy (No. 14) and The Last Guardian, a new game from Fumito Ueda, creator of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
10. Great new names on all platforms
Exclusives were all well and good when the original PlayStation and PS2 ruled the roost, but now that things are much more evenly matched, it makes sense for developers to bring out their games on all platforms, so whatever your console of choice is, there are some great games coming up soon.
Musically, you can look forward to; The Beatles: Rock Band, Guitar Hero 5 and the new DJ Hero, with its funky turntable controller. Sports-fans can choose from the latest FIFA football game and Tony Hawks’ next outing Ride, again with its own funky controller. Plus, there’s a new Star Wars game on the way, The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes.