E3 2008 – 10 Of The Best

Let’s be fair, Sony have had a couple of rough E3s recently, although last year’s was notably improved over the ridiculous Meme-machines of Ridge Racer and Giant Enemy Crabs. Naturally, with the PS3 now in its stride, both sales-wise and in terms of having decent games to shout about, we’re hoping next month’s E3 will be the best yet.

Sony have lots of games to show off, and lots of dates they desperately need to confirm, so we’ve rounded up what we think are the ten most important bullet-points for their conference this July. If they miss out any of these, we’re flogging the website and going back to baking special cakes in an underground Amsterdam brothel. Ah, those were the days.

e3-edenPixelJunk Eden.

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PixelJunk, our favourite indie development label, hit the big time with Monsters after the false start that was Racers. Eden is much less mainstream but should hopefully find favour with Dylan Cuthbert’s growing army of curious fans. Eden is a definite for E3, where visitors will be able to get their hands on the finished product before everyone else, but we’re expecting a full PSN release of the game shortly after, and no doubt news of exactly what Q-Games has lined up next…

e3-fwFirmware 2.40.

The biggie. We’ve said before that we’re not expecting 2.40 before July, and with the massive amount of hype behind the ability to have full XMB access in-game we’re confident this won’t be out on the pipes until E3 – last week’s interim 2.36 sealed the deal for us and we actually think Sony would be missing a big opportunity by releasing it before mid-July now.

e3-gt5Gran Turismo 5.

No, not Prologue – the full thing. Sure, it might not be available until 2009 but that won’t stop Polyphony from producing another stunning trailer that’s sure to be the centrepiece of Sony’s presentation. We’re also fully expecting news on a much improved online service for Prologue, and some indication on timescales for the implementation of damage and real-time weather, two features promised before Prologue was even launched as future downloadable content in preparation for the real deal.

e3-homePlayStation Home.

Come on now Sony, this is your perfect opportunity to let the World know when they can get their grubby hands on your ground-breaking interactive online 3D avatar system. We know that the closed Beta version is nearing completion and we’ve heard that a future-patchable version will be available on the 10th of July. All you have to do is confirm that we’ll be able to all sign up for a slice of the Beta pie after your E3 presentation. Combine this with Firmware 2.40 and the internet will explode.

e3-infamousinFamous.

We still don’t know too much about Infamous other than it’s a third-person sandbox / superhero adventure much like Crackdown, with moral choices that affect the outcome of the game. With the developers behind Sly Cooper we’re expecting good things, and a playable version of the game on the floor would be a great start.

e3-kz2Killzone 2.

A no-brainer. Several print magazines have had recent access to the game’s 2nd level, reporting insane graphics, wonderful animation and lighting to die for. Backed up with the current screenshots we can only say that the game is indeed looking fantastic but reports that the title is now delayed to 2009 mean that Sony need to start pushing it back down our throats again before it’s forgotten about, and there’s every chance that E3 will be the perfect venue.

e3-lbpLittleBigPlanet.

Media Molecule have shot to being the darlings of the UK development scene, no pun intented, with LittleBigPlanet and everything it stands for: creativity, sharing, online co-operation – every time we see the game we want it more, and the version at PlayStation Day 2008 was good enough to steal. E3 needs to confirm the Beta dates (even if it’s just tieing it down to a given month) and fill us in on a few details such as final pricing.

e3-ms2MotorStorm: Pacfic Rift.

Not to be outdown by newcomer Pure, the next MotorStorm is bigger and better than ever, with much more varied (and numerous) tracks, local multiplayer and support for custom soundtracks. We just hope they retain the bombastic festival atmosphere, the insane stunts and competitive racing, and lose the ridiculous 3D vehicle select. Ah, if only MotorStorm had used a 4GB install, eh?

e3-playtvPlay TV.

More of a European thing, to be fair, but with the final product expected out between August and September Sony would be missing a trick by not re-iterating that the PS3 can (and should) be your home media centre. Play TV will be the most impressive, feature rich Freeview TV decoder money can buy, and if you’ve already upgraded your harddrive in anticipation then no doubt you can’t wait to throw away that £30 Tesco set-top box.

e3-wipeouthdWipeout HD.

And finally, Wipeout HD. We want this as much as the next man, but given the recent release of Fatal Inertia EX we can’t see Sony pushing Wipeout HD onto the Store before E3 now. Everything’s gone quiet on this, the next iteration of the franchise that shaped the PlayStation brand, with nothing seen since the early preview builds some months back. Assuming everything is OK, we reckon they’ve scrapped the next ‘proper’ Wipeout for a while and are concentrating on making HD the key future racer title on PS3.

So, secrets, surprises and disappointments aside, this is what we reckon we’ll be seeing on July 15th. Sure, we might have missed a couple of your favourites, but given the masses of titles Sony could push our way, we think this is a fairly decent list. If everything above is ticked off at E3 we’ll be happy bunnies, but that underground brothel wasn’t so bad after all, so who knows…

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