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Adam Creighton, Computer and Video Gaming (Subscribe)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

E3 announcements and happenings

Sure, E3 has come and gone, but that won't keep me from talking about it...

  1. Frame City Killer canceled (with silver lining)
  2. Game announcements/showings of notes
  3. Best E3 Coverage
  4. Games missing from E3


1. Frame City Killer canceled (with silver lining)

Namco Bandai announced they've canceled Frame City Killer, the stylish, Unreal Engine 3-powered action game:

"We are sorry to say that we have decided that Frame City--the Xbox 360 game
which our company had planned for a spring 2006 release--will not be released,"
the company said. "Our apologies to everyone who was looking forward to the
game's release."

Explains why the game was missing from E3, and it's a bummer, because I was looking forward to it.

On the upside, buried in the cancelation was a commitment from Namco Bandai to "continue to develop high quality software for the Xbox 360 next-gen console, from a new RPG to others". This is the first time the company's rumored next-gen RPG has been confirmed.

2. Game announcements/showings of notes

I'm obviously going to miss some things, but here's a few of the titles that were announce/shown that I find pretty exciting:

  • Transformers (Activision) -- I'm an old-school Transformers fan, and with next year's Michael Bay Transformers movie and and Activision's (not Atari's) handling of the license, I'm pretty stoked.
  • HAZE (Ubisoft/Free Radical) -- I mentioned before how excited I was about this announcement from Free Radical Design. But the game trailer has got me even more excited, since (to me) it's one of the more compelling (and teasing) trailers at this year's show (check it out at
  • Rayman next-gen -- Franchise creator Michel Ancel is back on task!
  • Blizzard Entertainment -- The Warcraft- and PC-centric Blizzard is branching out, with COO Paul Sams saying, "We have multiple games in development, currently, they are just not announced... to the outside world ... there's a ton of additional focus being put toward these other [games] that are in development," and the "Diablo and Starcraft franchises are of the utmost importance to us as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see a new franchise from us at some time in the future." A PR rep later said Blizzard is considering "multiple platforms". Starcraft Ghost was finally canceled, so I wonder if they'll resurrect it, or if they're talking something else. Next-Gen Diablo would rock, but they'd have to be careful to diffentiate it from Overlord.
  • Alone in the Dark -- This next-gen resusciation of this creepville franchise could be just what gets me into creepy games. Check out the trailer on -- velly inellesting. I wonder if Atari will actually publish it, or if they'll sell that franchise, too ...
  • Huxley -- I keep getting stoked about this game. You should, too. Go watch the extended trailer at
  • The Darkness -- I like good, comic book games (and there aren't many). Starbreeze Studios (Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay) is an amazing group. This game looks to be amazing, and has some cool, totally unique features -- like the in-game TVs being able to show full, TV-quality video, full-length movies, "and more" -- pulled from a large bank of public-domain content. Cool technical gimmick, and one that'll be obvious to cry foul if someone copies.
  • Hellgate: London -- I want this RPG/FPS hybrid that looks to creep me out and fire me up. PC's a shoe-in, but the Xbox 360 version (which was) is now TBD ...
  • Assassin's Creed -- Ooh, this is a PS3 exclusive from Ubisoft that by itself will make the PS3 launch more compelling than the 360's (not that it has to) -- "a medieval GTA with fantastic art direction" ( from the kids that brough us the Prince of Persia.
  • More PC games on Xbox 360 -- Though XNA has kind of fallen off the radar, Microsoft is still adamant developers can easily develop for both the Xbox 360 and PC. Mythic Entertainment shocked folks when it had a closed-door showing of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning running on an Xbox 360.
  • Cross-Playable(TM) games -- This is my new term for games playable across one or more platforms. We've got Final Fantasy XI (mheh) that can be played across Xbox 360, PS2, and PC, but upcoming Xbox 360/Windows Vista titles look to make this amazing.

    At E3, Microsoft announced Shadowrun will be Cross-Playable(TM).

    Though not officially announced for the Xbox 360, Mythic Entertainment's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was running on an Xbox 360 at E3, evidently porting in a month's time as a technical exercise. According to, "On a PC nearby, they demonstrated how console and PC players could interact, as they two were displayed on the same screen running around each other. Mythic also told us they'd been using the Xbox 360 character to jump into their PC playable demos running outside the private room. Nobody playing seemed to notice."

    Huxley looks to be really cool, with this tidbit from "What isn't hazy, however, is multiplayer transparency between the 360 and PC. Using a magical flatscreen TV, producer Kijong Kang showed us a picture-in-picture display of the 360 version on one side and the PC version on the other. I watched him boot up the 360 and have the display pop up, then his 360 character was standing in front of the version connected to the server via PC. Not too shabby! And it doesn't require Messenger Live or Windows Vista, apparently."

    (Also CrossPlayable(TM), Crossplayable(TM), crossPlayable(TM), crossplayable(TM), Cross-playable(TM), cross-Playable(TM), cross-playable(TM), Cross-Playable(TM), and any reasonable derivation thereof.)
  • The New Hotness(TM) -- Online-Co-op is the New Hotness(TM). Online-Co-op where co-op matters is the New Hotness(TM); Cross-Playable is the New Hotness(TM); Adam is the New Hotness(TM).

3. Best E3 Coverage

  • Best overall E3 coverage (
  • Best source for Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo press conferences (
  • Best one-stop shop for game title updates (
  • Best place for high-definition videos for free ( and Xbox Live-- but only Xbox and Xbox 360-related videos)
  • Most Timely E3 coverage (
  • Least Timely E3 coverage ( -- I love you guys, but when scoops the Halo 3 trailer announcement? C'Mon!)

4. Games missing from E3

  • Killzone 2 -- Last year's pre-rendered E3 content for one of Sony's PS3 flagship titles caused quite a ruckus, but nary a peep was made this year from Sony, or the Sony-recently purchased Guerrilla Games.
  • Resident Evil 5 -- A trailer was shown Microsoft's X05 event in October and at E3 2005. This year? Nada.
  • Devil May Cry 4 -- Ditto.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One -- You think with less than a month to the release of the first episodic content of one of the biggest PC games of all time Valve would have made an official showing, but ... not so much ...
  • Culdcept Saga -- This didn't show at E3, but Xbox Live members were treated to a lengthy trailer that shared quite a bit of the story and gameplay mechanics from Namco Bandai title.
  • Starcraft: Ghost -- This one's been announced dead. I was just hoping it would get resurrected. Even though I stopped caring.
  • Dragon Age -- This is BioWare's new RPG IP, and it was a no-show. Let's hope Mass Effect doesn't Halo-to-Oni little ol' Dragon Age. Some of you know what I'm talking about...
  • Bully -- What's up with Rockstar? Did the GTA "hot coffee" scandel burn them bad enough that they shelf Bully and GTA IV (othe rthan Microsoft's press announcement), leaving them with one other E3 showing -- Table Tennis?

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SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.


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