June 4, 2010 - It's once again time for E3, the video game industry's annual trade show, where insiders and media get to drool over all the latest technology and games. Video game companies are playing it safe this year -- virtually everything on display is a sequel of some sort -- but there's a lot that's promising, not least of all Valve's "surprise" (though we're annoyed they canceled the unveiling of Portal 2 to bring it to us). Here's a quick list of the games we're looking forward to the most.
Rage (PC, Linux, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3; id Software, Bethesda Softworks; 2011)
If there's one developer you can always trust to put together a good first-person shooter, it's id Software. These guys practically invented the genre, and their Wolfenstein 3D and Doom releases are undeniably responsible for bringing it to the forefront of video gaming. Rage has been in the making for years now, and given that it's set to come out in 2011, we can't wait to see what new details id will throw our way. Combining id's trademark first-person shooting and cutting-edge graphics with open-world gameplay and racing, it's a big departure for the fabled development team, but we can't imagine they won't hit the mark.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii; Treyarch, Activision; Nov. 9, 2010)
Not much is known yet about this recently announced title, but it appears to be one of the more geographically diverse Call of Duty games, including stops in Russia and Vietnam. It also fills the time gap between the franchise's World War II roots and its recent Modern Warfare titles, and the developers have promised some new co-op modes. After turning out a mediocre performance with Call of Duty 3, developer Treyarch (which alternates development with Infinity Ward) regained our trust with World at War, so this should be a solid iteration of the big-selling franchise.
Halo: Reach (PC, Xbox 360; Bungie, Microsoft; Sept. 14, 2010)
True, the nine-year-old Halo franchise is showing its age a little, but there's no reason to fear a letdown: This is to be the final Bungie-developed installment, it's a guaranteed bestseller, and it promises a whole bunch of tweaks to the core gameplay. Dual-wielding? Gone. Armor power-ups? They stay with you until you find another. There are some promising new multiplayer modes, including one that involves collecting the skulls of your downed enemies, and you'll even battle the Covenant as Noble 6 instead of Master Chief. We're not convinced it can have the influence and mega-sales that the original Halo trilogy saw, but we're definitely expecting Bungie to go out with a bang.
Crysis 2 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3; Crytek, EA; December 2010)
To those of us without expensive, cutting-edge, ultra-high-powered PCs, the original Crysis wasn't even a game to consider. Fortunately, for the sequel, the developers have taken a more populist approach; they're working on versions for consoles as well. The game shows off the new CryEngine 3 and is set in an alien-infested New York City. The developers promise more freedom and more tactics-intensive gunfights. At E3, they should convince us they're going to deliver.