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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June 2005, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Current console games dominate E3
Ian Hardy
By Ian Hardy
BBC Click Online North America technology correspondent

The prospect of a new generation of consoles is tantalising the gaming industry. But while these cool toys are months away from appearing in the shops, there are still a range of products in the pipeline for PC Xbox and PS2.

Gamers at E3
Around 60,000 busy gamers packed the E3 expo

There are a few publishers making general statements about new titles for next generation consoles, but almost every product on the show floor at E3 is aimed at the current platforms, and some titles have been eagerly awaited for years.

After an initial delay, Tony Montana is now due to blast his way onto shop shelves sometime in 2006.

The developers are still working on many aspects of the game, though they have released a handful of screen shots.

"Scarface is a game where you get to be Tony Montana in an open world. So the game starts out where the movie finished - a big mansion shoot out," said 'Scarface: The World Is Yours' producer Cameron Weber.

"Tony's in his office. He's about to blow the door down and say hello to my little friend. He's got his M-16 with the grenade launcher attached.

"Al Pacino has his likeness in the game. He also has approval rights on the look of his character and he approved the voice actor that we used."

But Al Pacino refused to be involved in another movie classic turned video game, The Godfather, due out in November.

Seeking respect

However, over 20 actors from the original film did agree to participate, including Marlon Brando, who approved his character and recorded a voiceover six months before his death.

As an up and coming gangster in New York, the skill in the game is to know when and when not to use violence. Hit or shoot the wrong guy and you could find yourself out of favour with the Don.

Screenshot of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is due out at the end of the year

David DeMartini, executive producer of The Godfather game said: "You're the one that's getting the orders rather than the one giving them.

"As you move through our world and you gain respect you gain wealth and territory for the Corleone family and move your way up through the family ranks until you ultimately have the opportunity to become the Godfather of your own family."

Other games attracting major interest at E3 included the latest in the Zelda series, Twilight Princess, and the D-Day war game Call of Duty 2, which has an amazing audio mix in addition to stunning graphics.

One of the most popular pieces of new hardware at the show was the GameBoy Micro.

Nintendo hopes it will become to video games what the iPod is to music.

90s nostalgia

But while it looks cute and plays titles from the GameBoy Advance, you can't help wonder if it's more of a gimmick than a practical game playing device.

Nintendo's GameBoy Micro
The biggest surprises came in small packages

Perhaps the biggest nostalgia kick came from Quake 4. Quake games were standout titles in the 1990s.

In the latest version the player takes the role of Matthew Kane, who fights for his life on planet Stroggos.

It boasts all the best aspects of previous games, with the added excitement of greatly improved visuals and the benefit of high definition on the Xbox 360.

"The single player portion is based on the Quake 2 storyline, but we really felt that the Quake 3 arena was the best of all the multi-player components of Quake," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO of ID Software.

"We really didn't feel it would be like Quake without a killer multiplayer component, so we're extending the 'Quake 3' style of multiplayer with Quake 4."

Recruitment tool

One of the most popular online PC titles is America's Army, a game designed by the US Army.

It helped that the original version was free, but console versions due out this summer have more content and a price tag.

It's been suggested that the game is a recruitment tool, but the army insists they are just trying to offer an alternative type of game.

"It's not all about a high body count, it's sometimes about completing the mission with limited loss of life, and about working as a member of an integrated team and progression," said Captain Erich Fellenz of the US Army.

"One of the things we're trying to get from this is to get out to the public that this is what being a soldier is like, this is what the experience is like."

This year's E3 show did feature several brief, incomplete next generation demos, but that's all they were.

It will be months before those titles are available to look at in detail, which could mean that next years Electronic Entertainment Expo is going to be even more exciting than this year's, if that's possible.

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. It can be watched on the website from late Friday afternoon. A short version is also shown on BBC Two and BBC News 24 as part of BBC Breakfast: Saturday at 0645. Also BBC World.

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