Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 18:41 UK

E3 games and hardware roundup

By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News


Daniel Emery's tips for the top

The E3 expo in Los Angeles came to an end at the same time Tetris - Alexey Pajtinov's classic puzzler - celebrated its 25th birthday.

Rather than try to cover the huge range of games as the show, we have picked out those that really caught our eye.


Developer Jade Raymond on Da Vinci period assassin

Due for release on 17 November 2009, this is the sequel to the stealth action adventure game Assassins Creed.

Set in medieval Italy, the game takes players through a number of locations - including the backstreets of Florence and the waterways of Venice - as they fight, talk and sneak their way through a number of challenges as they try to get revenge in a family feud.

The developers have also added inventions from Leonardo Da Vinci - such as his flying machine - to give the game an extra dimension.

Hearts of Iron III screen
Hearts of Iron III lets you play as any nation in WWII

In amongst the cut sequences and CGI masterpieces was a distinctly old school game from Swedish developer Paradox.

Hearts of Iron III is a real time strategy game - built using the Europa Universalis engine - that takes players through the dark days of the Second World War.

The game eschews modern graphics in favour of simple sprites and data tables, with players striving for world domination through a mix of diplomacy, research, resource mining, and combat.

The developers expect the game to hit the shops towards the end of 2009.

Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 picks up where the first one left off

Electronic Arts gave the public its first glimpse of Mass Effect 2 - the action adventure role-playing game from BioWare.

Expected in early 2010, the game continues following the exploits of Commander Shepard as he goes on a suicide mission to save mankind.

The developers also plan to let players import their saved game files from the first Mass Effect, so decisions and player development will carry on from where the first game left off (although this is not an essential requirement).

The new version will also feature an enhanced combat system where a headshot will be most effective and robot creatures can have limbs blown off, but will still carry on crawling towards a player.

Screenshot from Avatar, Ubisoft
Game and movie are scheduled for simultaneous release

The film - and game - follows the exploits of a paralysed marine called Jake Sully who is sent to the beautiful, but dangerous, world of Pandora to help a mining corporation extract a mineral the game's creators dubbed "unobtanium".

Players play the role of a half-human, half-alien hybrid creature - an avatar - which allows them to survive in the harsh alien world of Pandora.

Both film and game are due for release at the end of 2009.


Ubisoft's Scott Cushing demonstrates war simulation video game Ruse

Ruse takes the basic concept of a WWII real-time strategy game and then adds the extra dimension of deception.

Rather than blanking out part of the world map, Ruse lets players see all the units on the map, but does not distinguish between real and fake units. The trick is to find out which ones are real, rather than diverting resources into attacking wooden or inflatable units.

Unusually the game works on the IntuiFace touch-screen platform, although the number of gamers who can afford the £12,000 kit is likely to be small.

Heroes of Telara
Sub classes will let players customise their avatar

A massive multiplayer online role playing game - MMORPG - that pits four player classes, along with a host of sub-level groups, into a fantasy environment of trolls, wizards, and dragons.

Trion, the developers behind the game, say it will "immerse players in an extraordinary, evolving world on the brink of disaster".

Heroes of Telara is scheduled to go live in 2010.


Lionhead studio's Peter Molyneux on real-life relationships with Xbox

Microsoft unveiled its new control system for the Xbox 360 console, Project Natal.

This is a fully hands-free control system that will use face recognition and motion sensors to allow users to play games.

Although still in the early stages, Microsoft has sent prototypes to all the main game developers.

SW: The Old Republic
This is BioWare's first foray into the MMORPG market

This is the second attempt to create a massive multiplayer online game set in the Star Wars universe, the first - Star Wars Galaxies - got a mixed reception.

Set at the very beginning of the Star Wars universe, SW: The Old Republic lets users play as one of the two main factions - the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire - who are battling it out for control of the known universe.

Players pick one of the different classes - Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, Trooper, etc - and then perform a number of quests, missions and challenges, all the while improving their skills and equipment.

As the game is still midway through development, the firm behind the project - BioWare - would not give a release date, although it indicated it could be released in sometime in 2010.

Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2 features a fully open world environment

This third person action adventure shooter follows the exploits of Rico Rodriguez as he fights across the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia to overthrow the ruling dictator and confront his old mentor, Tom Sheldon.

Like its predecessor, the game is set in an open world environment of over 1000-sq-km where players are free to wander about and hop in and out of the storyline at will.

Combat is a mix of realistic weapons and arcade style moves, such as vaulting between cars using a grappling hook. Players can upgrade their kit by looting fallen foes or collect Chaos Points, awarded for the wanton destruction of buildings, trees and enemies.

Eidos say the game is expected to ship in 2010.


Pele: I'm a bad video gamer

Academy of Champions - endorsed by the legendry Brazilian footballer Pele - is an arcade style game that, say the Canadian developers, targets "kids and families".

Rather than realistic soccer, the game follows the career of a young athlete who joins a football academy to determine the world champion of football.


Sony's games console head, Kaz Hirai, demonstrates the new PSP Go

Sony unveiled its new handheld gaming device, the PSP Go.

Launched as a direct Competitor to Nintendo's DSi, which went on sale in April this year, the new device features a 3.8-inch screen, it is 43% lighter than the PSP-3000, and comes with 16GB of flash memory.

Sony say the PSP Go - which goes on sale 1 October 2009 - will use digital distribution (either download or via a USB connection) to access games.

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