It’s only February and we are already preparing for the trip to L.A. for this years Electronic Entertainment Expo. Today we are looking at what already announced games will go head to head at this years show for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. From the looks of it Microsoft better show something big at E3 or this might be the year Sony’s console could start outselling the 360. I’ll be honest; this year it’s already apparent that the PlayStation 3 is bringing it’s A-game, especially with Killzone 2 launching next week. With titles like Heavy Rain, Infamous, and God of War 3 in development, Sony is definitely going for the core 17-30 age range that the 360 has dominated this generation. Let us not forget that Japan will see the release of Final Fantasy XIII exclusively for the PS3 while the rest of the world waits for Square-Enix to localize the game and then ship it the same time as the 360 version.

If you weren’t aware the developers of Heavy Rain are the same guys who put out Indigo Prophecy last-gen, Quantic Dream. The deal with these guys is that they are big into making not only a compelling story, but also one that will stick with you forever. Little is known about the game besides the fact that you will be playing as a yet unnamed female journalist and the controls in this game are…different. In a preview over at GamePro they describe the controls in-depth "When you need to walk forward, you hold R2; this reduces confusion when the camera direction changes and, like a racing game, should keep you on-track. The left analog stick controls your character’s head and influences your walking direction. When you want to interact with the environment – knocking on a door, for example – you move the right analog stick. And when you need to choose between several interactive options — knocking on a door versus ringing the doorbell, for example – you physically tilt the DualShock 3 controller to highlight your selection." This is a game to look out for if you own or thinking about purchasing a PS3 in 2009.

The next big PS3 game this year is inFamous, from Sucker Punch, and shouldn’t be confused with Activision-Blizzards multi-platform title PROTOTYPE. inFamous stars Cole McGrath, a bike messenger and resident of Empire City, who develops the power to control electricity after a bomb goes off that was in one of his packages. Empire City seems to be a sandbox playground for McGrath to become the ultimate hero or anti-hero depending on how you choose to play. This will be Sucker Punch’s first new IP since the Sly Cooper series. The expected release date is Q2 of 2009, so look for it this summer sometime. A few months ago there was no news at all about God of War 3. Now, we have a teaser trailer and a Game Informer cover story in their March issue and I still really don’t have any idea what this game is about. Well, from what I can tell from the GI scans is that Kratos is pissed off. Zeus is trying to kill the ghost of Sparta by raising an undead army and then a Cyclops comes out of the trees in which Kratos easily dispatches him. So, it seems like more God of War if your into that sort of thing.

Microsoft, it is time to bring out the big guns. E3 is when all the hardcore gamers will be looking at you to carry the torch that Nintendo ceremoniously dropped. So far in 2009 we only know of one major exclusive title that will be at this years show which is the Bungie developed title Halo: ODST. Other titles that have yet to be confirmed for 2009, but I assume will come out is Forza 3 and Alan Wake. Not to sound repetitive, but little is known about the Halo expansion other than you will be plays as an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) who is referred to as the "rookie." The game is set during the events of Halo 2 after Master Chief leaves Earth and the city of New Mombasa. The rookie starts off alone and must search New Mombasa for his four teammates with the help of a city maintenance AI known as the Superintendent. ODST is a stand-alone expansion and will you won’t need Halo 3 in order to play it. This will also be Bungie’s last Master Chief based Halo game ever.

Forza has always been Microsoft’s Gran Turismo. Turn 10 was able to take a game (GT) developed in Japan and tailor it to western gamers and have a more enjoyable experience for beginners. Now in development for the third game in the series it is time for Turn 10 to make the masterpiece that everyone wants. Gran Turismo 5 is nowhere in sight so take advantage of this opportunity to be the only major racing title this year. In 2008 there was a ton of leaks coming from Intellisponse marketing concepts and some information about Forza 3 was part of the leak. The leak said that Forza 3 would have a Collector’s Edition, DLC, over 100 tracks and 400 cars and would come on two discs. A few days ago an unnamed source from Microsoft contacted VG24/7 and told them that Forza 3 will be one of its major 360 titles this holiday season. The second Forza game was released back in 2007, which makes it all the more likely, that we would see the next game in the franchise this year.

Alan Wake is the gaming industries groundhog that is afraid of his own shadow. You’ll hear from the big time gaming press that they have seen the game at various trade shows, but not game play and aren’t allowed near a controller. The game has it’s own website and twitter, but contains the same info we have known about since it was first shown. E3 2009 has to be the place to unveil this "psychological action thriller" that will obviously be competing with the Sony exclusive Heavy Rain. Your greatest weapon is light via your flashlight or traps you can set you weaken or kill your foes. Finland-based Remedy Entertainment who has taken up the Blizzard model of “it’s done when it’s done” is developing Alan Wake. Lets just hope they get it right.

Obviously both Sony and Microsoft are going to have to bring a lot more to the table at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo than games already announced. Our inside sources have confirmed to us that both will have a number of new games (both original IPs and sequels) to announce during the press conferences.


Originally posted at Planet Xbox 360.com on 2-23-2009