E3 represents not just a hub of gaming culture but also an infallible opportunity for developers and publishers to proactively tout a title that wouldn't normally receive a decent amount of coverage. These presentations often present a welcome break for the press, since it seems like we can't bat an eyelid without running into a preview for the latest shooter or tiredly witnessing the unveiling of yet another piece of cutting-edge hardware.
Thankfully, some companies — such as Bigpoint and Gazillion — knowingly emphasize low-key presentations of their games. Their lack of flashy displays and hyperactive PR folk definitely made my job easier. And you know what? Their games deserve the same level of high praise given to any blockbuster title out there.
You may (or may not) have heard of these upcoming projects, but you should definitely keep an eye out for them.
Battlestar Galactica Online: As one of the largest gaming portals and browser-game developers around, Germany-based Bigpoint brings the war to the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica Online. This massively multiplayer game, which draws inspiration from the 2004 TV series, will feature a fully 3D world, PvP (player versus player) and PvE (player versus environment) elements, multiple tiers of ships, streaming content updates and patches, and resource mining,
The best part of this title is that the user will not have to download anything apart from a small plugin. The game will run comfortably in any Internet browser. Bigpoint promised to reveal more details when Comic-Con heaves into sight, and, from what I saw, mankind's journey among the stars looks very promising indeed.
Jumpgate Evolution: Gazillion refuses to be outdone by those nefarious Cylons, and their foray into the final frontier serves as a fresh reboot of the Jumpgate franchise. This title underscores colossal ships, dynamic objectives, an EVE-like avatar interface, and a savage battle waged between three spacefaring factions. You won't find any futzing around with PvE here; this game revolves around PvP combat and the intertwining stories leading up to the inevitable conflicts.
Players and supplemental AI cronies from each faction — the profit-loving Solrain, the battle-lusting Quantar, and the Roman-influenced Octavian Empire — will engage in public quests and contextual mission goals that will help sway the tide of the war. The simple and intuitive controls will make any shooter fan feel right at home, which bodes well for Gazillion's hope of turning Jumpgate's spacious combat arenas into an all-out dogfighting slugfest.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online: Pardon the overused expression, but kids these days have it easy. While I struggle with the brain-bending puzzles of Portal, Gazillion wants the younger generation to experience the fantastical world of super heroes in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
Up to four gamers will team up in groups of cutely stylized characters popularized by the comic books (such as Iron Man, Spider Man, Storm, and Wolverine) and embark on missions against classic Marvel villains like Dr. Octopus and Dr. Doom.
The minimal user interface and absence of dialogue (emotes are used to convey messages) simplify the often tedious busywork of forming a group and help prevent any brushes with foul language. Characters can buff themselves with unique abilities, but most of the fighting is largely point and click, akin to the Diablo series. Even though the game is very kid-friendly, I can never turn down an opportunity to play as some of my favorite childhood heroes. I call Spider Man!