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E3 Day 3: EA, Blizzard, Microsoft & More
Date: May 18, 2006
Author: Samit Choudhuri
E3 Day 3, EA

"I wish we could open our eyes to see in all directions at the same time. Oh, what a beautiful view . . ." - Death Cab For Cutie


Some "Special" folks at E3...

Gears of War Mural

Classic Gaming in Kentia Hall

More Classic Gaming...

And Zaxxon - Such Memories!

Hello & Goodbye - The Final Day At E3, Day Three

There's a myriad of things to see and do at E3, and after two solid days of hoofing it around the convention center, it still feels like there's so much yet to see. The morning started out in Kentia Hall. It's typically where many lesser known companies set up their booths, but it's also a good location to meet and do business. And that's what AMD was thinking when we met with them in a non-descript meeting room with a locking door in the back of Kentia Hall. HotHardware.com will be bringing you plenty of kick-ass AMD news in the coming weeks and let us just say that for now we're in the calm before the storm.

Next, I checked out what Electronic Arts had to offer.

Showing off Crysis

Spore: E3's Top Pick

EA's Surround Room

Crysis looked stunning and certainly did not look like it was running on an "average" machine, as an EA rep pointed out. Crysis, along with Flight Simulator X, is being developed as a DirectX 10 title. The graphical leap past FarCry is visually very obvious. Mowing down small trees is much better seen than described and those palm fronds look absolutely real.

Command & Conquer 3 was just a video that looked cool, but was pretty obviously gussied up. It's still too early to know how the game will turn out though.

Have you heard of Spore? Oh my, this game is magnificent. Will Wright (creator of Sim City, The Sims, etc.) has created a truly innovative game where you start as a single cell organism and work your way to the stars. I'm guessing we won't see this until 2007 since EA was not showing the game on the floor, but it's a title PC gamers should be looking forward to. Also, I believe the current issue of Computer Gaming World has a cover story on Spore, which may be worth your time to check out.

Activision, Blizzard, THQ, MS

The remainder of the day was spent checking out the various booths in the South Hall. I spent some time with Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway, Blizzard's World Of Warcraft The Burning Crusades expansion, Buena Vista's Pirates Of The Caribbean, Activision's Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Call Of Duty 3, THQ's Supreme Commander and Company Of Heroes, Take-Two's Bioshock and a few others).

Activision's Booth

ET: QW's Big Gun

Activision's Poker Tutorial

Promoting X-Men III

Blizzard's Booth

WoW Expansion

THQ's Booth

TQH's Titan's Quest Area

Saint's Row Girls Saying Hi!

THQ's Destroy All Humans

VU's Booth

Say Hello, To My Little Friend...

More Tabula Rasa

Pirates of the Carribean

Bioshock - The Spiritual Sequal to System Shock

Showing off Huxley

Steven Spielberg was making the rounds.  He popped out of the Activision VIP area and was standing a couple of feet away from me (with his bouncers) - apparently he was touring E3 and checking out the various games.

Then it was off to Microsoft to check out the Halo3 video as well as a plethora of Xbox 360 and PC games. With regard to 360, the games on the show floor would have been enough to make us buy a 360. With the 360 hardware already on store shelves, Microsoft is focusing on software and we expect some great things ahead for Microsoft this holiday season.

XBox Booth Entrance

XBox Booth From Above

Halo 3 - Look at those reflections!

More Halo 3

Microsoft's Windows For Games initiative showcased MS Game Studio titles as well A-list games from numerous other companies. It's here we got to play Flight Simulator X. (Later, behind closed doors, we took a look at a renders of how Microsoft expects the scenery will look when played on a high end PC under DirectX 10. If the end result is something even close to the renders, then wow - you're going to forget you're on a PC.) I spent a few minutes flying a glider through the Grand Canyon and was impressed with both the DX9 graphics and the flight modeling. If flight sims are your bag, then this may be the ultimate flight sim sandbox for you.

More From Micrsoft & a few Others

Next up were private meetings for several games, including Gears Of War (www.gearsofwar.com; being developed by Epic Games), which we played in multiplayer on Xbox 360.

Gears of War

They Take Security Very Seriously...

Rockin' Out!

Graphics looked spectacular, but we were most impressed with how easy it was to control your character while moving in and out of cover. Playing Gears Of War was one my top gaming experiences at E3.

Another impressive MS Game Studios title was Mass Effect (masseffect.bioware.com), which is being developed by BioWare. This is an RPG that looks like it has some action elements, but is at its core an RPG. Graphics are breathtaking and the communication interface with NPCs was outstanding. It's hard not to expect the best from the folks behind KOTOR and Neverwinter Nights.

Other promising titles I managed to look at more closely during my Microsoft meetings included Crackdown, Too Human, and Alan Wake. Microsoft's upcoming first-party games for the 360 picked up a good buzz and featured titles I am dying to play. The company also seems to have invested heavily in Games For Windows, which bodes well for PC gaming. We saw gobs of great-looking PC titles all over E3 and are chuffed to see them on retail shelves later this year.

Logitech's Booth

Another look at Logitech's Booth

Sega's Booth
Fatal1ty With His Sponsors

Fatal1ty Spanked Everyone
So Long E3 2006!

The Outside Walkway...

See You In '07!

And so ends the Electronic Entertainment Expo XI (that's 11 for the Roman numerically-challenged). Friday 4pm brings with it a rush of relief (for my troubled feet) and disappointment (how time flies). The end is bittersweet, but we have E3 XII to look forward to this time next year. (I should note that the employees manning booths for the various companies may disagree - after all, they've all been on their feet for more than three solid days shouting to be heard over the din. We salute you!) See you next year...

Related Articles:

E3 2006 Day 1: Sony & Nintendo
E3 2006 Day 2: NVIDIA, NCSoft, Capcom & More


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