- Release Date: TBA
In all likelihood, of all the games on this list Lego Batman is the least likely to make it out this year. But that won't stop us from slipping it in here in the hope that kind of announcing it might make arive sooner. In their approach to the Lego Star Wars franchise, Traveller's Tales demonstrated that, with time and freedom, they could make an astonishingly robust, appealing and successful movie-tie-in videogame.
The move to Gotham seems perfectly natural, with the Batman mythology providing just as many opportunities for the developer to take the gameplay in the creative and compelling ways that so characterise the Lego Star Wars games. Brilliantly, for a hands-on preview of the characters, vehicles and environments to expect you need only pop into your local Lego store.
Despite flutters of concern following Ubisoft's clunky demonstration at E3 earlier this month, fears that this was all Unkle-soundtracked style over substance were dampened once we spent some time playing Assassin's Creed ourselves. For a setting Ubisoft Montreal has settled upon the cities of Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus at the time of the Third Crusade. You play as Alta´r, a member of the Hashshashin sect who is working towards eliminating the nine western figures driving the crusades.
As well as introducing some new game-speak in the form of 'social stealth' (a.k.a. walking around in crowds) the game is also championing a context sensitive control scheme. Here buttons generally map to the character's limbs and perform actions appropriate to situation and environment at any given time. While the game's themes and setting might seem a little incendiary right now, numerous clues as to a possible heavy science-fiction reveal as well as the fact Altair is, conveniently enough the son of a Christian mother and a Muslim father might seek to take any sting out of this tale.
Ostensibly this is a long way from Tetsuya Mizuguchi's original 1995 white-knuckle arcade rally game with which it shares a name. Developed in Solihull under the watchful eye of a man named Guy (Wilday - Director of SEGA Racing Studio) the circumstances surrounding its development hardly echo those of its neon-blinking, tub-thumping Japanese ancestor. But while the game is aimed at a western audience for whom the realism and range of automotive geekery in the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo is key, Sega Rally has a lot more in common with Sega Rally than you might expect.
The emphasis is again on accessibility and fun, that combination of Sega blue skies, streaking snow capped hills and fifty metre gravelly powerslides. For gamers concerned that this will just be a paper thin, five minute arcade-a-thon there will be thirty vehicles, 6-player competitive racing online (possible between 360 and Vista players) and, more importantly, the kind of accessible but deep racing that made the original so very inspirational.