E3 2003: Sega's line-up
New Sonic, new PSO, new Altered Beast, and all the stuff you expected.
Sega Europe has just sent through its E3 line-up, spanning multiple systems. Although some of the games are not yet confirmed for Europe, we'll offer you the list in full. And here it is, major (new) titles at the top. There aren't necessarily all the games which Sega plans to show off, but they're the ones they're prepared to mention ahead of time.
- Sonic Heroes (PS2, Xbox, Cube) - Sonic Heroes is a brand new Sonic game, and instead of splitting the game into multiple stages designed for each character, Sega is aiming to have you control three playable characters (Sonic, Knuckles and Tails) simultaneously, combining their various skills in formation. It sounds intriguing (and they clearly don't mean that we're dealing with a 'switch character' button ala Resident Evil Zero, either), and we're looking forward to trying it out for ourselves - whether it'll be playable or not is something we don't know.
- Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (Cube) - Announced recently as Yuji Naka/Sonic Team's first major character since the Saturn (a bit of PR fluff rehashed here, we might add), Billy Hatcher is after an evil king in a once magical land. You can read all we know about it here, with screenshots here.
- Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution (Cube) - Probably the second most exciting thing on the E3 list (if it is what it sounds like), PSOE3 (handy) expands the universe offering "a new style of strategic combat", combining card collection and deck settings with team-based battle tactics. There will be the usual lobby areas with status upgrades and all that, and strategic combat via a "turn-based card system", which sounds a bit like Lost Kingdoms. Online and offline play will be thrown in, and on the whole it sounds like Sega wants to develop the franchise without alienating its core userbase - a noble ambition.
- Altered Beast (PS2) - Sega is rejuvenating Altered Beast, then, and it sounds like they're retaining much of the original's background. As a special military operative, you're sent to investigate a "deadly genetic outbreak" in a West Coast town, only to be hunted by unspeakable horrors, fighting wave after wave of failed genetic experiments. Explore your inner demons, it says here. We hope they mean in an Eternal Darkness sort of way.
- Dororo (working title) (PS2) - This is a modern day action epic, it says here, adapted from Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka's classic manga. The game follows the adventures of Hyakkimaru, a samurai haunted by a shocking secret, on the usual quest to uncover his past and regain his humanity. There will be swords. Lots of swords. And blades, bazookas and other weapons embedded in Kyakkimaru's limbs. Expect 3D fighting action blended with Japanese storytelling.
- Kunoichi (working title) (PS2) - Another epic, this one involves a female ninja, Kunoichi, charged with the task of collecting pieces of a legendary weapon to sort out the rift to the demon realm that has sprung up in Tokyo (pesky demons).
- Sonic Battle (GBA) - This could be interesting. It's a sort of deathmatch pocket fighting thing, with eight Sonic series characters going head to head via link cable (and in Story Mode) in an all out battle. We'll be able to pick special moves, train an AI fighting partner and much more, although ultimately we're still not quite sure what this one's about - all out beat 'em up style combat in 3D, or a sort of Monkey Ball mini-game?
- Worms 3D (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC) - Sega Europe only announced their plans to publish Worms 3D (despite an earlier announcement from Activision, oddly) in Q4 last week, but the game will definitely be at E3, and, we should imagine, fully playable. Screenshots here.
- Headhunter: Redemption (PS2) - We're not sure whether we're excited about this or not, because Headhunter was fun but quickly surpassed. We trust Sega though (from time to time), so with any luck this PS2 exclusive will surprise us - starting at E3.
- Sega GT Online (Xbox) - We didn't think much of Sega GT, which is why we're hoping this new online sequel (title not yet confirmed) makes all the changes it's promising, instead of merely speedbumping the series in the direction of improvement. Screenshots here.
- Vectorman (PS2) - Not yet confirmed for Europe. Details here.
- Otogi - Myth of Demons (Xbox) - Also unconfirmed in Europe. Details here and screenshots here.
- Virtual On Marz (PS2) - Not coming to Europe, as far as we know.
- Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2) - Due out in Europe on June 20th. Screenshots here.
- Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut (Cube) - Due out in Europe on June 27th. Screenshots here.
- Sonic Pinball Party (GBA) - It's not that we don't think this has the potential to be good, with its array of Sonic, Samba and NiGHTS characters, but Sega isn't famed for its pinball games, really, and we just got off the back of playing a rather lacklustre one on the very same console. We'll play it a bit at E3 though, so wait and see, pinball fans.
- NFL 2K4, NBA 2K4, NHL 2K4, NCAA College Basketball 2K4 (PS2, Xbox) - Another 'personal preference' issue. We'll let you know what they're like, but unless Sega makes some cricket, footy or rugby games to go alongside them we're unlikely to lavish attention on the 2K4 Sega Sports series. Nice to know they're there though.