Namco has unveiled its E3 line-up ahead of the show next week, although there's no mention of any next-generation content yet. Presumably that's the sort of thing we'll have to wait for the show or pre-E3 platform holder conferences to hear about.
Even so, it's a heck of a line-up, with the publisher strongly represented on PC (for once), PS2 and PSP primarily, with some DS and Xbox titles around the fringe. The lack of Cube games is potentially disappointing, but given Namco's close ties with Nintendo it's entirely possible that we'll see some stuff unveiled at the platform holder's 75-minute morning "briefing" on Tuesday.
The list's also flanked by a lot of actual content detail, which is nice for you and a potential headache for us. A headache we'll be circumventing, given the late hour and the need to focus our attentions on other more important E3-related content-making activities, by simply copying and pasting the most interesting entries under the line-up. Ha!
Obviously though, we'll at least tell you what we're most looking forward to. So that's Soul Calibur III, We Love Katamari, and Pac N' Roll. But maybe that's just yours truly. And we'll accumulate coverage of the stuff we really care about from the show floor for publication in the coming weeks.
Namco's line-up, which (perhaps deliberately) doesn't mention any next-gen stuff:
- Bounty Hounds (working title, PSP)
- Dead to Rights: Reckoning (PSP)
- Hellgate: London (PC)
- Mage Knight Apocalypse (PC)
- MotoGP4 (PS2)
- Namco Museum 50th Anniversary (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- Namco Museum Battle Collection (PSP)
- Pac-Man World 3 (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC, PSP)
- Pac N' Roll (DS)
- Real Time Conflict: Shogun Empires (DS)
- Rebelstar Tactical Command (GBA)
- Sigma Star Saga (GBA)
- Sniper Elite (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Soul Calibur III (PS2)
- Tales of Legendia (PS2)
- Urban Reign (PS2)
- We Love Katamari (PS2)
Details of what we feel are the most interesting games, courtesy of the publisher. These are published unedited in roughly the order Namco elected to produce them.
Soul Calibur III (PS2) - The legendary battle of Soul Calibur and Soul Edge moves to the next phase in "SOULCALIBUR III," the latest installment in the celebrated weapon-based fighting franchise – offering players unprecedented variety in gameplay modes and fighting styles. Players can guide the fate of their favorite character in the narrative Tales of Souls mode, play head-to-head with a friend in VS Standard mode, create their own custom fighters in Character Creation mode and battle as these custom fighters in a real-time simulation in Chronicles of the Sword mode. Players can also engage in unique and original battles in Soul Arena mode and even recount the history of the franchise in Museum mode. With an additional three new characters to the existing family of classic warriors, there is a collection of more than 25 playable characters, each with their own unique fighting style. The epic "SOULCALIBUR III" story continues on the PlayStation2 this fall.
We Love Katamari (PS2) - The cute and loveable Prince is rolling once again to appease all the new fans of his father, the King of All Cosmos, in "We Love Katamari." Players can select the Prince or one of his many cousins to complete the tasks given to them by the fans. Players can also travel to new locations and experience the great gameplay that has helped "Katamari DamacyTM" capture the hearts of gamers everywhere. "We Love Katamari" allows players to roll with a friend in the all-new two-player cooperative mode, in which each person controls part of the clump. " We Love Katamari" will be launching on the PlayStation 2 in 2005.
Mage Knight Apocalypse (PC) - A select group of heroes must defeat the Apocalypse Dragon, a seemingly unstoppable five-headed monstrosity that has been summoned by the forces of Chaos in "Mage Knight Apocalypse." Five unique character classes can be chosen from with hundreds of weapons, armor and abilities to customize. These heroes will battle hundreds of unique enemies with brilliant special effects in a beautiful 3D world. With an unprecedented focus on team combat, fight together as never before using group combo attacks to assault enemies in both single and online modes of play for the PC in 2006.
Hellgate: London (PC) - "HELLGATE: LONDON" combines the depth of role-playing games and action of first-person titles, while offering infinite playability with randomly created levels, items and events. The player creates a heroic character, completes quests and battles through innumerable hordes of demons to advance through experience levels and branching skill paths. A robust, flexible skill and spell system, highly customizable appearances and a massive variety of randomly generated equipment allow players to create their own unique hero.
Sigma Star Saga (GBA) - "Sigma Star Saga" is the first game of its kind – a true mix of RPG depth and character building with a space shooter battle engine. This captivating RPG puts players in the role of a double agent whose mission is to discover the mystery behind six planets the evil Krill have taken interest in. Along with AAA graphics and sound, players will be able to customize weapons with more than 50 different Gun Data items. The story will feature multiple endings with more than 20 hours of gameplay. "Sigma Star Saga" ships on the Game Boy Advance in July 2005.
Rebelstar Tactical Command (GBA) - The Arelian empire has been in control of Earth for far too long. A new recruit, Jorel, has organized a rebel force that just might be able to crush the Arelian empire in "Rebelstar: Tactical Command." Players must use the environment to their advantage in this turn-based strategy game that utilizes destructible terrain and true line of sight in eight directions. Players can also equip their squad with a variety of weapons including grenades, sniper rifles and missile launchers to take down the Arelian empire. Be prepared for "Rebelstar: Tactical Command" in August 2005 on the Game Boy Advance.
Dead to Rights: Reckoning (PSP) - Jack Slate is back on the streets in this hardboiled action adventure, "Dead To Rights: Reckoning." Jack, and his trusted K-9 partner, Shadow, return to navigate the corrupt underworld of Grant City with cutting-edge graphics, intricate level design and sophisticated enemy AI that will push the limits of PSP system technology. Jack returns with new weapons, new lethal disarms and his trusty dog Shadow to wrestle enemies to the ground. Players will be able to go compete against each other with wireless multiplayer DeathMatch gameplay for hours of reply value. Players take the streets in "Dead To Rights: Reckoning" in summer 2005 on the PSP system.
Real Time Conflict: Shogun Empires (DS) - "Real Time Conflict: Shogun Empires" takes place in the dark and violent world of feudal Japan, where two brothers are bound by blood yet locked in battle for the title of Shogun king. After players choose their warrior prince, they can prepare to conquer all neighboring armies and become the ultimate ruler of Japan by commanding armies in real-time battle. Players map out their strategy on the bottom screen and command their armies to execute 3-D battles on the top screen. Players may use diplomacy, military strategy or assassination against their political rivals in mini-games including Forest Duels, Castle Siege and more. Wireless multiplayer action can let up to 16 friends battle it out to become the ultimate ruler of Japan. "Real Time Conflict: Shogun Empires" ships on the Nintendo DS in October 2005.
Pac N' Roll (DS) - In "Pac N' Roll," the inhabitants of Pac-World have been turned into spheres by the evil monster Golvis' Ghost Light. Pac-Man must roll his way through Ghost-Land, collecting pellets and confronting Ghosts to save his friends and restore peace to Pac-Land. Introducing an innovative new control scheme, "Pac'N Roll" lets players control Pac-Man with the Nintendo DS stylus. Players can roll and dash around diverse landscapes such as the Castle Pac, Gyro-Jungle and Flaming Fortress as well as execute maneuvers such as hairpin turns, immediate stops and precision rolling with effortless strokes of the stylus. "Pac N' Roll" will roll its way onto the Nintendo DS in summer 2005.
Bounty Hounds (working titles, PSP) - The player takes the role of Maximillan, the leader of "Bounty Hounds" – a ruthless band of mercenaries. The mission is to engage in battle with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI) spread across planets and unfold a sinister plot between a corporation and ETI that threatens to take over the world. With more than 500 weapons and armor, players face 40 alien species and 40 expansive missions. Advanced enemy AI will adapt to player health and weapon type. Dungeons are randomly generated each time the game is played so no gameplay experience is the same. Wireless gaming will allow players to access rare items to share they can't get when playing alone! Become a "Bounty Hound" this summer, only on the PSP system.
Urban Reign (PS2) - From the makers of "SOULCALIBUR®" and "Tekken®" comes the next level in fighting action – "Urban Reign." Players assume the role of a gritty street brawler who has been hired by one of the city's dominant gangs to protect its leader. In "Urban Reign," players are thrown into a full-blown turf war, involving gang corruption and street justice that spans from the neighborhood block all the way to the upper levels of city government. By teaming up with an AI-controlled character, players can pull off a host of devastating and destructive combo maneuvers against multiple enemies throughout the game's 100 missions. "Urban Reign" also supports multi-tap play for up to four players to determine who really rules the hood. "Urban Reign" hits the streets this fall, exclusively for the PlayStation 2.
Tales of Legendia (PS2) - The renowned "Tales" series comes to the PlayStation 2 with "Tales of Legendia." This extraordinary new additional to the "Tales" series combines the depth of an RPG with the furiously fast real-time battles of an authentic fighting game. Players can now battle huge monsters with fighting-game-like controls with X-LiMBS, Namco's new Crossover Linear Motion Battle system. In development for several years, "Tales of Legendia" offers fantastic 3D graphics and an emotionally-charged storyline. "Tales of Legendia" will also feature a unique cast of characters designed by Kazuto Nakazawe, the internationally renowned Japanese artist acclaimed for his animation sequences in "Kill Bill: Vol. 1." This amazing new RPG experience comes to the PlayStation 2 in February 2006.