The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.
Shortly before the show, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor. Shower your favourites with online love!
Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Publisher: Square Enix
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain
You start on Monday. You play it for six hours a day, every day, for six days. And if you're anything like the other Deus Ex: Human Revolution testers, you still won't finish it. The game is finally in a state to be played all the way through, and it's meant to take about 25 hours to do so. "So far," says Eidos Montreal producer David Anfossi, "with them playing about six hours every day, most of them don't complete the game." Impressive.
The original Deus Ex was a uniquely well-judged mix of role-playing game and shooter. Blasting was always an option, but never the only one. The second game, Deus Ex: Invisible War, went for a similar blend, but was too cramped and ugly to capture the feel. What's exciting about Human Revolution is that it genuinely does seem to have that delicate balance of hacking, stealth, combat and dialogue options open to you throughout.
What the Eidos Montreal team have discovered is that even players who like to blow through big budget shooters are stopping when that proves tricky, and changing tack. "The ones that are more casual gamers, who are used to more 'corridor, cutscene, corridor, cutscene' type of gameplay - they play it that way for a while. Then suddenly, there's this new world that opens to them, and they start getting a bit more creative."
MADE OF FAIL
Anfossi says the players who don't immediately grasp the open-endedness aren't necessarily put off. "When they fail - and I feel really happy about this - they don't feel frustrated or cheated, they just feel like, 'Oh, a challenge!'
"They start to see the depth of the game and jump in and really get excited about it. Eventually they start to play it like Deus Ex." That's definitely a good thing. There are hints of that in the latest trailer hero Adam Jensen crawls into a vent, cloaks through a laser grid, hacks a bot and stabs some dudes.
Apart from the stabbing dudes, which was rarely a good idea in the first game, it's very Deus Ex. But that's one playthrough. The whole point of Deus Ex is the number of different approaches you can take.
So we quiz the Eidos Montreal devs as to how else could he have approached that bit of the level... "In the section with the laser grids, there are some parts where you can get in and shut them down," says Anfossi. "If you don't have the cloaking augmentation, there's a pattern you can follow around the room to avoid being detected by the lasers.
"And there are alternate paths: in another room, you can break a wall and go around. Or you can climb in to the lift, if you have the proper augmentation or the proper tools. Or you can use an EMP grenade on the lasers without triggering the alarm." Decisions, decisions... "There are even some guards talking that you can overhear," chimes in writer Mary DeMerle, "and you hear them talking about a fault with the mechanisms behind the lasers - there's a trick to bypass them entirely."
"One of the things about the demo, that the trailer doesn't show, is that it's a really big map," says artist Jonathan Jacques-Belletete. "There's all this stuff with the lasers that David just talked about, and there's a whole other office section as well. The line between friendlies and enemies is blurred - that's totally part of that multi-path, multi-solution, multi-consequence [philosophy] we were talking about. It brings a lot of different approaches on that map, depending on how the scientists or the guards are going to see you based on your actions. So there are alternate routes... but they're not all obvious."