From Halo 4 to Assassin's Creed III, an array of upcoming video games was showcased at the ongoing Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Nintendo displayed 23 titles for the upcoming Wii U console, Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft also released breath-taking game trailers. Here's a sneak peek at what's in store for gaming aficionados in the coming months.
Halo 4 opened Microsoft's media briefing, offering a glimpse into a new vision of life as a UNSC Marine.
A live-action trailer for the November 6 Xbox 360 release was joined by a longer gameplay clip designed to show that 343 Industries, the game's new developer, has every intention of matching if not bettering Bungie's original creation.
Main character Master Chief returns and is tasked with rescuing shipwrecked starship Infinity. In doing so, he encounters new enemies, new environments and new weaponry -- and the new challenge of being in the company of his increasingly unstable AI guide, Cortana.
Since finishing 2010 title Halo: Reach, Bungie has since signed a four game, ten year deal with Activision, the Call of Duty publisher.
The Halo franchise was handed over to 343i, which oversaw the development of 2011's Halo remake Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and is aiming for a Halo 4 that is both familiar and fresh.
Racing game Forza Horizon will launch on October 23, and its E3 2012 trailer showed off a variety of environments for players to check out.
The open expanses, lakeside twists and turns, rocky ravines and cluttered freeways of Colorado all feature as a selection of high-powered vehicles make their way towards the game's Horizon Festival.
While previous entries to the series were made by Turn 10, Forza Horizon is the first title from new UK developer Playground Games.
Its staff has been plucked from a wide range of prestigious racing game developers: Criterion (Burnout, Hot Pursuit), Codemasters (Dirt, F1), Ubisoft Reflections (Driver: San Francisco) and Slightly Mad Studios (Shift 2, Project CARS), as well as the now defunct Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing, Blur) and Black Rock (Split/Second).
The hand-off leaves Turn 10 free to concentrate on other projects, and while Microsoft used this year's E3 opening presentation to focus on the Xbox 360's suite of games and entertainment apps, the tech company is expected to announce and launch a console successor in 2013.
Assassin's Creed III
Revolutionary-era Templar hunter Connor is given his longest run-out yet in a new Assassin's Creed III trailer, while the Vita welcomes female assassin Aveline for Assassin's Creed III: Liberation.
Presented halfway through Ubisoft's stage show at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Assassin's Creed III benefited from two trailers.
The shorter clip took a cinematic, slow-mo approach to demonstrating Connor's ability on the battlefield, piercing enemy lines and eliminating a Redcoat commander. A longer, seven-minute gameplay demo offered a more significant glimpse at the game in action.
In it, Connor hunts venison for the local Patriot encampment (did he learn how by playing Red Dead Redemption?), hobnobs with a Redcoat officer, showcases his particularly effective close combat skills, and infiltrates the enemy camp that houses a high-ranking Templar -- sworn enemy of the Assassins -- and all the while thanks the 1,000 providentially arranged tree branches that allow his swift and undetected passsage from A to B.
Ubisoft then pitched up at Sony's press conference to introduce Assassin's Creed: Liberation for the PlayStation Vita.
While female assassins were introduced in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, it's Liberation's Aveline, a no-nonsense New Orleanian of French and African heritage, who will be the franchise's first female main character.
Both Assassin's Creed III for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and Assassin's Creed: Liberation for the PlayStation Vita have been given identical release dates of October 30 in North America and October 31 in European regions. A Wii U version is expected to be detailed during Nintendo's E3 presentation.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Electronic Arts has a new racing game in the works for the tail end of 2012, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and it's looking very shiny indeed.
Not to be confused with the 2005 racer of the same name, this game is being developed by Criterion, which was in charge of both Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which was agonizingly effective at encouraging friendly competition, and the open-world sandbox affair of wreck-happy Burnout: Paradise.
Announced during EA's stage time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, early information indicates that October 2012's Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows PC game Most
Wanted will act as a sequel to neither but successor to both.
Microsoft offered Forza Horizon to petrolheads while Sony trailed LittleBigPlanet Karting during their respective E3 presentations.
The Last of Us
Sony closed its presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo with a gameplay trailer for upcoming action game The Last of Us.
Naughty Dog, the Californian developer of the Uncharted series, has been hard at work on The Last of Us, a PlayStation 3 game due for release within the next year.
It's to star Ashley Johnson of TV series Growing Pains and The Killing, and Troy Baker, a voice actor whose video game roles have included Batman: Arkham City, Valkyria Chronicles II, and the last three Call of Duty games.
The Last of Us is a tense survival horror twist on standardized zombie tropes in which a fast-spreading fungus has ravaged human society, and it allows Naughty Dog to explore the sort of trust established between strangers when the chips are down -- a cross between The Walking Dead and Life after People.
Ellen Page had been in the frame for Ashley's role of Ellie, but she now stars in another PlayStation 3 game in the making, Beyond: Two Souls.
Last year, Far Cry 3 was Ubisoft's unexpected E3 announcement. This year, it was Watch Dogs that stepped into the spotlight with confident swagger.
Watch Dogs is set in contemporary America, where an intricate, invisible network of data surrounds everything that happens.
Morally ambiguous protagonist Aiden Pearce has the means and the motive to crack that web of information, manipulating it where he must.
In Ubisoft's June 4 stage demo, that meant phone hacking, infiltration and eavesdropping, tampering with traffic lights for a well-timed pile up, and a full-blown firefight followed by a swift getaway.
The hustle and bustle of Watch Dogs' city setting -- a simulacra for Chicago -- combined with Aiden's array of technology and deadly skill invites easy comparison to recent Grand Theft Auto, Deus Ex, and Hitman games, as well as Ubi's own Assassin's Creed series.
There's no release date identified as of yet, usually a signifier that it's some way off, but Ubisoft later confirmed that the game is targeting Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.