RPGamer Treats The World To a Preview of Upcoming Showcase Event, The E3

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This list of games shows likely candidates to appear at the show. None of these games are confirmed though, so do not count on their presence. The games here are ordered alphabetically, and clicking on a link will take you to that game's index page.

Diablo 2
The cunningly titled sequel to Diablo is a definite possibility at the show, with the final Beta test of the game underway. Diablo 2 features updated graphics, fantastic lighting and sourcing effects, and a huge range of items and character skills. Diablo 2 is finally on its way, and just as Darkstone borrowed ideas and advanced on the original, Diablo 2 aims to take its genre that one step further.

Dragon Quest VII
Forget Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. The delay on this title makes Zelda seem rushed. Originally due in 1995, Dragon Quest 7 has languished in the shadows ever since an initial batch of shots about five years ago, but now it has returned to the front and is expected to hit Japan soon. Judging by a recent upsurge in coverage and hype, Dragon Quest 7 will likely be shown in some form at E3.

Eternal Arcadia
While Phantasy Star Online takes an online approach to RPGs, Sega's other offering, Eternal Arcadia (originally known as Project Ares), is an approach at a traditionally styled RPG. Gameplay takes place on floating islands with varying geographical climates. The people on these use airships as a go-between between the islands. The characters in the game are space pirates searching for the Moon stones. The game features stunning graphics and battles take place using "guts" points and the typical array of magical spells and items. When an attack is used, guts points are depleted, although they can be recharged. The more powerful the attack, the more the guts points are used. This is kind of like a cross between Xenogears and Super Mario RPG. This might be shown in English form at the event.

Evolution 2
Sequel to the well received Evolution, Ubi Soft has revised the makeup of the game for this installment. The game takes place a mere six months after the original game, and players will once more step into the roles of Mag Launcher and Linear Cannon. Evolution dealt heavily in randomly generated dungeons, but in Evolution 2 many of them will be predefined, although random dungeons will still appear. Real time night and day changes also make an appearance and the game has much more emphasis on puzzles.

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Natsume will be bringing their franchise to the Playstation later this year and it may be previewed at E3. Something of a cross between farming, simulation, and a Zelda style RPG, Harvest Moon is certainly a niche title, and Gameboy and N64 owners have already championed its qualities.

Harvest Moon 2
This is a follow-up for the GBC version of Harvest Moon, which was released in 1999. The original game was well received and the sequel is to be released later this year. This title should be featured at E3.

IceWind Dale
Icewind Dale is set around the popular Icewind Dale books written by Robert Salvatore. The game takes place in the year 1281, the year of the cold soul. The game will use the Bioware Infinity engine last seen in Planescape Torment. At the beginning, you create a party of six characters, choosing from Humans, dwarves, elves and other various classes. A Diablo style 3/4 isometric view is incorporated and the action is highy action-like, with most of the control going to the mouse, possibly in the vain of Silver.

Legend of the River King 2
Another niche title, the Legend of the River King series combine fishing and RPG elements. The sequel, for the Game Boy Color, should advance on the ideas set down in the orginal game. Expect more fishlike thrills in a certainly unique title.

Legend of Zelda: Acorn of the Mysterious Tree
There are three upcoming games in the Mysterious Tree franchise to be released late this summer. Each one will center around a different part of the triforce: wisdom, courage, and power. The game is based around the Link's Awakening engine and once more centers around Gannon's evil kidnapping of the princess. In doing so, Gannon splits the triforce into 8 parts and also scatters the rod of four seasons, a weather controlling device. This instrument is key to advancement in the game, and for puzzle solving. For instance, a frozen river might be free flowing in spring or summer time. The first game will be transferrable with the other two games, and it apparently does not matter which game you start on. Gamers can also make use of the Gameboy Color's infrared communication port. The game should hopefully make an appearance at E3.

Lufia: The Beginning of a Legend
The third title in the Lufia series, which started life on the Super Nintendo. Lufia on the Gameboy Color has had a turbulent time in its development. Being renamed twice, losing its publisher and being completely overhauled haven't helped the game's progress. The game is still on course for a fall release, but now it is unknown exactly what the plot and gameplay will be like due to the recent overhaul.

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue
Lunar fans, of which there are many, will be excited that the Sega CD original will be released this Summer in North America complete with the usual Working Designs paraphenelia. The game is not given a SSS style overhaul but will be loosely altered in positive ways.

Phantasy Star Online
Sega has finally taken up the Phatasy Star series once more, and the series is now heading online. The game will be playable over the internet with the Dreamcast's online capabilities and will allow four players to take part in the game simultaneously. Players will be able to communicate via a series of recognizable symbols and the game seems to take place in the familiar Algol planetary system of the original titles.

Described as creating a new genre to be known as "FREE," Shenmue is a revolutionary title from Sega. The game allows complete freedom in choice and execution. There are towns and places to explore unlike any other and the player can even indulge in pool at the local bar for a small fee. Dynamic weather effects and "realistic" NPCs are also on display. This title is very promising and will hopefully be shown in English form at E3. The first console title to be released in parts, further additions of Shenmue will be released at later dates.

Vanguard Bandits
The oft delayed Working Designs title will be released this month after a likely showing at E3. Working Designs has recently delayed it again to polish up the game, which is never a bad thing. The game is a mecha strategy RPG based on Human's Epica Stella. The game keeps many traditional RPG elements and also might feature some non-linearity.

Warcraft 3
It is likely that Blizzard will show the stunning sequel to the massively popular Warcraft II at E3. The game is being promoted as a genre defining RPS (Role Playing Strategy) game, which Blizzard is keen to point out. The game is a huge update from the second title, and features stunning graphics and some unique new gameplay features. All the elements have been struck in a balance to keep players happy. Role playing, strategy, and action fans can all feel at home with this title.

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Sequel of sorts to the fantastic Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Nintendo has decided to follow up the reception to their first Zelda outing on the N64 with a quick fire (well, for Nintendo, two years is defintely quick fire) sequel. The game involves the Moon heading towards the planet at an alarming rate, and Link must see through the quest with a much greater involvement of the mask system from the first game. Link can now don masks and take on the personalities and traits of other lifeforms of the Hyrule world, from the rock eating Gorons to the seemingly useless Deku Scrubs. The game takes place in a real-time environment and will offer many new features for all Zelda fans.

This is a new list of games that will possibly, but by no means will, appear. These games might show at E3 and it would obviously be nice if they could make any form of appearance.

Grandia 2
To be released on Dreamcast, Grandia 2 will possibly make a showing at the Ubisoft stand at E3. Gamearts has languished a bit with the title and its projected release date has been put back many a time, but now it is firmly back on. The game takes place on a different world in which a cataclysmic battle between good and evil took place. Gameplay details are sketchy as of yet, but the battle system from the original is rumored to return.

Arc the Lad Collection
This is a long awaited compilation of Arc the Lad 1, 2, and 3 in one big wholesome package. Working Designs might have this at the show, and RPGamer would love to see it there. These titles were cruelly overlooked for translation, but now they are destined for arrival. Data will be transferrable across discs from game to game, and you can expect WD's usual additions to the game at retail.

Eternal Ring
This title might appear under the Agetec banner at E3. Devloped by From Software, Eternal Ring is one of a trio of From Software's RPGs that were announced. The game isn't a traditional RPG as such, and the story features a Kain Morgan, sent to a distant island to uncover the secret of the Eternal Ring. It is possible that this game may be on show.

Evergrace is another title coming from the aptly named From Software. The game takes place on a third person level, and features a high level of customization. The graphics are typical first-generation PS2 fare. This might also crop up in some form.

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by John "Loch" Hynd    
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