Electronic Arts have one of the larger line-ups at this year's E3, and each one of them is a potentially enormous money-spinner. The EA Sports series will follow the same well-trodden path, and there will be the expected milking of its biggest name games, with Harry Potter, Def Jam and Lord Of The Rings titles all heading back onto the shelves. The popular Sims and Medal of Honour franchises will also be extended further. This year, EA will even be fending off some of the more independent minded cynics, providing the third instalments of both the Burnout and TimeSplitters series. There will, in all likelihood, be something there for everyone...
FIFA Football 2005 (PSOne, PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA, PC)
A football game that isn't Pro Evolution Soccer, but one which will no doubt sell by the stadium load (particularly if EA fully embrace Xbox Live!)
Madden NFL 2005 (PSOne, PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA, PC)
An annual update of the seminal American Football series, this version will be set at some point in the future, circa 2005.
NBA Live 2005 (PS2, Xbox, GC, PC)
An annual update of EA's basketball series which won't reach the now doddering PSOne, now stranded forever in the year 2004 (in terms of b-ball and ice hockey action)
NHL 2005 (PS2, Xbox, GC, PC)
Another update. Men wearing padding, holding sticks and skating on ice. Etc.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (PS2, Xbox, GC, PC)
This is possibly a quasi-futuristic RPG featuring communist gerbils, or possibly an updated golf game. Place your bets now...
Goldeneye: Rogue Agent (PS2, Xbox, GC)
James Bond 007 is one of the world's biggest movie franchises, Goldeneye is one of the most criticially acclaimed console games ever made, and Electronic Arts have a deeper pool of resources than most publishers could ever dream to access. As a result Rogue Agent will either be very good, or heartbreakingly disappointing.
Battlefield 2 (PC)
This will be a straight sequel to the online PC battle simulator. It will have been tweaked and tuned, but will basically just offer more of the same gritty combat action.
Battlefield: Modern Combat (PS2)
The Battlefield series will be invading PS2 territory for the first time, and will be adapted specifically for the console. Thanks to the stuttering relationship between EA and Xbox Live! this will be a Sony-only outing for the time being.
Catwoman (PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA, PC)
Another super-heroic exploit, featuring Batman's less famous affiliate, Catwoman. This will be based on the upcoming Warner Bros movie, so those wishing for Michelle Pfieffer squeezed into a skin-tight PVC catsuit may well have their hopes dashed. However, they should find relief in the fact that Halle Berry got the part this time around. Miaow, indeed.
Def Jam: Fight for New York (PS2, Xbox, GC)
Previously titled Def Jam: Vendetta 2, Fight For New York continues on the same illogical premise as the original. That means a selection of rappers - all signed to Def Jam Records - wrestling. It's as if Parappa never happened.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA, PC)
Another blindingly obvious title based around Harry Potter and his enchanting magical aura. The PSOne version is fairly notable by its absence, perhaps suggesting the final coffin nail has been hammered into place for the little grey one.
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth (PC)
Quite understandably, EA want to take full advantage of the expensive LOTR franchise. Hence this PC only title will be chasing the RTS fans, using the solid Command & Conquer: Generals game-engine to power it.
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA)
The Third Age will be EA's RPG translation of the LOTR license. It could turn out to be the equivalent of Star Wars: Knights Of The Republic, or it could turn out to be something else. Indeed, the suggestion that they will be introducing 'all-new characters from Middle-Earth' will be enough to get the hardcore fanboys worried.
Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (PC)
Pacific Assault will offer more of what players have come to expect from this series: straight up FPS action, peppered with unpleasantly convincing smears of realism.
The Sims 2 (PC)
After what seems like an endless series of updates to the original game, the true sequel is finally on the way. It will be interesting to see how this compares to the original 'with all the trimmings', and whether or not EA pursue the same expansion pack frenzy that accompanied the first game.
The Urbz: Sims in the City (PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA)
Much like The Sims: Bustin' Out, the Urbz will be a console specific version of the Sims… in the city. Nothing more needs to be said for now.
Burnout 3 (PS2, Xbox)
Alongside TimeSplitters, Burnout 3 will be one of the most eagerly anticipated games on the EA stand. The first 2 games were well received by critics, and remain firm favourites for many gamers. However, if sales don't compare favourably to those achieved by Need For Speed: Undeground, then the future of the eye-bleeding racer might be placed in jeopardy.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (PS2, Xbox, GC)
The third TimeSplitters game, created by Free Radical Design, has the potential to be huge, so long as it evolves beyond its present "TS2.5" status of a few extra weapons and levels.
Armies of Exigo (PC)
Relatively little is known about this game at present, except that it will be an RTS based in a fantasy world packed with elves, dwarves (...yawn) trolls etc. A cynical interpretation would be that this is little more than an unlicensed version of LOTR: The Battle For Middle Earth; to be fair, more details are needed before that assumption is reached.
Black & White 2 (PC)
It's difficult to guess how this might turn out after the disappointment that surrounded Lionhead's first Black & White game. If it turns out to be a revised production of the original concept, it still has a great deal of potential.