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 at the Los Angeles event. Give your favourites the love!
Game: Resident Evil: Raccoon City
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain
Before the Ashford incident at Rockfort Island, before the Las Plagas outbreak in a remote Spanish county and long, long before the disappointing events in Kijuju, Africa, pharmaceutical company the Umbrella Corporation were responsible for a mass zombie outbreak in the American midwest locale of Raccoon City.
The undead bug ravaged Raccoon City's population. Few survived, and those who didn't make it past the border before the government imposed lockdown were trapped in a zombie-feeding pit. Either they succumbed to the overwhelming undead numbers, or they were evaporated when the town was nuked on 1 October 1998 in what turned out to be a Presidential-approved cleansing process designed to prevent the outbreak extending across the American continent.
The fall of Raccoon City has been recounted many times in the series: first in Resident Evil 2 and then in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (both set in the 24 hours before and after the events of the second game), Resident Evil Outbreak, Resident Evil Outbreak File 2, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - not to mention the many spin-off films, books, comics and all the rest.
Yet obviously there's still something to tell, for Capcom's latest Resident Evil instalment adds more meat to the story of the mid-western town's demise. Once again we're hurled back to 1998: a world without iPhones, without Rebecca Black and, most importantly, a world with zombies.
But the return of shambling hordes hasn't gone hand-in-hand with a return to horror. Operation Raccoon City shuns both established survival horror and survival action Resi archetypes, opting instead for an all-new approach to the tale: a coverbased third-person shooter. Capcom obviously decided their experiment with Blue Castle (now Capcom Vancouver) and Dead Rising 2 was a success (which, in all fairness, it was), as they've handed development duties to Canadian outfit Slant Six.
Don't feel embarrassed about not recognising the name: they're the team responsible for two pretty weak SOCOM games on the PSP and one very weak SOCOM title on Playstation 3 (its European release was even delayed to try and fix some game-breaking bugs). To say that the studio is unproven is something of an understatement.
SLANTS VS ZOMBIES
It's neither the type of game nor the developer we had hoped for, but we're not going to write off Operation Racoon City just yet. For one, we can at least say the premise is unique. You play the role of an Umbrella clean-up crew, and as anybody with even a fleeting knowledge of Resident Evil lore will tell you, that means that this time around you're actually going to be one of the bad guys.
With zombies patrolling the streets, you and your three colleagues are dropped into Raccoon City with the aim of eliminating everyone and everything that links Umbrella to the disaster. Personally we think the Umbrella logos on the team's shoulders would sort of give the game away if anybody spotted them, but there you go.