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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
 Written by John Scalzo  on April 19, 2010

Special: No prequels allowed.

Also be sure to check out our first Unannounced Sequels Scorecard where we spill the beans on God of War IV, Uncharted 3, Halo 4 and 12 others.

With E3 less than two months away, some of gaming's biggest franchises will soon grow just a bit larger. Not all of these games have been officially announced; some are just rumors. But one thing is certain, they're all definitely in development. So here's everything we know about another batch of gaming's great unannounced sequels:

Assassin's Creed 2.5
Most Recent Game: Assassin's Creed II
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: Assassin's Creed II jumped forward in time 300 years from the first game in the series, but Assassin's Creed 2.5 will stay in the Renaissance period when it gets released later this year.

First revealed by Ubisoft executives during quarterly conference call in January, Assassin's Creed 2.5 will star AC2 protagonist Ezio as he fights the Knights Templar in Rome. The game will include an online multiplayer mode (a first for the franchise) and Nolan North, the biggest mouth in gaming, will once again voice the Ezio's ancestor, Desmond Miles.

Batman: Arkham Asylum 2
Most Recent Game: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Status: Officially Announced
What We Know: The Joker has escaped from Arkham (again) and he's hooked up to some strange IV while Harley Quinn plays nursemaid (if only we all could be so lucky). That's about all we've been able to glean from the game's first trailer, which debuted during the 2009 Spike TV Video Game Awards in December.

However, subtle references to several members of Batman's rogues gallery abound in the trailer. Some of the notable names that were namechecked include The Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman and Black Mask. Whether any of those supervillains actually appear in the game (and whether the game will make its late 2010 release date) will have to wait for E3.

Grand Theft Auto V
Most Recent Game: Grand Theft Auto IV and its expansions
Status: Not Ready to be Announced
What We Know: Executives at Take-Two have made exactly one public statement concerning Grand Theft Auto V. During a financial conference call in September, company CEO Strauss Zelnick said "[W]e're not going to announce it, we're not going to announce when we are going to announce it, and we are not going to announce a strategy about announcing it or about when we are going to announce it either, or about the announcement strategy surrounding the announcement of the strategy."

A pretty firm sign of existence, but Take-Two's official position is "no comment."

Kingdom Hearts 3
Most Recent Game: Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep will be released this Summer
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: Tetsuya Nomura has a pretty full plate nowadays. In addition to his work on Square Enix's three Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII games, he is also the series director for the Kingdom Hearts franchise. So he's had a hand in every Kingdom Hearts currently in development. And according to Nomura, that includes two side story games and the next big sequel, Kingdom Hearts III. Nomura has stated that KH3 will be "the conclusion of the Xehanort saga", but not the end of the Kingdom Hearts series.

The Legend of Zelda 2010
Most Recent Game: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: Shigeru Miyamoto used his annual Developer Roundtable at E3 2009 to unveil the next Legend of Zelda, and the first designed from the ground up for the Wii. He also revealed one piece of concept art that showed the game will star a "mature Link" and an otherwordly blue-skinned girl. In the weeks after E3, Miyamoto would also confirm that the game will require the Wii MotionPlus add-on.

News on the next Legend of Zelda has begun to ramp up over the last few weeks, mostly involving the game's release date. Originally announced to come out in 2010 by Miyamoto, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata backed up that statement in an interview earlier this year. But then producer Eiji Aonuma said the game might be pushed back to 2011 to ensure it's perfect. This caused Iwata to downplay his release date predictions in a followup interview. However, the most recent word comes from Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's Vice President of Sales & Marketing, who told Wired that she would bet a steak dinner on the game being released in 2010.

LittleBigPlanet 2
Most Recent Game: LittleBigPlanet for the PSP
Status: Rumored
What We Know: Officially, it's hard to tell if LittleBigPlanet 2 even exists. The game was first mentioned in a BBC News article on British game developers written in 2008 to coincide with the release of the first game. But it's very possible the author was referring to now released PS3 Game of the Year Edition or the PSP version.

Then, just a few weeks ago, Folkert Langeveld of Sony Benelux offhandedly mentioned that LittleBigPlanet 2 would support the PlayStation Move. Sony was quick to condemn Langeveld's comments, saying that officially the company didn't have anything to announce concerning the LBP franchise. But they also didn't deny its existence either. To top it off, a few days ago, English electronica artist Ochre posted a Twitter update announcing that one of his songs would be featured in LittleBigPlanet 2. While he's not a Sony representative, it's telling that that post has now disappeared from his Twitter feed.

Media Molecule, who were fully acquired by Sony back in March, has to be working on something. And I would be shocked if it's not LittleBigPlanet 2.

Mass Effect 3
Most Recent Game: Mass Effect 2
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: The Mass Effect series was intended to be a trilogy before making game franchises into trilogies was cool. And with Mass Effect 2 now in stores, BioWare has been talking up the grand finale for quite some time. The developer is looking to do a quick turnaround on the third game in the series, releasing it sooner rather than later. How this plan will cooperate with the development schedule for Dragon Age 2 (which will be released in February 2011) remains to be seen.

EA has also hinted that Mass Effect 3 will be released in early 2011. Although, right now, the most compelling bit of information is that BioWare is working on a new ammo system, which is codenamed Project Wombat, for the game. The developer is also on record as saying the game will be released on the Xbox 360 with no mention of a PS3 version.

Need For Speed: Criterion
Most Recent Game: Need For Speed: Shift
Status: Officially Announced
What We Know: Electronic Arts has two Need For Speed games penciled in on their 2010-2011 release calendar. One will arrive sometime this Fall while the next will be released in early 2011. And one of them is in the works at Burnout developer Criterion Games.

Beyond the fact that the Criterion-developed game has been in development "for some time now", EA hasn't had much to say about the title. Expect to learn more at this year's E3 expo.

Pikmin 3
Most Recent Game: Pikmin 2
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: Shigeru Miyamoto used his annual Developer Roundtable at E3 2008 to unveil Pikmin 3 (apparently, the man loves a good roundtable). Nintendo hasn't spoken publicly of the game since, except to confirm that it's still in development. All we really know for sure is that it's coming to the Wii.

Red Faction 4
Most Recent Game: Red Faction: Guerrilla
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: After the collective yawn that Red Faction II produced on four platforms back in 2002/2003, I don't think anybody expected Red Faction: Guerrilla to make as many shockwaves as it did. The game so captivated gamers that THQ has fast-tracked a sequel and plans to release it this year. The company has also said that Red Faction 4 will make its worldwide debut at this year's E3 expo. Let's hope it brings the house down.

Rock Band 3
Most Recent Game: This June's Green Day: Rock Band
Status: Officially Announced
What We Know: Rock Band 3 is coming this Fall... and officially, that's all we know. OK, we also know that Harmonix is once again in the developer's seat and, after some late stage negotiations, EA is back on board as the game's distribution partner. Everything else we know about the game comes from hopeful sound bites from MTV executives and the offspring of a Beatle.

Scott Guthrie, the head of MTV Games, told MCV that Harmonix was "looking into" Natal for Rock Band 3 back in August. Whether anything came of this show-and-tell session is still up in the air, but it could certainly add a music video twist to the now fairly standard music game genre.

But the real high notes were hit by Harmonix consultant Dhani Harrison. George's son told the Chicago Tribune, "I'm working on 'Rock Band 3' and making the controllers more real so people can actually learn how to play music while playing the game. Give me a couple years, it's going to happen."

No other details have been officially released, but we can make a few educated guesses: Rock Band 3 will be released for the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 and come with a new set of peripherals and about 75-90 new songs. It'll also include the new three-part harmony feature that made it into The Beatles: Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band.

Saints Row 3
Most Recent Game: Saints Row 2
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: Work on Saints Row 3 began at Volition in 2008. It's very likely the development team started working on it while they were still wearing their party hats celebrating the release of Saints Row 2. In the years since, the developer and publisher THQ have kept pretty quiet on the game, keeping the focus on DLC for Saints Row 2.

But in the past few months, more details about the next Saints Row have emerged from THQ HQ. First, company CEO Brian Farrell confirmed during a quarterly conference call that the game is on track for a 2011 release. And just a few weeks ago, THQ's Vice President of Core Gaming, Danny Bilson, told CVG that the game is "mind-blowing."

Since the game is scheduled for release next year, we'll definitely learn more at E3.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5
Most Recent Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Status: Confirmed by Company Executives
What We Know: Katsura Hashino, the director of the Persona series at Atlus, recently told the Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki PlayStation that work on the next Persona game has begun. It's still unknown if the series will make the jump to the PS3 after all these years, but Hashino has confirmed he wants to take the franchise to new places. "I want to add things that are being expected of the series. I also want to change things that can be changed within those boundaries," he told Dengeki.

Silent Hill 6
Most Recent Game: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Status: Officially Announced
What We Know: Two weeks ago, Konami held their annual Gamer's Night media event. As the capstone to their pre-E3 presentation, the company revealed that Silent Hill 6 is in development for the PS3, Xbox 360 and probably the PC at Czech studio Vatra Games. Konami didn't lift the fog on any other details about the game, but they did promise we'd learn more at E3.

Twisted Metal PS3
Most Recent Game: Twisted Metal: Head-On
Status: Confirmed by Developers
What We Know: When David Jaffe and his team at Eat, Sleep, Play brought Twisted Metal: Head-On to the PS2 in 2008, they included a coded message in the game itself that fans quickly deciphered as "Metal Is Coming On PS Three."

That coded message was the last gamers heard about Twisted Metal on the PS3 until Jaffe posted the following BIG HINT on his blog back in February:

"Just to be clear, I've never said we were or were NOT making a new Twisted Metal. Ever. But just to be 100% clear, if we were to make a new Twisted, I would consider it a reboot. The last console Twisted was 10 years ago. If we were to make a new one, we'd be starting with the assumption that no one knows what Twisted Metal is anymore and we'd have to re-earn each and every fan the series ever had. So in that sense, IF we were to ever make a new one, we'd consider it a brand new series/game/franchise."

While not outright confirming the existence of a new Twisted Metal game (even though he first talked about two years prior), Jaffe was speaking in that legalese developers speak in when they're not really supposed to talk about something... which is that the next Twisted Metal will be a reboot.

To Be Continued...
E3 is right around the corner, where we'll get our hands on many of these games in real, tangible form for the first time. Keep checking back for more of the latest news on what's happening with all of your favorite franchises. We're hoping some surprises emerge from the game industry's annual showcase in June.

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