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Combat Evovled

Thursday, May 11, 2006, 10:55AM EST

At this year’s E3, next-generation technology is breaking new ground in the shooter category and sending virtual troops through history to take on enemies past, present, and future. John Gaudiosi provides an update.

World War II
The second World War remains a videogame staple. Going back to the early days of Castle Wolfenstein, Nazis have made great cannon fodder. Steven Spielberg breathed new life into the genre when his Dreamworks Interactive studio created the Medal of Honor franchise, which was inspired by the Oscar-winning director’s work on Saving Private Ryan. Electronic Arts will bring Medal of Honor Airborne to PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC this winter, making it the first next-generation title in the franchise.

"WWII was a powerful era in our history that translates well into a compelling medium that provides us as developers with a lot of great gameplay tools and options," says John Paquette, design director and writer of Medal of Honor Airborne.

In Medal of Honor Airborne, the eighth game in the best-selling franchise, gamers step into the boots of Boyd Travers, private first class of the 82nd Airborne Division, and engage in battles starting with Operation Husky in 1943 and ending with Operation Varsity in March 1945. The first-person shooter, on display at EA’s booth, allows players to determine their starting point, which impacts the way each mission unfolds.

Gamers will have plenty of choices when it comes to Activision’s best-selling Call of Duty WWII franchise. Taking advantage of Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Marketplace, Call of Duty 2: Multiplayer Maps will be available online this month. Gamers looking for a new WWII experience will find Call of Duty 3, which will ship for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, and Xbox. Developed by Treyarch, the new first-person shooter focuses on the 88-day battle for the Liberation of Paris, one of the most crucial battles of WWII, and the Allied offensive that changed the fate of the world. Rounding out the Call of Duty experience is an original PSP game, Call of Duty: PSP (working title). This first-person shooter follows a new story line set in the European theater of WWII that focuses on big battles and intense portable action.

Eidos offers a very different perspective on war with Battlestations: Midway for Xbox 360 and PC. The third-person action game drops players into massive WWII air, sea, and undersea battles from Pearl Harbor to Midway. Each battle takes place in real time across air and sea, and under water. Gamers command massive fleet attacks and take direct, real-time control of every plane, battleship, and submarine in the battle.

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