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News > Companies
Six to watch
May 18, 2001: 2:42 p.m. ET

A look at top new video games you're sure to hear about
By Staff Writer Chris Morris
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LOS ANGELES (CNNfn) - The Electronic Entertainment Expo show floor is a cacophony of sound and light and can be overwhelming, even after days of exposure. It's a wonderland of games, but there are so many titles on display that finding the real standouts can be nearly impossible.

Listing all the games being shown in Los Angeles would be a fool's errand. And tastes vary too widely to label any of the titles "the best". Instead, we've come up with six games we think you'll be hearing more about in the year (or years) to come.

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Keep in mind that the release dates on these products are usually estimates and often wrong. And some games that look great at E3 can stink when they hit the real world. Still, if you're wondering what your kids will be asking for this holiday season or what's pushing the envelope this hopefully will serve as a primer.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

With the impending release of the Warner Brothers film, expect Potter-mania to become frenetic again in the coming months. Electronic Arts is ready to capitalize on this, with several new games tied to J.K. Rowling's boy wizard. Scheduled to be released on the PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, "Potter" gives a slightly different gaming take on the best-selling story. You'll play the boy wizard as he explores the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with all the familiar characters from the book. It's worth noting that these games are mainly a precursor for EA's Potter license, as titles for the next-generation console systems are being worked on for next year (but are not being shown at this year's E3).

Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee

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(Courtesy: Microsoft)
The in-game animations look like pre-rendered graphics ("movie"-like sequences that are of substantially higher quality than typical gameplay). And the story, a quirky tale that defies description, is just unusual enough to appeal to console gamers. Microsoft needs to develop a signature character for the Xbox if it hopes to succeed in the coming console wars and, at present, the odd citizens of Oddworld are the best bet. The game will be released simultaneously with the Xbox.

Luigi's Mansion

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(Courtesy: Nintendo)
In all honesty, there are several GameCube titles that are worth taking note of at this year's E3. None, however, has the history and strength of the Mario name. Using the GameCube's strong graphical engine, "Luigi's Mansion" puts the plumber's younger brother in a "Ghostbuster"-like role, having to rid a haunted mansion of its spectral inhabitants. The game has a quirky touch and plenty of the humor that has defined the Mario series and children are bound to want it once it appears on store shelves in November.

Majestic

Electronic Arts' online and real world game is attempting to do something no other computer game has ever done before. Instead of you playing the game, "Majestic" plays you, embroiling you in a suspense-filled mystery that will have you wondering what's real and what's not. While the game is based online as part of EA's relationship with AOL (the parent company of CNNfn.com), it uses everyday devices, including e-mail, instant messenger, your fax machine and even your phone to communicate with you. "Majestic" doesn't demand hours of your time each day, as so many titles do, and the story is sharply written. Don't be surprised if this becomes the newest obsession for mature gaming fans.

Final Fantasy X

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(Courtesy: Square)
One of the most successful series for the PlayStation makes its leap to the PlayStation 2. The Final Fantasy series has always been known for its graphical quality (the game's so renowned for it that a computer animated "Final Fantasy" film is being released this summer) and developer SquareSoft is taking advantage of the PS2's graphical engine. The game's still a long way from completion, though. It's not due in the U.S. until sometime next year.

Star Wars: Galaxies

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(Courtesy: LucasArts)
LucasArts and Sony are working together to create this persistent online world that lets gamers live an alternate life in a "galaxy far, far away..." Not due until next spring, "Galaxies" already is showing tremendous progress. The sense of scale is incredible, especially as you stand at the feet of an AT-AT (the four-legged armor vehicles that played such a big role in "The Empire Strikes Back"), looking up ... and up ... and up. What's important about the title (besides the fact that it's the first online "Star Wars" game) is developers are taking care to craft a game that doesn't demand 10-20 hours per week from the player, as many persistent worlds do. The game's only for the PC now, but developers concede they haven't ruled out any console systems yet. graphic





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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.