Zombies, gods, assassins, and... Mickey Mouse.
This year's E3 marks the return and reboot of several major action franchises, including the long-standing Devil May Cry and Tomb Raider series. New kids like The Last of Us and Dishonored pack their own klout while Assassin's Creed and Resident Evil sequels bring their own bang to the table. Platformers also get a generous turn to shine, with new Rayman, LittleBigPlanet, the whiff of a handful Mario games, and a return to the world of Epic Mickey holding firm presences on the show floor.
This year at E3, we'll be sorting all of our news and previews from the event into easily consumable genre streams. This round-up of expected games kicks off our action stream. Of course, you'll still be able to follow our coverage of the big press conferences, show floor spectacles and everything in between - but if you're only interested in the action scene, you'll be able to find news on the games you care about under a single category. For now, check out some of the biggest action titles we're expecting to see at E3 2012 and make sure to mention in comments the ones we didn't include.
The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS): Chronologically set after the upcoming film and scripted by Battlestar Galactica's Seamus Kevin Fahey, Spider-Man's latest foray into games promises more free-swinging in an open-world environment. Bonus: Stan Lee is a playable character.
Assassin's Creed III (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PSVita, PC): New assassin Connor takes center stage with his BFFs George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, swinging through the treetops and tomahawking Redcoats in the face. The latest Assassin's game lets players parkour in the virtually anything in the environment and features some impressively realistic snowy landscapes.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PSVita): Ooriginally a Wii U port of Castlevania: Mirror of Fate. Although confirmed to be a separate title, it may retain some connectivity features with Mirror. Once again Draculais up against the Belmont clan in a quest to acquire his old powers and free himself from immortality.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (PC): The PC port of From Software's action RPG has been given its own fancy title and a slew of new content including extra bosses, enemies, and equipment.
Darksiders II (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U): Set in the same time period as the first Darksiders, players control the Horseman Death in a world double the size of its predecessor. There is a wide range of customization options available for Death, as well as more fluid and controlled combat.
Dead Space 3 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): EA will debut the game's first footage at it's E3 press conference on June 4. The game, starring new character John Carver, takes place on an ice planet and will feature co-op play.
Dishonored (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): Players settle into the shoes of an assassin with supernatural powers in Arkane Studios' first person stealth game. A mix of Neo Victorian/steampunk aesthetics and an atmosphere of political paranoia and oppression, round out the eerie appeal of this title.
DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): In this reboot of the popular action series, Dante is a teenager with supernatural powers facing down demons in a mysterious town named Limbo. It's the same concept as the original series but with an updated look. Check out our preview.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC): Mickey Mouse is called back to Wasteland to once again help Oswald put the Mad Doctor in his place. This time gameplay is accompanied by not only voice acting but full-scale musical numbers, the mark of a true Disney experience. Co-op is available for console versions.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (3DS): A "companion" to The Power of 2, the game is a side-scrolling platform touted as a tribute to the Sega title Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.
God of War: Ascension (PS3): "Prequel" is not a dirty word. Ascension shows a more human side of Kratos, proffering the first threads of his quest for revenge. The title also marks the first God of War entry to feature multiplayer, as well as combat and weapons system overhauls and scenarios that affect the environment.
Guacamelee (PS3, PSVita): DrinkBox Studio's beat-em-up platformer with Mexican aesthetics has been taken under the wings of Sony's Pub Fund. The game stars a humble agave farmer with a magical luchador mask that grants him the power to travel between the World of the Living and World of the Dead in search of his kidnapped sweetheart.
Hitman: Absolution (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): Agent 47 is back and on the run from authorities, betrayed by those he once trusted and embroiled in another dark conspiracy. The gore-splashed fifth installment to the franchise will feature online multiplayer and an "instinct mode" that allows 47 to predict enemy maneuvers.
Jetset Radio HD (XBLA, PSN): An HD port of the original Jet Set Radio is slated for digital release later this year with widescreen graphics, online leaderboards, and a new camera system.
The Last of Us (PS3): Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic third-person survival game is set to be one of the year's showstoppers. Protagonists Joel and Ellie must scavenge through the ruins of civilization and fight off zombie-like creatures to survive.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSVita, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, PC): The sequel to LEGO Batman: The Videogame is packed with new allies and villains and features a massive open-world environment for exploration. The new costume mechanic allows Batman and his pals to equip outfit-specific abilities to solve puzzles and defeat bosses.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game (???): Currently in the pipeline from Warner Bros. Interactive and outed by a retailer listing. No other information has been given.
LittleBigPlanet (PSVita): Sackboy gets his turn to show off on the Vita, utilizing the console's unique touch controls to navigate puzzles and generate new content.
Lost Planet 3 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): The prequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Lost Planet 2. Capcom has canned the series shooter roots in favor of a survival horror spin in the same vein as Dead Space. While players can freely explore areas and embark on sidequests as in an RPG, gameplay progression is primarily mission-based.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, Xbox 360): Set between Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4, Raiden takes center stage in this hack-and-slash-fest featuring a sophisticated new swordfighting and "cutting" system. Literally any object in the game can be cut by Raiden's flashy new bushido-style techniques.
Rayman Legends (Wii U): Brought to light through a leaked internal demonstration video, the latest Rayman title will feature online multiplayer and socialization. The game may also utilize near field communication sensors using figurines in a way similar to Skylanders.
Resident Evil 6 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): Players can choose between three storylines that weave into the overall plot. Joining the fan-favorite zombies is the J'avo, a creature that can communicate with others of its kind in order to plan and execute attacks on our heroes. The game also features entirely revamped controls.
Saints Row 3.5: Enter the Dominatrix (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): A standalone game that takes place one year after the events of Saints Row: The Third. The only information available so far is that the game pits the Third Street Saints against an alien warlord hungry for Earth's natural resources and females.
Skylanders: Giants (Wii, Nintendo 3DS): Even more Skylanders, utilizing the same system with cross-platform toy figures. The game's eight new characters feature figures that are twice the size of the originals and sport colossal power in the game world. A few of these characters will use a new light technology that allows them to light up when near a certain "Portal of Power."
Sleeping Dogs (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): There isn't much we don't know about the game formerly known as True Crime: Hong Kong. The open world title features street racing as well as shooter and RPG elements. While there is no multiplayer component, the game will include online leaderboards and stats.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PS3, PSVita): Picking up where Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves left off, this latest adventure finds our favorite anthropomorphic raccoon travelling through time to recover an important family heirloom. The familiar sneaking mechanics are intact, but with the addition of special costumes that allow Sly access to new abilities and stereoscopic 3D. Multiplayer is currently under consideration.
Soul Sacrifice (PSVita): Conceptualized by Mega Man co-designer Keiji Inafune, gameplay requires the sacrifice of body parts to execute attacks. Once sacrificed, the body parts do not regenerate, requiring some strategy in budgeting of resources. Sony has confirmed that the game will be released in the U.S.
Star Wars 1313 (???): Lucasfilm announced that its new third-person cinematic title will center around the seedy underground of the planet Coruscant. Players will step into the shoes of a bounty hunter with access to an impressive arsenal of exotic weaponry and a mission to blow the lid off a criminal conspiracy.
Tomb Raider (PS3, Xbox 360, PC): A reboot of the beloved franchise, the game has no relation to any previous Tomb Radier titles. Lara Croft struggles through an open world riddled with puzzles in order to gain her wings as the daredevil explorer we know so well. Recently the game was pushed back to a 2013 release.
Rumored: Batman Wii U (Wii U): This game is rumored to be a Wii U port of last year's Game of the Year winner Arkham City.
Rumored: Castlevania: Mirror of Fate (3DS): A leak earlier this month hinted at a portable Castlevania title in development by Spanish studio Mercury Steam. The game is being made by the team responsible for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and is currently said to be rendered in 2D.
Rumored: New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS): Already confirmed for an August release, the latest Mario platformer is being designed as a pick-up-and-play experience for players of varying skill levels.
Rumored: New Super Mario Bros. Mii (Wii U): Hinted at in a tech demo for the Wii U, the game sports mechanics identical to Super Mario Bros. Wii but with the option of user-created Miis as playable characters.