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There's a very important numerological factor to this year's E3. The very number three itself. As you'll have heard if you listen to our TalkRadar UK podcast, we recently realised that E3 2011 is the threequel show. The number of big franchises hitting their third game, whether contemporary series or rebooted classics, is staggering. Almost comedically staggering. And it's not a mere coincidence. It's actually a very important synergistic event that says a lot about games this year, and where this generation stands in general.
But there's more. Much more. You see my further investigation has revealed that the number three is all over E3's games this year, in places you certainly would not expect. There's an event of cosmic significance going on here, and you can call me a raging schizophrenic if I'm wrong.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - The third Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game, threequeling the series-within-a-series that started with Call of Duty 4. Technically Call of Duty 8 (not counting spin-offs), but has a "3" in its title regardless of that consideration, proving even further the inestimable power of three.
Battlefield 3 - Also not technically the third in the series, as there have been about a billion Battlefield games including spin-offs, but it is the second numbered sequel of the core franchise. Second numbered sequels traditionally have a "3" in their title, so good show for keeping up the tradition, Battlefield 3.
Mass Effect 3 - Phew, a straight, honest-to-goodness threequel at last. The third Mass Effect game. That's what this one is. Also the third game on this list. BEHOLD THE POWER OF THREE!
Gears of War 3 - Another clean threequel. Keepin' it real, Gears of War.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - There's an NGP Uncharted spin-off on the way too, which will give the series four games, but this is the third numbered one, and the third one on the PlayStation 3. And the third straight threequel on this list. The power of three is now growing to epic proportions. Truly it will engulf E3 this year.
Resistance 3 - The threequel to Resitance: Fall of Man. A PSP spin-off called Resistance: Retribution was released after Resistance 2, but it doesn't count towards the series' total number of games because it was a spin-off and a third-person cover-shooter. And third-person is not the same as a "3".
The Last Guardian - Does not have a "3" in its title, but is the third game from Team Ico, and assumed to be set in the same universe as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, making it the third in a series. Though some theorise that the series is running backwards chronologically, and if true that actually makes this a prethreequel. Which proves that the power of three is also versatile and experimental, knowing not the boundaries of time.
Max Payne 3 - Max Payne 3, innit.
What does all of this mean? Basically, this generation has really hit its stride. The big franchises launched on our current hardware have matured, their creators have had a lot of time to hone and develop their skills and ideas, and we should see the most impressive iterations yet over the next year or so. Though there will always be someone saying the first one was the best, back before any particular series got too big and popular.
But that's not that interesting. No, what's more interesting is that as this generation enters its threequel phase, the number three has proliferated gaming to a nigh-cosmic degree. This year's E3 is all about the threes. Something big is going on here. Allow me to explain.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - The upcoming Wii Zelda game will obviously feature the Triforce, which comprises three magical triangles which combine to make a bigger, more powerful one. The Triforce also has three points. Additionally, if the rumoured Project Cafe Zelda game appears, Skyward Sword will be one of three Zelda games being readied during E3 2011, alongside The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Yeah, you saw a "3" in that title. You know it.
Respawn Entertainment's secret project with EA - Perhaps set for reveal at E3, the first game by the new studio set up by ex-Infinity Ward heads West and Zampella will probably be a shooter. Respawn are known to have hired a Star Wars production artist for their project. There are two sets of three Star Wars films, which makes a double-three. Only the first three count though, making the Stars Wars three-factor an even purer three than many might suspect.
Grand Theft Auto V - Strongly rumoured recently, so may well be a big surprise reveal at one of the main press conferences at E3 2011. If so, it will be the third numbered Grand Theft Auto game to play in 3D.
InSane - The highly exciting, still unseen horror project from Pan's Labyrinth Director Guillermo Del Toro. There are threes all over this one. First up, it is planned as the first of a trilogy. Secondly, it is slated for release in 2013, a year which ends in a "3". It was announced in 2010, giving it a three-year development time. Also, Guillermo Del Toro has three parts to his name. The game is rumoured to take in influences from the work of H.P. Lovecraft, who also had three parts to his name. Publisher THQ has a name made up of three letters.
Above: See what happens when you flip around a small part of InSane's logo? THE POWER OF THREE!
Project Cafe - This will be the sixth Nintendo home console. It will also be one of two home consoles that Nintendo is featuring in its press conference. Divide six by two and you get three. Also, if the rumoured technical specifications prove true, it will give us three HD consoles this generation.
NGP - Sony's follow-up to the PSP. May be renamed Vita at Sony's E3 press conference, but currently has a name comprising three letters. Also, at least one model will have 3G connectivity.
So, where does all of this leave us in terms of what will be most important at E3 this year? Well using complex numerology and a healthy amount of cold, hard maths, I have scientifically worked out what will be the game of the show.
SSX - Although un-numbered, the new SSX will be the sixth game in the series. That gives it two threes to start with, but it also has a three-letter name. That's three threes! There can be no more concentrated power of three than that. Until, that is, you consider that this SSX is also the third game after SSX3, which is not only a very three-heavy fact, but also places this SSX three games after what many, myself included, consider to be the high-point of the series so far. And it's no coincidence that that high point is called SSX3. And you know what that means? It means that we have three threes with an extra three stacked on top. And if you draw out that physical formation as an illustration, do you know what shape you get?
Yeah, a triangle. Which is made out of three sides and has three points. Which is also the rough shape of a mountain. Which you will snowboard down in SSX. Which makes SSX the ultimate, overwhelming, undeniable synergy of three.
Why is the number three so important though? Simple. Because,
And with so much of it around this year, E3 2011 is surely going to be amazing. Scientifically proven to be, in fact.