As you're about to see, it's a pretty good time to be both a fan of video games and science fiction. It's true that the two have always gone hand-in-hand, but at E3 2012 this year, we were treated to plenty of sci-fi goodness from familiar franchises and original ideas alike.
Here we've collected all the games announced at the show that have a sci-fi angle. We've picked a few of our favorites and listed a couple of honorable mentions — it's all inside.
Our Top 5 Sci-Fi Games Of E3
1. Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs came out of absolutely nowhere and left one hell of a first impression. The plot: in the near future, entire cities are run by AIs. Everything is hyper connected: your identity is tracked both online and in the real world, from the sites you visit to the stores you walk into. Cameras see your every move. The player controls Aiden Pearce, a hacker who can navigate all this data as he pursues his target.
Watch Dogs is also one of the best-looking games we saw come out of E3 2012, though it was running on a high-end PC for the demo. Hopefully Ubisoft keeps it big and beautiful for the PC, rather than hamstringing the game when it's force to adapt to this generation's aging console hardware. See Ubisoft's Watch Dogs reveal video here.
Release Info: 2013 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
2. Star Wars 1313
A mature take on Star Wars with graphics hotter than a dancing twi'lek? Yes, please. Like Watch Dogs, Star Wars 1313 was also running on a powerful PC rather than a console, but it's an enticing peek at where games are going next.
In 1313, you play as a bounty hunter on city-studded world Coruscant, heading down deep into its criminal underbelly. Instead of Lightsabers and the Force, you'll do battle with gadgets and guns, kind of like Batman. (Well, early Batman.)
Release Info: To Be Announced
3. The Last Of Us
Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/Sony
The Last Of Us comes from Uncharted developer Naughty Dog, and trades Uncharted's Indiana Jones-inspired flair for a contemplative story of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Players guide grizzled Joel and Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who is being forced to grow up fast, through an America ravaged by plague. The combat in the game is particularly interesting, as it focuses on fewer enemies with more emotional impact, rather than shooting galleries full of baddies.
The Last Of Us is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, meaning it may be one of the few remaining reasons holdouts have to buy the console before the next generation of hardware arrives.
Release Info: 2013 on the PlayStation 3
4. Aliens: Colonial Marines
In the words of Gearbox President Randy Pitchford, "The sequel to Aliens is not a movie, it's a video game." And so we have Aliens: Colonial Marines, which returns humanity's sullen and panic-prone colonial marines to the planet LV-426 and into battle against the titular alien menace.
A lot of games have tried to get the xenomorph vs. colonial marine struggle right (often tossing the Predator in there, just 'cuz), but we're hopeful that Gearbox will do the universe of Aliens justice.
Release Info: Feb.12,
2012 2013 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
5. Borderlands 2
Developer/Publisher: Gearbox/2K Games
Another Gearbox property, the Borderlands series is out to show that science fiction can be pure fun, too. While you'll certainly find a quirky, colorful cast of characters to interact with, what Borderlands 2 is all about is taking down hordes of monsters while finding bigger and better guns to use.
The sequel promises to take everything from the first game and make it better and crazier, with hordes of interesting enemies and a dizzying variety of guns. The latter is especially exciting: Gearbox is designing the guns around the idea that each fictional manufacturer has distinct quirks, whether it's making every weapon look like it's out of a Western to disposable rifles and shotguns you can throw like grenades instead of reloading.
Release Info: Sept. 18, 2012 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
6 Sci-Fi Games Worth A Look
1. Dust 514
At A Glance: Dust 514 is a first-person shooter based on CCP's EVE Online universe. If you've never checked out EVE before, the series has the most stunning trailers of any sci-fi game around. Take a look.
Release Info: June 29, 2012 on PlayStation 3
2. Assassin's Creed III
At A Glance: Assassin's Creed III continues one of the greatest stealth sci-fi yarns you can play. While steeped in historical significance, the ultimate goal is to gain the upper hand in the eternal war between Assassin and Templar, with the future of the world hanging in the balance.
Release Info: Oct. 30, 2012 on the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U
Developer/Publisher: Dean Hall/Bohemia Interactive
At A Glance: DayZ simulates what it'd really be like to survive in a world overrun by zombies, requiring you to eat and hydrate, treat your wounds and move around very carefully. The game is a mod, meaning you need a copy of Arma II to play it.
Release Info: Currently playable on PC
4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Developer/Publisher: Firaxis/2K Games
At A Glance: The X-COM series returns to its roots with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, bringing back its unique blend of real-time strategy, turn-based tactics and intricate team building as you do your best to protect humanity from an alien menace.
Release Info: Oct. 9, 2012 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Developer/Publisher: Adhesive Games
At A Glance: Hawken scratches a long neglected itch: giant mechs duking it out. More action-oriented than a simulation (such as the MechWarrior games), Hawken makes up for it with its insanely gorgeous visuals.
Release Info: Dec. 12, 2012 on the PC
6. Jet Set Radio
At A Glance: While not a new game, if you haven't played Jet Set Radio then you're in for a treat as the series relaunches on the Vita. Colorful, fun and full of attitude, JSR takes place in a near-future Japan overrun with graffiti-happy rollerskating gangs.
Release Info: Summer 2012 on PlayStation Vita (with downloadable versions on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3)
All The Rest
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Activision: 360, PS3, PC)
- Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Activision: 360, PS3)
- Dishonored (Bethesda: 360, PS3, PC)
- Resident Evil 6 (Capcom: 360, PS3, PC)
- Lost Planet 3 (Capcom: 360, PS3, PC)
- Crysis 3 (Electronic Arts: 360, PS3, PC)
- Dead Space 3 (Electronic Arts: TBA)
- Otherland (Gamigo: PC)
- Grimlands (Gamigo: PC)
- MechWarrior Online (Infinite Game Publishing: PC) (Added)
- MechWarrior Tactics (Infinite Game Publishing: PC) (Added)
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami: 360, PS3, PC)
- Halo 4 (Microsoft: 360)
- Gears of War: Judgement (Microsoft: 360)
- Star Trek: The Game (Namco: 360, PS3, PC)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (Sony Online: PC)
- PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online: PC)
- Quantum Conundrum (Square Enix: 360, PS3, PC)
- Metro Last Light (THQ: 360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
- Defiance (Trion: PC)
- End of Nations (Trion: PC)