So you want to go to E3 and you think that I am one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to play games before they are released… Well, today, I would have probably traded places with just about anyone. The first official day of E3 was almost a complete disaster for me. The show was once again overcrowded and I grew more and more tired as the day dragged on…

Atari began our day and they are in a new booth this year. Unfortunately for the masses of people who sneak in to the show with made up companies and get in the way of the press who are trying to get their hands on the latest titles and just make their way between appointments, I sat and waited to get to the front of the Atari booth–which had doors and security guards stationed at these doors. Once I finally made it to the front of the line with our Assistant Editor, Emily, we waited and waited to get in to our appointment. Unfortunately, it took about 20 minutes before we got to see our first game, Terminator 3.

In the Pre-Alpha build we saw, the game is coming along very nicely. While there are many rough edges to clean up, for the first time, Arnold will be fully represented in the title. The game is set to release in November so that should give the developers time to polish.

After seeing this one game, we had to leave. This chaotic first appointment set the tone for the rest of my day. I battled crowds of people everywhere I went just to get to my appointments. At virtually every one, they were overbooked and this greatly hindered my ability to get a close look at a lot of titles I was eager to see.

In the middle of the day, Emily and myself got a chance to spend some time with Sprint PCS and their partners. They had a great showing of games and we had a chance to get our hands on the new Sanyo 8100 phone. WOW! This thing rules. We will be delivering a full preview of it in the near future.

After Sprint, the highlight of my day was BioWare and Bethesda. At BioWare, I got to spend an entire hour looking at Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and the first ever Never Winter Nights Expansion pack. While I was not impressed with Knights of the Old Republic a year ago, the title has gone through some incredible changes. Visually, it is very impressive and it is shaping up to be one of the biggest PC and Xbox releases of the year. However, I am torn between it and NWN. The new expansion adds about 20 to 30 hours of gameplay to an already lengthy original campaign of around 60 hours! Look for previews on both of these titles later on this week. Also, Bioware will be shipping the NWN expansion next month!

Bethesda had a great line-up of titles as well. The first title they showed me was Pirates of the Caribbean. This was going to be the next installment of the Sea Dogs franchise. However, the marketing team pulled off a deal with Nintendo to change the name to link it to the upcoming summer blockbuster staring Johnny Depp.

In addition to Pirates of the Caribbean, Bethesda is readying the second expansion to The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind: Bloodmoon. In this title, you will get to become a werewolf as you progress through the world. This will ship next month. They are also creating a new Xbox version of Morrowind titled Game of the Year Edition. This will include the original game, both expansion packs, and all the bug fixes. The title is set to ship on the Xbox this winter. Players who have already progressed through the Xbox version will even be able to use the same save games.

One of the most interesting titles was the one I get to see last at Bethesda. Call of the Cthulhu, for the PC and Xbox, is being developed by head first and uses some of the same sanity meter elements that made Eternal Darkness such a great title on the GameCube.

These titles are probably going to end up being my best of show. So you can expect previews of all of them from me.

While I had many other chaotic appointments during the day, I am going to end today’s E3 journal with the final appointment of the day with Atari and Firaxis. To announce the latest titles from Firaxis, they located the smallest room in the LA Convention Center, over-crowded it, and then proceeded to announce a new Civilization III title and a new version of Pirates! While I can’t wait to get my hands on a preview build of these games, no screenshots or information was released. However, in classic overcroweded E3 fashion, we were asked to exit the press conference using two very small doors. Aren’t you glad you used dial? Don’t you wish everyone did?

By Kaleb Rutherford – 05/14/03

Screenshots for E3 2003 Journal 5/14/203