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Publisher: Microsoft

The latest chapter in this hit Xbox 360 franchise will be Microsoft’s flagship game next year – and it’s looking to follow the clearly marked path of its predecessors. The game will let four people play cooperatively, comes with new multiplayer modes and innovative new ways to kill the Locust enemies.

Publisher: Electronic Arts

While this persistent online world isn’t a lock for 2011, EA execs are quietly guiding analysts to look for it then. Massively multiplayer games can be cash cows – just ask Blizzard Entertainment, which runs “World of Warcraft”. EA’s hoping this title, set in the rich Star Wars universe will prove just as appealing.

Portal 2

Publisher: Valve Software

The original “Portal” took the gaming world by storm with its story-themed series of puzzles. This sequel, which will be longer and deeper, hopes to build on that. It’s a rare beast – a game that has an action vibe, but in which you never shoot or fight anyone.

Dead Space 2

Publisher: Electronic Arts

This action/horror series’ first installment was one of the creepiest games of 2008. The sequel will ramp that up, with some truly scary moments – and pacing that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Publisher: Square Enix

The “Deus Ex” games pioneered the concept that there was more than one way to achieve an objective in gaming. Wrapped in a conspiracy-rich storyline, this installment is being made by a new team that has high expectations to live up to. Whether they’ll succeed is to be determined, but the early work seems encouraging.

Rage

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

id Software pioneered the first person shooter and is the company behind the “Doom” and “Quake” franchises. This is their first new property in 14 years and it’s looking really, really good. It took home “Best of Show” awards from many publications at E3 and was one of the most buzzed about titles among convention-goers.

Twisted Metal

Publisher: Sony

This vehicle combat game has appeared on every PlayStation model – and now fans get a new taste from the original creators. The game will let up to 16 players play together online, trying to destroy each other with cars, helicopters and motorcycles.

Max Payne 3

Publisher: Take Two Interactive Software

The noire detective looks a lot different in this oft-delayed sequel of the much-loved series. He’s balder, has a paunch and his years of hard living have caught up with him. But he’s still not someone you’ll want to cross. Originally scheduled for 2010, the game was pushed back for additional polishing.

Publisher: Nintendo

Second to Mario, there is no character in the Nintendo library that’s more popular than Zelda. This latest installment in the franchise will utilize the Wii’s MotionPlus sensor, giving characters more precise control of the game’s swordplay and archery elements.

Bulletstorm

Publisher: Electronic Arts

There are action games – and there are over the top action games. “Bulletstorm” definitely falls in the later category. Plot? Who cares. This is a game about taking out enemies in creative fashion. The more unique the kill, the more points you earn. Rather than getting bogged down in drama, though, the title is laced with clever humor to keep things interesting.

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