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E3 '10: Dungeon Siege III

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While "We're not talking about that just yet" was the chorus of Square's Obsidian-developed Dungeon Siege III, shown briefly in pre-alpha, the verses were mighty impressive. (I say that as an RPG nut who liked the first few hours of the hours of the original game... and then loathed the rest of it, and the sequel, for being utterly linear and horrendously repetitive.) Obsidian has taken their enormously talented RPG pedigree, inserted the concept of quest hubs, side quests, and nonlinearity to break up the long, long Dungeon Siege highway, and given the series a makeover to be appropriate to the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Only two classes have been revealed, the tank/melee Guardian and the sexy angelic she-warrior Archon. No mention of party size in either solo or local multiplayer - or of online multiplayer - but by the sly grins on the faces of the developers I'm guessing we'll have at least the genre-standard four, perhaps even the much larger parties favored by the previous Dungeon Siege games.

Another Obsidian hallmark is storytelling - not historically the strongest point of this series, but Obsidian is injecting plenty of story and personality with on-the-fly dialog and cutscenes: they won't stop the game or slow down the fast-paced action the series demands, but will enliven the Dungeon Siege universe by spinning a richer yarn as you hack, slash, and cast.

Loot is color coded by rarity and tagged with its value in gold, so you won't waste inventory space picking up that worthless halberd when you could sell that class-specific weapon you can't use for megabucks. No mention of the inventory-expanding tag along mule, although the developers mentioned that they knew it was a fan favorite. I'm hoping they don't include him/her: the animal lover in me doesn't like being violent near my furry friends like mules and musclebears!

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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