E3 06: SOCOM reinforcements en route

Developer announces sequels to Navy SEALs games; Combined Assault raids PS2s, Fireteam Bravo 2 scorches PSPs.

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The latest SOCOM games may have been waging war for only about six months, but there has already been talk about the franchise's next campaigns.

In April, a product page on EBgames.com listed a SKU for a sequel to the PlayStation 2 edition of the military sim, to be called "SOCOM US Navy Seals Combined Assault." The page went on to discuss more integration with a sequel to the PlayStation Portable SOCOM series, titled SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2.

Sony kept quiet on the matter, and the page quickly went AWOL, leaving SOCOM fans wondering if the page was just a SNAFU on EB's part. As it turns out, the EB intel was spot on.

Games don't get much more official than when they are revealed directly from the developers themselves, and that's exactly what has happened on the official SOCOM Web site. A post by developer Zipper Interactive confirms what EBgames.com leaked and adds more details.

Combined Assault will offer a new four-player cooperative multiplayer mode, in addition to the series' 32-player competitive play. There will be expanded community features, such as friends lists, ranking, and stat tracking.

Vehicles return to the fray in three classes--light recon, fast transport, and heavy armor. New weapons will be added to the mix, including nonlethal gear such as tear gas and pepper spray.

Fireteam Bravo 2 for the PSP will take place in the same setting as Combined Assault, and the dev team promises enhanced cross-talk functionality between the two platforms. The two will have a "unified story arc" and will feature cross-platform unlockables.

The game's single-player mode will feature 14 nonlinear missions, and maps can be replayed again with different objectives and enemy locations. Finishing missions efficiently and thoroughly will yield greater access to weapons and intel, and treating the locals well will earn their favor, which gives access to black markets and the natives' knowledge.

As was the case with the first Fireteam Bravo, multiplayer can be played with 16 soldiers both locally and over the Internet. Three new modes have also been added: tug-of-war control points, capture the flag, and target.

Next-gen gamers may have to wait a while to do the sea, air, and land thing on the PlayStation 3. The announcement made no mention of a SOCOM game for Sony's forthcoming console.

No official release dates have been announced for either game, but the SOCOM team has targeted a fall release (the EB Games site had a November 7 date for Combined Assault) and will reveal more information during E3.

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