E3 06: Vivendi lays out E3 lineup

New Crash and Spyro games announced as part of publisher's lineup for next month's big trade show.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. VU Games may have changed its name to Vivendi Games, but the company’s announced E3 lineup features some familiar faces.

Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon both have new games ready to debut at the show, but while the former’s next expedition is exclusive to the DS, the latter will be breathing fire on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, DS, and Game Boy Advance.

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning will recap the purple dragon's origin story and include flying levels for the first time in the series, as well a stronger focus on combat. The console and GBA versions of the game will be developed by Krome Studios (Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, King Arthur), while the DS edition of the game will be handled by Amaze Entertainment (Lord of the Rings: Tactics, DS and GBA versions of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown).

Crash Boom Bang! will be the orange Bandicoot's debut on the DS and looks to be an entry into the party-game genre, with 40 different minigames, wireless multiplayer, and a communication system that allows players to pester each other (or conspire against each other) midgame.

Crash Boom Bang! will also let players bet on the outcome of the matches, earning points that can be traded in for 80 different game-altering items. Vivendi has enlisted development studio Dimps (Dragon Ball Z Budokai, Sonic Advance) to handle the bandicoot's latest, and expects to release the game in October with an E for Everyone rating.

Vivendi is also pulling from other avenues of entertainment for recognizable source material, as the company's E3 lineup features the PSP version of 50 Cent: Bulletproof, the returning Scarface, the recently announced Eragon, and a PSP game based on the upcoming Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx film Miami Vice (not to be confused with the games based on the kitschy '80s TV show).

Developed by UK-based Rebellion (Rogue Trooper, Snood 2: On Vacation), Miami Vice puts players into the shoes of Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs as the two narcotics officers go undercover to bust a drug ring. Taking its gritty tone from the upcoming movie, Miami Vice will require players to operate on the wrong side of the law in order to maintain their cover, gain credibility on the street, and put themselves in a position to bring the drug runners down. Miami Vice is set for a July 28 release.

PC games will also have some high visibility at Vivendi's booth this year, as the company will be showing off already announced titles like World in Conflict, Caesar IV, Joint Task Force, and Freestyle Street Basketball. The announced lineup is rounded out by the company's newest acquisition for the PC and Xbox 360, TimeShift.

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