'Next evolution' of Pac-Man premiering at E3

Namco Bandai will debut new console, mobile, and arcade titles featuring the spherical pellet-muncher; ex-Marvel CEO Avi Arad to unveil mystery project.

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With the Electronic Entertainment Expo just over a month away, various game companies are scheduling a series of press events. Following Project Natal's June 13 premiere, Microsoft's and Ubisoft's June 14 media briefings, Namco Bandai will hold an evening gathering following and Sony's and Nintendo's press conferences on June 15.

The Japanese publisher's soiree has a threefold purpose. First, it is to celebrate the 30th birthday of the first arcade game to feature Namco's iconic Pac-Man. A presentation will look back on the character's pop-culture influence, including the Pac-Man craze that swept the US in the early 1980s. GameSpot also recenty debuted its own video retrospective on the Pac-Man phenomenon (see below) as part of Video Game History Month.

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Secondly, and more importantly to those under 30, Namco will be using the event to unveil the "next evolution" of Pac-Man. The glimpse of the "future of the franchise" will include a look at "unreleased titles on console, mobile, arcade, and more." No more specific details were offered, but the invite to the event (pictured above) hints at a radical makeover of the spherical pellet-muncher. The last major non-mobile Pac-Man title was 2007's Pac-Man Championship Edition for Xbox Live Arcade. The last all-new game to feature the character was 2006's critically drubbed racer Pac-Man World Rally.

Lastly, Namco Bandai's event will be where former Marvel CEO Avi Arad will "offer insight into the worldwide premiere of his newest Pac-Man project." Though it's unclear what exactly the project is, Arad has been a prolific producer of movies and televisions shows over the past two decades. He is currently developing films based on Mass Effect, Lost Planet, and Uncharted.

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