Video Games Plus is a weekly update on all things gaming. Check it out every Thursday.
Far more than the name suggests, San Diego Comic-Con is not simply a comic book convention anymore. Over the course of two decades, it's become a four-day pop-culture orgy of comics, movies, costumes, and of course, video games.
Comic-Con, which begins today and runs through the end of the weekend, is quickly becoming E3-lite with all of the early looks and exclusives of some of this year’s hottest games. Courtesy of Video Games Plus, here’s a look at what to expect from the gaming part of this year’s Nerd-apalooza:
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Gets New "Ultimate" Edition
This probably isn’t a shocker, considering they seem to compulsively release new editions of their fighting games, but Capcom is using Comic-Con to unveil “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” -- an upgraded new version of the original. The big draw is a host of new characters, including Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Hawkeye from The Avengers.
The other two characters announced are Capcom’s Strider and Firebrand from “Ghosts and Goblins” (otherwise known as the red gargoyle villain creature). Also included are eight additional stages, a spectator mode and balance tweaks to the game. Capcom is expected to release the game in November on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Hollywood Invades Spider-Man/X-Men Game
Activision, meanwhile, will be busy showing off two upcoming Marvel comic games -- “Spider-Man: Edge of Time” and “X-Men Destiny.” They also have a solid cast of voice actors they’ve assembled from Hollywood. The new Spider-Man game will feature Val Kilmer as Walker Sloan, "Smallville" and "V" actress Laura Vandervoort as Mary Jane, and Katee Sackhoff, Lieutenant Starbuck from "Battlestar Galactica," who makes her debut as the Black Cat.
“X-Men Destiny” features Heroes actor Milo Ventimiglia, "Sucker Punch" and "The Hangover Part II" hottie Jamie Chung and "Friday Night Lights" star Scott Porter as three all-new playable mutant characters -- Grant Alexander, Aimi Yoshida and Adrian Luca.
Hulk Hogan, Sasha Grey Star in Saints Row 3
Speaking of voice talent, THQ has put together a crew of voice talent for “Saints Row: The Third” -- that sounds like the setup of an off-color joke (“An actor, a pro wrestler, an a porn star walk into a bar…”). Topping the list of voice actors is legendary pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, porn actress Sasha Grey, and actor Daniel Dae Kim (“Hawaii Five-0”). Both Grey and Hogan will be at Comic-Con signing autographs at the Saints Row booth.
For Saints 3, Hogan plays Angel De LaMuerte, a professional wrestler who is betrayed by his former tag-team partner Killbane, now the merciless leader of the Lucadores street gang. Grey takes on the role of Viola DeWynter, who along with her twin sister Kiki, are the masterminds of the Syndicate’s financial empire.
More Comic-Con Gaming News
Mortal Kombat fans will get to see the world premiere of the ninth and final installment of the “Mortal Kombat Legacy” web series and co-creator Ed Boon will be on hand at Comic-Con to announce the hidden identity of the fourth downloadable character for “Mortal Kombat.” Additionally, gamers who go to the GameStop near the San Diego Convention Center are getting the first shot at a hands-on with the new warrior before the kombatant makes its XBL or PSN debut.
The Wii U, however, is a disappointing Comic-Con no-show. Instead, Nintendo is letting fans play “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” for Wii as well as a host of 3DS games like “Kid Icarus” and “Mario Kart.” Microsoft and BioWare will also be previewing some of their upcoming games, but away from the convention floor. Microsoft is letting gamers try out "Kinect Star Wars," "Dance Central 2" and "Gears of War 3." BioWare is previewing "Star Wars: The Old Republic," "Mass Effect 3" and "Dragon Age II: Legacy."
Follow Ryan Smith on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter