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New video games hope to make splash at Comic-Con

"DC Online Universe" and "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" have direct relationships to the characters from the comic book world.
"DC Online Universe" and "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" have direct relationships to the characters from the comic book world.
  • Video-game makers are targeting new audiences at the Comic-Con convention this week
  • Game makers are focusing specifically on games that have a comic character tie-in
  • Nintendo attends Comic-Con if it has a game that might appeal to the comic world
  • Eric Levine from Sony says Comic-Con isn't just about comics or even movies anymore

(CNN) -- Fresh off their E3 convention in June, video-game makers are setting their sights on new audiences as they arrive at the Comic-Con convention opening Thursday in San Diego, California.

This time, game makers and developers are homing in specifically on games that have a comic character tie-in.

"DC Universe Online" (Sony Online Entertainment) and "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" (Capcom) have direct relationships to the superheroes and villains from the comic book world. After all, readers of those publications also play video games.

Nintendo doesn't attend Comic-Con every year, but when it has a game that might appeal to the comic world, the company shows up big.

CNN Challenge: Take the Comic-Con quiz

Marc Franklin, director of public relations for Nintendo of America, said hands-on demonstrations of two new games -- "Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies" and "Metroid: Other M" -- will be featured at the convention. Those themes and characters resonate with the attendees of Comic-Con, he said.

"We have been seeing these kinds of trade shows attract a broader, more diverse audience," Franklin said. "Which fits right in with Nintendo's goal to expand the world of video games to new audiences."

Eric Levine, Sony's manager of product public relations, agreed. He said Comic-Con isn't just about comics anymore.

"The show celebrates pop culture, from gaming to movies to television and everything in between," Levine said. "This show allows us to engage an audience that is passionate and excited about games."

Ricardo Torres, Editor-in-Chief for the online game review site, said that more gaming companies are taking Comic-Con seriously as a launchpad for new material. Game developers also will experiment with how much they show, and even allow attendees to play unreleased software, he said.

It is all about building a buzz with the audience, he said.

"You live and die with these people," Torres said. "Now with tweets, you can just see 'oh my God this panel sucks' or 'oh my God it's really cool.' It is a great way to find out where on the cool scale they're going to land."

Here are some other game titles looking to find their place on the "cool scale" at Comic-Con, which runs through Sunday:

"Halo Reach" (Bungie/Microsoft) -- The end of the legendary series is coming, and Microsoft will be showing off new material and revealing details about the final game between humanity and the alien Covenant.

"The Force Unleashed 2" (LucasArts) -- This title is set six months after the events of the first game and a year before "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" takes place. Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice, returns as the protagonist to use new Force powers against stronger enemies.

"Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" (Activision) -- Everyone's favorite wall-crawler is making a return -- across time and space in a story written by "The Amazing Spider-Man" comic writer Dan Slott.

"Pro Evolution Soccer 2011" (Konami) -- This sports title hopes to piggyback off World Cup euphoria and ride the wave through Comic-Con. The soccer game will feature leagues from all over the world and include Argentina star Lionel Messi on its cover.

"Assassin's Creed Brotherhood" (UbiSoft) -- The follow-up to the immensely popular "Assassin's Creed" game will be on display. But in a twist, the game publisher will be showing off the first issue of a three-part comic book miniseries based on the franchise.

What gaming news from Comic-Con are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.


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