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2008: The Gaming Year Ahead
The year 2008 is practically around the corner and there are plenty of games we think you should be on the lookout for. Instead of getting into the details about each game individually, we decided to single-out what we feel are the top candidates for making an impact in a specific genre. So, without further ado, let's check out what awaits us next year.
As usual, once all the magic of Christmas and New Years withers away, us poor gamers will have to endure another dry gaming season. But let's not despair too much. The year 2008 is almost upon us and there are plenty of promising games we think you should be on the lookout for. Instead of getting into the details about each game individually, we decided to single-out what we feel are the top candidates for making an impact in a specific genre. So, without further ado, let's check out what awaits us next year.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Next year's gaming scene should finally mark the arrival of Rockstar's next addition in the famed GTA series. Grand Theft Auto IV takes place in Liberty City and follows the story of an Eastern European immigrant named Niko Bellic. With a great portion of the game already completed, the developers are aiming to launch the game some time during spring 2008 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Rockstar has yet to prove if this one will live up to the reputation of the GTA franchise, but from what was shown so far, GTA IV appears to have nearly everything that made its predecessors fun to play and more.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Hideo Kojima and the folks at Kojima Productions are still not ready to release their long-awaited title, MGS 4, which will finally wrap up the tale about Solid Snake. With a variety of new moves, an assortment of new weapons, new features, improved overall design, Kojima Productions is definitely on the right track with this one. Sony also expects this to be one of the top PS3 franchises next year and the kind of game that will tempt people into buying the console, which has been in a slump pretty much since its launch. Good luck Sony. And good luck Hideo. (They're gonna need it. - 2Lions)
Also on the horizon
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Killzone 2, Turok, Battlefield: Bad Company, Far Cry 2, Borderlands, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Bionic Commando, Haze, Iron Man, Frontline: Fuels of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, Army of Two, No More Heroes (Wii)
After its successful title, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Bethesda Softworks turned towards reviving the popular sci-fi RPG franchise, Fallout. When we witnessed Fallout 3, the gameplay had that distinct Oblivion-ish feel. The setting looked quite good, but there's a long road ahead. Last we checked with Bethesda, the production of the game was in full sway, with around 70 people working intently on the very meat of the game. So, while the designers, artists and programmers are filling out the world of Fallout 3, we twirl our thumbs in anticipation for one of the most promising single-player RPGs, slated to launch during Q4 2008.
For a lot of people, seeing the name "Blizzard" imprinted on a game box is a good enough reason to buy it. That's okay with us. When it comes to new titles, Blizzard seldom disappoints and we have a feeling StarCraft 2 will be no exception. Witnessing the game in action left us very optimistic. SC 2 is showing elements of superb design quality and first-rate production values; of course, we expected nothing less. Solid RTS gameplay mechanics are already in there, the kind that made earlier Blizzard strategies so good. Another encouraging fact is that the game is being crated by the crew that worked on the original StarCraft, Brood Wars, WarCraft III and WC III: Frozen Throne. The setting also has a huge fan base, especially in Korea, so there's next to no chance of the game flopping financially.
Gran Turismo 5
As it stands, GT 5 is one of the most highly anticipated racing games (yes, even if it's a PS3-exclusive). It features a variety of improvements since the previous game. Earlier complaints regarding GT games were related to the relatively steep learning curve and shabby AI. Polyphony, the makers of GT 5, are looking to fix this, so the AI now senses the cars around it and reacts to the player's driving style. The game will also entail two levels of realism - Standard and Professional. There's a decent selection of trendy car brands lined up, including Alfa Romeo, Audi, Nissan, Ferrari, Lotus, Mitsubishi and more. Relying on the advantages of HD, the game is going to support full 1080p, supposedly running at 60 fps. Specifically referring to cars, Polyphony mentioned that each model in Gran Turismo 4 featured 4,000 polygons, whereas those in GT 5 have an average poly count of 200,000. Currently, GT 5 Prologue, which serves as sort of a tease test for the full game, is already available on Japanese PSN. Word has it that "you can buy the import edition of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and play it on a regular US PlayStation 3 with no modifications." The full GT 5 game still hasn't got a firm release date, but fans are hoping for mid-2008 and so are we.
Also on the horizon
Burnout Paradise, GRID (Codemasters), Mario Kart Wii
Morsels of Creativity
This year we also reflect on a few projects that may possibly stretch the boundaries of gaming (hope, hope). Some of them are in early stages of development, while others are well on the way.
Still Pretty Much Hush-Hush
Each gaming year has its ups and downs, ultimately leading to the inevitable high point, which, as a rule, occurs during the fall when the market is jam-packed with new releases. Next year will, most likely, be no exception. However, a lot of the projects are still very much under wraps. While we're not entirely sure on the status of certain titles, most of them are already in the works. We therefore hope to bring you more about each game as soon as 2008 kicks off. In any case, you should be on the lookout for these:
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
- Call of Duty 5
- Dragon Age
- Tomb Raider: Underworld
- Silent Hill 5
- Supreme Commander 2
- Resident Evil 5
- Deus Ex 3
- Tiberium (C&C FPS)
- Uncharted 2
- God of War 3
- Lost Planet expansion
- and, yes, Duke Nukem Forever
Possible announcements in 2008
If you're wondering why we left out potential games like KOTOR 3 or Diablo 3, you'd better check out our recent feature, which covers the current and future state of MMOGs.
In addition, a new Prince of Persia game has been rumored, after John Mechner (creator of the original game and designer of recent PoP games) revealed details about the upcoming Prince of Persia movie and graphic novel.
Hints were dropped about a new MechWarrior game with Jordan Weisman's recent acquisition of the rights to MechWarrior, Shadowrun, Crimson Skies and other FASA works.
If that's not enough for you, we've also heard reports about a possible Terminator game, following Halcyon's (owner of the Terminator franchise) formation of a gaming subsidiary. This new studio would supposedly handle a video game adaptation of the company's forthcoming film "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins." This one even has projected platforms (next-gen consoles, PC and mobile) and an expected release date - summer 2009.
If you're the type of gamer who prefers beat-'em-ups, there are a few games you should bear in mind - for one thing, titles like Capcom's recently announced Street Fighter IV, Namco's Soul Calibur IV and Nintendo's colorful Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
At any rate, you could say the gaming industry starves for originality. It saddens us to see but a handful projects that promise to deliver breakthroughs in design and gameplay. Once again, sequels and franchise milkage take precedent over innovation and creativity. There's hope, mind you. In anticipation of something fresh and innovative, the ever-watchful eye of the geek community now gazes towards veteran development studios like Blizzard, BioWare and Bungie, who are just about ready to make their next move. (And they are SURE to innovate, right? What with the pressure from their parent companies and the gigantic budgets that will revolve around their future projects. Spot the sarcasm in the tone please. - 2Lions)
As always, if you disagree with some of our choices or you feel we've missed something, by all means fill our comments section with your ideas and suggestions.
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