2010, by all appearances, seems a good year for video games. Hit titles Mass Effect, Fable, God of War and Final Fantasy are returning, as well as some new non-franchise games that promise a new genre experience, such as They (a shooter/mystery) and Edge of Twilight (a steampunk hack-and-slash game). With such a multitude, it would be hard to write about every anticipated game of the year, but three in particular stand out, either for their innovation or for the promise of awesomeness:
Remedy Entertainment, developer of the Max Payne series, is taking a dip into the psychological thriller genre. In Alan Wake, players take on the role of the titular character, an author who moves into a new town with his wife to overcome writers block. When Alans wife vanishes, the fun begins in the form of intrigue, drama and strange beings called dark forces that can be fought with light. Remedy hopes to create a sort of interactive thriller movie with these effects.
Alan Wake definitely offers something new: fights with something other than a gun and characters that go beyond the space marine or busty elf archetypes. The interactive suspense film is also definitely a step towards innovation. These new features, however, will also be amazingly hard to pull off. The episodic, movie-like gameplay may annoy gamers who actually want to play a game and not watch an extended episode of LOST.
Make no mistake though; if it succeeds, it could be the launching point for a new genre of video game. Alan Wake was one of the Best Overall Games presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009, hinting at nothing but good things.Halo: Reach:
Building on the success of the Halo franchise, Bungie is coming out with a prequel to the phenomenally successful Halo: Combat Evolved. The player controls a cyborg super-soldier known as the Lieutenant, a rank higher than Master Chief, and presumably much more badass. The game was announced at E3 2009, and theres little doubt that Reach will deliver. Even though Halo 2 disappointed some fans with poor level design, plot and a sadistic cliff-hanger, Bungie hasnt produced a bad title since then. Reachs success, however, will be determined in opposition to a game like Alan Wake. Alan Wake will succeed based on innovation, while Reach will succeed by sticking to the fundamental and inalienable fun of mass murdering alien armies.
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty:
Aaw yeah. The only dialogue in the first trailer for this long-awaited strategy game sums up gamers thoughts perfectly: Hell, its about time. After sales of just under ten million copies, incredible critical reception and continued success, Blizzard has finally promised a return to the Starcraft universe.
For the uninitiated, Starcraft focuses on a three-way war between good old-fashioned humans, a swarm of space-insects known as the Zerg, and an advanced uber-species known as the Protoss. In the first installment of a planned trilogy, players will take on the role of humanity and attempt to defend themselves from alien attacks, while learning more about the rumored return of the Xelnaga, the creators of the Zerg and Protoss.
Blizzard has boasted that their new title will offer a new strategy game experience, while sticking to the fundamentals of what made Starcraft great. Theyre keeping favorite units, but also including new strengths and weakness to encourage players to diversify their strategies and modes of play. The only downside is that Blizzard promised the game two years ago, which either indicates that they needed to renovate the game hugely or that its so fun Blizzard staff wanted it all to themselves.