2010 was an odd year. Filled with sleeper surprises and much vaunted titles which simply didn’t live up to the hype (Crackdown 2 I’m looking at you). 2011, though, looks to be a belter. So what are we look forward to most of all then? Read on…
DC: Universe Online
OUT: January 14th (UK)
It’s not very often that the first huge game of the year arrives pretty much right at the start. It’s even less frequent to see a console get a MMO. In mid-January, though, we see Sony finally make good on years of promises, when PS3 (and PC, of course) owners get to explore the world of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman (although, to be frank, they don’t hold a candle to The Flash, who also inhabits the DC Universe).
Having been on the beta for a decent amount of time now, The Claw can confirm that fans of superhero MMOs will be overjoyed, with a great combat system, a deep class system and a drop dead gorgeous world to inhabit. All joyously optimised for pad-based control.
Child of Eden
OUT: Q1 2011
Although this is out on PS3 as well, with Move controls (and, apparently, plays fine on a pad on both systems), this could well be the app to convince the “core” of Kinect’s potential.
Designed with Kinect at the forefront of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s warped mind. It’s the synaesthesia of Rez crossed with the futurism of Minority Report’s interface design. It’s been described as being like a sorcerer, using the power of gesture and movement to fling attacks out of thin air.
It looks amazing. Fans of Q? will be salivating permanently until this comes out.
Deus Ex 3
OUT: Delayed until 2011/2012 fiscal year (hopefully Spring 2011)
Yes, so it’s been delayed, but given that Squenix have had a massive hit to their profits due to a frankly unfinished and unpolished FFXIV, it’s understandable. To be honest, it’s reassuring. Deus Ex is a great IP and they have one shot at bringing it back from the dead. They need to get it right.
One thing’s for sure… Squenix have nailed the feel of Deus Ex, at least if the trailers are anything to go by. These 3 minute long snippets of condensed Deus Ex universe are masterpieces in themselves.
The small chunks of gameplay that are available to watch are equally promising. With a branching story, open ended approaches to missions, augmentations, cloaking devices, it’s got the gaming community frothy at the prospect.
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
OUT: May 2011
InXile look to have created something special with this. And Bethesda know it. This is a big year for the Fallout and Elder Scrolls publisher. For many, their taste is impeccable, and therefore, a relative unknown like this must have blown them away to have piqued their interest.
The common reduction on the web is to call it a fantasy Gears of War. With an AI buddy, drop in co-op, cover based combat, flanking and snappy dialogue, you can see why. It does look to have a character all of it’s own though. The asymmetrical nature of the coop where each character’s abilities compliment the others rather than matches them, implies a rather different and possibly more interesting experience than snappy journalistic turns of phrase might indicate.
OUT: Spring 2011
Brink is big. Potentially huge. A way of tempting people who only ever venture into SP story, into the nefarious world of online multiplayer without skipping a beat.
It’s the next iteration, the next riff on a chord first played by Jay Allard when he spoke so eloquently about his vision of anti-coop before the launch of the 360. That chord was brilliantly mastered by Valve with the wonderful Left 4 Dead series.
It’s not just that though, it’s also looking like a stunning shooter set in a futuristic post apocalyptic (surprise) world. The SMART movement system bringing the immediacy and presence of Mirror’s Edge to online combat. Far from dumbing it down, it looks to bring an extra element of strategy and fluidity to traversing the maps whilst reducing the all too common frustrations of traditional shooters, where getting stuck on a kerb can get you shot.
Then there’s the phenomenal looking mission system, where bringing up the mission wheel gives you access to a dynamically generated set up of missions based on the state of play and where and what you are. Pick one and help your team in numerous ways whilst generating xp for yourself in the process.
And that’s without mentioning the character creation, the dynamic story which is different depending on the side you’re on or the incredible dream team of talent that Splash Damage have managed to get working on this. It looks fascinating. It looks like the only shooter you’ll ever need.
From Dust (was Project Dust)
OUT: Spring 2011
After years of churning out the same old Tom Clancy titles and turning their backs on the innovation they became so loved for in the first place, From Dust is hopefully a step-change in Ubi’s attitude towards creativity in gaming development.
Eric Chahi’s beautiful, inspired take on the god game, takes obvious references from one or two Molyneux classics, but twists them into something uniquely Chahi’s own.Controlling the elements to sculpt the land to meet the needs of your worshippers, you must save them from numerous disasters which are about to befall them.
Complex, and mindblowingly lush, this is going to be a downloadable gem.
OUT: Spring 2011
There’s a lot of excitement about this one. It’s not often these days that the noire thriller gets an outing on any medium, least of all games.
L.A. Noire looks to traverse the uncanny valley in one manful, polished stride with the most stunning facial capture yet seen in gaming. It directly affects gameplay too, which is very much dependent on your ability to read your suspects’ facial expressions.
An open world, noire crime thriller by the undisputed masters of the open world genre? Delicious.
The next quirky work of unburdened creativity from the creators of Flower. A PSN exclusive, not a heck of a lot is known about this yet, except that it involves a journey (duh) through a deep desert, and that from time to time you may come across other players making the same journey, and that you can help each other along the way if you so choose.
It looks sumptuous. And Thatgamecompany has never let us down before.
The Last Guardian
OUT: Q4 2011
What is there to say really? It’s probably the most anticipated game of the year, particularly among Sony fans. The previous titles by Fumito Ueda: Ico and Shadow of The Colossus, are masterpieces of the medium, frequently referenced by other game creators (including Molyneux) and revered by fans across the globe.
They are, to date, unmatched. The Last Guardian looks to be the only title capable of occupying the same stratospheric zone as them. The snippets seen so far have the same emotional hum to them. The stunning, mossy, aeons old backdrop; the game changing, giant eagle/cat/dog monster with whom the protagonist shares his adventure.
In many ways, it seems to be emphatically the child of its predecessors. With the cooperative attachment of the first game and the monster as puzzle/platform elements of the second, it seems to be a logical next step in the seminal series.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
The Aliens franchise has taken a bit of a kicking of late. With some truly awful AvP movies and a half-decent-if-it-had-been-released-five-years-ago AvP game, it’s not exactly covered itself in glory.
So why are we excited about this then? Well, we’re suckers for Aliens. Total, born-yesterday, suckers. But also Gearbox is doing this one. And Gearbox are no slouches.
They demonstrated this recently with the epic Borderlands, which featured a fantastic 4 player coop mode and combat to die for. Not to mention the strategic genius of Brothers in Arms. If anything, this material will suit Randy Pitchford’s bombastic “limbs everywhere” style more than any other game Gearbox has turned it’s attention to.
Who wouldn’t salivate over the prospect of 4 player cooperative play in the Aliens universe by a developer that truly knows the co-op shooter? We’re mopping up the drool right now.
So that’s what a small arbitrary portion of what’s on the horizon for this year. Of course, there’s more than that out there. We haven’t forgotten about Call of SSX (Deadly Descent, although we wish it looked more like Tricky); Dragon Age 2; Mass Effect 3;Dirt 3; Section 8; The Agency and all the other potentially cool games out there this year. We just know if we make this article too long, you’ll stop reading. In fact some you already have… OI! Come back!
Incidentally, we have a very interesting discussion going on in our forums on what this coming year holds for gamers in general. Feel free to join in -- Ed