So it’s a new year which also means new games to play. As gamers, this is the time of the year where our wallets get to recuperate while we enjoy the catch up on the slew of holiday AAA releases. This last holiday season brought us such gems as Lego Lord of the Rings, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Halo 4. Personally, I am almost always excited for the first half of the year for games as this is usually when the smaller releases , sequels, and new IPs(intellectual properties) are released. Some of my favorite early year releases I can think of include Jade Empire of Bioware fame and Halo Wars from Ensemble, both of which weaved incredible stories. Usually, January-March sees the new IPs as wells as the smaller or more clique sequels(2012’s included games such as Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning as well as Mass Effect 3). April and May almost always includes releases of the the first half of the year’s major AAA releases(basically everything released by Rockstar this generation). With this all out of the way, my main point in introducing this is to write a little bit on the next few months of video gaming.
This next year will be one of the best video game release years of all blah blah blah, as most websites would put it, though I beg to differ. We will see many great games including Battlefield 4, Grand Theft Auto V and Gears of War Judgement. All of which will sell ridiculous amounts of units, but WHERE ARE THE NEW IPs? Don’t get me wrong, there are new IPs in this upcoming year but what happened to years like 2007 which saw the releases of many of the new IPs which are still fueling upcoming releases(BioShock, COD 4: Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Rock Band). I understand that years like 2007 only come around every so often but we definitely haven’t seen one quite like it since. This year will see yet another new IP from the wonderful developers over at Quantic Dream who have yet to create a sequel of any of their games. This game is Beyond: Two Souls which will star Ellen Page of Juno fame(oh yeah and Inception…). This new game will run on the same engine that drove the Kara demo that wowed everyone not to long ago. Quantic Dream has been known to spin wonderfully mind bending tales as they did in Indigo Prophecy(a personal favourite from the OG Xbox). Beyond: Two Souls will be Playstation 3 exclusive just like the next game I’ll introduce: The Last of Us. The Last of Us will be Naughty Dog’s first new IP since the trilogy of Uncharted games that so beautifully blended story and action that it made us wish that there could be a good Indiana Jones game. It will include similar third person action following a pair of characters who are trying to get by in a post-apocalyptic playground of mayhem. I’m really starting to sound like a Sony fanboy(If only there were a new Infamous game coming out!). This brings me to my most anticipated *NEW* IP of the first quarter-ish of video games. -Drumroll- Aliens: Colonial Marines will finally give us the sequel to Aliens that we have always wanted. What’s more? It’s developed by Gearbox? Needless to say I am so down for this game. I know that we have seen disappointment from games with the Gearbox name on its packaging(yeah I’m talking about you Duke) but I don’t feel that any other developer in business today could nearly pull of such a wonderful science fiction world with sticking true to the license, and include all of the nerdy comical references(in any other hands it’d be Game over man! Game over!). Now I know you might not consider Aliens a ‘new’ IP since there have been games in the past to feature the always noticeable Aliens such as the Aliens vs. Predator games. My co-host Vaderfan could easily talk you head off about how the Aliens vs. storyline is a completely separate world and popularized in the Dark Horse comics. I’m going to say it’s new since we have yet to ever see an Aliens game in this fashion(:P).
For the long run of the year, I am super-crazy-excited for Destiny which I have already mentioned in the podcast a couple of times. As a brief recap, Destiny will be the new IP coming from the 10 year agreement that Bungie signed with Activision after handing the Halo franchise over to 343 Industries. We still do not know much about Destiny other than that it should be a whole new sci-fi universe for us all to delve deep into much as they supplied us with the Halo franchise. This brings me to my problem with this year. I have now exhausted my ‘Most Anticipated New IPs of 2013’ list. Quite short compared to how I would like to see it. EA has gone on record many times talking about how sequels are just a safer bet, and I don’t blame them after releases like Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning failing to the point of shutting the entire studio down(I know there was more to it than just the game’s sales). Sadly, this is where we sit as an industry. Video games are making their way into adolescence as an industry, which means that the big playmaker companies are trying to squeeze out as much of a hold on the industry as possible. This causes more of a business approach to the development of the major AAA titles, which I’m not against but it does stifle the creativity and blocks the industry from being able to emerge as an artform as I would like to see at some point. This does, however, allow for the independent industry to boom and I feel that, for the next few years at least, I will be forced into being a player of independently developed games.
To all the great games that will be coming out, and more importantly the many that I will never get to see(Advent Shadow and the rest of the trilogy, mainly!) Good night, and good gaming!