Like many others, I sat through the Spike TV Video Game Awards last month. I was hit not only with a feeling of dread for having sat through it, but also filled with optimism because of the promising games revealed and given release dates, many coming within 12 months. Simply put, 2011 is probably going to be a great year for games.
But just because we already have our plates full doesn’t mean that the announcements are going to stop just because we haven’t played those games yet. Oh yes, expect to hear awesome games announced as you struggle to keep up with this year’s slate.
Don’t believe it? We can think of seven games that we wouldn’t be surprised to hear about, whether for release in 2011 or beyond. Take a gander at the goods.
Bungie Reveals a non-FPS
Let’s start with a gimme; we know full well that Bungie has a multiplatform franchise under their sleeves, one that Activision will be all too happy to publish. In fact, the sheer length of the publishing deal — ten years — has many a cynic quivering in their boots as a beloved developer seems to have sold their souls and will be forced to push out an annual first-person shooter. With Bungie keeping ownership of this new IP, it’s safe to say that such a fate will elude them.
But what of this new IP, exactly? After setting such high benchmarks for the console shooter and online multiplayer, people expect this new game to follow in Halo’s footsteps. Is that really fair to Bungie, though? After all, if they wanted to keep pumping out FPS’s, they could’ve stayed with Microsoft to pump out Halo after Halo.
Obviously, things turned out differently. With their newfound independence, wouldn’t it be great to see them spread their wings a bit and try for something fresh? And not just changing to a third-person shooter — how about a hack-and-slash, or even an action RPG? Hardcore FPS fans couldn’t even cry foul at such a prospect — leveling systems and upgrades have become a pillar of gaming across just about every genre, so it wouldn’t be a stretch for Bungie fans to wrap their minds around the concept of a game that took more than 10 hours to beat, maybe even without guns. Insanity!
Or it might just be another FPS, since the deal with Activision was hot off the heels of the Infinity Ward scandal. Whatever. I can dream!
Respawn Entertainment’s Call of Duty Killer
OK, this is definitely going to be a shooter; look no further than the company name to see where Jason West and Vince Zampella’s bread and butter lie. Make no mistake — the creators of the Call of Duty franchise want to beat their figurative baby’s skull in, while partnering with Activision’s chief rival EA to do so.
As to what type of shooter it will actually be, who knows? After kneecapping the WWII setting with the release of Call of Duty 4, we’re now stuck with a bunch of modern warfare games. Obviously, it wouldn’t be out of the question for West and Zampella to buck the trend yet again. Perhaps they’ll take the space marine theme into a new direction that somehow hasn’t been done. Maybe they’ll go waaaay back and tap into the U.S. Revolutionary War (let’s hope not).
Whatever it is, I’m sure EA won’t hesistate to slap “FROM THE CREATORS OF CALL OF DUTY” all over the box art, even if we somehow ended up with a PSP-exclusive puzzle game.
Wait, did I just jinx this into being a PSP puzzle game? Crap!
Insomniac’s Multiplatform EA Game
This announcement is open to a lot of possibility. As any PlayStation gamer worth their salt knows, Insomniac are responsible for creating the Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance series. Their diverse background of games have helped them become one of the most beloved developers in the industry.
Of course, all of that work was exclusive to Sony’s family of consoles. With their announcement of a deal with EA Partners, Insomniac’s next franchise will also see release on the Xbox 360. With increased development costs, developing exclusives becomes much riskier when you’re an independent studio, so Insomniac’s move makes perfect sense. I even wrote as much when the move was announced.
Without a set pattern for how they work, one can only guess as to the type of game that Insomniac are working on for EA. It might be another platformer or shooter, or it might be something else entirely. Much like Mass Effect 2′s move to become multiplatform, though, I’m excited to see this mystery game receive a wider audience.
Grand Theft Auto V
With L.A. Noire coming in a matter of months, we don’t expect any word on Grand Theft Auto V in the first half of the year. Not only would it be unwise to overshadow L.A. Noire with a GTA V announcement, Rockstar don’t even make a habit of making formal appearances at E3. However, the table sets quite nicely for an announcement in the second half of 2011, perhaps at Gamescom or *shudder* the Spike VGAs.
Maybe Rockstar intends to wait for a new console cycle before GTA V, with GTA IV being the “main” numbered entry and its DLC acting as it’s Vice City and San Andreas. With both Sony and Microsoft doing everything they can to make this generation last as long as it can without introducing new hardware, though, it seems that such a decision would mean leaving a lot of money on the table for Rockstar.
With the surprisingly somber Red Dead Redemption last year, and the not-quite-in-your-face L.A. Noire this year, it seems we’re due for the over-the-top action that can only be afforded by a proper GTA release.