2007: Games to Watch

I've got a stack of unfinished games so tall that it threatens to collapse upon me, suffocating me with its weight. But does that prevent me from looking forward to next year's releases? No! Because, dear readers, it is our duty here at GWJ to prognosticate, predict, and prophesy with enthusiasm, especially as the new year begins.

Read on for a selection of upcoming 2007 games that you may want to keep your eye on, lovingly handpicked by Certis, Chiggie, and myself. Not a definitive list by any means, but it should be enough to convince you to stash away some cash, and finish up all those 2006 games.

Adam "The Fly" LaMosca:

If you're a PC Gamer and you haven't heard about Crysis (PC), you may very well have been living on a deserted island in the South China Sea. An achingly beautiful island, in fact, featuring the crash site of an unidentified alien object, to which a contingent of North Korean soldiers have been dispatched to investigate. And the island is rendered with the most technologically advanced graphics known to man and Holy Cats, is this game ever beautiful to look at. When Crysis is released, PC gamers will be divided into two camps: those who will sit agape before their expensive new PCs, basking in the glory of its visual excesses, and those who will weep for want of updated hardware. Will the game itself be any good? Probably. The folks at Crytek seem like smart people, and they say they've learned from the gameplay missteps they made with their debut release, FarCry.

The first two releases in the Chikyuu Boueigun series never made it to North American shores. It's probably just as well, because honestly, I have no idea how to pronounce that title and if it's up to me I'll never type it again. Released as budget PS2 titles, by nearly all accounts they were chock full of satisfying run-and-gun, arcade style 3D shooter action. The premise is simple: defend Earth's cities from massive swarms of giant insects, crowd-stomping robots, and the like. The series supposedly sold like hotcakes, well enough that an Xbox 360 sequel, Earth Defense Force X, is due out early this year. It supposedly features 53 stages to fight through and an arsenal of 150 weapons. If it's released under the same budget pricing as the previous titles, it ought to be worth a look.

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl: There's supposed to be a period after every letter in the first word of this game's title. Screw that. Anyway, I wept with joy when GSC Gameworld showed this game at E3 2003. It was to be a vast, near-accurate, fully explorable recreation of the Chernobyl disaster area, transformed by a second mysterious nuclear event into a no-man's land populated by brilliantly AI-controlled foes. I could go on and on about how incredible this game looked. Sadly, its development process apparently went off the rails, and it garnered bonafide vaporware status well before publisher THQ finally stepped in to get GSC to push the game out. Rumors abound as to the quality and content of the finished product, and it worries me that the game's seen so little press of late. It's supposed to be due out for the PC early this year, and I'm hoping it hasn't been completely gutted. If it retains its core features, I'll be thrilled. If it's simply a decent shooter that still allows me to explore an amazingly accurate Chernobyl site recreation, I'll be satisfied.

Finally, is there anyone out there who isn't interested in seeing what boyish wonder Will Wright finally cooks up with Spore? I'm a bit weary of the hype surrounding Wright, justified though it may be, but I'll admit that the promise of a God game that actually allows players to evolve life from single cells into space-populating species is absolutely captivating. This is one game I'm tired of hearing about but still can't wait to play.

Shawn "Certis" Andrich:

There is no doubt that Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3) is one of the most intriguing upcoming releases this year. There is a certain intangible quality to the game that defies our usual attempts to pigeon hole it. What we've seen of the crowd mechanics (hiding in plain sight amongst a group of wandering monks, for example) is new. Locating your target and casually making your way toward him without drawing attention has the potential to show us a big leap in A.I -- or a cruel look at how far we still have to go. Mob mentalities, people freaking out over the weirdo climbing the side of the building, or how guards react to the player will all require new levels of programmed NPC behavior to work. After Prince of Persia made such a big splash in 2003, I can't wait to see what the team has in store for us with this new franchise.

With such a strong pedigree, it's no surprise that Bioshock (Xbox 360, PC) is one of the most anticipated games of the year by those lucky enough to have played the System Shock series. Ken Levine, the lead designer of the game, had a hand in both the original Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2. After stunning the press at E3 last year, Bioshock is poised to draw a whole new audience into a game style that PC players have known and loved for years. A deep, creepy story coupled with an underwater city and a splash of RPG elements is more than enough to sell me on the game. It remains to be seen if this particular mix, made popular among PC aficionados, will have the legs to popularize the genre on a simpler, more streamlined platform.

We first started to hear about Hellgate: London back in April 2005. The announcement that a team of former Diablo developers lead by Blizzard's own Bill Roper would be producing a game under the Namco banner (for the PC, no less) was a surprise. Since then, we've been teased with playable builds at E3 and, more recently, some of the first CGI movies done for the game. The movies easily rival anything Blizzard has produced and it's obvious Flagship Studios are sticking to their roots. Despite the FPS/3rd person action trappings, this would appear to be a spiritual successor to Diablo II, with randomly generated levels and multitudes of gibbering demon spawn. Swords, guns, and women in skimpy armor in a post-apocalyptic London? Sign me up. In recent interviews, Roper has suggested that the game would be released before the year is out.

We still don't know nearly enough about Remedy's Alan Wake to be sure if it's coming out this year. After blowing us away two years ago at E3, Remedy has been coy about showing off any new gameplay footage or even details on exactly what we're getting ourselves into. Slated as an Xbox 360/Windows Vista title, we do know that you will play an author haunted by unknown dark things in a coastal village. There's also sexy graphics tech and some amazing use of light and darkness to affect gameplay. One thing I know for sure, Remedy hasn't let us down yet with either of the Max Payne games and they're obviously approaching their latest with a great deal of care. Here's hoping we see it by next Christmas.

Stephen "Chiggie" Failey:

Ubisoft promises to keep its latest trend of placing "Tangos" in the "down" position with another addition to one of the most recognizable tactical shooter franchises ever: Ghost Recon. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is the direct sequel to the 2006 title G.R.A.W. This new installment promises to keep the continuity of the story intact (for the 3 or 4 of you out there that would notice) by remaining in Mexico. I'm finally going to have an excuse to get a flat screen after another Ubisoft game goes the extra mile to washing the entire color palette of brown out of my television from overuse. After a while it will just become black and white and it will be like watching that old silent movie. You know the one; where robots from the future come down to Earth and shoot all the Mexicans.

On an extreme upside it looks as if most of the gameplay that made the first G.R.A.W. so fun has also made the jump to the sequel without much change. From the screen shots I glanced at briefly while researching this blurb I noticed that the squad interface for your teammates and support devices is still there. That means more flying cameras to help you sneak up on potential targets and the addition of a big armored car to carry all your crap around.

Of course this will really just be a hold over while we wait for the big enchilada for 2007: Halo 3. Anybody that is excited about Halo 3 already probably knows more than I do about the upcoming title so instead of previewing it I'm going to throw out a word of warning for those of us ranked as "devout followers" of those giant metal rings in the sky. Consciously waiting and obsessing over Halo 3 without having a hard release date is like knowing your are going to get ice-cream some random time in the future and deciding to focus your entire life around frozen treats. You can't just sit around and think, "Oh god this ice-cream is going to be so damned good!" You'll go insane and you'll take people with you. You just have to calm down and go about your life as usual and let the ice-cream be a surprise. Halo 3 is coming, hardly a force in the universe could cancel this juggernaut's release, so just take a deep breath, clear your mind, find something else to do, and let the good men and women of Bungie work in peace.

Comments

Firingsquad.com's most anticipated console and pc games of 2007:

Forza 2 (360)
Stranglehold (360, PS3) - meh
Crackdown (360) - all over it
Heavenly Sword (PS3) - Grrl of War
The Darkness (PS3, 360) - from the creators of the Riddick game, promising
Mercenaries 2 - likely pushed to 2008
Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3, 360)
God of War 2 (PS2!!!) - old girl still has spark!
Devil May cry 4 (PS3)
Motorstorm (PS3) -I'm hearing negative things about this game, that it has no legs
Assassin's Creed (360, PS3) - game of the year?
Lost Planet (360) - please be good
Burnout 5 - scheduled for... March?
Mass Effect (360)
Smash Brothers (Wii)
Metroid Prime 3 (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Metal Gear Solid 4 - rumored to be behind, might be pushed to 08 and Sony would hate that
GTA 4 - likely pushed to 08
Halo 3

PC Games:
Left 4 Dead - co-op zombie killing from the makers of CS Source
Pirates of the Burning Sea
Metal of Honor: Airborne - actually sounds interesting
Age of Conan - I don't believe Certis, this will suck
Frontlines: Fuel of War by the creators of the Desert Combat mod for BF 1942, which became BF2
Shadowrun - sleeper hit of the year
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - brings new levels of pain to EQ crowd
Command and Conquer 3
Lord of the Rings Online
Hellgate: London - next WoW
Warhammer Online
Bioshock
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - with the most criminal overuse of periods in 2007
Half-Life 2 Ep2 / Portal / Team Fortress 2 - which I'll be buying on the 360
Unreal Tourney 2007
Supreme Commander
Quake Wars
WoW:Burning Crusade - there are people who play lots of games, and there are people who play WoW
Spore
Crysis

FiringSquad wrote:

It's been a while since we have seen a quantum leap in PC game graphics that would make people want to invest in powerful hardware for their game rig and we think Crysis is going to be the game that will do it. If the game itself is as good as the visuals already appear to be, Crysis has the potential to be one of the best games released ever and that's why it gets our vote as the most anticipated PC game of 2007.

Where's the love for Command & Conquer 3? Are there no RTS fans amongst us? (At least Firingsquad.com's looking forward to it...) I was just reading the Jan issue of Games for Windows, had a writeup for C&C3 in there, as well as STALKER where the writer took a trip to Chernobyl. They give tours and everything, while you listen to the steadily increasing sound of the Giger counter ticking away... It was a decent read tho, pick up a copy to read if you get a chance.

But yeah. I'm lookin' forward to seeing Kane's evil chrome dome on the screen again. Good times.... (Could this finally be the game to tear me away from WoW? BF2142 didn't do the trick, that's for sure...)

there are people who play lots of games, and there are people who play WoW

True, that.

I'm with Certis in that Conan looks like it's gonna be hella cool. I'm personally looking forward to that, Stranglehold, Mass Effect, Bioshock, Assassin's creed, Crysis, and Enemy Territory. Hellgate:London just doesn't do it for me.

souldaddy wrote:

Age of Conan - I don't believe Certis, this will suck

For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts. Certis you can trust.

Can you be a Wizard in Conan Online?

I saw no mention of several games, like (just for the 360):

Armored Core 4 - Mechs on ice... cracking ice.
Lost Odyssey - You are unstoppable and 1000 years old, much like the JRPG genre
Trusty Sonata, um, I mean Eternal Bell, no wait i thinks its called "Chopin Kicks A$$!" in the States.
Army of Two - location based damage? They show one guy dragging the other.
Bullet Witch - she-Devil may cry freedom (insomnia rates it 4 stars)
Elveon - If we're playing elves, I wanna be a Drow Ranger!
Fable 2 - PLEASE DON'T SUCK.
Huxley - MMO FPS FTW
Kane & Lynch - "I've seen what he and that medicated psychopath are capable of,.."
Monster Madness - When there's noone left to call, whatcha gonna do when monsters come for you?
Overlord - Yes, my minions - DO MY BIDDING!
Warhammer ONLINE - Age of Reckoning. Keep your World of HackCraft, Du Gudir!

souldaddy wrote:

Firingsquad.com's most anticipated console and pc games of 2007:

Forza 2 (360)
Virtua Fighter 5 (360)
God of War 2 (PS2!!!)
Smash Brothers (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

PC Games:
Hellgate: London
Spore

I'll also add Monster Madness (360), Rogue Galaxy (PS2), Blue Dragon (360), Winning Eleven: Pro (360), MLB 2K7 (360), and Bioshock (360) to my watch list.

I wasn't interested in Conan for a long time, but recent information coming out about how the game is different from the typically mmo fare has me intrigued.

My big games this year are most likely going to be (in order of anticipation):

Hellgate: London
Dragon Quest IX (if it's out this year in the US)
Rogue Galaxy
Blue Dragon
Forza 2
Virtua Fighter 5
Smash Brothers & Metroid Prime on the Wii if they aren't delayed to 2008

Certis wrote:

There is no doubt that Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3) is one of the most intriguing upcoming releases this year...because of Kristen Bell.

Fixed.

And also put me down for (in no particular order):

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
Mass Effect
Silent Hunter IV
Bioshock
Command & Conquer 3
Spore
Battlestations: Midway (maaaaaaaaaaaaybe)

Haakon7 wrote:
souldaddy wrote:

Age of Conan - I don't believe Certis, this will suck

For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not breasts. Certis you can trust.

Oh, I forgot the japanese 360 RPGs,

Lost Odyssey
Blue Dragon
Eternal Sonata

sad there is no Mario Kart Wii this year. Mario Kart and Smash Brothers should always be released within 12 months of a new nintendo console launch.

Certis wrote:

There is no doubt that Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3) is one of the most intriguing upcoming releases this year.

I was told this was slated for a PC release as well, and Wikipedia seems to confirm that.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

There is no doubt that Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3) is one of the most intriguing upcoming releases this year.

I was told this was slated for a PC release as well, and Wikipedia seems to confirm that.

The official site does not list the PC in their "supported platforms" icons along the bottom. I've heard there will be a PC release too, but like most Ubisoft PC releases lately, I doubt it will be the optimal platform regardless.

Not only can you be a wizard in Conan, but if you get together multiple wizards casting a summon you end up with a more powerful summon. Should be interesting.

The official site does not list the PC in their "supported platforms" icons along the bottom. I've heard there will be a PC release too, but like most Ubisoft PC releases lately, I doubt it will be the optimal platform regardless.

To clear things up - for about a year there was talking about AC being PS3 exclusive. Then, they had gone X360, and I've seen rumours about AC as... Xbox exclusive. It seems that they don't like making any statements ;] But it has already been confirmed, that AC is not console-only (last oct/nov, if i recall right)
Still, Certis seems to be right about next Ubisoft port 'going wild', especially if we keep in mind, that they probably even planned that game for PC before mid-06. (If you have doubts - look at the control system description at wiki... it doesn't sound too keyboard...ish and won't be easy to port). What a shame.

Ah, one more thing: really, isn't anyone concerned about Brothers in Arms 3? For me, game looks better than Crysis (UE3), and still holds atmosphere of first two BiA games, very deep, emotional feeling and immersive story (which I haven't seen in any FPS since Max Payne, I believe) moreover - it adds much more tactical and gameplay depth. And for history maniacs - game is unimaginably accurate in recreating history, and has very good mix between action and realism (look how great weapon recoil was done in two first games). And I could count on and on, but better go and find out for yourself, if you somehow missed the previews... Game is slated for late 2007 release, but real chances of seeing it in this year are fifty-fifty I presume. We'll see.

Dear holy mother of god, 2007 is going to drain my wallet completely dry. As I'll be returning to WoW with Burning Crusade, I'm going to be imposing a strict two day a week limit so I don't get too distracted from all this gaming goodness.

Drooling over in rabid eagerness:

Hellgate London (It's the Diablo RPGFPS I always wanted)
Bioshock (Gorgeous underwater horror!)
Alan Wake (Twisted, atmospheric greatness)
Halo 3 (Hail to the king baby)

Pleasantly expecting good things from:

Assassin's Creed (Who can't love Hitman: Middle Ages?)
Mass Effect (Looks great, how about the combat?)
Spore (So weird you gotta love it)
Darkness (So very evil)
Crackdown (Cartoon silliness and mayhem, oh and that demo)
Wario Ware Wii (Hoping it's not a one trick DS-Like pony)
Lost Planet (Dunno how well multi will stick, but the single player seems solid)
World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade (Hope it's a while before the burnout hits again)
Kane & Lynch (Co-op goodness)
Army of Two (Co-op goodness)

Having optimistic doubts about:

Crysis (Tech demo?)
Stalker (Too little, too late?)
GRAW 2 (Expecting too much Deja Vu)
Age of Conan (A Guild Wars niche if best)
Warhammer (I know Blizzard copied it first, but can it compete?)

Anticipated but late to the 2007 party most likely:

Fable 2 (Big bold claims!)
GTA4 (Hookers in High Def!)
MGS4 (Raiden?)

Ah, one more thing: really, isn't anyone concerned about Brothers in Arms 3? For me, game looks better than Crysis (UE3), and still holds atmosphere of first two BiA games, very deep, emotional feeling and immersive story (which I haven't seen in any FPS since Max Payne, I believe) moreover - it adds much more tactical and gameplay depth. And for history maniacs - game is unimaginably accurate in recreating history, and has very good mix between action and realism (look how great weapon recoil was done in two first games). And I could count on and on, but better go and find out for yourself, if you somehow missed the previews... Game is slated for late 2007 release, but real chances of seeing it in this year are fifty-fifty I presume. We'll see.

Nice post, UCRC. Welcome! I have to say, I'm pretty well tapped when it comes to WWII games at this point. Unless it's a fresh approach like Company of Heroes, I find it hard to get excited.

souldaddy wrote:

sad there is no Mario Kart Wii this year. Mario Kart and Smash Brothers should always be released within 12 months of a new nintendo console launch.

Word.

For my part, I'm waiting on Smash Brothers, Assassin's Creed, Spore, Fable 2, Midway, maybe some WWII shooters, and more Sam & Max.

UCRC wrote:

Ah, one more thing: really, isn't anyone concerned about Brothers in Arms 3?

Absolutely, extremely interested in BiA 3. I loved the first game but for some reason the 2nd one didn't hold my interest. There are some problems with squad combat that Brothers in Arms hasn't solved yet, and I doubt #3 will fix things. However, I'm interested in seeing how the addition of mortars, machine guns, etc will change the dynamic.

No DS love for those of us who can't afford or aren't interested in a new PC or console? I'm keeping an eye on Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Dragon Quest IX at the least.

And how in the world did Madden '08 not make the list?!?

Certis wrote:

I have to say, I'm pretty well tapped when it comes to WWII games at this point. Unless it's a fresh approach like Company of Heroes, I find it hard to get excited.

Is that what we all say just before something like Call of Duty or Brothers in Arms falls in our laps?

Certis wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

There is no doubt that Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3) is one of the most intriguing upcoming releases this year.

I was told this was slated for a PC release as well, and Wikipedia seems to confirm that.

The official site does not list the PC in their "supported platforms" icons along the bottom. I've heard there will be a PC release too, but like most Ubisoft PC releases lately, I doubt it will be the optimal platform regardless.

PC Gamer had a write-up of a preview of it a few months ago. I can't seem to find it in that pile, and their website is sh*t so... Some office archaeology is in order, but not today.

I'm going to be imposing a strict two day a week limit so I don't get too distracted from all this gaming goodness.

Pfeh, hehehehehehehe, yeah, right.

Half-life Ep 2

Barbie and the Thirteen Dancing Princesses.

I just hope they don't let us wait untill december by saying they will release these games this year.

One of these days The Witcher is going to come out. I just hope that it's not 3 years from now.

Wow, so many great games to look forward to. Some that I've been anticipating for a long time are, Hellgate, Bioshock and Quake Wars. Now, looking at this thread it looks like there's a lot more to look forward to, like GRAW2, Crysis, and Lost Planet.

I saw Lost Planet will be in stores next friday, according to their sunday ads. What happened to games being available on Tuesday?

sheared wrote:

One of these days The Witcher is going to come out. I just hope that it's not 3 years from now.

Not likely, I'm pretty sure that it will be late '07/early '08. They don't have unlimited sources and things seem to be shaping up nicely. Also, it's good thing that they aren't in rush, eg. look at all improvements they made so far, and remember that's old Aurora Engine. gasp!

Certis wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

There is no doubt that Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3) is one of the most intriguing upcoming releases this year.

I was told this was slated for a PC release as well, and Wikipedia seems to confirm that.

The official site does not list the PC in their "supported platforms" icons along the bottom. I've heard there will be a PC release too, but like most Ubisoft PC releases lately, I doubt it will be the optimal platform regardless.

I was struggling to find a place for this, so I put it here: Assassin's Creed for the DS? Does this sound legitimate to anyone else??

And its interesting that Amazon.co.uk has AC listed for PC, while Amazon US does not...

How about this?

World In Conflict