The Year Ahead - 2009

I don't understand people who choose not to anticipate upcoming games. I realize, of course, that the final product is entirely unpredictable, and that in the long run the anticipation of a game may be an entirely futile exercise. The same goes for the three days I spend in lurid daydreams of obscene wealth when the Powerball gets high enough to entice the rare dollar or two out of my pocket, but looking back even though I never win I always get some joy out of the illusion.

So what if The Force Unleashed didn't live up by half to the game I had anticipated for six months prior. The anticpation of the game was its own kind of fuel, perhaps even its own separate and equally important kind of joy. I love the part of being a gamer where I swim in the imaginination of gaming that may be to come. It doesn't dull the experience of playing the games I have in any way, and there's something very motivating about being able to mentally circle a date on the calendar as a thing worth looking forward to.

Even if eventual disappointment is part of the long term deal, that only lasts a day or two. The anticipation can carry me for months.

So, with that philosophy firmly entrenched, I turn my eyes to 2009, and offer a smattering of the games I will dream of playing. And all of that is headlined by my most anticipated game of the year: Dragon Age

The choice wasn't an easy one, and in trying to be realistic about which games stand to reasonably be released in the next 12 months I shelved a few titles that would have been a strong contender, and no doubt there are games to come in the second half of the year that we know nothing about at this point. For now, though, I will hope that Bioware gets away from the more linear and simplistic RPG-lite model, and lets Dragon Age pull them back to the kind of epic storytelling of which I know they are capable.

PC
- Starcraft 2
- The Sims 3
- Dawn of War II
- Empire: Total War
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Demigod

Xbox 360
- Halo Wars
- Resident Evil 5
- Ghostbusters
- Brutal Legend
- Prototype

PS3
- Killzone 2
- God of War III
- Uncharted 2
- Resident Evil 5
- Ghostbusters
- Noby Noby Boy

DS
- Peggle
- Jagged Alliance
- Trackmania DS
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

PSP
- Star Ocean: Second Evolution
- Loco Roco 2

Wii
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
- MadWorld

Notable Games That May or May Not Release in 2009
- Diablo 3
- Alan Wake
- Final Fantasy XIII

Comments

wordsmythe wrote:

Elysium doesn't understand me. Nobody ever understands me! :cry:

I understand you.

And that is why you cry.

Notable Games That May or May Not Release in 2009
- Diablo 3

You can put that firmly in the May Not category. There's no way in hell Blizzard releases D3 before 2010, no matter how much I wish they would.

I'm most interested in Dragon Age, Brutal Legend, Demigod, and Empire: Total War.

Trackmania DS is already out for more than a month now and is great.

I would love to add a game I anticipate that doesn't have a numeral after its name, but I can't think of any. So here go the sequels I will be trying out: Hearts of Iron 3 - if it gets as good as Europa Universalis 3 is, then it will be a game worth anticipating. Also, Bioshock 2 is slated for late 2009 and I believe that this site at least will be discussing it a lot. Maybe a new Splinter Cell: Conviction will be good as well.

On the DS, the sequels I will most likely play are Dragon Quest V (because this year's IV was awesome). And IX, of course, if it comes out next year. Then there's Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, which may ot may not be as addictive as the first one.

There's not one game on this so-called 'list' that i'm looking forward to.... with the exception of Diablo 3 of course but then that's not going to be out this year... Also, where do you get Starcraft 2 from? I thought it was going to be a 2010, 2011-12 and 2012-13 release?

I watched the gameplay movie thingy they released for Dragon Age and i wasn't impressed. It just seems like KotOR but with more people and i always assigned the former greatness of Bioware's releases to their communion with Black Isle. It just seems so, 'Meh' compared to The Witcher and even the preview for DA in Edge i remember reading a couple of years ago.

If "Even if eventual disappointment is part of the long term deal, that only lasts a day or two", why does my copy of Spore keep taunting me, sitting above my laptop laughing at me for buying it?

Woah, I had no idea Jagged Alliance was coming out for the DS. That's definitely on my radar then.

Swat wrote:

I have a question for everyone - is it just me, or has anyone else stopped anticipating titles as much as they have in previous years? I find I can barely wrap my mind around games I'm currently playing let alone imagine the ones in the months to come.

I used to be very big on previews, gameplay vids, trailers, teasers, you name it - but I just haven't had the time to follow this stuff religiously. I do kind of miss that anticipation thing, but on the flip side, when the games do come out they feel nice and fresh at least.

No. You're not alone. In 2009 I'll be finally finishing Shadow of the Colossus, playing more LBP, getting around to making levels in LBP, playing more Gears of War 2, finishing PixelJunk Eden, finishing Jet Set Radio Future (yes, the pile goes back that far), etc.

DSGamer wrote:
Swat wrote:

I have a question for everyone - is it just me, or has anyone else stopped anticipating titles as much as they have in previous years? I find I can barely wrap my mind around games I'm currently playing let alone imagine the ones in the months to come.

I used to be very big on previews, gameplay vids, trailers, teasers, you name it - but I just haven't had the time to follow this stuff religiously. I do kind of miss that anticipation thing, but on the flip side, when the games do come out they feel nice and fresh at least.

No. You're not alone. In 2009 I'll be finally finishing Shadow of the Colossus, playing more LBP, getting around to making levels in LBP, playing more Gears of War 2, finishing PixelJunk Eden, finishing Jet Set Radio Future (yes, the pile goes back that far), etc.

Are you still without a Wii? If you have one, De Blob would so be up your alley. Check out Bill Harris' comments on it here and here. It's pretty cool, and has been going almost non-stop in our house since Christmas Eve night.

No. No Wii in the house. Hated the way it looked even with component cables on my HDTV and we never used it. Would be great for party games, but when friends come over they generally play board games with us.

Chronologically this is the right time to look at the year ahead but in my eyes the new gaming calendar doesn't really start until March. We gorge on the bounty of late fall which fattens us enough to endure the dark of winter, much like an animal in hibernation. When we finally start to emerge from winter we can plant the seeds of anticipation for next year's gaming harvest.

Where do you all even look to find out what is going to be released next year anyways?

The various release lists are a good start.

http://xbox360.ign.com/index/release.html
http://ps3.ign.com/index/release.html

I looked there and I don't know what you guys are whining about. 2009 looks awesome.

Prey 2
Postal III
Uno Rush
Guitar Hero: Metallica
Guitar Hero V
Skate 2
Madden 2010
Doom 4
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Bioshock 2: Sea of Dreams

2009 looks to be as sequel-tastic as this year.

Seriously, though, "yay!" for the following...

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Flower
Noby Noby Boy

DSGamer wrote:

No. No Wii in the house. Hated the way it looked even with component cables on my HDTV and we never used it. Would be great for party games, but when friends come over they generally play board games with us.

Looks pretty darn good on my HDTV, but YMMV. The one group of friends that we play the most board games with recently bought a Wii after playing it some at our house. So now they are bringing Wii games to play, and even brought their whole Rock Band set-up the last time. These are, however, classic non-gamers. They are amazed at how good the Wii's graphics are. I think one is actually surprised by how much better it looks in HD after having played the same games on their SDTV.

I can't blame you, as I rarely ever turn the thing on. But this De Blob game has really hooked my wife, and it just has that crazy fun feel that made Katamari fun. It seriously might have been the game that did for the Wii what LBP did for the PS3, for you. It was one of the games our friends brought over, and it became an instant Christmas gift this year.

To get back on topic, my daughter just came home from a sleepover and told me how excited she is for Sims 3 to come out. I guess they spent quite a bit of time playing Sims 2 last night.

Thanks for reminding me, I want Flower - can't wait. Any word on Fat Princess?

Jayhawker wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

No. No Wii in the house. Hated the way it looked even with component cables on my HDTV and we never used it. Would be great for party games, but when friends come over they generally play board games with us.

Looks pretty darn good on my HDTV, but YMMV. The one group of friends that we play the most board games with recently bought a Wii after playing it some at our house. So now they are bringing Wii games to play, and even brought their whole Rock Band set-up the last time. These are, however, classic non-gamers. They are amazed at how good the Wii's graphics are. I think one is actually surprised by how much better it looks in HD after having played the same games on their SDTV.

I can't blame you, as I rarely ever turn the thing on. But this De Blob game has really hooked my wife, and it just has that crazy fun feel that made Katamari fun. It seriously might have been the game that did for the Wii what LBP did for the PS3, for you. It was one of the games our friends brought over, and it became an instant Christmas gift this year.

To get back on topic, my daughter just came home from a sleepover and told me how excited she is for Sims 3 to come out. I guess they spent quite a bit of time playing Sims 2 last night.

I'll have to check it out on the cheap when I see it - I bought it for the iPhone when it first came out, and the concept is pretty neat.

Thanks for the links DSG.

I'll bite. I'd break it into 3 categories: Games I'm Anticipating, Games I'm Curious About, and Games I'd Like to See But Don't Expect Until 2010.

Anticipating:
EVERY STEAM SALE
Ghostbusters
DCS: Black Shark (PC - Helicopter Combat Sim)
Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena
Dragon Age

Curious About:
Battlefield Heroes (PC)
Brutal Legend (360)
Halo Wars (360)
Sacred 2 (PC)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (360)
Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (DS)
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echo of Time (DS) (I didn't even know about this until today, but any FF: CC game has me curious.)
Big Huge Games RPG (?? - Working Title)
Deus Ex 3
LocoRoco 2 (PSP)
Dissidia Final Fantasy (PSP)
Gish (PSP)

Don't Expect til 2010:
Guild Wars 2
Bioshock 2
Beyond Good and Evil 2
HL: Episode 3
Diablo 3

It might be nice to refer back to this in a year and see how many I even tried, and how many others came out of nowhere.

And just for fun, I saw this: Cosplay Fetish Academy.

*EDIT*
What ever happened to Mythos?

For those who were around back in December 07, here is the post from last year's The Year Ahead - http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/3...

Elysium wrote:

For those who were around back in December 07, here is the post from last year's The Year Ahead - http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/3...

I'd say you got it right on the money, putrescent green santa.

It's actually kind of funny. I have a completely different perspective than I did 12 months ago, and mine is among a realtively few dissenting voices on Fallout 3.

So was it your game of the year?

Elysium wrote:

For those who were around back in December 07, here is the post from last year's The Year Ahead - http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/3...

Why did you do that? That blast from the past can summed up:

Filip wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I regret to inform you all that, according to several messages I've received, apparently by anticipating Fallout 3, GWJ has completely sold out and is now in the pocket of Bethesda and perhaps any number of other large corporations. I know this comes as much as a shock to you as it does me, but the evidence - my liking something that other people don't like - is clearly damning and irrefutable. While I can understand your disappointment in our complete lack of integrity, it should comfort you to know that Bethesda's continuing stream of money and support for our site will make me very very rich.

Oh internet, you so crazy.

Teh yawn.

How about you answer my message? How come you are allowed to drool over the game without seeing it, but others can't dislike it?

Certis wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

Uh-oh. They're actually registering.

They wanted traffic. They got it. God help us. God help us all.

If mentioning Fallout 3 means you're just digging for traffic, the terrorists have won.

Elysium wrote:

I love the part of being a gamer where I swim in the imagination of gaming that may be to come. It doesn't dull the experience of playing the games I have in any way, and there's something very motivating about being able to mentally circle a date on the calendar as a thing worth looking forward to.

Elysium wrote:

It's actually kind of funny. I have a completely different perspective than I did 12 months ago, and mine is among a relatively few dissenting voices on Fallout 3.

I really wonder if anticipation served you well in this case. I'm usually of the opinion that luxuriating in expectations and anticipation routinely makes the game I'm playing less enjoyable. I have a hard time believing that a year's worth of drooling is so easily pushed aside when the reality of playing a game finally comes about. There's a reason we go insane for games that come out of left field and stun us with their quality. Portal being the poster child for this.

We judge the games we play based on a combination or experience and perception. The more preconceptions we have going in, the less chance the experience has of delighting the mind. Actual gameplay has to compete with a game experience that never existed in the first place.

Building up anticipation is good for day one sales, but I don't think it has much benefit for gamers as a general rule.

Certis wrote:

We judge the games we play based on a combination or experience and perception. The more preconceptions we have going in, the less chance the experience has of delighting the mind. Actual gameplay has to compete with a game experience that never existed in the first place.

Building up anticipation is good for day one sales, but I don't think it has much benefit for gamers as a general rule.

Agree completely. That's why the Left 4 Dead demo sucked so badly for me. I spent several hours of (salaried) time researching it and it sounded aweeeesome.

Aside: I am putting extra e's in there because I actually thought it would be SUPER DUPER awesome. Emphatic!

Then I saw the actual presentation, which is pretty meh, and was totally disheartened. I can remember lots of similar instances. I think life was better before I had a 9 - 5, because I had way less time to waste reading previews and such back then.

Nightmare wrote:
Swat wrote:

I have a question for everyone - is it just me, or has anyone else stopped anticipating titles as much as they have in previous years? I find I can barely wrap my mind around games I'm currently playing let alone imagine the ones in the months to come.

I used to be very big on previews, gameplay vids, trailers, teasers, you name it - but I just haven't had the time to follow this stuff religiously. I do kind of miss that anticipation thing, but on the flip side, when the games do come out they feel nice and fresh at least.

I'm right there with you. I think part of it is having a real life, part of it is the almost inevitable let-down we all experience, and part of it is that some of the best games are ones we know very little, if anything, about. Definitely cools down anticipation fever...

I think a big part of that is just increasing age. Being over 30 (IIRC, so is Swat), my own time constraints have increasingly narrowed, and while it's certainly a big factor, easily 80-85% of what I see on the rack these days simply doesn't interest me. The box art is typically trite, the subject matter rehashed, and the gameplay worn out. Heck, I couldn't play CoD:World at War last night without rolling my eyes at one painful piece of dialog after another. One day, you wake up and realize that you've just shifted out of the target demographic.

Too true. My gaming this week has been NBA 2k8 and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. The point being that I'm playing random semi-unpopular games that for some reason strike the right chord that most games right now don't.

I really wonder if anticipation served you well in this case. I'm usually of the opinion that luxuriating in expectations and anticipation routinely makes the game I'm playing less enjoyable.

I think this is a unique case. It's not anticipation that let me down, but the dissonance of what I think of as a Fallout game versus what that actually means now. I didn't like Fallout 3 any more or any less because I anticipated it, so it's hard to imagine how it could have let me down.

If anything, that anticipation is something I look back on fondly.

Portal being the poster child for this.

I think this is a commonly accepted fallacy. I dunno about anyone else, but I fired up Portal before Ep. 2. I had been anticipating it since seeing the trailer for it, so it didn't come out of left field at all. Same goes for Bioshock.

I don't see any corrolation or inverse property between games I anticipate and my love for those games. I've probably never anticipated a game as much as I did World of WarCraft. I'm still playing it.

As a follow-up, I'd play far fewer games if I didn't anticpate them as much as I do. Imagining a world where I don't get invested in the anticipation is imagining a world where I just don't care about gaming anymore. The anticipation is inseparable for me.

Maybe there's a sweet spot for anticipation, somewhere in between eye-rolling obsession and utter blase. In my case, the 'best' games I end up playing are the ones I've heard are good, but know little to nothing about in terms of play mechanics / innovative storytelling / etc. Same with movies, actually.

I try to limit myself to a quick metacritic scan and, at the very most, a readthrough of a single review. Any more and I get into the danger zone of caring too much.

Elysium's tap dancing wrote:

Tappity tap tap tap.

I'd never presume to speak for you, of course. Who's to say how your devious, bearded mind works?

I don't concede the point on Portal, though. It's commonly accepted as a game that totally surprised people, mainly because while we did know what the portals concept was, GladOS and the story in general was a genuine surprise. We knew there was a computerized narrator, but I don't think anyone say that coming. Did the lack of foreknowledge delight players more so than it would have otherwise? That was my experience. Not sure how I would have felt if I was watching preview videos detailing how this crazy A.I would drive the story before I actually got to play.

Elysium wrote:

As a follow-up, I'd play far fewer games if I didn't anticpate them as much as I do. Imagining a world where I don't get invested in the anticipation is imagining a world where I just don't care about gaming anymore. The anticipation is inseparable for me.

I'd say it's not a question of whether or not we stroke our game boners, but how often and how hard we ... never mind. Point being, you've never struck me as the kind of guy who mines for insider knowledge, reads every preview, browses official forums and watches every scrap of pre-release footage. A little anticipation is nice, but I've taken to mostly ignoring games until they're on the brink of release. More surprise, fewer preconceptions and generally more enjoyment for me.

There are many cases where I end up spending more time consuming media related to a certain game than actually playing it. There are times when I've listened and read so much about a game prior to release that I've already blew my game boner load.

Scaphism wrote:

What ever happened to Mythos?

It's on indefinite hiatus. The official site (www.mythos.com) doesn't even exist anymore. I was in the beta and it was a fun game. 'tis a shame.

from wikipedia:

Due to financial issues at Flagship Studios, Flagship Seattle was subsequently dissolved with the full staff of 14 moving to the new game company Runic Games, leaving the intellectual property rights in the hands of the Korean company Hanbitsoft.