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

Who the heck knows when this will be out, but I'll be keeping Eskil Steenberg's labor of Love MMO on my radar throughout 2009. He plans on only having, like, 200 subscribers when he launches? I sure as heck want to be one of 'em.

nukacola23 wrote:

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

I looked it up and it's a port of the first one.

I really loved the first one mind you, but after playing the second there's definitely something missing. That and the fact that it probably won't have speech (which is my favorite part)

Certis wrote:

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.

Plus it had that song at the end. Remember the great song during the credits, Certis? That was a really fun song.

Sensical wrote:

Who the heck knows when this will be out, but I'll be keeping Eskil Steenberg's labor of Love MMO on my radar throughout 2009. He plans on only having, like, 200 subscribers when he launches? I sure as heck want to be one of 'em.

I'm looking forward to this one too.

Other than that, my most anticipated games for 2009 are:

HL2: EP3
FEAR 2
Prototype
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Borderlands
Bioshock 2

If I can make time for some RPGs in between all the slow motion gore and Aliens quotes I will definitely look into Dragon Age and Alpha Protocol.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

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.

Plus it had that song at the end. Remember the great song during the credits, Certis? That was a really fun song.

That game would be great even if it were just the song!

wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

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.

Plus it had that song at the end. Remember the great song during the credits, Certis? That was a really fun song.

That game would be great even if it were just the song!

Yeah, that song is pretty much the only reason I loved the game.

Certis wrote:
Elysium's tap dancing wrote:

Tappity tap tap tap.

I honestly hate you to death.

Jayhawker wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

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.

Plus it had that song at the end. Remember the great song during the credits, Certis? That was a really fun song.

That game would be great even if it were just the song!

Yeah, that song is pretty much the only reason I loved the game.

Elysium wrote:

I honestly hate you to death.

Certis wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Certis wrote:

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.

Plus it had that song at the end. Remember the great song during the credits, Certis? That was a really fun song.

That game would be great even if it were just the song!

Yeah, that song is pretty much the only reason I loved the game.

Elysium wrote:

I honestly hate you to death.

It's hard to take that seriously when your avatar is making kissy faces at them.

Oh boy, I can almost feel the tension in the next Podcast. Which Shawn do I bet on!

Certis wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I honestly hate you to death.

IMAGE(http://rps.net/QS/Images/Smilies/monocle.gif)

Is Deus Ex 3 really slated for this year? If so, why the hell isn't it on Elysium's list? While 2 was a big letdown, I will probably be picking this up on day one.

Deus Ex 3 is looking like 2010, but without Warren Spector or Harvey Smith involved it will be a little hard for me to get too excited.

[edit] Additionally, and forgive me, I'm increasingly leery about getting worked up for classic PC-exclusive franchises that get a new version available both on console and PC. Call it narrow-minded but I lost a lot of interest in Deus Ex 3 the moment it was announced for the 360.

It's the thing that is holding me back from being a true Dragon Age fanboy. I mean, it's announced for consoles. Much as I may hope otherwise, I know that means we'll get nothing like a true successor to the legacy of Baldur's Gate and such games.

CPLWeeks wrote:

Battlestations: Pacific

Is that a sequel to Midway? I felt like one of the few American fans of that game on the 360.

wordsmythe wrote:
CPLWeeks wrote:

Battlestations: Pacific

Is that a sequel to Midway? I felt like one of the few American fans of that game on the 360.

It certainly is. I only played Battlestations: Midway for PC, not for 360 though. I enjoyed the game, and liked the mash-up of strategic & action play. The graphics look greatly improved and I look forward to it.

http://www.battlestations.net/home/

Elysium wrote:

... Call it narrow-minded but I lost a lot of interest in Deus Ex 3 the moment it was announced for the 360. ...

It's not narrow-minded in the least; I agree wholeheartedly that titles are exponentially liable to get bent over the table in the name of snagging "mo' money" with a console port. Given, console capability has increased drastically since we were fighting under the U.N.A.T.C.O. flag, but with quality of multi-platform games as of late it always saddens me when developers (as defensible as it may be) elect to sacrifice quality for commercial exposure. I feel that the poor PC controls for Mercenaries 2, and spartan interface & landscape of FarCry 2 to be the most recent examples of this in memory.

if there is indeed a deus ex 3, i am so there.

apart from that, i actually have no idea what's coming out. none of it sounds exciting...

oh, oh apart from ghostbusters! i cannot fathom why no one else is excited about that game. there better be a button for crossing streams.

[edit] Additionally, and forgive me, I'm increasingly leery about getting worked up for classic PC-exclusive franchises that get a new version available both on console and PC. Call it narrow-minded but I lost a lot of interest in Deus Ex 3 the moment it was announced for the 360.

Why.. recent history has shown us that the 360 is perfectly capable of in depth shooter type games.

One that didnt make the list, but I'm curious to see how Afro Samurai (360) turns out. I like what I've seen of the art style. I guess that won't be a long wait either as its an end of January release.

Why.. recent history has shown us that the 360 is perfectly capable of in depth shooter type games.

The problem lies not with the console, but with myself. I concede that without hesitation, so when I say I categorically disagree with your statement on the most fundamental level, understand that I'm not making a pronouncement but a statement of preference.

This year actually looks to be a hell of a year for PC. I'm more excited for the big PC games of 2009 than the big PS3, Xbox 360, Wii or portable games with Dragon Age being by far my most anticipated. It's been too long since the Baldur's Gate series ended.

VDOWhoNeedsDD wrote:

if there is indeed a deus ex 3, i am so there. ...

All we have is a teaser so far... but here she is: http://www.deusex3.com/

VDOWhoNeedsDD wrote:

... apart from that, i actually have no idea what's coming out. none of it sounds exciting...

oh, oh apart from ghostbusters! i cannot fathom why no one else is excited about that game. there better be a button for crossing streams.

I definitely agree with you. I'm a die-hard Ghostbusters fan, and I was elated that Atari picked up the ball after Activision idiotically dropped it. The chain of evidence has been kinda thin on whether any changes will be implemented by Atari, but as long as the original cast stay aboard and support this, I feel like it has several dimensions worth of potential. I can't wait until I can wear my own unlicensed nuclear accelerator on my back!

IMAGE(http://img.gamespot.com/gamespot/images/2008/288/aykroyd892_screen891_embed.jpg)

As a PC gamer, and an ultra fan-boy of the Total War series; when I first learned about Empire: Total War, my wife found me on the living room floor, curled into the fetal position sucking my thumb and whimpering softly. I'm dying to get my mitts on this title! I've had it pre-ordered for a month or two now on Steam, and I plan on stocking my desk with several 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew, a carton of smokes, and having my own private release party as I sit and watch that sweet, sweet download progress.

The last time I felt this same Oscar Mike Foxtrot Golf sensationalism about an upcoming release was Star Wars: Empire at War. I watched the trailer daily before I went to sleep; almost with religious fervor, and at deafening volumes. Ultimately I was disappointed with a few aspects of the game, but then I don't think it could have possibly risen to the bar I'd set for it if it had been hand-delivered by our Lord Darth Vader; on a silver platter; resting on the swollen tongue protruding from Mon Mothma's disembodied head; with a Legion of Stormtroopers performing close-order drill to the Imperial March on my front lawn. That aside, I enjoyed the game a great deal, and played it for months after release; and then again after the expansion came out.

While I too have been the victim of Game Let-down Syndrome, in the past, I concur that the anticipation of an upcoming release can have intoxicating, if not riotous effects; and only adds to the enjoyment of gaming as a whole. While, at this point in my life, I realize I should know better than to raise my expectations for anything in this world above that of an unexpected groin kick, I still can't help but fall backward into the feathery softness that is anticipation the moment I learn about a game. I thoroughly enjoy the one-thousand mile-per-hour road trip my brain takes in order to see, ponder & photograph every possibility a new title holds the moment after I hear about it, and as sour as I and other G.L.S. sufferers know it can be in the end, dwelling on what a game could be, can carry me for months.

The rest of my day-dream list for 2009 includes, but is not limited to:

    Battlestations: Pacific
    The Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor expansion
    Demigod (more out of curiosity at this stage)
    Deus Ex 3
    Diablo III (rainbows notwithstanding)
    Dragon Age: Origins
    East India Company
    The Fallout 3 expansion (and user created content)
    Star Trek Online (2009?)
    &
    The Sins of a Solar Empire expansion(s)

Hope you all are having a Happy Holiday season; and didn't end up shivering and cursing in the darkness for a solid weak courtesy of an ice storm like I did.
I Love New York!
not.

VDOWhoNeedsDD wrote:

oh, oh apart from ghostbusters! i cannot fathom why no one else is excited about that game. there better be a button for crossing streams.

It's a licensed game. It may be awesome, the game to end the license game curse. But everyone will be cautious until it releases.

TheGameguru wrote:

Why.. recent history has shown us that the 360 is perfectly capable of in depth shooter type games.

I think the problem for most PC gamers is that once consoles get involved in a game franchise, you start seeing crap like glowing ammo boxes and shoddy UI choices. Farcry 2 is a great example of this. Furthermore, games that would have been designed with the PC in mind (i.e. deep inventory options) end up being ported from the consoles, bringing along a host of issues (witness the debacle of Mass Effect with NVIDIA drivers). Now, don't misunderstand me, I want to like consoles, and I think that with the 360 we're seeing a convergence of PC and console gaming, but I get bummed along with many, many long-term PC gamers when we see a game announced for consoles as well as PC, because it's inevitably going to feel dumbed down (rightly or wrongly). Not an attack, just an observation.

Elysium wrote:

I will hope that Bioware gets away from the more linear and...

I hope they stick with linearity, personally. Truly epic storylines aren't going to wait around until I'm good and ready to do them. I've been replaying Icewind Dale recently and I must say it's actually pretty refreshing not to have a quest log full of 20 different things to do. There's trouble in Kuldahar, and I'm fixing it.

Stossel wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I will hope that Bioware gets away from the more linear and...

I hope they stick with linearity, personally. Truly epic storylines aren't going to wait around until I'm good and ready to do them. I've been replaying Icewind Dale recently and I must say it's actually pretty refreshing not to have a quest log full of 20 different things to do. There's trouble in Kuldahar, and I'm fixing it.

QFT

I'm sick to death of sandboxes full of dumb things to distract me. The Witcher and Mass Effect are as open as I like my games. Mass Effect could have benefited from a slightly longer story-line and better side quests, but it wasn't overwhelmingly open.

I have yet to see an open game with a story that doesn't wither away early on, if it is decent in the first place.

I'm here to save the world, screw your letter to your loved ones, use the mail.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I'm here to save the world, screw your letter to your loved ones, use the mail.

So so true. Even Mass Effect suffered this. Like the squabbles you had to "solve" in the space station (the name escapes me right now).

"I just became a Spectre, can I go do some Spectre-worthy work?"

MrDeVil909 wrote:

... I have yet to see an open game with a story that doesn't wither away early on, if it is decent in the first place. ...

May I suggest...

X2: The Threat - http://www.egosoft.com/games/x2/info_en.php
X3: Reunion - http://www.egosoft.com/games/x3/info_en.php

or the most recent addition to the series...

X3: Terran Conflict - http://www.egosoft.com/games/x3tc/info_en.php

All of these are available on Steam.

CPLWeeks wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

... I have yet to see an open game with a story that doesn't wither away early on, if it is decent in the first place. ...

May I suggest...

X2: The Threat - http://www.egosoft.com/games/x2/info_en.php
X3: Reunion - http://www.egosoft.com/games/x3/info_en.php

or the most recent addition to the series...

X3: Terran Conflict - http://www.egosoft.com/games/x3tc/info_en.php

All of these are available on Steam.

I've actually been eying that out for a while, tried the demo and couldn't even figure out how to fly.

I've never heard mention of the story though, is it strong?