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

Looking at the list, the only game that I could get excited about is Peggle for the DS. That will rock -- I have been waiting for that for a long time.

Reading the thread, a few other games have been mentioned that seem interesting. Deus Ex 3 is one of them. I liked the first one so much that I'll buy it and hope for the best (unless I see evidence of it being complete crap).

I saw Ghostbusters on the list, and people talking about it in the thread, and I realized that I have been discounting this game out of hand. I started wondering why, and realized that it was because I remember buying the Ghostbuster game for the Commodore 64 back in the mid 80's. It sucked, and I can't think of Ghostbusters in video game form without seeing that game. I guess I should try to get over that -- it's been over 20 years, things may have changed.

infinitelyloopy wrote:

I guess I should try to get over that -- it's been over 20 years, things may have changed.

If the new Ghostbusters game doesn't have a pixelated Stay-Puft Marshmallow dancing back and forth in front of a set of doors, I'll be demanding a refund!

There has been no announcement, but I am hoping to play Assassin's Creed 2 and the next Call of Duty this year.

It is a pipe dream, but I also want to see Jade Empire 2 this year. That doesn't seem likely at all considering the first game sold poorly and Bioware seems to have their hands full at the moment, but one can dream. I will probably be better served by pinning my hopes on Dragon Age. I doubt Jade Empire 2 is even in development, despite some old rumors.

I was just looking through Edge's list of 10 promising titles for the Wii (360, PS3, and PC still to come) and found a few to look forward to, including one that should be fantastic. Fatal Frame 4 is due for release in the UK in february, but the US still does not have release date. That will be a day one purchase for me.

Look, now I'm going to add it to Legion's list of must haves.

IMAGE(http://ui04.gamespot.com/867/51280x1024_2.jpg)

heavyfeul wrote:

There has been no announcement, but I am hoping to play Assassin's Creed 2 and the next Call of Duty this year.

It is a pipe dream, but I also want to see Jade Empire 2 this year. That doesn't seem likely at all considering the first game sold poorly and Bioware seems to have their hands full at the moment, but one can dream. I will probably be better served by pinning my hopes on Dragon Age. I doubt Jade Empire 2 is even in development, despite some old rumors.

A source tells me that Jade Empire 2 is borked, 86'd, axed, not-to-be-made. It's sad, really.

Coldstream wrote:
infinitelyloopy wrote:

...I saw Ghostbusters on the list, and people talking about it in the thread, and I realized that I have been discounting this game out of hand. I started wondering why, and realized that it was because I remember buying the Ghostbuster game for the Commodore 64 back in the mid 80's. It sucked, and I can't think of Ghostbusters in video game form without seeing that game. I guess I should try to get over that -- it's been over 20 years, things may have changed.

If the new Ghostbusters game doesn't have a pixelated Stay-Puft Marshmallow dancing back and forth in front of a set of doors, I'll be demanding a refund! ;)

That damned game... I ALWAYS crossed the streams. Argh.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
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?

It takes a bit to get the hang of flying, but it can be done completely with the mouse and keyboard and it's implemented very effectively.
The story is... present. I've never felt drawn into what's going on, but I think it's well written and interesting. Unfortunately, the voice acting is poor and detracts from the game. I don't know where they dug up the yokels that voice the characters, but they could have squeezed more drama out of a 4th grade art class.
Regardless, the sheer number of possibilities in the game, I feel, defy comparison in single-player PC gaming today. You can play the game indefinitely without ever touching on the story. Starting with one or two spacecraft, you can create an empire to span the universe through trading between orbital stations, capturing enemy shipping in combat, or through any number of other means. You do need to do this to an extent, as some later story missions require you to have some serious firepower.
There's little that's more gratifying than moving from scratching out an existence on the galactic floor, to jumping a fleet of capital ships into a sector, launching fighters, and watching havoc ensue. Every credit is earned, every purchase is earned, and the pride that comes from staring out into space at your Headquarters hanging in the blackness from the bridge of your own battleship is second to none. Again, I recommend these games.

Vrikk wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:

It is a pipe dream, but I also want to see Jade Empire 2 this year. That doesn't seem likely at all considering the first game sold poorly and Bioware seems to have their hands full at the moment, but one can dream. I will probably be better served by pinning my hopes on Dragon Age. I doubt Jade Empire 2 is even in development, despite some old rumors.

A source tells me that Jade Empire 2 is borked, 86'd, axed, not-to-be-made. It's sad, really.

Bummer. I loved that game. It got me back into RPG's.

I am also excited about Velvet Assassin for some reason. I just learned about the game. It looks like a retro themed (WW2) Splinter Cell. If it is well reviewed I will pay full price.

What I really want is a bad ass sniper game of some kind. Something like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, but open world, with RPG elements and a focus on sniper/explosive assassinations. I think Velvet Assassin might have some of that game in it. We'll see.

heavyfeul wrote:

What I really want is a bad ass sniper game of some kind. Something like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, but open world, with RPG elements and a focus on sniper/explosive assassinations. I think Velvet Assassin might have some of that game in it. We'll see.

I don't know if that's going to be the case from what I've read about Velvet Assassin, but I totally agree: a sniper-arsonist game like you describe would be awesome. Especially if it took place in space. And had lots of unnecessary backstory.

"Our story begins with Vrai'tkuth, a Ngalli mega-sniper from the Explosoria galaxy..."

Actually, maybe just WW II would be okay. Stalingrad perhaps?

Clemenstation wrote:

Actually, maybe just WW II would be okay. Stalingrad perhaps?

Excellent idea. The WWII era is a neglected time ripe for exploration in games!

(all kidding aside, I do think that the non-Western European aspects of the war still have a lot of meat on them.

Did you ever get to try Sniper Elite by Capcom for the original XBOX? Just curious if so, and if you enjoyed it.

Alien sniper game's narrative conceit: Alien sniper dropped to Earth to find and destroy the source of a signal that is slowly bringing about the destruction of the alien's home planet. Kind of like My Stepmother is an Alien, but darker. There is the pitch. SOLD! The alien sniper must look like Kim Basinger!

Never played "Sniper Elite," but I like the idea of a sniper game, because it seems like it would be a slower paced more deliberate type of shooter where you spend a good deal of time setting up your kills and are rewarded with a spectacular pay off. I guess I am thinking of something along the lines of an Assassin's Creed, but with guns and c4. One of Assassin's Creed's failings was that the preparatory missions before a kill did not seem to have an effect on how you killed the target. They were just these checkboxes you had to tick off to progress. If someone took that idea to the next level, it cold create some real rewarding gameplay moments.