Dream Gaming Scenario
Okay, so I need to start this off with a disclaimer that I know that what I detail below will never happen but this has been knocking around my head for awhile and I think it would be absolutely amazing. As I said though I realize that this will never happen.
Since this will probably be a long post I will start off with the question and then go into my answer.
What is your dream set of games or a dream game that you would LOVE to see? There may be some Half Life 3, Final Fantasy 7 HD, or various other answers...mine is a bit more...ambitious.
What got me thinking of this is all the E3 pressers we are seeing and how could a company REALLY blow you away, or blow away a bunch of people. A lot of times we see a new game or two or a new trailer or two but nothing really spectacular, nothing that takes gaming to an entirely new level. Even if such a thing were to fail you could still look back and say "they dared."
So what would I like to see? 5 Games. One Year. Ubisoft. Tom Clancy. Splinter Cell. Rainbow Six. Ghost Recon. EndWar*. Climactic Final Game.
The overarching story could really be anything that is big, anything that involves a big old war. I will use a North Korea+China+India+Middle East coalition, referred to as "Bad Guys" throughout (it doesn't have to be plausible to work).
Game 1 - Splinter Cell: The Beginning - Involves Sam being employed by the government *insert story reason here* and he goes into the aforementioned "Bad Guys" countries to seek out Intel. What you find in this game actually points to plot points you will run into later in other games. An example would be Sam finding some Intel about a Nuclear Facility that you will take out later with Rainbow. The big build up and climax involve Sam finding information pointing to the "Bad Guys" building up to start a war. The end is a bit of a cliff hanger with Sam holding/hiding out until extraction is possible, you see the helo descending and it cuts.
Game 2 - Rainbow Six: Escalation - This game begins with a ton of terrorist incidents happening around Europe and in Russia (don't all Rainbow Six games begin like this). About a third of the way through the game you realize everything is connected because you find out that a 1/3 of the way through this game is when Splinter Cell really ends. You are sent in to extract Sam from a very tight spot (remember that helo from earlier?)(DLC 1). At that point Rainbow learns what Sam learned, cutscene in the helo being the storytelling method. The middle third involves hunting for some head terrorist guys in the Middle East and Asia. The end of the game is on the last mission they are closing in on the big baddie and they are told over the radio that war has been declared and tanks are rolling into Russia and Israel, Japan is getting the bloody hell bombed out of it, Taiwan is just flat out gone, and they are averaging 20 major terrorist incidents in Europe per day all of which is told you over the radio as you race to kill the terrorist leader. You finish the mission and then on the way out you get a briefing on what exactly is happening with the mention that the Ghosts got a few great early strikes in that lessened the blow on South Korea and it is miraculously still holding out and every ship the United States has is moving in to support.
Game 3 - Ghost Recon: War - This kind of goes back to the original Ghost Recon game where it felt much more like "Real" war, I haven't played Future Soldier but the GRAW games felt a lot like outdoor Rainbow Six. Anyway, you are more like a Ranger unit or Force Recon than anything else. You take over while making those preemptive strikes against North Korean installations with the goal of blunting the blow against the South, success is not likely. The end of the first act involves you assaulting an airfield and military base, with a source of intel inside that can help you out provided by Third Echelon (Sam to the rescue!)(DLC 2). You take crap out, you meet up with Sam and you get that "I was here at the beginning" sort of conversation. With Chinese troops arriving in Korea a strategic withdraw is ordered. The Ghosts are then sent to Iraq to help out the Army in knocking Iran out of the war. This involves assisting troops of the 3rd Army Group (which you will be controlling later in EndWar), you fight a bunch of bad guys and it all culminates in an attack on the Iranian high command with the help of the 3AG and a unit called Rainbow Six (ZING!)(DLC 3). You make the initial assault and create a perimeter while Rainbow hits the building. This involves waves of enemies like any good last mission defend objective does. You can help Rainbow out to make things go easier by RPGing walls or something along the way and doing other activities as side objectives. You finish up by knocking out the Iranians, you learn at the end of the game that a ground invasion has begun in Japan and the 3AG and the Ghosts are being sent there while Rainbow and Sam go to Europe to help with the massive wave of terrorism that is affecting Europe's ability to help out in the war.
Game 4 - EndWar: Burning - This begins with The General getting off a plane in Japan and being told his troops will land in a few hours, queue cutscene describing the current state of things. Then you go through some training mission (the given reason being you have a lot of replacements). You then make attacks on various things. The end of this game involves beating back the land invasion of Japan. A few missions from the end you are called in to help your good friends The Ghosts by helping to punch a hole in some heavily fortified enemies and causing a bit of an extraction as the hammer that you are while they hit an important target like a scalpel (DLC 4). Last mission is knocking out the last of the "Bad Guy" troops on the island of Japan. The final cutscene is mostly just setup for the last game. Something about being desperate and needing to do something bold and brave, and the right group of people need to be gathered.
Game 5 - Red Storm Rising** - This is when the defecation hits the oscillation (thank you BF: Bad Company 2), there are basically 4 acts in this game each of around 4 missions and they go something like Splinter Cell->Rainbow->Ghosts->EndWar in terms of mechanics and then mix that up for the next one. The first three aren't as critical in terms of pacing although keeping EndWar out of last place is good due to the difficulty of building true tension in RTS games. The last one should probably be EndWar->Splinter Cell->Ghosts->Rainbow (I think first person storytelling is the most effective and the most exhilarating, or at least it can be). There is A LOT of interaction between the teams in these situations, an example would be you do EndWar to create a base and make the initial assault and then then you go Splinter Cell that starts about halfway through the EndWar time, and you take out a few critical things that makes the assault by Rainbow and the Ghosts possible, which is the last two missions. I think jumping between groups too often could be bad, but I think it is important to tie everything together. The story here is mostly that these groups are brought together to make some super critical strike on something super critical and the game revolves around taking out that super critical thing. A very critical component is optional objectives in each mission that affect and change later missions. So if Same Fisher does extra exploration and finds a set of maps then Rainbow gets a full map of a building, or during the Ghost Mission they can help out the 3AG by knocking out a tank, etc. Basically it needs to feel like all of these guys are working together even though the player only controls one at a time. The final 2 missions are all that is in the fifth act. In these two missions the player can choose any of the four groups, they all have different objectives and different missions but the player gets to choose which to do. Each mission would of course be something that plays to the strength of each particular genre. Also, if you play through it multiple times it remembers what you did before, so if the Ghosts and Rainbow are interacting it takes what you did as the Ghosts and applies it to your Rainbow mission. If you decide as the Ghosts to go out of your way to knock out that emplacement that is going to get in Rainbow's way then when you play as Rainbow you won't have to deal with it.
Along with these games I have marked 4 possible instances for DLC which could be made that fills in a bit of the story that the regular game just touched on. The idea being that if five games come out in a year there would be about 2 months between them, on the off months there would be one of the DLC missions for the previous game.
Going back to the E3 comment from the beginning, I think something like this would be the biggest E3 news of the year by far, and would seriously get people talking at the very least until the first game comes out. I would call this "Going Marvel" in taking four different franchises and having them all tie in together and resulting in a final instance of the players involved where everything comes together and things happen. It is far too ambitious, and I'm not even sure it would mix well together, but I still think it would be cool to see.
*World in Conflict, not technically in the universe but Ubisoft owns it and it is close enough, might work better here in terms of setting for the game.
** Yeah at this point I am out of ideas for names, so pulling in another Clancy property, although way out of place.