Naturally, both Reckoning and Risen 2: Dark Waters are on it, as are a few other titles that you can probably guess at if you don’t try particularly hard.
And to be fair, it’s not a great list, because Risen 2 only gets an “honourable mention”.
This list is a bit more interesting, since it covers some titles that should be familiar to most of you, but may come as a surprise if you don’t follow news for particular console systems or publishers. Risen 2 isn’t on this list, since that’s already an established series, but Reckoning certainly is, and wins high praise:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the studio’s first project and it has already generated buzz simply because of the names attached to it. Ken Rolston, former lead designer of classic role-playing games The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is leading the project, while New York Times best-selling fantasy author R.A. Salvatore is creating the lore and game world and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane is in charge of the art direction.
38 Studios says Reckoning will have the open-world exploration, vast narrative, and character customization fans expect from the genre, as well as fast-paced, graphically stimulating action and fluid controls. If God of War and Fable had a baby, it would probably look a lot like Reckoning, and expectations are high for this brand new IP.
Dishonored and Journey (the latter is a PS3 exclusive, sadly) also look interesting; Dishonored is the upcoming game from Arx Fatalis developers Arkane Studios.
Other preview articles of note:
- Check out PC Gamer’s previews archive of upcoming 2012 games.
- And don’t miss GameInformer’s “Year of the RPG” round-up preview either!
It’s actually a remake of Enemy Unknown, but even so: gaming enthusiasts are all but dancing in the streets that it’s not a first-person shooter. And that it’s Firaxis.
To celebrate, Steam put all the other XCOM games on sale.
Starbreeze Studios’ interesting-looking re-imagining of dystopian action franchise Syndicate will likely not be coming to Aussie players, both because the Australian Government Classification Board has declined to actually rate the game due to its apparently quite explicit violence, and because Electronic Arts has said in response that it won’t be selling the game there as a result.
Australia’s ratings system, you see, doesn’t have an 18+ category like Europe and North America do. The highest the Aussie system goes is a 15+ rating, and the Board did not want to assign Syndicate this rating after deeming (in a process that EA calls “arcane”) that minors should not be exposed to the violence and other events depicted in-game.
So, that’s that.
Essentially, it distills down to the element that most observers have already noticed sets Star Wars: The Old Republic apart from other MMOs to which, at a mechanical level, it is otherwise quite similar: storytelling and emotional engagement. That sort of thing has become a pillar of BioWare games these days, as series like Mass Effect and Dragon Age demonstrate; nascent elements of it were present in earlier titles like KOTOR and Jade Empire.
And it’s hard to dispute their general point. Granted, it’s hard to see where that sort of engagement is going to factor in to something like Generals 2, but I suppose we’ll see in time.
An interesting read, and a summary of what drew them to making an MMORPG (which, it turns out, could have actually been a Game of Thrones title, had things gone differently), and why they continued to have faith in something that took six years and every spare developer at every studio they had to finish.
That ancient violin you shelled out a cool million dollars for?
It probably doesn’t produce a sound that is noticeably or actually any richer than a quality modern violin which could have been obtained for a small fraction of the price you paid for it.
Now you know!
Not, granted, that it was a hard artistic style to emulate. Still, the reproduction is uncanny.
Here’s the skinny on the game from RPS:
The framework of the game sees the player controlling a new kid arriving in South Park and journeying around to make both friends and enemies. Characters that have been discovered will be added to a social network style database, which could prompt me to indulge in the acquaintance-gathering urge that I’ve managed to avoid in the real world. It’s to be small parties and side-on combat, with classes chosen from fighter, mage, thief, cleric and Jew. This is a game in which Jews will beat up hippies for experience and loot.
It’s impressing the hell out of Sergorn and myself that this game will be powered by the same Onyx engine that brought Dungeon Siege 3 to life. Talk about versatility!
Granted, I’m happy to see Zynga taken down a peg; this reaffirms my faith in the market a little bit. A very little bit, sure, but even so.
Gamasutra’s analysis is interesting to read, addressing the less-than-stellar performance of Zynga stock at opening from a number of angles. A lot of it, though, seems to reduce to the fact that Zynga, while still the dominant force in social gaming, has been slowing down (quite noticeably) over the last few months.
If you’re playing it on PC, give SkyUI a try!
“Wait,” I hear you say. “What the?”
There was a bit of a rumour circling around a week or two ago concerning the impact that Skyrim’s success might have on the development of the third entry in BioWare’s Dragon Age series. The Doctors BioWare have, in past interviews, conceded that companies like Bethesda are far, far ahead of where BioWare is at when it comes to world design, and after Dragon Age 2 was (rightly) panned for a world that felt too cramped, it’s not really a surprise that Ray Muzyka might be heard to make statements like this:
“[The next Dragon Age] is gonna have the best of features from the prior Dragon Age games, but it’s also gonna have a lot of things I think players are gonna find compelling from some of the games that are out now that are doing really well with more of an open world feel,” Muzyka said.
“We’re checking [Skyrim] out aggressively. We like it. We’re big admirers of [Bethesda] and the product,” he said. “We think we can do some wonderful things.”
Now, don’t hold your breath too deeply, Dragons and Dragonettes. The next Dragon Age, whatever form it takes, is probably not going to be an open-world epic that puts even Skyrim to shame. It’s probably still going to be an area-based world, semi-open at best.
At the same time, it’s kind of an exciting prospect, and could possibly herald a good turn in the overall direction of the series. Dragon Age 2 would not have worked as an open-world game even if it had been built to feature just such a thing; its story was not compatible with that sort of world design. Maybe I’m mixing up cause and effect, but…well, hear me out. DA2 wasn’t that, but Dragon Age: Origins would probably have worked rather well as a more open-world game (I think). The use of the map as a navigation tool actually felt not-dissimilar to open-world travel, for how long it took and how it peppered you with encounters at random points. Keeping everything in-engine was never a possibility given the limitations of the engine itself, but it would have worked had it been possible.
Which, in a way, could mean that in Dragon Age 3 we see a return to some of the aspects of Dragon Age: Origins that made it the more enjoyable game as compared to its sequel.
Or maybe I’m speculating too much.
At least, that was the initial report. An update to it notes the existence of a “Joint Motion to Seal to Temporarily Seal Joint Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice by Bethesda Softworks LLC Responses”…which I am assuming means that Bethesda has filed a joint motion to seal (that is, remove from the public record, temporarily) a motion to dismiss.
Which, I assume, means that Bethesda’s case got tossed out. But as the records are (evidently) sealed, we’ll have to wait until later to find out.
It’s only been out for a bit now, and its sales are dropping off pretty rapidly. Meanwhile, the Nintendo 3DS is surging ahead in sales.
I’ve maligned the Vita in the past, and I wonder if this isn’t a sign that we’ll see a real split occur in the mobile gaming market. The Vita is, at a hardware level, pretty much just a beefier smartphone, using the same chipset and graphics controller that you can find in a boatload of different iOS-, Android-, and Windows Phone 7-based devices. Even current-gen iPods are within reach of its performance and power. So why buy a Vita, when so many quality games are coming to phones?
But I digress. The split in the mobile gaming market…yes. That. I think it’ll happen. I think we’ll see dedicated mobile gaming platforms essentially go the Nintendo way, where they won’t try to compete directly on specs and performance, but will instead try and adopt Nintendo’s seemingly unique “amp up the fun factor” approach. Meanwhile, smartphones will continue to iterate their hardware, adding more and more power with each generation (like an octo-core iPhone 6, for example), and what could perhaps be called AAA-grade mobile games will be targeted at mobile operating systems like iOS and Android.
Of course, the Mass Effect 3 coverage is in full swing now.
That said, BioWare are showing some skill at keeping the major details of the game hidden from view. Here’s a couple of all the ME3-related articles that’s worth taking a look at:
- A handful of screenshots showing off some new player armour and some new baddies.
- Pre-order bonus weapons have been revealed, accompanied by a video demonstrating them in action.
Not if a proposed bill gets passed!
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