Written by Eric Layman
Category: News and Other Musings
Published: 03 January 2012
Ok, so this obviously isn't a Best of 2012 list a full year in advance. I've only actually played two of these games and there's a lot that could happen in a year, but this is more like a fun guess over what has the potential to make my list come this time next year. I estimate that two or three will actually make it through. If all ten appear unchanged then I'll promptly quit writing for Digital Chumps and seek employment at a bacon factory or something equally ridiculous.
Journey (thatgamecompany – PlayStation Network) Journey knocked my socks off at E3 and set my hair on fire with the beta a few months later, mostly because it openly explained almost nothing and was increasingly better for it. Journey looks to be a game about discovery and about creating a series of abstracts for the player to decipher. I'll be surprised if there is ever even a line of text in the game, or if it bothers to cater to the American institution of explaining every last detail. Journey's allure is its relative ambiguity, and its risk is trusting the player to appreciate and enjoy it. Sign me up, because I can't wait to see what else is out there. Read Chris' E3 impressions. Read my beta preview.
BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games – PC. 360. PS3.) Irrational Games is home to some of the most talented minds in game design and they've now funneled five years of their time into building BioShock Infinite. The hands-off E3 demo was one of the few times I’ve witnessed everyone in a room being wide eyed and speechless over the events that were transpiring on screen. Ripping open temporal rifts and avoiding a jealous mechanical antagonist, all set against a steam punk, ultranationalist backdrop sounds like fertile ground for interactive entertainment. Wouldn't you agree? Read my E3 preview.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (Platinum Games – 360. PS3.) I was disappointed when Rising emerged with a comeback trailer at the shitty videogame award show. The trailer looked amazing and was cause for celebration, of course, but there was virtually zero crowd reaction when the Platinum Games logo flashed across the screen at the end of the trailer. That rumor had leaked out of NeoGAF six months prior, but seeing it there, literally confirmed, was like a wish coming true. With Vanquish and Bayonetta under their belt (and Mad World, yeah yeah), Platinum can do no wrong in my eyes, and I'm insanely curious to see what the guys there can do behind the wheel of a Metal Gear game.
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware - 360. PS3.) Despite advertising that seems to be campaigning directly against my interest in the series, I still think Mass Effect 3 is going to be something special. Mass Effect 2 was one of the two games I've given a perfect score at Digital Chumps. Its RPG aspects were certainly toned down, but its mood, atmosphere, and characters were second to none. Knowing that Bioware has vowed to restore some of Mass Effect's RPG foundation has me waiting with baited breath, in spite of its idiotic trailers.
Twisted Metal (Eat Sleep Play – PS3) Twisted Metal was the reason I bought a PlayStation in 1996, and anticipation for the sequel reached nuclear levels for my precious fourteen year old mind. With series' creator David Jaffe and his team at Eat Sleep Play back on board for a long awaited follow up, I can't not be insanely curious over how it's all going to turn out. The bits I got to play at E3 2010 felt great, and I can only imagine what else they've managed to do nearly two years later.
Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio – Vita) Ever since Mega Man V, playing with gravity is a mechanic I'll never get sick of. Hopping around Gravity Rush's apparent open world RPG will no doubt quench that thirst, but honestly my interest in the game began with absorbing its crazy visual style. Gravity Rush looks distinctive, memorable, and downright dreamy. Along with Sound Shapes it's the only other game I plan to buy with my Vita.
Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North(?) – 360. PS3.) Grand Theft Auto V's sole trailer was as vague as it was impressive, which is pretty much business as usual for Rockstar. I have no doubt that they're aiming high, but I'm super anxious to learn what kind of game GTA V will be in a 2012 landscape. The amount of time between San Andreas and IV was even shorter and those two games were wildly divergent in terms of theme, narrative, and gameplay. On top of that Red Dead Redemption, Just Cause 2 and Saints Row The Third have done open world bigger and better, and I can't wait to see what GTA V will do to, once again, redefine itself.
Prey 2 (Human Head – PC. 360. PS3) I didn't expect much from Prey 2. I walked into the demo area at Bethesda's E3 booth only because it seemed ridiculous to have three of us covering Rage. I sat down to watch a live, hands-off demo and was, in a manner of speaking, blown away. Human Head is apparently making Blade Runner, because Prey 2 appears to have discarded 95% of the nonsense from Prey in favor of creating a dark, interplanetary mercenary simulator. It felt like I had the opportunity to wreak havoc on Mass Effect 2's Omega or go completely nuts in environments so wrought with detail you'd think they were a prerendered background. My interest in Prey 2 went from zero to sixty in about fifteen minutes, so who knows what sitting down with the full game could do. My E3 Preview.
Amy (VectorCell – PlayStation Network) Regret isn't usually a character-defining trait for videogame characters. And yet that was the first emotion I noted in my time brief with Amy. Amy is a survival-horror game where the player character Lana becomes infected with a zombie plague and spends the game's opening moments coming to grips with her fate. She's screwed, and she knows it, but knows there is still time to guide a little girl, Amy, to safety. Amy could be a giant escort mission with a few cool gimmicks, like Lana gaining powers as she tries to delay the inevitable transformation, along the way, or it could evolve transcendent experience along the lines of the much loved Ico. History isn't in its favor, look at how many games feature terrible escort segments, but Amy could be something very special.
Quantum Conundrum (Airtight Games – PC. 360. PS3.) This one is a bit of a risk. On board are Kim Swift, auteur of Portal and its pseudo predecessor Narbacular Drop, and Airtight Games, the folks behind Crimson Skies and (gulp) Dark Void. Everyone is expecting another Portal-like experience and the team certainly isn't shying away from those claims (they would be stupid not to, after all). What's actually presented looks categorically insane, like some sort of mash up between a furry party, a copy machine, and Back to the Future. I can live with that.
Others that I’m really looking forward to:
Sound Shapes - Everyday Shooter made my Best Of 2007 list and remains one of my favorite PS3 games. Super excited to see what Jonathan Mak has learned over the last five years.
Borderlands 2 - My friends and I dumped dozens of hours into exhausting Borderlands content. Can't wait to do it all over again.
Papo & Yo – Because how often are adventure games used as metaphors for dealing with an alcoholic father? My E3 Preview
The Last of Us - Naughty Dog introducing a new IP this late in a console life cycle merits interest. Bonus points for the Enslaved vibe.
The Last Guardian - lol
Starhawk - Rumored to be in existence forever, I was glad to see it finally announced and I'm anxious to see what it's like.
Lollipop Chainsaw - Sold on concept alone, which I’m deliberately ripping from the Wikipedia article: Lollipop Chainsaw focuses on zombie hunter and cheerleader Juliet Starling who, along with members of her family and her boyfriend, a disembodied head, fight hordes of zombies in San Romero High School, where Starling formerly cheered. The enemy zombies are led by "a group of zombie rock and roll lords. I sort of can't believe Grasshopper keeps getting funding, and I mean that in a good way.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Look, I liked Final Fantasy XIII, and hearing that Kitase took fan criticism to heart when building XIII-2 gives me hope for something cool.
Prototype 2 – Haven’t seen much beyond some aggressive Heller vs Mercer marketing drips. I am intrigued when a game makes its former protagonist its chief antagonist, though I’ll be surprised if that holds true to the end-game.
The Witness – Jonathon Blow’s long awaited follow up to Braid. Brief previews started popping up a few months ago and mostly suggested that my brain isn’t educated enough to properly engage what he’s planning. Or maybe I didn’t understand the previews. Either way it’s the next game from the guy who made Braid, man.