2010 - A Look Forward to the Next Year of Gaming
Written Saturday, January 02, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
I’m going to go right ahead and say it now, 2010 will be the best year for gaming ever... and by ever, I mean till the next “best year ever” comes along and dethrones it. I can’t say I’ve ever known a year like it, 2007 tried its hardest with Halo 3, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect and Call of Duty 4 to name but a few, but I reckon there are at least 10-15 triple A titles next year, and I’m only talking the stuff that’s been announced so far. Like I did last year, we’ll take it a publisher at a time. Hopefully we’ll be done before Christmas 2010, but there’s a lot of ground to cover, so sit tight.
The outrageous Bayonetta kicks things off next week.
Seeing as how we’re a dedicated Xbox 360 site, it would be rude to start with anyone but Microsoft... so we’ll start with SEGA. Why SEGA? Easy, because they have the first potential AAA of the year coming out next week with Bayonetta; a hack n’ slash game that’s looking to be every bit as good as we had hoped. In fact, SEGA’s first half of 2010 looks pretty damn strong with both Aliens vs. Predator, and a game I still have hope for, Alpha Protocol, hitting in the first two quarters. Outside of that, the 2010 plan for SEGA isn't as clear-cut simply because they haven’t really unveiled their Q3 and Q4 plans just yet. According to reports last September though, 2010 will also be the year we see Project Needlemouse, you know, the return to 2D platforming for Sonic. That however remains to be seen, but SEGA obviously have a few tricks up their sleeves that we’re not privy to yet.
One of the strongest publishers for us in 2010 seems to be Take Two (2K and Rockstar) who have 4 potentially superb titles hitting current gen platforms. Kicking off the year for them in February is 2K Marin’s (and co) Bioshock 2, a title that could go either way for us. Despite that, we’re sure it will sell and 2K will be happy about that. Following that up in April is Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption which looks, how do I put this, fan-frickin’-tastic. Utilising the RAGE engine, Red Dead Redemption throws you into the shoes of John Marston, in a western third person sandbox adventure that looks to put the wild back in wild wild west. Dropping just before the summer ends is a personal favourite of mine, Mafia II, and after seeing it in action at GamesCom last year, this ranks very highly on my most anticipated titles of 2010. That’s the first half of the year done, but 2K aren’t finished just yet, they also have Max Payne 3 coming out in the fall as well, but seeing as that’s an unknown quantity to us so far, we have no idea how that will turn out. 2010 could also be the year we see Spec Ops: The Line as well, although that could easily slip to 2011. Could 2010 be the year that Take Two proves it can be supremely profitable even without a GTA title in its year's line-up? Looking at it, it would be hard to say no.
Square Enix (and now Eidos) must be licking their lips with their 2010 schedule that not only boasts their much anticipated Final Fantasy XIII (on Xbox as well), but a few other of their big franchises as well. Just Cause 2 seems to be doing an Assassin’s Creed 2 in terms of improvements over its predecessor and everything sounds like it’s going swimmingly there as well, but we can also expect to see the return of Kane & Lynch in Dog Days (now with online co-op) and the next iteration of the Hitman series, well, that’s if a Variety post is anything to go by. Despite the report from Variety, Eidos or Square Enix has yet to actually officially announce the game, so we'll leave a question mark next to that one for the time being. 2010 could also be the year that Thief 4 and Deus Ex 3 come out of the woodwork as well, but without them, Square look like they have a strong line-up already.
Is Activision's Singularity the only card they have this year?
What 2010 holds in store for Activision is pretty much an unknown quantity. Sure we’re bound to see some Guitar Hero’s, maybe another DJ Hero which has already been outed as being in production already. We also expect to see another Call of Duty out of Treyarch’s camp, but where they’re setting it remains a mystery at the moment – WW2 sounds like a good shout though *facepalm*. I suspect we’ll hear more about that Sledgehammer Games title, you know, the studio that’s being headed up by the ex-Visceral guys; Glenn Schofield and Mike Condrey. Could 2010 be the year that Activision releases 2 Call of Duty games, with a Ghost game already hinted at by voice actor, Craig Fairbrass? Doubtful, but who knows. Singularity seems to be the only 2010 confirmed title, which slipped from 2009, and whilst my hands on time at GamesCom was enjoyable, I can’t see it hitting the triple A realms. Of course Activision still have Blur coming out, but if it has to go up against Disney’s Split/Second, it’s plain to see which one will, or should, come out on top. A mysterious year of games from Activision, but they made enough money in 2009 from Modern Warfare 2 that they’re probably more concerned about how much the sangria is going to cost them in the Caribbean.
Bethesda on the other hand... they aren’t pulling any punches in 2010, or so it seems. After snapping up the publishing rights from EA for Rage, Bethesda now have 3 potential triple A titles for 2010; Rage as we mentioned, Brink and Fallout: New Vegas. We’ve seen plenty of Brink up until now, in fact, it was enough to snap up our surprise of the show award from E3 last year, and we’ve seen a good chunk of Rage... wait, that won our Game of the Show at GamesCom too, so we know Bethesda are already on the right track with those two. As far as Fallout: New Vegas goes though, we’ve seen and heard absolutely nothing about it. We do know Obsidian is at the helm and if we take their previous games into consideration (Knights of the Old Republic 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, both of which are 80+ on the MetaCritic scale), then we should be in safe hands. Whether 2010 is the year we see Fallout: New Vegas though remains to be seen, but even without that, Bethesda have a couple of pretty special (and different) shooters in their arsenal.
To say we’re unsure of Ubisoft’s 2010 line-up is an understatement and unless they have a few tricks up their sleeve, 2010 could be a bleak year for them. Considering the size of the development studios and the huge amount of franchises they have, we’re inclined to think they’re holding back quite a bit from us instead. I’m not saying Ubisoft have nothing, on the contrary, and with Splinter Cell: Conviction leading the way, they have a good tip of the spear, but beyond that, it’s pretty much a mystery. So they have Ruse coming, an RTS title with a twist, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is already confirmed for a May 2010 release, but we’re not seeing a follow-up to the 2008 version, this is something entirely different, so we're not sure what to expect there. Ghost Recon 4 and I Am Alive are also two of their 2010 titles, but these are two titles again we know next to nothing about. Are they enough to spearhead their fall release schedule? Probably not. Throw in Far Cry 3 or Beyond Good & Evil 2 and I’d swiftly change that to a yes. A man can dream, right? Far Cry 3 is coming, but when? We don’t know. As for Beyond Good & Evil 2, well that game has slithered back under the floorboards and is apparently "on hold," but we're still hopeful.
Shepard and Mass Effect 2 are looking to wow fans in January.
And from EA? Well, the usual array of titles from all genres under the sun. They kick off the year with their co-op third person shooter, Army of Two: The 40th Day, then follow-up that with a shooter-RPG from BioWare, Mass Effect 2, they celebrate the month of love with a demonic hack n’ slash title, Dante’s Inferno and then they marvel in March with Bad Company 2... and that’s just the tip of a rather large iceberg. Of course you can expect the usual array of yearly sports titles, but 2010 is the year of the first EA Sports MMA title and Skate 3 looks set to make a return. And for the fall period? Expect more shooter action with Medal of Honor and a little horror with Dead Space 2. With Rage now with Bethesda, what else does EA have planned for 2010? Is it too early to say hello to a Mirror’s Edge sequel? We hope not, that’d be a fine end to the year, but seeing as the design process was at a crossroads according to , we doubt it.
As far as the other publishers go, everyone seems to have a title or two up their sleeves that they’re throwing their weight behind next year. THQ have a few in Darksiders, Metro 2033 and their follow-up UFC title (which I must say, looks the same as 09 in its debut trailer). Capcom have a few in Dark Void (the jury’s still out there), Lost Planet 2, Super Street Fighter IV and of course, their 2010 prize asset, Dead Rising 2. We can’t forget Konami either who might find time to slip Metal Gear Solid: Rising out the door, but like so many other titles in this feature, we have nothing concrete on that to go on. We do know though that The Force Unleashed 2 is set for a 2010 release.
I simply must take a minute to talk about Sony’s exclusive line-up in 2010 as well, because after all, we’re fans of games in general and have no allegiance to any system (something we wish everyone could say). Sony have a fantastic line-up next year with God of War 3, Gran Turismo 5, the next Team Ico outing – The Last Guardian – and surely a personal 2010 highlight for me, Heavy Rain. Yes, they have MAG as well, but from what I’ve seen and played of that, it’s nothing special. I do know one thing though, if you want to play all the great games from 2010, you definitely need both consoles.
Alan's tearful that he might make his release date for once
I’d like to say I’m leaving the best till last, but that’s a bold statement to make... and a statement I’m not ready to commit to, so last but not least, Microsoft. After its lukewarm showing from an exclusive standpoint in 2009, 2010 looks to be a much better year... good enough to rival 2008 in fact. 2010 is suitably strong for Microsoft and will be a year where they surely pick up more steam. With titles like Alan Wake (finally!), Crackdown 2, Halo: Reach and Fable 3 already locked down as their 2010 foundations, whatever else they ship is surely a bonus... and that’s not to forget that Splinter Cell: Conviction and Mass Effect 2 are also 360 exclusives! They’re not stopping there though, 2010 will see a few classics hit the Xbox Live Arcade (namely Serious Sam HD & Perfect Dark), as well as the release of the infamous Project Natal and whatever software they’ve got ready for it. Are we going to see new dashboard innovations? I think that’s a pretty safe bet. All in all, put all that together and what you have there is a line-up that will send hardcore and casual gamers into gaming heaven. 2010 is a strong year for Microsoft, that’s for sure.
I’ve probably missed a game here and there, but that’s the majority of the year from a publisher standpoint. Will we see more? Absolutely positively yes and chances are some games won’t even be announced till the spring or summer (Forza 3 for instance was announced at E3 2009 and released some 5 months later). So, will 2010 be the best year in gaming to date? I think that’s a safe bet. The Game of the Year for 2010 though? Jeez, now that’s a little harder to quantify. I’m looking forward to that debate amongst the staff already!