Dev: 4A Games
Assuming it sees the light of day, considering THQs
Dead Space 3
Dev: Visceral Games
Can Visceral craft a balance of action and cooperative gameplay while still keeping the horror elements that got them such praise in the first place? We're not sure, but if Dead Space 2 is is any indication they certainly are moving in a more action oriented direction. The inclusion of cooperative play, we believe, is inherently less scary than being all by your lonesome. Change can be good; though, and a change might be good for the series in wake of so many zombie/horror games over the last couple years.
Dev: Irrational Games
Pub: 2K Games
While once assumed to be a high-quality hit, recent high profile team member turnover has cast doubts on whether this game has more to offer than the trailer shown at the VGAs. The promise of dynamic combat scenarios and high flying action look great in trailers but can they keep up that kind of experience throughout the whole game?
Dev: Crytek Frankfurt
Bottom line: graphical awe isn't enough to win gamers over anymore. And while Crytek won over a large number of folks for their emergent gameplay experience, Far Cry 3 may have stolen a bit of the Crysis franchises's thunder. They may have the tech but only time will tell if they can innovate on their existing formula enough to retain fans of the series while still making others notice.
Dev: Crystal Dynamics
Pub: Square Enix
After the PR catastrophe that was, "you'll want to protect her", we wonder how much this game is still on people's radar. Poor wording or not, the game seems to edging towards a realistic, visceral feel in all it's encounters that's rather impressive given it's medium. Creating both a character that reacts, not just to physical trauma in a realistic way, but also in a realistic emotional way to what she's experiencing is their key to making this game a critical success. We look forward to seeing if the game is cringe-worthy or legitimately impactful.
Dev: Obsidian Entertainment
After a few lengthy delays this game is due out in either March or April. That might be in jeopardy now due the the THQ collapse, although more than likely this just means the license holder needs to find a new publisher for the game. This might delay the launch a bit but the game should still come out. Why is this licensed game on the list? Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote the script themselves and judging from the trailer, the animation and feel of South Park finally feels genuine.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Dev: Rockstar North
Pub: Rockstar Games
Rockstar's track record, if anything, is putting out high production value, well written games. Their new gangster tale definitely seems taken from some kind of Hollywood produced venture but in the wake of other open world games like, Saint's Row and Sleeping Dogs, is a well written story and the franchise name enough to bring people back?
Dev: Ubisoft Montreal
Still unclear whether this is just another third person open world action game or if the hints of intricate, multi-solution problem solving via hacking they showed at E3 last year is sustainable design throughout the whole game.
Dev: Naughty Dog
This is the latest release from the people who brought you the Uncharted series. The game looks to be something of a cross between and Uncharted and the movie I am Legend. We do know it will be a 3rd person action/survival-horror game that promises some of the best graphics we have seen on a console this generation. Unfortunately, this generation is ending fast.
Pokemon X & Y
Dev: Game Freak
A 3D Polygonal true Pokemon game? Finally! But will they finally muck with their formula or regurgitate the same experience they've been putting out for over a decade?
Dev: Epic Games
Pub: Epic Games
This is the first game to be released using the new Unreal Engine 4. Right now there is not much to know about the game, it will be some sort of co-op survival zombie game. Players will work together to build a fort to protect themselves from the nightly zombie attacks. During the daylight hours players will be building or rebuilding their forts and scavenging loot. What's most interesting is the cartoonish style Epic chose to use for the title. Certainly, not traditional Epic aesthetics. Where's the beefy guys in armor?
While BF3 had great success, EA still didn't hit the sales numbers of their main competitor. With BF4, EA has to be hoping to shake up the formula in order to topple CoD. There is not much known about the game right now. It was teased during the Medal of Honor: Warfighter release and players who preordered MoH are going to get beta access to BF4. With a release target of Q4 this could easily turn into the kind of title that bridges console generations.
Dev: Spark Unlimited
After the weirdness that was Lost Planet 2, we're really not sure what to expect from Capcom anymore. They were clearly trying to take what they thought were lessons from western developers, tying in online features in weird ways to their last Lost Planet game but for most people in North America, it didn't seem to make much sense. Can they pick up the pieces and provide people with an exciting, unique third-person shooter experience that won them so much praise for the first game?
Dev: Harebrained Schemes
Some of you may be too young to remember that wonderful world of Shadowrun without conjuring up vague images of an FPS flop on the Xbox 360. Harebrained Schemes, aims to craft a deep and enriching RPG experience in the established world of Shadowrun while keeping the old-school charm of the previous non-FPS games. The current team has a lot to prove but judging from Kickstarter backing they should have a solid base of people receptive to their ideas.
Dev: ZeniMax Online Studios
Pub: Bethesda Softworks
Last I checked in on this game, they were still planning on a subscription fee financial model. Whether they can change this so late into development, we're not sure, but that may not be all that's going against this game. The Elder Scrolls series has always been about exploration, mucking with the systems and feeling empowered by your importance in the story. How you get that experience in an MMO, we're not sure but we're very excited to see what Bethesda has up their sleeves.
Pub: LucasArts (Disney?)
This game is going to take a different look at the Star Wars universe. You play the role of a bounty hunter in the depths of Coruscant, with no force powers or light sabers. LucasArts did the some of the publishing work for SWTOR which sold only well enough to survive to make the free to play changeover. LucasArts needs to hit this one out of the park. It will also be interesting to see what, if any, affect the LucasArts sale to Disney has on the end product.
We don't know much about this project right now. There have been a few leaks, some which were confirmed by Bungie, but no official announcements yet. The current rumors seem to indicate the game will be an MMO set in a inventive Sci-Fi universe. Bungie has said they will talk more about what exactly the game is at GDC this year, which pretty much dashes our hopes to see anything at PAX East.
Dev: Bioware Victory
A C&C game with the Bioware name on it. There isn't much more to say than that. No one really knows what to expect from this game. Command and Conquer was announced as a full retail release sequel to Generals but since then it has been changed to a free to play game, without a single player, and without the Generals 2 tag. Fans have been outspoken against the lack of single player but right now it is unclear whether it will be included or not.
Maxis really doesn't have to do much to make the same people that love previous Sim City games, love a new Sim City game. Give them updated graphics, more options and you'll get a rather happy bunch of people. What interests us the most is it looks like Maxis is doing to the Sim franchise that Firaxis did to XCom. The controls look accessible and the the interface seems to do a good job of distilling a metric ton of complex information and mechanics into an easy to understand screen space. Maxis may have just done enough to get people who may not have otherwise have been interested to take a look at their game.
While not a genre that is a personal favorite, no one can deny the behemoth that is Starcraft. While this may nearly be South Korea's national sport, it remains to be seen if an expansion to one of the best Real Time Strategy games ever made can challenge the colossus that is League of Legends on the E-sports scene.What we do know is Blizzard can still create amazing cinematic trailers.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
Dev: Platinum Games
Platinum Games on a Metal Gear game. Yes. 1000 times yes. While this clearly won't be a Metal gear game in the same vein as the previous numbered titles, putting together the developers the created the glorious Bayonetta with the crazy, over the top word of Metal Gear is something I can get behind. At the very least, it'll make a great helicopter dis-assembly simulator.
Pub: Frictional Games
If The Dark Descent was anything to go by, AMfP should be absolutely horrifying. Just read the name, A Machine for Pigs. Ugh. What does that even mean? The developers clearly have a knack of understanding what honest to goodness horror is and how to achieve it. Their sense of atmosphere and correct use of horror tropes had my adrenaline pumping during their last game. I'm sure it's possible that hiding in the dark from giant monster pigs has a chance of one upping their water monster from last game.
Dev: Realmforge Studios
Listen, any game that's close to a re-imagined Legacy of Kain is good in my book. Dark seems to be a stealth-action game that let's you play as a Vampire while integrating some Mass Effect style dialogue options. Realmforge doesn't exactly have a plethora of hit's under their belt but if the gameplay footage is to be believed, they may have something here.
Rise of the Triad
Dev: Interceptor Entertainment
Pub: Apogee Software
The original Rise of the Triad was perhaps a product of the times in which it was released. Over the top and crazy, I certainly lost many hours just to the demo but I never considered it to be in the caliber of other beloved shooters like Quake, Unreal or Counter-Strike. Only time will tell if Interceptor can craft the right kind of dumb fun that kept me entertained for so long.
While most of us aren't personally huge Minecraft fans, there's no doubt that what Markus Perrson and his team created was hugely influential both in terms of business model and game mechanics. Though details are scarce, their new project seems to be a fully functional multiplayer space simulation game that even includes it's own working computer within the game itself. So far all we've seen is a hastily streamed multiplayer test with stand-in graphics but considering what the team has accomplished previously, everyone should be taking notice.
2013 is an exciting year for games but it's also rather weird. Two new pieces of hardware, not including things like Oculus Rift and Ouya, are most likely launching around Christmas making non-PC titles somewhat awkward releases on, about to be, antiquated platforms. On the other hand, 2013 seems to be about more of the same. We're seeing so many sequel and reboots as developers attempt to play off of your nostalgia for old franchises or merely continue putting out a new iterations of the same game. Publishers are getting risk averse, especially in this bad economy when games are costing $20 million to make at times. Regardless, we can't help but be excited for experiences we'll be able to have by years end.
Think we missed a big game? Let us know in the comments!