This year’s E3 not only gave gamers something to look forward to in the coming months, it also set the stage for what’s promising to be a packed 2010.
Dozens of games on display are scheduled for release next year – many of which seem to have potential blockbuster status, based on gaming message board chatter and the lines to see or test play parts of these titles at the show.
Beyond this, there were several games that did not have ship dates defined, including “Agent” (from the team behind “Grand Theft Auto”), the massively multiplayer online “Star Wars: The Old Republic” and the next installment in the “Zelda” franchise. While these may ship next year, they’re wildcards, so we haven’t included them here.
Keep in mind: Games often slip, especially ones with publication dates this far out. With that caveat, here are our predictions for some of the titles you’ll see topping sales charts in 2010.
By Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 27 July 2009
Zombies continue to be popular fodder in the gaming space. “Dead Rising 2” will be a lot like the series’ first installment. Fight off wave after wave of zombies with any tools you can get your hand on. This time around, those tools will include slot machines and propane tanks, though don’t be surprised if the lawnmower (a popular zombie killing tool from the original game) reappears.
Capcom claims that you may have as many as 7,000 zombies on screen with you at one time, so there won’t be a lot of finesse involved. (Note: “Dead Rising 2” wasn’t on display at E3 this year, as the game’s Japanese developers skipped the show due to H1N1 flu fears.)
The unveiling of this latest installment in the famed fantasy line shocked E3 attendees, as did the confirmation that it would be an online title, much like the 11th game in the series. An exact launch date beyond 2010 wasn’t given (and would likely be unreliable, since massively multiplayer games are very hard to pinpoint this far out).
Plot specifics are also still under wraps, but Square Enix did confirm the game will come out for the PlayStation 3 and PC – and hinted an Xbox 360 version could be in the works as well.
The latest installment of one of Sony’s biggest franchises will hit store shelves in March 2010. It’s actually the fifth “God of War” game, counting two versions that were made for the PSP, Sony’s portable gaming system. The plot is a bit labyrinthian to newcomers of the series, but revolves around Kratos, a Spartan warrior who displaced Ares as the Greek god of war, only to be cast down from Olympus by Zeus and the other gods. Needless to say, he’s not happy about that.
As a player, you just need to know that the action is brutal and non-stop – and the game blends in several mythological references, though makes good use of its creative license. It won’t be for kids, but fans of the series will see one of the best looking games to come out yet on the PS3.
A funny thing happened when Microsoft played the teaser trailer for “Halo: Reach” at E3. There was silence instead of shouts and applause. Don’t expect that to be the same reaction from consumers, though, when the game is released next year.
We don’t know much about “Halo: Reach,” as neither Microsoft nor Bungie are talking much about it, but here’s what’s certain. The game is a prequel to the existing “Halo” titles. It will be a first-person shooter. And the Spartans (the super soldier brigade that the Master Chief belonged to) will play a significant part in the game. Will that include the Master Chief, the hero of the series? No one will say, though Microsoft corporate vice president Shane Kim did note that the character played a significant role in the novel “Halo: The Fall of Reach” which could play into game.
Sequels aren’t typically Nintendo’s style, but the original “Super Mario Galaxy” on the Wii was so well received that it decided to make an exception here. Gameplay will be roughly the same, based on the trailer Nintendo showed at its press conference. This time, though, Mario’s dinosaur buddy Yoshi will be along for the ride.
The “Metroid” franchise has been the go-to action series for Nintendo for years, but the company appears set to raise the stakes with the 2010 installment. Development has shifted to Team Ninja, a renowned Japanese development studio that developed the hit “Dead or Alive” and “Ninja Gaiden” franchises. The collaboration with the outside studio should result in a new type of “Metroid” – and one that could attract new fans to the series.
Sony says its motion sensor control will be ready by next year. Microsoft’s Project Natal is less certain. Whether it’s one or two motion sensor controls that become available, though, it will mark a significant shift in the video game space – and it’s one that stands a good chance at being highly embraced.
Both companies have only shown tech demos for their technology, so there’s no telling what games they have in mind for the systems, but we’ll likely learn a lot more at next year’s E3, perhaps setting the stage for a late fall launch.
Racing games were plentiful at E3 this year, but this action-racer from Disney seemed to gather the most interest from show goers. With ridiculously fast cars and cinematic explosions, the game was, quite simply, fun. Add in the ability to change the track as you blow things up along the way and it sounds like a great way to get rid of your road rage.
This long-in-development psychological action game from Microsoft should hit shelves in the spring. The protagonist is an author who visits a small town with his wife to cure his writer’s block. When she’s kidnapped, he discovers a thriller which he can’t remember writing – and every word of it is coming true.
The developers behind the game are the same team that created “Max Payne,” a much-loved franchise, which has gamers particular excited about “Alan Wake”. The game’s clever use of light as a weapon also gives it a twist that differentiates it from other action titles.
Imagine an online world where thousands of people could play Cops & Robbers. It might sound like the long rumored “Grand Theft Auto Online,” but “APB (All Points Bulletin)” beat them to the punch. Ironically, the man who created the “GTA” franchise is at the helm of “APB,” where players will be able to side with law enforcement or criminals in an ongoing battle for control of a fictional city. It will be out in the first quarter of 2010 for the PC.