RPGs and Motion Controllers Dominate 2011
As if you didn’t already know, the video game industry often relies on sequels to chart-topping titles to keep their pockets deep and fans at bay each and every year. Next year will be no different as Electronic Arts has two key sequels in the form of Alice: Madness Returns and Dragon Age 2 readied, Capcom is gearing up to release a Kinect-ready sequel in Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor and the cult-favorite Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Regardless of which publisher, the go-to maneuver happens to be returning to popular franchises for a new installment. So it’s no surprise that my 2011 list has more sequels than new properties.
Dragon Age 2 Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: BioWare Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC Release Date: March 8, 2011
Electronic Art’s best selling new intellectual property is back after a year and a half layoff from being on store shelves. Changes are in order and much of them cater to console gamers. Have no fear PC gamers, the game is receiving improvements and, all around, the game has receive a graphics overhaul.
Concerns: One can only hope that the narrative is as exciting as it was in the original. With no customizable Grey Warden, players must now play as Hawke, a human Champion.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Publisher: Capcom Developer: From Software Platforms: Xbox 360 Release Date: Fall 2011
This may be the most ambitious Kinect title to be announced. Ditching the two joysticks, three pedals, and 40-button controller, the task at making it a controller-free video game is a large task at hand. No gameplay footage has been shown, but the endless possibilities of controlling the large mech with countless maneuvers are enticing to say the least.
Concerns: With the lack of a physical controller, the motion controls are the biggest question mark. They need to feel fluid and be presented as natural without taking the player out of the game.
Hunted: Demon's Forge Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Developer: inXile Entertainment Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC Release Date: May 10, 2011
As cooperative-focused fantasy-themed action title, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge sits alone in a genre that I crave most. Having a partner to partake in the role of E’lara, the nimble bow and dagger-based fighter, or Caddoc, the larger melee weapon warrior, Hunted should provide hungry fantasy gamers with an action-packed campaign.
Concerns: The lack of split-screen multiplayer is a drawback.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 Release Date: February 15, 2011
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 allows players to mix and match their favorite characters from the Marvel universe and Capcom gaming catalog for the ultimate fighting showdown. This facet alone is thrilling. Whether it is selecting the smartass Deadpool or sexy Crimson Viper, MvC 3 shall keep the flame burning brighter for the fighting genre.
Concerns: Even though the entire cast hasn’t been revealed, there are still a few missing favorites from MvC2.
Batman: Arkham City Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: Rocksteady Studios Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC Release Date: September 2011
Opening up the world and making it much larger than the original, Rocksteady Studios has an impossible task set before them to top their debut title in the Batman series. The action promises to be just as brutal. The graphics shouldn’t waiver. And, most importantly, new Batman villains will show their ugly mugs to cause a ruckus.
Concerns: Batman: Arkham Asylum was stellar. It will be hard to follow up and stay unique without having to be compared to the original.
Gears of War 3 Publisher: Microsoft Developer: Epic Games Platforms: Xbox 360 Release Date: November 2011
A four-player cooperative with the chance to play as female leads makes Gears of War 3 an enticing multiplayer game for 2011. Introducing Beast Mode, a spinoff of Horde Mode allowing players to attack COG members as the Locust, it should be a riveting experiencing come the 2011 holiday season.
Concerns: It may be a little “been there, done that” type of feeling after a few weeks of play.
Duke Nukem Forever Publisher: 2k Games Developer: Gearbox Software Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC Release Date: May 2011
The most attractive facet of Duke Nukem Forever is to finally see it on store shelves and see the end of a long development process. While many thought it would never see the light, the release is a relief for many inside and outside of the industry. If Duke Nukem can make it after this long, perhaps other canned or vaporware games can make it through the tribulations.
Concerns: It may have attitude and pizzazz but will the gameplay actually hold up to today’s standards?
Child of Eden Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Q Entertainment Platforms: Xbox 360 Release Date: April 2011
Sitting through the holidays with only one must-have Kinect game (Dance Central) and a couple titles that were mediocre (Kinectimals, Kinect Sports), Child of Eden could be a potential saving grace in 2011. A rail-shooter as directed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, it could inspire developers to explore new ways to use Microsoft’s motion controller.
Concerns: Will it be anything more than a tech demo with limited replay value?
Alice: Madness Returns Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Spicy Horse Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC Release Date: November 2011
The popularity of Alice has risen again due to Tim Burton’s film adaptation in 2010. The film promised to deliver dark and crazy themes; the end result: a set piece comedy with awkward music scenes. Electronic Arts and Spicy Horse should be able to give a tormenting and harrowing story that Burton failed at. Concerns: It may not make its 2011 release and has a lot to live up to for the cult following the original has.
DC Universe Online Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment Developer: Sony Online Entertainment – Austin Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC Release Date: February 15, 2011
As a DC Comics fan at heart, it’s intriguing to see an MMORPG that promises to move away from the high fantasy and fantastical science-fiction setting. Available for the PlayStation 3, the move for MMOs on the consoles is a slow process, but it’s one worth waiting for.
Concerns: Will there be enough content?