So now that we’ve said our farewells to 2012 and honored all that it’s had to offer in Tech-Ticker’s Game of the Year Award, it’s now time to take a look into the future and see what to expect in 2013. While in a few months we’ll all be swamped reading up on the reveal of next generation consoles at E3 (and maybe even earlier), let’s take a moment to appreciate what one of the final waves of current-gen games has to offer. Here are Tech-Ticker’s most anticipated games of 2013 as chosen by each of the gaming writers.
SimCity (PC, March 5, 2013. Mac TBA)
My pick for 2013’s most anticipated game would have to be Maxis’ SimCity. Around 10 years since the release of SimCity 4, this remake sees the resurrection of one of the most popular videogame series of all time. Utilizing the GlassBox Engine, an entirely new engine made from scratch, players will be given access to an unprecedented amount of depth. By viewing the multitude of different layers in the game, players can customize almost anything to optimize their city; these layers include water and power availability, crime and safety levels and pollution. Pollution mechanics are probably the most impressive, building a pollution-emitting building, like a power plant, directly over a water pipe system can actually cause pollution to seep through the pipes and spread through the city. In this game, the city is alive like never before. Each building has its own unique animations and can react to the surroundings. Heavy traffic jams caused by a disorganised road infrastructure will cause the sims to be late to their jobs which can affect your economy and the city’s functionality. This game also allows you to simultaneously control multiple cities (up to 16) at once within a region with each city affecting the other. This multi-city system also allows for multiplayer gameplay as well. So with a city in which each building is so real and alive you’re going to wish you lived in it, it’s probably going to be difficult for you to ever step away from your desk and face the real real-world.
Honorable Mention: Irrational Games’ Bioshock: Infinite
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (PS3, Xbox 360, TBA 2013)
Well I am sure I share this high level of anticipation with a lot of Kojima fans out there but I would like to point out how all you “non-believers” can be persuaded that, like it or not, Hideo is lining us up for one hell of a ride. The game was announced through a now famous 13 minute gameplay video (that came out of nowhere) in which the Kojima crew showed off their powerful fox engine. If the video wasn’t enough of a selling point Hideo kept the gifts rolling with features like open world gameplay, real-time day/night cycle, cross platform gaming, shorter cut scenes (because I know some you really hate those) and the long awaited Arabic subtitles. All was good and dandy until the 2012 Spike VGA when a little game called “The Phantom Pain” was announced as a new IP. In true Kojima style the whole community was left confused and speculating, some saying this was part of Ground Zeroes or maybe the long anticipated Metal Gear Solid 5. At the end of the day, Mr. Kojima has yet to disappoint.
Honorable Mention: Rockstar North’s GTA V
Last of Us (PS3, May 7th 2013)
Just when we thought that Naughty Dog would forever become the Uncharted team, just as we thought that they will never be able to wow us more, they introduce Last of Us into the mix. Announced a mere month after the release of Uncharted 3, at the VGAs 2011, people were astonished to see that Naughty Dog had become a two-team studio and had another game under its sleeve, a new IP and outside the world of Nathan Drake. Spearheaded by the team and director that brought us the amazing classic Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Last of Us looks to pack enough emotional punch to make sure your eyes are always loaded with tears. Promising to be a post-apocalyptic survival horror game that focuses on both sides of the formula equally. You play as a 30-something male Joel, with his daughter-like companion Ellie, in a world ravaged by an infection that makes humans mindless plant sprouting cannibalistic zombies. Naughty Dogs stresses that the zombies aren’t your only and worst foe. Other surviving humans are just as bad, fighting over food rations, land division, weapon ammo and well survival. The more interesting tidbit is that Sony is pushing the envelope further, a la Journey, and pouring a lot of effort into the soundtrack which is being composed and arranged by Gustavo Santaolalla (Academy Award and Golden Globe winner of the Babel OST). The soft tones of the main theme set the right amount of desperation and hope, and stir the emotions of the player and viewer. With Naughty Dog’s background on hollywood-like performances and set pieces, as well as the mystery surrounding our duo (Joel’s dark past, and Ellie’s uncertain future) added to the phenomenal soundtrack and yet to be shown but announced multiplayer, Last of Us is shaping to be the biggest and best exclusive game of the year, and the PS3’s own swan song, if next-gen rumors hold any truth. Be sure to check out the latest trailer here. P.S.: It comes out three days after my birthday. **Cough Cough**
Honorable Mention: Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls
Alaeddine El Alayli
Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360. Spring 2013)
From GTA 2 to San Andreas to GTA IV, the Grand Theft Auto series was always the epitome of open world games. Though it arguably peeked in terms of completeness and sheer content with San Andreas, Rockstar wants to go wild with this one making it the biggest GTA game ever with a setting that ”is bigger than Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas and GTA 4 combined” (3 Xbox DVDs?) so roaming the map alone should be a lot of fun. Rockstar also added a whole bunch of new vehicles. From sedans to aircrafts and from bikes to jetskis GTA 5 has it all covered. Another notable factor that is introduced for the first time in a GTA game is the presence of multiple characters. You have three protagonists that you can switch between at any moment in the game, each with his own storyline and it would be fair to assume that the storylines won’t be so separate. Officially the game will be released in “spring 2013″, though a recent leak stated that the release date will be specifically March 24, 2013. Whether this is the actual day or not, one thing is for sure, I can’t wait to get my hands on this game.
Honorable Mention: Irrational Games’ Bioshock Infinite.