In 2008, there are ten titles that interest me by the way they are innovating and pushing gaming forward in terms of graphics, gameplay, sound, design, technical possibility and in interactivity, as well as their premise.
Killzone 2 – The first Killzone was not the shiniest spanner in the increasingly large toolbox of FPS’s, and apart from clever tech demos featuring all kinds of graphical wonderment, we haven’t had much to persuade us that the sequel will be any different. However, the graphics and animation are so good that it will distinguish itself from the competition, and may become the most cinematic game of all time if the recent trailer is to be believed.
GTAIV – This was practically a no-brainer to choose because it’s going to sell a huge amount on both 360 and PS3, but the most interesting part will be how the 360 exclusive DLC will influence the game’s sales on that platform. Moreover, the hardly awe-inspiring graphics and the allegedly dodgy framerate might annoy many gamers, but in the end I predict Rockstar will knock this one out of the park.
Alan Wake – Forever hyped, this will supposedly be released this very year. Despite all the hyperbole amongst some circles, this could actually renovate the survival horror genre and will provide a nice change from all those visits to Silent Hill. However, it’s going to be exclusive to Windows Vista on the PC side, which is not going to strike a chord with potential buyers, lest you forget how abysmal Halo 2 did on the platform.
Duke Nukem Forever – After the December trailer and a few odd comments surrounding its release into the wide world, it soon became apparent that will be a game to watch, if not to just see it fail. There’s also an innovative reason that this is chosen to be looked out for, and that’s the supposed interactivity that it will push. Duke Nukem 3D allowed you to play pool and arcade games amongst other things, and this will make its way to Forever. The interactivity you mainly get in FPSs these days is a door switch, so this will be a fresh and invigorative experience for new people to the franchise. However, it doesn’t go to consoles then all the 10 years in development will be wasted and merely rewarded in poor sales.
Patapon – The PSP is having somewhat of a resurgence this year with many big name titles finally arriving (like FFVII Crisis Core to name one), but I have chosen this delightful looking title from the makers of Loco Roco. As you would expect from those esteemed developers, the graphics look beautiful and the gameplay is bizarre. It may not sell by the bucketload, but it will be a nice fun little thing to play.
Metal Gear Solid 4 – What can be said? The biggest title coming to the PS3 and maybe all of gaming might be eventually arriving this year, and not a moment too soon for Sony. They need a big hit to bring the masses to the PS3, and this along with God of War 3 will begin their fight back against the competition.
Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core – While Square Enix is dancing around the delectable possibility of a possible Final Fantasy VII remake, they are still fond of fleshing out the story through all these little side games. Interestingly though, this actually looks fairly good and is not just another excuse to just recycle elements of FFVII. With a decent reception in Japan, this could do well in America and Europe.
Spore – Will Wright’s famous huge mega venture will eventually see the light of day this year if the God’s are receiving our pleas. After substantial hands-on time at the last Leipzig Games Convention, its menu screens and new art-style look a bit dumbed down for a more commercial audience, but that gameplay was simply sublime. There’s a huge amount of satisfaction in evolving your species and designing something that actually comes to life, and this is true innovation.
Wii Fit – The Wii has evolved into a mass-market entertainment system that doesn’t only play games, but gives users a new kind of interactive medium. Wii Fit falls into this category, and is a good invention by Nintendo to grab the more casual gaming audience. It may not be gamer’s cup of tea, but this will sell in huge numbers and will keep the Wii sales juggernaught rolling.
Unreal Tournament III (360) – This may come as a surprising choice, but it found has found its way here because Epic is actually going to challenge Microsoft on Mod Support, which could become a huge feature followed by other developers if Epic can pull it off. If they succeed, it will be a massive step for Live and for the 360 in general.