We're peering through the futurescope at the games we can expect to see in the coming year. There's plenty to work through, so let's get on with a look at some of the notable games of Spring and Summer 2010. (You can read part one here.)
APB is due to appear in the next few months. It's already in closed beta. Frankly, I don't really know how this keeps falling off people's radar. The cops vs robbers MMO has ambition written all over it, so much so that it's one of those games that's aiming so high it seems hard to believe they'll manage it. Worse, it's a multiplayer shooter, and we all know how wrong those can go if the balance is wrong, or if the server infrastructure isn't in place. Nevertheless this is a huge game from the man who invented GTA, so there's every chance it's going to set the world on fire. We can't wait to get our hands on this, and will be poking RealTime Worlds in the eye, repeatedly, until we get access. Right!
One title that I probably should have mentioned in the last piece was Alien Breed Evolution, the remake of the classic Aliens-alike shooter by Team 17. We interviewed them about this a while back, but still don't have a precise PC date. The episodic, co-op action game should be appearing fairly soon, however, so keep your eyes open for an announcement. (RPS does not feature sound-based headlines.)
And another March release - that isn't a sequel - is the Russian post-apocalyptic shooter Metro 2033. This game has been on and off for years, so we're very excited that it has finally, and fairly suddenly, come up with a release date - March 16th. The game is a linear shooter through the abandoned underground tube system of Moscow, and up in a mutant-ravaged surface world. Overtones of both Stalker and Cryostasis abound, with a few other survival horror/shooter feelings to boot. Looking forward to this one, although I'm not expecting revelations.
Back to the it's-a-sequel roster and we can see that the spectacular-looking Supreme Commander 2 is due on March 2nd. Wuh, holy crap, I had no idea it was that soon! I'm going to be clearing the decks for that. I was a bit of a late-comer to the original game, but Taylor's recent chatter, as well as some insane screenshots, have perked up my attention for the release of this one. Go check out Alec's Eurogamer interview to see what I mean.
Spring should also see Silent Hunter 5 surface on PC, which is a welcome return for the submarine-sim. It's a few steps beyond the previous games in terms of visual finesse, and additional features such as being able to walk around your U-Boat at will should make for a more engaging experience. Of course, it should also allow crazymen to play campaigns in real-time, too, so expect news of how someone died of real boredom in a virtual Gibraltar Strait by the end of the year.
We should also expect this early-to-middle part of the year to reveal Stardock's new tactical RPG, Elemental - War Of Magic. It's going to be an opened-ended although quest-driven beast, allowing you to do both diplomacy and conflict in a fantasy world. It's certainly one of the strategy games we're most looking forward to in the coming months.
Speaking of fantasy, Two Worlds II should be popping up in early spring. It's really not looking particularly promising, but I know the original had a small army of unlikely fans out there, so maybe there will be a few despondent fantasists out there who will be cheered by its arrival.
There have been few new RPG games - as opposed to sequels - recently, but even they have generally hunkered down in familiar fantasy lands. Alpha Protocol aims to change that, with a spy-based action RPG. Think Mass Effect with secret agents, and a contemporary theme of global illegal shenanigans. This has been much delayed, but it's by RPG-designing heroes Obsidian, so there's all to play for. Hopefully the extra time allowed for this by Sega will pay off. We could really do witah an RPG that isn't in space, or elf-land, and isn't all fucking wonky. The game is currently sporting a vague "spring 2010" release badge, but rumour has it this could be as later as earlier June.
More espionage happenings, of a distinctly actionier variety, can be expected from Splinter Cell: Conviction. Currently scheduled for April 10th, the return of the Splinter Cell series looks to have benefited enormously from its holiday in development hell. The game is looking slick and lavishly violent, and hopefully it'll still manage to tax our infiltration glands as we search for Mr Trinoculars' missing daughter. He's old, and he's cross. There's much that the Hivemind can empathise with.
We can also expect the Left 4 Dead 2 expansion, The Passing, to arrive some time in Spring of 2010. This will be a new campaign, with some survival and versus stuff, that apparently features both the Left 4 Dead 2 team and the survivors from the original game. How will it work! We just don't know, but we're intrigued to find out.
Another game that has been confirmed for PC but seems to be lacking a firm release date is zombie-carnival Dead Rising 2, which is set in Las Vegas as the shambling ones attack. It had, I hasten to remind you, the best trailer from last year, and should therefore be considered with a hand on chin and one eyebrow raised. If you can raise one eyebrow on its own, which I can.
It's worth noting that we are still waiting for a confirmed Starcraft 2 date, despite the rumblings towards the last quarter of 2009 about imminent beta and Battlenet changes. Our best guess is that we'll hear concrete news pretty soon and see the first part of the much-delayed RTS mega-sequel arrive in the summer, or therebouts. The most recent news is that that the first episode of the game, Wings Of Liberty, which introduces the Terran faction, will now also feature a Protoss mini-campaign. Intriguing stuff. It seems impossible that Blizzard will fuck this up, but hell, it's been ages. I wrote the world's first preview several years ago, and it seemed finished then.
Anyway, we should also finally get Raven's time-warping shooter, Singularity. This didn't impress people who got a glimpse of it last year, despite the strong premise of time-weapons. It's had more time from Activison, which means it should turn up in spring or early summer. Not holding out too much hope for this being a classic, but you never know.
Finally there's Mafia II. Due some time between May and July, the open world gangster game from 2k Czech pretty much promises to be among the two or three most exciting games in 2010. John's look at the game last year promised a great deal, but it also made it look as if there was a lot of work to be done. I'd expect this one to slip a few more months yet, and probably arrive in time for Christmas 2010.
Speaking of which, we'll have more of the other, later, games in the next article.