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Things Of Tomorrow

Upon emerging blinking into the, er, darkness after a binge-play to completion of Bioshock 2 (thoughts on which will appear here in a few days), I realise a) I still have to post something on RPS even though it's gone 2am and b) I have no idea what's next on my plate o'fun now that I'm all done with that and Mass Effect 2. So, in the spirit of doing mean things to two birds at once, here's a few things happening in the near future (starting tomorrow, in fact. Well, today now) that should reignite my excitometer.

Firstly, tomorrow we're due a demo of the Aliens versus Predator remake/sequel/no-easy-term-for it. It's a multiplayer only demo, comprising the deathmatch map Refinery, but containing all three species - the Alien, the Predator, and the controversial last-minute change from Human Marine to Elderly Golden Retriever. Can it hold an ichor-coated candle to the original PC AvP? We'll find out in mere hours. The full game launches on the 16th, and if all goes to plan I'll be Wot I Thinking all over its face just before then. Update: it's available right now.

Secondly, on the 15th of this month we're due to find out what Gas-Powered Games' next project (i.e. whatever comes after Supreme Commander 2 arrives on March 5th) is. I'm extremely curious about this one. Lately, I've been torn between worry and hope for this one-time giant of PC gaming. Space Siege was low-rent and embarrassing to such an extent that I suspect there's still an exceedingly interesting business story to be told about what happened there, while Demigod suffered the twin indignities of hype-destroying networking problems and GPG handing all discussion about it over to the publisher. So: are these signs of a developer past their prime and phoning it in, or will they be mad-keen to prove themselves after such mishaps? And is this a brand new project, or is it Dungeon Siege 3? Or is Demigod 2: This Time With Working Netcode?

Then there's Crysis 2, decent details of which have been splattered onto the internet via German mag PCGames. If you don't have access to that mag, some of the key details are summarised here. And now I shall summarise that summary. s we already knew, it's set in New York - but three years on from the last game, and with the city in something of a state. And it's not the only place those bleeding aliens have made a mess of - it's all gone a bit Half-Life 2, by the sounds of it.

The Nanosuit's redesigned, retaining four modes but combining Strength and Speed into Power - the fourth slot sounds as though it'll be something to do with scanning the environment for information. Meanwhile, stealth is a passive mode, only sapping your battery when you turn on optional full-invisibility, which should make it a whole lot more fun than the 'you can't see me oh now you can' invisibility of the first game. There's also talk of vertical design - which hopefully will be more Mirror's Edge than Dark Void.

There are the inevitable promises that the storytelling's been tightened up, but a) I'll believe that when I see it and b) I almost don't care; it's the idea of Crytek turning their tech might towards a city rather than vegetation for a change that's exciting, not what happens to Prophet and chums next. Big, varied, non-linear urban superheroics in a beautiful engine? If they can make that city feel as real as they've managed to make islands feel, this could be the high-tech, high-budget Stalker-like loads of us have been crying out for. Crysis didn't do all that much for me, so I wasn't paying much attention to sequel news, but something about it's starting to sound just right...

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