We spent January doing something a little different at RPS. Every year, websites do their "What's New In The Coming Year" articles. And they're splendid. We did it last year too. But we couldn't help but think perhaps they were all missing something. They exist to talk about games which the vast majority of PC gamers already know and love. We thought that going the other way would be worthwhile: just concentrate on what's exciting about the next eleven months which, in all likelihood, no-one else is going to mention. Games which the vast majority of gamers won't even know exist yet. We ended up with eleven interviews and hands-on impressions of the Unknown Pleasures that await in 2009. And here they are...
Let's hope they turn out as well as we hope.
Venture Dinosauria: Dinosaur Ecological Management game. We repeat: Dinosaur Ecological Management Game.
No Quarter: Gish's Edmund McMillen and Alex Austin's Videogame Mix-tape. We predict Wuh-huh-hah?-hahs!
Elemental: War of Magic: Galactic Civilization's creators turn their impeccable turn-based credentials towards the glories of fantasy.
Sol Infernum: Diplomatic Strategy game from the makers of the exquisite Armageddon Empires. Set in Hell. Better to rule in hell? It better rule, more like.
Age of Decadence: The great-white-hope of traditional PC role-playing games. As pugnaciously confident as Indie RPGs have ever got.
Gridrunner+++: Llamasoft pump a previous classic full of all the experience, knowledge and visual flair of their previous Space Giraffe taught 'em.
Blush: Flashbang Studios promise six games in 2009. This is their first. Can they really double their output of webmeme-classics ala Minotaur China Shop and Off-road Velociraptor Safari? We pray.
The Void: ala Typrop ala Tension ala the new game from the makers of Pathologic ala your new favourite game to read 47,244 word esays about.
Machinarium: Amanita Design take their tranquil, beautiful and un-nerving adventure game skills (e.g. Samorost) and expand it to a new, epic palette.
Zeno Clash: See that elephant-headed guy? He's totally looking at your bird. Punch him. And then punch your bird, as it's a bird-headed man. Just punch them! PUNCH THEM IN THEIR FREAKY FACES.
Majesty 2: Old-school PC classic of indirect control passed eastwards. If any half-remembered strategy game deserves to be this year's triumphant Phoenix, it's this one.
Perhaps obviously, this isn't all - or even most - of what excites RPS when we look forward across the remaining nine months of 2009. Which begs the obvious question - what would you have included in your list of Unknown Pleasures?