With E3 just around the corner, anticipation for the gaming industry's biggest annual showcase is now far past the boiling point. Alongside the major announcements from Nintendo on the Wii U, and surely some big moves from Sony on Vita, the list of games for E3 2012 is, as usual, truly staggering. With that in mind, the following is a list of my most-anticipated games for next week's show.
[Note: This rankings includes titles which have either been confirmed to appear, or have been announced previously and are considered reasonably likely to show up in some form. Longshot projects and isolated rumors for games such as 'Respawn's Game' and 'Dead Space 3' have not been included.]
Assassin's Creed III
There's no hiding that Assassin's Creed is one of the biggest success stories from this generation. Ever since that first trailer hit, people have been hooked on the premise. And although the first game didn't live up to the hype for many, the second game righted many of the wrongs and set a great storyline in motion. What came next wasn't what people anticipated; two titles appeared that were dubbed as main series, but were glorified spin-off titles. Brotherhood blew most people away, Revelations didn't. It was a necessary evil though, and both served their purpose of continuing the main story while stalling for time while the core team at Ubisoft Montreal were hard at work on their next masterpiece, Assassin's Creed III.
Dishonored, Arcane Studios' first person action and stealth adventure, is set in a steam punk world full of betrayal and conspiracy. Framed for the murder of your beloved Empress, you turn from bodyguard to vengeful assassin complete with dark, supernatural powers at your disposal. The game encourages open-ended gameplay, giving you the choice to approach each objective however you want, but at a cost. Every action has a consequence and the outcome of your missions will vary accordingly. The world of Dishonored has been designed by Half-Life 2 Art Director Viktor Antonov, so expect a beautiful dystopian city to explore when the game arrives later this year on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Don't feel bad if you've never heard of Dust 514 before, it's been a project that's been kept tightly under wrap until quite recently. An FPS that will work alongside the popular MMO Eve Online, Dust 514 will give players the opportunity to gain control of planets for the player run corporations in Eve. The game will put forth a relatively unprecedented level of cooperation between two extremely different genres, and further expand the community across two different platforms. There's still much to be revealed regarding the FPS, but earning the title as an exclusive is a massive boon for Sony.
Grand Theft Auto V
Understandably, there's been a great deal of speculation at the digital watercooler as to when Grand Theft Auto V, the next instalment in one of gaming's biggest franchises, will hit store shelves. Generally, disappointed fans could look to E3 at this time of year for new information, but since Rockstar tends to largely skip the industry's premier gathering, it may be a while yet before we can close the book on this. I'd be willing to bet GTA V makes a prominent appearance at either Microsoft or Sony's press conferences.
Hitman: Absolution puts players in the shoes of Agent 47, navigating the shelves and halls of a library, doing what he does best from the shadows. Gameplay looks much more reminiscent of games like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Assassin's Creed, albeit a lot more stealthy like Splinter Cell: Conviction, which can only be a good thing when all of that is combined. You can see it all for yourself in the gameplay video below. Hitman Absolution does not have an announced release date yet, but it is expected to be released in 2012 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
The Last of Us
Surprisingly, Naughty Dog's next project has nothing to do with the Uncharted franchise. Instead, The Last of Us takes the revered studio into the survival horror-ish realm for the first time. Although we haven't seen much gameplay, we do have an idea as to what the game will be about. It's focussed on two characters, Ellie and her father, as they struggle to survive in a dilapidated city. They encounter weird mutated humans and stress that this is their everyday life now - battling for survival. It'll be interesting to see how the gameplay for this one turns out as it's a very topical style of game at the moment.
Metro: Last Light
It would have been easy for 4A Games to compromise due to the success of Metro 2033, but they have decided to keep things how they originally intended - they didn't want to "Westernize" the sequel. Overall, it looks as though 4A Games will build upon what made Metro 2033 the sleeper hit it first was. They aren't concerned with making this into a blockbuster title, they just want to continue doing what they did in the first place. And when the title comes out in 2013, we'll be able to properly see if they succeeded in what they set out to do.
In the midst of all the Wii U talk happening right now at E3, Shigeru Miyamoto - creator of all things Nintendo-oriented... Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong and so on - has announced that a new Pikmin game is in development the platform. Miyamoto confirmed the existence of the game at a round-table session and stated that the Wii U is the perfect system for Pikmin. It was originally planned for the Wii, but development shifted once sales abruptly fell off a cliff, or so we speculate.
Super Mario Wii U
Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of the Mario franchise, has reportedly announced via the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that Nintendo will be showing a new Mario title for the Wii U. It is said that the new game will incorporate the Wii U's tablet screen as well as TV elements, no other details were released. However, according to the news piece, it will be shown at this year's E3. Miyamoto also went on to say that he is working on other projects such as Pikmin 3 and Luigi's Mansion 2, but no details were released for those titles either. It's a new Mario game... Stay tuned!
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Firaxis, the developer behind the Civilization series, have announced XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a re-imagining of the original XCOM turn-based strategy game. Fans already hurt by the development of 2K Marin's first-person shooter reboot of the very same franchise need not worry, however. "Unlike 2K Marin's previously announced XCOM shooter, which sparked tempers among longtime fans for turning its back on the series' cerebral roots, this title is a full-on strategy game that puts players in command of a global anti-alien defense force," said Steve Martin, president of Firaxis.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Far Cry 3
The Last Guardian
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Resident Evil 6