Much like Hollywood, it can often seem that the games industry relies too much on sequels, yearly editions, remakes and reboots. And, yes, it’s usually a Call of Duty, Madden NFL or a game featuring one of Nintendo’s reliable characters sitting atop the sales list. But, gaming also has a reputation for also creating great new properies – even if the style of game itself isn’t all that new. Uncharted, Mass Effect, and Metal Gear/Metal Gear Solid were all franchises that had their humble beginnings in the video game world – not some young adult novel, TV show or movie (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
While most of us are keeping an eye out for new titles to grace us during the holiday season this year, we’re looking even further ahead. Here are five new properties in development that we’ll be playing soon enough.
Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment/From Software Platform: PlayStation 4 Release date: March 24, 2015 (US)/27 March 2015 (UK)
From Software are the sadists who brought the world Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, three of the most difficult games ever created. They’ve cooked up a whole new world to enthrall and frustrate gamers to no end in Bloodborne. Eschewing the medieval environments of their previous games, Bloodborne is set in a village during the Victorian era. The game’s protagonist will also be significantly more agile and nible, as well as making use of firearms. He’ll need it, as he’ll have to battle hordes of deranged, Resident Evil 4-style townspeople because, as history teaches us, the majority of small village in Europe during that era were populated with monsters.
Developer: nDreams Platform: PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: TBD
“Hi! I’m Virtual Reality! We’ve met before, back in the 1990’s. You may not have heard, but I’m making a big comeback! I’m going to be the biggest thing ever in gaming soon! Anyway, enough about that. You guys wanna start with some appetizers?”
When the Oculus Rift VR headset was first unveiled to the world, it got people interested in Virtual Reality once again. Big time. John Carmack, creator of Doom, joined the company. Facebook then purchased the company for well over $2 billion. It also spurred Sony into developing their own VR unit, dubbed “Project Morpheus”. Developers have already been modifying their existing titles to work with the headset. The Assembly, however, if the one of the first titles we’ve heard of developed specifically for the hardware.
Developed by nDreams – the UK studio behind PlayStation Home – The Assembly is an adventure title that has you inhabit, literally, two different characters in order to solve a mystery. In order for VR gaming hardware to be a viable commercial product (there’s plenty of industrial, educational and scientific potential to keep companies like Oculus busy), it needs studios to treat it as a genuine tool and not just a gimmick to be exploited. It looks like nDreams is on the right path.
The Order: 1886
Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment/Ready At Dawn Platform: PlayStation 4 Release Date: February 20th, 2015
The Order: 1886 (because Steampunk King Arthur was too on-the-nose?) is the first game in what Sony is hoping will be a long and prosperous new franchise. Although it’s loosley based on the old Arthurian legends – and thereby possibly disqualifying it as an “original” IP – it’s “loosely” based enough that we’re going to allow it. Combining these legends with actual historical events and figures of the time (they didn’t throw that 1886 in there for funsies), it’s almost as if it’s an “Assassin’s Creed with monsters” – and there we go again, pushing the credibility of the use of “original”.
All in all, it looks pretty damn cool and, if it’s entertaining, that’s all that matter. Right?
Now… what’s with all the Sony love? Let’s get Microsoft in on this party.
Publisher/Developer: Microsoft Studios/Platinum Games Platform: Xbox One Release Date: TBD
Scalebound has been set up since its announcement at E3 2014 as giant, sprawling experience with, as director Hideki Kamiya told Polygon, “large, epic-scale battle[s].” There’s also a dragon that fights by your said, though Kamiya has stated that the dragon is “not just meant to be a tool for battle. It’s not meant to be just your pet.” So, what else is it meant to be, Hideki? Your college roommate?
It’s been less than a year since this ambitious title was announced and the fact there’s no set release date for it yet means Platinum Games isn’t being rushed into some developmental window. Plus, it’s not as if a highly regarded developer had ever been given ample time to make a game with incredibly lofty ambitions only to have it turn out significantly less than expected (*cough*Fable*cough*)
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.
Publisher/Developer: Nintendo/Intelligent Systems Platform: Nintendo DS Release Date: March 13th, 2015
How’s this for a game summary?: In a steampunk version of London (wait, that sounds familiar), horrifying aliens have begun to invade. In order to combat this extraterrestrial threat, Abraham Lincoln assembles Unit S.T.E.A.M., an elite fighting force comprised of some of the most iconic figures in American (literary) history. With squadmates such as the Cowardly Lion, Tiger Lily and Tom Sawyer, they’re the only hope of SAVING THE WORLD!!!
I don’t think we need to say more, do we?
image credit: YouTube/IGN