January isn’t just a traditionally dry month for game releases – it’s also the month during which we, knowing relatively little about what’s to come in the new year, like to make arbitrary predictions and demands about/of the game industry. It’s not unreasonable; right now, the rest of 2011 looks like a vast field of possibility, so anything could happen. Assuming anything does, though, we have a few nagging questions we really hope will be answered in the next 12 months. For example…
Will The Last Guardian make us cry?
Few developers do emotional manipulation quite as well, or as subtly, as Team Ico. They made us feel fiercely protective of a frail princess in Ico, and piled on the uncertainty and guilt as we slaughtered majestic behemoths in Shadow of the Colossus. Now they’ve designed a creature to expertly tug on our heartstrings – a perfect, giant hybrid of all that is adorable in puppies, kittens and birds – and we’re terrified of what they’re going to do with that kind of power.
The second Carter Burwell’s opening music from Miller’s Crossing played, Trico – the giant griffin-thing in question – had his hooks in us. Knowing Team Ico’s history, however, there was something about those irresistible puppy eyes that made us uneasy, and it was webcomic Penny Arcade that made that uneasiness concrete: clearly, the reason Trico and his boy were made so instantly relatable was so that we can feel bad when one of them inevitably dies.
Above: BUT THEY’RE SO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LIIIIIIIFE
Or maybe that’s just the internet’s innate cynicism at work. Addressing speculation about a sad ending directly, Last Guardian creator Fumito Ueda told Gamasutra that “it’s open-ended, and for you guys to figure out." Whether he’s talking about multiple endings or just an ambiguous, “open-ended” finale is hard to guess, but either way it’d be nice to know before the year is out.
Where will the next GTA be set?
This April, it will have been three years since Grand Theft Auto IV was released. Even if you count 2009’s The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony and Chinatown Wars as full-blown sequels (which, arguably, they all were), we’re simply not used to going this long without a new city to steal cars and run amok in. Or, at the very least, a teasing glimpse of same.
Above: Like this, say. Remember how excited this got everybody?
It’s not that we’re unhappy with Rockstar’s other offerings. Red Dead Redemption is still fantastic, and we’re very excited for LA Noire’s release this May. However, while those games share traits with GTA, they aren’t GTA, and they don’t command quite the same level of enthusiasm or rampant speculation. We’re 99.9 percent sure that GTA V is in the works right now, but without so much as an official announcement, we’re not optimistic that we’ll see much, if anything, of the game this year. So at this point, we’d be happy with another teaser trailer that just shows off the next location. It’d be something to get excited about while we wait, anyway.
What does Tali’s face look like?
When you’ve got a beloved character who keeps his or her face concealed all the damn time, fans are naturally going to speculate on what said face looks like. That’s doubly true when the character in question is a likable alien girl, and when one possible scenario in the sequel enables players to have implied sex with her (while still not revealing her face).
The features glimpsed behind Tali’s mask in Mass Effect seem to hint at a pretty, human face, and that’s what most fans seem to want. Honestly, though, that’s kind of boring. Nobody really knows what Quarians look like, and given what we’ve seen of Mass Effect’s other alien races, there’s no reason to assume they’re attractive humanoids, like the blue-skinned asari. The galaxy is not filled with conventionally pretty space babes, no matter what Star Trek told you. Weird, unsettling features like cricket mouth-parts, eyestalks and prolapsed sinuses seem far more likely.
So while most fans might be expecting Tali to look like this widely circulated piece of fan art:
We’re kind of hoping to see something just a little more unusual.
Above: Any of the above would be perfectly acceptable/horrible, really. Can’t you see past the face to the person inside?
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