Whatever happens in the next 11 months, 2012 is going to be a huge year for gaming. The months ahead hold the launch of (possibly) two new platforms, Sony's PS Vita and Nintendo's Wii U, as well as a storm of games we already know about.It's the ones we don't know about that interest us the most right now, though, so as 2012 stretches out before us, brimming with secrets known only to a select few in the gaming industry, we've compiled a wish list of a few big games that we hope won't remain secret for much longer. Let start with the obvious...
Call this one a no-brainer. It’s been just over four years since Half-Life 2: Episode Two ended on a massive cliffhanger, and at this point it seems pretty safe to say that we’re not going to see the story wrapped up in Episode Three. The only strategy that really seems to make sense now is to continue it in a full-blown sequel, and despite speculation that developer Valve might be waiting for next-gen hardware to arrive before bringing back its flagship series, we really hope this is the year that sees Half-Life 3 finally become official.
In the span of time since Episode Two, Valve has created two new IPs – Left 4 Dead and Portal – and produced amazing sequels for each one. And yet the one sequel fans keep clamoring for – the one starring Gordon Freeman, a bunch of headcrabs and a crowbar – is nowhere on the horizon. If we know Valve, they’re working hard to make sure they get it right, but we really hope the company gets it right sometime in the next 12 months.
3DS, Wii U… heck, we’d take a new Pikmin for the Wii at this point – it doesn’t matter. We loved tossing around small plant monsters as Captain Olimar in Pikmin, and loved it even more in Pikmin 2. It was one of the best new Nintendo franchises of the past decade (sorry, Geist), and it’s a damn shame that it decided to skip over the Wii.
But that’s the past; looking forward, we’re ready for Nintendo to officially announce a new Pikmin for one of its systems, either taking advantage of the 3DS’s 3D visuals (which we know would look absolutely stunning, thanks to the Puzzle Swap image of Pikmin) or the Wii U’s unique controller (as long as they don’t try and turn it into an augmented “Pikmin in your living room” kind of thing). Miyamoto hinted at a return to Pikmin during the company’s E3 press conference last year, and Olimar’s presence in Smash Bros. Brawl proves that Nintendo isn’t done with the mascot, but we’re ready for an official unveiling this year, with a full-blown trailer and everything.
Blizzard’s next MMO
There has never been an MMO as big as World of Warcraft, but… it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. Expansions are getting sillier. Numbers are slipping. Newer, prettier games are slowly taking over, and it’s time for Blizzard to make something new. And it has been, for several years, but it’s kept an incredibly tight lid on its next MMORPG. So far, all that has been revealed is the project name: Titan.
A little thing like “not having any information” hasn’t stopped fans from speculating, however. Rumors are that Titan could be in reference to Saturn’s moon, hinting at a “Worlds of StarCraft”-type game, or that “Titan” is referencing the size of the project, and that it’s a straight-up sequel to the titan that is World of Warcraft. There’s also the gossip that pops up from time to time that Titan will launch on consoles as well as PCs, expanding the game’s potential user base by a ridiculous amount. No matter what it is, we’re sure it’ll be absolutely massive, and as fans of MMOs we can’t wait to find out more.
Dragon Age 3
Dragon Age 2 made a lot of changes from Origins; some were for the better, but others felt like a huge step backward. This time, we’re hoping that we’ll get a sequel that captures the scope of the first and integrates the improvements of the second, like the beautiful art style, fully voiced main character and fast-paced RPG combat – with a little less cut-and-paste dungeon crawling.
Some gamers may feel turned off by the Dragon Age series right now, but it still has a lot going for it. There are still plenty of stories to be told, characters to meet and Darkspawn blood to shower with. Bring back the character customization of the first game with dwarves, elves and humans as playable main characters, craft an immersive branching story, and let us explore a wide-open, expansive world with more than one city, and we’ll be happy.
God of War 4
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD] With God of War III, Kratos wrapped up an epic story arc that culminated with him punching in the face of Zeus, and destroying the order of Olympian gods that ruled ancient Greece. If the surprise stinger after the credits taught us anything, though, it’s that Kratos’ story isn’t over just yet. The Olympians may be dead and gone, but Kratos doesn’t really need to hunt fancy-pants Greek gods in order to be a murderous badass – and besides, there are at least a couple left over from earlier games (Artemis and Morpheus come to mind) who he still hasn’t shredded into gory chunks.
Plot concerns aside, God of War games offer some of the best, most gruesome hack-and-slash brawler action in gaming today, and it’d be a shame to see the series disappear just because its villains were messily dismembered. So long as the minds at SCE Santa Monica Studio can continue the series in a way that doesn’t feel contrived or needless, we’re all for seeing Kratos curb-stomp his way through at least one more adventure.