Upcoming games that could revolutionize the industry

Contributors: Chris Antista, Charlie Barratt, Brett Elston, Matthew Keast, Shane Patterson, Mikel Reparaz 

Hundreds of games are released every year, then played and forgotten by the next. Only a dozen or so will be remembered a decade from now, and only a few of those will have any lasting impact on the medium as a whole.

Which upcoming titles stand the best chance of leaving that meaningful mark? Which will be remembered, studied and mimicked endlessly? Which will inspire new subgenres or introduce groundbreaking new features? We know the games that have done so in the past, of course – names like Mario, GTA, Sims and Warcraft – but predicting the trendsetters of the future is a much more difficult task.

Here are 20 with the most potential. If change is inevitable, these are the ones that will bring it to us.

Mass Effect 2

(360, PC)

What’s the game? Sequel to one of our favorite RPGs of the modern era, packed to capacity with palpable atmosphere, quality voice work and show-stopping visuals.

What’s so revolutionary? Dialog-rich cutscenes that unfold like a genuine film, with lifelike characters that move and animate like real people and not stiff-armed mannequins waving their arms at each other. The scenes we saw were so engrossing that we actually wanted to watch more and play less. Camera placement was spot on, the lighting was top notch and the “actors” were never just standing around like so many bland RPG exchanges we’ve all suffered through. Simply put, any RPG released after this, hell any game with characters interacting at all, has to take some cues or risk looking outdated and downright mechanical by comparison. Mass Effect 2 has a lot more going for it (carrying over save data, a potentially unwinnable finale) but at this juncture we’re most excited by the way it accurately portrays the characters we’re going to be playing as for the next 60 hours.

When’s it coming? First half of next year.

The Last Guardian


What’s the game?
The spiritual follow-up, or possible prequel, to Shadow of the Colossus and Ico. In other words, another guaranteed selling point for the “games are art” theory.

What’s so revolutionary? The utterly convincing connection between boy and monster… and just as likely, the real emotional bond that will form between the player and that creature. It may be ugly, but it seems capable of expressing love, devotion, worry, fear, loneliness and protectiveness with a simple flicker of its eyes or a subtle shift in its body language. We can’t watch the trailer without sniffling – how deeply will the entire game affect us?

When’s it coming? 2010, hopefully. Maybe 2011.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online

(PC, Mac)

What’s the game?
The latest Tiger Woods is already out on consoles, but PC versions have been conspicuously missing for years now. Why? Because EA is carefully planning the next iteration of the series as a grand – and possibly industry-changing – experiment in online gaming.

What’s so revolutionary? You won’t buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online in stores. You won’t even download it on the official website. What you will be able to do, however, is play the game instantly and supposedly effortlessly inside your PC or Mac’s internet browser. No installation, no minimum system requirements and – at first – no subscription fees. EA’s servers will customize the graphics to your computer’s capabilities, and you can close the window and then pick up where you left off on a different machine later. If this casual convenience approach works, expect Madden, NBA Live – as well as other publishers – to try it out next.

When’s it coming? The betas are already happening, the next starts on July 7th and you can sign up here.



What’s the game?
Yet another DS puzzler, complete with adorable hero, cutesy title and whimsical animated visuals. Pint-sized Maxwell is on a search for treasure… and adventure! The game’s tagline, though – “Write Anything, Solve Everything” – hints at how Scribblenauts could be anything but predictable.

What’s so revolutionary? In order to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles, players usually require tools. Rather than find and use a predetermined set, however, Scribblenauts asks you to create your own. Think a ladder might be handy? Write “ladder” on the touch screen and summon it into being. Or maybe a balloon, sword or keyboard cat could do the trick? The game is said to recognize tens of thousands of words. The designers hope your imagination will dictate the experience, not theirs.

When’s it coming? Fall of this year… most likely September.

Toy Story Mania!



(Every platform imaginable)

What’re the games?
According to a breathless press release we received earlier this week, both G-Force (based on a movie about guinea pigs) and Toy Story Mania! (based on a two-minute amusement park ride) are “revolutionary innovative experiences using 3-D technology,” and with the enclosed glasses, will be the first games to fully feature “stereoscopic technology.” Wowza!

What’s so revolutionary? We hate including these, if only because the PR folks are already using the word “revolutionary” themselves. Ugh. Plus, they’re likely nothing more than cash-in kiddie krap beneath that intriguing technological bullet point. Still, 3D is 3D… and 3D in a pair of multi-platform games bound to sell millions of copies to a fad-crazy mainstream audience? That could definitely cause a stir.

When’s it coming? The guinea pig game is available July 21. The amusement attraction adaptation is releasing Fall 2009.

Heavy Rain


What’s the game?
A quicktime event-filled murder mystery, by the minds behind Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, in which four characters must track down a serial killer or die trying.

What’s so revolutionary? While it’s easy to dismiss Heavy Rain as just an endless series of timed button-taps, it in fact has the potential to elevate quicktime events to something more than cinematic, pseudo-playable filler. Moments in which you have a split-second to hit a flashing onscreen button are plentiful, sure, but failure doesn’t necessarily mean death; instead, the action will branch in different directions, opening up new avenues of fighting, exploration and/or investigation.

Also, Heavy Rain will often fill its edge-of-your-seat moments with multiple onscreen options, which can be activated with a corresponding button. Pressing one button while handcuffed to the steering wheel of a car that’s being fed into an industrial crusher, for example, will make you try to wriggle free of the cuffs, while another will kick open the glove compartment in hopes of finding something helpful. And once a character is dead, their role in the story is over, and all the possibilities their involvement would have opened are extinguished. It’s then on to the next hapless protagonist, and hopefully a better fate.

When’s it coming? First few months of 2010.

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  • Star76 - July 11, 2009 2:14 a.m.

    the scribblenauts game looks cool
  • MechGyver - July 9, 2009 6:06 p.m.

    Guitar Hero 5 and Wii Sports Resort...i pity the fool
  • boxmeizter - July 7, 2009 2:01 a.m.

    one word, two syllables.... batman!
  • flare149 - July 6, 2009 8:42 p.m.

    I'm really excited for: - Mass Effect 2 - The Last Guardian - Heavy Rain - MAG - Batman: Arkham Asylum - Star Wars: The Old Republic - Borderlans - Starcraft II - Diablo III It's weird talking about being excited for PC games because I haven't had a good computer to play any PC games until about a month ago.
  • LittleSatan - July 6, 2009 6:18 p.m.

    APB looks awesome, apparently its like WoW for the 360, and as for Borderlands, its about time we had a singleplayer game that had multiplayer. Fallout 3 has tons of DLC, but no multiplayer DLC, which is a let down.
  • Teh_Ty - July 6, 2009 2:41 a.m.

    I'm guessing Natal will be an over-hyped eyetoy.
  • ModernCreed - July 5, 2009 10:28 p.m.

    IDK how I feel about this article. It doesn't feel like a list of "revolutionary games", but more like a bunch of mini previews of upcoming games, with the only thing being discussed is a defining feature of the game. Splinter Cell's "projected story" stuff is cool, but I doubt it will revolutionize in game story telling.
  • TheWebSwinger - July 5, 2009 7:36 p.m.

    I'm betting Charlie Barratt added the Monkey Island entry, eh?
  • Hinro - July 5, 2009 7:02 p.m.

    The truth is out of these games the only ones I'm looking forward to are Mass Effect 2 and Star Wars: TOR. Mass Effect 2 will be out in early 2010 I hope but I'm willing to wait for TOR. People keep saying "just hurry it up. It's good enough you don't have to finish it" to Lucasarts and they keep rushing their projects and they look horable. Look at The Force Unleashed. People saw the graphics and then would say "This is awsome. Send it out right away. Oh you haven't finished the story yet? Wel get right on that and release it by next week". By doing this Forc Unleashed ended up being only an okay game at best. As much as I would like to play TOR right now, I personnally think it should be released in late 2010, early 2011. That way they have more time to fix all the bugs and we won't have a quickly drawnup ending that my three year old 2nd cousin could come up with.
  • TheStingingScorpion - July 5, 2009 2:05 p.m.

    Splinter Cell Conviction whith Natal controls enyone. if you want to hide behind a wall you can.if you want to crall on the ground now you can.sorry nobody hate me i love the splinter cell games.
  • Mattgue - July 5, 2009 2:16 a.m.

    Great Article
  • CH3BURASHKA - July 4, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    Okay, I finally read the article. Whose fucking idea was it to write that the Last Guardian kitty dragon is "ugly"? Whoever wrote is probably jealous of how cool it looks. Anonymous writer, YOU are the ugly one. TAKE THAT! Seriously, that dragon is fucking awesome.
  • Demonflare - July 4, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    Hahaha! Games are so stupid now! ;P
  • Avery2300 - July 4, 2009 8:31 p.m.

    WTF most of those game are completely stupid. How the hell is Toy Story going to revolutionize the gaming industry. This Article Is BS
  • w40kfanatic - July 4, 2009 7:41 p.m.

    wow. mag looks awesome. i never would have imagined that many players could play 1 match at the same time! the only problem is ill be front-line, expendable rank when everyone else is a general becuse im not going to get the game for awhile after it comes out.
  • Shane1403 - July 4, 2009 5:38 p.m.

    these look pretty awesome but ill have to wait and see, because there have been plenty of games that seem amazing until they come out
  • DrRock - July 4, 2009 4:41 p.m.

    I think you guys were really stretching it with this article. A few of the games I could see helping change the way games are developed but there quite a few that I had no idea why they're even on the list. But you guys get paid the big bucks to make up stuff we all come to read. Just my opinion.
  • BigBossOSE - July 4, 2009 11:05 a.m.

    @JayLin22 Nope. There is never a good excuse for that.
  • AuthorityFigure - July 4, 2009 7:08 a.m.

    The justification for "Batman: Arkham Asylum" seems undeniably weak. Also, Any "* Hero" game is less a game than a craft.
  • game-thugsta - July 4, 2009 6:39 a.m.

    desperately want mass effect 2