You’ve spent the money for rebuilding the orphanage on videogames, and already you’re wanting more? Fair enough, though we defy you to remember all of 2009’s hot prospects with so much Fallout 3 in your brain. Here, because we love you, is a quick rundown of the ones that slipped off the radar yet still have the potential for greatness.
Atari | Starbreeze Studios
On: 360, PC, PS3
Chances are you’d forgotten all about Vin Diesel. We understand. Either you didn’t see this year’s Babylon AD, in which case he’s gracefully slipped from memory, or you did, in which case you’ve scrubbed him from memory with Bleach and a wire brush.
Still, remember how much fun you had with The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay? This expansion-pack-turned-sequel boasts updated visuals, a new story, and a suite of multiplayer modes. Here’s hoping Starbreeze has used its extended development time wisely.
Ubisoft | Reflections
On: 360, PC, PS3
Anyone who bothered to stop yakking on the internet and actually play Driver: Parallel Lines will know just how good it was. It’s still the best way to pretend you’re Ryan O’Neal, no matter what any Nico Bellic might pretend. So bring on the sequel, we say, and maybe someone will buy it. That’s unless, of course, Reflections does its old trick of spending too long on its physics engine, in which case expect another episode of “Police Cars Do The Funniest Things”.
Valve | Arkane
Try bringing your wife to the computer and going, “Look! It’s a genre-splicing FPS conceptualised by Viktor Antonov. The Viktor Antonov.” Go on, we dare you. As it happens, the input of the artist behind Half-Life 2 isn’t the only reason for people who actually like games to head straight for The Crossing.
He’s a bloody good one, though, if the artwork he’s produced so far is any sign. After mixed results with Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic, Arkane is looking to innovate again with greater success.
Stardock | Gas Powered Games
Admit it, the thing you wanted most from Shadow Of The Colossus was to guide those big boys into battle and squash people like ants. No? Eat more meat and stop being a communist.
In Supreme Commander, RTS supremo Chris Taylor made things blow up so bad you had to retreat to the moon to get a decent look. With Demigod, he’s going large once again, mixing up RTS and RPG and throwing some truly massive battles in for good measure.
THQ | Volition
On: 360, PC, PS3
Red Faction 2 wasn’t so bad, you know. Red Faction 1 was even pretty good. Saints Row really was quite bad, however, which is why Saints Row 2 felt entirely goddamn okay. For goodness sake, Volition, stop doing everything by halves. We have a hunch there’s a really good game on its way from the maker of PC classic Descent, and this might be it. An all new Geo-mod engine promises destruction that truly influences both tactics and AI.
Rockstar | Team Bondi
On: PS3 (TBC)
When your company’s called Team Bondi and your game’s been almost silent for over a year, people might think you’re on the beach drinking Rockstar’s money. Can the people behind The Getaway make a decent game? We’d love to think so, especially given the few others that actually try to tell a story of real, intelligent characters. Loosely based on the fictional LA of James Ellroy crime novels, this one’s being kept close to Rockstar’s chest - as ever.
Realtime Worlds (TBC) | Realtime Worlds
Let’s go out on a limb here: APB will be game of the year 2009. Crackdown was so bold and influential that folks are still figuring out ways to rip it off, and the makers of Burnout Paradise, for one, have to hold back tears at its mention.
Now imagine that same sprawling world, stellar artwork and trailblazing design in a cops-and-robbers MMO. If GTA fell asleep after a smashing date with a beautiful girl, this is what it would dream of. We hope.