Predictions for gaming's biggest sequels

Contributors: Charlie Barratt, Mikel Reparaz, Brett Elston,
David Houghton

Anticipation is supposedly sweet, but you know what? Instant gratification is a hell of a lot sweeter. Sure, we could sit patiently and wait for official announcements on our favorite franchises. We could avoid assumption, steer clear of speculation and only publish our opinion when it’s unequivocally backed by cold, hard press release fact.

That wouldn’t be very much fun, though, and wouldn’t make the months and years until release go by any faster. So instead, we’re giving in to the guessing game. We’re embracing our wild theories, passionate predictions and somewhat educated estimates. And we want you to do so as well…

Got a big idea about a big sequel? Read ours, then share your own in the comments below. If we like it, we may include it in an upcoming feature.

What’s already happened: Unassuming bartender Desmond Miles was kidnapped by the Abstergo corporation, a shadowy front for a centuries-old secret society called the Templars, to be a test subject in its experiments. Abstergo then hooked him up to the Animus, a machine that brought to life the “genetic memories” of his ancestor, Altair Ibn La-Ahad, and shed light on a secret war between the Templars and the Assassin Brotherhood over ancient, mind-controlling relics called “Pieces of Eden.” Desmond was then rescued from Abstergo by modern-day Assassin operatives and hooked up to another Animus, this time with the goal of teaching him the skills of a different ancestor, Ezio Auditore. However, Ezio’s journey ended with an apocalyptic revelation, addressed specifically to Desmond, which stands to completely change the course of the series.

What’s coming next: While there’s been a lot of speculation about what era of history the next Assassin’s Creed will drop players into, those who’ve seen the ending know that the most likely answer is “the near future.” Much as we’d love to see another historical setting lavishly re-created, the things revealed to Ezio paint a dire picture of imminent doom for Earth. Simply put, if Desmond and the Assassins plan to act on these revelations, there won’t be any time for dicking around in the Animus – the Vaults left behind by the mysterious precursors to humanity need to be found immediately, so that their secrets can be used to save the planet from cataclysmic disaster.

With that in mind, we can think of two likely outcomes for Assassin’s Creed III: the first is that Desmond, with his newfound Assassin skills, will embark on a journey into the modern world to find the Vaults himself, battling misguided Templars (who will likely see an impending doomsday scenario as a chance to “cleanse” humanity and tighten their hold on it) all the way. Alternately, he could continue working behind the scenes in the Animus, mining the genetic memories of ancestors who’ve discovered the Vaults while Assassin field teams handle the task of securing them. But sooner or later, those abilities he learned as Ezio are going to come into play, meaning we’ll likely see a lot of free-running across Mirror’s Edge-style cityscapes, mixed in with Tomb Raider-esque exploration of ruins and classical landmarks.

What’s already happened: Both games share the same basic tale – four everyday people survive a zombie apocalypse and join forces to shoot, stab and slash their way to the nearest rescue point. Thing is, there’s not a lot of direct story told, so even at this point all we know is the infection has spread across the country. No one knows how to stop it and the people surviving may actually be immune to the whole damn thing. The first game takes place in the northeast United States and ends in the Great Lakes, while L4D2 begins in Georgia and finishes up in New Orleans, which is being bombarded by the military in a last-ditch attempt to contain the virus.

What’s coming next: Judging by that map (and another in L4D2’s Dead Center campaign), most of the US is compromised, save perhaps the mysteriously absent northwest coastline. We don’t think Seattle would be drastically different from the weather and topography already covered, so we think Valve’s going to take the infection global. It’s the third game, which means the stakes and scenario have to really blow up to stand apart from the first two, and with that in mind we’d love to see L4D do Japan.

Above: Art by Tyler Wilde

L4D3 could begin inside the largest, glitziest, most visually dazzling city in the world and follow four survivors through what has now become a pandemic. You’d storm through nerd capital Akihabara, fight through the grounds of Osaka Castle and explore the rich wilderness of Japan’s hot springs, rice fields and active volcanoes, ensuring totally different geography and atmosphere from the first two games. Oh, the survivors? We had a young Yakuza (hardened but not quite ruthless); a Lolita girl (probably on her way to a Con when everything went to hell); an overworked Salaryman who’s actively loving the infection as it’s a break from his rigid, unbreakable routine; and finally a British tourist caught overseas during the outbreak.

Or it could be in Vegas.

Next page: Batman 2 and Modern Warfare 3