Upcoming games that could revolutionize the industry

What’s the game?
An enhanced re-mastering of the 1990 classic point-and-click adventure. Guybrush Threepwood is a wimpy wannabe pirate and the ghost captain LeChuck has kidnapped his unrequited love interest, Elaine. Beyond the fact that you can “insult swordfight,” what else do you possibly need to know?

What’s so revolutionary? Certain members of the GamesRadar offices (who shall remain unnamed) have been hoping, wishing and possibly sacrificing small animals for a resurgence in old-school, story-based adventures. By giving one of the best ever a fancy new look and streamlined new controls, but not messing with the original gameplay in any way, this Special Edition Monkey Island could make that dream a reality. You can even switch between the enhanced graphics and the classic graphics – instantaneously – at any time. Will other beloved LucasArts and Sierra products follow suit?

When’s it coming? This summer.


(360, PS3, PC)

What’s the game?
An RPG/shooter hybrid set in a desolate wasteland that’s been mostly abandoned now that hordes of monsters have shown up to overrun the place.

What’s so revolutionary? Borderlands is what we always wished games like Oblivion and Fallout 3 would be after hours of adventuring solo: multiplayer, but on our terms and with vehicles. While you can cruise through the campaign by yourself, Borderlands enables up to three friends to drop in and out of your campaign with their own weapons and characters, meaning you can call in high-level help if a certain area is giving you trouble. And thanks to a system that can procedurally generate hundreds of thousands of different guns, based on a pool of stock parts, special ammo and “manufacturer” preferences, bringing in friends also means you could get a weapon you’ve never seen before (if they’re willing to share).

When’s it coming? October.

Guitar Hero 5

(360, PS3, Wii, PS2)

What’s the game?
One of SEVEN “Hero” games releasing in 2009. And while that many sequels may sound like the antithesis of revolutionary, part five is implementing some much needed ideas that all future music games will have to copy.

What’s so revolutionary? Drop in/drop out multiplayer, a feature that’s taken for granted in just about every other genre but has so far eluded Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Both are undeniably party games, yet simple things like adding players, switching instruments and adjusting difficulty meant a whole lotta buzzkill menu surfing. That, in turn, leads to friends sighing in annoyance and girls dropping the mic in favor of something that doesn’t make them feel like a hassle. Guitar Hero 5 allows seamless mid-song changes that will forever end the era of “back out so we can add a vocalist” bullshit, keeping the music (and therefore the party) moving along. From this point on, anything less than total multiplayer control will feel unacceptably archaic.

When’s it coming? September 1, 2009.

StarCraft II

(PC, Mac)

What’s the game?
Only the first sequel to the most revered real-time strategy game ever made.

What’s so revolutionary? Nothing appears revolutionary on the surface; StarCraft II simply looks like the original with fancy 3D graphics. Even the original three races are the same. What’s hidden in the details, however, could make this the ultimate benchmark for competitive RTS and drive the entire nation of South Korea totally insane. One example? While other developers working in the genre have simplified or removed resource gathering, Blizzard has actually made it more complex, which should lead to a ton of complex and bizarre new strategies.

When’s it coming? Currently planned for release by the end of 2009.

Diablo III

(PC, Mac)

What’s the game?
The latest, and long-awaited, entry in the series that defined the entire action-RPG genre. All you really need to know is that you can play as a Witch Doctor who can summon a wall of zombies. Now go back and read that last sentence again.

What’s so revolutionary? As with StarCraft II, this seems like nothing more than a spit-polish applied to Diablo II. Again, though, the little things will demand attention: an immensely eerie environment; massive, intimidating boss monsters; tweaks to the interface for increased player-friendliness; and online co-op that will devour lives like World of Warcraft on growth hormones. The first two games are mimicked ad nauseam to this day…why would the third be any different?

When’s it coming? Rumors have the game releasing December 24 of this year, and a multiplayer beta preceding it in September. Just rumors, though.

TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-shelled


What’s the game?
A current-gen facelift for one of the early ‘90s best scrolling beat ‘em-ups. Same basic 2D gameplay with 3D models and environments.

What’s so revolutionary? To be honest, the game itself isn’t particularly remarkable. Two competing publishers putting licenses and greed aside, however, is! Rather than fix what ain’t broke, Ubisoft (the current TMNT rights holder) struck a deal with Konami (the creator of Turtles in Time) to remake the classic arcade brawler. And this time, the move is purely for quality’s sake, and (not necessarily) a promotional tie-in for an upcoming (awful) game or movie.

Above: Until the suits can figure out who gets richest, we’ll just have to continue stealing

Whereas most aged licensing situations result in years of squabbling over profit shares and axing entire deals… *cough-Goldeneye-cough*… companies like Ubi and Konami are starting to realize that splitting a pile of money is better than no pile at all. Gamers benefit, and we can optimistically look towards a future where our favorite classics aren’t exclusively playable via illegal emulation.

When’s it coming? July 22.

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