As the gaming industry continues to grow, it seems only reasonable to believe game quality has nowhere to go but up. While 2012 didn’t have quite the firepower 2011 packed, fresh releases like Dishonored and Journey show that there is plenty of originality left in the industry and reboots like XCOM showed that classics can be better than ever with a little makeover. That being said, it’s exciting to think ahead to what 2013 has in store for gamers. In this article I’ll feature five of the games you should be paying attention to and see what else the new year may bring.
Game #1: BioShock Infinite- PS3, 360, Windows
This is one of those games that had fans worried due to development issues that mostly stemmed from talent departure. However, as the March 26th release date gets closer, more and more evidence is surfacing to support the notion that the title is back on the right track and ready to knock some socks off. One of the most exciting things about the game is that developer Irrational Games had stated that Infinite is meant to be a rebirth for the franchise, splitting the story off from 1 and 2, and it may even be taking place in a separate universe. Most of the gameplay elements will be similar, but everything has been revamped. BioShock was one of the best young franchises out there, and don’t even think that Infinite will miss a beat.
Game #2: Grand Theft Auto V- PS3, 360 (Wii U and Windows still in the air)
The newest Grand Theft Auto is an obvious inclusion to this list; it may just be the safest bet to be a big hit. Already promised to be the most expansive open world experience yet, and Rockstar also has a few gameplay tweaks up their sleeve. The biggest new feature is the existence of three protagonists that the player can switch to at any time both during and between missions, creating some very interesting possibilities for deeper missions and challenges. No hard release date has been set as of yet, but fans should expect to be able explore Los Santos in the second quarter of 2013.
Game #3: Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengence- PS3, 360
Don’t let the silly word slapped on at the end fool you, this game is a legitimate installment in the Metal Gear Solid series, and that’s a name that has never let gamers down. Players can still sneak through maps like Snake, but for the first time in series history, you might never want to. The game is action oriented, and if slicing through baddies with a cyborg ninja named Raiden doesn’t get you all in a tizzy of pure excitement, we’ve got problems buddy. Rising thankfully drops pretty soon, on Feb. 19.
Game #3: Pikmin 3- Wii U
When the first Pikmin arrived way back in 2001, it was hailed as one of the most original and purely fun games to hit the market in a long time. In 2004, Pikmin 2 kept the coals hot, but then the franchise just disappeared. Two generations of Nintendo consoles later Pikmin 3 is finally on the way, complete with new types of pikmin and the ability to have four group leaders at once. It’s been a long time coming, but no release date is certain, though gamers should be able to rejoice the return of this series sometime this spring.
Game #4: Tomb Raider- PS3, 360, Windows
This is another title that has been looking simply tantalizing in trailers, while also being exciting for the fact of what it could mean for the franchise. Crystal Dynamics has decided to make a clean break from all previous Tomb Raider games and reboot the series with an entirely new continuity. That means we get to see Lara Croft start out as figurative babe in the woods, and play through to watch her develop into the consummate badass heroine that her name has become synonymous with. Gamers will be able to get their hands on this title on March 5.
Game #5: Watch Dogs- Tentatively PS3, 360, Windows
Though there are a couple series reboots on this list, Watch Dogs is the only truly original property to make it in. Every once in a while a new game comes along that changes the whole industry, and it looks like Watch Dogs may just be one of those rarest of gems. High expectations yes, but the game concept is not only completely unique and awesome, but also startlingly appropriate for our age of technological dependency. To put it simply, computers can be hacked, even the most protected systems can be at risk if the hacker is good enough. So what if major cities had central operating systems to run its basic functions? In Watch Dogs, this computer driven world is reality, and that’s where the antihero and super hacker Aiden Pearce comes in. Not sold yet? Just watch the trailer and you will be. The possibilities are endless for this game, but so far we haven’t even gotten a general release date from Ubisoft, only 2013, and the rumor mill is swirling that the game may even be held off to be a release title for the next gen consoles for Sony and Microsoft.
You better believe it. If the Wii U’s release wasn’t indicative enough for you, the countdown is on for Sony and Microsoft’s next gen systems. Expect to finally hear some concrete details on the new consoles at this year’s E3 in June. Also, don’t forget about the new contender in the console wars, the Android powered Ouya, which hits retailers in April. Oh and don’t forget the bajillion honorable mentions that didn’t make my top 5 most anticipated list: Bayonetta 2, a new Castlevania, Dead Space 3, the Devil May Cry reboot, Dynasty Warriors 8, Fortnite, Gears of War: Judgment, God of War: Ascension, final installment for Final Fantasy XIII (hopefully), Rayman Legends, the new Sly Cooper, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and new Tom Clancy games, just to throw out a few.
Phew, it’s going to be a good year. Gear up and good luck gamers!