Written by Andre McEachrane Monday, 16 January 2012 22:22
2011 has been a big year for games. Portal 2, Arkham City and Skyrim are just a few of the big releases that dominated this year, but 2012 is looking to do just as well. With the next numbered Halo, the end of the Mass Effect trilogy and a new Bioshock headed by Ken Levine and the folks down at Irrational, 2012 may end up being just as big or even bigger than 2011. Here’s a look at just some of those games coming out next year.
Soul Calibur V
Available January 31
Soul Calibur is making it’s return with the series’ fifth major installment to kick off the new year. Those familiar with the series should know what to expect. Plenty of characters all of which use a different weapon, instead of the usual hand to hand combat from other games and a story that resolves around the Soul Edge sword.
The game brings around 30 characters total for you to choose from. Many of which are returning from previous games but there are also plenty of new ones, some of which who are the sons or daughters of main characters. Then of course there is the special guest character Ezio Auditore da Firenze from the Assassin’s Creed series who actually makes a pretty god fit for this series.
Along with great single and multiplayer modes, an expanded character creation mode and much more, Soul Calibur V gets the year off to a good start.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Available January 31
The second direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game also starts off the New Year along side Soul Calibur V.
Three years following the events of Final Fantasy XIII, the game’s lead character Lightning along with most of the memories of the people in Grand Pulse and Cocoon have vanished. Now Lightning’s sister Serah and her mysterious companion Noel go on an adventure through time to find Lightning along with uncovering the mystery behind the strange occurrences that plague their world.
XIII-2 looks to have fixed a lot of the problems players had with the first game. Adding actual towns, more interesting story points and scenes, player choice that affects the outcome of the story, and even dialogue options that while not as robust as a game like Mass Effect, is still a step in the right direction. Along with improvements to an already great battle system, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a game to look forward to.
Available February 14
The biggest snowboarding game franchise is finally back after a five year absence since its last appearance which was on the Wii.
This new iteration of the franchise is a reboot of sorts, changing from the previously limited and linear paths in the older games to featuring nine different mountain ranges, 27 peaks and over 100 different drops total between all of the areas. With the help of helicopters and wingsuits to get around and aid with tricks, SSX is set to be the biggest game in the series.
The game will also bring back a lot of the old characters now redesigned for the new generation performing the visually impressive tricks that the series is known for. All you have to do is watch out for those avalanches (seriously).
Mass Effect 3
Available March 6
The end of Shepard’s story and the Mass Effect trilogy is almost here with the third and maybe biggest game in the series to date. Following the events of the last Mass Effect 2 DLC pack Arrival, Shepard is now on trial on Earth when the Reapers attack. It’s up to your Shepard to find help combat the Reapers in hopes of defeating them or die trying.
For the first time the series will also feature a cooperative multiplayer mode which will allow you and up to three other players to play through separate missions as either your own Shepard or as one of the many races in the Mass Effect universe. By completing these missions they will help you get a perfect ending in your single player campaign but they are not necessary to do so.
Ninja Gaiden III
Available in March 2012
Ninja Gaiden III isn't just the next major game in the series, it's also the first to not be helmed by former game director Tomonobu Itagaki.
This sequel is set to humanize Ryu Hayabusa while also telling a more detailed backstory. The gameplay for the most part is staying the same but adds new moves such as a more effective aerial techniques and stealth sections. Though the game will include an Easy mode for the first time, Team Ninja promises the game will still have it’s incredible difficulty, just no more dismemberment.
Street Fighter X Tekken
Available March 6
For the first time ever characters from the Street Fighter and Tekken franchises are going against each other head to head.
Being made by Capcom the game will still play more like a Street Fighter game while Namco will also be making their own version of the crossover where the characters will play more like the Tekken series.
Unlike Capcom’s other crossover series, Marvel vs Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken will have an explanation as to why these two series are mixing together. Though for most people as long as they can have Ryu and King going at it, they probably won’t care as to how it works out in the canon.
Available in TBA 2012
Grasshopper Manufacture, the makers of the No More Heroes series and 2011‘s Shadows of the Damned are nearly ready to release their next bizarre creation Lollipop Chainsaw.
You control Juliet Starling who by day is the head cheerleader for San Romero High School, and by night is a chainsaw wielding Zombie Hunter. With the help of some of her family members and boyfriend (who happens to be a disembodied head) you fight against a horde of zombies lead by a group of zombie rock and roll lords. Those unfamiliar with previous Suda 51 games are in for a treat as this is probably just the beginning of the madness.
Lollipop Chainsaw’s gameplay hasn't exactly been defined as of yet but it seems to be an action game similar to Suda's No More Heroes, but it is said to include some use of sound as a major component.
Available in Summer 2012
The first Darksiders came out of no where in early 2009 but with its amazing combination of Zelda’s and God of War’s gameplay its success shouldn’t have been much of a surprise.
What’s interesting about this sequel is it actually takes place simultaneously with the first game but instead of playing as War you play as one of the other Four Horsemen, Death. The game also won’t be taking place in the same location as the first game but in a new, bigger area and will also include the other two horsemen Fury and Strife as a part of the story.
Available September 1 (tentative)
The sequel to Gearbox’s highly successful shooter/role playing hybrid is coming back next fall bringing even more guns, enemies and areas than the first.
The story picks up five years after the first game, with a man named Handsome Jack taking credit for opening the vault on Pandora. Now with all of the treasures from inside he has taken over the planet getting rid of it’s colonist population and industrializing it. You play as one of four characters of your choosing and are tasked with taking out Handsom Jack by a mysterious Guardian Angel.
Borderlands 2 keeps most of it’s familiar gameplay and builds upon it. Now you will be able to further customize your weapons, fight against a much improved enemy AI and experience an enhanced mission structure.
Borderlands 2 is sure to be a sequel that will not disappoint.
Available Q3 2012
Lara Croft is going through her biggest change yet with Crystal Dynamics' second reinvention of the series.
Straight out of the academy, a 21 year old Lara Croft travels to an island off the coast of Japan in search of ancient artifacts but ends up shipwrecked and forced to survive on the island alone.
Puzzles are back of course along with a completely redesigned combat system using a new free aim method for the first time instead of the lock-on system. And with a lack of guns rarely on in the beginning of the game Lara will have to learn to create her own weapons such as a bow ‘n’ arrow or spears. All of Lara's skills can also be upgraded through a skill system, a first for the series.
Look for Lara Croft’s very first adventure in the latter half of this year.
Available Q4 2012
The next major game in the Halo franchise will be dropping this fall and may be the most important yet. This will be the first major Halo game not created by series creator Bungie and for the foreseeable future will be helmed by 343 Industries. Halo 4 will also begin the start of a new trilogy, bringing back Master Chief and his AI companion Cortana.
Not much is known about the game so far, nor has any gameplay been shown but we can probably expect to see something at Microsoft's 2012 E3 press conference. What we do know so far is the game will focus on the Forerunners and the effects Halo has had on Cortana.
Available TBA 2012
One of the biggest games to be released this year has to be Bioshock Infinite. The game is not a direct sequel or prequel to either of the other games but will feature similar gameplay, mechanics and themes to those two games. Returning to the franchise is Ken Levine and his team at the now named Irrational Games the creators of the series.
Set in 1912, you play as Booker DeWitt a former Pinkerton agent who has to rescue a women named Elizabeth from the collapsing air-city Columbia. Really I could describe this entire game to you but you should really just check out one of the gameplay videos that have been released online. After watching those you will be counting down the days to this game with the rest of us.
Dead or Alive 5
Available TBA 2012
Like Ninja Gaiden III, DOA 5 will also be the first game not to be helmed but Itagaki.
Barely anything has been shown from the game expect for a pre-alpha build gameplay video which showcased Ryu Hayabusa and Hayate duking it out on the top of a building. The video did show off a ton of environment interactions that could change the feel of the game along with making it more visually appealing, along with a few new moves by the two characters.
More from the game is expected to be shown by E3 at the latest so we should hopefully know more by then.
Available in TBA 2012
Agent 47 is back after a six year absence to our consoles sometime later this year.
Most of what we know about Absolution is everything we have seen during a 17 minute walkthrough for one of the levels in the game. Stealth take downs, manipulating enemies and of course disguises are still there for fans, but you will also notice a few of the tricks the Eidos team picked from games like Assassin’s Creed, Batman and even the last Splinter Cell, which definitely isn’t a bad thing.
Not confirmed but we’re hopeful
Shadow Complex 2
The folks down at Epic and Chair have said the game is coming we just don't know when. With Infinity Blade 2 finished and released hopefully beside DLC for said game the team will begin focusing on the sequel to what many call the best game available in the Xbox Live Arcade. Besides more Metroidvania awesomeness we know absolutely nothing but all we can hope is this game can make it to our hard drive sometime this year.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII
So this isn't confirmed as a release for this year, nor is it confirmed as a 360 game but both are entirely possible so it still makes the list.
Announced around the same time of Final Fantasy XIII, Versus XIII doesn’t take place in the same universe nor does it use any of the same mechanics, like the Active Time Battle system. It’s said to have combat more similar to Square’s other RPG series Kingdom Hearts and play more like older Final Fantasy games. But with the few trailers that are actually released rarely focusing on gameplay, it’s kind of hard to tell. Even if we just get a Japanese release before the end of this year we’ll know the game isn’t far off for the west.
We know Diablo is definitely coming out next year, but it still isn’t confirmed for consoles. The good thing is there have been plenty of rumors and job listings for console developers at Blizzard so it may just happen. It also doesn’t hurt that everyone knows the gameplay for Diablo would actually work on a console (Torchlight says hello). It probably won’t make it for a simultaneous launch but later in the year could definitely happen.
Also coming out next year
The Darkness II
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Counter Strike Global Offense
Game of Thrones
Metal Gear Solid Rising
Max Payne 3
Silent Hill Downpour
Fable The Journey