To kick off the New Year (Happy 2013!) I thought I'd take a look at what this year should bring us gamers. 2012, as I said in my post reviewing the year, was pretty awful but 2013 looks set to be amazing, with some awesome new IPs, some great sequels and hopefully a new console or two. This year should be a very important year for gaming.
To get things started I'll talk about my two most anticipated titles of the year, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Grand Theft Auto V. Metal Gear Solid 2 featured Raiden and he was a terrible character, he was uninteresting, wimpy and too feminine to be the manly badass that Snake was but in the fourth game he becomes a cyborg ninja badass and the premise of Rising is to be able to play in the way you see him in MGS4. This premise combined with Platinum games' stella reputation and Metal Gear's amazing storytelling means that this is a strong contender for Game of the Year. The problem is that everything about Metal Gear has incredibly high standards so the slightest misstep on the sound, story, gameplay, cutscene design, level design or boss fights and the game is pretty much bound for the bargain bin. I guess we'll find out if Platinum can handle the pressure in February.
Next up is Grand Theft Auto V. Grand Theft Auto IV was, for me, boring as sin. It was far too 'gritty' and took itself too seriously also the lack of planes and jet packs and other slightly ridiculous things just made it seem lifeless. Where Vice City and San Andreas were over the top fun IV was yawn inducing boredom. No I don't want to go bowling with you Michelle, I want to get a jet pack and fly to the top of a mountain. If V delivers everything that Grand Theft Auto can be: fun, over the top, satirical, free and deep, then it could be Game of the Year but if they choose the more serious tone of IV then its probably going to be a disaster for me. This game will probably launch in March so Ill have to wait till then to find out.
Next up we have the prospect of Sony and Microsoft joining in the current generation. I would expect that Microsoft will announce the Xbox 720 in February and will release it in November, they love to release things in November and the sheer number of rumours going around seem to back this up. This console will of course feature awesome new games like Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 as well as whatever exclusive stuff Microsoft can get out but the real thing I want to see is whether they will return their focus to the hardcore market that built them or stick with the casual market that they currently love so much. Sony's moves are a lot less clear than Microsoft's, being late last time around hit them hard but I'd still say that its likely that 2013 will only see an announcement of the PS4 with a release in Japan and that the rest of us will have to wait until early 2014. They did this with the Vita and PS3 so they will probably try it again simply because they are likely to find a strong start in Japan. Of course the issue is that they really aren't safe, even in Japan. The Vita has bombed and their credit has been downgraded to Junk so they need to think long and hard about how and when to release the PS4.
My most exciting thing though? The Wii U. The Wii U has some good games out in its launch window (ZombiU, NSMBU, Monster Hunter 3, Pikmin 3) and I would love to play any of these but with the console and its games being so expensive I am still hesitant because beyond March there is next to no information about what is coming for the Wii U. Nintendo need to use spring to announce some big first party games but also to get some third party games out that release alongside their Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts. Some other third party exclusives would also be nice. Nintendo have everything to win and everything to lose in 2013. They are currently a generation ahead and will likely remain so until at least November, they need to capitalise on this one year lead before Microsoft and Sony inevitably overtake them (again!) in the power race and third party publishers start to abandon them (again!).
There are also some other interesting things going on. The Ouya should be available in April (I hope to get one) and we'll be able to see what impact, if any, this has on the gaming industry. Also Kickstarter should probably have another fantastic year and more and more indie games and downloadable titles will probably be released to blow our minds.
2013 looks set to be the most exciting year for gaming that's occurred for a very long time and I cannot wait to play all the awesome new games and consoles and share my thoughts on them with you all here.