There is a powerhouse line-up of major franchises and popular characters set to debut in 2012. As we mentioned before, 2011 was one of the best years for gaming, 2012 has a lot to live up to. I think we can be confident of having a good year with games like these on the way. Here is a list of some of the most anticipated games of this year.
Bioshock: Infinite has been exciting gamers since its announcement in 2010. Taking place in 1912, the player controls Booker a former detective for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. His/your first task is to infiltrate the floating city Columbia to find Elizabeth who has been held there for the last 12 years. The steam punk floating cities that stage the next chapter in the BioShock series have already won a few awards at last years E3 including, “Best in Show” and “Best Original Game”. Taking the action from underwater to the skies, creator Ken Levine is hoping fans will embrace the new direction and explore the new setting.
Some old friends will be returning in Diablo III and more than 10 years after Diablo II, players will get to battle the forces of evil with new destructible environments and 5 classes to play. It will be interesting to see how the player auction house will work with real world money for digital items. From all accounts the Beta was received well but left players wanting more after the short time spent casting spells, collecting loot and talking to npcs. Blizzard know what they are doing, lets just hope there aren’t too many Blizzard delays.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Final Fantasy XIII-2 returns players to Cocoon in search of Lightning, the hero from Final Fantasy XIII. The game was released in mid-December in Japan to perfect scores, selling more than 524,000 copies for the PlayStation 3 version alone. Some changes to Paradigm Shift system and the monster encounter process including the new Mog Clock. Square Enix, developer of the game, is expecting a great launch for the rest of the world in 2012.
Halo 4 is the next blockbuster instalment in an iconic franchise that has helped define a generation of gaming. From Machinima to Online etiquette and recharging health the Halo franchise has taken a gravity hammer to the way we used to play games. In the next game Master Chief returns to face an ancient evil that (suprise) threatens the entire universe. Designed in a three game story arc set after the events of Halo 3, Master Chief and Cortana will have to battle their way through new enemies. Expect the developers to delve into the connection between everyone’s favourite Spartan and his AI counterpart. More story twists and information about the Forerunners and the technologies they have left behind.
Mass Effect 3
Speaking of saving the universe from ancient evils, Mass Effect 3 brings back Commander Shepard to resume the battle against the machine race of Reapers. The story is expected to flow directly from the ending of Mass Effect 2 and will also offer a female version of Commander Shepard for the first time. Players who have save files of Mass Effect 1 and 2 will be able to bring them forward and depending on decisions made in the previous games will ripple through in this final chapter. There is even word of a multiplayer Co-Op mode of up to four players, specific non campaign missions that if completed will have an effect on the single player mode.
More than I can count
Other titles, like Resident Evil Revelations, Street Fighter X Tekken, Max Payne 3, Borderlands 2 and Grand Theft Auto V will also have our eyes on them and may be must-play games this year.
Fire Emblem 3DS, Paper Mario, Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney
Myself and other gamers I know are still to be convinced on the power of 3-D as more than a novelty. Nintendo announced the other week that the 3DS has sold 4 million units in the U.S alone. — an impressive but hardly spectacular number for a device that was intended to be the future of portable gaming. Fire Emblem sees a new story, not just a remake of previous titles. A return of Paper Mario and turn based combat may be just what the 3DS needs in it’s 2012 line up. It will be interesting to see if the paper world comes across well in 3D.
Future of Casual and mobile gaming
But as is becoming increasingly clear, gaming is not just for consoles, and consoles are not just for gaming. Smartphones and tablets are continuing their march into the gaming genre with more choices from Atari, Zynga, Electronic Arts and other well-known gaming developers on the way.
As mobile devices become more powerful, social and casual gaming is expected to define a new and growing base of folks as “gamers.” Some research shows that demographic is morphing into nearly an even split between males and females, as well as the average age of the gamer keeps increasing.
Likewise, consoles are broadening their entertainment scope beyond just gaming, into live sporting events, movies and music. Hulu, Netflix and ESPN have already made inroads that other providers are sure to be exploring in the coming year. Look for that trend to continue as content producers look to capture audiences wherever they are.
Communications market researcher TMNG expects the global gaming business to reach $40 billion in revenues by the end of 2012.
What are you looking forward to playing in 2012?