Good day all, and welcome back to another instalment of TSA’s most anticipated games of 2013. Today we’ve got two reboots that just keep slipping away from us, two interesting-looking new PS3 exclusives, and the latest release in one of the greatest strategy franchises.
40. XCOM (FPS)
Announced way back in 2010, XCOM was to be a reboot of the old strategy series as a BioShock-infused first-person shooter. And actually, it looked pretty cool – there were housewives with creepy cubey faces, weird oil monsters, and my personal favourite, giant hovering cuboids that dissolved people.
However, there was quite a bit of an uproar about the de-strategy-ing of the series, and it went quietly back underground, only to pop back up at E3 2011 with a new, more tactical style. Yes, there was still a lot of shooting alien stuff in the face, but there was also a bit of team management, and a more global feel to the conflict. Then, of course, 2K got slated for watering down their product and not sticking to their guns (pun!), and it disappeared again.
In the mean time, Firaxis’ much more colourful and strategy-centric XCOM: Enemy Unknown was announced and released to much critical acclaim, and reports now suggest that 2K is at least considering taking the ‘I Am Alive’ approach and turning the FPS XCOM into a downloadable team shooter that’s much less ambitious in scale.
It’s hard to tell right now, but presuming that the game isn’t just straight up cancelled, 2K would likely want it out before the new consoles turn up, so keep an eye out for it some time next year.
39. Total War: Rome II[videoyoutube]Rome II has the pleasure of being the only game in this group of five to have anything resembling an official launch window. Announced back in August, Rome II is the eighth Total War game, following on from 2011’s Shogun 2 which was praised by critics and fans for a return to and refinement of the series’ basics.
Developer Creative Assembly’s focuses for the new game are the introduction of mixed naval and land battles, and an overall bigger focus on naval warfare (hopefully that works out much better in Total War than it did in Red Alert 3…), an expansion of the decisions feature found in Shogun 2 that extends a decision tree throughout the entire campaign, meaning that your actions can affect the course of Roman history, and a focus on enhancing the diplomatic AI to avoid some of the bizarre decisions made my computer players in the previous games.
Total War: Rome II is due out in October 2013 for PC.
38. Prey 2
This “re-imagining” of the universe of 2006’s Prey was first announced in March 2011, shown at E3 that summer, and then promptly disappeared. In March this year, it was rumoured to have been cancelled by publisher Bethesda, but a month later was announced as still in development but no longer aiming for a 2012 release as “game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards”.
The game itself is a massively ambitious open-world shooter that sees you placed in the shoes of Killian Samuels, a US Marshal whose ship crash-landed three years ago. Now you’ve woken up, with no memory of the time in between, and a desire to get that memory back. You’re an awesome badass space bounty hunter, who picks up jobs and can then carry them out pretty much however he wants – just don’t be surprised if your client starts to get annoyed that you never seem to capture anyone alive.
Prey 2 was removed from the upcoming projects page on Bethesda’s website back in September, but amid further cries of cancellation, the company said – referring to the April delay – that “until we’re ready to talk about the game more, the focus on the site is on our upcoming titles”. The furthest-off title still listed is the sometime-in-2013 Elder Scrolls MMO, so assuming that Prey 2 is further that that, we’re probably right in assuming it’s gone next-gen.
Prey 2 could turn up anytime in the next few years on pretty much any platform, if at all.
37. Walking with Dinosaurs
It’s becoming a running theme here, but we’ve not seen too much of this recently-announced licensed Wonderbook project yet. First shown off at Gamescom in trailer form (below), and overshadowed somewhat by the reveal of Disney working on the platform, Walking with Dinosaurs seems to be more of an educational affair than November’s Book of Spells, and it’ll be interesting to see in the coming months whether Supermassive manage to get that balance right. Either way, y’know, you can use your Move to virtually feed virtual dinosaurs, so that’s pretty much the coolest thing ever [Agreed – Kris].
It looks like Sony are setting Walking with Dinosaurs up to be the second Wonderbook release, between Book of Spells and Diggs Nightcrawler, so look for in the coming months on PS3.
One half of Japan Studio’s Gamescom announcement double-bill (alongside Puppeteer), Rain is a quirky PSN action-puzzler about a boy who, one day, goes chasing after the silhouette of a girl, and in the process eventually becomes invisible himself, only to be seen when the falling rain splashes off his head and shoulders.
There’s really not a whole lot else to say at this point – what we’ve seen is definitely reminiscent of Ico, but unlike Puppeteer we have no idea yet who at Sony’s internal Japanese team is working on it, or even when it’s due out. The footage in the trailer certainly looks rougher than you’d think for a release any time soon, but Sony’s unwillingness to even attach a 2013 label to it is surprising.
So, expect Rain on PS3 any time between now and The Last Guardian – zing!
See you for more Top 100 fun when we return on Monday.