PSVita. That’s the name Sony has given to its PlayStation Portable successor. And let’s just say that the name has been met with less enthusiasm than the device itself — which looks pretty darn great.
Sony also showed off footage and demos from their hottest upcoming titles. But will 2011 always be Sony’s year of the PSN meltdown? Or did their showing at this year’s E3 help that image fade?
You can’t have a great hero without a great villain, or so goes the adage. The hotly-anticipated third entry in the Uncharted series has just unveiled its dastardly mustache-twirler. But in this case, the creative team at Naughty Dog has given hero Nathan Drake a nemesis with two X chromosomes and some refined sophistication.
Meet Katherine Marlowe, who’s reportedly the head of a secret society that dates back to the time of Queen Elizabeth I. (That’s four hundred years, for those without a history book handy.) Naughty Dog describes Marlowe as a “coldly calculating” woman that you don’t want to get in the way of.
As you can see in the cutscene above, she’s a longtime rival of Drake’s over a ring that’s central to the story because it belonged to his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake. This ring is the key to unlocking “an ancient mystery” that I assume is related to finding Iram of the Pillars (aka “Atlantis of the Sands”), which we already know is the ultimate goal of the game.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception arrives on the annoyingly clever date of 11-11-11. Sony sent over some screenshots, character concept art, a render for Katherine Marlowe, and the aforementioned cutscene, all of which I now present for your consumption. You’re welcome.
Everybody has their favorites. Any good list of upcoming games ought to include triple-A titles like Diablo III or Call of Duty 37 (or whatever CoD is sure to be out by year’s end). But this ain’t that kind of list. These are the top eleven games I can’t wait to see in 2011 — the games that I expect to innovate and enhance the medium. Some are personal favorites; some just look flat-out astounding.
Here we go, in no particular order.
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham Asylum was not only the first superhero game to actually satisfy superhero fans, it also had the audacity to be one of the most gorgeous games ever made. The sequel already has fans like me salivating for more. With a much larger playing area and new twists like multiplayer added to the mix, Arkham City is a an absolute must-play.
Duke Nukem Forever
What more can be said about the game that almost never was that has suddenly become a reality? Those who’ve gotten their hands on it say that it more than lives up to expectations. Can’t wait to find out for myself.
Mass Effect 3
Just announced a few weeks ago, but not a surprise to anyone, Mass Effect 3 is set to answer the cliffhanger at the end of the last game and bring this epic science fiction series to an Earth-shattering conclusion. Literally. The technology BioWare uses in this franchise has always been impressive, but when it comes to Mass Effect, the play’s the thing, and I’m hoping for a killer crescendo.
Undoubtedly Media Molecule will deliver another unforgettable platforming experience, but the real excitement here comes from seeing what the LBP community will come up with, using LBP2‘s expansive set of creation tools. Especially since beta users have already created everything from Portal to Windows XP. The explosion of creativity that’s about to happen should be simply amazing.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
As a major fan of the original Deus Ex, I have high hopes that Eidos Montreal will revive the series with gusto and flair. The studio has strong pedigree but creator Warren Spector’s absence is worrisome. Oh please oh please… give us a great Deus Ex or no Deus Ex at all.
The buzz of late has been all about that advanced facial-tracking technology, which is allowing Team Bondi to create CGI characters that emote better than any ever seen in a video game. But the late 40s setting, the stylistic, gritty visuals, and the crime-noir story promise for some truly intriguing gameplay.
Whereas the first game was a cheaply-made mod of Half-Life 2, Valve is going all out for Portal 2, with its own art assets, a longer game, and far more fiendish puzzles. Seriously, how can you not be excited for this?
Child of Eden
Since its unforgettable debut at last year’s E3 (seen in the video above), Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s spiritual sequel to Rez combines touch, visuals, and sound in a breathtaking shooter experience that’s part science and part art. And with a design intentionally constructed with Kinect in mind, Child of Eden might just be the motion sensing device’s long-awaited killer app.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Naughty Dog carries video gaming boldly forward as a legitimate medium for storytelling with every new entry in the Uncharted series. Nathan Drake’s next big adventure plops him down in the desert, which in anyone else’s hands might be a snoozefest but with Naughty Dog at the helm, I can’t wait to see how they rise to the challenge and make this Drake’s most exciting and dangerous environment yet.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
As Nintendo’s flagship title for the new 3DS, Kid Icarus has a lot riding on his feathery shoulders. The future of the 3DS doesn’t hinge on this title’s success by any means, but it’s definitely going to be the first benchmark for what the platform can do. Is 3D gaming the future? How does it change the dynamic of a third-person game? We’re about to find out.
Assassin’s Creed III
Ubisoft has found its answer to Activision’s annual game franchise (Call of Duty) with a completely different and wildly original formula. All we know about 2011’s entry is that Ubisoft is planning a major AC game for release by Christmas, but I’m betting it’ll be the debut of a third historical hero for Desmond Miles to vicariously live through. Or might Desmond himself be the hero, climbing and assassinating his way through the concrete jungles of the 21st Century?
THQ doesn’t have the best track record as an FPS developer (looking at you, Frontlines), but there seems to be a creative renaissance taking place behind THQ’s doors these days. And their “Call of Duty on occupied home soil” shooter Homefront — set in the near future in an America that’s been invaded and overtaken by North Korea — has some major talent onboard: John Milius, the screenwriter behind Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn. Throw in some real-life CIA consultants and you’ve got the promise of both a gripping story and super authenticity. Homefront promises to show us a possible future that’s frighteningly realistic, and I’m certain it’s going to generate some controversial headlines.
What’s on your 2011 must-play list? Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, Rage, Elder Scrolls V, Gears 3, Twisted Metal, Zelda: Skyward Sword, or countless others? Care to speculate on sequels or games that haven’t yet been announced?
It’s that time again. Pull up a chair, throw an extra log on the fire, and pour yourself a cuppa, ’cause we gonna watch us some killer new game trailers and dev diaries.
Let’s start with a new look at Portal 2. This week Valve is showing off this pre-rendered CGI trailer that unveils the new robotic characters that you’ll be able to play as in Portal 2‘s co-op mode. Methinks whoever animated this has been watching a lot of WALL-E…
Sony has a new TV commercial for Killzone 3 that’s making the rounds. Here it is in case you haven’t seen it.
Did you know that Silicon Knights is working on a new X-Men game? It’s called X-Men Destiny and it sounds like an RPG with its heavy focus on choices that lead to a branching storyline.
THQ’s upcoming shooter Homefront puts you inside an America that’s occupied by North Korea and turned into a military state. Looks pretty brutal, and the fact that THQ is citing real-world political figures from Korea means that it’s almost certainly destined to be controversial. Check out the violence-heavy trailer below.
Bodycount is gunplay on acid, letting you shoot through anything you see.
The first DLC for Fallout: New Vegas is on its way. It’s called Dead Money, and here’s a short trailer for it.
Something I’ve heard a lot of buzz about over the last week has been the cutting-edge new motion capture techniques being employed by Rockstar in L.A. Noire. The result is on-screen animated characters that display remarkably realistic human expressions. See for yourself.
Step right up, sports fans. Here’s your first look at 2k Sports’ MLB 11 The Show.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam is out now, but here’s one last trailer for it in case you haven’t looked into it yet.
Naughty Dog has released a new video showing gameplay footage from Uncharted 3‘s “Chateau” level that was first glimpsed on Jimmy Fallon.
And we sign off for this week with all the Crysis 2 you can shake a candle at:
Whether you find Jimmy Fallon funny or not, there’s no denying that the guy’s a hardcore geek. He was the first late-night talk show host to openly embrace technology and social media — something that most other hosts still haven’t entirely figured out. (Well, Conan gets it, but only recently.)
Anyway… with Fallon’s geek cred, it’s no surprise that he got the world’s first-ever hands-on demo with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. It’s a short video — less than five minutes — during which the controller is traded between Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells & Christophe Balestra and Fallon. But there are several moments of Uncharted’s patented cinematic intensity on display in this demo that features Nathan Drake fighting through a chateau that’s burning down around him.
It’s just enough of a taste to make you lust after a game that won’t arrive for almost a year. No doubt there will be tons more previews between now and November 1, 2011.
For extra credit, here’s a wicked cool behind-the-scenes look at production studio Naughty Dog, who’s hard at work on the game right now.
Mass Effect 3. Elder Scrolls 5. Forza 4. Uncharted 3. Prototype 2. Resistance 3. Batman: Arkham City. SSX. And a certain Guillermo del Toro game…
Spike’s Video Game Awards aired over the weekend, and while few gamers or industry insiders consider the awards themselves to be all that prestigious, the industry does always take the opportunity to unveil a slew of new games for the coming year with fancy, big-budget trailers. Which are always much bigger news than the award winners. So here are some of the biggest games you have to look forward to next year.
Start saving up now.
(Note that most of these trailers are intended for mature audiences.)
One of the biggest nobody-saw-it-coming surprises of the night was the announcement of Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. Check out the trailer for an explanation of what that title means, but don’t expect to see any gameplay footage.
Batman: Arkham City isn’t news, but the VGAs got a brand-spanking-new, intensely cool trailer that reveals who the game’s main villain is. Again, no gameplay footage, but who cares when you get a mini Batman action movie of this caliber?
It’s a surprise to no one that Mass Effect 3 was officially announced, but this trailer for what is presumably the final act of Commander Shepard’s story is suitably dark and exciting.
Sega showed off its first gameplay trailer for its tie-in game to Marvel’s Thor movie. Entitled Thor: God of Thunder, it looks a lot like God of War.
Speaking of Kratos, he’s been added to the roster for the new Mortal Kombat, as revealed in this new spot:
Here’s a new trailer for Resistance 3, which according to this video, is coming September 6th 2011.
Another major announcement: Prototype 2. This time, you play as a new guy with the same powers who sets out to track down the main character from the first game.
Remember that game that Guillermo del Toro said he was working on with THQ? And THQ was like, “We don’t know what he’s been smoking,” and del Toro was like “Oh no they didn’t…” Okay, I made up that last one. But surprise surprise: THQ was full of it, ’cause the game is real. It’s called inSane, and it’s a horror game from Volition. That’s all we know about it. Watch this teaser if you don’t believe me.
Forza Motorsport 4 is officially official. Here’s the first teaser.
After a very long absence, the SSX snowboarding franchise is making a buzzed-about return. SSX: Deadly Descents is taking a turn toward survival, as it pits a team of snowboarders against some of the most dangerous real-world peaks in the world. Extreme sports + extreme environments = extreme survival.
Last but certainly not least, here’s the first full trailer for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. It’s mostly pre-rendered stuff focusing on the story (story is always king in the Uncharted universe, which is fine by me), but watch closely for a few glimpses of gameplay footage at the very end.
Long known to be in the pipeline but under intense secrecy until today, Sony has finally taken the wraps off of the third Uncharted game, which finds Nathan Drake on an adventure in the desert. The title? Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. And it’s coming late next year.
As the title implies, deception is the game’s theme, so look for lots of double-crosses and even some kind of deception involving hero Nathan Drake’s identity. The story brings finds Nathan teaming up with his mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan to search the globe for a real-life legendary lost city called Iram of the Pillars (aka “Atlantis of the Sands”), leading them to the Arabian Peninsula and the Rub’ al Khali Desert.
Game studio Naughty Dog says that they cooked up this story out of their eternal desire to challenge themselves creatively, and they figured designing game levels in a desert would be extremely challenging. They’re also adding enhanced backward climbing and the ability to fight multiple enemies at a time. The game is also getting a special focus on the multiplayer stuff this go ’round as the studio hopes to beef it up until it’s good enough to compete with the likes of Call of Duty and Halo.
Uncharted 3 will utilize motion-capture even more than past entries have, to make the game an “interactive cinematic experience.” This will also mark the first chapter of the franchise that will be playable in high-def 3D.
I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this one. In the meantime, check out the first images from the game, below. There’s also a teensy little teaser trailer that does nothing except announce the title.