GamesBeat

Survey of the 2013 Gaming Post-Apocalypse

This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

A Survey of the 2013 Gaming Post-Apocalypse

As 2012 comes to a close, it’s time for a look at what’s waiting in 2013!

As I did last year on Bitmob, I thought it would be interesting to survey what the next year has to offer between consoles, handhelds, and PCs in North America by taking a large sampling of what (I hope) will show up and go from there. A breakdown on a few numbers along with some personal thoughts on the whole thing are also posted up on the last page, finishing the list out.

A few things to mention first

Like last year’s list, this sample was put together using a number of sources including Wikipedia, Gamestop, various gaming sites, and what I’ve been tracking myself. Some simply have TBA 2013 as release dates but are not a guarantee that they might actually show up. Blizzard’s StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm was expected “TBA 2012″ in last year’s sample, but will be coming out on March 13th, 2013, after a lengthy beta.

Also, for reference, “Q1″ and “Q2″ refer to quarters of a year (three months), a window that a title may be released in depending on the developer’s or the publisher’s current info. In the Wii U’s case, “launch window” titles are expected anywhere between its North American launch date (November 18th, 2012) and March of 2013. Like a randomly generated dungeon, stuff can, and often has, changed, though.

And like last time, some games didn’t make the main list for a number of reasons. One reason was simply a lack of information in some cases, or too little. Everyone knows that there’s more than likely going to be another Call of Duty out next year, but as far as details are concerned, there’s not a lot to go on other than it’s going to be an FPS.

Japanese-only titles aren’t on this list, either, because of not knowing for certain that they’re coming out in NA.

Where are the indies?

Like last time, there are a few on the list, but covering the vast majority of them with projects in the oven for 2013 would probably require another list of its own. A far better overview of the exciting stuff happening there is provided at sites such as the IndieGame Magazine along with the vast community of projects listed at IndieDB.

The mobile market is also beyond the scope of this sample list but no less important. If you want to know more on what that segment has to offer devices such as the iPhone or Android, sites such as touchArcade (http://toucharcade.com/) and Phandroid are loaded with plenty of info.

So…games now?

If you have any games that aren’t on this list but you’re excited about for next year, be sure to put them in the comments to let everyone know! This is, by no means, a comprehensive listing of what’s expected out in 2013. I’m sure that there are still plenty of surprises waiting for everybody!

So now, on to the games!

Action and Adventure

Amnesia: A Machine for PigsAmnesia: A Machine for Pigs – thechineseroom (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
January, 2013

What is it?
The next installment in what could be emerging as a series of games sharing the horror-steeped formula of Frictional Games’ Amnesia, this takes place in 1899 within the bowels of a mysterious factory. Players will be sweating inside the skin of Oswald Mandus, an industrialist who has just returned from a “disastrous expedition” to Mexico. Waking up, you’re not sure how much time has actually passed – or what might be going on. Developers are promising more storylines intertwining with each other within the game and, of course, more blood curdling moments in the sputtering light licking at the shadows next to you.

Beyond: Two SoulsBeyond: Two Souls – Quantic Dream (PS3)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
Quantic Dream is flexing its storytelling chops once again after Heavy Rain. Through a stunning trailer, the developer is teasing a mysterious girl at the center of an unearthly power tearing apart small town normalcy in the dead of night. Not much else is revealed aside from how good it already looks and what lies “beyond” death as a part of what could amount to another chilling, and mature, story-based title.

bioshock_infinite_1BioShock Infinite – Irrational Games (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 26, 2013

What is it?
It’s a new installment to the ongoing series than a direct sequel, this time taking players high into the skies of the early 20th century as America literally rides high. Players take on the role of Booker DeWitt, an investigator, who is sent to the flying city of Columbia to find and rescue Elizabeth in order to clear his name of past disgrace. On Columbia, Booker and Elizabeth both will be fighting for their lives against a patchwork quilt of steampowered weirdness plated over with plenty of story. And Ken Levine isn’t simply building on top of what he’s done before, either, having admitted to creating a crack team to build Elizabeth into the “best AI companion character since Alyx Vance from Valve’s Half-Life 2”.

brokensword_serpentscurse_1Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse – Revolution Software (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Kickstarter
Q1 2013

What is it?
The Broken Sword series returns in a fifth installment after a successful Kickstarter to help fund the sequel. It’s bringing back the original voice actors, such as Rolf Saxon reprising his role as George, with series developer Charles Cecil back in action with his team. It’s going to be a 2D, animated adventure that will take George and Nico back to Europe in a quest to discover the truth behind a mysterious art theft. But as fans, like me, know too well, it’s only the first part of a much larger adventure that we can’t wait to point-and-click our way through..

castlevania_mirroroffateCastlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate – MercurySteam (3DS)
Game site
March 5, 2013

What is it?
The sequel to MercurySteam’s reboot of the Castlevania legend, Lords of Shadow, is a 3DS exclusive. It takes place 25 years later as Trevor Belmont, son of the hero, Gabriel, from the first game, pits himself against his father who has become the infamous Dracula. The events in this game will eventually set up the bigger sequel, Lords of Shadow 2.

DARK_gameDark – Realmforge Studios (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
A stealth game featuring the player as a bloodsucking vampire with powers and no idea how he got them. It takes place in today’s world giving it something of a modern edge in the same way that Troika’s Bloodlines had also done. Little else has been revealed other than it will also be using RPG elements in addition to being a sneaker.

diriptideDead Island: Riptide – Techland (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
April 23, 2013

What is it?
It’s the sequel to the fun, but heavily flawed, open-world zombie buster, Dead Island. The sequel takes place hours after a massive hurricane tears through the resort paradise flooding the city and laying waste to the environment, creating new dangers and challenges for the survivors who are now caught between nature and the undead who are still hungry. One of the most interesting things about the game is that it will import the saved stats of your character from the first one, so you can technically start the game as a level 60 beast and level up from there. Let’s hope the netcode is just as ambitious in simply working the way it should.

DS3_1Dead Space 3 – Visceral Games (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows)
Game site
February 5, 2013

What is it?
The third game in EA’s popular sci-fi horror series will be featuring everyone’s favorite space engineer suited up for a freezing trip to the mysterious planet of Tau Volantis. They’ve kept much of the story under wraps, but one thing that has already met with some criticism is the new co-op feature which has been argued could detract from the singular horror of the previous titles. The team behind the game promises that it won’t so the jury’s still out on how creepy the game will remain with a buddy. But at least players can count that there will still be plenty of limbs to go around.

deadpool-screenshot-6-largeDeadpool – High Moon Studios (PS3, Xbox 360)

http://deadpoolgame.com/

TBA 2013

What is it?
Expected sometime in 2013, the “merc with a mouth” is starring in his own, third-person action game. With Deadpool scribe, Daniel Way, leading the charge on the writing, players can likely expect even more of the silver tongued crazy shown off by the popular anti-hero in the comics and in games such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions.

dmc_scytheDmC: Devil May Cry – Ninja Theory (PS3, X360)
Game site
January 15, 2013

What is it?
Not much has changed since last year’s look. Capcom tapped Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved) to build this prequel up from ground zero eliciting more than a few angry reactions from a number of die-hard fans who variously described the protagonist as a “drug addict” to Tameemi Antoniades’ alter-ego…anything but Dante. With a demo in the mix and with considerably even keeled reactions from community forums such as DevilMayCry.org, and in being surprisingly fun to this DmC fan, it has a lot to prove when it finally hits shelves in January.

dynasty_warriors_7_empiresDynasty Warriors 7: Empires – Omega Force (PSN)
Game site
February 26, 2013

What is it?
It’s the “Empires” version of this chapter of the series adding in more politics and tactical options to the title. Instead of a retail release, though, it looks like it’s going to be download-only for the PS3 via PSN.

Fuse_insomniacFuse – Insomniac Games (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
October, 2013

What is it?
Formerly known as Overstrike, Fuse has undergone not only a title change but something of a makeover as a new trailer and more info on its setting have revealed in the past year. Featuring four-player, class-based co-op, Fuse is named after the mysterious energy source that everyone is after and is also responsible for the “fringe-tech” weapons that these hardcore troubleshooters use to get the job done. In addition to the Michael Baysian explosions and the bodies of bad guys dropping everywhere, an upgrade path for each agent will also improve their handiness on the battlefield.

gamewario_1Game & Wario – Nintendo (Wii U)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
A batch of micro-games featuring Wario, it’s due out during the Wii U’s “launch window” that extends into the first quarter of 2013. The game takes its name from Nintendo’s portable “Game & Watch” series in the 80s and early 90s consisting of miniaturized versions of popular games such as Donkey Kong. In this game, players will ski, use the gamepad as a camera to photograph bad guys, shoot arrows with Wario’s mustache, and steal fruit among other challenges.

gianasisterstwisteddreams_1Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Black Forest Games (PSN, XBLA)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Another game borne out from a successful Kickstarter project, this platformer saw release for Windows PCs in October and is now slated for release on PSN and XBLA. Featuring the Giana Sisters who had their debut on the C64 in 1987 and had returned as recently to audiences on the Nintendo DS in 2009, the new game features the ability to freely shift between both “cute” and “punk” persona for Giana as she jumps, fights, and figures out her way through her dreamworld to rescue her sister.

godofwar_ascensionGod of War: Ascension – SCE Santa Monica (PS3)
Game site
March 12, 2013

What is it?
As a prequel, this takes us back to Kratos’ early days as Ares’ water boy and right after he was led to slay his family, so he’s primed for revenge. Years before he would finally have his vengeance in the first God of War, Kratos tries to break his chains by bringing his ire to the Furies. From the videos, my first impression was that this was like Prince of Persia meets bloody chaos as he can do things like stop time or rebuild things to get past obstacles – like any good time using hero can – while using his Blades of Chaos to annihilate enemies. The game will also boast multiplayer, a first for the series.

GTA5_1Grand Theft Auto V – Rockstar (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game Site
Spring 2013

What is it?
The long-awaited fifth installment of Rockstar’s mega successful urban sandbox is closing in on a release date sporting a bigger world, better graphics, and an innovative split between three different protagonists who players will see the game through. Outside of the story missions, players can also swap between any of the three making it a first for the series and opening the door to even bigger possibilities on how they will be expanding the formula. Cars, guns, heists, and even jets are all being stuffed into the massive city of Los Santos. It’s going to be an awesome ride.

hakuoki_warriors_shinsengumi_screenshot9Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi – Idea Factory (PSP)
Game site
February 19, 2013

What is it?
Based in 19th century Kyoto, players will take the role of one of six main characters from the previous game, Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, and see the original story from their perspective or even change the story a they battle through hordes of enemies Dynasty Warriors-style. The more important focus is on the story, however, which spawned an anime and manga series of its own.

moebiusconceptart_1Jane Jensen’s Moebius – Pinkerton Road (OS X, Windows)
Game site
March, 2013

What is it?
A new adventure game from Jane Jensen and her husband, Robert Holmes, at their studio named Pinkerton Road. Jane Jensen is probably better known for her work with Gabriel Knight at Sierra and she has continued to bring her storytelling expertise to audiences most recently with Grey Matter. Moebius will revolve around an antiquities dealer named Malachi Rector who soon becomes involved in a mysterious plot beginning in Venice. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter, it’s going to bring the 2D look longtime fans will recognize from the first Gabriel Knight along with two modes of play to broaden its appeal to veterans and newcomers.

lastofus_1The Last of Us – Naughty Dog (PS3)
Game site
May 7, 2013

What is it?
A brutal, post-apocalyptic survival adventure where the player takes on the role of a man named Joel teamed up with a young girl, Ellie, in escaping the brutal military authority that now controls everyone’s lives in the wake of a cataclysmic disaster. Ellie will be helping the player as an AI companion as the two scavenge for supplies while fending off equally desperate, and far more depraved, human refuse looking for the same things. And then there’s the Infected to worry about. Noted for the unapologetic violence of its trailers and the patina of mature realism that Naughty Dog is seeking to bring out in their title, The Last of Us could be one of those games that can challenge perceptions on how well a game can tell its own story.

LegoCityUndercover_1Lego City Undercover – TT Fusion (3DS, Wii U)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
Players are thrown into an open, sandbox city as undercover detective, Chase McCain, when he heads out to stop Rex Fury’s furiously angry wave of crime. Over a 100 different vehicles, LEGO inspired disguises, and the humor that has always been a part of the LEGO series of video games will be packed into the title when it debuts sometime in 2013.

mgs_revengeance_1Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Platinum Games (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
February 19, 2013

What is it?
It’s the action-packed gaiden to the Metal Gear Solid series focusing instead on Raiden’s life as a cyborg ninja killing machine kicking off four years after the events in Guns of the Patriots. This one isn’t so much dedicated to stealth as it is in slicing apart enemies using what could be an incredibly innovative combat mechanic that allows the player to actually angle Raiden’s blade to surgically sever limbs, arms, and robotic heads. Platinum hasn’t let me down yet when it comes to creating a singularity of bad intentions, so I’m still excited to see what this will be like.

ninja_gaiden_sigma_2Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus – Team Ninja (Vita)
Game site (Japanese)
February 26, 2013

What is it?
It’s the Vita port of the same game that came out in 2009 for the PS3 with new tricks such as swapping between different ninja such as Ayane in “Tag Missions” as well as using the touch pad to perform special moves.

rayman_legends_1Rayman Legends – Ubisoft (Wii U)
Game site
February 26, 2013

What is it?
It’s the sequel to the critically acclaimed Rayman Origins which came out last holiday season. This time on the Wii U, Michel Ansel’s cheery platform hero will see him in an all new adventure blazing through different worlds as seen within paintings that Rayman and his friends discover. The first game was a surprisingly solid hit injecting Ubisoft’s series with plenty of fun and there’s little reason not to see why this Wii U exclusive will be any less entertaining.

RememberMe_1Remember Me – Dontnod (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
May 2013

What is it?
Capcom is publishing this surprising, first-time IP from developer, Dontnod, which at first glance looks like a mix of Assassin’s Creed and Deus Ex – which isn’t so much of a bad thing. It takes place in 2084 starring a “memory hunter” named Nilin who is plying her trade in Neo Paris. Surveillance and a trade in the buying and selling of memories has become a part of everyday life in this dystopian world. Nilin also has the ability to enter people’s memories, alter them, and literally change their minds manipulating their actions. When her own memories are wiped out by those in control of this society, it’s up to her and a loyal friend to untangle their web of power and recover her past as part of another gamble by Capcom for 2013.

sacrilegium_1Sacrilegium – Reality Pump (OS X, PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
Q2 2013

What is it?
Reality Pump, probably best known for their Two Worlds RPG titles, is striking back with a horror themed game taking players from the “misty shores of San Francisco to the fearsome and foreboding corners of the Old Continent” as Alex tries to find her way through a nightmarish mystery. It almost sounds like a take Jane Jensen’s Gabriel Knight series, but if it’s aiming for a blend of RPG and horror survival themes, I’d buy a ticket for this trip in a heartbeat.

slycooper_time_1Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time – Sanzaru Games (PS3, Vita)
Game site
February 5, 2013

What is it?
In what will be nearly eight years after Honor Among Thieves’ release in 2005, the series returns in the hands of a new developer, Sanzaru Games, who had handled a remastered collection of his first three adventures for the PS3 which was released in 2010. In Sly’s new adventure, he has to work with his friends to travel through time in order to keep his own history from being erased.

SoulSacrifice_1Soul Sacrifice – Marvelous AQL (Vita)
Game site (Japanese)
TBA 2013

What is it?
Keiji Inafune (Mega Man, Resident Evil 2) will take players into a fantasy action game where they play a prisoner who discovers a mysterious book within their cell that takes them into other worlds embodying the wicked desires of humanity. But through these worlds, they will also gain power as a sorceror, but the question of what they will sacrifice – whether it is another person, or even a part of their own body – to gain that power will shape the way their character, and the story, developers as there is always a price to be paid.

startrek_1Star Trek – Digital Extremes (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
April 23, 2013

What is it?
The tie-in game for the upcoming movie promises plenty of action in the new alternate timeline created  by 2009′s Star Trek. Players will take part in a co-op story as Kirk and Spock learn to work as a team while fighting through an original story to save the galaxy from conquest. It doesn’t look like there will be much room for exploration and first contact of the peaceful kind though fans might overlook that anyway for a chance to phaser their way through some bad guys.

Star Wars 1313Star Wars 1313 – Lucasarts (TBA)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
This is going to be a gritty take on Star Wars will put players into the battered field armor of a merc descending down to level 1313 of Coruscant’s undercity, literally its version of the underworld, as they try to unravel a criminal conspiracy. Little else has been revealed since its eye opening official reveal this past E3 other than it will be powered by UE3 and that Lucasarts is aiming for a “Mature” rating which is a big change from the ‘friendlier’ focus of Star Wars’ other titles. I’m not even sure when in the Star Wars universe it’s supposed to take place in (Clone Wars? After Yavin? After Endor? Between the two?). It’s a bold, and fresh, direction, but one that has a lot of fans excited to see how it turns out.

State of DecayState of Decay – Undead Labs (PCs, XBLA, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Had enough of zombies yet? No? Then this third person action adventure where players will try and survive the “mother of all zombie outbreaks” should be on you list. In this game, players will scavenge for supplies, shoot their way through hordes, and drive flaming cars into bunches of dead things. The game will boast an open word that will “develop in real-time” and react to your actions such as where you set up your base, whether you and your fellow survivors wage war to shave a few numbers off of the zombie hordes, or simply go crazy and become roaming madmen hacking at corpses. It’s up to you, and from the trailers, it’s looks promising.

TheCave_1The Cave – Double Fine Productions (PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
January, 2013

What is it?
An adventure game from the minds of Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island) and Tim Schaefer (Psychonauts, Brutal Legend), players will pick three lucky souls from a  band of seven adventurers and take them into a living cave filled with strangeness ranging from an underground amusement park to an ICBM. Each adventurer has their own story to tell, and their own talents to share, to overcome the challenges of the Cave. There’s co-op, too, allowing for three friends to take control of the band of buddies going with you into the depths.

TheWitness_1The Witness – Indie (iOS, Windows)
Game site/blog
TBA 2013

What is it?
From the maker of Braid, Jonathan Blow, and a team of designers comes another adventure testing expectations on what a game and its gameplay are capable of expressing. This time, players will journey to an island that they can explore and use what they find to solve puzzles and uncover the secrets buried there. Mysterious mazes and audio recordings will not only push players in this first-person environment to solve what they are, but also to make them think on the underlying message of what the game is trying to tell them.

TheWonderful101The Wonderful 101 – Platinum Games (Wii U)
Game site (Nintendo)
Launch Window (up until March, 2013)

What is it?
Platinum Games’ quirky, action game pitting superhero-powered players against giant alien invaders is expected during the Wii U’s “launch window” which is expected to cover the months from its initial launch up to March. The game will also let players rescue and recruit citizens to unlock more powers that you can use against the outer space menace. The Gamepad will also let players command heroes such as Toilet Bowl Man to help hold the line or to solve the occasional puzzle.

Splinter Cell BlacklistTom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist – Ubisoft (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
Spring, 2013

What is it?
The next installment of Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell series sees the end of Third Echelon and a new Fourth Echelon picking up where they had left off. Of course, things go south when a terrorist group initiates something called ‘the Blacklist’ which kicks off escalating attacks on US interests. Players will take Sam around the world and one of his new tricks is pre-emptively targeting enemies that might be in the next room and then rolling in, taking them all out with gun-fu. Hopefully it will have more than shooting things up to offer — and come with longer campaign than the last game.

Tomb RaiderTomb Raider – Crystal Dynamics (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 5, 2013

What is it?
The bold reinvention of Tomb Raider featuring a kind of gritty, survivalist undertone taking Lara’s past in a new and daringly mature direction. Featuring a brutal environment fraught with dangers, human and otherwise, Crystal Dynamics is hoping to push both the character and the ideas behind their changes in raising the bar on what a game such as this can deliver when put next to films, books, or television. It’s already garnered its own fair share of controversy even before the game has come out though many fans are still eager to see whether Lara’s new handlers can continue the same magic they had created after being given control of the series in 2003.

until_dawn_1Until Dawn – Supermassive Games (PS3)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
A horror-game focused on using the PS3 Move to help keep you and your friends alive at a remote mountain retreat where the power has failed, there’s no phone service, and the darkness is beginning to creep in. Players will use the Move controller like a light to help show the way and hopefully survive the night in this “teen slasher in the woods” themed game.

watch_dogs_1Watch Dogs – Ubisoft (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Taking place in a “near now” vision of the future, a complex network controls the city of Chicago where game takes place in. The game centers around a protagonist named Aiden Pearce who, with his smart phone, is able to tap into the system and manipulate it in order to pursue targets in the real world whether he’s using face recognition, altering stop lights, or using visual tags to identify the people and topics around him. It’s information warfare with a third-person dash of social engineering slated for a tentative 2013 release. Definitely on my most anticipated list.

Fighting

Anarchy ReignsAnarchy Reigns – Sega (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
January 8, 2013

What is it?
At long last, this Platinum beat ‘em up is making its way over to North America. It pitches over-the-top fighters against each other in what they are calling an online brawler, so of course there will be team-based or one-on-one duels. Characters range from a pimped out cyborg fitted with “super sexy fists of fire” to a guy wielding a flaming chainsaw. The Japanese demo only makes me wonder what Platinum could have done with the Fist of the North Star license. Can’t wait to play this.

Battle High 2Battle High 2 – Mattrified Games (Windows, XBLA)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
It the sequel to the indie-built fighting game featuring 8-bit styled visuals as teen fighters with a variety of crazy superpowers battle each other for supremacy whether at school or out in their favorite hangouts. Sounds a bit like Capcom’s Rival Schools mixed in with a violent slant to 90210.

Dead of Alive 5Dead or Alive 5 Plus – Team Ninja (Vita)
Game site
March 19, 2013

What is it?
This is the Vita port of the same fighting game that came out in September now boasting touch-centric controls allowing players to swipe moves and even play it from first-person.

FotNS_KensRage2_1Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 – Koei (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
February 5, 2013

What is it?
The sequel to 2010′s game, it follows the Dynasty Warriors formula of retelling the previous events with even more scenes to buff up the post-apocalyptic, martial arts action. In addition to the original story, new legends, more characters, new moves, and plenty of action are also being thrown into this pugilistic mixer. The first game wasn’t bad, a bit rough around the edges, but a lot of fun especially if you’re a fan of the manga or the anime.

Injustice Gods Among UsInjustice: Gods Among Us – NetherRealm Studios (PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
April, 2013

What is it?
The developers who resurrected Mortal Kombat for a new generation are focusing their skills into a new fighting game bringing DC’s biggest heroes and villains into duking it out in a story arc. Famous faces like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Joker, and even Harley Quinn, will be fighting their way through interactive environments. In addition to using their skills and unique powers, players will be able to toss museum pieces at each other, punch opponents through walls, and use unique trademark “fatalities” based on whoever they are playing as to finish the job. It looks like it could be a contender for another addition to EVO.

Naruto Shippuden 3Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 – CyberConnect2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 13, 2013

What is it?
The next major installment of the game based on the popular manga and anime boasts over 72 playable characters making it a titanic smorgasbord of fan favorites for anyone with even a passing interest in the series. Lots of fighting, bosses, and a story mode round out the places where would-be ninja can go wild with this monster roster of battlers.

MMOs

The Elder Scrolls Online concept artThe Elder Scrolls Online – ZeniMax Online Studios (OS X, Windows)
Game site
Early 2013

What is it?
In a surprising move, Bethesda is taking the Elder Scrolls online and into the distant past of its world a thousand years before the events of Skyrim. In that pivotal era, Tiber Septim had yet to build his empire but the people of Tamriel were already at each others’ throats, vying for supremacy. It’s a great setting for an MMO, but the jury’s still out on whether the MMO take on the the Elder Scrolls will have enough to differentiate itself from the competition.

Darkfall Unholy WarsDarkfall: Unholy Wars – Aventurine (Windows)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
The brutal, fantasy-based MMO pitting players against each other is getting a full sequel featuring even larger land battles and even those on the seas. This time, player clans will be waging massive battles defending or crushing empires, cities, and each other no matter where they might be shaping the way the world will be like.

DefianceDefiance – Trion Worlds (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
Q2 2013

What is it?
Trion Worlds is working with SyFy on this sci-fi, third-person shooter MMO based on the upcoming television series. The setting is an Earth ravaged by terrforming technology gone wrong after aliens had tried to conquer it in desperation to find a new home. Now aliens and humans have to put down their differences to work together to try and rebuild what is left. And in between them all are the opportunists who are always looking to fatten their pockets in the process.

Dust 514Dust 514 – CCP Games (PS3, Vita)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Cramming even more acronyms into one sentence, this UE3 powered MMOFPS complementing the PC-only MMO, EVE Online, is expected to debut in 2013 nearly a year after its expected release in 2012. It’s still in beta testing right now with players from around the world getting invites into an FPS ambitiously tying together both PCs and consoles into the same world. Players will get to muddle around in their own ground-based economy, improve their class-based characters, and call down orbital strikes from their EVE friends in high orbit to win the day.

FF14 RebornFinal Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – Square Enix (PS3, Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
In something of an unprecedented step for any developer, Square Enix’s MMORPG, FF14, is coming back in a “do-over” after heavy criticism over its faults following its initial debut in 2010. The game literally went out in a CG cutscene in which Square Enix all but obliterated it. It’s hoped to re-appear with an ambitious number of improvements from its engine to the mechanics in what seems to be a re-invention of the game in time for its dual release in 2013 on the PS3 and PCs. Not every game gets a second chance at life, especially among MMOs. The bigger question is whether it be enough for the fans?

NeverwinterNeverwinter – Cryptic Studios (Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Neverwinter is something of a legend outside of its TSR roots – first as an MMO on AOL as well as the first one to feature graphics and then as a CRPG series handled first by BioWare and then by Obsidian. Now, Cryptic Studios (City of Heroes) will be bringing players into the 4th Edition adaptation of the D&D ruleset to the city which will focus more on story than combat, allow players to make their own content, and coincide with a return to the popular Forgotten Realms setting.

PSO 2PSO 2 – Sega (Windows)
Game site
Early 2013

What is it?The sequel for Phantasy Star Online will be a free-to-play, MMORPG replete with combos, counters, and weapon-based skills layered over with sci-fi and fantasy-inspired visuals. Races include Human, Newman, and robotic CAST all of which have customizable looks and their own strengths and weaknesses. Microtransactions using real-world cash will also allow players to buy cosmetic looks for their personal rooms, extra storage space, or a few other goodies that Sega hopes avoid the idea that anyone has to pay-to-win to achieve anything in the game.

Shadowrun Online

Shadowrun Online – Cliffhanger Productions (Android, iOS, Linux, OS X, Ouya, Windows)
Game site
May, 2013

What is it?
It’s the online version of Shadowrun teaming up ‘runners from around the world in a persistent campaign that will actually shape how the Shadowrun universe will go forward. It’s also another successful Kickstarter. Unlike Shadowrun Returns which takes place in the 2050s, this one is set in the 2070s but will also share bits and pieces of history from what is being done in Returns to create a persistent feel between the two titles. Players will have a choice between a free-to-play title (with microtransactions for premium items) or a purchased version with everything available at the start using in-game currency instead.

RPGs

Age of DecadenceAge of Decadence – Iron Tower Studio (PC)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Progress has been moving along with a larger demo having come out earlier this year featuring more gameplay beyond that of the combat system with the devs tentatively pointing to a release sometime in 2013 – though that date can always change. As for the game, it’s a post-apocalyptic, old-school flavored RPG taking place on a world where an ancient empire is slowly dying and where dark forces and desperate people are busily carving pieces out of the dust left behind. Discover the past, remain ignorant of its history, or create allies of convenience, it’s all up to you on how this story ends with the decisions you make.

Barkley 2Barkley 2 – Tales of Game (OS X, Windows)
Game site
Q4 2013

What is it?
It’s real, and it has crushed its Kickstarter goal. It’s the sequel to the first game, Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley Saga  which you can play for free and this time around, it’s an action RPG. Expect all of the irreverent humor and attitude from the first along with a whole new story inside a 16-bit inspired world that changes around you as players seek out the Cyberdwarf in 666X’s cyberpocalypse.

The Dark Eye: DemoniconThe Dark Eye: Demonicon – Noumena Studios (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Based on the popular German tabletop RPG, Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye), this newest RPG adventure will take take players back to its world and apparently be turning away from the party-based mechanics of Drakensang. Instead, it looks to be heavy on the action hinting at an RPG system possibly closer to something like Piranha Bytes’ Risen or Reality Pump’s Two Worlds II. The Drakensang series really stuck with me as a fun introduction to the system, so I’m curious to see what Demonicon will have to offer when it finally comes out.

Dead StateDead State – DoubleBear Productions (Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
It’s a CRPG (or ZRPG as DoubleBear likes to call it) with branching dialogue, a huge number of NPCs, turn-based combat, crafting, and zombies…lots and lots of zombies. Players will have their hands full in trying to survive the zombie apocalypse they’re thrown in as they scavenge for supplies, lead expeditions out to find materials needed to upgrade their shelter, and negotiate the verbal minefield laying in wait between the people they’re supposed to save as everyone’s nerves begin fraying apart. This is also a part of the Kickstarter club having also been successfully funded and it’s expected to be out sometime in 2013.

Dragon's CrownDragon’s Crown – Vanillaware (PS3, Vita)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Having been pushed from 2012, Dragon’s Crown could be due out in the first half of 2013. I’m still excited for the game that designer, George Kamitani, could be leveraging his experience from the classic fantasy beat ‘em up, Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom, into. Players will take up a party of four who will rumble through monsters, treasures, and of course, a dragon or two on their way to glory.

Etrian Odyssey 4Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan – Atlus (3DS)
Game site
February 26, 2013

What is it?
The 3DS is getting its own dungeon crawler with the the fourth entry in the old-school flavored series featuring classic turn-based combat, grid-based movement reminiscent of older PC games such as Eye of the Beholder, and a mapping system relying on the player to create it as they go along. The fourth entry brings in airships and even a Casual mode for those that want to take their time in figuring out the game – or just want to focus more on enjoying it at their own pace.

Grim DawnGrim Dawn – Crate Entertainment (Windows)
Game site
August, 2013

What is it?
Pushing past 2012, the team behind Iron Lore’s Titan Quest are in the home stretch for their game after fielding a successful Kickstarter this past summer. Featuring the kind of old-school, action RPG fun that Iron Lore’s veterans had brought out in their Greek-inspired epic, Grim Dawn takes place in an original, post apocalyptic open world allowing players to roam freely and mash monsters at will while raining loot and skill trees at their feet. Sounds like awesome fun.

Hero UHero-U: Rogue to Redemption – Far Studio (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
October, 2013

What is it?
Quest for Glory designers, Corey and Lori Cole, have successfully completed their own Kickstarter to help fund this spiritual successor to the popular series which blended traditional adventure gaming with RPG elements. Rogue to Redemption will still be a 2D adventure featuring a new character, Connor, who will explore a new world as he learns the ropes at Hero-U…which just happens to be built within the ruins of a mysterious castle. Turn based combat, adventure gaming puzzles, and a big story tying it all together make it one for adventure and RPG players to watch for 2013.

Hyperdimension Neptunia VictoryHyperdimension Neptunia Victory – Compile Heart (PS3)
Game site
March 12, 2013

What is it?
If you’re not familiar with the series, this PS3 exclusive takes place in a cyber-fantasy world were the current console generation is represented in a tongue-in-cheek style among its characters and the environment. In this third installment, Neptunia is pulled in the 1980′s via a mysterious space rift and discovers an alternate world that she must save from the nefarious schemes of the Seven Sages.

Lightning Returns FF13Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII – Square Enix (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
The second follow-up to Final Fantasy XIII, this time focusing on Lightning as she emerges from becoming a crystal at the end of XIII-2 to save the world in less than thirteen days. Focusing more on her as a solo action hero, the game appears headed for a more action oriented debut with a larger emphasis on how time flows in her world. Certain actions will cause more time to pass than others, whether it’s in pushing the clock forward or back, giving players more to think about than mashing their way through every battle. It’s a controversial change no matter how you look at it and another gamble for Square Enix on a series chapter that has continued to divide franchise fans and critics ever since it hit North American shores in 2010.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Wii U shotMonster Hunter 3 Ultimate – Capcom (3DS, Wii U)
Game site
March, 2013

What is it?
This release is an enhanced version of Monster Hunter 3 featuring new creatures along with a few other tweaks. The Wii U version will boast HD quality graphics, multiplayer, and online play. Players can even transfer their progress from the Wii U version to the 3DS one if they have both to earn their rep as a hunter by going on quests after the biggest game.

Ni no KuniNi no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Level-5, Studio Ghibli (PS3)
Game site
January 22, 2013

What is it?
This collaboration between RPG devs, Level-5, and the animation genius of Studio Ghibli will finally be coming over to a localized release in January for the PS3. As for the story, it sounds like the kind of stuff the House that Miyazaki Built would go for. A young boy grieving over the loss of his mom is suddenly visited by an animated doll who opens the door to another world where he might be able to find the strength to bring her back. A short, but titanic, demo was released featuring the combat system and a little of the puzzle solving that will be in the full game. It’s a little rough around the edges, especially if you haven’t had any experience with a real-time combat system before, but should be a winner for fans of Studio Ghibli’s art and storytelling chops.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon GatesPokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity – Nintendo (3DS)
Game site
March 13, 2013

What is it?
Already out in the Japan, it’s making its way to North America letting even more players become Pokemon in this “roguelike” iteration of the popular series as they explore dungeons, meet other Pokemon, and take part in a story tying it all together. It will also use the 3DS’ camera to discover new dungeon entrances by simply scanning stuff all around you, so those half-eaten pancakes or steaming mug of coffee might actually be invitations to loot and leveling.

Whoa, a Stuffer Shack...Shadowrun Returns – Harebrained Schemes (Android, iPad, Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Shadowrun’s original creator, Jordan Weisman, and his team at Harebrained Schemes have regained the license to the popular pen and paper RPG and thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter, are well on their way to building a new game drawing from over 25 years of tabletop history allowing fans to move on from Microsoft’s multiplayer-only attempt from 2007. Taking place in the 2050s which was covered by the SNES and Genesis Shadowrun titles as part of the first edition (the current, 4th edition tabletop game takes place in 2074), players will take on missions as street samurai, deckers, or even as spell slinging shamans in a cyberpunk future where you should never, ever, deal with a dragon.

Shin Megami Soul HackersShin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers – Atlus (3DS)
Game site (Japanese)
Spring 2013

What is it?
An enhanced port of the game which was initially released on the Saturn in Japan in 1997, this 3DS version will feature all of the demon collecting and fusing that the series is renowned for. This side story to the main series takes place in a city on the cutting edge of tech blending virtual reality, a young group of hackers, and a mysterious incident that involves the appearance of a female devil who has no idea who she is. This makes it the first time that the game will officially make its way over to the West.

South Park Stick of TruthSouth Park: The Stick of Truth – Obsidian Entertainment (OnLive, PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 5, 2013

What is it?
The RPG expertise of Obsidian is taking South Park into a game with a “billion” costume changes as players head into a quest as a new kid to the neighborhood. Soon, they’re pulled into a neighborhood-spanning LARP to keep the Stick of Truth from the hands of evil and hopefully find enough coolness to stand with Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny. Both series creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are heavily involved with the game ensuring that fans will have plenty to look forward to when it arrives next year.

Tales of XilliaTales of Xillia – Namco Bandai (PS3)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Already out in Japan, the 13th flagship installment to the Tales series is coming to North America in 2013. This time, the game will feature two protagonists at the start that players can pick from – Jude Mathis, a medical student, and the mysterious Milla Maxwell – and see the story from their perspective offering a lot of replayability for Tales completionists that want to see everything. It sounds like another epic Tales adventure for players in the West that have been eagerly awaiting the return of the series in the nearly two years that it has been out in Japan.

Unchained BladesUnchained Blades – FuRyu (3DS)
Game site (Japanese)
January 3, 2013

What is it?
The 3DS release of FuRyu’s JRPG which had been out for Sony’s PSP. It’s been described as a grid-based, dungeon crawler similar to the Japanese releases of Wizardry for you old school types out there. The voice acting, though, seems little out there.

UnderrailUnderrail – Stygian Software (Windows)
Game site
2H (second half) 2013

What is it?
An isometric, post-apocalyptic indie RPG inspired by games such as Black Isle’s Fallout titles, this sticks the player inside an underground society where railway stations have become city-states – much like those in 4A Games’ Metro 2033. Players will be able to shape their character in any way they want with a massive selection of skills ranging from picking locks to scary psi powers. There’s also plenty of scavenged loot to be found – if they can survive the brutal monsters dwelling underground. A demo is out with updates and players can even help fund development which will also buy them access to the Alpha and the finished game. Great customization, tough encounters, and can’t wait to grab the full version.

Wasteland 2Wasteland 2 – inXile Entertainment (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
It’s the long awaited sequel to the iconic PC game that kicked the post-apocalyptic ball into what would later inspire the Fallout series. The legendary Brian Fargo got most of the old Interplay team back together including a few extra hands such as Obsidian’s Chris Avellone to help flesh out the prose thanks to an incredibly successful Kickstarter drive proving that there’s still a lot of old-school love out there. Full disclosure – I was a backer and I can’t wait to see this in my hands.

Shooters

Aliens Colonial MarinesAliens: Colonial Marines – Gearbox Software, TimeGate Studios (OnLive, PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
February 12, 2013

What is it?
Gearbox will be packing players into cryotubes when February rolls around to welcome players back to LV426. Gearbox is handling this one and with Fox considering this as part of the Aliens canon as a sequel to Cameron’s film revisiting famous locales such as the Sulaco in orbit to the remnants of the colony on the ground, it promises to be raise the bar early next year when it comes to expanding the mythology of the series in the way that Ghostbusters did in 2009.

ArmyofTwo_1Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel – Visceral Games (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 26, 2013

What is it?
EA’s third-person bromance shooter is coming out for a third outing, hopefully with a more coherent story than the last game. This time, it’s two new bros that are heading into battle together in Mexico as part of a PMC group going up against a drug cartel called La Guadana. Expect plenty of shooting, explosions, and brofists to go along with the bodies left in their wake.

Battlefield 4 – EA (Windows, PS3, Xbox 360)
Official Battlefield site
Fall 2013

What is it?
With a beta slated for the autumn of 2013, it’s safe to assume that the game will be coming out shortly afterward for the usual platforms if their previous history is any indicator. Little else is known about the game such as what new things will be added in or where it’s even going to take place. But fans probably won’t care as long as it keeps its team-based multiplayer as fun as they have made it with oodles of extras.

Crysis 3Crysis 3 – Crytek (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows)
Game site
February 19, 2013

What is it?
Crysis 2 saw the alien menace smash into New York and plunge players into a conspiracy involving the super armor they wore which made them stealthier, deadlier, and slightly more bulletproof depending on what they wanted it to do. The third game promises to deliver even more do-as-you-like action backed by Crytek’s sparkly new CryEngine 3 as they head back into what is left of New York, now sealed like Tupperware inside a mysterious dome.

Earth Defense Force 2017Earth Defense Force 2017 – Sandlot (Vita)
Game site
February 12, 2013

What is it?
It’s a port of the same game which was released for the Xbox 360 in Japan in 2006 and later in North America in 2007. Big bugs, UFOs, guns, and lots of shooting coupled with plenty of unlockable weapons made this a cult favorite on consoles, so it could be interesting to see how it uses the Vita’s hardware to enhance the experience.

Gears of War JudgmentGears of War: Judgment – Epic Games (Xbox 360)
Game site
March 19, 2013

What is it?
Another series joins the prequel bandwagon as Gears of War recruits players into the early days of the Locust War, fourteen years before the first game, as a youthful Lieutenant Baird. One of the new additions to multiplayer is the OverRun class-based mode pitting attacking Locust players against defending Gears. Players hoping to play as a Medic resurrecting fallen team members or as a sneaky Scout spoiling enemy positions might find even more reasons to hit this up when it arrives next year.

Killzone MercenaryKillzone: Mercenary – Guerrilla Games (Vita)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
A shooter for the Vita which will apparently focus on playing nice alongside both Helghan and ISA forces as a merc for hire doing the dirty work no one wants. The really dirty work. The live action trailer at Playstation’s blog above brings out its basic concepts and a bit of what the actual game looks like, but there hasn’t been anything else coming out of Guerrilla about the title or from anyone else since then.

Lost Planet 3Lost Planet 3 – Spark Unlimited (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
The third installment is in the hands of Spark Unlimited, a developer whose history has been stacked with plenty of vision teetering atop arguably shaky execution. But Capcom is banking on their talent for delivering ambitious ideas into a solid, open-world prequel for their struggling series which will feature a stronger emphasis on its story as well as side missions for players looking to squeeze a bit more out of the third-person gameplay. A lot is riding on this one.

Metro Last LightMetro: Last Light – 4A Games (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 2013

What is it?
The terrifying follow-up to the first game promises more post-apocalyptic action in the bowels of Moscow’s subway network where bullets are traded as currency, horrors lurk above and below, and where civilization has made city-states out of the vast stations tying the tunnels together. The first game was a surprisingly refreshing shooter with a number of interesting tweaks to the formula turning a typical FPS into a gritty adventure colored with horror and survival in 2034.

Rise of the TriadRise of the Triad – Interceptor Entertainment (Windows)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
A reboot/revival of the original Rise of the Triad from ’95 by 3D Realms, now featuring Unreal Engine 3 powered gibs and all of the crazy weapons like Drunk Missiles soon to explode on players’ screens in this PC exclusive. Solo players can play through 20 levels across four episodes of action, or skip it and head straight into multiplayer. An international team pulling disciplines from around the world is working on this nostalgic super-trip into gibland and more than a few old school players are waiting to see if it sticks to the no regenerating health, zero cover flavor of the bloody original.

ShootmaniaShootmania – Nadeo (Windows)
Game site
January 23, 2013

What is it?
An FPS based on Nadeo’s TrackMania series, it hopes to bring in the same level of creativity into building stages, setting game rules, and letting players go crazy in blasting each other with whatever they can get their hands on. If you have a level designer itching to get out, Shootmania might be the game to share those ideas with the world.

Sniper V2Sniper Elite V2 – Rebellion (Wii U)
Game site
March 5, 2013

What is it?
The Wii U port of the re-imagined sniper title from Rebellion which came out in May for Windows, the PS3, and the Xbox 360. It’s hard to not see it as part of the push to entice “hardcore” gamers with its eerily violent bullet vision as well as another hand-me-down from the current generation. Still, not a bad game if you like sniping titles.

Sniper Ghost Warrior 2Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 – City Interactive (Windows, PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
January 15, 2013

What is it?
Built using Crytek’s CryEngine3, this sequel to what I thought was a mediocre shooter promises to improve upon everything that was broken in the first game. Instead of being stuck in a jungle yet again, the game promises to take the player around the world.

Rainbow 6 PatriotsTom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots – Ubisoft (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
The latest Rainbow 6 game will apparently be channeling populist anger at Wall Street via a group of terrorists that call themselves the “True Patriots” whom Team Rainbow have to try and stop. Little else has been shown or revealed about the game since then, although a number of leads had all been ‘restructured’ out of the team behind it including the Creative Lead. I’m tentatively holding onto the hope it’ll be out in 2013, but it’s only a guess.

The Walking DeadThe Walking Dead: Survival Instinct – Terminal Reality (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
This is the action-packed take on AMC’s phenomenally popular show, The Walking Dead, featuring the Dixon brothers as they fight their way through Georgia on their way to Atlanta. Players will apparently be able to blast everything in sight or sneak by zombies while meeting up with people that are probably just as desperate as they are. It’s expected sometime in 2013.

XCOMXCOM – 2K Games (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Not to be confused with its strategic squad-focused cousin which came out in October, this one was intended as a first-person tactical shooter which has been swirling around in development hell for the past six or so years, trading developers several times since 2006. Die-hard fans and veterans of the original series weren’t too impressed by its initial trailers which seemed to throw away everything that the series was and it soon disappeared into relative obscurity as attention was focused on Firaxis’ version which was much more faithful to its source. With rumors that it could now be a third-person shooter similar to Republic Commando, rumblings seem to also push the idea that 2K might simply be moving to “cutting its losses” and unload the game in whatever shape it’s in now.

Simulation

Animal Crossing New LeafAnimal Crossing: New Leaf – Nintendo (3DS)
Game site (Japanese)
Q2 2013

What is it?
The newest installment for Nintendo’s Animal Crossing series is coming out for the 3DS featuring new art designs that retain the colorful and cartoony feel of the game’s charming world along with a host of features including new villagers, stores, and challenges as the town mayor in making it the best place to live. Go you!

ARMA 3ARMA 3 – Bohemia Interactive (Windows)
Game site
ETA 2013

What is it?
The follow-up to the tactical military shooter sim takes place in the Aegean Sea in the midst of a conflict between NATO and Iranian military forces. ARMA’s open-world sandbox promises to take its military sim shooter roots even further with two islands, Limnos and Stratis, where the fighting will take place. Vehicles, hardcore levels of military action, and everything from wide open spaces to urban battlezones will be waiting for players and fans when this finally arrives. One unexpected piece of news surrounding the game that came up in September was the arrest of two of the developers by Greek authorities on suspicion of espionage while on a visit to Lemnos, a charge that their friends and co-workers at Bohemia Interactive vehemently deny. Currently, they’re still being held awaiting trial despite efforts by the Czech government on their behalf.

Medieval MayorMedieval Mayor – Tilted Mill Entertainment (Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
Tasked by the king to build a glorious new city during the Middle Ages, it’s up to you to house your people, research new upgrades, feed everyone, and trade your way to victory. According to the official site, the game is being made by veteran devs whose work includes Children of the Nile, Caesar IV, and SimCity Societies, so sim fans eager for something a little different might find themselves right at home. It’s expected to be out for PCs but could also work its medieval magic on tablets in the future.

Project GodusProject Godus – 22 Cans (Android, iOS, OS X, Windows)
Kickstarter
Q1 2013

What is it?
It’s Peter Molyneux’s latest project, a reinvention of Populous which he had also created spurring the god-game genre 22 years ago. As another successful Kickstarter project, this one is being built up using everything that Molyneux and his team have learned since then, polishing it with modern tech while leaving it an open sandbox of god-like powers driving your followers to spread across a world you will mold into your image.

SimCitySimCity – EA (Macintosh, Windows)
Game site
March 5, 2013

What is it?
It’s the long awaited return of the urban sandbox now bolted with social options which include multiplayer regions containing other player-built cities. It has also met with some controversy from fans upset by its expected DRM requiring an internet connection to play making that concern the top rated comment in an AMA the dev team hosted on Reddit.

StrikeSuitZero_1Strike Suit Zero – Born Ready Games (Windows)
Game site
January 24, 2013

What is it?
This indie title had a very successful funding run on Kickstarter in November allowing it to move forward for an anticipated release in January. Players will be flying a space fighter that can transform into a hulking suit of armor to destroy enemies in pitched battles between enemy fleets. There will be explosions, laser beams, missiles, and huge ships duking it out with you in the middle. If it sounds a lot like Robotech, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when the guy designing the mech is Junji Okubo (Steel Battalion, Appleseed). Sounds like a fantastic reason to dust off the old flightstick.

X_Rebirth_1X Rebirth – Egosoft (Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
A year later and there’s still no sign of Egosoft’s newest space sandbox although they’re still hard at work on it and have been sharing info on their progress. As I’ve mentioned last year, it’s being built from scratch and is the fifth game in the X Universe series allowing players to explore, exploit, expand, and exterminate their way through a storyline or their own actions outside of it. Piloting everything from small fighters to gigantic carriers and building mercantile empires fitted with space factories, the X series has something for everyone…though it has had its share of criticisms that haven’t made it the most accessible of sims. Hopefully, Rebirth will change all of that.

Sports

Carmageddon ReincarnationCarmageddon: Reincarnation – Stainless Games (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
February, 2013

What is it?
Stainless Steel’s death race is back thanks to fans coming out to support it on Kickstarter. After grabbing the rights back with fists of money, the team has successfully rallied together with their open funding initiative and are working hard to add in things like ragdoll physics, new visuals, levels inspired by the original with a lot more game to go with it. For those that spent hours racing about trying to turn opponents and pedestrians into tire marks while riding up on sidewalks instead of running a proper race, this is the game that we’ve been waiting for to make a comeback.

DistanceDistance – Refract Studios (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
Q2 2013

What is it?
A group of DigiPen graduates are putting this racing game together as the spiritual successor to their student project, Nitronic Rush. And thanks to a successful Kickstarter, it’s tentatively heading to PCs in 2013. It features a mysterious city with a secret history and loading up your car with enough jumping, twisting, and acrobatic abilities to make Speed Racer green with envy allowing players to drive on nearly everything from roads to buildings. Multiplayer is also going to be built in along with editing tools.

Grid 2Grid 2 – Codemasters (PS3, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
The sequel to the popular racing game from Codemasters. Grid 2 will be coming in with a few new tricks such as LiveRoutes which can dynamically change your race by seamlessly blending in new course changes with the cityscape around you making it so that no two races are the same. But for those that prefer set tracks, that’s also still in there, among other options detailed in their ongoing development diaries geared to welcome back veterans as well as appeal to new racers.

MLB 13MLB 13: The Show – Sony San Diego (PS3, Vita)
Game site
March 6, 2013

What is it?
Another sequel to the successful MLB baseball series from Sony with a few new enhancements such as the Playoff Mode and a “beginner mode” to ease newcomers into the franchise. “Road to the Show” will also aim to make the game all about who you are from commentary to character development, though details are still sparse.

PES 2013 3DSPro Evolution Soccer 2013 – PES Productions (3DS)
Game site
February 12, 2013

What is it?
It’s the North American release of the same soccer game that had come out in September and saw itself explode across a number of other platforms from the PS2 to the Wii. Now it’s finally coming out on the 3DS.

 

Project CARSProject CARS – Slightly Mad Studios (PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
It’s a community-driven racing game led by the veterans at Slightly Mad Studios in bringing together fans, their ideas, and their wallets, into funding and building it with rewards for their level of participation – kind of like a Kickstarter, but with a more direct hand. A huge roster of cars, customization, and even the opportunity to make money off of your own content, are being promised for this title as it continues development, aiming for a release sometime in 2013.

Sonic All Star Racing TransformedSonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – Sumo Digital (3DS)
Game site
February 12, 2013

What is it?
It’s the 3DS port for the same game that came out months before featuring Sonic and his friends in a fun racing series featuring transforming cars, over 25 tracks, and legendary “All-Stars”.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 – EA Tiburon (PS3, Xbox 360)
Game site
March 26, 2013

What is it?
The next installment of the famous Tiger Woods golfing franchise at EA will also bring in the legendary Arnold Palmer who also shares the cover. Other golfers, such as Stacy Lewis and Keegan Bradley, will also be playable from a roster of over 25 famous faces.

Wii Fit UWii Fit U – Nintendo (Wii U)
Game site
Q1 2013

What is it?
Another “launch window” game, it’s expected to be out sometime before or during March 2013. It’s the Wii U version of the popular Wii Fit game that helped to keep launching a few more million Wiis into living room gyms everywhere. This time, it’ll make use of the gamepad tablet as an aid to monitor your workout progress.

Strategy

Brain Age Concentration TrainingBrain Age: Concentration Training – Nintendo SPD (3DS)
Game site
February 10, 2013

What is it?
Nearly five years after the last Brain Age game came out in North America, this puzzler hopes that its fans haven’t forgotten about it as it takes the series to the 3DS. This time, it’s packed with exercises to help you focus and concentrate as well as flex your short term memory.

Command and ConquerCommand & Conquer – BioWare Victory (Windows)
Game site
TBA 2013

What is it?
This went through a number of changes since its debut trailer at 2011′s Spike VGAs. At first touted as a sequel to 2003′s C&C Generals, it’s now being made as a free-to-play online game powered by DICE’s Frostbyte 2 engine. According to their FAQ, it’s not browser based but will be a “full standalone client” and will be different from Tiberium Alliances, another free-to-play game that is already online.

Company of Heroes 2Company of Heroes 2 – Relic Entertainment (Windows)
Game site
Early 2013

What is it?
It’s the sequel to the epic WW2 strategy title, Company of Heroes, which focused on the Western Front between the Allies and Germany. This time, it’s off to the East to defend the Motherland against the Nazi’s goosestepping heels with the power of Soviet steel and more than a little encouragement from your local political officer. It hopes to take players to the brink of Soviet defeat before making them work to roll the Germans back all the way to Berlin. If it’s anything like the last game, the WW2 genre could become fashionable all over again.

Europa Universalis 4Europa Universalis 4 – Paradox Development Studio (Linux, Windows)
Europa Universalis Development Diaries
TBA 2013

What is it?
The fourth installment of the grand strategy series promises more of the same, deep gameplay involving strategy, politicking, tech building, war making, and trading across the Continent with new additions to the formula for would-be Holy Roman Emperors, Ottoman Sultans, or whoever else fits your fancy. Dynamic historical events based on pivotal, real-world moments, will play a deeper part in the actions you decide on for your chosen country. Then there are the rebels itching for independence. And these are only a few of the new tweaks that Paradox is bringing to this gigantic, historical strategy sim.

Fire Emblem AwakeningFire Emblem: Awakening – Intelligent Systems (3DS)
Game site
February 4, 2013

What is it?
It’s the latest entry in the long running Fire Emblem series from Intelligent Systems promising new tweaks to the original formula while keeping everything that fans love about the series. Players will go up against a devastating new enemy, the undead, and a fantasy world filled with characters, classes, and a story arc tilting empires against each other.

MM_ShadesofDarkness_1Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness – Black Hole Entertainment (Windows)
Game site
February 28, 2013

What is it?
An expansion to the tactical fantasy epic, this one is actually being planned out as a standalone game that won’t require you to have the original Might & Magic Heroes VI. This title will continue to plumb the lore being set down by the newly revived series with a new hero and a new faction.

OmertaOmerta: City of Gangsters – Haemimont Games (Windows, Xbox 360)
Game site
February 5, 2013

What is it?
Bulgaria’s Haemimont Games are no strangers to strategy as RTS titles make up most of their catalog and they’re focusing that experience into Atlantic City of the 1920s with Omerta. Players will use thugs to snoop on the competition, use its RPG system to develop characters and load them up with heaters, and tactical combat to rub out whoever is in your way. It’s probably as close as we might get to a game allowing you to pretend to be Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson with their own Boardwalk Empire.

Pikmin 3Pikmin 3 – Nintendo (Wii U)
Game site
Spring 2013

What is it?
The third installment of the popular Pikmin series will take advantage of the Wii U’s features to present a more detailed world, introduce a new type of Pikmin (and perhaps a few hidden ones), and use the gamepad to aid in managing the world and where you want your Pikmin to go. Players that couldn’t get enough of these plant-like minions in surviving the world will get their chance to see how it goes on the Wii U.

Planetary AnnihilationPlanetary Annihilation – Uber Entertainment (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
Q2 2013

What is it?
It’s the long awaited return to the “Annihilation” series by the veteran team behind the original Total Annihilation and, more recently, Supreme Commander, thanks to a massively successful Kickstarter bid. This time, it’s taking its RTS mega-bag to the stars where players will no longer wage war on the ground between continents or other puny chunks of land. This time, entire planets will lie before players like a buffet as they lead fleets to seek out and take over hundreds of worlds. There will still be a fair bit of ground pounding, but now you’ll also have giant space fleets to drop rocks on planets for those personal touches.

SC2 - Heart of the SwarmStarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Blizzard (Macintosh, Windows)
Game site
March 12, 2013

What is it?
The long awaited second part of the sequel focusing on the Zerg and the return of Kerrigan is finally expected for a release next year after a long beta period as Blizzard continues to polish things. Picking up right after Wings of Liberty, the story continues the epic arc that Blizzard has put together in a three-part series.

Total War Rome 2Total War: Rome II – The Creative Assembly (Windows)
Game site
October, 2013

What is it?
The bigger, more epic sequel to Total War: Rome as the devs take us back to the days of the republic – or the empire, depending on what you choose for it to become through your actions and choices – with plenty of new tweaks featuring a scalable engine, more details such as seeing the cost of morale on the faces of your soldiers, and even more naval power on the waves. I loved the last Rome and this one looks to top it off with enough enhancements to make it worth revisiting again as one of the Roman families destined for greatness or as a Grecian city-state eager to stake its own place in history.

War for the OverworldWar for the Overworld – Subterannean Games (Linux, OS X, Windows)
Game site
August 30, 2013

What is it?
This Kickstarter project promises a rebirth of the same kind of gameplay that made Dungeon Keeper incredibly fun. In this dungeon sim, and just like in Dungeon Keeper, players build up a dungeon, stock it with traps and monsters, and then lure good guys in to get squashed. It’s all good fun, especially if you want to see how the bad guys do it from their side of the moss covered wall.

Breakdown

  • 37 Action and Adventure titles
  • 6 Fighting Games
  • 8 MMOs
  • 20 RPGs
  • 16 Shooters
  • 7 Simulation
  • 9 Sports
  • 12 Strategy

…for a total of 115 titles in this sample. A sharp decline from the 157 titles on last year’s list.

  • 41 titles can be looked at as original IP
  • 49 can be considered sequels
  • 7 are reboots

The rest don’t quite fall under those picks such as a standalone title that is part of an ongoing series – such as Namco Bandai’s Tales of Xillia.

anarchy_reigns_2As I’ve mentioned last year, the large number of sequels shouldn’t surprise anyone. Last time, I had listed 157 games for 2012 and 40% of those were sequels. For 2013, about 43% of the list are sequels. Nearly all of them are from big publishers such as EA or Capcom.

One improvement was Sega. Sega had something of a weaker lineup on last year’s list — Anarchy Reigns’ and Aliens’ releases were pushed into 2013, but their 2013 stable is seeing a stronger “original IP” publishing hand with DoubleFine’s The Cave, Platinum Games’ Anarchy Reigns, and Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Even Namco Bandai’s collaboration with Digital Extremes for the new Star Trek game continues the trend being followed by others such as Capcom and Square Enix in courting Western talent to diversify their portfolios yet maintain the distinct and exotic flavor of internally developed titles such as Final Fantasy XIV or Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

Forget the year end holidays…again

Publishers have.

Based on this list, 2013 will get off to a soft start with Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs expected out that month, Ninja Theory’s Devil May cry, Platinum’s Anarchy Reigns, and Namco Bandai’s Ni no Kuni. Then the avalanche begins.

February and March expect around 37 games to hit shelves with a large number of them highly anticipated hits.

In February alone:

  • Dead Space 3 (February 5)
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (February 5)
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines (February 12)
  • Crysis 3 (February 19)
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (February 19)
  • Rayman Legends (February 26)

And then March continues the wallet thumping with:

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (March 5)
  • SimCity (March 5)
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth (March 5)
  • Tomb Raider (March 5)
  • MLB 13: The Show (March 6)
  • God of War: Ascension (March 12)
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (March 12)
  • Gears of War: Judgment (March 19)
  • BioShock Infinite (March 26)
  • Metro Last Light (sometime in March)

And May will kick off the summer drought with two last punches to your paycheck:

  • The Last of Us (May 7)
  • Remember Me (May)

Add to this the number of TBAs and Q1s that will float around like vultures, and the first half of 2013 looks to be about as busy as the last half of 2012.

What didn’t make the list

A few ports such as Resident Evil 6 which is coming out for PCs in 2013 were shaved off from the list which lightened the load though others, like Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, were included because of the platform specific additions that seemed to contribute more to the gameplay mechanics. Collections, like the Hitman HD collection coming out in January, were also omitted because, well, it’s an HD collection with little new news behind it.

I’ve also not counted other games, such as Star Citizen, because of they have no firm date, though sometime in 2014 has been thrown around. And games like Team Bondi’s Whore of the Orient is tentatively rumored for a 2015 next-gen console date.

Fewer games?

prey2Every category saw a slight decline across the board. Instead of the 26 shooters I had listed last year, only 16 made this list. Of the 50 action and adventure titles from last year, only 37 fill it now. RPGs, though, saw a slight increase with +2 added for 2013.

It’s also no secret that the last few months of 2012 have reported declines in traditional video game sales among consoles and that trend might spread throughout next year, at least after the first three months, with what appears to be a lighter schedule despite the number of standouts. The past year also saw the release of the Vita and the Nintendo Wii U with a number of exclusive games for those as well as a winding down of releases for the Wii. Mobile gaming has also continued to accelerate with a growing lineup of developers eager to tap into the giant pie that it has become.

A few others, such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and Age of Decadence have tentatively pushed into 2013. Others are simply in limbo such as Prey 2 and The Last Guardian, both of which are assumed to be still in production, but with little new news other than that they exist in some form. And as the Wii U continues to gain steam, more titles are inevitably going to end up on it either as ports from other developers or brand new games from the House of Mario.

Exclusives (almost) Everywhere

Last year, Nintendo wound down the Wii and delivered a healthy number of ports to the Wii U. In 2013, Nintendo is hitting back with a strong lineup of unique games such as Platinum’s The Wonderful 101, a new Animal Crossing, Pikmin 3, and Game & Wario.

Handhelds will also get a nice chunk of exclusive titles as they always seem to do. The 3DS will be getting exclusives such as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity and Unchained Blades and Sony’s Vita will be getting Soul Sacrifice and Killzone: Mercenary along with a few potential tie-ins such as Dragon’s Crown and MLB 13: The Show. It would be nice to see more action on both of those fronts, however.

Sony continues to show a strong publishing hand as they did last year with new IP whether it was Journey, Gravity Rush, or Papo & Yo. In 2013, they maintain that position boasting unique exclusives for the PS3 such as Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us, and Dust 514, and Until Dawn.

PC users will also get another healthy helping of unique games whether it’s from AAA publishers or one-man indie studios. Despite declining PC hardware sales, Planetary Annihilation, Total War: Rome II, or unique CRPGs such as Underrail, Grim Dawn, and Shadowrun Returns will still make being a PC gamer as fun as it has ever been in 2013.

Cross platform titles continue to clean house on the Xbox 360 with few exclusives to its name other than State of Decay or Gears of War: Judgment. That hasn’t stopped it from topping the PS3 in US sales, however, by huge margins on Black Friday. Even in an industry suffering from its own mini-recession and with their consoles arguably facing their last year or two, Microsoft’s and Sony’s systems continue to draw in impressive sales numbers in North America.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter TitleThough some might categorize the crowd-funding model as the equivalent of being on the street with hat in hand, another argument can be made in saying that it’s the next logical step to using social media in sourcing donors willing to contribute to IP otherwise overlooked by mainstream publishers and their focus groups. Activision or EA would proably never pick up something such as Barkley 2. But a lot of players with spare change might – and have – to see it become a real thing. In addition to Barkley 2, about twelve other games on the list were driven by Kickstarter and all of them are expected to drop next year.

Kickstarter has also become a channel for relatively free publicity and a useful tool for gauging how interested people might be in an idea, providing immediate feedback such as in the case of the CRPG, Shaker, where a common complaint focused on its generic pitch. Both Tom Hall and Brenda Brathwaite ended the drive for the same reason. I’ll admit, I wasn’t that impressed by their pitch, either, despite the experience both have in the genre.

One thing overlooked in all of this Kickstarter brouhaha is that it could also foster a different kind of versatility between studios that jumps the red tape rope.

For example, Chris Avellone, working over at Obsidian on Project Eternity, will also be contributing his talents to inXile’s Wasteland 2 thanks to a funding milestone, lending the whole process the feel of two garage developers on the same block finding the funding they need from selling lemonade and then exchanging ideas by checking in next door to see how they’re doing. So what’s next for it in 2013? Lots and lots of new projects.

THQ

On October 4th, 1991, a company by the name of Mediagenic filed for Chapter 11 with a pre-packaged bankruptcy deal. Eventually, they came out of this period stronger than ever in the years since.

They also reverted back to their original name in 1992 – Activision – and with the help of Bobby Kotick and a number of other investors, have become the multi-billion dollar empire they are today. Seeing what they are now, it’s hard to believe that at one point, Activision was scraping the bottom. Though for some, what it is now seems to be far from the kind of company that David Crane and a group of others had envisioned in the early eighties.

On the surface of that, it might not be too farfetched to think that THQ won’t be able to pull off the same stunt avoiding the fate of Midway or even Acclaim.

THQ’s schedule, unsurprisingly, is pretty light for 2013. For now, they’re not going anywhere having had an injection of nearly $40 million dollars to keep things running. Their filings have even revealed a few working titles for games in development.

One big question is what the developers are going to be working on going forward after their projects for THQ are finished. THQ has a solid library of IP behind it and top developers creating them, so it could also become more of a question of who is willing to pick them up if things head south.

Ubisoft has recently made the rounds in expressing interest, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see if someone such as Square Enix, Capcom, or even Namco Bandai continue to diversify their Western alliances with a number of select studios or individual developers from the THQ stable. It’s going to prove to be a very interesting year for the troubled publisher.

A 2013 in Transition

Mobile GamingPerhaps the biggest rumors swirling around focus on what the PS3 and the Xbox 360′s replacements will be like and when Sony and Microsoft will finally unveil what gamers already suspect.

Social services are expected to be packed in with the new systems to push the argument made between them in 2005 and 2006 to the table again — which world will you and your friends adopt first? If this list shows anything, it only underlines how similar the capabilities of both Sony and Microsoft’s boxes really are making me wistfully nostalgic for the simpler days of when libraries of titles could only be made for specific consoles such as the TG-16, Sega’s Genesis, or the SNES. Nearly every A-list title in the coming year that the PS3 will have will also show up on the Xbox 360. Hardware isn’t enough anymore so one can count on Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to keep layering their silicon with the kind of social or interactivity icing that a killer app can make the most of while consistently delivering support for them.

The release schedule for 2013, with fewer titles compared to last year’s bonanza, is still filled with exciting stuff. The fewer numbers could also represent a cooling off period as developers quietly ramp up production for the next-generation of consoles. Or are cautiously cutting back, or too busy to put out anything at least in the first half of next year.

It could also reflect the growing importance of mobile gaming as casuals and “on the go” travelers increasingly turn to their smart devices for a little respite. Coupled with declining PC hardware sales and video game sales on consoles, it’s not too hard to see the effects.

And believe it or not, as this June interview on Gamespot reveals, Origin is posting respectable revenue making it a successful venture by any measure. It still has a ways to go to even think of contending with Steam, but it’s also another revealing look at just how well an online service can do.

Puzzles or dungeons, mysteries or survival…it’s all still coming out in 2013

Despite Sony’s internal troubles, it wears a brave face with the PS3 though it would also be nice if more of that exuberance would also rub off onto the Vita. Nintendo has a new console to support with quality games, the 3DS continues to gain ground, and the Xbox 360 shows no signs of wavering as another solid destination for everyone to jump aboard especially if their friends and the social services you want are already there. PC gamers, at least in the Windows world, will have a lot to play with for the same reasons. But so will Mac users thanks partly to Kickstarter funding projects such as Jane Jensen’s Moebius and Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

Unless you’re looking at specific titles, traditional gaming among the usual suspects still can’t go wrong with whatever you go with. There might seem to be not as many games to pick from in 2013, but many of the ones on this list are still worth waiting for despite whatever platform you might be on.

blog comments powered by Disqus

GamesBeat is your source for gaming news and reviews. But it's also home to the best articles from gamers, developers, and other folks outside of the traditional press. Register or log in to join our community of writers. You can even make a few bucks publishing stories here! Learn more.

You are now an esteemed member of the GamesBeat community. That means you can comment on stories or post your own to GB Unfiltered (look for the "New Post" link by mousing over your name in the red bar up top). But first, why don't you fill out your via your ?

About GamesBeat