There were some pretty hot properties shown off at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, both established IPs and new games alike. Here are our top picks for what to look forward to.
We've been excited about Watch Dogs for some time now, but the new information that came out at E3 has ramped up the anticipation to new heights.
It wasn't just the hacking and the guided stealth gameplay that looked great. It was the multiplayer elements we saw, as well.
In one demo, we saw Aiden call for help, and an external player (using a tablet) was able to jump in and disable a helicopter.
Ubisoft also revealed that its multiplayer component will be seamless within the single-player experience — other players can attempt to hack your phone and disrupt your missions, but — and here's the clever part — you'll always appear as Aiden Pearce.
When you hack other players, they appear in your game as generic NPCs. The same goes for you in their games. It's a little confusing, but a great way to not break the flow of the gameplay.
Capybara Games won our hearts with Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, and although the company has gone on to release a few other games since then that showcase its versatility, we've been eagerly awaiting a return to Superbrothers' strange and beautiful aesthetic.
Below looks like it. Being made exclusively for the Xbox One, the game sees the return of musician Jim Guthrie with his haunting soundscapes. Microsoft is calling it a "creative take on roguelike gameplay", implying exploration, loot and permadeath; but, like Journey, there will be no tutorial, no dialogue and no explanation. You control a lone adventurer arriving on a remote island to crawl through the catacombs below. Who are you? Why are you there? What does, indeed, lie below?
What's happening? Is Gomez back? Does he still have his magical hat? Will there be four dimensions this time? Alas, the Fez 2 trailer from Polytron is about as teasy as a trailer can possibly be. But we know it's coming. Boy howdy.
Actually, we're a little conflicted on this one. While we're always happy to see anything by Shinji Mikami — the man pretty much invented survival horror — we're worried that this could be a little too clichéd.
Mass murder, abandoned buildings, creature-filled worlds — it feels quite similar to many other Japanese-made survival horror games.
That said, it does look like it'll bring the fear, and solid games made for adult players always please us. Still, we'll call ourselves cautiously optimistic here, and hope we don't end up with another Saw.
A little bit Katamari Damacy, a little bit North American mythology (from Hopi folktales to backyard legends), Kachina — by Ben Espositio, level designer for the arty Unfinished Swan — is a puzzle game about holes. You control a hole in the ground that gets bigger as you swallow things up and smaller when you spit them back out elsewhere, evoking a sense of scale and wonder as you explore the themes of erasure and discovery.
Esposito is working on the game for PC, Mac and iOS in his spare time, so there's no ETA on arrival — but we'll be watching this space with eager eyes.
For the most part, we don't get too overwhelmed when a game has Tom Clancy in the title, but The Division might be a different kettle of fish.
Set in a US that has been decimated by a flu virus, you play as a sleeper agent who's been brought out to ... well, it's not entirely clear what you're meant to be doing.
The gameplay trailer shows co-op gameplay around exploration and combat, some drop-in, drop-out play from someone playing on a tablet and lots and lots of guns.
The interface looks amazing, as does the open-world environment. It seems like this is one title determined to push the next-gen consoles to their limit. The Division is out on the Xbox One and PS4 in 2014.
Supergiant killed it with isometric action-adventure Bastion, so the announcement of its next game in March was met with glee. Transistor is a little different to its previous game, in that it's set in a sci-fi universe, but the hack-n-slash RPG elements are still around — which is great, because Supergiant executes them magnificently. You play Red, wielding a massive sword of unknown origin, combining strategy and action as you seek down the futuristic city's missing owners — all while being pursued by a mysterious group who want the sword back.
The art looks absolutely stunning — like Bastion, we suspect it will have to go on our list of absolute must-plays.
Transistor will release on PlayStation 4 and Steam in early 2014, with Linux and Mac versions to come later.
Although there's something to be said for standard, linear gameplay, we can't resist a game that's just about kicking back, exploring and discovering what the world has to offer. Hohokum, by graphic designer Richard Hogg in collaboration with studio Honeyslug, looks like one of the most gorgeously whimsical games we've seen in a while. It has something of The UnderGarden about it, only less structured and more bright and colourful.
There are no time limits, no scores, no deaths: the game is purely about exploring. You control a long, rainbow-coloured flying snake called the Long Mover, ferrying around a cast of colourful characters, helping the world's inhabitants and solving puzzles. There are also no tutorials — from the very start, Hohokum wants you to find its secrets out for yourself.
It will be available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita sometime next year.
Remedy, the dev that gave us the flawed but enjoyable Alan Wake, are bringing us Quantum Break a game about ... um?
We know that time manipulation is a part of it. We know that big chunks of the game are presented as live-action, TV-quality sequences. We know that you shift perspectives between two characters and, when a "junction sequence" occurs, you actually step into the role of the game villain.
But how does all of this flow together? How does it become a unified story, or even a game that can be properly played?
It's not clear — which definitely makes us keen to see what Remedy has cooking in Quantum Break.
When it comes to hardware, the PlayStation Vita has a lot going on, what with touch pads and buttons and D-pads and cameras. We haven't really seen a game that makes innovative use of all of these features, but Tearaway by Media Molecule — the creator of the awesome Little Big Planet — looks like one of the most interesting games for the platform we've seen.
Set in a paper world, you control a little paper messenger guy called Iota, who is on a mission to deliver a message — to you, the "god" of the game (inserted directly into the action using the Vita's camera). It looks like the team has developed new and exciting ways in which to interact with the device, as well as creating an absolutely adorable and engrossing adventure game.
Tearaway is a PlayStation Vita exclusive coming at the end of this year.
Which game are you most looking forward to? Tell us about it in the comments below.