The Spike Video Game Awards were tonight, and the audience was treated to quite a bit of never-before-seen content. Much of it was trailer premieres for already announced games, but there were several new announcements that managed to stay secret. Anyways, I watched pretty much all of it (and caught up on the parts I missed), and here’s my quick opinions on each of the featured games – some more detailed than others.
Early on, the audience was surprised by a trailer for the newest franchise from Naughty Dog (of Uncharted fame) . Their newest title is called The Last of Us, and the trailer wasn’t what you would expect. It’s a zombie game. It’s hard to tell from a trailer much about a game, but I would expect a more cinematic, story-focused approach to this beaten-to-death genre then we typically see – especially considering the trailer is supposed to be 100% straight from a PS3. Speaking of the trailer, it’s already been posted here on WYK, and you should watch that before continuing on.
Now that you’ve done that, we can continue. I have to emphasize that part at the beginning, that says it was taken directly from a PS3. It’s still a cinematic, almost certainly, although the distinction may be a bit blurred, ala Uncharted. My guess would be an opening cinematic, mostly because of the last shot of the city. It seems to set up the setting well, enough to set it apart from other zombie games. That, combined with the empty cityscape, actually reminds me of the movie I Am Legend. I get the impression contact with other people may be pretty limited, outside of possibly a home base where a few dozen people are holed up. As far as combat/gameplay… there’s a hint that ammo may be pretty limited, but it’s so hard to tell from something like this anything concrete about the game itself.
A word of warning, though. The premiere was very intriguing, but I remind you to remember the last time we saw a zombie game with a fantastic trailer: Dead Island. Not exactly the most representative of the trailer. I don’t expect the same thing to happen to The Last of Us, especially with it actually being part of the game. but it’s a possibility to be aware of.
Bioware told us a while ago that they would be announing a new game at the VGAs, even giving us an image from the game, but, if it hadn’t been for EA grabbing ahold of a few domain names, I doubt many people would have predicted Command & Conquer: Generals 2. It appears that EA wants one of the best parts of their stable of developers to help them bring back one of their more storied franchises – whether they have experience with the genre or not.
I honestly don’t know what to think of this. The game is using Battlefield 3′s engine, Frostbite 2, and looks fantastic, but I’m not completely sold on the idea of Bioware making it. I don’t know about you, but I’m a Bioware fan because of their RPGs, and an RTS is, well, quite a long ways from an RPG. We can have faith in Bioware that they’ll pull it off, though, and give this ailing franchise some new life.
Next on my agenda is the newest Tom Clancy game, Rainbow 6: Patriots. This wasn’t actually announced today, but it was the first glimpse a lot of people had of the game. Rainbow 6 has always been about counter-terrorism, both in the original books and the games, but Rainbow 6 has an all new target: US citizens. Patriots feeds on today’s economic climate, with the main antagonists as paramilitary groups fed up with corporate corruption. This setting is bound to be controversial, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Any publicity is good publicity, as the saying goes.
I’m actually really curious about this one. It reminds me of Homefront, but on a much different scale (this being Rainbow 6), and by someone that we know knows what they’re doing. Not to mention this one seems a bit more likely than North Korea invading. I’m sure the gameplay will be just as tactical as ever, not much doubt that will be perfectly competent at the least. We’ll see when it comes out how this risky plot choice pans out.
We knew the Gears of War storyline was finishing with the third installment, and many were wondering what Epic Games next title would be. Cliff Bleszinski, the outspoken creative head of Epic, came on stage to tell us personally. Epics newest title is called Fortnite, and it looks to be… a tower defense game. It’s a little hard to tell, but this is… how should I say it.. an unexpected path for Epic.
Like I said before, it looks to be a tower defense game, with elements of resource collecting and building, different enemy types, all that stuff you would normally see. The art style reminds me distinctly of TF2. Putting the pieces together, I doubt this is an AAA title. More likely, it will be released on XBLA and other similar platforms. I would see it basically as Epic pushing something out while they spend a couple years or so on their next big franchise – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it as a launch title for the inevitable new Xbox, though many gamers would love to see something sooner.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be good, though. Epic obviously has a lot of experience under their belt, and I’ll be interested in seeing more on this in the future.
The last game I’m going to do a full on impression of is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Raiden is back, and he’s got some slicing and dicing to do – and apparently a lot of “Re-”s to add on to words where they really don’t belong. (See: title. Also, trailer.)
I’m pretty sure Revengeance is supposed to have some element of motion control in it, and certain parts of this trailer seem to show that, mostly the parts where time slows down and he chops them up quite precisely. In any case, the trailer showed a lot of over-the-top Japanese style action – much like the recent game by developer Platinum Games, Bayonetta. Kojima is still involved, of course – his studio is producing the game.
From what we saw the game is quite different from the classic Metal Gear titles, but Raiden is quite a bit different from Snake, so we’ll see how this turns out.
To finish up, here’s some quick one line impressions of the rest of the various trailers, premieres and whatnot at the show (click the link for the trailer here on WYK, or on Youtube if there isn’t one.):
Mass Effect 3: Looks like Bioware has done a LOT of work on the cinematics and the presentation of the war in this installment of Bioware’s biggest franchise. Also, Thresher maw vs. Reaper.
Diablo III: Another of Blizzard’s gorgeous cinematics, but nothing new gameplay wise – just the opening cinematic, complete with Deckard Cain.
The Amazing Spiderman: Why exactly is Spiderman fighting ROBOTS? Looks cool and all, but… robots? I liked the idea of Shattered Dimensions better.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare: Interesting idea to make the Alan Wake sequel an XBLA game. I wonder if there’s a bigget one in the works somewhere.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron: Looks pretty cool. Glad to see the first one got enough attention there’s a sequel. The trailer actually reminded me of some of the more poignant Halo and Gears trailers.
Bioshock: Infinite: I got nothing new from that trailer, really. More Columbia, and it looks like a less run-down Rapture in the sky, still got that 50′s vibe going.
Hitman: Absolution: Lots of cold-blooded killing, as is proper. The graphics aren’t as realistic as I would expect, but I don’t have much experience with the franchise.
Tony Hawk: Pro Skater HD: Well, that was underwhelming. A dude skating around an admittedly pretty nice skate park. Is the name “Tony Hawk” supposed to make me super excited for this?