With the upcoming game release season fast approaching, I can’t help but wonder how the gaming industry is going to fair. This summer there has been a bit of a lull in game releases, which of course is normal, games are released in what seems to be a few months before and after the holiday season. “Consumers spent $24.75 billion on video games, hardware and accessories in 2011” what can we expect to see for overall sales numbers for 2012? There are of course a great number of games that are going to be released between now and the end of the year. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the highly anticipated games. After a great deal of controversy surrounding the launch of Mass Effect 3 and the subsequent questions surrounding the strength of Electronic Arts, what does this mean for the overall gaming industry? Are consumers ready to go back out there and spend their hard earned cash on new games at launch? Or are fans going to wait to see reviews and hear from fellow consumers before making their purchases? Many of the games that are coming out are sequels and part of a franchise, thus there is already a great deal of expectation surrounding their release. Some of these games include, but are not limited to, Halo 4, Guild Wars 2, Resident Evil 6, Borderlands 2 and Assassin’s Creed III. Many of these games have strong fan bases that are expecting a great deal from them, but will consumers show their support at launch?
Guild Wars 2
August 28, 2012.
Guild Wars 2 is launching for the PC very shortly. It is the second installment in the Guild Wars franchise by NCsoft and ArenaNet, the first Guild Wars launched in April of 2005. This game is a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, also known as an MMORPG. What made the first Guild Wars different from many other MMOs at that time was that it was free to play right from the start, many other MMOs required a monthly subscription to play, and this tradition will be continued with the newest installment of the game. Guild Wars sold over 6.5 million copies and the second game is expected to be a to sell very well, Gamebreaker.tv stated; “Since becoming available for pre-purchase on April 10, ArenaNet‘s upcoming game has sold — well, we don’t have exact numbers, but we’re betting it’s “a lot.” Amazon seems to agree, listing the game as #1 on its sales charts for best-selling adventure games – even though Amazon doesn’t have that pre-purchase advantage. It’s also #4 in top role-playing games, a list topped by Diablo 3 that also includes several versions of TERA and other MMORPGs. The Secret World is #10.” The bonus that MMOs do have over many single player games is the addition of a beta for consumers to participate in, which allows possible players the opportunity to play the game and decide if they want to buy the full game when it releases. Of course one could also say those that are going to take part in the beta are already sold on the game and this access if just icing on the cake for them, but it does also have the potential to turn off consumers as well. With the MMO industry taking hits with lost subscribers currently making the gaming news, what does this mean for new releases? Guild Wars 2 preorders seem to be doing strong to indicate that there are still a great deal of players interested.
September 18, 2012
What can one really say about Borderlands 2, with an incredible first game that in many ways took consumers by surprise in a good way, the new game is expected to outperform the first game. Borderlands was named #35 out of 100 by IGN in their list of Modern Games. Since the release of Borderlands it has sold 4.5 million units. It was also named Xbox Game of the Year and runner up for Game of the Year 2009. Based on the success of the first Borderlands the development of a Borderlands 2 was to be expected. Based on all these positives reviews it is no wonder that both consumers and reviewers are extremely interested in this game. Borderlands was also voted the best co-op game of 2009, and Borderlands 2 promises to have many of the same elements with new additions as well if you can believe it more weapons. (Is this even possible given that Borderlands is in the Guiness Book of World Records for ‘most usable firearms’ in any video game. Borderlands 2 will have much of the same structure as the first game, the playable characters are going to be new, but it has been said that we will be able to see the original characters at various points in the game. The AI has been completely overhauled which will encourage teamwork, because the enemies will have advanced tactics and overall better intelligence. Needless to say this sequel is highly anticipated as it is the third most reserved game currently.
Resident Evil 6
October 2, 2012
With a game series that was originally released in 1996, this series has a long standing tradition of certain elements, Resident Evil 6 looks to take many of the beloved elements of the series but add new elements; the biggest new element will be the ability to run and shoot simultaneously. After the critical acclaim that Resident Evil 4 received, there continues to be high hopes to subsequent releases. Capcom is expecting to sell 7 million copies of this game, further proof that this game is anticipated to do rather well. The developers of Resident Evil 6 have taken notice to the increase of zombies in pop culture and changing up the way zombies are seen in this upcoming game, making the zombies react and attack differently. The new zombies will leap at you, they will use weapons and they will have armor from when they were alive. They will shriek at you causing your character to wince in pain, if you shoot them in the legs they will continue to crawl after you. However, zombies will not be making appearances in every story mode. The developers also seem to be listening to the criticism they have received when bringing the trailers to various gaming expos and promising that they will do everything that they can to address those problems. One of the biggest complaints that are currently being addressed is that of the camera. Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi “[t]here were certain things that gamers felt stressed about,” Hirabayashi said. “One of the main concerns was the camera. We decided that was one thing we had to fix, that we had to work on that camera – we’re actually working on that right now. We want to make sure that camera doesn’t interfere with your gameplay experience.” Will longtime fans of the series pick up the latest installment simply because they have come to love the series? Will this latest Resident Evil attract new fans to the series? Only time will be able to answer these questions.
Assassin’s Creed III
October 30, 2012
With the first Assassin’s Creed release in November of 2007 Assassin’s Creed III will mark the fifth release in this franchise from Ubisoft. This game series is a historical action-adventure open-world with stealth elements. As of February 15, 2012 the franchise has sold over 38 million copies since the first game launched. The newest game in the series is going to be taking place before, during and after the American Revolution. The game will feature a new protagonist: half-English and half-Native American, Connor Kenway, birth name Ratonhnhaké:ton. It wouldn’t be a true Assassin’s Creed game without the historical elements, but this newest game will also include more of the ‘present day’ settings than previous games. The players will have more time to spend with the main character Desmond as his plot continues to develop and then come to a conclusion. There has been so much hype and excitement surrounding this release that on March 30, 2012, Ubisoft stated that in the three weeks since the game's preorder campaign began, numbers had already surpassed the total US preorder numbers of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and exceeded 10 times more than the preorders Assassin's Creed: Revelations attracted in a comparable time frame. “Ubisoft's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Tony Key, said the game would enjoy the biggest marketing commitment in company history. He also called Assassin's Creed III the largest launch in the publisher's history and noted it will have been in development for three years.”
November 6, 2012
If there is a great deal of excitement surrounding the other games in this article, than what can I really say about Halo 4? The Halo franchise as of January 2012 is said to be worth $2.8 billion so of course it is safe to assume that the new studio in charge of development of Halo 4, 343 Industries, is highly optimistic that the newest installment will perform just as well if not better as the others in the series. The series has received many awards and much critical acclaim since its original launch back in November of 2001. Some of the awards the Halo series has won include but not limited to, best Xbox game of all time by IGN, and Halo 3 was named Game of the Year by Time Magazine to name just a few of the many awards the series has won over the years. One of the biggest points for the game is that Master Chief is once again going to be the main protagonist, which will be the first time since 2007 in Halo 3. Unlike the first games in the trilogy, this newest addition was developed to be part of a three game arc from the very beginning. Developer 343 Industries is aiming for "a more complete connectivity between all of their future media than before." On April 20, 2012 it was announced that a web series, titled Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn would play on Machinima.com and Halo Waypoint during the weeks leading up to the release for Halo 4. The series will contain five live-action shorts, introducing a new character that will tie in with the plot of the upcoming game. The project is set to be Microsoft's largest investment in a live-action promotion. Based on previous success of this franchise, is it safe to assume that this newest game will do well?
So what does this all mean?
These are of course only a few games that are coming out in the next few months, but they stand as a representation of the gaming industry as a whole. There has been a great deal of criticism across much of popular culture that sequels and remakes are the only thing being produced, does that take away from overall consumer enjoyment? Will consumers still be willing to go out and spend money on these games they feel a connection to and know what they are getting, or are they going to wait and see how everything plays out for the first weeks after launch? Personally nearly every game here I will be picking up soon after launch, if not at launch, some of them two copies will need to be purchased. These well-known franchises inevitably come with a certain level of expectation for the game to be well done, is this still a healthy a viable point of view to have towards the gaming industry? After the let down and disappointment surrounding Mass Effect 3 I still have to hold a certain amount of cautious optimism in relation to new releases. I hold out hope that these games listed above prove to be well developed and fun games on the various levels including, single player, co-op and online multi-player. How will you the consumer spend your hard earned money when it comes to games? How do you see the future of the gaming industry?
Upcoming Release Season, Success or Not?
Blog entry posted by Amalthea327, Aug 7, 2012.