2012 has begun and it looks to be an awesome year for gamers! The entire year is dotted with high profile launches and the return of some of the biggest franchises in gaming. Apart from the big names, there are many more new games which have caught our fancy and could very much turn out to be surprise hits. Sure there’s a lot of sequels, but who doesn’t want to see their favorite character or series back in action? So without further ado, here are some of the most awaited games of 2012:
Street Fighter X Tekken
Fighting game fans rejoice! Two of the biggest franchises in the genre cross paths in this promising new brawler from Capcom. Featuring a roster of fighters from both the franchises, you can now pit your favorite characters from these universes against each other. Street Fighter X Tekken (read “Street Fighter cross Tekken”) will use the 2D style gameplay of the original Street Fighter series with super combos, EX attacks and everything that is signature Street Fighter. Tekken characters will have their movesets mapped to the Street Fighter control scheme and will retain their special attacks. Interestingly, Namco, developer of the Tekken series is also working on their version of the crossover called Tekken X Street Fighter and will feature the 3D gameplay of the original Tekken series. Street Fighter X Tekken will be available on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on March 6 while Tekken X Street Fighter is set to be released sometime in 2013.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
The newest entry in the Ghost Recon franchise has been in development for quite a while and it will finally see the light of day in March 2012. Known for its trademark gritty realism, the Ghost Recon series now moves into the near future with this newest iteration. It will be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unfortunately the long awaited Windows version was cancelled in December 2011. Future Soldier will be compatible with Microsoft Kinect and boasts of an unprecedented amount of immersion and customization. Players can control their character by actually replicating battle movements and will be able to control the interface in a simulated environment a la Minority Report.
Mass Effect 3
One of the biggest releases of the year, Mass Effect 3 is the final chapter in the epic action RPG from the stalwarts at BioWare. Commander Shepard’s saga comes to an end and decisions made in the previous two games will influence the storyline in this chapter as well. Mass Effect 3 also introduces multiplayer to the franchise along with fine tuning of the amazing graphics engine and gameplay. It will be available on Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 6. Check out the amazing trailer, it’s understandable how this could be one of the biggest games of the year!
Ninja Gaiden 3
The Ninja Gaiden series is one of the longest running action-adventure series in gaming. The reboot and its sequel received critical and commercial success and now the third game in the series is almost upon us. Tomonobu Itagaki, the developer of the past games does not direct this game, but it still looks promising. The protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa returns in a fantastic new story that seems to be quite different from the previous games, as the trailer shows us. Expect Ninja Gaiden 3 to slice through stores March 30.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Another long running series gets a new installment on March 30, the Operation Raccoon City is set during the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Instead of playing as the usual series protagonists, players will play as Umbrella Security Service officers with goals completely opposite to exposing the Umbrella Corporations heinous workings. Featuring 6 playable characters with different special abilities, Operation Raccoon City seems like a departure from the previous series outings and looks promising. It will be available on Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Prototype 2 is a free-roaming third person action game like its prequel Prototype. It features a new protagonist called Sergeant James Heller who is out for revenge after the death of his family caused by the rampage by Alex Mercer, protagonist of the previous game. Like the previous game, James Heller will be able to shapeshift and transform due to the Blacklight virus. Prototype 2 lands on Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on April 24.
Sequel to one of 2009’s surprise hits, Borderlands 2 is set 5 years after the events of Borderlands. Gearbox Software’s innovation first person “shooter RPG” was critically well received but not so much commercially. Like the original, there are 4 playable characters with different abilities, but this time around they’re actually new characters. A large amount of customization lets players make a character they’re comfortable playing with. Here’s to hoping Borderlands 2 is as good as, if not better than its predecessor and catches the public’s eye as well! Borderlands 2 hits stores around July 2012.
2007’s BioShock was one of the most critically and commercially successful games of the decade. The blend of immersive environments, great graphics, morality based gameplay, customizable offenses and objectivist philosophy was a breath of fresh air in the crowded first person shooter genre. After BioShock 2, also a well received game, Irrational Games is developing a new entry in the series, BioShock Infinite. Unlike the underwater utopia gone wrong setting of the previous two games, BioShock Infinite is set on a city in the clouds on the brink of collapse called Columbia. It features similar gameplay elements from its predecessors and we’re not complaining, it’s a tried and tested formula that doesn’t get old. BioShock Infinite is set to be released June 1.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike needs no introduction. To the millions of CS players all over the world, the new entry into the series, Global Offensive promises to go back to the roots of the original that made it so popular. Valve aims to satisfy veterans of the series with old school gameplay and welcome new entrants with a more forgiving multiplayer casual mode. Featuring updated graphics, maps and weapons, Global Offensive seems like a winner already!
DotA 2 is an update of the hugely popular multiplayer map DotA on Warcraft III. It is being developed by Valve Corporation as a stand alone product and has the main developer of the original map, Icefrog, on board. Needless to say, we can expect it to be true to its roots and is shaping up to be as fun as its predecessor. DotA 2 features most of the heroes, items and skills from DotA along with new maps, modes and a completely new art style and graphics engine. Currently under closed beta phase, DotA 2 is expected to release in the first half of 2012.
The long awaited and often delayed sequel to the amazing Diablo series is set to be released sometime around 2012. The Diablo series is well known for extremely fun hack ‘n slash gameplay and this new iteration allows players to choose among 5 character classes. It is set 20 years after Diablo II and takes place on Sanctuary, the world in which all Diablo games have taken place. Diablo III will use similar gameplay elements and the interface from Diablo II although on Blizzard’s new proprietary graphics and physics engine.
The well known action series is all set for a reboot in 2012. Usual developers Capcom have handed over the reins to English developer Ninja Theory and initial trailers show a completely new game with a completely changed, younger Dante. It is set in a parallel universe to the original games in the series.
Prey, released in 2006 was one of the most delayed games in the history of well, gaming. Going through numerous overhauls and changes, it was doubtful if it would ever see the light of day. Finally it released in 2006 and surprisingly was a great shooter with innovative elements like gravity changes, living and customizable weapons and spirit walking. 6 years later and Prey 2 is set to be released in 2012. It features a new protagonist who was knocked unconscious after a short fight with aliens during the beginning of the first game who wakes up on an alien world. He becomes a bounty hunter and presumes he is the last human on the alien world called Exodus. Furthermore, he doesn’t remember anything from the years between his abduction and arrival at Exodus. Then he meets the protagonist of the first game and sets out to recollect his memories. Sure seems like a cracker of a storyline!
Lara Croft stars in yet another reboot of the classic series that focuses more on survival and realism than the previous games. Players take control of a 21 year old Lara stranded on an island after an unforeseen storm wrecks the ship she was on. Tomb Raider features a completely new Lara and is a complete reinvention of the character and games. A greater emphasis on puzzles and survival, a new graphics engine and an origin story sounds interesting and will be worth waiting for. Tomb Raider is scheduled to be released in Q3 2012.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Both a sequel and a standalone expansion pack to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm is set 2 years after the events of Wings of Liberty and focuses on the story of Sarah Kerrigan and will be played from the Zerg perspective. It will be priced as an expansion pack and is set to be released sometime in 2012. Heart of the Swarm is the second of the StarCraft II trilogy with the third and last being Legacy of the Void.
Max Payne 3
Max Payne returns in the sequel to Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne! Set 8 years after the previous game, Max Payne 3 is set in Sao Paulo, Brazil where world weary Max has been double crossed and is looking out for a way to clear his name. Originally set to release in 2009, Max Payne 3 is scheduled to be released in March. All the signature traits that made the previous two games famous like the visceral action, gritty story and dark setting are set to make a return. Max Payne’s trademark bullet time makes a return as well.
The Hitman series was one of the first that effectively blended stealth and action and thus gained acclaim. Over the past few years, Agent 47 has had some lackluster outings. Fans of the series demanded a game that was as good as the first two and now IO Interactive and Square Enix have promised the newest installment will be everything they have asked for. They claim it will be “familiar yet completely different”. The trailer looks pretty awesome, lets hope Agent 47 finds his lost form as well! The tentative release date is set as 2012.
The Halo series is one of gaming’s biggest and most loved franchises. Halo 3 was said to be the last outing of the series protagonist, Master Chief, John-117, but come holiday 2012 (Q4 2012), players can step into the big shoes of the Chief again! Halo 4 will be the beginning of a new trilogy starring the Master Chief called the “Reclaimer Trilogy”. Unlike the previous games, the series will now be developed by 343 Industries, a new studio exclusively devoted to the Halo universe. Some employees of the previous developer Bungie are now working with 343 Industries after Bungie split from Microsoft. Developers promised this new trilogy will be more epic than the previous installments and will have a much darker storyline.
Guild Wars 2
The sequel to the popular MMORPG Guild Wars has promised a lot of unique features. Unlike most MMOG’s, it doesn’t have a subscription fee, just pay for the game and you’re all set! Set in the world of Tyria, the main plot deals with fighting Elder Dragons, ancient species bent on destruction. A unique feature in Guild Wars 2 is that it is a persistent world, that means the players actions actually determine the progress of the storyline. A revamped combat system and better graphics could very well make this game a big player in the MMOG market.
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
The new expansion pack for the largest and most popular MMORPG was announced on October 21, 2011. Mists of Pandaria will have a host of new features and content, including a brand new playable race called the Pandaren and class, Monk. What’s unique about the Pandaren is that they can join any one of the two factions, they aren’t faction bound like other races. Set on an island lost in time until now, Mists of Pandaria extensively features Asian themed environments and instances. It raises the level cap from 85 to 90, introduces a completely remade talent system, a pet battle system, challenge mode dungeons along with brand new raids, dungeons and battlegrounds. The return of world PvP combat is also one of the most anticipated features. It’s a departure from the usual doom and gloom and a main antagonist for every expansion, and instead focuses on the conflict between the two factions, Alliance and Horde.
So these are some of the most awaited games of 2012, there are still more set to release and some big names that haven’t yet set a release date but very well could release in 2012; This year could be one of the best years for gamers, lets wait and watch, and of course play!
Rahul Gondane is a technophile and gamer, who has been obsessed with everything tech ever since he started dabbling in it in early 2000. He also enjoys reading books, listening to music and watching movies. Rahul is the Chief Operating Officer of Pyrite Technologies Pvt. Ltd.