Finally! While there were a few bright spots this summer for new games (Prey, Titan Quest, and Dead Rising), the first full week of September is when things kick into high gear for game publishers and developers as the fall/holiday buying season begins in earnest. There is going to be a flood of high profile game titles releases for consoles (both current and next-gen) , portables and PCs during this time period, including two new console hardware releases in the Playstation 3 and the Wii. Make no mistake, this is the prime time for game releases. According to the NPD Group, over half of all sales of video and PC games are made in the last three months of the year.
Here at FiringSquad there are a number of upcoming games we are looking forward to playing this year, and as the fall buying season is right around the corner we are going to look at what we think could be the highlights of this year’s fall/holiday line-up. Please keep in mind that the games and game related hardware we are listing here are scheduled to come out sometime before the end of the year but that release dates can (and most likely will) change for a number of these titles. Also keep in mind that this list doesn’t have by any means every game that will be coming out this fall. These are just the ones we are especially interested in. As always with these kinds of features your opinions and mileage may vary from ours, and we encourage you to use our comments system to give us your views.
Sony’s big kahuna (in more ways than one) of a game console is due to be released in the US on Nov. 22 in two versions; a $499 model with a 20 GB hard drive but without internal WiFI, no SD or CompactFlash card slots and no HDMI collection for HDTVs. Most people are predicting that it will be the $599 version that will be the big seller as it will have all those features plus a 60 gig hard drive (three times more than Microsoft’s drive for the Xbox 360).
It’s late August, less than three months before the scheduled release of the PS3, but Sony is still keeping a lot of the details of the system under wraps, including most of the details of how their PS3 online service will actually work. Sony is claiming it will have two million units available for sale by launch worldwide (a figure that’s being disputed in some circles as overly optimistic) but Sony execs have admitted that manufacturing hasn’t even begun on the console yet. Even if Sony’s projections are correct it’s very possible that there will be shortages of the PS3 in the US on launch day. That is, if people are not put out by the high price of the console (see our previous article “Countdown to Playstation 3” for our more detailed opinion on the console).
So what about the games scheduled for launch day? Sony is also being somewhat quiet on what games will be available exclusively for the PS3 but here are our picks for the highlights (keep in mind that Sony has yet to release the full launch day list so things could change).
Resistance: Fall of Man:
Insomniac Studios breaks away from their Ratchet and Clank platform franchise for their PS3 launch title with this great looking first person shooter set in a alternate 1950’s Britain where some kind of alien-alternate dimension invasion of monsters is generally making things unpleasant for the land of tea and crumpets. While the demos we have seen and played back at E3 seemed fairly standard for first person shooter fare, Insomniac may be keeping some features close to the vest. Two cool things are support for co-op play throughout the single player game and an online mode that will reportedly support “dozens of players” (check out our Resistance: Fall of Man interview with Insomniac’s Ted Price for more info)
Incog Studios brings back a classic futuristic flying game franchise to the PS3 with this outing, which at the moment is the only game known to support the PS3’s motion sensing tech in its wireless controller. Not a lot is known of Warhawk at this stage but during our playtime at E3 we had fun controlling the ship with just our arm movements (yes we avoided looking like a dork). But will the final game have what it takes to be an impressive launch title? Stay tuned.
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom:
Sony Online Entertainment brings their PSP action-RPG franchise to the PS3 launch line-up. At E3 the game still looked early with some solid but not spectacular graphics and some fairly standard gameplay but it’s possible the game could improve. Besides, you have to have a cool action-RPG for your Sony console sometime.
Full Auto 2: Battlelines:
Sega brings their car combat action game from the Xbox 360 to the PS3 for the sequel and developer Pseudo Interactive is promising more in terms of improved graphics, gameplay and destructible environments for the PS3 version (check out our Full Auto 2 interview for more info)
Of course there are a lot more PS3 games scheduled for launch from other publishers that are also being released for the Xbox 360 and other platforms (including a PS3 version of Madden 07), and we will cover our picks for the most anticipated multi-platform games this fall in another section of this article. Sony’s online service also reportedly is prepping online downloadable games and content for the PS3 but there are no details on those plans yet.