Ah, summer time. Itís the season of beach swimming, blockbuster movies and hurricanes - but itís usually not the season for lots of new games. Video and PC game publishers save up most of their major releases for the period between September 1 and the first week of December, and 2006 will be no exception. This fall sees no less than two game consoles and the respective launch titles due out in stores (the PS3 and the Wii), along with major new Xbox 360 game releases (Gears of War) and PC game releases (Battlefield 2142, Enemy Territor Quake Wars).
However, the period between June 1 and the end of August isnít completely barren for gamers, and we here at FiringSquad are looking forward to a number of upcoming titles in the next three months. Here are our picks for our 10 most anticipated games of summer along with a list of honorable mentions. Without further ado here are our top 10 picks, in order of their anticipated release date (please note that release dates for these games in this article could change)
Hitman: Blood Money
(June 1): The summer season starts out with a bang with developer Io Interactive and publisher Eidos release this latest game in the long running spy action game series that in the past has even had some sci-fi elements. While previous games in the series have been mostly on foreign soil this time the mysterious, bald and bar coded Agent 47 is heading state side in this new game to investigate the assassinations of a number of his fellow hitmen from his organization. In addition to all the shooting, sneaking and garroting, Agent 47 now can use cash (the Blood Money of the title) to upgrade his weapons and accomplish other tasks.. There are also new ways of engineering ďaccidentsĒ that will take out your enemies. You know Ö ďaccidentsĒ Ö Look for this game on the PC, PS2, Xbox and Xbox 360.
Half-Life 2: Episode 1
: (June 1) In 2004, Valve took a big leap of faith by providing their first person shooter sequel Half-Life 2 via both retail stores and on their Steam Internet content delivery service. Now everyone is getting in on the digital distribution bandwagon, so now Valve is doing something else thatís somewhat different, an episodic continuation of their best selling game. Details about the plot are still secretive but we do know that it takes place immediately following the events of Half-Life 2 and that Valve is promising a richer gameplay experience than the first game, even if it will only between four and six hours in gameplay length. Like Half-Life 2, Episode 1 will be available via Steam and in retail stores, and Valve will also provide developers commentary inside the game. Cool.
Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War
: (June 12) Midway releases its first PC only game in quite a long time with this latest entry in the historical RTS game genre. This title has had just a little bit of drama in its development since the original dev team, Stainless Steel Studios, shut down last fall in the middle of making the game (the circumstances surrounding the shutdown have yet to be detailed). Instead of canceling Rise and Fall, Midway formed their own internal team to finish the game off. Set during the early days of human civilization, Rise and Fall has you controlling the fates of ancient empires like Rome, Greece and Egypt and Persia. You can control whole armies and even historical figures like Alexander the Great, Achilles, and Cleopatra (no you canít control her that way Ö pervs), and it even has support for naval battles as well.
: (June 26) First time developer Iron Lore finally releases their long awaited first PC game via publisher THQ on this date. This fantasy action-RPG has some Greek and Roman mythology as its basis and that means you get to tackle the big boys and girls of those pantheons like Cyclops, Medusa and more. The already released demo gives you an idea of what to expect and Iron Lore is promising full mod making support for Titan Quest as well.
Sid Meierís Civilization IV: Warlords
: (July 3). Gee, this PC expansion pack shouldnít do well at all. I mean, itís only adds to one of the best selling PC games of 2005 with developer Firaxis putting in new civilizations, leaders and units. Thereís even a new warlord unit thatís supposed to be very powerful for use in the expansionís six new scenarios. Nope there is no reason at all why the millions of fans for this turn based strategy franchise should spend their money on this game.
: (July 10) Perhaps the most anticipated game of the summer, this first person shooter has certainly taken a while to get completed. 3D Realms took a stab at making the game just after Duke Nukem 3D in the mid 1990s but cancelled the project, only to have it be revived by developer Human Head Studios with 3D Realmsí blessing and assistance. The storyline has you taking control of a Cherokee Native American who finds himself being abducted by aliens with hostile intentions towards the Earth. They apparently didnít count on your character to mess up their plans. This game uses the Doom 3 engine in some new and cool ways, including warping to different locations via portals, running on walls and the ceiling and some wild looking organic locations. Oh and the bad guys are hugeÖ.really. This game shows up on the PC and Xbox 360.