Summary: Getting tired of Call of Duty 4, Crysis, or the Orange Box and looking for something new to play? Fear not fellow gamers, in this article JCal highlights 22 upcoming games you may want to pick up this spring!
2008, however, is already shaping up to be a little different than previous years. Already in the first three months of 2008 we have had a number of major new game releases, from Burnout Paradise, to Devil May Cry, to Frontlines Fuel of War, and more. The PC game space has already generated a surprise hit in Sins of a Solar Empire. Last week Nintendo's newest Wii game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, did some smashing of its own; it sold over 1.4 million copies in its first week.
Clearly the year is starting out strong in term of game sales (despite the news from the real world that we are likely in am economic recession), and as spring officially begins this week it's also clear that the next few months will not lack for game releases that would feel right at home in the fall/holiday sales time period. Indeed one game in particular may become the best selling game of the year, despite whatever else might be released this fall. Hopefully this is a new trend of game publishers not waiting around to cram in all of their major titles in one small time period.
Regardless, the current spring 2008 game line-up is shaping to be one of the most memorable in recent history. FiringSquad has taken a look at the upcoming slate spring 2008 games and we have created our list of the titles that we are most looking forward to checking out in the next three months until the official beginning of summer (Keep in mind that release dates on these games are tentative and as always are subject to change).
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2:
We are fudging a little bit by putting UbiSoft's tactical shooter on this list since it ships to stores this week a couple of days before spring begins. However the first Las Vegas based game in the long running game series was a major best seller for the publisher when it was released in November 2006 for the Xbox 360 and December 2006 for the PC (the PS3 version had to wait until August 2007). Rainbow Six Vegas 2's storyline actually takes place both before and after the events of the first game with a new character creation system, better AI in the single player game, and more as Team Rainbow takes on terrorists around Sin City once again. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are out now; the PC version is due for release in mid April.
Dark Sector (March 25) : It's been a long time for Digital Extremes' original title, having been announced several years ago as a space-based MMO then reimagined as a sci-fi action game. Now the title is a mix of sci-fi, spy, and superhero genres as you control a secret agent that gets “infected” by a weapon that bonds to his arm and can give him special abilities. D3Publisher is counting on Dark Sector to be its major AAA console flagship title of 2008 with its release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 (alas, D3Publisher has no plans for a PC version).
Viking: Battle For Asgard (March 25): Developer The Creative Assembly and publisher Sega release this Xbox 360-PS3 action game that, as the title implies, puts you in command of an ancient Viking warrior battling humans, creatures, and Norse gods. The Creative Assembly has mixed RPG and even some RTS aspects into this title and you can expect lots and lots of Viking carnage.
Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath (March 25) : PC gamers may be waiting for C&C: Red Alert 3 to be released later this year, but before that happens Electronic Arts takes us back to the classic C&C universe for a new expansion pack that adds some info on the series's main villain Kane. Look for new units and features in this expansion (the Xbox 360 will get this game as a stand alone title this summer)
Xbox 360 Versions Of Universe At War And Supreme Commander: Two previously released PC sci-fi RTS games get ported over to the Xbox 360 this spring. On March 25, developer Petroglyph and publisher Sega release the Xbox 360 port of Universe at War: Earth Assault which has the honor of being only the second game ever released to have cross-platform multiplayer with the PC version. On May 19, developer Hellbent Games will port Gas Powered's 2007 released sci-fi RTS title Supreme Commander to the Xbox 360. There won't be any cross-platform multiplayer but it will have new units and multiplayer modes that will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 version.
Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor (April) : Stardock may have a major PC game hit on its hands with the Ironclad Games developed Sins of a Solar Empire, but Stardock's own space strategy game Galactic Civilizations II isn't being ignored either. The developer is working on its second (and final) expansion pack for the game called Twilight of the Arnor that packs in a new single player campaign, new ships, new tech trees for all the civilizations, editors for pretty much every aspect of the game, improved AI, a graphics overhaul and more.
PC Version of Assassin's Creed (April 8) : UbiSoft's open world stealth action game mixed historical fiction with science fiction and the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions sold millions of copies last fall. The long delayed PC version finally ships to stores in mid-April with some new additional missions not found in the console release. However, will the fairly steep system requirements keep a lot of PC gamers from checking this title out?
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue: (April 15) :It's not exactly the full-featured PS3 Gran Turismo game that people have been waiting on (that's why there's a “Prologue” in the title) but Sony still expects the latest game in the long running racing sim series to sell very well indeed. Developed once again by Polyphony Digital, the new game will have 60 licensed cars, six tracks, and for the first time in a Gran Turismo game, online multiplayer racing for up to 16 players. The game will also be priced right at $39.99 and will be made available as a digital download via the Playstation Store in addition to being sold in brick-and-mortal retailers.
Mario Kart Wii:(April 27): Following up on the already massive success of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo releases the Wii version of yet another long popular game franchise. In addition to all of the great arcade racing action that previous Mario Kart games have had, it will also support online multiplayer racing as well (something that only the DS version has had previously).
Grand Theft Auto IV (April 29): It's the big elephant in the room that is the spring 2008 game release line up. Rockstar's mega-selling franchise that basically created the open world action game genre comes out with its first title for the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles as you explore and take part in a lot of seedy actions in the modern day Liberty City. Analysts are already predicting the game will sell a whopping 6 million copies in just its first week....whoa.
Iron Man/Incredible Hulk Movie Games: Sega has the lock on two games based on two of the summer's most anticipated Marvel Comics based popcorn action flicks. On May 2, developer Secret Level releases their game based on Iron Man with Shellhead using his cool armor to take out enemies on the ground and in the air. On June 3rd, developer Edge of Reality takes on Greenskin in their open world action game adaptation of The Incredible Hulk title. Look for both games to follow along with their movie versions but have additional content from the comics as well (both games will be released for the PC as well as most major consoles).
WiiFit (May 19): It's already sold 1.5 million copies in Japan since its release in December and now Nintendo hopes that success translates to the US. Combining a unique controller that turns your feet into a game manipulation device, WiiFit will have both fun mini-games (a la Wii Sports) with actual exercise programs. It's not a hardcore game, but it will certainly appeal to a broader range of people.
Age of Conan (May 20): It's taken a long while, but Funcom’s long awaited MMO based on Robert E Howard's fictional fantasy universe is finally close to release on the PC. One of the very few “M” rated MMOs, Age of Conan will have an extensive single player element to the game as well as lots of PvP content, including a way to both create and siege entire player built cites. Oh and there will be topless female nudity..had to throw that in.
Haze (May 20): Developer Free Radical and publisher UbiSoft have delayed the release of this near-future shooter for several months, but it finally looks like this PS3 exclusive title will find its way to stores this May. Your character's outlook on life as a corporate soldier takes a turn when he finds out that he's been pumped full of drugs to make the world seem a lot more benign than it actually is. Look for lots of shooting and even four-player co-op...neat.
Lost Planet: Colonies (May 27): If you haven't pick up Capcom's 2007 released sci-fi action game, just wait until this re-released version comes out for the PC and Xbox 360 console. Priced at the budget level of $29.95, this game ads a bunch of new multiplayer maps and modes and includes cross-platform multiplayer between the Xbox 360 and PC ports....
Alone In The Dark (May): Publisher Atari and its majority shareholder Infogrames need a major hit desperately (they have been dealing with financial issues for the past several years) and they are hoping this revival of their long running survival horror game franchise does the trick. Developer Eden Studios is using their own graphics engine in the game, set in a New York City where very bad things are happening. With a script written by the man who wrote the screenplay for the movie Sleepers, this title could finally be the big hit Atari/Infogrames has been waiting on (the game should be released for the PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2 consoles).
Lego Indiana Jones Adventures (June 3): While we would prefer LucasArts release the game based on that really cool E3 2006 Indiana Jones tech demo, we have to admit we are also looking forward to this family friendly version of the first three Indiana Jones movies. Developed once again by Traveller's Tales, Lego Indiana Jones looks to have all of the fun platform and action game features of their Lego Star Wars titles. And snakes...why did it have to be snakes?
Ninja Gaiden II (June 3): Temco's original Ninja Gaiden revamp for the first Xbox was considered one of the console's best games...and one of its hardest to complete. Now Temco brings the sequel to the Xbox 360 this June..it looks better, it has your main character battling lots of weird and odd creatures and it's likely to be a game that will be among the most challenging ever made. You have been warned... (By the way, an original DS game, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, ships to stores on March 25)
Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (June 3): The Civilization series has always been among the top of PC gamer's list of esssential game franchises and now developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games release the first console only version of the historical turn based strategy series. Look for the traditional elements of the PC game, combined with a console interface and online multiplayer for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions (a DS version will also be released).
Metal Gear Solid 4 (June 12): The PS3's biggest third party exclusive is finally in sight as Konami's stealth action game franchise makes its long anticipated debut on Sony's newest console. Solid Snake is back, and even though he looks a little long in the tooth, he can still get behind enemies and kill them before they even knew he was there. And there's mechs, guns and all sorts of other stuff.
Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway (June): Another long delayed UbiSoft game looks like it will get released this June. Developer Gearbox Software creates their third game in the long running WWII tactical shooter series for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 as the troops participate in the real life Operation Market Garden (no Sean Connery impersonations, though..darn).
The Bourne Conspiracy (June): Developer High Moon and publisher Sierra bring us this third-person action game that's (sort of) based on The Bourne Identity, the first movie in the Jason Bourne spy action series (which itself is based on the Robert Ludlum novel) with some additional story content as well. While Matt Damon's voice and likeness won't be in this game, The Bourne Conspiracy will have input from the movie's screenwriter Tony Gilroy along with the film's fight coordinator that will hopefully give this title more heft than the normal movie based game.
Mass Effect For The PC (May 27): BioWare's Xbox 360 sci-fi RPG was a big commercial and critical hit back in November and in May PC gamers get a chance to check out the deep storyline, the solid combat and the terrific role-playing features. The PC version, developed by BioWare and Demiurge Studios, will feature a new UI and customized controls especially made for the PC port along with a new decryption mini-game. There's no word if the PC version will get the extra downloadable content that the Xbox 360 version already has available.
Warhammer Online (June): Electronic Arts bought Mythic Entertainment nearly two years ago on the strength of the company's previous MMO title Dark Age of Camelot along with the potential that exists in Warhammer Online, the long delayed fantasy MMO based on the Games Workshop created war game. It looks like it will be sometime in June when the game finally goes live. With lots of orcs, golins, eft and dwarf combat and the promise of massive player army battles, it's the MMO title that could (and we emphasize the world "could") finally be the game that gets a lot of folks off that World of Warcrack binge.
As you can see, spring 2008 should be anything but dull if you are a hardcore gamer, a casual player, or anywhere in between. And there might be one or two suprise releases that we haven't learned about yet! Unfortunately it looks like summer 2008 will follow the typical time table with little to no major game releases until late August/early September...but we will get to that timeline in three months.
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