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The Hottest Games Coming in 2007

2006 was a great year for gamers, bringing us some great and innovative games. But everything has to end and, as we all know, every ending means a new beginning. It is now time to raise our heads, look forward into the distance and try to figure out what the future holds for us and what we should expect to see on our screen in 2007.

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INTRODUCTION

2006 was a great year for gamers, bringing us some great and innovative games. But everything has to end and, as we all know, every ending means a new beginning. It is now time to raise our heads, look forward into the distance and try to figure out what the future holds for us and what we should expect to see on our screen in 2007. Every year has it’s own agenda and we, as gamers, always have our own list of games that we wait so eagerly to their release. This list is supposed to justify the huge amount of hours that we spend by staring at a bunch of pixels on the screen :)

Many publishers and developers try to draw gamers’ attention by promising innovative and groundbreaking new features in their upcoming games. Games that will reinvent genres and set a new threshold for future games to follow, leaving their mark on the game industry forever.

I must say some truly look extra ordinary and I am sure we have a lot to expect from 2007 in terms of innovative gameplay, fascinating graphics, amazing atmosphere and astonishing sound effects. My fellow gamers, I bring you the top 10 hottest titles in the PC gaming industry for 2007.

10.   Silverfall

2007 does not have too many exciting classic RPG titles, and that’s too bad. Silverfall sure looks like a great RPG game that we should surely check out once released.

Silverfall offers a huge world with rich history and a pretty deep storyline. The inhabitants of Nelwë learned the art of magic since the beginning of time. They researched the power of the universe and managed to find a way to harness the powers from the very essence of it, making a few of them powerful enough to be considered as elementalists, warrior magicians and necromancers. After a long and stable reign, the sorcerers’ power is being threatened by the goblins’ steam inventions, technology and iron works. Now, each camp tries to prove it’s worthy and, as the player, you’ll have to choose between Science and Nature, the two main powers in the universe of Silverfall.

Silverfall will offer us a unique character building system, as the developers describe it. This system will give the player the freedom to customize his character’s attributes and weapons. At the beginning of the game, just like in any other RPG, you will create your character. You will choose your race and sex from the four main races offered (humans, Elves, Trolls, Goblins). The race you choose will, of course, affect the skills and abilities of your character, while the sex will affect the story and your quests.

The game has above 120 (!) skills for your characters, which ensures a high replayability value for the game. Skills are not limited for certain classes, which means you can combine skills and create a scientist troll, an elementalist elf warrior and so on.

A nice addition in Silverfall is the companions you might encounter along the way. Those will help you during your travels across Nelwë and their efficiency is totally up to you and the way you choose to treat them. You’ll have a relationship gauge with each of your companions that will indicate how good your friendship really is. The higher the gauge, the more effective and deadly the companion will be in combat. You build that relationship during your quests and dialogues. The companions you choose will also affect the secondary quests you’ll receive, adding more depth to the game. An extremely dedicated companion will provide more quests than an indifferent one. During combat, you can also order your companion to attack, defend, stay etc.

You’ll also face some choices during your quest and those choices will affect the game in many different ways. For instance, different allies for the final battle (The goblins of Cloudworks will help you if you choose technology, the Beast-men of Gaïan if you select nature), weapons and armor, two separate skill trees, Silverfall appearance will change according to your decisions as well, merchants will sell different merchandise and more…

To sum it up, Silverfall looks like a deep and addictive kind of game. It has a wonderful and fascinating fantasy story, great world and lots of places to visit, interesting skill tree, innovative gameplay and nice cell-shaded graphics. If all goes as expected, we’re looking at a perfect Hack and Slash title!

By:   Monte Cristo, Atari
Genre:   RPG
Release Date:   March, 6th 2007
Web Site:   Silverfall

  
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9.   S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:   Shadow of Chernobyl

S.T.A.L.K.E.R is one of the most anticipated games in the past several years, but the delays are starting to be unbearable and I actually am afraid to put it on the 2007’s list since I am not sure it will actually be released as promised… If you are not familiar with the history of S.T.A.L.K.E.R, let me just say that it was first announced on late 2001, planned to be released at 2003. It was pushed back too many times and the latest release date is March, 13, 2007, we shall see about that ;)

The game is set in the Ukraine, in and around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The developers at GSC Gameworld have carefully reconstructed 30 square kilometers of area (called “the zone”) around the power plant for players to explore. The re-creation has been so close to the real thing that GSC Gameworld actually received an inquiry from the Ukrainian equivalent of the Secret Service to make sure that state secrets weren’t being compromised.

The game will present an alternative reality:   On April 2006 the Chernobyl zone was once more, struck by a second radioactive explosion at the nuclear plant. The clouds were evaporating in the silver bright sky with a thunder and earthquake to follow. People fell on the ground facedown closing their bleeding eyes and ears. Those who were still able to stand up tried to run away and survive. The army seals off the zone. It seems that the explosion took place about 1 KM from the nuclear plant and is obviously the result of some tests that had been held there. Presumably, the entire personnel died within seconds, but still there might be staff members that somehow managed to survive. As time goes by, the area becomes more and more dangerous and grows bigger, threatening villages nearby. Rescue expeditions encounter mutated creatures and abnormal activities while villages nearby are being quickly evacuated.

On 2010, the area is considered somewhat safer for people to explore. First expeditions can enter the Zone several kilometers deep without mortal danger. Amateur researchers, marauders and poachers, called stalkers, show up. They move around the Zone searching for various anomalous formations, i.e. artifacts, they would sell to various organizations.

You play as one of those stalkers. You will be able to interact with NPCs in the zone, join stalker guilds and go on missions on their behalf. Your “playground” will be consisted of 30 square kilometers of the zone in which included the plant itself and Pripyat – a ghost town nearby.

Gameplay will be FPS and combine RPG elements as well, though the player will not gain points and improve attributes as RPG game tend to be. The RPG elements will be implemented by the storyline and usage / interaction with NPCs in various ways. Travel the Zone, collect artifacts, weapons, reveal anomalous zones, communicate and trade with NPCs etc. Communication is done using a branching conversation tree that will be available in order to interact with characters. That means you get to decide how rough or gentle you want to be with your reactions and in that way affect the reactions and the storyline. This will build up a reputation for your stalker and people will treat you accordingly.

The world will be open for you to explore and you will not be limited to choosing a certain path in order to make progress. As a stalker you’ll dig and search the zone in order to find artifacts and sell them to underground dealers and scientists in research camps on the Zone border. With the money, you will be able to purchase equipment, weapons and protective suits allowing you to reach previously inaccessible areas.

One last thing, the developers work hard on a unique Artificial Intelligence to be implemented in the game. Characters (including animals) in the game will have their own life and the player will not feel anything is planned or staged. Reactions will be realistic, if the player attacks and kills one of the guards, the rest will go to seek hiding, radio their headquarters, and won’t stand still, or what’s worse, run out towards the player.

I sure hope this will not become Duke Nukem and we’ll have the opportunity to finally enjoy it this year.

By:   GSC Game World, THQ
Genre:   First Person Shooter/RPG
Release Date:   March, 13th 2007
Website:   S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl

  
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8.   Hellgate:   London

Hellgate: London, Diablo’s truthful heir, which will display new and fascinating gameplay. Flagship, the developer studio, is the studio that was formed a few years ago by a group of Blizzard North’s veterans, the creators of the Diablo series. Now, after a long period of silence, they unveil their new project – Hellgate: London. We’re talking about a first person RPG, developed for the PC only and may be addictive just like Diablo was (which has an active community until this day), bringing a whole new perspective to the RPGs that we learned to know until now.

Hellgate: London is set in the near future. London is caught in the aftermath of a demonic invasion (yeah, you heard right, Tolkien has nothing to do with this game). Mankind has been driven into the sanctuary of the Underground in order to survive, Planning and hoping that one day they will be able to regain control of the world that was once free and safe. You will be able to choose one of several characters, each has its own unique abilities and powers.

London was not a random choice for the developers. It was chosen because it gives a wide and complex underworld, which gives a great place for the survivors to take shelter. Also, the history of London is very rich and fits the game’s demands. Architecture that combines old and new structures gives the game a great modern-ancient look. Add the secret caves that the developers invented and the demons that run free outside and you have the perfect modern dungeon…

As Dark Messiah of Might and Magic proved us, RPG can be really thrilling when experienced from first person’s view, which is ideal for creating a thrilling atmosphere and it is needed in this not too pleasant surroundings the game will feature.

Another interesting point I’d like to empathize is the weapons you’ll use in the game. The developers didn’t want to use standard rifles and pistols. They preferred more magic than bullets, which, if you put some thought into it, is quite reasonable. Regular weapons can’t really destroy creatures from hell, can they? Your character will use holy symbols and magic that will enable various attacks. You can create a poison cloud, bolt of lightning, fireballs and many other things that demons don’t like ;) It is possible to upgrade your weapons during the game as in most RPG games.

If you played Diablo, you probably know the game created the levels randomly, which means every time you played the game you encounter different enemies in different places and treasure would be different as well. Hellgate: London takes this feature it to the next level. It will be even more random in more aspects and changes will affect your character directly. That is because part of your abilities are depended on items you will collect from enemies and those will change from one game to another.

Hellgate will also feature a multiplayer mode and lately it has been announced that it will also feature a MMO world with monthly fee.

To sum it up, this looks like a VERY promising RPG and I really am looking forward to its release! Only problem is that Flagship, just like Blizzard, does not believe in dates and you may never know when the game will actually be released.

By:   Namco, Flagship Studios
Genre:   Role-Playing
Release Date:   Q3, 2007
Web Site:   Hellgate: London

  
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7.   Unreal Tournament 3

The game’s name was changes only a few days before this article was realesed. Although being the fourth game in the series, the new name reflects the new Unreal 3.0 engine it uses which makes it look absolutely stunning. The Unreal 3.0 engine allows displaying breathtaking and, well, unreal graphics using millions of polygons, a new physics engine powered by Ageia’s Novodex technology, advanced visual effects and many more technologies that no one understands what they really mean ;)

It seems that 3 years of work since the last title (UT2004) bring us one of the greatest games in the current year. With that said, there is much more to UT3 than only graphics! Epic’s developers insist that although the graphics are just dazzling, the real difference in UT3 is the gameplay. They claim that the difference between UT2004 and UT3 is huge and say they believe that UT2004 was not utilized to the fullest.

The game will feature new game modes. UT2004′s best feature was the Onslaught game mode. Every team attempted to control and link a series of power nodes in order to be able to attack the enemy powercore. If you destroy the core you win. This game mode included huge maps that made vehicles a necessity. This time, the Onslaught game mode will be back new and improved, with new beautiful maps and new fascinating vehicles.

UT2007 will include all the vehicles that we learned to love from previous games and add more new and interesting ones. If Onslaught was the cherry of UT2004, Conquest will take its place with no doubt in UT3. This new mode is a sort of a combination between Onslaught and Assault. It will include missions for each team and will integrate strategy with limited resource management. Every team will attempt to gain control of as much territory as possible, which will yield tyridium resources (the same crystalline energy source featured in Unreal Championship 2) when captured.The long battle between the teams in this mode will require them to corporate, plan ahead, manage resources to produce vehicles and move around the map, capturing more territory and resources. Conquest will take place in huge maps, much larger than those used in Onslaught (which were not small at all!)

The developers invest much thought in the classical Deathmatch mode as well. This time, Epic wants to own this area completely with no competition. Also, expect team deathmatch, one on one duels, as well as CTF… Look out, it going to be hot!

The new game will also push even harder on one of the series’ strongest, but less famous feature, the single player with its “bot characters”. Epic promises the artificial intelligence used for its bot characters is going to get even better than before, which is really hard, I must say. Bot characters were amazing before, can’t wait to see how they perform now. They will understand every order and tactic, and it out in a very precise way. They will be chatty as before but with more context. For example, when they will spot enemy soldiers coming your way, they will indicate that 2 enemy units were sighted over the next hill and not just global statements as before. If you’ll want your bots to destroy an enemy inside a cave you’ll just have to say: “destroy the enemy in cave” and the order will be executed… amazing!

In spite of the very well implemented single player of UT3, it is still a multiplayer based game, and a great one. Looks like UT3 will outclass UT2004 in every possible aspect!

By:   Midway, Epic Games
Genre:   Sci-Fi First-Person Shooter
Release Date:   Q1 2007
Web Site:   Unreal Tournament 3

  
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6.   Supreme Commander

2006 presented many interesting titles for the Real Time Strategy gamers out there. The amazing and innovative Company of Heroes was, with no doubt, the best of them. Supreme Commander is the only RTS title that I chose to include in my list. Will it manage to make its way to the crown and conquer gamers’ hearts all over the world, becoming the new king? It sure is possible, but only time will tell…

Back in the 90’s, a man named Chris Taylor created one of the greatest RTS games in the history of gaming. That game is known by the name Total Annihilation. It was also the first RTS to be truly in 3D and used it in its gameplay. Fans all over the world waited for a sequel to be released but that did not happen. Instead, the creator left Cavedog (TA’s developer team) and started his own team – Gas Powered Games. After creating the successful Dungeon Siege series, Chris Taylor comes back to the RTS arena, with the highly anticipated spiritual successor to Total Annihilation, although it won’t be named the same, we know it is the real sequel we all waited for… Chris promises to make a serious face lift to the RTS genre and take it forward to the next level.

So what is it about Supreme Commander that is so exciting, you might ask? Well, think big… Just close your eyes and imagine, huge battles, hundreds of units fighting at the same time on your screen, tanks, huge spider robots, amazing explosions and stunning visuals. This is going to be a huge war and you will take part of it, heck, a big part of it, you’ll be the high commander! What do you say to that? Now open your eyes, do you feel it? Just so you’d have an idea, a tank is considered one of the smaller units in the game. The missiles that the tank launches hardly harm the greater units in the game… The Atom bombs are maybe the ones you should think about when you want to understand the size and power of the explosions and what the game tries to deliver.

If you’ll manage to look behind all the explosions, you’ll be able to see a storyline as well. Not too bright and probably not going to shake your world. For a thousand years, three opposing forces: the Cybran Nation, the Aeon Illuminate and the United Earth Federation fight their war for what they believe is true. The war has been labeled “The Infinite War”. There is, of course, no room for negotiation nor mercy, their way is the right way! After a long and destructive war, it seems the answer is near… A new commander rises and he is the one to lead his people to domination. Will you, as that commander, lead your selected faction to victory? You are a Supreme Commander, and only you have the power to bring the Infinite War to an end once and for all.

By: THQ, Gas Powered Games
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Release Date: February 20th 2007
Web Site:   Supreme Commander

  
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5.   Bioshock

Well, we have another spiritual successor on my list! Bioshock is the spiritual successor to the previous title from Irrational Games – System Shock. This game sure looks promising and I really am interested to see if it will go as far as I think it will. The game has been in development for more than 2 years now and will be available to PC and Xbox360 gamers.

You start the game in icy unknown waters after your plane crashes into the ocean. No explanation is given for the reason you crashed or why you were there in the first place. You notice a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere and you go inside to investigate. In the lighthouse you discover a rusty bathysphere with a dead body in it. You go inside the bathysphere (after you removed the body) and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. You investigate the place and discover a dreadful reality that goes beyond your wildest thoughts. Andrew Ryan, a former soviet citizen, founded the city in 1946 as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists. It had all the facilities in order to be self-sufficient, meaning it could supply electricity, food, pure drinking water and even defend itself using the natural undersea currents of the ocean.

Of course, nothing is perfect and something must go wrong… A scientific discovery breaks the idealism and creates chaos and destruction. Studying the undersea creatures, a certain species was found that secretes special pure stem cells, which of course, can be used to enhance and improve physical and mental human attributes and also cure wounds, injuries and diseases. It is obvious that people will literally kill to get their hands on the substance, dubbed “Adam”, and things can only go downhill from here. A war for the dominion of Adam was inevitable. People chose to use the substance in order to be stronger and cure their wounds, but they lost their humanity in the process… You probably understand that the idealism is no more. As you walk into Rapture, you notice the city is loaded with corpses in every corner, powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn.

Bioshock’s developers promise us interactive environments that we never saw before. The game’s environments will be consisted of many levels within the undersea city, among them you’ll explore the living quarters, the multi-floored scientific headquarters and the undersea monorail transport network.

Also, the AI of your enemies is going to be outstanding. Enemies will be dynamic and will try to find creative ways in order to, well, basically kill you… Having said that, the game puts you in situations in which you’ll have to make moral decisions and decide whether you’re going to save the mutated humans in Rapture or maybe exploit them in order to make your life there a bit easier.

You may also upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment. You will have to use different tactics and dedicated weapons in order to destroy different enemies in different situations. A nice addition to the gameplay is the fact that you can genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities.

Bioshock looks amazing as well. It will utilize next generation technology to display graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city. Oh, and don’t forget the water! Developers promise the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game, Woohoo! :)

By:   2k Games, Irrational Games
Genre:   First Person Shooter
Release Date:   Q2 2007
Web Site:   Bioshock

  
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4.   Alan Wake

Most games that are released lately or are about to be released in the future, promise the gamer outstanding visuals or some major changes in gameplay that were never seen before. Only a few games can draw attention with their fascinating and deep storyline and Alan Wake is defiantly one of them! Having said that, don’t think for a moment that the graphics / sound or gameplay departments are neglected. Remedy, The developer that brought us Max Payne, promises us an amazing movie-like atmosphere in this psychological action thriller.

Alan Wake is a very successful horror author. But it seems his skill goes way beyond writing alone… His beloved fiancée, Alice, inspires him greatly. Before he met Alice, he wrote a book that became a huge success. That book was based on some weird, scary and mysterious dreams, which he had for quite some time. All seemed to go pretty well for Alan until one day he finds out that Alice has vanished. As he investigates, he understands that the dreams he had, those that he based his book on, foresaw the events of her disappearance. Alan becomes more and more depressed, suffers from insomnia and eventually loses his ability to write. He tries to solve his sleeping problems by traveling to a sleep clinic in a small town called Bright Falls, away from the stressful and pressured city life. After a few sessions of treatment, he manages to get a grip and is able to sleep once again. After regaining his life back, he meets a mysterious woman who surprisingly (or not), highly resembles his missing fiancée. Suddenly, his dreams return, but now they are much more intense and are better described as nightmares. Again, he starts writing yet another book, based on these new nightmares. But it seems something is terribly wrong. The small, peaceful town that Wake is currently in slowly turns into a horrible and twisted place that he himself described in his new book he just wrote. Wake goes out there, with a gun and a flashlight, to fight his demons and try to figure out what is going on and maybe find a reasonable explanation to this whole mess he is experiencing.

Another spicy detail is the fact that The PC version will use the DX10 and will be exclusive to the Windows Vista operating system. The graphics of Alan Wake sure look astonishing. The game promises to have photo-realistic graphic qualities, realistic pixel shading, and dynamic shadows that change according to the position of the sun. The game will enable the player to roam freely within the beautiful 3D vast town of Bright Falls, where you are free to look, explore and carry out your tasks at any order and in anyway you wish.

The gameplay is somewhat innovative as well. Being dark forces, the enemies that Alan wake will encounter during the game are highly vulnerable to light. That makes the flashlight a very useful weapon. You’ll also be able to use some traps that will make a dark area shine brightly, effectively weakening or killing your enemies in seconds. That idea may create some interesting situations and offer a new and different approach adding a lot to the gameplay.

The game will not feature a multiplayer mode. The developers state that they’d rather supply the player with an exciting, interesting single player mode than mediocre single and multiplayer modes.

Like Max Payne, the title Alan Wake has a double meaning. Note that if you combine the main character’s first initial with his last name will form the word “A.Wake,” or “Awake”… Alan Wake looks like an amazing and exciting game and if you like Max I +II, I know you’ll enjoy it enormously.

By:   Remedy, Microsoft Game Studios
Genre:   Action Adventure
Release Date:   2007
Web Site:  Alan Wake

  
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3.   Half-Life II:   Episode 2

The original Half-Life made a huge impact on the gaming industry. It set an example of how a story should be transferred to the player using new and improved technology. Brought a lot of innovative ideas and made its mark on the history pages of video games. About 6 years later, Half Life 2 was released and managed to keep the high standards and high expectations of being the sequel of Half Life while bringing yet some more innovations and excitement to the genre. After HL2’s success, Valve decided to release three expansion packs that will go deep into the story and so they released Half Life 2: Episode one. The expansion focused on team-oriented gameplay using some NPCs such as Vortigaunt and Alyx that we learned to love so much.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two will be the second game in a series of expansion episodes for the game Half-Life 2 from Valve Corporation. At first, Valve promised us a series of episodes that will be released pretty frequently. But that promise was not kept and instead, we get one episode, or more accurate, an expansion pack, every year or so, not that I am complaining… As long as we get the high quality that we learned to expect from Half Life titles, I am willing to forgive and forget ;) There are some rumors that imply that Episode Two will be slightly longer than Episode One. But no exact details are available at this time.

The story takes off right where the first episode ends. Not too many details are currently known about the storyline, all are speculations that are based on pictures and teasers and trailers that Valve released. What we do know is that in this episode, you’ll find yourself outside the city within a huge forest environment. Another interesting plot detail is that teasers imply a big tragedy, which will supply an interesting twist in the storyline. Could it be Alyx that will end her part in the game? If so, this will surely be painful for a lot of gamers around the globe. Gabe Newell implies that “People need to feel that characters are genuinely at risk. Otherwise they lose investment and the significance of their actions is diminished.

One thing that was much fun in Half Life 2 and was missing in Episode One was vehicles… I guess Valve noticed the need for those and in Episode 2, you will be able to travel with cool and fun vehicles to make your roaming a little cooler and easier.

Episode two will make you put some thought as to where you position your character, since taking cover matters a lot here. Enemies AI will be of high quality (as usual) and enemies will try to surround you and expose you, leaving you with no cover and pretty vulnerable to their attacks. That means you’ll move carefully and consider your steps and attacks before you run into battle.

The game will also challenge the player with a set of high-level battle goals and a large nonlinear space in which to fight. This will let players choose how they’d like to approach the battle and give the player the freedom to decide where he wants to attack from and how, creating his own strategy.

The gravity gun is back, of course, and those are great news. A new addition is the Strider Buster, which can be picked up and fired using the Gravity gun. It is used as a sticky bomb that can be shot at afterwards with any other weapon, destroying the target within seconds. The longer the Strider Buster is left attached to its target, the more damage it deals upon detonation. Since combat is something that becomes repetitive with time, Valve announced that we might expect more physics puzzles in the second episode, including the biggest physical puzzle yet in the series.

Anyway, it looks like Episode two, although being an expansion, will certainly be one of the best games to be released in 2007.

By:   Valve Corporation
Genre:   First Person Shooter
Release Date:   Q2 2007
Web Site:  Half-Life II: Episode 2

  
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2.   Spore

I am a gamer who really appreciates innovation and new approaches in games. I don’t like getting the same game with a bit different areas or names, slightly better graphics and such. Well, I do, but I prefer games that bring new, fresh and ambitious ideas. For me, Spore is a game that has the most potential of being exactly what I love! Of course Will “Innovative” Wright is involved here… The next game from the creator of SimCity and The Sims will let you start your life in a raindrop and end up conquering entire worlds. It will try to simulate the complete history and future of a race that you as the player will create, and I am talking about actually creating it from scratch! You start as a two-dimensional single-cell organism whose sole capacity is to “eat” smaller floating bits. Go through several evolutionary steps and develop your own unique civilization of creatures. Later into the future, travel with spaceships and find far away galaxies, even abduct certain life forms for study purposes and development for your own race. Spore will be a simulation that “ranges from the cellular level to the galactic level”. In order to implement this complex and ambitious simulation, the game will feature a few evolutional phases, each with its own style of gameplay. In one of his interviews regarding the game, Wright likened the style of game-play of each phase to an existing game:

  • Tide Pool Phase, similar to Pac-Man
  • Creature Phase, Diablo
  • Tribal Phase, Populous
  • City Phase, SimCity
  • Civilization Phase, Risk and Civilization
  • Space Phase (a.k.a. UFO stage or Invasion), with some elements reminiscent of Destroy All Humans!, and later, sandbox gameplay.

Each phase of the game determines the starting point of the next phase. If you created for instance, a five-legged creature with a tail, three rounded eyes and a huge mouth, the next evolved creature in the next phase will keep the looks and general design you started with. Also, the way you interact with your creature in each phase develops the creature’s personality. That means your creature and eventually, your civilization, will be logical or emotional, peaceful or violent, and so on.

What the game is trying to accomplish is something I believe no game has tried before. It actually gives you the tools you need in order to be a god in your own universe. Create whatever you like and you’ll never get the same results as the person sitting next to you or somewhere in another continent. I think the designer of the game said it best. Will Wright said, “I didn’t want to make players feel like Luke Skywalker or Frodo Baggins. I wanted them to be like George Lucas or J.R.R. Tolkien.”

There is no hand made animations in Spore. Instead, the game uses procedural animation in order to animate your creature based entirely on physics, meaning it doesn’t require any hand animators whatsoever. Also, there will be no multiplayer mode for the game. Instead, Wright implements an amazing idea… You will encounter a variety of other life forms, all of which are actually created by other users and uploaded into your game’s world, creating a very interesting dynamic world. Wright calls this “massively single-player online game”.

As you may already understand, this game brings a lot of exciting things and will definitely make future games follow its ambitious approach and desire to reinvent and innovate, changing the video games industry, as we know it today.

By:   Maxis, EA Games
Genre:   Simulation
Release Date:   Q4 2007
Web Site:   Spore

  
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1.   Crysis

Many people ask me, as a gamer, what is it about Crysis that makes me so excited and thrilled whenever I talk about it. Well, Crysis is definitely going to be a blast! Graphics cannot make a game, if it has nothing to offer in addition (someone said Just Cause?), but this case, it has much more to offer than good looks. This game will use cryENGINE2, the successor to Far Cry’s engine, and of course will use Direct3D 10 framework of the Windows Vista. With this technology, Crysis will display some breathtaking graphics and is probably the best looking game we’ll encounter during the upcoming year. It is enough to just have a tiny glimpse on a gameplay movie or demonstration to understand what I am talking about here. The game’s environments are absolutely astonishing and almost photorealistic. This will make you actually feel every move you make.

But, as I said, there is much more to it than just its looks. Besides looking absolutely amazing, Far Cry’s developers promise us a credible and realistic world that was never seen on a computer game before.

The game takes place on 2020 and follows a united stated Delta Force soldier called, Jake Dunn. It seems that a meteorite crashed in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Dunn and his team’s task is to investigate the crash and extract any information about the meteorite. Besides Dunn’s team, there are some other guys investigating the crash area, they come from North Korea.

The game is planned to be set across three acts. Act 1 will start with the meteor hitting the island and the United States as well as North Koreans are jumping into the area in order to investigate and find out what happened. This is where you’ll come into the picture as Dunn. The island you’ll investigate is filled with vegetation and you’ll battle your way in the jungle in order to get to the meteor’s crash site.

In Act 2, the meteor opens up and flash freezes the entire island. It seems that a special and powerful alien’s forces invaded the peaceful place and they are planning to stick around. It seems that the North Koreans cannot fight the machines used against them by the aliens. When the threat is measured as highly dangerous, Chinese, North Koreans and US forces are forming an allied attack against the creatures.

Act 3 will take place on the alien aircraft. You will have to fight the alien forces at their home and Zero-G will probably make it much harder and interesting. The alien’s animations are said to be the best ever seen in computer gaming, so I guess we can expect some thrilling moments onboard. Crytek has stated the aliens themselves will not be revealed until the end of the game, giving them a certain degree of suspense.

As with Far Cry, Crysis will be an open-ended game with many ways to meet objectives. What we didn’t see on Far Cry and was indeed missing is the option to upgrade and modify our arsenal with scopes, silencers and targeting lasers.

The protagonist is also capable of being modified, as he wears a US Military prototype “Nano Muscle Suit.” This allows Jake to carry armor, use heavy weapons, reduce noise output, increase speed, jump higher, and treat wounds on the battlefield. All of these actions, however, use rechargeable energy reserves that power the suit. The suit can be greatly modified to meet the playing style of the player and further enhance the gameplay experience.

It looks like one exciting title to me… What do you think?

By:   Crytek, EA Games
Genre:   First Person Shooter
Release Date:   Q3 2007
Web Site:  Crysis

  
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CONCLUSION

As you can see, 2007 sure looks like an impressing year in every gaming aspect. Given all promises will be fulfilled, it seems we’ll experience lots of new gaming issues, that will surely take the video game industry a huge step forward. Expect some jaw dropping graphics using next generation technology, innovative and fascinating ideas and approaches, original and surprising storylines as well as some great sound effects and voice acting. All these will create an intense and revolutionary gameplay while delivering an exciting and authentic atmosphere.

There were, of course, much more than 10 games that I considered putting into the list, but naturally, some were left out. I guess some of you will be chasing me with some big and sharp objects, just because I left out Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, Jericho, Sins of Solar Empire, The Witcher and many others, but I guess that’s a risk I just had to take ;) I believe these games I listed will leave their mark and will bring some amazing and unforgettable moments for all gamers out there. Mark my words…

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