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Love at first sight: new IP shunning the franchise pack

Monday, 23 July 2012 08:42 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The end of year crush will bring us a huge pile of great sequels, but even as the current generation’s star fades it brings us plenty of new properties to get excited about.

New properties are always a chancy bet, especially without the excitement of new hardware to fuel sales, but there’s a handful of publishers brave enough to back fresh franchises even at this stage of the console cycle. Here’s our pick of recent and upcoming efforts launching without the security of established fanbases.

Quantum Conundrum – Airtight Games (Square Enix)
Quantum Conundrum doesn’t pull you along by the slavish fanboyism the way Portal 2 did, but in some ways this makes it a superior experience to its distant cousin. Skipping out on self-referential jokes and established characters, the emphasis in Quantum Conundrum is on mind-bending – and mind-blowing – puzzle gameplay, which highlights some of if not the best level design of this generation. If you found yourself zooming through Valve’s latest with barely a check at each new environment, Quantum Conundrum will remind you why Kim Swift is a name we speak with reverence. Grab it now on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The Secret World – Funcom (EA)
In many ways, The Secret World is just another MMORPG, and one with some nasty teething issues to boot – but where it differentiates from this formula, it shines. Building your character into a monster-mashing machine is incredibly satisfying once you hit on one of the game’s hundreds of synergistic powerhouse combinations. Investigation missions really do depart from the fetch-this-kill-those quest spam of rival titles. Most importantly to this discussion of new properties, the setting and storytelling offer rocking nerdgasms to anyone keen on supernatural or conspiracy theory fiction – and there’s more on the way. Visit the game’s website or fire up Origin to grab the PC exclusive.

Dragon’s Dogma – Capcom (Capcom)
Capcom is often accused of being too conservative with its development choices (see: angry Darkstalkers fans) but it took a couple of serious risks this generation. We’re probably never going to see Asura’s Wrath 2, but the future of Dragon’s Dogma seems more secure – which is why it’s so puzzling to see it go under the radar. Yes, it’s a very traditional fantasy setting, but Dragon’s Dogma is no generic RPG. It’s full of small, innovative touches, like the way cinematics adjust to account for the wild variation in height enabled by the character customisation, or indeed the inclusive and technically impressive customisation itself, which allows you to set your limb length and tailors equipment to match. It’s also full of quite big things, like a weirdly effective blend of action and RPG which allows for either playstyle, and a system of trading NPC characters which rapidly becomes a key aspect of your character progression strategies. Pick this up on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 if you have a good 20 hours to spare.

Dishonored – Arkane Studios (Bethesda)
Let me put my cards on the table: this entire feature was conceived as an excuse to talk about how excited I am for Dishonored. Far more Skyrim, Hitman or BioShock than Call of Duty, and perhaps more Deus Ex and Thief than any of those, Arkane’s first-person RPG takes player freedom and emergent gameplay to a whole new level. Channeling the spirit of Warren Spector through a filter of pure sandbox gaming love, co-directors Harvey Smith and Rafael Colantino are happy to give the player a set of varied, synergistic tools and let them loose on the environment – even when doing so breaks their own carefully laid mission funnels. A thinking man’s shooter, perhaps, or maybe just a mad sandbox for those of us still young enough at heart to prefer a toybox and a free head over handholding and endless corridors. Dishonored arrives in October on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; you’ll notice its arrival as games media all over the world quietly shuts down for a week.

The Last of Us – Naughty Dog (Sony)
Sony’s Next Big Thing is one of a trio of games which were among E3 2012′s most discussed. The confronting violence of the stage demo paired with Naughty Dog’s polished cover combat both impressed and appalled audiences, and in the interim much has been said about some genuinely interesting AI behaviour and survival gameplay mechanics. It’s hard to say whether The Last of Us will reproduce Uncharted’s success when it arrives on PlayStation 3 next year, but we’ve reason to trust the Dogs know what they’re doing.

Beyond: Two Souls – Quantic Dream (Sony)
The PlayStation 3′s bizarre architecture was a disadvantage when it first launched, but as the ageing tech approaches succession developers have really learned how to make the old beauty sing. Heavy Rain was astonishing on first release but Quantic Dream’s latest effort, Beyond: Two Souls, makes it look as stiff and poorly-jointed as a creepy doll collector’s spare bedroom. David Cage’s branching, cinematic adventure gameplay may not be to everyone’s taste but you can’t deny his team is doing some astounding things with graphics tech, much to Sony’s credit. Expect the bar to be raised for the last time this generation sometime next year.

Watch Dogs – Ubisoft Montreal (Ubisoft)
Ubisoft pulled a massive swifty by suddenly unveiling a brand new IP in the dying throes of the generation. The French publisher has plenty of experience nursing new ideas from birth to weighty transmedia powerhouse – alá Assassin’s Creed – but with so many established properties on the go and at least one other still up its Toronto sleeve, nobody expected Watch Dogs’ sudden appearance, making it the first E3 surprise since about 2007. Some clever social media and mobile device tie-ins seem to fit well with Ubisoft’s action adventure pedigree, making the whole thing rather intriguing. We know it’s coming to current-gen platforms, but don’t be surprised if it spills over to next-gen too; new IP benefits hugely from the release drought when a new console launches, so we could be looking at a 2014 release.

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10 Comments

  1. Telepathic.Geometry

    I actually just picked Dragon’s Dogma there yesterday in a bargain bin (very lucky, RPGs really don’t go down much in price in Japan) and I’m loving it. I can’t see why it went under the radar either. Maybe the name’s at fault, a stronger name would help give this game an identity…

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    Mine’s sitting here in the plastic. I’ll look at it soon, I think.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. absolutezero

    I think its the hugely confusing Multiplayer but not multiplayer idea they tried to cram in. It does not really make all that much sense and it makes next to no difference on the actual game. Its given a massive amount of exposure inside the game itself. Its bizarre.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Edo

    @3 “It does not really make all that much sense” you mean your post?

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Telepathic.Geometry

    I was just gonna post that, but I was do busy protecting Dave from nightmare gypsy marriage…

    #5 3 years ago
  6. AHA-Lambda

    Didn’t Ubi already say Watch Dogs was a 2013 title?

    Btw, no mention of Sleeping Dogs? :P

    #6 3 years ago
  7. absolutezero

    Its laboured but I think it makes sense somewhat.

    Basically DD has a strange sort of interactivity with other people playing the game. The Pawn system lets you design and train NPC AI controlled characters which then get added to a huge pool of everyone elses Pawns.

    Everytime you sleep or enter a town your pawn gets updated and refreshed with whatever skills you’ve choosen and armour they might be wearing.

    You are constantly told about it, pushed into trying hiring some other players Pawn and pointed to where the Pawn Nexus is located.

    Thing is its utterly pointless in that it affects nothing in the game, you can hire generic Pawns that are already in the game and have not been player created. They work just aswell as the Player created ones and they do not cost the strange “Pawn currency” that you can buy on the PSN or XBL.

    Even alot of the promotional material released before the game came out was about the pawn system. That combined with having no fat travel, or no mounts or carts of any sort of system to make the huge slogs too and from the various widely placed areas makes alot of the game feel like a slog.

    Also most of the selectable classes at the start of the game are pretty much useless. I choose an archery based Strider and felt I was flicking nerf darts at huge monsters most of the time.

    Perhaps I just never let the game grow on me enough because everytime I went to play I just got frustrated at how busy the screen is, at how much the party that follows you screams endlessly.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    Aren’t all those in-game pawns actually player created ones? I’ve only met one game one, Rook from the very start of the game. Also, a few pawns I’ve met have turned out to be really useful in killing certain types of monsters because they knew certain skills, and had learned certain tactics.

    I agree about the slog of getting around though, if ever a fast-travel system was needed, it’s in this game.

    I think that more than anything, DD seems to have a lot of potential for a sequel ironing out growing pains. I’m only 5 or 10 hours in so I don’t know enough to offer a proper balanced opinion yet but, I like what I’ve seen so far.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. The_Red

    While most of these are great or promising games, I think some of the bigger downloadable games deserved to be here.

    Stuff like Dyad, Spelunky (XBLA version), Deadlight, Dust – An Elysian Tail, Rainbow Moon and a few others.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Monk

    @10

    Something like Journey shouldn`t be forget !

    #10 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Batman: Arkham Knight is looking like it’s going to be quite a taxing game. Nvidia has released a list of the minimum, recommended, and ultra PC requirements for Batman: Arkham Knight. Here’s the full thing: Minimum OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required) Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom […]

  • Bloodborne patch 1.03 is live, reduces loading times, fixes suspend/resume bugs, more

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Bloodborne. The patch reduces loading times, adds item descriptions to loading screens, and fixes other various bugs. From Software has pushed update 1.03 live to all Bloodborne owners. As promised, it reduces loading times by approximately 5 to 15 seconds. Another new addition is showing item descriptions instead of […]

  • Battlefield 4: first look at Community Map in action

    Get your first look at the map designed by the community of Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4′s community-designed map is a reality. DICE has recently updated CTE to include an early version of the map. It’s not fully textured as Westie is about to show you, but the layout is nearly finalised. Westie goes over the […]

  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]

  • Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim is out next week on PC – here’s the pre-order trailer

    Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim will be released next week on PC, and today, we have a pre-order trailer for you. The game will be made available on April 28 for $19.99/€17.99/£13.99 on GOG, the Humble Store and Steam. Along with improvements over the original PSP version, it will contain less backtracking, controller support […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – full gear set up to level 34 in PvP and PvE, upgrades, more

    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

    A new video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, showing off the Precious Cargo quest contained in the game’s prologue. The quest tasks Geralt with helping a merchant retrieve a mysterious box from the swamps. The scene looks familiar, but we’ve seen so many videos for the game it’s hard to tell […]

  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

    The limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One tomorrow, and Sony has provided details on the tester for those who’ve been invited to participate. The beta test contains the full version of the game and will run from April 23-27, and will start and […]

  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

    Techland’s Dying Light made its debut in Japan lats week, coming in a respectable second place behind Nintendo’s Girls Mode 3: Kirakira Code. The zombie shooter sold 25,530 units on PlayStation 4, while the top earner for the week moved a little over 55,000 units on 3DS. Another western release when landed on the chart, […]

  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

    Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has been given a release date by XSEED Games, which announced the localization back in February. The title will launch for 3DS in North America on June 2 digitally and through retail. It will be an eShop only title in Europe and Australia when it releases on June 4. A […]

  • This Overlord video teases four new faces of evil

    A new Overlord game is in the works, going by the previous teasing and this video – which teases the possibility of four-payer co-op. Or just four characters to choose from. We don’t know just yet – all we know is the team is asking you to “join the fellowship.” A new entry in the […]

  • GTA movie will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar’s Sam Houser, the BBC confirms

    The GTA movie Game Changer will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser, theBBC has confirmed. The BBC also confirmed Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson, a role Paxton already confirmed last week when speaking with Deadline. Here’s the synopsis per the BBC: “Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama […]

  • Take a look at Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode

    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode has received a trailer today. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold will come with two modes, Classic and Story. Classic Mode was trailered today and in it, you’ll get to make your party by choosing from 13 classes. You’ll be able to customise them too using the character creation tool. Revamped […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows to come with new challenge mode

    Shovel Knight’s upcoming expansion Plague of Shadows will bring with it a new challenge mode. Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games has revealed the challenge mode, one of the new additions coming to the game with the free Plague of Shadows expansion. “Are you more into digging than distillation? Already have your Feats book long […]

  • Nvidia releases complete graphical guide for GTA 5

    Those with GeForce cards will be happy to know that Nvidia has released a comprehensive graphical tweaks guide for GTA 5. Nvidia usually produces graphical guides for the big AAA games, and GTA 5 is no different. Their guides offer in-depth coverage of each in-game setting, how much they affect framerate, if they can be […]

  • Cthulhu voodoo: why Bloodborne is the best Lovecraftian game

    Sherif Said tackles Bloodborne’s links to Lovecraftian horror, explaining why you should face the madness and immerse yourself in its lore. Spoilers inside. No other game could commit to its themes so religiously without feeling the need to compromise its vision and veer towards accessibility. Bloodborne stands tall above any game that dares attach itself […]

  • WWE 2K15 is coming to PC this year

    WWE 2K15 will make its way to PC this spring. WWE announced that WWE 2K15 will make its debut on PC in the spring. The game will be based on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, both of which came out in November. MyCareer and 2K Showaces modes are included, as well as all […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new mod adds snow to GTA Online

    If you’re looking to get some snow in your GTA Online, someone figured out a way. Modder ECB2 created a mod that works with GTA Online on PC. The mod is called “Snow in GTA Online” and it does what it says on the tin. YouTube channel imperfectplayers captured a video showing it in action. […]

  • Deals with Gold: Call of Duty edition

    Xbox Live Deals with Gold for the week of April 20 are now live with mostly Call of Duty games. Various Call of Duty games are on sale on Xbox One and Xbox 360 through Xbox Live this week. Indie games Never Alone and We Are Doomed managed to sneak in as well. With the […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: PSN sign in problems fixed in new patch

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Mortal Kombat X and it brings an end to the aggravating sing in issue encountered by some users on PS4. Mortal Kombat X 1.03 patch has been released. The patch fixes bug CE-34878-0, which affected the PlayStation 4 version. The bug caused users to have to log in and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new patch fixes Windows Media Player issue, getting stuck in the clouds

    GTA 5 has received a new patch on PC to fix issues caused by the lack of Windows Media Player and getting stuck between online matches. Patch 335.1 is now available to all owners of GTA 5 on PC. The strange issue that affected those who didn’t have Windows Media Player installed, has been fixed. […]