Sun, Jan 06, 2013 | 21:56 GMT
Welcome to 2013: a look at the year’s big reveals
Watch Dogs may have given us a tease of the future back at E3 2012, but VG247′s Dave Cook runs down the biggest and best announcements that could hit in 2013.
Leaving speculation to one side for a minute – because goodness knows you don’t need another mostly base-less ‘x biggest things of 2013′ list cluttering up your screen this week – I’ve decided to take a proper hard look at evidence out there in the public domain to see what big reveals could be coming our way in 2013.
Some of the games below have already been revealed, but perhaps don’t have much in the way of information. Think of the initial Wii U reveal at E3 2011 compared to the actual reveal at E3 2012 – or as I’m calling it: ‘the one that actually told us stuff’.
So join me as I rake through the bins of the internet in search of domain filings, leaked screenshots and other trinkets to determine what big games we’ll all be talking about in 2013.
Prince of Persia Reboot
This has been an on and off rumour since early last year. It started with a pair of leaked, live-action images that came with a gold Ubisoft logo, similar to the one used on previous Prince of Persia titles, along with the tagline: ‘Judgement is coming’.
The scenes appeared to be set in a Middle Eastern location, so naturally rumours of a Prince of Persia reboot began hitting the net. The leak happened in June, just before Ubisoft’s pre-E3 conference, but no announcement was made. There was then a leaked in-game screenshot that showed a man similar to the one in the live-action stills in a Middle Eastern setting, along with a ‘Prince of Persia Zero’ watermark.
The story picked up traction once more in December, thanks to the LinkedIn profile of one Marc Cartwright, a developer at Ubisoft Massive. Cartwright was a developer on Far Cry 3, and listed his current job role as “Game designer on AAA next-gen online RPG”. The internet connected the threads and Prince of Persia chatter resumed once more.
The question is: will Ubisoft actually look to reboot Prince of Persia again, after the last attempt saw a mixed reaction? We should know more about this one in 2013.
Just Cause 3
Just Cause 2 developer Avalanche Studios has made no secret of its ambitions to dominate the open world genre going into the next generation. Back in September, studio head Christofer Sundberg went on record saying, “We are set on becoming the best open world developer. That’s our ultimate goal. It’s a very competitive genre. Rockstar is more of a phenomenon than a competitor. What we can offer to the genre is diversity, which very few other open world developers can.”
Sundberg even said that the Just Cause franchise is “absolutely perfect for next generation consoles based on what we know so far”, and his words followed confirmation that Avalanche was working with Square-Enix on a next-gen open world action title, said to be “ground breaking”.
More proof came as Avalanche registered web domains for Just Cause 4 – despite the fact that a third game has yet to be announced – but this kind of practice is common when developers cover their backs in establishing a franchise.
What’s funny is that Sundberg himself teased a reveal for E3 2012 from Avalanche - a title he said was not Just Cause 3 – but no such reveal happened. So while Sundberg downplayed Just Cause 3, it seems like a classic case of misinformation. Either way, we’re getting closer to finding out what the team is up to.
Back in May, Shinji Mikami confirmed that his new studio Tango Gameworks would release its first new IP as early as 2013 via Bethesda’s publishing arm. The game is a survival horror title that looks to recapture the essence of the genre, which is fitting due to Mikami’s involvement with the Resident Evil franchise over the years. The man created Resident Evil 4 for one.
Although Mikami has been silent on the project’s development for some time, he did release a few pieces of art in April, showing off some grim-looking locales. Bethesda then officially acknowledged the game’s existence, stating that Mikami is being very “hands-on” during development.
Finally, November saw Resident Evil Remake’s lead artist hired by Tango to serve as lead environmental artist on Project Zwei, a move that should come as comfort to those disillusioned by the varied state of the genre at present.
I know what you’re thinking, and yeah this has been announced already, but Ubisoft’s E3 2012 showing didn’t give that much away when you think about it. What format is it on? Certainly not Xbox 360 or PS3 according to the rumour mill.
Word on the wire is that this is to be an Xbox 720 launch title, a rumour that has been sparked by Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot confirming Watch Dogs as a 2013 release title. The confirmation syncs up with Microsoft’s Major Nelson announcing an E3 2013 countdown that smells a lot like a Xbox 720 reveal tease. The official Watch Dogs Twitter feed also confirmed a 2013 release window.
Driver San Francisco developer Reflections opened 40 staff positions for Watch Dogs development in November, suggesting that Ubisoft was due to enter some kind of crunch mode to get the game done for 2013. We all know how much Ubisoft likes to have new games out on launch day after all, making an Xbox 720 launch more likely.
Speaking of Xbox 720, rumour has it that the console will come with a tablet controller – sorry Wii U haters – which syncs up with leaked footage unearthed in June that showed Watch Dogs being controlled via tablet.
Whether this is simply a SmartGlass function or an integrated part of the Xbox 720 make-up remains to be seen, but still asynchronous tablet play seems to be a next-gen staple so far, and it helps that Ubisoft itself showed Destructoid the game running across multiple devices – including mobile and iPad. Expect big things from Watch Dogs in 2013.
Rainbow Six Patriots
Oh Rainbow Six Patriots, where have you gone? Well, Ubisoft did officially confirm the game’s release for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2013 back in November 2011.
That said, all has been silent in camp Clancy since, aside from a few screens and a target render video. Most recently, Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot has begun touting the game for next-gen formats instead, suggesting that the project has either slipped or has had a re-tool, similar to Ghost Recon Future Soldier. He said it will “surprise the industry.”
It’s going to be a big project according to Ubisoft, which announced that some 200 staff were working on it as of November 2011, a claim that was followed up with a VGA ’11 trailer that showed a wealthy businessman being kidnapped from his home by terrorists.
All fell silent until March 2012, when word spread that key staffers had quit the project. Ubisoft was quick to play down fears that the game had been derailed however, and assured the press that it was still on track for a 2013 release, and then reiterated its stance just ahead of E3 2012. As next-gen looms, we should know more about the shooter soon.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
If you read this site a lot, you may know that I’ve gone utterly daft for Ground Zeroes. In fact, I’ve compiled every snippet of information, every screenshot, every trailer, every whisper from Konami and Kojima Productions since the game was revealed right here in my “All Access” round-up. Just know that this will be constantly updated until the game launches, even if that’s a year from now.
But in the spirit of this article, we do know that Kojima’s Ground Zeroes reveal trailer did come with some PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 logos slapped on at the end, suggesting that the game is coming in 2013. After all, Kojima himself has called the title a prologue to something else – which for all intents and purposes could be Metal Gear Solid 5.
There was also the VGA trailer “The Phantom Pain”, which was peppered with Metal Gear Solid nods. Either way Kojima’s winding up to something big, and a 2013 release for Ground Zeroes – in some form or other – could well happen.
Thief 4 is a rumour that keeps on rearing its head now and then, and has been going on for some time. Deus Ex: Human Revolution developer Eidos Montreal is said to be developing the title. Back in August OXM reported that the game is heading to PS4 and Xbox 720 at some point.
June saw the leaking of what appeared to be a 30-second cinematic trailer for Thief 4, but the clip was promptly pulled from the net. It was said to be part of lighting and compositing artist Eric Wong’s demo reel at the time.
In the same month Eidos Montreal actually acknowledged the game’s existence, as studio boss Stephane D’Astous stated, “The success of Deus Ex put two things in perspective for us. Our second game needs to be as good or better than Deus Ex, and it gave a lot of credibility to the studio.” Get his full quotes on the matter of the game’s open nature here.
Speaking of ‘open nature’ Eidos Montreal was hiring for a “semi open-world action adventure title that responds to player choice and interaction”, back in May, a game that includes three main characters and swords.
It sounds like Thief 4 to us, and given the timing of next-gen formats and the length of time this has been in development for, we could see some form of concrete reveal in 2013. Either way it’s a game the studio is treating as a “new IP” according to D’Astous. It could be rather epic indeed.
Bungie’s new IP was confirmed for a 2013 release back in May. The release window was outed as part of ongoing legal conflicts between Activision and ex-Infinity Ward members Jason West and Vince Zampella. In the wake of the reveal Bungie’s DeeJ said on the studio’s blog, “While we’re not ready to show you what we’ve been working on, we can reconfirm that we are hard at work on our new universe. We can’t wait for you to see it.”
Sections of the legal documents stated that Bungie’s deal with Activision will see Destiny launch as a timed-exclusive on Xbox – either Xbox 360 or Xbox 720 – and that it would filter out to PC and PS3 over time. The document also stated that the game would receive four major expansions – codenamed Comet.
Elsewhere, Destiny’s budget is said to be a whopping $140 million, and that Bungie employees will be allowed to work on other projects after the IP grosses $750 million. One project revealed during the Zampella-West legal battle was a reboot of Bungie’s shooter Marathon.
On the nature of the game itself, Destiny is said to be a sandbox MMO shooter, a rumour fuelled further back in October, when Bungie announced it had hired Red Dead Redemption Danny Bulla. Following the hire, a post on the Bungie blog stated, “We liked Red Dead Redemption so much that we hired Danny Bulla to come here and help us fill your next sandbox. He’s doing some amazing work and, so far, he hasn’t tried to lash any of us to a pair of railroad tracks.”
The world got its first glimpse at Destiny’s artwork and plot in November, when a series of leaked deign documents hit the net. There’s a lot of information therein, and you can check it all out here.
Finally, a member of Acti-Blizz team DemonWare played Destiny back at Bungie Days in July, and he said it was a lot like Halo, and compared its brand of exploration to Elite.
Respawn Entertainment’s New IP
This is a quick one, but the first game from Jason West and Vince Zampella’s new outfit Respawn Entertainment could be cleared for a fiscal year 2014 release, depending on the final outcome of their legal wranglings with Activision. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter predicted that the game would launch in 2014. Given the timing, a 2013 reveal could be on the cards. If this happens, expect it at either E3 2013 or the VGAs.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4
Another year, another Call of Duty. Chatter regarding Modern Warfare 4 came in waves at the end of 2012, sparked by Sledgehammer Games hiring for a new PS3 and Xbox 360 Call of Duty title.
Adding to this rumour, Siliconera reported that Modern Warfare 4′s voice recording has already begun in Los Angeles, and that the lead character is codenamed ‘Ben Burke’. We’ve got some alleged script samples of Burke’s dialogue right here, along with the source’s claim that the game will launch in 2013. It’s the same source who correctly leaked information on Sleeping Dogs and the Tomb Raider reboot months before they were officially announced.
In other MW4 voice rumours, the actor Bill Murray – the same chap who voiced Captain Price – was said to have spilled the beans on his involvement in the game to a fan during a passenger flight. Infinity Ward was quick to debunk the claim just days later, but didn’t deny the game’s existence.
Back at the VGAs in 2011, Epic Games announced Fortnite by way of this trailer, and ex-Epic veteran Cliff Bleszinski was quick to add that there will be no ‘dudebros’ in it. Thank christ.
The game is said to focus on resource gathering and – inspired by Minecraft – it lets players repel demonic enemies by crafting forts. It also runs on Unreal Engine 4. We know that another Unreal Engine 4 title – developed by Blacklight creators Zombie Studios – is launching in 2013, so it seems likely that Epic will strike while the UE4 iron is hot and do a proper big Fortnite reveal this year.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
The next instalment of Super Smash Bros. was mentioned back at E3 2011. That feels like forever ago now. Recently, creator Masahiro Sakurai has said he’s prepared to make us wait a long time for it, but in all fairness a game like Smash Bros. is what Nintendo needs to keep Wii U interest high. It seems unlikely that we’ll go another full year before Nintendo properly announces the game, so a betting man might wager his home on a 2013 reveal.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U
This is another game that has been billed for a 2014 release, but one that could very well see a reveal at this year’s E3. Back in September we reported on a rather large leaked report from sources allegedly close to the matter, stating that the game was originally slated for a Q3 2013 release, but that ambitions meant it had to move back to 2014. It is also said to follow the visual style of Skyward Sword and the Zelda Wii U tech demo revealed at E3 2011 is nothing to do with the actual game.
In terms of scale the source stated that Zelda Wii U would be the biggest game in the series yet, with some dungeons comparable in size to Hyrule Field, a suite of online features, and a range of diverse new mechanics on a dungeon-to-dungeon basis. Miyamoto said that the game was in R&D phase back in June 2012, which slots in with the source’s claims that Nintendo had produced a forest test dungeon in order to play around with its ideas. We also know that Nintendo is very excited at the idea of marrying Zelda with the Wii U’s bespoke features.
Details are scant on this one so far, but back in August 2012 we reported that Mafia 3 is currently in development at 2K Czech for Xbox 720 and PS4. Sources close to the matter say the game will launch in 2013, and while 2K declined to comment on the matter, the studio started hiring for a ‘secret’ next-gen title back in November. The threads are slowly coming together on this one.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Here’s a little doozy that keeps on rearing its head from time to time. Back in March VG247′s sources told us that Crystal Dynamics is indeed working on a next-gen Soul Reaver reboot. No official announcement has been made, but the studio itself keeps teasing something but never actually announcing, which leads us to believe that something big and potentially delayed is in the works over there.
Yeah, probably not. But this leaked concept art sure looks nice eh? Also, this source said the game is open world and launching post-2013, which wouldn’t rule out a reveal this year. Plus, after DotA 2 launches fully Valve has nothing else on its slate. Half-Life 3 could be the next logical step But it probably won’t happen.
What do you make of the above? Do you think any or all of these games will get a bigger announcement in 2013? Let us know below.