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PS4 and Xbox 720: next-gen is all about the games

Friday, 15 February 2013 14:38 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Starting February 20, all bets suggest we’re finally going to get a look at some next-generation games. But why wait? Let’s ruin the surprise by outlining what we know of the 2013-2014 line-up.

Current industry rumour has it that most games over the next few years will release on both current- and next-generation systems, so don’t let the fact that a game has been announced for PS3 or Xbox 360 convince you it won’t also turn up on PS4 and whatever Microsoft eventually decides to call Durango.

Just a few months ago we knew almost nothing about the release slate ahead of the first quarter; the industry has been in lockdown over new hardware.

Now suddenly dates and names are rushing in. If everybody’s right and both the PlayStation 4 (Orbis) and “Xbox 720″ (Durango) make out before the end of the year, new games have a short PR cycle to work with. Now that Sony seems likely to kick things off at the PlayStation Meeting on February 20, it’s safe for companies to start talking again.

Current industry rumour has it that most games over the next few years will release on both current- and next-generation systems, so don’t let the fact that a game has been announced for PS3 or Xbox 360 convince you it won’t also turn up on PS4 and whatever Microsoft eventually decides to call Durango.

During a recent financial report, EA openly admitted that it is working with next-gen hardware, and said that Battlefield and FIFA, two of its strongest franchises, are definitely on the way to new platforms. EA also said it’s giving Medal of Honor a break from its biennial release dance with Battlefield; Respawn‘s new shooter seems an ideal place filler. Dragon Age 3 seems a good bet for new hardware, too.

Rival Activision Blizzard is much more close-mouthed, but hat said, if Call of Duty isn’t onboard next-gen at or near launch I’ll eat a whole houseful of hats. Bungie’s Destiny has suddenly broken cover, with a full reveal expected as early as Sunday. A potentially outdated contract between Bungie and Activision said the first of four planned entires in the Destiny franchise would be exclusive “to Xbox consoles”, which likely means it will launch on the Xbox 360 and its successor. That Bungie is ready to reveal adds weight to theories that Durango will be upon us before year’s end.

Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has been quiet for years – suspiciously so. The Swedish company opened a second office in New York, of all places, but hasn’t made a release or an announcement since 2011′s downloadable Renegade Ops. So what is it actually working on? Either Just Cause 3 or a Mad Max game – probably bothwith a reveal expected very soon. The Mad Max game is or was apparently funded by Kennedy Miller Mitchell, and the Australian production company is also behind Brendan McNamara’s Whore of the Orient, which is definitely on the way to next-gen.

PS4 – “Orbis”

The next PlayStation will almost certainly be called PlayStation 4, and has been codenamed Orbis.

Sony was expected to follow Microsoft in announcing new hardware, but surprised everyone by calling a PlayStation Meeting for February 20, where the new console is expected to make its debut.

According to VG247′s sources and multiple other leaks, the console boasts an eight-core architecture. It seems very likely to have a new control pad with touch interface.

Warner Bros. recently confirmed a new Batman: Arkham game is in the works, likely for 2013 release. We’ve been told that Rocksteady isn’t behind this one; rumours suggest Warner Montreal is behind the next-gen effort, which makes sense given how recently Arkham City wrapped.

We may already have started to see next-gen games, but developers such as CD Projekt are sensible being coy in saying games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are headed to PC and all high-end consoles, refusing to be drawn further on the matter. Cyberpunk is still so far out that it’s practically guaranteed for new hardware.

On the tentative side, the old Beyond Good & Evil 2 chestnut has rolled over and split again, and there’s a tasty rumour that Final Fantasy Versus 13 may be going next-gen after years of hanging around as vapourware. Indie superhero sandbox Awakened is ambitious enough to require next-gen hardware, and so many years in, is likely going to go head whether a Kickstarter campaign succeeds or not. Word is Sega has a new Sonic on the go, too.

Grand Theft Auto 5 has been thrown around for a next-gen and curent-gen simship thanks to a recent deal and some recruiting notices, but Take Two’s not having any of it at this stage. It’s also refusing to comment on persistant, repeat rumours that Mafia 3 is in the works at 2K Czech – which hired next-gen staff. I’ll tell you what Take Two does have, though – Turtle Rock’s Evolve. Thanks, THQ.

It’s possible that whatever THQ Montreal was working on is next-gen, too; Ubisoft is never shy about console launches so we can expect a batch of release window titles from the French publisher, which is likely to include a new Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. You can probably expect the prolific Ubisoft to publish on both generations for at least two years, and Watch Dogs seems a prime candidate for this treatment, especially given how console cycles flatter new IP. A leap to next-gen helps explain why Rainbow Six: Patriots vanished from the radar, too. Ubisoft Montreal seems to have some sort of next-gen RPG on the go, too.

Rumours suggest we may see Star Wars 1313 on current-gen tech, but even if that were confirmed, that doesn’t rule out a next-generation sim-ship – especially as LucasArts very carefully avoided mentioning any platform besides PC. Word is nothing has changed since Disney took over, so.

Xbox 720 – Durango

We don’t know what Microsoft’s going to call its new console, so we use the slightly silly nickname Xbox 720. It’s codename is Durango.

Leaks suggest the hardware will be slightly less powerful than the next PlayStation, but thanks to dedicated units for specific tasks, may have more raw CPU and GPU power at its disposal.

It’s believed to come bundled with an improved Kinect, and rumours suggest the camer attachment – and an Internet connection – will be required at all times.

Thief 4 has never been confirmed as a next-gen title but the rumour mill is sure it will be, especially as the project went completely dark, despite the fact that everyone knows that’s what Eidos Montreal moved onto after Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Elsewhere in the Square Enix stables, is Crystal Dynamics isn’t working on a Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver reboot it’s doing an excellent job of laying a false trail; and Square Enix Montreal’s new Hitman game has been in the works for so little time that if it isn’t next-gen by the time it turns up, Yoichi Wada will have a lot of explaining to do. Square Enix is investing heavily in next-gen tech, especially the Luminous engine, and is prepared to take a financial hit for the next few years.

Harmonix is believed to be working on its most ambitious project to date – some sort of rhythm-action game with combat and story. It’s a next-gen project, and may be called Chroma.

In Japan, Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has said more games in the gangster series are on the way, but not for PlayStation 3. The platform-exclusive is very unlikely to have parted ways with Sony, so there’s short odds on a PS4 release for Yakuza 6. Quantic Dream already has a new game in the works ahead of Beyond: Two Souls’ launch on PlayStation 3; we may not see it for a while yet but it’s almost certainly a PS4 exclusive.

At the PlayStation Meeting, we can probably expect to see Killzone 4, too; Sony’s flagship shooter seems a shoe-in for a system launch, and what else has Guerrilla been up to since the last one came out?

Motorstorm developer Evolution Studios seems almost certain to make a reveal at the PlayStation Meeting; racers traditionally perform most strongly at console launches, and the team has been dropping hints. Gran Turismo 6 has been in the works for ages, and Sony has promised a reveal soon; the platform and arguably industry’s premier racer seems like an excellent choice for a launch title.

Project Gotham 5 seems a likely bet for Microsoft’s hardware launch, for the same reasons. Also on Microsoft’s side is Crytek’s Ryse. Unlike many core-focused Kinect projects, this one hasn’t died a natural death, but Crytek admits it’s not going to make 2013. Could the camera-controlled adventure be headed to the new, improved version of Kinect which Durango is rumoured to require?

Rare and Lionhead are almost certainly working on Kinect and Fable titles respectively, and we know Halo 5 will eventually make an appearance – it’s just a matter of when, and Gears of War seems a better bet for Microsoft’s big launch shooter.

There hasn’t been a lot of chatter about GDC this year, even though it’s normally one of the most interesting events in the run up to E3. That’s because until Sony or Microsoft officially admit they have new boxes in the works, studios sitting on exciting new developments can’t say anything

On that note, Epic Games is almost certain to make an appearance at GDC, where it has often shown off new Unreal Engine tech both in public and behind closed doors. Debuting Unreal Engine 4 with the amazing Samaritan demo, Epic said it was looking to set a benchmark for next-gen hardware, and seems quite well-informed about it – maybe its time to see what the team can actually do with it. Epic handed off Gears of War to People Can Fly for this year’s under-marketed offering, Judgment, so don’t be too surprised if we have to wait for Microsoft’s official announcement to see what is almost bound to be a next-gen Gears of War for Durango.

There hasn’t been a lot of chatter about GDC this year, even though it’s normally one of the most interesting events in the run up to E3. That’s because until Sony or Microsoft officially admit they have new boxes in the works, studios sitting on exciting new developments can’t say anything. One of Activision’s senior developers is giving a lecture on next-generation rendering techniques, while of course carefully not mentioning hardware or games at all.

But now that the cat’s halfway out the bag and virtually guaranteed to turn up before GDC in March, the locks are starting to be slipped one by one. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is set for reveal at GDC. The new Kojipro title is expected to release on PS3 and Xbox 360, but Hideo Kojima has confirmed he’s working with next-gen hardware. What we’ve seen of Ground Zeroes so far has all been running on high-end PCs.

You’re tired of reading by now, and yet this really is just the suspiciously still pool of water marking in iceberg of ship-sinking proportions. Although it will probably be another year before these projects bear reveal fruit, in the last two years multiple developers have been openly recruiting for or teasing next-generation development: Arkane Studios, Bethesda, Gearbox Software, iD Software,Remedy, Sledgehammer, Spark Unlimited, United Front Games.

The industry may be coalescing around smaller numbers of bigger hits, but the injection of fresh hardware will bring with it an explosion of new takes on old formulas, new IP, and new ideas. Don’t blink: 2013 is going to be one of the biggest years in gaming since Nolan Bushnell wondered if tennis could be less sweaty.

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23 Comments

  1. Karooo

    I see only links.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    The leaked 720 document spoke about providing an experience that wasn’t possible on any other format. In this gen, the 360 and PS3 were practically the same console, with practically the same games, other than exclusives.

    I think a console gen, where the 720/PS4 are unable to provide the same experience would be very interesting, indeed.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. manamana

    Great rundown, Brenna! Thanks. Can’t wait for 1313 and Watchdogs.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. datass

    Oh Valve, wherefore art thou?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. manamana

    I wonder if The Last Guardian will be on PS4…

    #5 2 years ago
  6. LuLshuck

    I bet watchdogs will be shite

    #6 2 years ago
  7. fearmonkey

    I’m thinking Gears of War will not be a launch title, as they have Gears of war:judgement being made by Epic and people can fly. That would be a first to have two Gears titles around the same time, but it would be possible to make a judgement version that was taking advantage of the next gen and have it available on both systems.

    Thief 4 as a next gen title would be a dream come true for me as its one of my favorite series and I miss Garrett, or another Deus Ex title since HR did so well.

    I think there is a good chance that Fallout 4 will be around launch or early next year.

    I never cared for the Project Gotham series as I never liked the Kudos system. They were good games just not my favs.

    I doub’t we will see a fable title at launch, but that would get me excited. Since the Journey was released last year its doubtful anytime soon.

    A next gen mafia 2 would be amazing, I loved Mafia 2, which still looks incredible on a high pc, so a next gen Mafia 3 would be sure to impress.

    So far the only known next gen title that has me excited is Watch Dogs, If the game is just like that video, i would have to have it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. salarta

    Glad to know (if it’s true) that there are plans for games to release on both current gen and next gen consoles. That means if Sony does go through with the extreme stupidity of locking games down with one-time activation codes as an attempt to prevent used game sales, then I’ll still be able to buy the games for my PS3.

    If the Arkham game has the real Harley Quinn in it wearing her proper costume then I’ll buy it, which would be my first and only DC-related purchase since they changed Harley Quinn’s costume (and last I saw, much of her personality) in the New 52 reboot.

    Looking forward to seeing what gets revealed, but also cautiously withholding excitement since unless some potentially worse factor gets announced, the whole activation code concept will decide whether or not I purchase Sony’s next console.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Sillywabbit

    @salarta it’s actually Microsoft that’s apparently planning on locking down games to a single use via activation codes. As far as anyone knows Sony has no plans to do this.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    @9

    Sony has a patent that does essentially the same thing.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Kristian

    “Debuting Unreal Engine 4 with the amazing Samaritan demo”

    This is wrong. The Samaritan demo is actually Unreal Engine 3 tech. All of the tech in the Samaritan demo is available in the UDK.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Phoenixblight

    @11

    Yeah the Samaritan demo was Unreal 3.5 and wasn’t optimized so it had to use multiple GPU and processors where Unreal 4 is vastly more superior than that tech demo and optimized to work on more realistic hardware set up.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. noamlol2

    rumor rumor rumors

    just wait for E3 or offical annoncement

    the next gen might sound suckass if it won’t support used games
    but i’ll wait and see

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Diingo

    Valve is leading the industry in the right direction. For now the traditional consoles will do well, but in the long run having a business model of walls separating the developers from gamers will hinder the traditional console experience. Gabe Newell sees a future where the PC-Console hybrid that allows modding communities to thrive is where things shall be going next.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight

    @14

    Valve hasn’t done anything for the industry all they have done is created their own walled garden and they feel now with other companies that they will be losing their market in the future especially with how strong digital is becoming. Their Steambox won’t be anything innovative and Gabe Newell is a business guy whose only focus is one thing like the rest of business people making sure their income is constant.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. GwynbleiddiuM

    @15 Wrong, Valve revived PC market activity through the expansion of the Steam. They created competition where it was non-existent. Yes, everyone in any industry are looking to fill their pockets, after all this is their business and they are working their ass off to achieve it. It’s incredibly shortsighted to ignore that fact. But did Valve had a similar business model like every other mega publishers out there? Absolutely not.

    They created a platform of opportunity in a segment that was presumed dying a few years ago. So they did good by the industry.

    And Steambox isn’t supposed to be a revolutionary tech. All Steambox is is an interface between PC and living room, sending streaming data from a PC to your TV via a small box. Like NVIDIA’s SHIELD. Like a PS Vita with a few homebrew apps, like iPad with a remote app (Splashtop if you will). It’s not a huge risk that Valve is taking.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Phoenixblight

    @16

    Thats hardly anything worth “worshiping” Gabe over. THat was then this is now. They have done nothing for the industry other than show developers that PC is still viable. Hardly worth saying they are leading the industry because they aren’t especially with how the market is currently with Gamestop, Gamefly, EA,Ubisoft and WIndows having their own storefront online. Valve is feeling the pinch and that is why they are attempting to hedge their bets with Linux.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. GwynbleiddiuM

    What Valve sees is not just a pinch, technology is transforming the traditional way of business in the industry. What they see is exactly that. Means of delivery is also changing, valve is seeing an opportunity and they are planning to expand upon it. Even Gabe admitted in his “A view of next step” speech at DICE even though this is the path they’re taking there’s a great chance that they wont succeed.

    And having a huge amount of respect is often different than worshiping the ground someone might walk, you as someone who is passionate about the industry and BioWare in particularly should acknowledge that. :P

    #18 2 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    Valve?

    Aptly enough, they’re nothing but hot air…

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/186592/Several_out_of_work_as_Valve_makes_large_decisions_about_its_future.php#.UR8rRBEaySN

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Phoenixblight

    @18

    How did Bioware get in this convo? I didn’t mention them and I don’t see a reason to even bring them up unless you are trying to make a jab at my views because I enjoy their games. Its irrelevant. My original comment was aimed at Diingo which I would consider how he was talking about Valve is a form of fanboyism because Valve has done nothing to lead the industry anywhere. They have created a market which now everyone is involved in. Now they are just looking for other avenues to find where money will be which with how the market is now is anyone’s guess.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. GwynbleiddiuM

    @20 You misunderstood me man, I was merely saying don’t mistake admiration and respect for blind fanboyism. And I did so because you mentioned gabe worshiping in a reply to my post, I thought it was also aimed at me.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. sonny

    It’s all about DA GAIMZ!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaqYhRhBSaQ

    #22 2 years ago
  23. k1llabeast

    …NOT

    #23 2 years ago

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