Finally. You don’t know how long we’ve waited for another go at Crackdown. The first game was unfairly marginalised due to its pack-in Halo 3 beta; plenty of people assumed Microsoft was using the beta as a gimmick to market a subpar game, and tossed the disc aside without a second glance. Happily, enough people gave the unusual open-world sandbox a go that it developed a cult following. That brought us a sequel, but a sequel developed without the original creator, and which largely missed the point of Crackdown, and failed to account for evolutions in the genre in the interim.
Now we’re getting a Crackdown helmed by Dave Jones himself, with the power of the Xbox One behind it powering some amazing tech. And we’re encouraged to forget all about Crackdown 2. Get hype, people!
City of Titans
This is an exciting one. Formerly known as The Phoenix Project, City of Titans is a spiritual successor to City of Heroes, the much-loved Cryptic Studios MMO. City of Heroes was special for a number of reasons, not least of which was its commitment to player freedom; the character customisation was as open and easy as copyright law and community guidelines allow, and the adventures you and your crew wrote together varied from dramatic to ridiculous in true comic book style.
Missing Worlds Media has taken on the gargantuan task of rebuilding the shuttered game and has the confidence of the City of Heroes fan community behind it, smashing crowdfunding goals to end up with more than double what it asked for. If everything goes as planned, we should see this one by November this year, although the latest trailer shows it’s very much still a work in progress.
The Blizzard, Sony, MercurySteam and Weta Digital veterans at Deadlight developer Tequila Works initially pitched Rime to Microsoft, which knocked it back. Xbox’s Phil Spencer later admitted this was a mistake, because Rime was announced as a PlayStation exclusive at gamescom 2013 and everyone suddenly got very tight pockets.
Another one of these “explore the secrets of an ancient civilisation” jobbies, Rime looks stunningly beautiful in that very Ico-esque way we’ve missed so much, and which is becoming popular again thanks to the success of games like Journey proving there’s more to the gaming life than headshots. We don’t know much more about it that we can call fact, but leaks suggests it will have a day night cycle with the now obligatory monsters, with players struggling to survive the darkness using what they’ve discovered during the day.
There are a couple of announced UE4 projects that didn’t make this list because their crowdfunding campaigns were unsuccessful, and their creators subsequently went mostly silent. Obduction is, thankfully, a success story, raising a whopping $1.3 million with the succinct and compelling pitch: “original makers of Myst and Riven build spiritual successor“. Holy balls, yes please.
Expected in October next year, Obduction is set on a mysterious alien world, and will have parallels with the beginning of Myst. Announced 20 years on from Myst, Obduction will continue the somewhat neglected tradition of first-person atmospheric adventure games – that’s “adventure” as in “puzzles”, not just exploration – but with the pretty great modern twist of Oculus Rift support, thanks to the achievement of a stretch goal. Very little more needs to be said; you’re either sold, or you’re not.
The Department of Mysteries
In addition to these well-documented projects there are a number of games in the works for UE4 that we know significantly less about. Square Enix has signed a multi-game licensing deal for both UE3 and UE4. We suspect Ninja Theory is working on a new IP using UE4, and we think we might even have snatched a glimpse of it.
NCSoft has also signed on for at least two UE4 games, one of which may be a shooter, but both of which are almost certainly MMOs. Fable developer Lionhead is finally working on a new IP, which will, like Fable Legends, utilise UE4.
Finally, we’re pretty sure Black Tusk won’t switch over to a non-Epic engine for the new Gears of War game.
This list is incomplete, and it’s only going to grow over the next few months and years. We expect Unreal Engine 4 to become as ubiquitous during the PS4 and Xbox One generation as its immediate precursor did on the PS3 and Xbox 360.