Xbox 360: The next 3 years' big titles
24th Aug 2010 | 18:30
The 360's future has never looked so bright. Well... 'never' is maybe going overboard. It's certainly never looked shinier or blacker, and definitely never sounded so quiet. Games like Crysis 2 and Rage look so much nicer than the real world that you'll never want to leave the house again. Let's not forget the 360 launched with the likes of Perfect Dark Zero and Far Cry Instincts Predator - games so ugly with textures so plasticky and greasy they looked as though everything had been rubbed with meat.
Estimates from publishers and developers put the dawn of the next next generation around 2013 or 2014, which firmly places the 360 in the pension line at the Post Office, but the extended lifespan has seen developers push boundaries like no generation before it. Take a look at the industry's worst-kept secrets, and at how the biggest games of the next three years will be the biggest games of all time.
1. FORZA KINECT
"There's the Burnout Natal demo where people were driving Burnout like this," Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt told us last year, waving his arms around. Forza Kinect has those controls but that's not what excites Greenawalt. Head tracking and being able to reach out and touch your car is the future of Forza, but with the E3 demo still bearing the Forza 3 logo, the next Forza is an update, not a sequel.
2. HITMAN 5
From IO Interactive
Io have taken the piss with Kane and Lynch and Mini Ninjas for too long; Hitman has development woes but it is under development. A trip last year to Io's Denmark offices let us peek into a room where every PC desktop displayed the Hitman logo, while US movie mag Variety claim the 2011 movie sequel will borrow plot elements from the next game release.
3. SPLINTER CELL 6
From Ubisoft Toronto
Already confirmed by Ubisoft and under way at their newly-formed Toronto studio, the sixth Splinter Cell builds on the foundation established by Conviction and is headed up by the same leads - Maxime Beland, Alexandre Parizeau, and Patrick Redding. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is Ubisoft's spring tentpole, expect Sam Fisher to take Christmas.
4. HALO 4
From 343 Industries
Back in 2008, Microsoft began work on their own hitsquad of top-level talent to work on Halo-related projects. 343 Industries have since produced nothing but Halo Waypoint and some books and anime, but their recent recruitment drive - 'be a part of Halo history' - has set them on course for a major release by 2012.
5. CODENAME: KINGDOMS
The trailer reveals little, but sources suggest Microsoft have brought in Crytek to out-Sony Sony. Xbox has Gran Turismo and Killzone beaten, but it has no exclusive to beat God of War. With Gears 3 and Halo Reach shipping within six months of one another, Microsoft have no heavy-hitter for Christmas 2011. Kingdoms might be the CryEngine 3-powered answer to both problems.
6. TOMB RAIDER
From Crystal Dynamics
Last year, Crystal Dynamics were recruiting for a game they described as "one of the most prestigious AAA franchises in the industry" and a stack of leaked slides revealed a rebooted Tomb Raider starring a young Lara Croft in an Arkham Asylum-style open world. Sources suggest the ninth Tomb Raider will be Square Enix's big Christmas game in 2011.
7. UNTITLED PROJECT
Insomniac, long-time developers for Sony's various PlayStations, have jumped ship and joined EA to work on 360, PS3, and PC. The team behind Ratchet and Clank and Resistance have always worked on surprising projects and the deal with EA - which covers one IP and one game only - will undoubtedly be something totally unexpected.
8. UNTITLED PROJECT
Activision own the rights to ten years' worth of Bungie's next big IP. Described only as an 'action game', the multi-format title is already in development and has to ship in the next two years if Activision are to get their money's worth. The Activision deal covers only one IP, so don't be surprised if a second team within Bungie work with another publisher on another project.
9. ASSASSIN'S CREED 3
"I don't think there's going to be an Assassin's Creed in 2011", Brotherhood's Associate Producer Jean-Francois Boivin said in an online interview recently. "I think we're going to let it breathe a bit and really focus on bringing something new and exciting for the next time around." That pushes the trilogy's conclusion back to 2012 and makes Assassin's Creed 3 Ubisoft's biggest winter payday.
10. UNTITLED PROJECT
When Jason West and Vince Zampella got the boot
from Infinity Ward they took half the talent with them, and formed a new team and partnered with EA. The latest developments in the ongoing court case are just over the page, but with a whole new engine to develop and lots more staff to recruit, Respawn are at least three years away from their first release.
11. DOOM 4
Doom 4 is a far-off secret Id don't care to keep. It has a logo and a development team, and Id will be discussing the game for the first time at this month's Quakecon. With most of Id's developers tied up on Rage, a fourth Doom is years away, but the game was 'deep in development' back in 2009 and is neither a sequel to Doom 3 nor a reboot.
12. OPERATION FLASHPOINT 3
Terminally flawed office favourite Operation Flashpoint 2 was abandoned by Codemasters just months after release, and their extensive DLC plan was dropped in favour of "planning the future of modern combat." Like Race Driver Grid's sequel, also expected in 2012, Op Flash 3 will be based on the next evolution of Codemasters' Ego engine, but it'll have to do more than look pretty to win back the dismayed Op Flash fans.
13. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL 2
Ubisoft are paying Beyond Good and Evil just enough attention and respect to keep creator Michel Ancel happy. Ancel is working on the game in France and recently told the Montpellier Games Conference that he's keeping the team small and extending development "to preserve creativity, so the game doesn't become a commercial product; so that it has soul."
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