I thought this would be easy. At least it has been in past years, but this year I’m a little stumped. More specifically, I’m stumped about what to make predictions *about*. It seems obvious what will and will not happen this year.
1) FunCom will be FunCom…they will release a conceptually brilliant game long before it is ready, and oblivious to whether or not they have enabled their target audience to consume it (think system requirements re: AoC at its launch).
2) Guild Wars will ship to much acclaim and joy, and find its niche…and then promptly fall off the radar, as people complete is PvE campaign in the course of a week and are left with nothing but hardcore PvP or the next $50 box drop.
3) World of Warplanes Beta will come winging our way at some point during the year. My guess is that it will not be nearly the success that World of Tanks has been. Primarily because the inclusion of joystick support indicates that the basic keyboard controls are going to be awkward, and lets face it, that’s what most people use. Again..that whole “know your target audience” mentality.
And then there is stuff that is less obvious. And that is the stuff that I will really judge myself on predicting, because its a little tougher.
1) Dawntide may not survive another year. After previously announcing plans for a launch and unveiling payment plans, Dawntide had to do a quick E-brake 180 when they lost funding. They reaquired funding almost immidiately, and promised an updated release date within three weeks time. Two months later, the big news was instead that the whole world was coming down for a complete redesign/regraphic-ing (is that a word?). That smacks of desperation or fear, one of the two. One of the GM’s in the forum is on record as saying he believes a new launch will come late in the year, perhaps around August, but there is simply no good way to tell at this point.
On the other hand, I could be wrong. The redesign of the world could indicate an influx of funding allowing them to modernize and fully realize the game. And in this case, I truly hope I’m wrong. The innovations present in the game are wonderful, and I’d like to see it make some inroads.
2) Sony will find a new flagship. They have to, right? I’m shocked that Everquest 3 took so long to get off the ground, even in whispered rumor form. To be the advance they want it to be will require a full development cycle, which means we are looking at another 4 years probably before it hits. So part B is this: I fully expect Sony to pick up distribution rights to ArchAge Online. They have shown no qualms about bringing other people’s developments into their fold (Vanguard, Pirates of the Burning Sea). Pairing this with a PlanetSide 2 launch would mean fresh blood in the Sci Fi and Fantasy domains. That’s not to say that ArchAge comes out way in 2012, but I think it will find a home in this time period (call that part C if you will)
3) Titan will lose its codename and we will began to get some information on it. Quite frankly, my belief is that if you’ve been holding it in your backpocket for over four years, without even giving a hint of what it is, its just as likely rotten eggs as it is a hit. But I’ll be curious to see what’s been rattling around in the heads of Blizzard and whether or not this is the time to unveil it.
In the most and least categories:
My most anticipated game is…I don’t have one. Honestly, I don’t. I’d say Secret World, but I’m pretty sure its gonna flop like a drunk noob off the high dive platform. I’m honestly not excited about anything that is to come this year. So, I guess the challenge is to see what does finally get me excited.
My least anticipated game is…Guild Wars 2. I’m glad that everyone is nuts over it, but I honestly do not see the draw. The art direction in the first one and from what I’ve seen in this one, is ugly to my eye. Guild Wars is honestly the only game I’ve quit playing because I wanted to claw my eyeballs out just looking at the screen. Does that make me weird? You bet it does.
The game everyone is excited about that will actually be horrible…that’s gotta be WildStar. It looks like Champions Online’s graphically impaired World of Warcraft wannabe offspring. Reminds me a bit of Alganon, which, as we all know, had great success in the MMO world.
Dual of the mini Mecha MMO’s. Which will win my affection: Hawken or Mechwarrior Online? Personally I’m leaning Mechwarrior myself, but the decision to continue a timeline that was already beyond salvage is humorous. And I could see it being neither. When I think mecha I think strategic. I do not think super-action fest. Which is what both of these games seem like they may be, at first blush. Which means that the dark horse alternate candidate in this race may actually be the wildly-innacurately name Gratuitous Tank Battles. Which is actually Gratuitous Mecha Battles…that also happen to have some Tanks in them. Seriously…are we that desperate to cash in on the World of Tanks fanbase?