Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic action game , The Last Of Us, is heading to Television from HBO.
With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 almost certainly hitting stores by 2014 and a whopping seven years since the beginning of this console generation, you’d expect Microsoft and Sony to be limping toward the finish line, cranking out shovelware to pad time until their flashier, youthful replacements can take their place. However, 2013 is looking like a banner year for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles, despite the fact that if they were people, the 360 and PS3 would be playing bridge at the community center and forgetting the names of their grandchildren. Against all odds, developers are squeezing amazing potential out of these old machines, doing things we didn’t think were possible with current technology. We’ve only hit mid-February and already been treated this year with games like DmC: Devil May Cry, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and Dead Space 3, but there is a lot more in store for 2013. We at Grizzly Bomb can’t believe the wealth of upcoming games that are rounding out this almost decade-long run, so here is our list of our most anticipated games for 2013.
Bioshock is often brought up in cases supporting the argument that video games are art. Irrational Games struck gold when they created Rapture, a sorrowful undersea dystopia which succumbed to the hubris of modern science. But the game reached beyond the scope of the world it inhabited, turning gaming conventions on their head to make a pointed commentary on the role of the player in a video game. How much control do you really have in a game, and how easily do you do what you’re told? Nothing had ever challenged us in such a way on this large a scale before. It opened the door for future titles to take their subject matter more seriously and ask even more questions about why we play games. Bioshock Infinite is Irrational Games’s spiritual successor to the first game, replacing the ocean floor with open skies.
As former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, the player is tasked with rescuing a girl named Elizabeth, who has been held captive in Columbia for twelve years. The floating city features its own unique set of aesthetics and steampunk mechanisms, but it is certainly loosely tied to the world of Rapture. The combat seems to be made up of the same general format; vigors replace tonics and a giant eagle-like creature replaces the Big Daddies, but at the end of the day you still have a gun in the right hand and a magic power in the left. Not that that’s a bad thing – if Infinite can capture half the rich atmosphere and frantic gameplay of the previous games it will be leagues ahead of many shooters. Yet the focal point for me rests on the AI partner Elizabeth, who seems more interesting than the NPC companions we’ve come across before. Irrational is quick to mention that she is far from the silent, robotic and frankly useless tagalongs seen in previous games, and everything we’ve seen in demos supports that. Bioshock Infinite just may be the start of smarter, more capable and satisfying AI.
Release date: March 26
Deadpool: The Game
I remember watching an interview with Deadpool: The Game lead designer Terry Spier in October of 2012 and thinking they just might have the savvy to pull this off. He was quoted as saying it will have “Everything you could want in a Deadpool game.” Considering he’s one of the most intriguing comic book anti-heroes, there is a lot to be said about that statement.
Deadpool: The Game will be a 3rd-person action brawler to include the use of Deadpool’s extensive arsenal. It will be a unique adventure not tied to any previous story line, but rather will be mission based. Spier truly believes they have nailed his personality. That being said, the game should fully deliver the fourth-wall breaking Merc with a mouth that we all love.
Could anyone else go for a chimichanga?
Release date: Unspecified
The Last of Us
Uncharted is one of the most lauded and beloved series of the past decade, but even before that Naughty Dog was making waves with games like Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter. While the majority of successful games have gone the open-world route and allowed the player to enjoy a build-your-own-adventure playstyle, the studio has been fine-tuning the linear single-player campaign to near perfection. The Last of Us looks to be taking that even further with another third-person action game a la Uncharted, only this time there’s a dedicated focus on emotion, character and story. Joel and Ellie are two survivors trying to find the coast in a wasteland of roving bandits and infected horrors. The violence is brutal, the landscape overgrown, the characters desperate. This is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with a controller.
I haven’t felt the kind of excitement I have for The Last of Us in an extremely long time. The Uncharted series, particularly Drake’s Deception, achieved an almost effortless sense of character and atmosphere. Its cinematic moments are some of the most breathtaking scenes I’ve come across in all the games I’ve played. All of this is despite the fact that, at its core, the story is fairly hollow and the gameplay is far from special. From everything I’ve seen, The Last of Us looks like it will boast all the same qualities that made Nathan Drake one the most iconic characters in video games, and ground it all on something thrilling, emotional and satisfying.
Release date: June 14
What you’re reading is a bunch of games that bring excitement and/or nostalgia to the staffers here at Grizzly Bomb. Video games have come a long way in terms of storytelling and the immersion the gamer has into the new world. Grand Theft Auto III led the way into the non-linear world where you can do as you please and interact with the objects in your environment to aid in whatever you chose to do in the world of Liberty City. Ubisoft, the people behind the Assassin’s Creed series, have helped usher in a revolution in gaming in terms of the control and open world environments. It looks like they are about to up the stakes and expectations in the video game world one more time with Watch Dogs.
I remember watching the 2012 E3 trailer for this game and being blown away. Then I watched the gameplay demo, that I have embedded below, and it completely blows my mind. The idea of ‘Big Brother’ has been along for awhile but never been totally explored in the video game world. At least not in a world where you can play ‘Big Brother’. In this game, as you navigate a beautiful rendering of Chicago, you control all the electronic devices in your area and in the demo, you can hack or control the electronic airwaves. So walking by someone, you can see what their income is, whether they’ve been charged in a crime, or even see if they carry a disease unknown to the public around them. It’s a scary proposition that someone could view this information off of your ‘digital shadow’. Basically, the world is run by a supercomputer that processes all the information in order to safe guard against any attacks and keep things regulated in the world. However, if someone were to gain control of that access, imagine what they could do with that information. I honestly cannot do the game justice explaining it in two paragraphs. Just watch the gameplay trailer below and be amazed. You can thank me later.
Release Date: Unspecified
Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games is a studio with an almost immaculate track record of late. They’ve had major success with their smaller titles (size is relative here) like Max Payne and L.A. Noire but they are revered and highly esteemed for their work on their flagship series, Grand Theft Auto. GTA V is taking fans back to Los Santos for the first time since San Andreas, and much like they had done with Liberty City in GTA IV, the tri-city area has been redesigned from the ground up. We don’t know all that much about the game’s story but we can expect more of the violence, gunfire and criminal activity that has made the series a favorite target for the mainstream media.
There aren’t many companies I trust as implicitly to deliver a satisfying experience as Rockstar Games. They just make good content. It’s easy in the years between titles to forget that there is more to the Grand Theft Auto series than indulgent sex and violence. The truth is, the sandbox of GTA is great for so much more than that. Racing, hunting hidden items, finding secrets…hell, even walking down the street in Rockstar’s cities is always full of surprising, entertaining moments. It’s also worth mentioning that Grand Theft Auto is one of the best satires of American culture out there today. But what makes me most excited for GTA V is the fact that this will be the first game in the series to come out since Red Dead Redemption, a game that introduced plenty of new innovations to the 3rd person sandbox, and quickly became one of my favorite games. If they implement any of the same ideas into the new Grand Theft Auto, it should be a fantastic next chapter in the series.
Release date: September 17
Last year I watched the Video Game Awards for the first time ever and reacted pretty harshly to the show. To summarize the article, I found the 2011 VGA’s to be immature and pandering. Some of the most memorable moments of the awards perpetuated the worst stereotypes of an industry that is still plagued by issues of sexism and sexuality. And even disregarding that, recognizing the work of the medium’s most talented artists and writers took a back seat to celebrity shills cavorting about on stage.
I don’t think I have lofty expectations for these awards. I said in last year’s recap:
[box_light]”I understand that the show is a vehicle for game trailers and commercials. I don’t expect or want the grandeur and extravagance of the Oscars. All I want is for the producers to treat the fans, and more importantly the game creators, with respect and at least pretend to care about our medium.” [/box_light]
And this year the Video Game Awards did exactly that. The turnaround that Spike TV made between 2011 and 2012 is admirable. This year’s awards excised a lot of the superfluous nonsense, like the augmented reality stuff (Which I genuinely enjoyed, but admit in hindsight was a waste of use) and the weird Nickelodeon game show-style contests going on in the periphery. The 2012 VGA’s focused instead on the games, and while some of the sketches and performances fell flat, the entire night was without question a show for gamers, about games.
The awards opened with Eric Cartman beating Bilbo Baggins to death with a cane. Of course, this was a shameless tease for South Park: The Stick of Truth, but it was an entertaining introduction to the show (It’s also one of the more anticipated games of 2013) and succinctly opened the night. Samuel L. Jackson took the role of host this year and did a pretty good job with what he had. I’ve gained a lot of respect for award show hosts since hearing Louis CK explain how much of a nightmare these things can be, so I can’t even fault Jackson or his writers for the lackluster jokes. The running gag throughout the show was ‘Sam Jackson Mode’, a gameplay tweak that added Jackson into all types of games and had him use his iconic badassery and curse words to get results. It heralds back to those old MTV awards skits that superimposed celebrities into movies.
I thought this was pretty clever. Far more entertaining than any of the gimmicks from last year’s show, at least. These moments also served to highlight the different games nominated this year, which fall all over the spectrum in terms of genre, scope and play-style. Regardless of what can be said for the VGA’s in years past, they seem to always do a stellar job nominating games that deserve to be recognized. This year took that concept even further, almost to the realm of controversy, by including smaller, independent games in the Game of the Year category. It’s sparked a lot of debate over what constitutes a “Game of the Year” or even a video game for that matter, A challenging discussion, and one that merits a lot of thought. I’m at odds with myself on the matter. I think Journey is easily one of the most worthwhile experiences in gaming this year, but to compare it to something like Assassin’s Creed III, which nearly takes up all of Journey’s playtime before even introducing the protagonist. It’s hard to put them on equal footing. As I did last year, I’ll list the nominees, the winners and my picks below.
Before I do that though, let’s talk reveals. There were some startling trailers last night that caught a lot of people by surprise, and some that were expected but nonetheless welcomed with excitement. The VGA’s premiered new trailers for Tomb Raider, The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite, which the community already knew about, but continue to look impressive. We were also treated to announcements for Dark Souls II, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and, the steal of the show, a mysterious game called The Phantom Pain.
This trailer was announced with very little explanation, and it credits only a previously unknown team, Moby Dick Studio, for development. Now, there are pages and pages of speculation, theorizing and educated guesses pointing to the idea that this is either a new teaser for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid 5, or a similar Hideo Kojima game. I will err on the side of caution and say that this looks like a very interesting new IP, I look forward to hearing more about it, and that you should immediately go and read this NeoGAF page on the subject.
Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance were both noticeably absent from the awards, as was The Last Guardian once again, to my chagrin. GTA V was nowhere to be seen either, but I expected this with their newest trailer released so recently. Rockstar marches to the beat of its own drum, Video Game Awards be damned.
Alright, now for the nominees and winners. Like last year, winners will be in bold and I’ll mark my picks with an arrow (<).
Game of the Year:
Studio of the Year:
Gearbox Software (<)
Best Xbox 360 Game:
Halo 4 (Review)
Assassin’s Creed III (<)
Best PS3 Game:
Assassin’s Creed III (<)
Best Wii/Wii-U Game:
New Super Mario Bros. U (<)
The Last Story
Best PC Game:
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (<)
Guild Wars 2
Borderlands 2 (<)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Max Payne 3
Best Action Adventure Game:
Assassin’s Creed III (<)
Mass Effect 3 (<)
Best Multiplayer Game:
Borderlands 2 (<)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Guild Wars 2
Best Individual Sports Game:
Hot Shots Golf World Invitational
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
Best Team Sports Game:
FIFA Soccer 13
Madden NFL 13
NBA 2K13 (<)
Best Driving Game:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (<)
Best Song in a Game:
“Cities” by Beck – From Sound Shapes
“Castle of Glass” by Linkin Park – From Medal of Honor: Warfighter
“I Was Born For This” By Austin Wintory – From Journey (<)
“Tears” by Health – From Max Payne 3
Best Original Score:
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Max Payne 3
Assassin’s Creed III (<)
Best Independent Game:
Dust: An Elysian Tale
Mark of the Ninja
Best Fighting Game:
Persona 4 Arena (<)
Dead or Alive 5
Street Fighter x Tekken
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Best Handheld/Mobile Game:
Sound Shapes (<)
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Best Performance by a Human Female:
Melissa Hutchison as Clementine – The Walking Dead: The Game
Emma Stone as Amanda Cartwright – Sleeping Dogs
Jen Taylor as Cortana – Halo 4
Jennifer Hale as Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 3 (<)
Best Performance by a Human Male:
Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack – Borderlands 2 (<)
Dave Fennoy as Lee Everret – The Walking Dead: The Game
James McCaffrey as Max Payne – Max Payne 3
Nolan North as Captain Martin Walker – Spec Ops: The Line
Best Adapted Video Game:
The Walking Dead: The Game (<)
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Transfomers: Fall of Cybertron
Dawnguard – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (<)
Leviathan – Mass Effect 3
Mechromancer Pack – Borderlands 2
Perpetual Testing Initiative – Portal 2
Best Downloadable Game:
The Walking Dead: The Game
Best Social Game:
You Don’t Know Jack
Draw Something (<)
Marvel: Avengers Alliance
And that was the 2012 Video Game Awards. If you missed the show or want to see it all again, the entire thing is available on Game Trailers. I was so happily surprised with the show this year, and I’m glad I decided at the last second to watch. Here’s to a great 2013, whose first quarter looks to be a massive wallet drain!
Hey there, people. It’s me again. Comic-Con has been rather quiet when it comes to video games. Just like day 1, nothing much happened in that area of nerdism so I decided to combine day 2, 3 and 4 into one article.
A Mass Effect anime will invade our television sets soon
Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is an anime series which is set right before the event of Mass Effect 3. The plot centers on James Vega (voiced by the corny Freddie Prinze Jr.), telling the story of his team’s encounter with the Collectors aka the bad guys in Mass Effect 2. Here’s a brief description of the storyline taken from the official website:
Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is the prequel to the highly-anticipated Mass Effect 3 and follows the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega. Vega leads an elite Special Forces squad into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as The Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his soldiers must protect the civilians from a ruthless invasion determined to capture the population for unknown purposes. Learn more about the Mass Effect universe with an unprecedented glimpse into the haunted past of Mass Effect’s newest hero!
If you ask me, I don’t really give a shit about the anime. Given how crappy the ending is, there is no reason for me to care. Plus, the animation looks pretty bad. We’re talking about “made using Flash by a bunch of middle-schoolers” level of disaster. Don’t get me wrong. Flash can look fantastic when done right, but Paragon Lost does not seem to be the case. But what do I know? Some people liked the ending. That includes our very own CheeseBadger, who is oh-so-sarcastic all the time. Maybe some of you will enjoy this. As for me, I’ll pass.
By the way, the anime is coming out in November this year.
Oh, there’s also this Mass Effect 3 DLC tease
Word on the street is that BioWare released a teaser. Some speculate it’s for an upcoming DLC. Apparently the story is set underwater and there will be Atlas’s (the Cerberus robot thingy). I’m not holding my breath for this one. Here’s an interesting question: was that pun intended?
(We’ll update this post as soon as we find the teaser on Youtube.)
The Last of Us introduces a new, bearded character
The trailer shows Joel, Ellie and the new character getting into a building after fending off the zombies, or whatever they’re called. I mean, technically speaking, they have some fungal infection in their brains or some crazy ass shit like that. That part isn’t so zombie-like, but since they’re acting as if they’re high on bath salts, we’ll just refer to them as zombies. They’re crazy, and I think they eat people. Let’s not pretend they’re anything other than zombies, aight?
Anyways, this mysterious figure, Bill, handcuffs Ellie and points the gun at Joel. The men get into an argument as Ellie breaks free to hit Bill with the steel pipe she was handcuffed to. Joel stops her after the first hit and the three talk things out. In short, Bill is the typical “trust nobody” type of guy who’s reluctant to help the protagonists in zombie movies. He’ll probably end up being eaten because he’s not a team player. Now all we need are some token (insert stereotypical minority ethnicity here) guy/gal, a dumb blonde, and a dickish beefcake to make the most predictable zombie video game ever. I am still intrigued by the story though.
More Resident Evil 6 details
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, Resident Evil 6’s producer, has released more details on the game.
- Jill and Claire will not be in the game. Claire will be mentioned.
- You can switch camera to your character’s right or left.
- For those hardcore players, the hud display can be switched off.
- Weapons are scattered throughout levels. No purchases are necessary.
- You no longer have worry about your AI partner’s inventory. He/She will pick up various items based on his/her needs.
- Swapping items is possible when you’re playing online co-op.
- Weapons are not individually upgraded. Instead, you upgrade weapons, among many other skills, through the allocation of skill points.
- As of current, the game is not going to support Playstation Move.
Capcom has also revealed the voices behind the main characters:
- Leon S Kennedy – Matthew Mercer
- Helena Harper – Laura Bailey
- Chris Redfield – Roger Craig Smith
- Piers Nivans – Chris Emerson
- Jake Muller – Troy Baker
- Sherry Birkin – Eden Riegel
- Ada Wong / Carla Radames – Courtnay Taylor
I swear to god Laura Bailey and Troy Baker were in every single thing that came out in the last twelve months. Both of them played the Boss in Saints Row The Third (Caucasian female and male respectively), as well as different supporting roles Mass Effect 3 (Laura as the asari lieutenant at the beginning of Priority: Thessia, I think, and Troy as the notoriously comical Kai Leng), and many more. Just look at their IMDB profiles yourself. Here’s Laura’s and here’s Troy’s.
They’re both quite attractive. Just saying…
A Deadpool video game is coming out…
And surprisingly, he’s not voiced by Nolan North, or is he? Oh wait, he is. All that I care about is Deadpool himself actually showed up in Comic Con to announce the game himself, and that was awesome.
The game is being developed by High Moon Studios and will be published by Activision. Anyways, here’s the teaser:
The gameplay itself doesn’t look particularly interesting. It’s seems like another third-person hack-&-slash / shooting. Perhaps the witty dialogue may just be the game changer. Who knows? It’s too early to tell.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our Comic Con coverage. Big shoutouts to all of you who read the articles. I know it sounds corny but you are the reason why we’re doing this. We don’t get paid. Please keep following us on Facebook or Twitter (or start now if you haven’t already done so) for more pop culture opinions.
“The Last of Us is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing triple A titles to be announced in a long time.” There’s a sentence that, if you were to read to me just after the game’s announcement, would make me laugh and call you names (If you then explained you were quoting me from the future, I’d probably call the authorities and/or ask to use your time machine for some…uh…private matters). That’s because the undead/mutant/alien apocalypse thing is one of the most tired ideas in video games, maybe only drawing a close second to gritty military shooters. Leave it to Naughty Dog, though, to take a concept I couldn’t care less about and infuse it with character, atmosphere and a story that bears delving into.
The Last of Us centers around Joel and Ellie, two survivors making their way through the remains of Pittsburgh after a pandemic has decimated the general population. As far as we can tell from what’s been revealed so far, the plague has mutated or otherwise turned its victims into grotesque, mindless swarms, making the environment fraught with danger at every turn. Resource management is a must, with the city in ruins and survival tools hard to come by.
At E3 Judge’s Week just nine days ago journalists were shown the first demo of the game, and though no footage was provided, Shane Satterfield of Game Trailers transcribed the experience for all to see on Side Mission. The demo apparently coincides with the latest trailer to come out, which appears to be the opening cinematic to the gameplay Satterfield and others were exposed to last week:
“As it begins the pair is driving in a car and they pull up to an overgrown urban area. Joel has second thoughts and decides to keep going. As they drive along the player is shown the decay of a post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh until, eventually, a pair of staggering feet are shown. Joel draws his gun and tells Ellie to put on her seat belt. Ellie begins to panic as Joel barrels towards the injured man. She asks if they should help the injured man and he quickly states, “He’s not injured at all.”…“
And some highlights from what we didn’t see in the trailer:
“…Now the first guy who was feigning injury on the road comes in with a gun. Joel pulls out his own and the game goes into Uncharted’s cover-based gunplay as two more enemies appear. Eventually he runs out of ammo and Ellie tosses a brick, smashing the enemy in the head. Joel then rushes in and finishes him with a melee attack. He then drops another enemy with fisticuffs and finishes him off by bashing his head with a plank he finds on the ground.
…In a panic they climb out a window and begin hiding behind various vehicles. Joel has the plank he used earlier strapped to his back and eventually he creeps up behind one of the enemies and strangles him. He then scavenges his bullets utilizing the same exact interface and icons used in Uncharted.“
Most interesting of all, though, is what Naughty Dog reportedly said before showing off the demo:
“…Representatives from Naughty Dog took the stage to explain that the game is their take on the survival action genre. Set 20 years in the future after an outbreak has taken over the US, The Last of Us chronicles a cross-country journey shared by a middle-aged man named Joel and a young girl named Ellie. Naughty Dog stated that their main goal is to parallel the emotions of the player with Joel and Ellie and create a reality that you can invest in so that you believe that they exist. They want you to feel the same tension and survival instincts that they’re experiencing.
Lighting is paramount because there’s no electricity, so more ambient and soft lighting is used to make the environments feel richer. They also added that the music is not typical video game fodder. It does not parallel the action because they want it to foster some sort of emotional impact. They want the characters to feel real as they experience what Naughty Dog calls the balance of power. They explained that the pair will react differently based upon what resources they have and how many enemies they’re facing.“
The survival horror/action genres are heavily dependant on atmosphere and emotion. Anyone who has played a success like Amnesia: The Dark Descent or a failure like Silent Hill: Downpour can attest to that. Naughty Dog certainly seems to be taking that into account, and considering the Uncharted series is one of the industry’s best in those categories, The Last of Us has potential to be another massive hit.