The Year Ahead: PC Gaming in 2008

By Nick Breckon, Dec 10, 2007 9:26pm PST With this year's gaming harvest already played and beaten and filed away into memory like so many saves, it is time now to look on.

Past the bulbous shores of 2007, far off in the distant recesses of release schedules, lies the gone-golden bounty of untapped potential. And while many may slip their surly bonds and give flight to the year 2009, more still will cement their crusted plastic into delighted hands. Here we mark the prophecy of the PC legacy, a concrete, yet tumultuous hour of reckoning for this still-great platform.

Fallout 3
Bethesda Softworks
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Fall

Will it be the Phantom Menace that taints the franchise, or the Empire Strikes Back that only enhances it? Either way, Fallout fans will be on the edge of their seats for Bethesda's effort to create a new post-apocalyptic experience using a first person perspective.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
Ubisoft Montreal
PC, Xbox 360
Spring

Sam Fisher takes to the streets in the fifth Splinter Cell installment, using crowds for cover rather than the traditional shadows. Realistic physics and environmental interaction being all the rage these days, Conviction should be no slouch when it comes to technical effects.
(Announcement)

Empire: Total War
Creative Assembly
PC
TBA

The Rome: Total War developers at Creative Assembly's UK branch are handling this Napoleonic entry, set to cover the period between the early 18th and 19th centuries. Europe, North Africa, America, India and South East Asia will serve as the stage for the game's 50+ factions. Real-time ship combat will be implemented for the first time in the series. Hold fast.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Alan Wake
Remedy Entertainment
Windows Vista, Xbox 360
TBA

From the guys that brought us Max Payne comes this similarly-titled action thriller set in an open-world town. Alan Wake, bestselling horror novelist, will surely be uncovering some mystery with the help of a gun. Remedy is promising a graphical feast, but requiring Windows Vista on the PC.
(Announcement)

StarCraft 2
Blizzard Entertainment
PC
TBA

Sure, it's possible that StarCraft 2 might not show in 2008, but here's to wishful guesstimation. Blizzard looks to further improve on its genre-defining series with 3D graphics and an expanded singleplayer campaign, including in-engine, dialogue tree-driven cutscenes. I'm all over it.
(Interview, Preview, Screenshots)

Devil May Cry 4
Capcom
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Winter

This beat-em-up series may have a new poster boy, but it's still as over-the-top as ever. Capcom's combination of giant bosses and hard-hitting combat is set to land on multiple platforms.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Pandemic Studios
PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Spring

Fully destructible environments and realistic flame simulations should make for deliciously vicious additions to Pandemic's game of wanton razing. Jump into new vehicles such as planes, helicopters, and boats while invading the open-world country of Venezuela.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
Gearbox Software
PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, Nintendo DS
Fall

First person World War II squad tactics--now with mobile machinegun turrets, rocket launchers, vastly improved presentation, and a new cover system. Baker will now split off from his squad, going solo during Gears of War-styled sequences.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Alone in the Dark
Eden Games, Hydravision
PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
Winter

Follow Edward Carnby, the protagonist of the original Alone in the Dark title, into the nightmare that is Central Park. The survival horror game will be structured like a television series, containing several "episodes" comprising 30-40 minutes of gameplay each. Hopefully its writers aren't in the WGA.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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Left 4 Dead
Turtle Rock Studios, Valve Software
PC, Xbox 360
Spring

Zombies and humans battle it out online, four on four, in Turtle Rock and Valve's take on survival horror. Human players attempt to escape lengthy scenarios without being annihilated by their infected adversaries, with AI bots filling in for missing players.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Borderlands
Gearbox Software
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Fall

Inspired by Mad Max and Diablo, this first person science-fiction post-apocalyptic shooter with RPG elements is set to offer a mouthful of concepts. Fully randomized weapon arsenals and four player co-op stand out on the feature list so far.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Huxley
Webzen Games
PC, Xbox 360
TBA

An ambitious FPS MMO in development by South Korean studio Webzen, Huxley could fulfill the hopes of many for a new perpetual online shooter. Unlike PlanetSide, Huxley will focus on providing fast-paced battles with up to 120 combatants, drawn from servers of over 10,000.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Ghostbusters
Terminal Reality, Red Fly Studio
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Fall

With Dan Akyroyd and Harold Ramis on board to write, plus Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson joining the party for voice work, this film sequel-in-a-game has a lot of potential. Not much is known about the overarching structure, but you do get to bust ghosts--confirmed.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Ubisoft
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Winter

A full co-op mode and enhanced teammate AI headline this sequel to the popular tactical shooter. Expect some new "interaction" between the solo and multiplayer modes, in addition to enhanced terrorists.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
GSC Game World
PC, Xbox 360
TBA

A prequel to this year's ambitious but flawed S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Clear Sky promises to refine the systems of its predecessor and deliver brand new dessicated lands to S.T.A.L.K.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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Spore
Maxis
PC
Spring

Help your alien lifeform evolve from the vulnerable cellular stage to spacecraft-wielding omnipotence, all in an afternoon. Will Wright will more than likely make you his willing bitch with this one.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Sins of a Solar Empire
Ironclad
PC
Winter

Representing a mix of RTS fleet tactics and 4X strategy, Ironclad and Stardock's planet-conquering simulation is a throwback to another era. Sci-fi strategy fans, be on the lookout for a rare addition to the genre.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Turok
Propaganda Games
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Winter

The dinosaur hunter returns, sans cerebral bore--but with online multiplayer, stealth-based throat cutting, and the Unreal 3 Engine instead. Bow and arrow included. RAM expansion pack not required.
(Interview, Preview, Screenshots)

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Age of Conan
Funcom
PC, Xbox 360
Spring

Promising an innovative combat system, Funcom's Conan MMO hopes to spice up perpetual war enough to pull you away from your perpetual Warcraft binge. Player-created cities and DirectX 10 graphics sweeten the pot.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Warhammer Online
EA Mythic
PC
Summer

Another hopeful in the race to true Warcraft competitiveness, EA Mythic is banking on wide-scale player vs. player warfare to interest persistent RPG fans yearning for something that feels new. Will they pull it off?
(Interview, Screenshots)

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
Blizzard Entertainment
PC
TBA

The lifeblood of PC gaming, World of Warcraft players should be receiving their yearly transfusions in short order. This expansion covers the continent of Northrend, increasing the level cap to 80 to allow for a direct assault on the Lich King's home. Also: Death Knights, and more cute hair styles.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Far Cry 2
Ubisoft Montreal
PC
Spring

Ignoring the company's own Far Cry Instincts console spinoffs, Ubisoft is giving acclaimed Splinter Cell series designer Clint Hocking free rein to make an open-ended PC game that builds on Crytek's original effort.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Rage
id Software
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
TBA
Okay, so we don't actually know when id's post-apocalyptic and mutant-filled open-world shooter will arrive. That said, we can always keep the hope alive, right?
(Interview, Screenshots)

Duke Nukem Forever
3D Realms
PC, ?
TBA
Always bet on Duke?
(Interview, Screenshots)

Think I've missed something or that some game doesn't deserve the attention? Let me know in the comments section.

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Comments


  • My list of must haves for 2008:

    The Witcher (missed this one in 2007)
    Stalker Clear Sky
    Arma 2
    Spore
    Fallout 3
    Far Cry 2
    Duke Nukem (if it's for real)

    Possibles:
    Alan Wake (Am I even going to have Vista?)
    Mercenaries 2(Depends on how this one turns out. Not a PC exclusive? Seems this kind of game would be hobbled on consoles)
    Left4Dead (Hmmm . . .)
    Jagged Alliance 3 (I LOVED JA2, it was always a budget game that struck gold, so this one has a good chance)

    Hmmm. $550 dollars on games in the worst case. Seems a little excessive, must pare back.