The Year Ahead: Xbox 360 Gaming in 2008

By Nick Breckon, Dec 14, 2007 3:00am PST 2007 may have been a banner year for the industry, but due to fierce holiday competition, many games were pushed back into the slower calendar months by nervous publishers. Because of this, on top of the already-planned '08 releases, next year is looking to be nearly as strong.

And while PC gaming may not be dead, console gaming shows no sign of letting up. Here's a look at the Xbox 360 releases for the next 12 months, a host of sequels and remakes and original titles. Check them all out and mark your gaming calendars.

Grand Theft Auto IV
Rockstar North
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Spring

GTA fans will be back on the streets this year, cruising through a redesigned version of Liberty City as Niko, an Eastern European immigrant on the rise. A robust combat system, a more involved car-theft mechanic, and some kind of 16-player multiplayer mode are but a sampling of the new features Rockstar is hammering out.
(Impressions, Screenshots)

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Lost Odyssey
Mistwalker
Xbox 360
February

With Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu on board, Lost Odyssey should be a familiar romp for old school RPGers. Random battles, a sweeping storyline, and 40-50 hours of gameplay--spread over four hefty dual layer DVDs--mark this Mistwalker effort.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Tom Clancy's EndWar
Ubisoft Shanghai
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, NDS
Spring

This modern-day RTS is set during a non-nuclear World War III, and will incorporate characters from other Tom Clancy titles, such as Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and Rainbow Six. EndWar also boasts a massively multiplayer mode, with players choosing a faction and fighting for dominance in isolated skirmishes across a global map.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Silent Hill V
The Collective
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
TBA

The fifth entry to Konami's venerable survival horror series, and the first to be developed outside of Japan. Early screenshots depict visual elements taken from the recent Silent Hill film, though the story will cover new ground, apparently following a soldier looking for his lost brother. Given the weapon-trained protagonist, and Resident Evil 4's success, expect a better combat system.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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 be splitting off from his squad in this one, going solo during Gears of War-styled sequences.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Brutal Legend
Double Fine Productions
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
TBA

Adventure gaming god Tim Schafer is turning to the dark side with a hellish take on third person action. Jack Black alter ego Eddie Riggs will serve as the game's axe-wielding lead, a roadie thrust into a world where humanity has been enslaved by monstrous metal-themed demons.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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Ninja Gaiden 2
Team Ninja
Xbox 360
Spring

Lead designer Tomonobu Itagaki has somehow managed to jam even more gruesome gore into the sequel to Team Ninja's third person action title. New weapons, flashier environments, and sickeningly hilarious special moves should make this a "Brutally Fun" ride.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Battlefield: Bad Company
Digital Illusions CE (DICE)
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
February

The first Battlefield title to be specifically designed for consoles, as well as the first to include a major singleplayer component. Expect destructible environments, a crazy Three Kings-esque plot, and a 24-player multiplayer mode.
(Screenshots)

Army of Two
EA Montreal
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Spring

Designed as the ultimate co-op shooter, Army of Two is less of a realistic combat simulation, and more of a straight shoot-em-up video game--which isn't a bad thing. The online multiplayer mode pits a pair of armies (of two) against eachother, competing in various challenges on the same map. Co-op maneuvers such as back-to-back shooting and air-guitar emotes spice up the action.
(Hands-on Preview, Interview, Screenshots)

Unreal Tournament 3
Epic Games
Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3
TBA

Epic's latest multiplayer FPS didn't make the biggest splash on its traditional platform, but the console versions are looking solid, and could be more attractive to a crowd without a wide selection of dedicated online FPS titles.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution
Firaxis
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, NDS
Spring

Streamlined--but not overly-simplified--Civilization, played from your couch. Online play and content downloads. The first Civ game since number two that Meier himself has been a major contributor on. What's not to be excited about?
(Preview, Screenshots)

Condemned 2
Monolith Prodctions
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Spring

Cop protagonist Ethan Thomas is back, but given the horror he had to endure in the original first person, skull-crushing extravaganza, he's been reduced to a burned-out bum-killing bum. As a result, alcoholic hallucinations and strange visions will factor into the gameplay now. Multiplayer deathmatch and hobo-fighting to be included.
(Preview, Screenshots)

World in Conflict
Massive Entertainment
Xbox 360
February

This small-scale, team-based online RTS hit the PC earlier this year, but the 360 version was delayed into next. Somewhat overshadowed by the hectic release schedule, Massive's unique blend of tactical combat and large-scale nuclear exchange should make for some nice, quick console play.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

Halo Wars
Ensemble Studios, Bungie Studios
Xbox 360
Spring

Taking place during the UNSC's first skirmishes with the Covenant, Halo Wars will allow players to command entire squadrons of Spartans and Warthogs. Not the first RTS from Age of Empires developer Ensemble, the game will be designed for consoles from the ground up, leveraging controller schemes for precise battle orders.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
LucasArts, Krome Studios
Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, DS
Summer

Players will assume the role of Darth Vader's apprentice post-Sith, hunting down the remaining Force-users throughout the galaxy. The big draw here will be realistic physics, enabling Jedi assholes everywhere to Force-push their enemies into a realistically-dentable metal door.

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Culdcept Saga
OmiyaSoft
Xbox 360
February

Culdcept Saga is a lot like Monopoly, but rather than claiming spaces on a board with hotels and houses, players defend their territory with monsters summoned from decks of cards. Customizable avatars and online multiplayer round out the feature list.
(Screenshots)

Fable 2
Lionhead Studios
Xbox 360
TBA

Peter Molyneux is hoping to deliver on a few more of his high-concept promises this time around. New features for the fantasy series include a dynamic world that evolves over time, a familial system complete with pregnant female player characters, and a dog companion with advanced AI.
(Preview, Screenshots)

Quake Arena Arcade
Pi Studios, id Software
Xbox 360
TBA

Fans of classic Quake FPS combat should be looking forward to this version, set for release as an Xbox Live Arcade title. Reportedly based on Quake III Arena, the game is being developed by Pi Studios, contributor to the Call of Duty series.
(QuakeCon coverage)

Too Human
Silicon Knights
Xbox 360
Summer

Following a lengthy period of development, and a recent lawsuit debacle, Silicon Knights should finally be getting Too Human to stores this year. A third person action-adventure title, the game promises a mix of RPG elements to go along with a deep storyline. Online cooperative play for up to four players also made the billing.
(Interview, Screenshots)

Soul Calibur IV
Project Soul
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Spring

Improved character creation, detailed stages, online play at 60 fps, and less ring-outs could make this the best entry to Namco's fighting series yet. Apparently, the leather straps on Ivy's thighs make real-time indentations into her skin as she fights, so you know it will be good.
(Announcement, Screenshots)

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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)

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, Screenshots)

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)

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)

Burnout Paradise
Criterion Games
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
January

Said to be a total reinvention of the series, Paradise will be set in a seamless open-world, with no lobbies or loading times. Impromptu drag races are instigated by simply pulling up to a traffic light, and a crash mode is initiated with a pull of both triggers during a wipe-out.
(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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Dark Sector
Digital Extremes
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
February

This third-person shooter was originally a high-concept sci-fi adventure. Though it's been scaled back a bit since, Shacknews' Chris Remo recently gave it a favorable preview, which you can check out below.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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)

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
Spring

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)

Turok
Propaganda Games
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
February

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)

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)

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

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 hard-hitting combat and giant bosses is set to land on multiple platforms.
(Preview, Screenshots)

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Last Year's Releases
Europe, Australia
TBA

Rock Band? What's that, ay?

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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