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The Biggest Sequels of 2012
With the likes of Skyrim, Uncharted 3, and Batman: Arkham City, it’s hard to deny that 2011 was a standout year in gaming from beginning to end.
2012 has been off to a bit of a rocky start in comparison, with Mass Effect 3 being the biggest release so far. Optimistic about the future, analysts point to the forthcoming sequels of major franchises to really move game sales this year. Here’s a look at some of the biggest sequels of 2012, and how they intend to build on their beloved franchises:
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Set twenty years after the events of Diablo, this third installment of the wildly popular loot hunter MMO seeks to complete the story of the original title. In an effort to create more memorable characters, the developers at Blizzard have announced that much of the story will be based around Deckard Cain and the Angel Tyrael, and it is rumored that we will see the return of the demon Diablo.
The game will feature a new art style, and although the story of the original Diablo will see its completion in III, developers say that the series will continue on in the future, building on other story lines within the Diablo universe.
Blizzard Entertainment has also confirmed that it has an interest in bringing Diablo III to consoles, but there is no timetable for release on these platforms as of yet.
Of course, Diablo III will be available for PC May 15, 2012.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Originally released as a PC exclusive in 2011, The Witcher 2 will see its debut on consoles via the XBox 360 on April 17.
The critically acclaimed game, based on the writing of Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski, promises to deliver an even more enhanced version of the PC game on the 360, with additional difficulty and gameplay modes, new story adventures, enhanced mechanics, and new locations.
PC users will also receive all the extra goodness of the XBox version via an enhanced edition patch.
Developer: Radical Entertainment
The sequel to the 2009 title Prototype, Prototype 2 will build upon the story of Alex Mercer and the Blacklight virus. Players will take control of James Heller, a military officer on a mission of revenge after losing his family in a deadly viral outbreak. After becoming infected with the virus himself, Heller gains abilities similar to those of the first game, allowing him to morph his limbs into weapons and tools to help him hunt down Mercer and make him pay for the deaths of James’ wife and daughter. Along with the return of the crazy tendrils, claws, and arm blades, gamers will be able to explore more rich and destructible environments, and use new abilities and upgrades while battling a host of old and new enemies within the confines of disaster-ridden New York Zero.
The game is set to be released on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 April 24.
Max Payne 3
The tormented NYC detective Max Payne is back in all his painkiller-crunching, Bullet Time glory.
Building on the events of the previous installments in the series, Max Payne 3 finds our protagonist fleeing New York City and forging a new life as a bodyguard for wealthy businessman Rodrigo Branco in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After a vicious street gang abducts Branco’s wife, it’s up to Max to find her and take the bad guys out in a gritty, action-packed game that Rockstar promises will provide a revolutionary take at the third-person shooter.
In-game action becomes even more sophisticated with AI that calls for backup, takes cover, and responds accordingly to where you shoot them. Add to that an enhanced cover system, seamless cinematics, and more improved mechanics for the game’s iconic Bullet Time shootout choreography, and Max Payne 3 is set to be an explosive title releasing for the XBox 360, PS3, and PC on May 15.
Resident Evil 6
The sixth major sequel to the classic survival horror game Resident Evil, RE6 focuses heavily on themes of biological warfare and is posturing to be the most epic installment in the series yet.
Featuring three main story branches, following the series’ famous protagonists Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy, and newcomer Jake Mueller, RE6 will take players around the world as they fight to contain the disastrous effects of biological warfare and the infected enemies who plague the earth. Each story line focuses on its individual hero in their struggle, and Capcom has decided to appeal to action and horror fans alike by maintaining the action/adventure style gameplay of the best-selling RE5 and mixing it with the dark, atmospheric conventions that have made the series a standout in the survival horror genre. The game will be released on all major platforms, with the possibility of a future release on the upcoming Wii U. Mark your calendars for Resident Evil 6’s release on October 2.
Assassin’s Creed III
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Building on the universe of Assassin’s Creed, the third major installment in the franchise will depart from previous characters Altair Ibn-La’Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze and introduce Connor Kenway, a tomahawk-toting half-Native American, half-European Assassin living in the Northern Colonies of 18th Century America. Set during the Revolutionary War, players can expect a similar platforming experience to the previous games, with Renaissance-era buildings traded for colonial cities and the heavily wooded terrain of the American frontier. The development team also promises enhanced combat, an active role in the events of the Revolutionary War, and more to the story of Desmond Miles and his interactions with the memories of his ancestors via the Animus.
Like its predecessors, expect AC III to be well researched with a heavy focus on key figures from American history. Assassin’s Creed III will be released on all major platforms, including the Wii U. Look for it October 30.
Developer: 343 Industries
Coming eleven years after the original hit Xbox exclusive Halo: Combat Evolved, the Halo franchise has now been passed from its creators at Bungie Studios to Microsoft’s internal Development team 343 Industries, who seeks to provide gamers with a fresh new look at the Halo saga. The first installment in a new trilogy dubbed Reclaimer, not much information has been released about the plot of Halo 4. We can expect, however, to see the return of the likes of Master Chief, Cortana, and the Covenant. As with the original series, competitive multiplayer will be a big focus within the game, with innovative multiplayer modes and new maps, although it has surprisingly been announced that there will be no public multiplayer beta before the game’s holiday 2012 release.
Developer: Gearbox Software
The successor the edgy shoot-em-up, loot hunter style gameplay of the first Borderlands, Borderlands 2 promises to deliver even more high-octane action to the first person shooter genre. Featuring new skill trees, new character classes, split-screen multiplayer, a litany of powerful new weapons, and enough loot to make any fan salivate, 2 will look to take down new antagonist Handsome Jack in this highly-anticipated return to Pandora. The game is presented in the same stunning, comic-style visuals that made the first Borderlands so unique, and will hit shelves on September 18.
Far Cry 3
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Far Cry 3, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, is a twisted first-person shooter that puts players in control of protagonist Jason Brody. After discovering an uncharted island while traveling with friends, Jason is taken captive and stranded on the morally defunct paradise made up entirely of brutal pirates and deranged, violent men. Players will structure the game’s story with each battle they fight and the friends and enemies they make in this wicked tale of survival. Far Cry 3 will be released on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 September 4.
Developer: Vigil Games
Taking place at the same time as the original 2010 sleeper hit Darksiders, Darksiders II introduces us to Apocalypse Horseman Death, who seeks to redeem his wrongly-accused brother War. Darksiders II is looking to build on the foundations that made the original game tick, including environmental puzzles and epic combat, now expanding to feature a larger world, well-developed NPCs, weapons and armor upgrades, challenging dungeons, and a diverse loot system. Darksiders II is expected to release on all major platforms June 26, and is rumored to be a Wii U launch title.