If there’s one thing that gamers love to whine about, it’s a perceived overabundance of sequels. Now, there are undoubtedly many hundreds of other things people whine about, but that’s beside the point: what I’m saying is, sequels are a part of any mature artistic medium’s life, and the sooner we embrace them, the better. Ever hear people whining when a new intellectual property flops? Hardly. But when an established franchise has an interactive miscarriage, everyone gets up in arms. “Damn those creatively bankrupt sequels! Always poisoning our industry!”
There probably is a valid point somewhere within all the squawks and squeals, but at the current moment sequels excite me more than anything else. It’s the dawn of a new console generation, after all, and few things are more thrilling than imagining your favorite characters and worlds coming to life with the raw, gleaming power of something like the PlayStation 4 at their backs. Our last-gen minds probably aren’t even capable of fathoming the game that will inevitably be Grand Theft Auto VI. How do we solve this? Well, we start speculating, that’s how.
Across Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s next-gen consoles, there are dozens of sequels that will likely be made (some already have been on Wii U), and the possibilities for what they may bring to the table are effectively endless. Here are 5 future sequels that have the potential to be incredibly awesome, incredibly beautiful, incredibly massive, or incredibly all of the above.
For the confused: many of these have not actually been announced (yet!)Next
Let’s start with the most likely, shall we? It’s not so much that Uncharted as a franchise is any more prone to the next-gen sequel treatment than anything else, but rather that it’s already been teased. Less than a week ago, Naughty Dog put out this teaser at a PlayStation 4 All Access event which sent the crowd and collective Drake fans ‘round the globe into stark contemplation and expectancy.
Now, I’m not necessarily the biggest Uncharted diehard out there, but I am in the loop enough to know for certain that it isn’t Nathan Drake speaking in those choleric, vengeful tones. Nor is it his partner and all-around awesome dude Victor Sullivan. So what gives?
Well, there are a number of possibilities. The speaker (confirmed by Naughty Dog to be voice actor Todd Stashwick) could definitely be the game’s antagonist, or someone out to get a return favor from Drake for whatever reason. Perhaps they were old plundering buddies back in their younger days? The teaser does seem to have somewhat of a pirate theme going for it, after all and I do think the presence of Drake in some form, and most likely as a main character, is a fair assumption. He IS Uncharted – it’s hard to imagine the series continuing without him.
As for what next-gen can bring to the Uncharted series on the whole, well – let’s just say that the potential for bigger and better set pieces than ever before is downright staggering to think about. Beyond that, Uncharted 3 is still a gorgeous game on the PlayStation 3 despite its 2011 release date, and its edge-of-your-seat moments are some of the most suspenseful in the medium.
If Naughty Dog ups the ante even just a little bit (which I’m sure they will, probably twofold), the next Uncharted game could bring us closer than ever before to interactive Hollywood.Previous Next
I’m no Microsoft hound, but I’d be lying if I said the Halo teaser from E3 2013 didn’t look completely and utterly awesome. Of course, it’s a teaser in the truest sense – no gameplay footage, no details, no name, and no specific release date. It does confirm it will reach the Xbox One by 2014, which could very well be a year or so sooner than Uncharted’s next entry eventually arrives – a definite competitive edge. Given that Halo is the only Microsoft IP I (and presumably many others) truly feel attached to, that’s probably a good thing.
So what exactly would next-gen mean for the Halo series? It’s difficult to say. Halo relinquished its title as gaming’s blockbuster multiplayer title to Call of Duty years ago, and though the series has arguably gone in a more artistic and story-driven direction, multiplayer will almost certainly remain a huge part of what Halo is about. To be honest, I picture next-gen Halo multiplayer looking a whole lot like Destiny.
Personally, I’d like to see the next Halo continue on the track thay Halo 4 set in motion, with a heavy focus on a lush worlds and stellar art design. It’s no secret that 343 Industries managed to pilfer a handful of ex-Retro Studios members to help bring Halo 4 to life (along with ex-staff from other places too – they are essentially a gaming supergroup), and given the shift of focus to Call of Duty as the “it” multiplayer game in mainstream collective consciousness, Halo 5 could be the perfect opportunity to capitalize on what Halo 4 did, advance people’s attachment to Master Chief as a character, and flesh out the series’ universe on the whole.
The team at 343 means serious business, so I’m sure whatever they come up with will be stellar. Similar to Uncharted, Halo may be a game that brings those Hollywood-style thrills to the living room more so than current consoles have ever really allowed.Previous Next
My god is Rayman cool. Seriously – the opening scene of Rayman Origins where Rayman, Globox, and the gang are chillin’ to the max in the woods up against a hollow tree, tossing back snacks to the fresh forest beats of Rayman’s dense and wacked-out world is one of the most charmingly hip intro scenes around. Of course, the disruption of this moment by demented undead grandmas is hilarious icing on the cake, but you can go play the game for yourself if you really want to relive the memories.
Legends was a stellar followup, but I can’t help wonder what next-gen could do for the creatively abundant minds over at Ubisoft Montpellier. The UbiArt framework is awesome enough as it is, but I’ve no doubt that Michael Ancel and his convivial battalion have dozens upon dozens of ideas that they could toss into a next-gen Rayman that wouldn’t have been possible this time around.
Where to start – one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is the ability to have an obscene number of enemies onscreen at once. How cool would it be to see Rayman and Globox riding a literal, massive wave of enemy monsters, bonking as many of them over the head as possible, all while clawing their way above the waves to snatch at a supercharged jetstream of Lums, blasting overhead just out of reach? If you haven’t played Rayman then I probably sound certifiably insane right now: just know that what I’ve just described would be incredibly frantic and overwhelmingly awesome.
Beyond that… what about revamping Rayman’s look entirely? We haven’t seen polygonal Rayman since Hoodlum Havoc, and putting that visual style on hiatus for a while was definitely the right decision. But with the power of next-gen consoles? Well, Rayman Legends did get this awesome CGI trailer back in June – check it out below.
It may be a stretch, but what if Ubisoft went for a playable Rayman experience that looked and felt like the beauteous, Pixar-like world shown above? Seeing Barbara take down massive throngs of enemies with such ease in glorious CGI is captivating enough as a passive viewer, but actually playing an interactive equivalent? Now that would be truly next generation.
I kind of doubt reaching the above fidelity is currently possible, but there is an upside. It’s been said by many (Microsoft and Sony, namely) that the newest machines will receive a cloud-powered boost sometime in their lives, the results of which will be quite substantial. Could something like Project FLARE propel Rayman and other titles into the realm of Pixar-quality CGI? Only time will tell, but I sure hope so.Previous Next
What I’d want from a new Metroid Prime is essentially what I’m hoping I’ll get from the next Halo, but there’s only one problem: we have little to no confirmation or even indication that a new Prime is coming. Higherups at Retro have dropped slight hints that a new Metroid could be what the studio works on after Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, but no promises have been made and no teasers, concept art, or even intentional planned leak of internal company memos have been committed. Drat.
Either way, one can never let go of hope, and despite the borderline embarrassing Other M, I’m still a believer in Nintendo’s long-term commitment to its core franchises. Even if they do sometimes require hiatus after a misstep or a particularly mediocre reaction from critics.
So what would Metroid Prime have to do to wow us in 2013? Well, more like 2015 or 2016, assuming development has yet to begin. Firstly, the game would absolutely have to deliver in terms of visual fidelity. Though we’ve yet to see the Wii U demonstrate exceptional visuals in a game with a more realistic slant, it’s important to remember the thing that always made Metroid Prime so optically striking in the first place: its beyond-stellar art direction. Sure, the original Prime on the GameCube had lots of polygons and a plethora of bloom lighting, but that’s not why it still looks great today while Halo: Combat Evolved looks like it was made with the Super FX.
Of course, there was a time when we all thought Other M would actually be cool, and if you check out some of the pre-rendered segments from the above trailer and the game itself it’s not hard to see why. Though Wii U is not the most powerful of next-gen platforms, the wizardry Retro was able to pull off with Prime 3 on the 480p original Wii suggests that they could have a serious field day with Nintendo’s newest game-playing box, given enough time and resources.
There are dozens of other cool things a next-gen Metroid Prime could take advantage of, such as mapping the Scan Visor to the GamePad or expanding the game’s cleverly disguised linearity to a more open-world format, but maybe it’s best we don’t get too ahead of ourselves. We haven’t heard much out of Retro since Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze’s unexpected delay, so maybe they’re up to something? Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being wishful.Previous Next
Boy oh boy. Of all my next-gen fantasies, the thought of a new Red Dead game might just be the most exciting of them all. Why is that, exactly? Well, consider this – Rockstar is fresh off the success of Grand Theft Auto V, a game that — for all intents and purposes — could likely pass for a next-gen experience if you just polished up the visuals a bit. The fact that Rockstar North was able to accomplish a game of such massive scope and scale on current generation hardware is borderline mind-boggling, and everybody pretty much knows it. Gamers do, Hideo Kojima does – everyone does.
Red Dead Redemption was an enormously fun and impressive game in its own right, and it ultimately begs the question: What will Rockstar be able to accomplish with next-gen hardware? Given what they’ve already done on PS3 and Xbox 360, the possibilities seem pretty limitless.
To me, a new Red Dead game would take full advantage of an online mode ala Grand Theft Auto V. Though I’ve heard great things about GTA Online, there’s something about an MMO-like version of a Western that really speaks to me – the potential for unprecedented online immersion is stupidly high. The enormity of GTA V’s world is impressive, but translating scope of that size or bigger to Red Dead’s wild and uncharted game-space stands to lend much more to exploration and general openness than GTA ever really will. Of course, that’s probably the whole point.
Outside of online, there’s plenty else that could be worked into a next-gen Red Dead experience. Redemption was pretty, but how about some Metal Gear Solid V-caliber (or better) visuals across every cactus, pebble, and grain of sand, in a massive occidental world? Previously unavailable horsepower could now be put towards extending the horizon, or even making things like gunfights with dozens upon dozens of cowboys or indians a reality. Loading times will likely be a thing of the past (not that they were too terrible anyways), and perhaps if we’re lucky it will be one of the first open world games to not look visually outdated just a few short years after its release.
Whether the game brings back John Marston or introduces a new story entirely, there’s no doubt that new hardware will be taken advantage of in typical Rockstar fashion. I’m just glad to know that the game is on their radar - now it may just be a matter of waiting for an official announcement.
So there you have it. Though we don’t know every secret the eighth console generation will undoubtedly house throughout its unknown and likely labyrinthine future, one things is certain: the industry is as alive as its ever been. In terms of the quality and quantity of great games to come, things have rarely if ever looked better. And with that, there’s really only one thing left to say: bring it on.Previous