1. GRAND THEFT AUTO FIVE
Let’s not kid ourselves. No matter what other game comes out next year, GTAV is the videogame equivalent of a new Harry Potter novel, or Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner sequel. This is certainly the game I am most looking forward to. I didn’t even leave it till the end of this article for dramatic tension. I thought I would just get it out of the way. From the reportedly gigantic land mass, to the myriad ways of getting around, to the ability to flash-jump between three different protagonists, this game is THE blockbuster of 2013, and why Take-2 Interactive can reassure their shareholders that things will be just fine this recession.
2. BIOSHOCK INFINITE
In recent months, there’ve been worried rumblings about lead designers leaving this project. Everyone thinks it’s in trouble. And while the skyrail-leaping combat seems ambitious as hell, and what we’ve seen of the game appears more than any developer can reasonably chew, here’s the thing: I trust Ken Levine. He’s the magnificent bastard who brought us the first Bioshock, and I can’t imagine a world where he would release something into our hands that wasn’t top notch quality. I am getting this Day 1.
3. TOMB RAIDER (2013)
I am very much looking forward to this reboot. I think it was sorely needed, and the idea of a new, younger Lara who has to become the survivor and future explorer we know she will be one day is compelling as hell. This is like the videogame version of Batman: Year One, with a dark wild open-world island Gotham City. Crystal Dyanmics re-booted Lara once already when they took over from Core Design. I am increasingly positive they can do it again.
4. WATCH DOGS
All we have so far is one elaborately awesome in-game demo video, but the promise of a high-tech near-future GTA with shades of Blade Runner and the ability to hack into all the social media networks we have today, as well as everything else that is controlled electronically puts this game on this list. Right now it seems crazy ambitious. I am deeply frightened this game might try to do too much. It’s supposed to come out in 2013 but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s delayed. It seems like it’s Ubisoft’s fledgling franchise to take over when Assassin’s Creed finally plays itself out. I am full of cautious hope for this.
5. RAINBOW: SIX PATRIOTS
The idea is that you will have to make hard choices in this game. The fear is that it’ll play out like Mass Effect 3 did, with superficial eventualities. Nevertheless, I was addicted to the Rainbow Six Vegas series, and the notion of stepping back into that body armour and clearing national monuments of terrorists fills me with joy. Ubisoft is trying really hard to inject their games with Hollywood script intensity, to make you care, but ultimately it’ll be the gameplay that will determine how much I care.
6. A REASON TO BUY A VITA
Admittedly, this isn’t a game. Rather, it’s a series of games I’m looking for. Here’s the thing. I want to buy a Vita, but I really need there to be more, and better, games for it before I bite the bullet. Right now I’d only get Gravity Daze, Unit13, the new Need For Speed, and maybe Assassin’s Creed. I’m hoping another year will deploy more games for it, but we’ll see.
7. CRYSIS 3
While the original story has, like a convoluted thriller, left me behind, the gameplay hasn’t. More hours of stealth and strength in the nano-suit, alongside the whisper-quiet compound bow and the possibility of approaching the refurbished and reconditioned streets of Manhattan like a futuristic hunter is tickling my Predator bone.
8. BEYOND: 2 SOULS
More cutscene than game, my worry for Beyond is that the gameplay won’t hold up to the narrative, what with Ellen Page in the starring role. Nevertheless, what we’ve seen so far brings back memories of the first time I saw Firestarter with Drew Barrymore. An improbable hero with a secret, hideous power, and what seems like the whole world out to kill her. I need to see what happens.
9. SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST
Though they gently bid Michael Ironside into that good night for this iteration, I have faith in Jade Raymond’s new studio. I liked the direction Conviction went in. Ubisoft is trying to reboot Sam Fisher, and while his evolution hasn’t been uneventful, his trajectory is, in my estimation, a honing of what makes Splinter Cell Splinter Cell.
10. THE LAST OF US
This is Naughty Dog doing more of what they do best on a console they have mastered with storytelling chops they have perfected over three amazing Uncharted games. They are on this list by default.
Sometimes I get a little depressed. But then I look at this list, and see all the things coming down the calendar towards me, and then I feel better.
Sherwin Sullivan Tjia is the author of five books: Gentle Fictions, Pedigree Girls (Insomniac Press), The World is a Heartbreaker (Coach House Books), The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press). His latest is a choose-your-own-adventure story told from the perspective of a cat. It’s called You Are a Cat! (Conundrum Press). His most recent invention, the E-Z-Purr, is a CD with over an hour of cats purring! and is available for purchase from CD Baby.