The Gears of War franchise is pretty much the reason I own an Xbox. I purchased my original Xbox (I’m on my 5th now, thanks RROD) so I could play GoW multiplayer online with my friends. It was like nothing I had seen before and I spent many late nights battling my friends until all hours. We’ve seen two sequels, but none never really felt as potent or game changing as the first. Well now there’s another, this time a prequel, made by People Can Fly the makers of Bulletstorm. It’s called Gears of War: Judgment and it takes place during the early days of the Locust invasion, well before the events of the first three games. It’s also the first game in the series not developed by Epic, handing it off to People Can Fly after seeing their aptitude with the Unreal engine. This may be the last hurrah for the franchise as the next console generation approaches.
Like I said above I always felt that the first GoW was the best, not because it was really better than the others but because it was so fresh and unlike anything before it. I do feel that the sequels were solid titles, but by the time the third one rolled around it had all become well worn territory. If Epic was developing Judgment then I might say that it looks like we’re all about to witness the beating of a dead horse, but it’s being developed by the people who made Bulletstorm which, even though it didn’t break any records, was a pretty awesome and novel combo-based third person shooter. So while there may be some familiar faces and themes, People Can Fly may be able to revitalize the aging franchise with their knack for fun and engaging gameplay.
Since there’s only about two weeks left in the year it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see those end of the year top ten lists. It’s the time of year when everyone gets to have their say on what they thought were the best or most important games of the year. But I happen to think that this year was more important for the business of gaming and less about any one individual game. Well Gamasutra has a list of the year’s important developers which to me is more important and telling about the changes in the industry this year than another list of favorite games. Just looking at the list shows some of this year’s changes; there are a lot of companies on there that wouldn’t have been just a year ago.
It seems that no matter what device or medium Minecraft is sold on people are willing to buy it. Joystiq is reporting that Minecraft’s pocket edition of the game has sold 5 million units. This brings the overall units sold for the franchise to 17.5 Million which is pretty much ridiculous. Are people buying multiple copies for themselves? Are there people who can’t stand being away from Minecraft when they’re not home so they also buy the mobile version? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills, I knew it was popular but I didn’t think it was this popular. I’m happy to see that game based in creation is if anything more popular than most games in which the theme is destruction.
I still haven’t purchased Far Cry 3 yet as I’m still holding out for some sort of ridiculous Steam sale, but man is it getting harder and harder to keep from opening my wallet after watching videos like this. Not only does the game look great, but it seems as if there’s an almost endless amount of stuff to play with in this tropical sandbox. I’m personally terrified of sharks, so the idea of being able to face my fear and eradicate digital sharks in various ways is appealing to someone like me.
If you’ve paid attention to the news today you know that there was another horrible and tragic school shooting here in the US, this time in an elementary school in Connecticut. This really isn’t the place for details, but it is the place to point out that once again video games are on the minds of some as a potential cause even without all of the facts in. Kotaku has a clip from Fox News (who else?) which goes on to also possibly blame reality TV and Facebook as potential causes for violence such as this. I’m no expert but isn’t it a little presumptuous to start looking for a scapegoat before knowing anything about the facts of what happened? I think we can all agree to hug are loved ones a little tighter tonight and remember just how lucky some of us are.