The next generation is soon upon us. Ramping up engines, tools, and a team of artists and programmers to put together the future of interactive entertainment isn’t a trivial undertaking, and as expensive and time consuming as it is, the payoff early on may not even reach the break-even point. Out there is a market of over 140 million players still hammering away on their current generation machines, and it’s a small wonder that developers are still actively pursuing their spending money. When the next generation starts, the old generation doesn’t immediately fade away.
That’s why many of the games you’re seeing for the first half of the year and early fall are probably destined for release across both generations. Oftentimes, assets are built with highend specs in mind, and scaled down to meet the constraints of the PS3 and 360. Developers can create their next-gen games and still sell them to a large audience, those without the funds for a new platform can enjoy some awesome triple-A titles this year, and folks with more than your average hardware budget can get a taste of the next echelon of fidelity on their PCs.
But for early adopters of gaming technology, you might want to hold off on buying some of the games on this list.
This is a no-brainer. While Crytek has done some amazing things optimizing their PC-quality titles for use on aging transistors, there’s little doubt that their next entry in the Crysis series was built with next-gen in mind. In fact, it’s rather difficult to find screenshots and footage on the console versions of the game, because Crytek hasn’t released a lot of it. They find the best way to market the game is to show the high-fidelity version, and can you really blame them? Those without $800 to spend on a kick-ass PC should be able to grab this title in all its cutting-edge glory when the next PlayStation and Xbox land on store shelves later this year.
Remember Me is a story-driven action game being made by Capcom, where you take control of a woman with a gift (and the futuristic tools) to modify people’s memories. This game was first shown off at E3 last year, and showcased some stunning footage of the heroine climbing walls and leaping buildings Assassin’s Creed style, in a sci-fi city right out of Minority Report. From what we’ve seen, you track down specific targets, and take them out by manipulating their perception and causing them to kill themselves. It’s a unique and interesting new IP, and while it’s currently scheduled for May of 2013, don’t be surprised if you find this making its way into the next-gen launch window.
Metro 2033 pushed PCs to their limits when it came out in 2010, and its sequel promises to push things even further. The post-apocalyptic FPS shows an incredibly detailed (and depressing) world full of mutants and miscreants, and should dole out creepy survival horror elements and frantic action in equal measure. The game was recently rescued from THQ’s messy bankruptcy by Koch Media, and will release under their Deep Silver label in March this year. Of course, you can just wait a while and buy it for your future super ultra high-def console of choice where you’ll see it in all its intended glory.
Watch Dogs (sometimes spelled with an underscore) made a surprise appearance at E3 last year, and essentially stole the show. The game showed some incredibly interesting hacking-based gameplay where the player can utilize computer-controlled objects in the environment to carry out missions in what looks to be a very open-ended structure. Part stealth, part action, the game features some convincing mo-capped characters and incredible looking visuals. It’s notable that when it first debuted, creator Ubisoft was reluctant to announce any platform other than PC. Eventually they conceded a release on seventh generation systems, but with the impressive state-of-the-art graphics they’ve shown, it’ll be no surprise when this title gets its next-gen announcement very soon. Of course, you might have to wait a while regardless of what device you game on, and it’s possible this game could materialize in stores after the PS4 and 720 launch.
A cross-gen GTA game? Why not! With the recent delay to September, many are speculating that Rockstar might be planning a next-gen makeover for their new sandbox blockbuster, and it would make sense. A GTA game is an expensive game to make, and while it’s pretty awesome looking even on dated hardware, it would have a lot to gain with, say, a tenfold power improvement. While there’s obviously no guarantees of anything, Grand Theft Auto V on next-gen consoles would definitely get the masses stirring. September is a pretty late date for a PS3/360 exclusive, and though it certainly won’t hurt sales to limit the game on the still-popular current-gen consoles, it wouldn’t shock us if Rockstar is keeping an eye on the future.