So now we’ve got our PS3s and we’ve been getting stuck into those launch games. Which is all very exciting, but we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have the odd sneaky thought about what is coming up next. So it would seem to be appropriate to gaze wistfully at promised future PS3 delights.
Before looking at specifics, we can make some more general observations. Until next year, the onus will very much be on Sony’s internal studios to come up with PS3 exclusives. Many of this year’s most wanted games will be coming out on the Xbox 360 as well, including some efforts which have traditionally come out first on PlayStations of yore – Phil Harrison, interestingly, explained at the Bloggers’ Round Table at GDC that the PS3’s projected installed base (at least in 2007) didn’t justify paying out the money to secure PS3 exclusives. So, it will be a while before PS3 owners will really start earning bragging rights over people with Xbox 360s.
There’s going to be a slight lull in terms of new PS3 releases – many of the games which just missed launch will now appear in September. There is one major Sony-developed release that will arrive before then, though: SingStar PS3. Which, of course, will let us download our favourite tracks over the PlayStation Network, so that we can mangle them with our inept vocal stylings.
Another imminent release which is also coming out on the Xbox 360 is 2K Games’ The Darkness. An absolutely insane first-person shoot-em-up developed by Starbreeze (of Chronicles of Riddick fame), The Darkness originated as a comic-
book, and features a New York Mafia storyline, bizarre super-powers (including gremlin-like Darklings) you derive from dark places, and an alternative universe (home to The Darkness itself) in which World War I is permanently fought. Deeply freaky stuff.
Another hotly anticipated title from 2K Games (also appearing on Xbox 360) is BioShock. BioShock’s lineage can be traced back to the revered System Shock 2. Essentially an RPG, although it majors on shooting, BioShock will certainly be one of the most visually stunning games ever – it’s set in an abandoned underwater city built by a billionaire in the Art Deco style.
Of course, the big one, that we’re all waiting for, is Grand Theft Auto IV. You may have seen the first trailer for it, which was recently unleashed on the web, so you’ll know that it’s set in the Big Apple. Beyond that, we don’t know much about it – Rockstar Games always keeps a tight lid on GTA games before they come out. And GTA IV, too, will be out on Xbox 360. But, of course, it will be a must-buy.
One rare third-party game that should be exclusive to the PS3 is Square Enix’s latest epic RPG, Final Fantasy XIII. In fact, PS3 owners with a Final Fantasy fetish will be truly spoiled, as Square Enix is developing another, more action-oriented game called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Nobody knows when either game will appear, but Final Fantasy XIII, at least, should see the light in time for this Christmas.
And then, of course, there’s Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Hideo Kojima’s next-gen sneak-em-up will be a PS3 exclusive. It’s slated for a 2007 release but, Given Kojima’s track record, you’d have to be a bit sceptical about whether it will be ready this year rather than next year.
September is shaping up to be a big month for PS3 games. That’s when we’ll see Heavenly Sword, the ultra-responsive arena-based swordfighting game, innovative dragon-fighting game Lair and the air, foot and vehicle combat game WarHawk, which is still looking likely to be released over the PlayStation Network rather than in the shops. First-person shooter Killzone, too, should surface in September, as well as the first PS3 version of Ratchet & Clank.
Another interesting title – which was originally slated to be a PS3 exclusive, but which will now appear on Xbox 360 as well – is Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. This is essentially a stealth game, but casts you as an assassin in the
Crusades-era Middle East. Which instantly makes it stand out from the crowd. Factor in superb visuals and powerful crowd-AI, and it looks as though Assassin’s Creed will be one of those titles you can point at and use as an example of what next-gen games are all about. It should be ready in time for
Looking a bit further ahead, there are persistent rumours that Sony Liverpool is working on a new version of the much-loved, ultra-cool WipEout. Alas, that won’t be ready until next year,although there could be an HD-ised version of the PSP’s WipEout Fusion to keep us going in the interim. Sony’s London Studios are working on a PS3 version of gangster action franchise The Getaway – again slated for a 2008 release – and another mysterious action-adventure game called Eight Days, which was demoed at E3 last year. And then there’s the innovative safari sim Afrika, which looks amazing, although very little is known about its gameplay, other than that it will partly involve getting you to operate as a wildlife photographer.
Capcom’s much-anticipated action-adventure game Devil May Cry 4 should reach us well before the end of the year (again, it will be a cross-platform game rather than a PS3 exclusive), although it looks like we’ll have to wait until 2008 for the mouth-watering zombie-slasher Resident Evil 5.
And, of course, we couldn’t write a piece about the PS3’s most-anticipated titles without mentioning Gran Turismo 5. Kazunori Yamauchi abandoned his original plans to make Gran Turismo HD Concept a full-blown game in order to
concentrate on GT5.He’s a famous perfectionist, so we shouldn’t expect it to be ready for this Christmas. But when it arrives, we can guarantee that it will have been worth the wait.
By Steve Boxer
Amendment to story - April 7. There is currently no indication that Bioshock will come out on the PS3. Apologies for the previously inaccurate information.