2009 is shaping up to be a good year for PC gamers. Blizzard is expected to drop a couple of heavy hitters on us hopefully before the year is up. Some of the most anticipated real-time strategy games are also expected to be released this year. There are also some unique sounding multiplayer games that are being developed for release.
Overall, I think PC gamers have some rather impressive exclusives coming their way. For all the talk about a dying platform, 2009 looks like the time when PC gaming is going to be more alive than ever. Here are some titles which we think will be 2009’s trademark PC exclusives.
- NOTE: Not all these games have definitive release dates.
1. StarCraft 2:
StarCraft 2 is the sequel to the award winning strategy game released almost a decade ago. The original StarCraft game is also a social phenomenon in the country of South Korea. It was perhaps only fitting then when Blizzard announced that development on the proper sequel to Starcraft was underway at a special event held in South Korea in 2007. Also, recently it was announced at Blizzcon that Starcraft 4 would be split up into 3 parts with the first game entitled Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty expected to be released sometime this year. Expect the same addictive game play with the 3 familiar factions all rendered in a spanking new graphics engine and those impressive cinematic pre-rendered cut scenes, Blizzard is so good at.
2. Diablo 3:
Diablo 3 is a sequel to the action RPG game Diablo 2 released in 2001. Diablo 2 was a massive hit for Blizzard and if anything, the announcement of Diablo 3 was much later than expected. Perhaps Blizzard was a little busy in the interim on a little game called World of Warcraft. Still they have been kind enough to feed us some info regarding the character classes and the worlds at regular intervals. If the gameplay videos are any indication, we can expect the same fast paced, addictive and visceral gameplay that made us sink countless hours into hacking and slashing our way through the worlds of Diablo. With the kind of polish and quality we have come to expect from Blizzard over the past few years, we can be rest assured that Diablo 3 will definitely be among PC gaming’s finest this year if Blizzard do surprise us by releasing it in 2009.
3. Star Wars The Old Republic:
After the not-so-successful shot at an MMO set in the Star Wars universe; read Star Wars Galaxies, game publisher LucasArts and developer BioWare announced Star Wars : The Old Republic in October last year. The game has been pitched as a story-driven massively multiplayer online PC game set in the timeframe of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Immersive storytelling, dynamic combat and intelligent companions were also some of the keywords mentioned during the games press release. How integral a part of the gameplay they end up forming, we can only perhaps decide when the final game is released. What gets us excited is that it’s being developed by game development veterans BioWare. BioWare, as we know, are some of the most impressive storytellers in the world of gaming. Since the story angle of the game is what they have claimed will end up differentiating it from other MMO’s we are genuinely excited about a new kind of MMO entering into the fray.
4. Warhammer 40000 Dawn of War 2:
Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War 2 is the sequel to the Dawn of War Series of real time strategy games. Dawn of War 2 is being developed by Relic Entertainment, the same studio behind the original game as well as the more recent Company of Heroes series. The new game is set to feature the same fast paced sci-fi RTS action based on the Warhammer tabletop game. Relic has decided to change some of the core features of the gameplay in the sequel. Base building has been taken out of focus in favor of battle tactics and strategically planning and winning over capture points. Some of these changes are what will set it apart from a more traditional RTS like Starcraft and make some of the gameplay elements seem more in the vein of an action RPG. Whatever design decisions they chose, we can trust Relic Entertainment to deliver another top notch strategy game for the year.
5. Empire Total War:
Empire: Total War is the next installment in the Creative Assembly-developed Total War series. It is part turn based part real time strategy game. The game will feature campaigns set in the 1700s and 1800s this time around and also for the first time in the series, naval battles will be played out in real time instead of having a simulated outcome as in the previous games. The elements that the Total War games of the past have always encompassed are impressive strategic depth, battles of an epic scale and since the last two games all rendered in an impressive 3D engine. Empire: Total War seeks to sharpen all these elements through the use of a brand new engine capable of even more impressive graphical effects, more content than any of the previous games in the series and the addition of real time naval battles.
Gas Powered Games’ Demigod is certainly one of 2009’s most intriguing games. It aims to be a fusion of the action, RTS and RPG genres, the ultimate aim of the game to ascend towards godhood. Players can try to raise super strong hero units whom they can wield individually to unleash an awesome destructive force or take command of a group of smaller units to achieve victory. You can play against the AI or against online opponents. To achieve this end, you can do battle in a persistent online world in multiplayer or a virtual persistent universe in single player. The game is powered by the Supreme Commander engine and combat is set to look visually spectacular to say the least. The game is being published by Stardock, the company behind last year’s awesome Sins Of A Solar Empire. Having the talent behind that game involved in DemiGod will certainly help it gain the polish it needs to tower above the other games of the year.
7. The Sims 3:
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that The Sims is the kind of game with mass market appeal like none other. Countless copies of the game and its expansions have been sold and yet its core market is ever eager to lap up more. EA could just release another expansion if they wished and sit back contented. Among the changes expected in the new version is the presence of one seamless neighborhood that you can explore at your leisure without ever encountering loading screens. There is a new personality traits system that lets you create Sims with far more complex and interesting personalities than before. Perhaps borrowing a page from Maxis’ own Spore game, they have a new Create a Sim feature with plenty of customization options to let you create a truly individual Sim. Also a customize everything feature and plenty of new gameplay options will ensure that there is plenty to do in The Sims 3 at least until the next inevitable expansion drops on us.
- By Shantesh Patil