19 Hottest Anticipated Games of 2008

We’ve spent the past few weeks researching ahead, and we are proud to bring you a list of our staff’s most anticipated games, presented in alphabetical order…

Alan Wake: This psychological action thriller, from Remedy, (of Max Payne 1 and 2 fame) is published by Microsoft Game Studios, exclusively for Windows Vista and Xbox 360 (unfortunately, the previously planned PlayStation 3 version was nixed). The main character is based on Ilkka Villi, a Finnish professional actor and writer.

Disaster: Day of Crisis: This new "Survivor" Wii game uses natural disasters as the impetus to inspire rogue Special Forces, while players race cars down mountains, dodge toppling buildings, and try to avoid the devastation of an earthquake, in addition to swimming through a raging flood.

Endwar: Best-selling author, Tom Clancy’s story, set during World War III, was designed by Ubisoft Shanghai. Previously known as "Firehawk," it is a real-time strategy game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Nintendo DS.

Fallout 3: Those who have viewed development blogs and screenshots have said that this game appears to be re-done from the ground up; designed for true fans of the Fallout series. It seems like a true departure from the first two games, released 10 years ago, but it is promised to "stay completely faithful" to the customary environment and dialog that is consistent with the series.

Final Fantasy 13: A console role-playing game developed by Square Enix, the flagship game of the collection, it will exclusively run on the Sony PlayStation 3. The game features a futuristic, high-tech world, and a storyline focusing on "resisting" the battle – in a system that maintains the strategic command-style fighting sequences, while including the customary fast-paced speed and excitement.

Grand Theft Auto IV – GTA IV: The game’s new look and feel is reportedly different than its predecessors, and it is being billed as a first next-gen game for the series. This will be the ninth game and first in the fourth generation of the video game franchise. Scheduled for release on Tuesday, 29 April 2008, the game will play on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Set in redesigned Liberty City (based on New York and New Jersey), it has high expectations, based upon the fact that around 150 game developers reportedly worked on it.

Gears of War 2: Sequel to Epic’s highly successful Gears of War, this title was finally announced officially this past week. Launching in November, you can expect this title to push the unreal engine to the limits, while producing a similar experience to what we saw two years ago. Still, we can’t wait to see what Epic has up there sleeves for this 360 title.

Halo Wars: Designed as a real-time strategy game, Halo Wars uses species and vehicles from the previous Halo games, with new units, as well. A-button controls are developed to select 3 methods – using tapping to select units. The story is written as a prequel, taking place prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved set in 2531, following the story of the UNSC’s discovery of a Forerunner artifact and the first battles with the Covenant after the fall of the first planet, Harvest. Players may control the crew and vehicles of a UNSC ship, CFV-88 Spirit of Fire, receiving instructions and commands from its AI Serina.

Littlebigplanet: The upcoming platformer and world creation game for the PlayStation 3, is being developed by British company Media Molecule, founded in part by Rag Doll Kung Fu creator, Mark Healey. Those who’ve seen the demo, proclaim that this game has some of the most creative content ever seen. It is believed that something besides the toolset will ship with the game, and that much new and unexpected material will be revealed. A major focus will reportedly include global community features through the PlayStation Network, enabling player interaction and the ability to share patches and other play modifications.

Mario Kart Wii: Mario Kart is known for delivering a quality multiplayer experience. Nintendo is reportedly still deeming it as a 16-player online multiplayer game, with new motorcycles. The game will be packaged with the Wii Wheel accessory and is designed to house the Wii Remote to allow for more intuitive and conventional steering.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – MGS4: So far, the previews of this game have all been very positive. It has the look of a next-gen game, with enhanced controls for Solid Snake. The series and the espionage genre appear to have been taken to a new level and is one of the main PS3 console exclusives. Many believe it may actually serve as a "visual showpiece" for real-time cinematics on the system.

Ninja Gaiden 2: The upcoming sequel to Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox in 2004 is being developed by Team Ninja and published by Microsoft Game Studios. This is also the first time that the game won’t be published by Tecmo. Early images of the game surfaced, revealing new weaponry, such as a scythe and a pair of three-bladed claws and bladed shoes on Ryu Hayabusa. New Eastern locales were also shown, with a preview at the Tokyo Game Show 2007. Itagaki was quoted as having said "Now please enjoy the world’s best action game, running on the world’s best hardware."

Resident Evil 5: Another highly anticipated next-gen incarnation in a great series, Capcom’s Resident Evil 5’s graphics and gameplay, as checked out by some, have some new elements that may mark it an "instant classic." Known in Japan as biohazard 5, the game is set to debut for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Jun Takeuchi, Director of Onimusha and Producer of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, is taking over for Hiroyuki Kobayashi, while Promo Producer for RE 2, Keiji Inafune, is overseeing the project. The game is rumored to utilize the same gameplay model started in Resident Evil 4, with new thematics from the original.

Star Wars: Force Unleashed: The upcoming multimedia project developed and published by LucasArts along with Dark Horse Comics, Lego, Hasbro, and Del Rey Books, includes a video game, novel by Sean Williams, action figures, a comic book, a reference book and a role-playing game supplement. The game will play on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, second generation N-Gage and PlayStation 2. This is one of the more anticipated games on the horizon. Enthusiasts of the Dark Forces series, may consider this one Lucasarts’ biggest and most fantastic Jedi game ever. Those who have seen it, have indicated that it is "most ’impressive."

Smash Bros Brawl: The third installment of this game seems to have elicited quite a bit of discussion. The game will feature features a diverse character roster, and it is the first in the series to feature third-party characters. Most of the music comes from arranged versions of pieces by composers who originated in previously released Nintendo video games. Originally scheduled for release in December, the game was delayed to provide more extras, like Pit from Kid Icarus, Snake from Metal Gear Solid and Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog.

Spore: The multi-platform science-fiction God game under development from Maxis is being designed to allow players to control the evolution of a species from its beginnings as a multicellular organism, through its development as a sapient and social land-walking creature, to the point it gains the ability to reach levels of interstellar exploration as a space-faring culture. The title has drawn wide attention for its massive scope, and use of open-ended gameplay with procedural generation.

Soul Calibur 4: The new incarnation has been dubbed as a first next-gen, with great realism in the detail. Reaction has shown that they used audience input in creating it. The fifth installment will be released on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, and is unlikely to be released on the Wii, although it has not been denied. For the first time in the series history, the game will have competitive online play, though an arcade version has yet to be announced. Director Katsutoshi Sasaki has also mentioned that Create-a-Character will be playable in multiplayer mode.

Street Fighter IV: This classic fighting game is the next installment in Capcom’s long-running popular series. It’s been revealed that the story will take place in between Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III – as a sequel to the former and a prequel to the latter. The game will still play in traditional 2D, while its characters will be rendered in 3D backgrounds.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King: As the second expansion for the series, the story is set in the land of Northrend, home of the Lich King, Arthas Menethil/Ner’zhul. Some of the new features will include the level cap raised to 80, the battle with the Lich King at the Frozen Throne, a playable Hero class for Death Knight, the creation of a new profession: Inscription, the profession level cap raised to 450, and hundreds of new items, quests, dungeons, creatures, spells and weapons.

All in all, looks to be a great year ahead — with many newly developed, genuine must-play games to look forward to. Now, we know we didn’t get everything. Leave a comment on what you think deserves that 20th spot.

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