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Six Awesome-Looking Games I Won’t Have Nearly Enough Time For

Gaming is far and away my favorite hobby, but it's also extremely
time-consuming. This appears to be doubly true for a new breed of upcoming current-gen
games, which are leveraging the power of new hardware and the gaming community's
love of open-world environments to create adventures that are poised to obliterate
my free time.

The next two years look especially hopeless considering my
personal play style, which usually involves a lot of aimless
wandering
, unplanned
chaos
, and obsessive
collecting/crafting
. It's for those reasons that I am both salivating over
and fearing the following games.

Just
Cause 3

Few games offer up a more fun and consequence-free sandbox
than the Just Cause series. The last installment was one of my
favorite games
of last generation, and it appears Avalanche is super-sizing
everything for the next outing. The new wingsuit looks like it transforms Rico
into a full-blown superhero, and having an unlimited supply of C4 at your
disposal is yet another sign that the developer knows gonzo chaos will always
trump realism when you're trying to overthrow a ruthless dictator. A greater
emphasis on physics and destructibility pretty much guarantees that I'll be spending
an absurd number of hours orchestrating crazy explosions (and probably blowing
myself up in the process).

Ghost
Recon: Wildlands

The announcement of Ghost Recon: Wildlands at E3 was a surprise,
but it's already made my short list of anticipated games. I enjoyed a few of
the older games in the series, and am glad Ubisoft is eschewing the futuristic setting of…virtually every other military shooter on the market right now for
something more grounded in reality. However, the big selling points are the four-player
co-op and massive open world – coordinating and approaching missions the way
you want to sounds like it's putting the "tactical" back into tactical shooter, which would be a welcome shift in focus.
The big question is whether Ubisoft can fill the world with enough
missions and distractions to make it worth going off the beaten path. I've lost
plenty of hours roaming the landscapes in Ubisoft's Far Cry series; if
Wildlands can deliver a more realistic world that's focused on co-op, it may
hold my attention long after other military shooters lose their appeal.

Mad
Max

Avalanche sure knows how to sink its hooks in me. The second
game from the developer on this list stars one of the coolest post-apocalyptic anti-heroes
of film, who seems like a perfect fit for open-world mayhem. In addition to
exploring the wasteland and taking down enemy outposts, you can also completely
customize your car with a variety performance upgrades and bandit-puncturing
weaponry. Mad Max is yet another game that takes its combat cues from the
Arkham series – the last game to ape Rocksteady's approach to combat was Shadow
of Mordor, which kept me slicing off orc heads long after most gamers moved
onto other adventures (which reminds me – I really need to go back and finish Shadow
of Mordor). Hopefully Avalanche can nail the vehicular combat, because I can
see myself spending days happily combing the wasteland for scrap to build the ultimate death
machine.

Coming Up Next: Three
more games destined to take over 99 percent of my gaming time…


www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Opinion – Gran Turismo 7 Is Missing Its Opportunity

I was very surprised that Gran Turismo 7 wasn't announced at E3 last month. I thought it was a no-brainer, not only from how far along I guesstimated developer Polyphony Digital may be with the game, but also for strategic reasons. Apart from gamers wanting to simply play the title, Sony is letting a big opportunity slip through its fingers.

Historically, Polyphony Digital has taken its sweet time with the series – to welcome results – but I think the environment is different since the days that Gran Turismo used to rule the roost. Look around and you'll see that this year the Xbox One will host its second Forza Motorsport title, and third for the Forza series (Forza Horizon 2), while Sony hasn't even had one GT title. Perhaps DriveClub was seen as the way to sate racing fans on PS 4, and I like that title, but to me it's a different experience from Gran Turismo.

Not only is Microsoft running up the score, so to speak, on the franchise, but other series are trying to make their mark in the sim-racing genre. Slightly Mad Studios has started its Project Cars franchise (and already announced a second iteration), and newcomer Kunos Simulazioni has put out Assetto Corsa on PC and is bringing it to the consoles in 2016 with some new features. It's a good time for racing on the new systems, and so far Gran Turismo is missing the party.

Perhaps I was foolish to get my hopes up when creator Kazunori Yamauchi talked openly about GT 7 in the fall of last year (he also talked about the title coming before 2017 recently), but the man said himself that the PS4 would be easier to develop on than the PS3. The game could very well come out in 2016, but GT 7 in holiday 2015 really would have bolstered a Sony first-party lineup that the company itself has admitted is "sparse."

Some see Gran Turismo as synonymous with a previous era – a Sony franchise whose best days were on the PlayStation or PS2. Maybe that's the case, maybe not. But with each sim-racer released that nudges the genre forward, it's just another obstacle GT 7 has to tackle if it wants to be at the top.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Games Workshop Reinvents Warhammer

Warhammer has always had an imposing barrier to entry. The long-running miniatures property has been around since the early 1980s, with a seemingly endless flow of new figures, rules, and lore to comprehend. And yet, the quality of those intricate figures and the strength of a thoughtfully fostered community of gamers has kept the franchise alive for decades, broadening out into novels, video games, and more. At Games Workshop, after all these years, the game’s creators recently took a dramatic step, destroying the very world the game is based on. I recently visited with Games Workshop to learn what comes next, and the ways in which Warhammer is seeing its biggest reinvention ever in the Age of Sigmar.

I have a special perspective on Warhammer, but not one that is unique. As a longtime video game and tabletop game player, I’ve brushed against knowledge of Warhammer for years, but I’ve never fully embraced the title. I play other miniature-based experiences, and I’ve had my fair share of time running around in video game versions of the Warhammer universe. But like many fellow gamers, Warhammer has always seemed prohibitive. The long history of the fiction seems convoluted, the rules require a deep dedication, and the craft involved in preparing and painting the unpainted models is incredibly time and money intensive. 

Games Workshop has a big challenge in front of it if it hopes to draw in players like myself, while simultaneously maintaining the enthusiasm of its devoted community of fans. The studio’s proposed solution is on the way later this month, with pre-orders opening today. Warhammer: Age of Sigmar represents the biggest fundamental change to the fantasy miniatures wargame that its creators have ever attempted. 

While Age of Sigmar is a fresh jumping on point, it has its roots in the game’s most recent major storyline, The End Times. Within novels and game supplements, and over the course of many months, Games Workshop unfolded the apocalypse of its own world. Massive armies collided, magic was unleashed, and in the end, the Warhammer world was utterly destroyed. 

In the wake of that conflagration, the energies unleashed produce the beginnings of a new universe. Eight mortal realms emerged, interconnected by a series of gates, as well as a ninth realm of chaos. The forces of Chaos in this new universe once again began their assault, and eventually overtook much of the mortal realms. The re-emergent god, Sigmar, withdrew into a signal celestial realm to consolidate his forces, and from here, he plans to strike back at Chaos and retake the realms. 

Right from the start, the storyline of Age of Sigmar turns expectations around. Traditionally, the invading forces of Chaos must be repelled by the “good guys.” In the new game, Sigmar sends forth armies of newly forged immortal heroes, drawn from the detritus of the conquered realms, and aims to retake ground held by the rampaging forces of Chaos. The storyline is built to be an easy-to-understand story for newcomers, but one that draws on the old fiction, heroes, and gods for longtime players. 

Perhaps more importantly, Age of Sigmar represents Games Workshop’s goal to tell a more robust ongoing story. Sigmar’s initial assault sends his army of Stormcast Eternals down to retake the Realm of Fire from the Khorne Bloodbound army. From this starting conflict, Games Workshop hopes to unfold an evolving tale with greater narrative direction and depth than they’ve previously included. In fact, I’m told that the first full year of storylines is already clearly planned out.

[Next Page: The rules are changing]


www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Opinion – RPG Fans Are The Real Winners Of E3 2015

I always like to take a few weeks away from any show to
really start analyzing and putting it in perspective. I'm not one to usually name a
"winner" of E3, since the fans always end up winning with a glut of new games.
Even so, this year role-playing game fans really had a lot to cheer about.
Whether you're a fan of RPGs in general, or prefer Western or Japanese RPGs,
this year's show proved the genre thrives in all areas.

I'll go on the record saying I don't think any other genre
had as strong of a showing as RPGs. The variety and amount of announcements put
it well ahead other genres. We had long-running and widely acclaimed
franchises, such as Fallout and Dark Souls, show off new entries. New exciting games that continue to draw elements from RPGs, like Horizon Zero Dawn, surfaced. Square Enix announced a new studio,
Tokyo RPG Factory, which formed to create an entirely new RPG series, currently
under the banner Project Setsuna.

Then there were the big surprises; Square Enix announced a
new Nier game, which seemed like a long shot, and Ubisoft unveiled South Park:
The Fractured but Whole
, shocking many since Matt Stone and Trey Parker said
they'd never make another video game. While Shenmue might not be an RPG in the
traditional sense, finding out a Kickstarter was being launched for a new entry
after 12 years was still a win for RPG fans. The crowdfunding campaign has been
extremely successful, and hopefully this can inspire other creators to
resurrect franchises we've been pining for that have long been dormant. Then there was the ultimate bombshell; after
years of fans pleading, Square Enix finally announced a Final Fantasy VII
remake
was in the works.

From big names to cult favorites, it felt like everything was
headed in a positive direction. It was refreshing to see Square Enix not just
focus on big-name RPGs, such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, although
those franchises remain front and center (Hello new Kingdom Hearts III
trailer
). I liked that Square gave spotlight to mid-tier franchises like Star
Ocean. Similarly, watching Nintendo have such a renewed enthusiasm in the Fire
Emblem series after it questioned its place stateside feels like a big win for
long-time fans. 

Bethesda not only gave us the glimpse at Fallout 4 we had
been waiting for, it revealed a November 10 release date. Usually when we first
see a game in action, we have to play the waiting game for at least a year.
Knowing that all that was before us would be available in a matter of months is
exciting in its own right. And while, I'm sure people expected Dark Souls would
continue on, people were surprised to learn that Miyazaki would be directing
it, even after his workload and success with Bloodborne.

This is only a fraction of the RPG news and games at the
event. Usually, I find myself leaving E3 with a handful of new RPGs to
anticipate, this year I may have too many to anticipate… and they're also all
drastically different. Now it's time to see if these game can live up to the enthusiasm
they've created. Even so, this E3 left me plenty excited for the genre's
future.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

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