The 50 Hottest Things in Gaming in 2009
Here's the ultimate list of things to look forward to in your 2009 gaming calendar. This massive preview of the year includes E3 2009, The Reinvention of Atari, the Return of Itagaki, Uncharted 2, Halo 3: ODST, Half-Life Episode Three, Modern Warfare 2, Bioshock 2, Rare and loads more.
According to money experts, the economy will continue to suffer in 2009. It'll be even worse than in 2008, they say. Well, touch wood, but gaming doesn't seem to have suffered yet, and in 2009 it's set to get even better. It's what some gamers are putting down to a thing we'll call "The COD Effect" - it's either the Infinity Ward year or it's the Treyarch year, which is a really mean way of saying that 2007 and 2009 will both be better than 2008. Who knows for sure, but either way we're absolutely positive there'll be plenty to look forward to in the coming twelve months.
Kikizo deputy editor Edwin and I sat down and came up with a list for this feature. Our original plan was to list about twenty things between us, but instead we got rather carried away and easily came up with a list of FIFTY things to look forward to in 2009. Not just games, but events, announcements, and unveilings that are all on the cards in gaming this year. For readers of a nervous disposition, this feature does contain some areas of our own speculation, which are clearly explained within each entry. Entries are in no particular order. Enjoy. -AD
Half-Life 2: Episode Three
TBC 2009 (PC)
We may be just a teeny bit responsible for any disappointment felt by fans of this full-power FPS franchise when 2008 came to a close and nothing was shown of Episode Three; Valve's Doug Lombardi had suggested to us that maybe a trailer would debut before the end of the year. Still, all is not lost - we hope to be playing the conclusion to the incredible Half-Life 2 series before the end of 2009, and if it manages to top or even equal Episode Two, there's no question it'll be the best FPS experience of the year, if you ask me. Half-Life 2 is so obviously better than absolutely everything else out there it's a bit embarrassing to be honest. Lombardi has also previously joked with us: "I don't think we'll ever come out and say, you know, the G-Man is Gordon's father!", however we do expect Episode Three to wrap up some questions we've had ever since the 2004 release of the original game. We can't wait for this. -AD
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Spring 2009 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
An additional 11 hour story, brand new online multiplayer modes, swanky tuned-up graphics and a host of tweaks, yet still, or so Starbreeze and Tigon Studios insist, not a "proper" sequel to the seminal Escape from Butcher Bay. Well whatever you want to call it, lads, we can't get hold of Assault on Dark Athena soon enough. Players once again don the shades of Riddick, Vin Diesel's shadow-hugging interstellar serial killer, as he ventilates bloodthirsty roughnecks aboard a mercenary spacecraft. The original's story mode has been packed into the same disc, if you missed it during the Xbox era. -EET
February 27, 2009 (PS3)
Ah Killzone 2, what would my November have been without your storm-blasted extra-terrestrial concrete haze and dreamy depth of field effects, your barbaric yet canny crimson-goggled Helghast opposition? Not to mention that well-fed multiplayer mode, with its unlockable classes, five alternating match types and richly arrayed maps. If there's a superior shooter out next year for any system I must have missed the memo: the only fly in this particular ointment (thus far, anyway) is the ropey story characterisation, though we suppose certain readers will find the unbridled savagery that awaits online off-putting as well. Grow some, you muppets. -EET
TBC 2009 (PC, PS3, 360)
Now that we know exactly what was a lie and what was not, the only thing we're left pondering is when we'll get even more Portal. The powers that be have quite rightly stated that if and when a sequel comes along that it will be an experience worthy of the groundbreaking first game, which was first released as part of The Orange Box compilation (a 10/10 product if ever we saw one) at the end of 2007. Exactly how Valve might manage to improve on it remains to be seen, but anyone finding it difficult to bear the wait should be checking out Portal: Still Alive on Xbox Live, which includes 14 new levels. We're not sure if Portal 2 will actually see a release in 2009, but we're pretty sure some form of news about it will surface. -AD
TBC 2009 (PC)
While we're still on the subject of Valve, let's also sneak in a mention of the highly promising Black Mesa (previously known as Black Mesa: Source). This is the fan-created project to shame all others, by the looks of it. It's no secret that Half-Life: Source (the remake of the original Half-Life using Half-Life 2's vastly superior Source engine) was a bit of a let down, considering its legendary deployment in HL2. Well, as you can see by the trailer on the official site, the Black Mesa team working on this full remake have been making some seriously impressive strides towards bringing the original title right up to date. For my sins, I have to admit to not having played the original Half-Life, but my faith in this series is unwavering so I'm looking forward to checking out Black Mesa in a big way. It wouldn't be a massive shock to see Valve sign this up as a proper commercial release to be honest - after all, that's pretty much how Left 4 Dead came to be, according to this. -AD