This past year of 2012 has been full of speculation and talk regarding the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony, and a lot of developers seem to be waiting to unveil their next-generation games, but won’t until Microsoft and Sony have revealed their next systems.
This “Year in Review” looks at some of the next-generation gaming that is more than certainly coming from developers.
Next-generation gaming consoles are coming and there is too much overwhelming evidence to say otherwise, but one wild card in this matter is the plethora of next-generation games that are waiting to be announced.
Leaks and discussion have come up left and right regarding various games such as “Mass Effect 4,” “Halo 5,” “Dragon Age 3,” “Watch Dogs” and many others.
Developers want to talk about next-generation systems and the games they are developing for the consoles, but it would be bad manners, and would probably break certain NDAs people have signed, to divulge too much before the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 have been revealed.
Having said that, there are a slew of next-generation games waiting in the queue to be given the light of next-generation.
One of those titles is indeed “Halo 5,” which although the existence and forthcomingness of the game is no secret, how far the development team is in getting the game ready for launch is the question.
Back in November, “Halo 4” franchise development director Frank O’Connor talked about how the developing for the next “Halo” installment is going.
“We’ve done as much prototyping and storytelling and the future arc of the universe as we have on technology.
“So we’re definitely working on the future but in some ways it’s technologically agnostic at this point.
“We definitely have a lot of smart people inside the studio and outside the studio thinking about future technology and future development for sure,” O’Connor said.
“Halo 5” is rumored and expected to hit store shelves a little under a year from now, but again the release date and platforms will not be revealed until the Xbox 720 has been announced.
“Mass Effect 4” is looking more and more like it will go the route of some other recently finished trilogies and turn itself into a prequel.
There are some who also feel strong about the possibility of the game being the first of another trilogy in the series, much like the route “Halo” has taken.
Also during the month of November, Montreal Studio Director Yanick Roy said “Mass Effect 4” is already being developed.
“The next ‘Mass Effect’ game is already in development, driven by the team here in Montreal. This is the goal we have been working toward for years now, and every member of our team is proud, excited, and humbled to take on the responsibility for the next game.
“To ensure a proper and effective transition, we’ll continue to be supported by the Edmonton studio through the game’s development, working with and learning from them on some critical initiatives.
“We all care very much about ‘Mass Effect’ and make our decisions based on what’s best for the game,” Roy said.
During November as well, there was a lot of talk surrounding “Dragon Age 3” and most of it came from the developers of the game.
BioWare art and animation director Neil Thompson talked about the first screenshot that was released from the studio and then discussed some of the tech the game will employ.
“That is ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition.’ It’s the first time anyone has seen a frame of it outside BioWare studios.
“‘Mass Effect’ was done on Unreal of course. ‘Dragon Age’ was done on the proprietary engine Eclipse. I think anyone who played ‘Dragon Age 2’ would agree that engine was starting to creak a little bit by the time that was released.
“Obviously Frostbite is the ‘Battlefield’ engine built by DICE. It’s a beautiful, beautiful engine. And what we’ve found is an improvement with ‘DA3,’ is the artists who were really battling with the Eclipse engine have just embraced Frostbite. The work they’re doing now is stunning.
“It makes my job easier because then it’s all about discussing the aesthetic and what you want to achieve. When you’re a character artist or an environment artist you’re focusing on a small aspect of the greater whole of the game.
“As an art director you’re concerned about the whole, the frame and everything it contains and how everything sits and the consistency. An engine like Frostbite allows you to focus more on that rather than the technological challenges of just getting the damn thing to run,” Thompson said.
Finally, one of the “most anticipated titles,” as Ubisoft would probably say, is the one that blew the roof off of the L.A. Convention Center last year at E3, it’s called “Watch Dogs.”
At the beginning of December, a report surfaced that reflected the current state of “Watch Dogs” and could perhaps shed some light as to the consoles it may be debuting on.
“Watch Dogs is coming to PS3 and 360, but it probably won’t look as pretty as the reveal trailer which ran on a very high end PC,” the report stated.
A new LinkedIn profile from Ubisoft developer Pedro Fernandez was found that points to next-generation work.
His information says he is “currently working on Watch_Dogs as Texturer Shader artist [and is] working on current and next gen title : modeling and textures,” the profile stated.
These are just some of the instances that has come up over the past 12 months, and there are many more to choose from.
The point to take away is that once the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 are announced, there will be a load of next-generation games unveiled, many of which people have heard of before.