(Let me preface this by saying that I’m not comparing the 360 lineup to the PS3 lineup at all. I’m comparing this lineup to past 360 lineups, most notably 2007. The PS3 has a great lineup next year as well and may be the best ever for the PS3 too.)
At E3, I was fortunate enough to go to both the Microsoft and Sony press conferences and get a first hand look at both companies lineups for the near future. Both conferences showcased games coming out in 2009/2010. At the end of those two days, many people talked about which conference was better? A lot of people said that Microsoft had a more well spread out conference, and Sony had a conference that was just one heavy hitting game after another. Microsoft was focusing on Natal, Milo, Metal Gear coming to the 360, and announcing a smaller list of exclusives. While Sony focused on one awesome game after another, and then their motion control.
Combined with a mediocre, but underrated, lineup in 2009 and the rise of the PS3, many have been saying that Microsoft is in bad shape and aren’t pumping out great lineups of full-pledged games anymore. People say that all Microsoft is doing is pumping out DLC on a disc and calling it a full retail product. The thing is that while some of that may have been true in 2009, in 2010 Microsoft might have the best software lineup ever for their console, and really is still pumping out great games for their console.
Many consider 2007 to be the best year yet for the Xbox 360 and one of the best years ever for a single console. The main reasoning behind that was that the Xbox 360 got three heavy hitters in the Fall: Mass Effect, Bioshock, and Halo 3. Those games won many GOTY awards and back in 2007 you could only play them on the Xbox 360.
Well, next year guess which games have sequels all coming out? Yes, all three of the heavy hitters from 2007 have sequels coming in 2010. Halo: Reach has many people interested in what Bungie might pull off on a Halo with a new engine, new setting, and their swan song to the Halo franchise. Geoff Keighley has seen the game in private, and has said publicly “the game is a huge leap forward.” Maybe this is the game that people who lost interest in Halo are looking for.
Then there is Mass Effect 2 which looks absolutely incredible. If you were a fan of the first game, I can’t see how you wouldn’t be excited for this one? Now if you weren’t a fan of the first game it seems that they have even improved the combat mechanics, and made it a “darker” game. Has Bioware ever let us down before? No, and this game only continues to build on top of a great franchise.
While Bioshock 2 is now multi-platform and will be enjoyed on both consoles, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft doesn’t have other games that can help fill it’s place in the “exclusive” party. Other notable 360 exclusives that we know of are Alan Wake, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Crackdown 2. These three games are all considered AAA titles, and look to end up being great games.
Alan Wake, which has been in development since I was in diapers, lost a lot of hype due to the long development cycle and people were worried that it may turn into a “Too Human” type game. Well, from the footage that has been put out since E3, you can see why this game looks pretty darn good…
Splinter Cell: Conviction and Crackdown 2 are not original games, but sequels to beloved franchises. SC:C looks fantastic and looks to be a huge upgrade over the past installment, Double Agent, which was still a good game. The graphics engine has been upgraded, new gameplay ideas have been implemented, and intergotation scenes like the ones we saw at E3 look great.
Crackdown 2 hopes to become a bigger name than “The good game that came with the Halo 3 beta” with this sequel. If you are looking for a fun open world game with the ability to be superhuman while playing co-op and multiplayer then this game could interest you. The game just seems to be mindless fun, and could be a sleeper. It is coming in 2010, but maybe in the summer time when things have slowed down from Q1/Q2 this could be a nice pickup.
Now there are still some other games that we aren’t sure about, but that are still highly possible to come out in 2010, including Fable 3, the new Mistwalker game, a new Half Life 2 episode from Valve, etc. Fable 3 has been confirmed as in development, but we’re not sure if it’s coming in Fall of 2010. Mistwalker, developers of Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, haven’t released anything since their early 2008 release of Lost Odyssey. Sakaguchi has announced that they are working on their next project for Mistwalker, and with his past pedigree it’s something to look forward to. Valve doesn’t like the PS3, so that basically means whatever they make is coming to the 360/PC. Valve has to be working on Episode 3, and if not they have shown in the past that they can pump out games yearly.
Then there is the elephant in the room which is Natal. I’m not going to spend much time on it because I could care less about any motion control system. I’m only bringing it up to mention Rare, which I think Microsoft has locked in a basement ala Pulp Fiction. I have no idea what the hell happened to Rare, but hopefully Natal can bring out the best in them in 2010 when it is released. Who knows maybe at E3 2010 they will show some amazing games coming out on the launch of the system?
Then we have E3 2010. Right now I’ve talked about announced games and games that we know are coming. The thing is that Microsoft has always been good at showing games for the first time at E3 and then releasing them before the year ends. This year we had two major games that we didn’t even know were coming which was Shadow Complex and Left 4 Dead 2. Both turned out to be fantastic titles. Next year you have to expect the same thing from Microsoft. They always save their best for E3.
I’ve mentioned Halo: Reach, Mass Effect 2, Crackdown 2, Alan Wake, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Fable 3, Natal, a new Mistwalker game, and a new Valve game. With all this, how can people say the 360 has no good games coming anymore? The 360 is poising itself for it’s best year yet! Next year you are going to want to own both consoles so you can play some of these great titles along with multiplatform games (Bioshock 2, Dante’s Inferno, Final Fantasy XIII, Bayonetta, etc). 2010 is shaping up to be a great year for gaming and also a great year for the Xbox 360. So suck on that fanboys.