By Dalai 7 Comments
Another Christmas season is upon us and with a shaky economy and a deluge of huge titles coming out, some of them might not break out like they should. Most of us could care less about sales, but a lot of us care about many of the franchises that will be represented this year and a slew of new IPs are making their debut as well. So which ones will make the cut? Let's go through them. Bare with me... this is my opinion and there's a lot of games to touch on. I am not a sales analyst nor do I really want to be.
It's make or break for these games... let's see where they stand.
Animal Crossing: City Folk
Nintendo kicks things off here, but don't expect a lot of Wii titles here... there aren't many that will make an impact. Now Animal Crossing returns with something that's like Animal Crossing with a city. It's Nintendo's biggest "core" game this season and it's pretty much going to face off against Wii Music and a handful of previous games, but with the WiiSpeak bundle and the reputation Animal Crossing has, I expect K.K. Slider will be entertaining millions of Wii owners.
Solid sales for a Wii game.
Rare has not been the same since their Nintendo 64 days of dominance, but it's not like Rare turned to shit... Viva Pinata did alright. So Banjo-Kazooie is attempting a comeback with a vehicle platformer... seems odd. Also, the "kiddy" and "cartoony" look could be a problem for some. However, the 360 needs Banjo-Kazooie in order to attract the atypical younger kids. The other good thing going for it is the $40 pricetag which is a godsend for the cheap gamer.
Viva Pinata like sales.
Call of Duty: World at War
Did anybody expect Call of Duty 4 to sell like hotcakes last year? It became the must-own game last year and somehow managed to sell over 10 million copies throughout the multiple platforms. This time will likely be different because of the whole Treyarch thing, but a lot of those who could care less about who develops what will snap these up by the millions. And if the Infinity Ward fanboys are sold, I expect another 10 million seller. It also has the Wii factor which could add another million to the ranks.
Huge, but not Call of Duty 4 huge.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclasia
Portables aren't left in the dust and Castlevania: Order of Ecclasia is probably the biggest new portable title this holiday season. You've got all the workings of a hit: a popular franchise, solid reviews, and a DS lineup that's not as robust this year. Despite the lack of Belmonts, I expect good things from Order of Ecclasia.
If there's one Square RPG that deserves a remake or port, that's Chrono Trigger. We've all been waiting for a new Chrono game for quite some time, but DS owners have to settle for a port of the original... but don't cry for them. Unfortunately, Chrono Trigger might be too niche to be a top seller for SquareEnix.
Great for fans, maybe not for SquareEnix.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
The series has been a proven winner for EA which explains why it returns for another go-around. Red Alert 3 has the advantage of not being a shooter so for those looking for something different and with more strategery, Red Alert 3 is a viable choice. Expect good things to come to EA with this one.
Dead Space is a surprise to some, including myself. EA hasn't exactly been the people's favorite publisher in recent years, but Dead Space is a step in the right direction. This might be the biggest new IP outside of LittleBigPlanet so I'm confident that Dead Space will make a splash when the NPD releases its October numbers.
Excellent sales ahead.
Molyneux! My arch-nemesis returns! Alright, I was burned by Black & White many moons ago and I haven't forgiven him for that abomination. Nevertheless, Fable II is destined to succeed for two reasons: the original Fable and good old-fashioned Molyneux hype. Giant Bomb is abuzz with Fable II topics so it's working.
Damn you, Molyneux.
It's Oblivion with guns and that seems to be a positive thing for many Oblivion fans... although Oblivion haters will not be too happy about that. The Fallout series has been quiet for quite a while and some new gamers aren't familiar with the one-time PC-only franchise. That isn't going to stop this game simply because of the hype and positive feedback overall.
Totally a hit.
Far Cry 2
Another shooter under Ubisoft's watch. Far Cry has a pretty good history minus Far Cry: Vengeance and the people seem to like it. But, in this competitive mess of shooters, Far Cry 2 isn't expected to dominate in sales, in my opinion. Does it matter to us? Probably not... but Ubisoft would like to see Far Cry 2 break out big.
LucasArts is obviously known for their Star Wars games, but they do other things too. Fracture is one of those games. Unfortunately, the reviews have not been favorable and judging by Vinny's facepalm, Giant Bomb agrees with the gaming majority. With the sheer volume of shooters out, I doubt Fracture will be a hot seller. At least they have The Force Unleashed to fall back on.
Not good enough.
Gears of War 2
Epic brings us another epic game. The original was a critic's darling and one of the biggest 360 games ever so what does the sequel have in store? More of the same probably, but that's a good thing. Gears of War 2 will likely crack the top of the charts in November thanks to some great advertising, Cliffy B hype, the success of the previous game, and the lack of an Infinity Ward Call of Duty game.
Absolutely Dude Huge.
Guitar Hero World Tour
It's fucking Guitar Hero, but it's competing with fucking Rock Band. It's a battle of the band games... old-school vs. new school. Rock Band has proven that there's room for more peripherals so Guitar Hero decided to follow suit. It's trying to stay relevant and the brand name will definitely help the Activision franchise, but Rock Band 2 will certainly make its mark. There's also the economy issue... will people be buying this $189 game?
Great sales, but Rock Band will do better.
Left 4 Dead
Valve can do no wrong, right? It brought us Half-Life, Portal, and Counter-Strike so Left 4 Dead is in good company. Left 4 Dead will be just fine just because of the Valve name, but I don't see it being a huge seller with this crowd. Expect a cool million overall, but no more.
I admit it... I either didn't know this game existed or it's been a very long time since I've heard about it. That ain't a good thing. With Dead Space, Fallout 3, and the other sci-fi shooters on store shelves, this one will likely be pushed aside unless Giant Bomb goes all 5 stars or something.
SingStar has competition. Microsoft is trying to grab those casuals away from Nintendo and Lips is one of the games in the center of that grab. The drawback to this karaoke game is that it could be getting saturated thanks to Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour. Lips will have to have a gimmick to succeed and singing to your own music collection could be it.
Here is Sony's biggest and most important game this generation. This is the make-or-break game for the PS3... if it fails, the PS3 is destined for last place, but if LBP dominates the charts, it could be responsible for a PS3 resurgance this Christmas season. It's got all the makings of a breakthrough hit... AAA status, casual and hardcore appeal, and lots of buzz. I won't be surprised if it's the top-selling game of October.
LittleBig sales... emphasis on big.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Rockstar is not all about killing and table tennis, they can do driving games, too. Midnight Club: Los Angeles is competing with the Need for Speed juggernaut this year and I think Need for Speed has overstayed its welcome by about 4 years. Midnight Club is poised to do better as long as Need for Speed doesn't become the greatest Need for Speed in history.
Tops it in its genre.
EA strikes yet again with another original IP that's not quite a shooter and not quite a platformer. The whole parkour aspect is peaking the interest of many including myself and this could be the surprise hit of the year if EA markets this one correctly. It's also got a crisp, clear look that distances itself from the drab gray and brown shooters out there. Mirror's Edge could be this year's Assassin's Creed and that bodes well for EA.
Hope it makes it.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
This one has the holy shit factor going for it, mostly. What was the last Mortal Kombat to make an impact? MK3, maybe? So Ed Boon and company had to mix things up and what we got was this mash-mash of characters that make no sense, but maybe all the sense in the world. Plus, the T rating is a first for a franchise known for intense blood and gore. As one of the few fighters this year, I think it will do well, but then again... I don't know if the dedicated MK fan will accept it.
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
MotorStorm was basically a tech demo for the PlayStation 3 back in March 2007, but it did well enough to force a sequel on us. It's got the advantage of being a sequel to a popular PS3 title and being an exclusive means bragging rights for PS3 only owners, but unlike the original, Pacific Rift is facing off against a lot of PS3 titles and it might get lost in the shuffle.
Crash and burn.
Need for Speed: Undercover
Sometimes a franchise needs to take a breather and just sit back for a few years. Need for Speed won't take my advice, unfortunately. Undercover is claiming to be returning to its roots if you are to believe the guy who wrote the blurb for the game here, but with the bitter taste of Carbon and ProStreet still lingering, I doubt it will eclipse previous games saleswise.
Worse than ProStreet.
Quantum of Solace
James Bond has had a rocky decade from a video game standpoint. Topping GoldenEye 007 seems unachievable at this point, but if this game that runs on the Call of Duty 4 engine plays like Call of Duty 4 with James Bond, we might see a multi-million seller in the works. If not, it might still hit a million simply based on the Bond name.
Sony is bringing out most of its big guns and Resistance 2 is for the mature audience. LittleBigPlanet could be a little too cutesy for some and Resistance 2 will satisfy those with a taste for blood. The original launch Resistance was a good start, but Sony is hoping to turn this into a major franchise. I think Sony has a winner here.
2nd biggest Sony exclusive.
Can Konami compete in the "music game that requires plastic instruments" genre with the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band? The short answer is no... the long answer is longer than no. Here's a case where shelf space will give Rock Revolution a disadvantage. And the reviews... yes, the reviewers have been very unkind to Rock Revolution, but with good reason I suppose.
Saints Row 2
It's the anti-Grand Theft Auto IV in a way... and feels more like the true successor to GTA: San Andreas because of its wackiness. The first Saints Row didn't exactly topple GTA, but a lot of GTA fans that want a crazy sandbox game will flock to Saints Row 2. It won't exactly crush the competition, but it will hold its own.
Fucking crazy sales by Saints Row standards.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals: Confrontation
Two colons, eh? Anyway, SOCOM is one of the more well-known franchises among PlayStation circles, but a broken online that Jeff can confirm has really damaged what is a decent game that fans should enjoy. If the online worked properly from the get-go, it could've been a hit... but I think many gamers aren't willing to wait and will try something else.
Broken like its online play.
Sonic just won't quit with the games. It's supposed to be the Sonic game that will capture the awesomeness of the Genesis era Sonic games, but we've been burned too many times by SEGA and their blue hedgehog. Sonic Unleashed will have its loyal followers, but unless it's a hit with the critics, expect fairly weak sales.
Not looking good.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Peter Parker has been very busy this decade, but his results have been mixed at best. The last-gen Spiderman games were welcomed with open arms, but Spider-Man hasn't done so well post Spider-Man 3. The mixed reviews and the mediocrity of Spider-Man 3 could hurt the franchise, but the brand is still strong for now.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
I had to throw in a Wii exclusive since there aren't many to speak of, but ToS: DotNW is one of the bigger Wii titles coming out. Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube did well enough to warrant a non-sequel sequel of sorts. Tales will do fine in Japan and it will attract RPG fans since it's one of the few RPGs being hyped. It will do good enough to push another ToS game next generation.
Big in Japan, smaller elsewhere.
The Last Remnant
SquareEnix is releasing a non-Final Fantasy game... cue the fanfare. However, it will have a tough time selling outside of Japan because it's not Final Fantasy. Infinite Undiscovery wasn't exactly a killer app and I expect similar results with The Last Remnant. The good news is that it will help the growing 360 sales in Japan so good for them.
Same as Tales.
Tom Clancy's EndWar
Tom Clancy delves into World War III and the RTS genre with EndWar. EndWar could very well be a major player because of the Tom Clancy name, but it's competing with Red Alert 3 which is a tried and true winner for RTS fans so selling them EndWar might be a tough one if it doesn't blow us away.
Maybe, maybe not.
Shigeru Miyamoto's pet project this year is more toy than game, but it will sell more than many of the games listed above. If Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit have taught us, it's that people will buy anything with Wii in the title. Gamers than frequent Giant Bomb and the other 100 video game websites dedicated to video games have tried to destroy its self-esteem, but this one is for the casuals who have never heard of Giant Bomb. Pachter says 2 million sold in the United States, but it's Pachter... and so far, it's not meeting expectations.
Great sales, but probably undeserved.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
It's World of Warcraft. Of course it will sell a ridiculous number! There's no denying it unless you're thinking that Warhammer Online is going to catch on or something. Blizzard will have more money to swim in.
Like I said, it's World of Warcraft.
Whew! Time to take a break. If you've read all of this, good Lord you've got no life.