These are my five most exciting titles that the coming year has to offer, whether it wants to or not.
All Points Bulletin
Realtime Worlds may deny that their next game is an MMO, though many things about it ring true to the genre. If anything, All Points Bulletin could be considered an MMO of a new or different breed -- something that's similar but vastly different at the same time. It allows for the kind of action you'd expect from a console third-person shooter while also making use of persistence and online communities in a way that goes beyond even the likes of Modern Warfare.
Whether you're excited for the "Grand Theft Auto Online" of it all or just looking forward to the deep, deep customization offered, there are many reasons to be excited for this game. For me it's definitely the character and car customization -- followed shortly by all the cops and robbers type stuff. When I think of all the car chases I'll have, bullets carving paths back and forth between two cars as they barrel across the city... well, it almost brings a joyful tear to my eye.
Star Trek Online
Okay, so it's Star Trek and that's probably reason enough to be excited. Then again, that's also reason enough to be skeptical and worried, too. Cryptic has a lot to prove with Star Trek Online, mostly because it's their first title that has the potential to really explode in popularity.
Due early next year -- although rumors of February continue to float about -- the pacing of ground and space combat is going to play a large role in whether or not the game does well. Playing yet another huge role will be content; a problem all MMOs deal with at one point or another. Thankfully for Star Trek Online, if the two forms of combat offer enough fun it'll serve as a distraction to at least some lack of content. Although, note that I only say "some" here.
There will be naysayers, detractors and such that don't think Cryptic's version of the game is as it should be -- but it's all subjective, really. Ultimately, whether or not it's fun enough to buy and subscribe are what truly matters. If it isn't fun, then well, it's just not fun.
DC Universe Online
And on we come to more superhero MMO goodness, although SOE has been rather mum on much of the actual content of DC Universe Online. Sure, we get to see in-game models of classic superheroes, but it'd be nice to know more about the game itself -- assuming it's coming sometime in the first half of 2010.
But there's plenty to be exited about, especially if you're a DC fan. My greatest hope is that they nail things like the Green Lantern Corps and various organizations within the setting. The customization needs to deliver as best it can, too. It's one of the things that's mattering more and more in the MMO space and many games -- beyond even superhero games -- are putting a lot of work into their character creation features. As for the game's combat, I'm pretty sure that'll be its biggest strength mechanically, although until I play it for myself I can't really say.