Star Wars: The Old Republic
Mmm, Star Wars made into an MMO by BioWare. Okay, done.
Oh, I guess I should probably articulate why we're all excited for this one -- or at least why I'm excited about this particular MMO over, well, pretty much any other. For me, it's the delicious combination of so many wonderful things creating a game that in all likelihood will dominate months -- if not years -- of my life.
The scope and breadth of what BioWare is looking to accomplish makes me the most excited, if I'm being honest. It of course also gives me pause, as what they're attempting is kind of insane in a way. Class specific quest lines are one thing, but fully voiced? That's a lightsaber of a whole different color.
So, I've said in the past that I didn't think the game was coming for a very long time. For a while now I've begun to think differently, especially with the announcement of Cataclysm. Star Wars: The Old Republic really needs to hit before the next World of Warcraft expansion. It's as simple as that, really. If the game comes out too close to that expansion, people are going to have to choose and I'm not so sure it'll be a choice BioWare and Electronic Arts would be happy about.
Gliding through space, blasting enemies into dust and plasma, this is the space game for which I've been waiting a very long time. Where Star Trek Online fulfills the fantasy of being a starship captain, Jumpgate Evolution puts the player in the role of the hotshot pilot.
It's been a long time coming, and there's still no release date yet, but I'm fairly certain that Jumpgate Evolution is coming out in 2010. If it doesn't, well then we've really got something to worry about. Sure, the delays haven't been reassuring, but it's all a matter of perspective. I get the feeling that if the game had come out last June, it would've been too early.
Development takes a long time and from my chats with Hermann Petersheck I know NetDevil spent as much time as they could on getting the flight and combat right. That doesn't exactly leave much time for content creation -- missions, PvP and all the stuff you expect to be present. Now I'm not saying any of that wasn't there, but it probably wasn't there to an extent that it needed to be. Plus, there's always optimization and other bugs to work out of a game.
With the Gazillion support, I really hope NetDevil succeeds, because Auto Assault -- while definitely flawed -- was one of my favorites.
Cataclysm (Does this count as a new title?)
Okay, so I said five but I really couldn't decided whether or not World of Warcraft's next expansion counted as a new title coming in 2010. So, this is something of an aside.
The fact that Catacylsm is changing WoW on a very essential level -- and by that I mean the zone design -- makes it potentially one of the most exciting expansions announced for any MMO. Sure, the new races are cool and all and there's a dragon to fight at some point but rediscovering old zones made fresh again is going to be a completely new experience for everyone involved. If that's not reason enough to want to revisit Azeroth, then you'll never find one.
These certainly aren't all the games coming next year, but they're the ones that stand out prominently in my mind. Soon it'll be time to reflect on this year's releases, so watch for that in the future. Although, I think for now I'll go back to enjoying Champions Online and Aion amidst the weekly releases of November's games. It's going to be a long, long month.