When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st 2012, we will officially be entering into an exciting, new year of gaming. With news of next gen consoles and the development of new I.P.s on the horizon, it’s becoming clearer with each passing day that 2013 will indeed be a monster year for video games. To celebrate this special occasion, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge my five early contenders for GOTY 2013. This list highlights games that I feel will have the strongest impact on the industry and gamers overall next year.
5) GTA V
Ever since EA attempted to buyout Take-Two Interactive back in spring of 2008, Rockstar Games have been on a roll creating phenomenal games left and right. Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, and Max Payne 3 were all experimental titles that exceeded expectations by escaping long development cycles and becoming critically acclaimed gems in their own right. Of course, this all wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the previous high selling entries out of the flagship Grand Theft Auto franchise. Now with the release of GTA V next spring, Rockstar has an opportunity to come full circle and showcase what all was learned over the course of the last several years. By giving the player three main protagonists to choose from, a larger map to explore, and improved melee, driving and shooting mechanics, it's evident that the studio is not only aiming to make the best GTA this generation, but also possibly one of the best games of 2013.
4) Tomb Raider
When Square Enix decided to take on the task of rebooting the popular Tomb Raider franchise, it remained important for them to maintain the historical context of the series while also delivering a fresh, new perspective on an iconic character. By developing a darker, more mature narrative and setting, the creators were able to craft an environment where evolution became the key to survival. The finishing touch that internally set everything into motion was the introduction of a younger, more vulnerable Lara Croft who in turn transforms into a hardened warrior right before our eyes. With a formula this well thought out and a heroine as beloved as Lara Croft, it’s hard to imagine this title not being recognized as one of the best games of 2013.
When BioShock took the gaming world by storm back in 2007, renowned developer Ken Levine successfully proved that storytelling in video games was an artform worth investing in. After taking a brief hiatus, he began working on what would eventually become the true spiritual successor to BioShock. So far this year, BioShock Infinite has received some negative press due mainly to news of product delays, staff departures, and criticism over the game’s box art choice. However when all is said and done, I firmly believe that true fans of the series will forget about the backlash and be reminded of just why they fell in love with the original game in the first place. Levine is a genius when it comes to building engaging worlds and characters. Knowing all these facts, you can’t help but conclude that BioShock Infinite will be his greatest creation yet.
2) Watch Dogs
The talented men and women stationed throughout various Ubisoft studios worldwide are primarily responsible for having created some of the best games we have seen throughout this generation. With successful franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Splinter Cell on their plates, many figured that Ubisoft didn’t need to create anymore new I.P.s. However, E3 2012 changed this concept greatly when they teased the existence of a new game being created by Ubisoft Montreal.
Watch Dogs has all the makings of a game that can not only redefine the current generation, but also shape the future landscape of games that will be developed for many years to come. While this title doesn’t have a firm release date yet, one can only assume that during E3 2013 we will finally hear more about the game. Early rumors are suggesting that Watch Dogs could be a launch title on both the PS4 and Xbox 720. For now this is all mere speculation, but if the final product is anywhere as impressive as the footage shown during the Ubisoft conference, then we will definitely be witnessing a strong contender of game of the year.
When Naughty Dog set their sites on building the Uncharted franchise, their personal goal was to create a groundbreaking action-adventure series with an array of clever characters, addictive gameplay, and suggestive historical setpieces. The final result was not only the best franchise on the PlayStation 3, but also the most important franchise this generation. Fast forward to the 2011 VGAs, where the studio stunned fans worldwide by revealing a trailer of a new survival action title currently in development. The Last Of Us is singlehandedly the most anticipated game of 2013 because of it’s mature narrative, violent and visceral gameplay, and intriguing multiplayer element. While there are still plenty of questions that have to be answered about this game, fans familiar with Naughty Dog know the quality that the studio brings to every single one of their games. It’s for that reason and that reason alone why this game is my top pick for GOTY 2013.
This concludes my list of five games that I feel will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2013. Do you have five picks of your own that you think will be strong GOTY contenders for next year ? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.