The Future of Shooters: Looking Forward At Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, Duke Nukem Forever And More


Posted December 29, 2010 - By Dana Leahy

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The Future of Shooters: Looking Forward At Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, Duke Nukem Forever And More

We looked to the future as part of Epictober back in, er ... October, but suffice it to say, we're still looking forward to 2011. We've updated these posts with the games that were announced since then, and here's what you can start looking forward to in 2011 and beyond. Just as a friendly reminder, 2011 starts in less than a week. So start your anticipating right now.

It's snowing at magic hour. You and your recon partner lie motionless on top of an embankment overlooking an enemy camp, encased in a cold blanket of ice and silence. Your gloved finger hovers over the trigger. You stare down your sight and track one of the guards. With a deep inhale, the world stops as your expertly executed bullet sails through the air. As your target’s skull explodes in a cacophony of bone and blood and brains, your exhale turns to steam against the frigid air and all hell breaks loose.

It’s moments like these that you can only safely encounter in videogames. From the comfort of your couch, you can experience the heart-pumping, adrenaline rush of wielding high-tech weaponry, the likes of which is only limited by the human imagination. This is what makes shooters so special; no matter your station in life, you can be transformed into a badass bullet machine, experience new, foreign environments and still be on time for dinner.

For many gamers, shooters represent the core of their gaming experience. Sometimes, it just seems like shooting—in one way or another—is what you were meant to do in videogames. The controllers have triggers on them, for grenade’s sake and nothing seems so virtually satisfying as a first strike.

With this generation of consoles, we’ve seen major advancements in the genre including improvements to gameplay mechanics, graphics and the growth and evolution of online multiplayer. Games can only get better and there are a lot of promising titles set to hit store shelves in the coming months.  So, warm up your trigger fingers, because we’re running down the list of shooters we’re looking forward to and why you should look forward to them too.

Resistance 3
Release Date: September 6, 2011

Taking place four years after the events of Resistance 2, in Resistance 3 Chimeran invaders have decimated the United States and sentinel Joseph Capelli must leave his wife and young son to make the harrowing journey from Oklahoma to New York City to help with humanity's last stand.

This PlayStation 3 exclusive from Insomniac Games promises some high impact action, along with awesome weaponry. Like it or not, the weapon wheel from the first Resistance game will be back. Plus, there are a bunch of new weapons, including the Mutator, which will allow you make your enemies explode. Following the popular trend of adding weapons crafting to shooters, Resistance 3 will allow you to cobble together your own weapons from scraps found during your deadly journey.

Defining Feature: A PlayStation 3 exclusive that could be impressive enough to be a console seller because of the graphics, weapons and gameplay improvements.


Resistance 3 Gameplay Trailer »


SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs
Release Date: Q1 2011

Let's just get this out of the way: you can play SOCOM 4 with the PlayStation Move. Emphasis on the word "can." You don't have to. Some hardcore gamers will appreciate the Move integration and some will quietly pretend that it doesn't exist.

Regardless of what camp you're in, SOCOM 4--a third-person shooter from Zipper Interactive--looks like it's going to be a solid squad-based tactical shooter. While commanding your squad, you'll encounter a well-balance combination of both intense firefight action and silent combat where stealth will be a must. In addition to the single-player campaign, SOCOM 4 will feature a completely redesigned 32-player online multiplayer mode. There's not a lot of info available about the multiplayer yet, but it'll be interesting to see what they do with it.

Defining Feature:
Move integration will thrill some, but the redesigned multiplayer should please everyone.

Conduit 2
Release Date: February 15, 2011

Wii fans probably feel a little left out with this list, but do not fear: Conduit 2 is here for you. While The Conduit was met with mixed reviews, it was a bold statement on Nintendo's console. Conduit 2 promises to focus more on story and art, two of the weakest aspects from the first game. Conduit 2 will have Wii MotionPlus support and High Voltage promises a more open world, with a lot to explore.

New weapons will also be added and old weapons reworked to give the more game a more powerful feel. One thing is for sure: they've put a lot of thought into how to push the hardware to its limits and make this shooter as strong as it can be. Conduit 2, including a retooled multiplayer mode, should be a far more robust shooter experience on the Wii.

Defining Feature: With a focus on story, art, and high-powered weaponry, Conduit 2 will deliver Wii fans a well-rounded shooter experience.


Conduit 2 Cinematic Intro Trailer »


F.E.A.R. 3
Release Date: March 22, 2011

F.E.A.R. 3 (or F3AR, according to the early box art) was pushed into 2011 to allow for more development time, but this March, the famed survival horror shooter will be back for another round. Horror master John Carpenter was brought in by Day 1 to help with the cinematic, which should guarantee some good scared. In F.E.A.R. 3, both Point Man and Paxton Fettel are playable characters and the game will include new features like a co-op mode and redesigned cover system.

Defining Feature:
Scares, scares and more scares, plus playable Point Man will make F.E.A.R. fans squeal with delight.

Battlefield 3
Release Date: TBA 2011

EA has announced that Battlefield 3 is indeed in development. Although not a lot is known about the game right now, we're optimistic that the anticipated threequel will hit sometime in late 2011. BF3, developed by DICE, will use the Frostbite 2.0 engine, which promises to deliver some of the most impressive graphics and physics we've seen to date. At E3 2010, EA did offer potential beta codes to anyone who bought Medal of Honor, saying that the beta should happen within a year of Medal of Honor's release. MoH was released on October 12, 2010, so perhaps we'll see a Battlefield 3 beta sometime before October 12, 2011. It's a waiting game, but for fans of the series, it's worth it.

Defining Feature:
With DICE at the helm, and the use of the new Frostbite 2.0 engine, Battlefield 3 will deliver exceptional graphics and gameplay.

Crysis 2
Release Date: March 22, 2011

While 2007’s Crysis was set in an actual jungle, the upcoming sequel, Crysis 2, will be set in an urban jungle: New York City. Taking place three years after the events of the first game in 2023, Crysis 2 will feature a completely redesigned Nanosuit — Nanosuit 2 — which players will be able to customize based on their style of play.

With the new Nanosuit, customizable weapons and abilities and the possibility of vertical combat, Crysis 2 is going to be much more brutal, but of course, when you talk about Crysis games, you have to talk about the graphics. Crysis 2 will be the first game to utilize the CryEngine 3 and developers have mentioned that they are confident the quality of the graphics will exceed that of the first game. I know. Read that sentence again. It’s pretty hard to believe that Crysis 2 will be more graphically impressive than the first, but that’s one of the main reasons we’re looking forward to getting our hands on it.

Defining Feature: Even better graphics than Crysis will make the combat in Crysis 2 brutal and beautiful. 

Crysis 2 Central Station Gameplay Commentary »

Release Date: February 2, 2011

We have three words for you: drunken space pirate. In Bulletstorm, the new game from Epic and People Can Fly, you play as — get ready — a drunken space pirate. Marooned on an abandoned planet, you are forced to fight off hordes of mutants and cannibals in order to escape. 

Not only does the sci-fi storyline distinguish Bulletstorm from its mostly military-focused shooter competition, it allows the game to have more a fantastical bent. For example, in the game your left hand acts as energy whip that you can use as a leash to move and manipulate things in the environment; all the guns are obscenely large and destructive; and you earn bonus points based on how creative your kills are.

Bulletstorm allows you to combine different weapons and combat elements, allowing your imagination to shine. Want to kick open a door with your awesome boot and squash a baddie in the process? You can.  Why not use your energy whip to throw a guy into an electrical field and fry him? By all means. Bulletstorm is designed to give you the freedom to kill using the ridiculously large guns or to devise your own freakish method of disposal.

Defining Feature: Over-the-top weaponry and the ability to design your kills and get rewarded for it will be a fun creative exercise.

Bulletstorm "Cliff Bleszinski" Commentary »

Duke Nukem Forever
Release Date: TBA Q1 2011

The wait is finally over: the world will finally get to see Duke Nukem Forever, the eagerly awaited sequel to 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D. For those of you playing along at home, that’s a 14-year gap in hot hot hot Duke action. Gearbox announced at PAX 10 that they had taken over development of the title, the game was near competition and due for a 2011 release.

The history of DNF is rife with drama (isn’t a 14-year love affair always?), which isn’t worth going into here, but the question is: when you pine for something for so long will it ever be able to live up to the hype? Maybe or maybe not. Just a little more time will tell with Duke Nukem Forever.

So why are we looking forward to DNF? Because it’s Duke f*&$king Nukem and it’s actually happening. Before PAX, I would have been more willing to believe that my mother had taken up stripping at 60 than to believe that DNF would ever come out. You saw my mom naked on stage dancing to "ABC" by the Jackson 5? Sure. Duke Nukem is coming out? Go f&*k yourself.

Even though the engine looks a little outdated and the gameplay mechanics might not be groundbreaking, it’s still got that patented Duke Nukem sense of humor and if it even lives up to a little bit of the hype, it will totally be worth it.

Defining Feature: Fans have been waiting 14-years for this sucker, there’s a lot of nostalgia and it’s actually going to happen for reals.   

Duke Nukem Forever All Access Preview »

Gears of War 3
Release Date: TBA Q3 2011

Epic is on this list twice: first for Bulletstorm and now (surprise!) for Gears of War 3. While it was recently announce that the release date for the game was being pushed back to fall of 2011, which we were bummed about, we are really psyched to see how the trilogy wraps up.

Gears of War 3 is going to feature an awesome four-player co-op mode and when it was demoed live on stage at E3 2010, our collective palms got sweaty and we started deciding who we would kill first if need be to get our hands on it. This is also the first time we’ll have playable female characters. It may seem like a small detail, but it makes this girl very excited.

In addition to the co-op and women, GOW 3 has added some amazing weapons to your arsenal including an Incendiary Grenade, the OneShot, the Digger Launcher and a Pendulum War Era Lancer. If all of that wasn’t enough, there’s also a new turret that will allow you to mount four of any type of weapon on it for, you know, four times the fun.

Defining Feature: Four-player co-op will add a new and exciting teamwork aspect to the campaign.

Gears of War 3 Preview with Cliff Bleszinski »

Killzone 3
Release Date: February 22, 2011

Raise your hand if you’re excited about 3D. Ok, you caught us, we only half raised our hands and that’s why we’re so interested to see what Killzone 3 brings to the table. Sony is pushing Killzone 3 hard as its premiere title for the launch of in-home 3D gaming and so, there’s a lot riding on it. 

Killzone 3 is shaping up to be a fraternal twin of Killzone 2, with a lot of the same gameplay elements and a few tweaks. New to this iteration is a reworked melee system and destructible environments, both welcomed editions. We'll be able to see these new features in action when the Killzone 3 beta goes live on October 25th.

Another eagerly anticipated feature of Killzone 3 is the PlayStation Move support. Much like 3D, at this point, we have sort of a “wait and see” attitude about Move. So far, none of the native games or integration has really blown us away, but the consensus seems to be that it’s the software not the hardware. Killzone 3 will be a good test of the Move’s “hardcore” potential.

Defining Feature: With gameplay tweaks that can only make an already stellar game better, 3D and Move support may push it over the top.

E3 2010 Live: Killzone 3 Hands-On Demo »

Release Date: TBA Q2 2011

Most shooters utilize teamwork in some capacity, Brink takes it to a whole new level. This first-person shooter is based on a series of multiplayer missions where up to 8 players fight their way through a former Utopian city on the brink (get it?) of civil unrest. The game also features four different character classes for you to experiment with and a variety of missions, all designed to earn you XP.

Did I mention that this former utopia is built in the middle of the ocean? Oh yeah, it is. The entire game is based on the idea of Seasteading: humans building entire towns in the middle of the ocean, outside of the jurisdiction of world governments. That gets a big thumbs up from us, because we’re not big fans of “The Man.”

The other fascinating thing to look forward to is Brink’s SMART system. SMART stands for “Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain,” which will essentially enable you to jump around any kind of terrain and the system will try and interpret where you are trying to do and what you are trying to do as it happens. It’s a fancy version of the parkour mechanic we’ve seen in other games and it will be interesting to see how it fits into a shooter. Plus, parkour is all the rage these days and since we’re fat and slow in real life, we’re all for being nimble masters of our tattered environment in video games.

Defining Feature: Multiplayer-based missions, an awesome setting and the SMART system might make this one of the most dynamic shooters of 2011. 

E3 2010 Live: Brink Hands-On Demo »

Release Date: TBA March 2011

Usually, they say, the enemy you know is better than the enemy you don't, but in this instance, we'd take space aliens over The People's Army any day. North Korea is terrifying. T-e-r-r-i-f-y-i-n-g. So, good thing the focus of the new shooter Homefront is an invasion on American soil by the North Koreans. Actually, that's not completely accurate: in this reality, the North Koreans have already taken over South Korea, so now the peninsula is united under The One True Leader. Great. That's a lot less ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING.

This game is going to have an extra layer of creepiness to it and that's exciting. In short, it's going to hit a little close to home. The game takes place in America in the year 2023. After the collapse of the economy slaps the United States on its ass (we couldn't know anything about that, would we?), a nuclear-armed North Korea knocks on our door, only they aren't selling cookies. Plus, Homefront was penned by John Milius, the same guy who wrote Red Dawn. Oh man, count us in.

Defining Feature: A futuristic storyline with ties to modern day news headlines about North Korea should make for a spine shuddering shooter experience.

E3 2010 Live: Homefront Hands-On Demo »

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Release Date: TBA Q1 2011

Tom Clancy must be laughing at all of us, flying around on his hovercraft made of money, but you can't help but be impressed by the efforts to keep this franchise fresh and exciting. The latest installment Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, focuses on stealth gameplay. You get to command a team of Ghosts in the future using more advanced cover systems and weaponry.

One of the most intriguing gameplay mechanics introduced in Future Soldier is the concept of Optical Camouflage. It allows the Ghosts to become invisible instantly, but oh, they wouldn't make it that easy. You'll only be able to use it in certain situations. To make matters more complicated, other cover is now destructible, so you'll be constantly looking for new hiding places.

Defining Feature: Optical Camouflage will be a great tactical addition to the game. 

E3 2010 Live: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier »

Spec Ops: The Line
Release Date: TBA Q1 2011

Like a lot of shooters, Spec Ops: The Line uses the terrain as a game changer, but unlike a lot of games, Spec Ops uses it in a dynamic and inventive way. The game takes place in Dubai, home to violent and unpredictable sandstorms. Players will not only have to battle enemies, but a game engine designed to throw random sandstorms in your path, which will change not only the fight itself, but the terrain you're fighting on.

Spec Ops is also a squad-based shooter, so in addition to battling the elements, you'll also have to lead your team to neutralize threats. How you do that will be up to you and a lot of emphasis is placed on player choice, though, the developers want those choices to happen organically, so they're not called out. Your decisions about who to kill and one will influence the path you take through the game.

Defining Feature: The dynamically shifting terrain and sandstorms should provide an extra level of intrigue and difficulty.

Spec Ops: The Line Storyline and Gameplay Preview »

Red Faction: Armageddon
Release Date: TBA May 2011

Ahh, being the Space Asshole is back! Red Faction: Armageddon is the fourth installment in the series and this time, they've gone underground. A terraformer gone haywire has wrecked the surface, so the colonists have taken up residence in underground hives. There are new alien enemies, but the star of this show is the Magnet Gun. With the Magnet Gun, you fire at one object, then at a second and the first is sent hurtling towards the second.

Also, if you really want to be a world-class Space Asshole, the Exo robotic suit which allows you smash through walls and pulverize enemies. Some people like to build, but there's also a lot of satisfaction to be had with some good ol' fashioned destruction and with the new weapons, Armageddon promises to be filled with opportunities to smash smash SMASH.

Defining Feature: The Exo suit will enable you to pretend you're a robot and smash a lot of s%&t.

E3 2010 Live: Red Faction Armageddon Demo »

Release Date: September 13, 2011

Reminiscent of Fallout and Borderlands, Rage takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but unlike Fallout and Borderlands, Rage features id Tech 5, the all-new engine from legendary developer John Carmack and his team at id Software. This is the first original IP id has created since Quake and boy, does it look bitchin'.

id Tech 5 supports top quality graphics for both PC and consoles, and runs at 60 frames per second on all three platforms this is especially awesome for the console versions since they tend to lag behind the curve compared to PC graphic engines.

As if you needed something else to fall in love with, in addition to the fact that this is id's first original IP since Quake and the all-new graphics engine, Rage will also feature a lot of RPG elements such as inventory management and weapon leveling, while you try to fight off the mutant horde in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that we've come to know and love.

Defining Feature: The new id Tech 5 engine should get you excited for the graphic potential of this game and since it's coming from id Software, creators of Quake, you know it's going to be good.

Rage All Access Preview »

Honorable Mention: There are a few games that are rumored to be coming out, but we don't have much or any information on, including 343 Studio's Halo (they're the Microsoft arm taking over development of the series from Bungie) and Respawn Entertainment's untitled shooter (Respawn is the company formed by former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella; they must be working on a shooter, right?). Plus, we know that Sledgehammer is working on an off-shoot of the Call of Duty franchise, so it'll be interesting to see what comes out of that.

The Future of Shooters: Looking Forward At Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, Duke Nukem Forever And More


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