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Developer: The Army Game Studio and Virtual Heroes
Official Site: moonbasealphagame.com
As with so many public projects, Moonbase Alpha started with an RFP ("Request For Proposals"). NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was looking for partners to create a persistent online game to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, and educate the public on NASA's mission. On the way to producing the final game, The Army Game Studio (who won the contract to develop NASA's game) has worked with Virtual Heroes to release Moonbase Alpha. Moonbase Alpha is a "proof of concept" game both to demonstrate that the project could be ultimately successful and to give NASA a chance to evaluate the project's progress.
Developer: Playlogic Game Factory
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Once the center of everyone's favorite stories, storybook characters such as Little Red Riding Hood no longer capture the popular imagination. Like any celebrity who has fallen out of the limelight, these storybook characters are desperate to take to the red carpet once more. And what's the best way to do so? Kill people. It's easiest to describe as celebrity boxing for the storybook set, with hundreds of weapons instead of padded gloves.
Official Site: huxley.ijji.com
Radioactive pieces of Earth's moon have rained down onto the planet's surface, the irradiated fragments of Earth's only natural satellite destroying nearly all of humanity. A single city has survived, but the massive radiation has mutated the survivors, fragmenting the population along altered genetic lines. Now those groups are working to annihilate each other with the biggest guns available.
Developer: Cranberry Production
Official Site: www.dtp-entertainment.com
Darren is a young student living in coastal Maine. His major is Physics, but his passion is for photography, explaining why he suffers the abuse of his boss Fuller, the man who runs the photography studio where Darren works. Shortly after Darren meets a stunningly attractive English woman in Fuller's photography studio, Fuller is killed. Everyone is a suspect in this mystery that leads Darren far across the Atlantic Ocean.
Developer: Runic Games
A small, mining settlement named Torchlight was established to exploit the rich, nearby veins of "Ember." That rare ore is not only the source of Torchlight's riches, it's a magical substance with the power to transform and corrupt everything nearby. Only a handful of adventurers are brave enough to venture into the nearby mountains and below to discover how the Ember has already destroyed past civilizations.
Developer: Griffin International
Platforms: Xbox 360, Wii and PC
Video games are finally mainstream enough (and profitable enough) that everyone wants in. Bass Pro Shops is a huge retailer of fishing and hunting supplies, and what better way to build a brand with homebound gamers than to release hunting and fishing games in which progress depends on purchasing fancier gear from Bass Pro Shops? It may be a straightforward marketing ploy, but thanks to an incredibly clever controller, it looks like this marketing ploy might result in the best fishing game yet released.
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Official Site: sega.com
A remote human colony has once again infringed on an alien battleground. By settling on a distant world with a Predator pyramid containing xenomorph eggs, the human colonists triggered an horrific xenomorph slaughter and alerted the alien hunters known as Predators. A call for help from the colony has summoned the Marines, once again bringing all three species into bloody conflict. But the blood from this battle can eat its way through steel plates.
Developer: Nexon and Neople
Official Site: nexon.net
Dungeon Fighter Online is popular in other territories, having launched in August of 2005 in South Korea. According to publisher Nexon, the game already has around 10 million users. Fortunately, you'll be able to experience the game yourself shortly – much less time than it would take you to learn Chinese or Korean and ask the game's many current players about Dungeon Fighter Online.
Platforms: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Official Site: sega.com
Bayonetta is a witch who holds sway over demonic powers, but that's probably not the first thing you notice about her. The skin-tight body stocking might be. Perhaps the almost fetishistic focus on thick-rimmed glasses and piled-up hair that flows out to support Bayonetta's witchly powers would be the first thing to catch your attention. Of course, if you aren't distracted by the dramatically underdressed schoolmarmish sexpot who fills the titular role of Bayonetta, you'd notice that she's so well armed she even has guns strapped to the back of her platform heels.
Developer: Splash Damage
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Official Site: brinkthegame.com
Humanity built the Ark as a self-sufficient habitat, made up of hundreds of floating islands, drifting in the middle of the ocean. In the mid-21st century, The Ark lost contact with the rest of the planet. Perhaps the rising ocean levels drowned everyone not fortunate enough to live in a floating city. Perhaps it was something more horrific. Whatever the cause, the Ark's inhabitants, their descendents and tens of thousands of refugees have been confined to the Ark for 25 years. In that time, population pressure and ideological disagreements have plagued the last refuge of humanity with a brewing civil war.
Developer: 8monkey Labs
Official Site: darkestofdays.com
Alexander Morris was part of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry fighting under General Custer, and had the distinct misfortune of being present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. Morris was considerably more fortunate than many of his compatriots. Instead of dying, he went missing-in-action. Alexander was plucked from battle to travel through time and space.
Developer: 1C's Ino-Co
Official Site http://www.1cpublishing.eu/
In late 2007, Russian publisher 1C's Ino-Co studio released its game Fantasy Wars for the PC to audiences in North America. Published in North America by Atari, the game was a flawed, turn-based strategy game with fantasy-themed units fighting it out on hex-based battlefields. This time around, Ino-Co is focusing on the Elves of their world with a sequel that continues the play of Fantasy Wars by exploring the world's Elven Legacy, with a game that should be released shortly by Paradox Interactive.
Developer: SkyFallen Entertainment
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/death-track-resurrection
In the near, dystopian future, much of the world is in wreckage. Conventional, organized sports have fallen by the roadside as a single death-sport has grabbed the popular consciousness: "The Survival Race." This global event pits the drivers of well-armed vehicles against one another as they race and battle through the ruins of ten cities around the globe.
Developer: Katauri Interactive
Official Site kings-bounty.com
As a young hero (a warrior, paladin or recent graduate of the mage's academy), players venture out into a fantasy kingdom in search of wealth, glory and vast armies to lead. Starting with petty tasks performed for the local king, players encounter bandits and an undead local miller before choosing their own paths to lead armies of fantastic creatures in turn-based combat on behalf of allies of the players' choosing.
Developer: Action Forms
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/cryostasis-sleep-of-reason/
In the year 1968, Alexander Nesterov was to be stationed at "Pole 21," a Russian facility in the deep, northern Arctic. Trained as a meteorologist, Nesterov hardly expected to fall off a transport and awaken near a ship trapped in the ice. The North Wind, a nuclear-powered Russian ice-breaker might be frozen in deep polar ice, but it's still Nesterov's only hope to live longer than the few brief minutes exposure to the harsh Arctic winds and open ice will allow. Unfortunately, the crew of the North Wind is dead. Even worse, they're trying to get Nesterov to join them.
Developer: The Farm 51
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/necrovision
The War to End All Wars is raging, and a young, American soldier has joined the British army to get a taste of the trenches. But the front lines of 1916 are hardly the place for a young man to find himself. They are, however, an excellent place to find enemy Germans, insane allies, vampires and demons. Only by absorbing some of those demonic powers can this young man defeat the evil that lurks beneath the senseless waste of life that sprawls across Europe.
Platforms: Xbox 360 and PC
Official Site 1cpublishing.eu/game/captain-blood
Dr. Peter Blood was a doctor who made the treasonous mistake of treating wounded men who had rebelled against King James in the late seventeenth century. Despite wanting no traffic with the quarrels of kings, Blood was sentenced to death. But his sentence was commuted – instead of a short drop at the gallows, Blood received a long trip across the Atlantic and was made a slave on the island of Barbados. During Blood's unfortunate servitude, Barbados is attacked by Spaniards, leaving Blood and his fellow slaves the remarkable opportunity to steal a Spanish ship and maraud the Caribbean as pirates.
Developer: Best Way
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/men-of-war
Two students, Smirnov and Kuznetov, have found themselves wrenched from the pleasantries of academic life to fight against the invading troops of Hitler's Germany. As they are bloodied and promoted in Men of War, they follow the Soviet campaign resisting the German invasion in a tale that ultimately turns to include German and Allied missions that take players through Russia, North Africa, Europe and the Pacific.
Official Site emotiv.com
Total immersion is the Holy Grail of gaming. The ability to simulate a fully interactive and engaging environment would be the ultimate form of entertainment, and has served as the fodder for many television shows, films, novels and even games, ranging from Star Trek's holodeck to Arnold Schwarzenegger's adventures in Total Recall to Red Dwarf's "Better Than Life" game. It's even a common theme for dystopian futures in which humanity has become disconnected from reality (The Matrix, among many others). Unfortunately, total immersion requires far better technology than we have at present.
Emotiv Systems hopes to change that. Emotiv's Epoc Neuroheadset isn't going to make full immersion possible, but it should go a long way toward turning thoughts into reality. The company's tag line is, "It's the thought that counts." It looks like Emotiv will turn that phrase into something more than just an apology.
Developer: Spellborn NV
Official Site: tcos.com
Five Centuries ago, the world was ruled by the Empire of the Eight Demons. A desperate effort by unknown heroes destroyed the Altar of the Undying, shattering the Empire, but also shattering the very world itself. That magical cataclysm left the remnants of the world as shards floating in a magical maelstrom called the Deadspell Storm that preserves life in the handful of remaining shards.
The few remaining humans, alongside the Daevi, the bastard offspring of demonkind, struggle to survive and rebuild in what is literally the wreckage of a world.
Platform: PC, Xbox 360
Official Site sacred2.com
Many worlds have been forged by a near-omnipotent Creator, but Ancaria is unique in that it was brought into existence without the Creator's knowledge or effort. The Creator was aided in his efforts by legions of seraphim until the seraphim stole a portion of the Creator's energy and used it to forge a world of their own – Ancaria. To punish the affront, the Creator banished all the seraphim to Ancaria. They were ordered to protect their own creation, with the Creator promising only to return when the seraphim managed to unite all of Ancaria's races in peace.
This was not to be, and the seraphim suffered their comeuppance. The High Elves, themselves a creation of the seraphim, seized upon the creative energy embedded in Ancaria and became the unquestioned rulers of the land. This led to a horrific civil war in which the high elves opposed seraphim. That war may have been resolved, splitting the elves and Ancaria's residents into many factions, but now a new war is on the horizon, and the tide of battle will depend upon the action of a few heroes. Or perhaps, individuals with darker intentions.
Official Site tngames.com
Late last year, TN Games launched the 3rd Space Vest for PC gamers. Previously known as the "ForceWear" vest, the TN Games 3rd Space Vest connects to the PC using a USB port and transforms gunshots and physical blows within games into actual, location-sensitive, real-life impacts. In time for the 2008 holiday season, TN Games plans to launch a similar peripheral, called the HXT Helmet, this time to provide tactile feedback for headshots.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Official Site: zeitguyz.com
Retrograd is a dystopian steampunk city, mixing futuristic and Victorian technology to create a dark world dominated by an organization called Gloria Mundi. The road to Retrograd was literally paved with good intentions. Set in the year 2052, Retrograd is located in Newropa and the product of a bizarre timeline. During the 21st century, the world suffered apocalyptic wars and pandemics that left humanity struggling to survive. Then the Cardinals emerged...
The Cardinals were powerful psychics who discovered that they had the power to travel through time. The Cardinals united under one such psychic who called himself Rex Mundi. As Gloria Mundi (and the Chronology Protection Agency), these Cardinals altered history to prevent disease and nuclear Armageddon from annihilating the planet. Then they got greedy. Even the Cardinals could not resist the temptation to continue to tweak history to serve their own ends, ultimately turning themselves into the ruthless dictatorship that rules Retrograd, with Rex Mundi as their leader.
It is into this world that Davi Atman emerges. As an employee of Gloria Mundi, Atman worked as a "cleaner" on their behalf until he was caught in an explosion while trying to dismantle a bomb. That near-fatal explosion unlocked Atman's own power to glimpse the past and travel to change history. Gloria Mundi tried to commit Atman to an asylum, but after his escape, Atman sets out to put the world to rights, even if he has to travel in time to do so.
Developer: Infinite Interactive
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, DS
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a remarkable game. As developer Infinite Interactive said in a talk at the Game Developers Conference, it was difficult to find a publisher for Puzzle Quest's clever cross between a traditional "match-three" casual puzzle game and the extensive quest structure and character development of a role-playing game. Fortunately, D3Publisher of America stepped up, and we got to enjoy an incredible game. Now, Infinite Interactive is hard at work on another game in the Puzzle Quest universe: Puzzle Quest: Galactrix.
Platform: PlayStation 3 (most functions will work with PlayStation 2 and other devices with a USB port)
Official Site logitech.com
Logitech makes damn fine gaming peripherals. Whether you are looking for a PC keyboard, a mouse or console controllers, Logitech has the goods. The Logitech Driving Force GT Racing Wheel will not disappoint. Based on the prototype that Logitech showed off at the Game Developers Conference, the Driving Force GT Racing Wheel promises to be Logitech's best wheel yet.
Bangai-O is an arcade-style shooter that anyone with a Dreamcast remembers fondly. Within the next few months, DS gamers will get to relive that classic shooting experience in a new version of the game, from the same developer (Treasure), that is best thought of as a re-imagining of the classic shooter than a sequel.
Developer: Firaxis Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS
Official Site civilizationrevolution.com
Projected Release: Spring 2008
Platform: PC and Mac
Official Site: worldofwarcraft.com
Projected Release: Late 2007
Developer: SkyFallen Entertainment
Official Site: int.games.1c.ru/death_track
Projected Release: 2008