2012 has been a great year for video games - Master Chief returned in Halo 4, The Walking Dead made grown-ass men weep, and Max Payne 3 proved, well, that Max is still super depressed. But with the way things are shaping up, 2013 could be even bigger. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of 15 titles releasing in 2013 that you’re going to want to keep an eye on. Shockingly, this isn’t even everything you should expect from next year where video games are concerned. These are just our most anticipated titles (in no particular order). So prepare your butts, and your wallets.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
The developers behind 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot, NetherRealm Studios, try their hand at DC Comics’ heroes and villains. Injustice: Gods Among Us is an over-the-top 2D fighter featuring the most iconic super heroes and villains known to man (sorry Marvel!). The only thing we’re skeptical about is the game’s roster, which so far seems too safe. Where are Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and Captain Carrot?! We demand answers!
Gears of War: Judgment
And you thought the Gears of War franchise was done after GoW 3? Ha! Gears of War: Judgment is being handled by Epic Games and People Can Fly (Bulletstorm) and revisits the early years of the Locust/human war. The game stars a younger Baird and Cole as they lead Kilo Squad through the beginning of Emergence Day. With the main GoW trilogy completed, Judgment serves as a test bed for all the crazy ideas Epic and People Can Fly can come up with. Expect awesome things, as only Gears of War can deliver.
God of War: Ascension
Kratos might have murdered all the Gods by the end of God of War 3, but his journey is far from over. Much like Gears of War: Judgment, God of War: Ascension (these names are too similar, dammit!) revisits the early life of Kratos as he tries to break his bonds to Ares, the true God of War, who tricked him into murdering his wife and child. Ascension will also be the first God of War title to feature multiplayer, which has us cautiously optimistic.
The Tomb Raider franchise gets a reboot to explain how Lara Croft grows into the strong female protagonist we have all loved since 1996. Gamers can expect a tightly woven narrative set on an island overrun with pirates, as Lara learns to survive in the harsh wilderness on her own. This game looks gorgeous, with gameplay to match. The Tomb Raider series hasn’t been relevant for many years now, but this game has the potential to finally bring it back into the limelight.
Rayman Origins is a platforming classic. So it makes sense that we're already salivating at the chance to crack into its sequel, Rayman Legends. Legends is a Wii U exclusive title that offers the same tight mechanics, glorious art style and impeccable sense of humor that made the original game such a pleasure to play. If you’re a Wii U owner, you need this game.
The Walking Dead: Season Two
This one isn’t officially confirmed yet. But Telltale Games would be stupid to not capitalize on the commercial and critical success the first season of The Walking Dead has brought them. Therefore, we think it’s safe to assume a second season of The Walking Dead is on the way, and we’re already stocking up on tissues. We’re not quite sure where the story will go, but the folks at Telltale knocked the first game out of the park. So we think li’l Clemetine is in good hands.
This isn’t hyperbole: the original BioShock is a storytelling masterpiece. Now, Irrational Games is coming out with their first title since releasing BioShock in 2007, and it’s a follow-up to that original game, only set in a cloud-city called Columbia. Much like that original title, BioShock Infinite looks to have an amazing art style, a mesmerizing world to explore, and characters we actually care about saving.
Grand Theft Auto V
The release of a new Grand Theft Auto is a big deal. Outside a few expansions for GTA IV, we haven’t seen a new, proper Grand Theft Auto game since 2008. It’s about high time the franchise that made Rockstar what they are today returns, don’t you think? The world of GTA V is massive, and if the second trailer is anything to go by, the game’s characters will be just as memorable as the folks found in previous GTA titles. We think it’s safe to label GTA V the biggest release of 2013.
Dead Space 3
Isaac Clarke returns and he’s brought a friend along for the nightmare (how considerate). Dead Space 3 is the first game in the series to feature cooperative play, although you can choose to play the game solo if you’d like. Many fans are worried that the survival-horror franchise is becoming too “action-y,” but we have faith that Visceral Games will treat their baby right and provide the scares fans have loved since the original game.
DmC: Devil May Cry
The Devil May Cry franchise gets rebooted in early 2013. Dante might be younger, but he’s still the brash, headstrong individual we all know and love. Heading up this relaunch is developer Ninja Theory, who created the excellent Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. If Enslaved is anything to go by, Devil May Cry, or as it’s now being called DmC, is in perfectly capable hands.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
The folks behind Borderlands, Gearbox Software, are taking a crack at the Aliens franchise with Colonial Marines. The game is set a few months after the events of Aliens and sees a group of marines entering the U.S.S. Sulaco in search of Corporal Hicks and Ellen Ripley. As expected, things don’t go so hot and they are forced to fight their way through waves of xenomorphs. Having previewed the game before, Aliens: Colonial Marines delivers the action and scares that made Aliens such an enjoyable film in the first place.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
This guy is a big question mark, but since we love Metal Gear Solid so much, we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and include it on our list. We’re not sold on picking up the story of Raiden after the events of MGS4, but with Platinum Games and Kojima Productions working together on the title, our curiousity is peaked. Platinum knows balls-to-the-wall action, and that’s exactly what this game looks like. Consider us interested.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
This role-playing game from developer Level 5 and animation house Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro) grabbed our attention with its gorgeous graphics and animation, which look like they were ripped right out of a Studio Ghibli film. The game follows a 13-year-old boy who embarks on an epic quest in a magical world in order to save his recently deceased mother. It’s a heavy subject to tackle, but when it comes to Studio Ghibli, nothing is off limits. We fully expect an epic journey that pulls at our heartstrings.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
It’s a South Park game that actually has heavy input from the series’ creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The Stick of Truth is an RPG developed by Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas) and features writing by Parker and Stone, as well as a visual aesthetic that mirrors the show. We’ve always wanted a RPG featuring crab-people, and now we will have it. Crab-people!
The Last of Us
Finally, The Last of Us completes our most anticipated titles of 2013 list. The Last of Us is Naughty Dog’s latest joint, exploring a post-apocalyptic world overrun by a deadly fungus. On paper, that description sounds kind of lame, but with Naughty Dog behind the wheel, you know you’re in for an emotional roller coaster. The game follows an older gentleman named Joel and a younger girl named Ellie as they travel the wasteland looking for food and shelter in order to survive. The game takes heavy inspiration from The Road, I Am Legend and The Walking Dead, among others. We have a feeling this is going to be a journey we won’t soon forget.
Erik Norris is the Gaming Editor for CraveOnline. You can follow him on Twitter @Regular_Erik.