Seeing footage of XCOM: Enemy Unknown at this year’s PAX: East quickly reminded me how much I longed for the glory days of well executed turn based strategy. Not only did the XCOM look incredible, it also seemed to mysteriously capture the tone and pedigree of the original title. If you’re anything like myself and have been waiting for a proper release day for this long anticipated title, we’ve got great news, the wait is almost over! XCOM is set to invade North America on October 9th 2012 for both 360 and PC. (click for more info)
The Gears of War franchise has done a whole lot for multiplayer gaming including an incredible cover mechanic, horde mode, and more polish than the Heisman trophy. So why will Gears of War 3 change shooters forever? Two Words… Karen Traviss. Video games have changed a lot over the past decade. Gone are the days of silent (and boring) heroes mindlessly running through a labyrinth while blasting creeps with a “B.F.G.”. Much like the transition from silent film to “talkies”, the average gamer has come to expect more substance from their games, even shooters. If the name Karen Traviss is unfamiliar to you, Karen is a former journalist and defense corespondent turned science fiction writer. Her novels are so well written that it often feels as if you’re in the trenches with these soldiers with every bullet whizzing by overhead. On top of writing a salvo of Star Wars books, Karen is also responsible for the Gears of War novels that take place between Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3. These are not your average “video game books” and are all spectacular in their own special ways. Lucky for us, the folks at Epic Games decided that Karen would be the best person to bring this new level of realism and immersion to the franchise. That’s right, Karen is the sole author of Gears of War 3: Brothers to the End.
The future of shooters lies not in kill streaks and copy paste story telling, but in the strength of narrative. With Karen’s help Epic Games is set to redefine what we come to expect from shooters. In the same way that Bioware redefined the RPG with Baldur’s Gate, Gears of War 3 will become the new standard in action-storytelling that all future shooters will attempt to emulate. Sure, these are some bold words, but I can tell you one thing; mixing the stories of Karen Traviss with Epic’s stellar gameplay should create a concoction more explosive than a lambent Brumak…you’ll see.