For almost a year now, I've been writing this column, where I look at current trends in gaming and make wild speculations about how they'll play out in the future. As 2011 comes to a close, I'd like to look back on some of the predictions I made throughout the year to see if there's any truth to any of them. Here are just a few of the most noteworthy:
Nintendo Will Release a New Console in 2012/2013
Way back in February, I wrote a piece called "The Wii's Swansong," in which I explained that the coming of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was an indication that the Wii was at the end of its lifespan. (Read the full article here.) I predicted that we would see a new Nintendo console in 2012/2013. As E3 drew nearer and nearer, we began hearing rumors of something called "Project Café," which later was publicly unveiled as the Wii U, scheduled for a 2012 launch. I was right, and I took the time to boast about it in a piece called "When You're Right, You're (Kind of) Right." (Read that here.)
Minecraft Is the Future
In a year completely packed with sequels, prequels, and HD remakes, one little indie game exploded onto the scene that I felt was doing some brand new things, as well as some things other games had attempted but hadn't quite perfected yet. That game, of course, was Minecraft. The thing that caught my attention at first was the fact that Minecraft's game world is (theoretically) infinite and randomly generated. Sure, random generation and infinity are ideas that have been at the heart of puzzle games for decades—Tetris is an example of both of these ideas at play—but Minecraft took the concepts and applied them to 3D terrain. (Of course, the randomly generated 3D voxel terrain was an idea that Minecraft took from Infiniminer, but Minecraft added the infinite aspect. Also, Minecraft's 3D terrain is far more complex than Infinimer's ever was.)
I think this is still very true. The recent announcement of Fortnite shows that even Epic Games, the guys behind Gears of War, are drawing influence from this indie gem. I stand by my prediction that Minecraft will be looked back upon as one of the most influential games of this generation.
The Next Call of Duty Is Black Ops 2
I have played just about every Call of Duty game since the series began, and, for me, Black Ops was probably the best of all of them. I know many would disagree, but there's just something about Black Ops that feels completely unlike any other CoD game. Perhaps it's the time period the game is set in or the more liberal application of color in the backgrounds. Anyway, I'm not the only person in the world who adores this game; saying it was a massive success would be putting it lightly. I mentioned a while back that I firmly believe Treyarch has finally found their niche in the Call of Duty world with Black Ops, and they would be wise to cash in on that with Black Ops 2 next year rather than try to invent a new Call of Duty sub-IP.
Now, I've heard the rumors about how Treyarch's next game might be called Iron Wolf, since some developers were spotted online playing a game of this title. However, it's highly unlikely that the developers would publically play a Call of Duty game this early in the development process. Also, many video game projects are given code names during development, which generally change before the official release. For example, Modern Warfare 3 was referred to as Project Colossus at one point.
And it should also be pointed out that Viktor Reznov from Black Ops was said to have used "The Wolf" as an alias. Perhaps Black Ops 2 will be his story?
Don't Get Too Excited for Half-Life 3 Yet
It's an unspoken rule of the game industry: We won't stop seeing rumors about Half-Life 3 until Half-Life 3 is actually released. That being said, I wrote a nice little summary of the rumors we saw emerge around this year's SPIKE TV Video Game Awards. I wrapped up the whole thing by saying that you probably shouldn't get your hopes up quite yet. Since then, Valve's Chet Faliszek has explained that there was no truth to any of these rumors. I was right. For now. Of course, I would absolutely love to see 2012's E3 prove me wrong.
Nintendo's Not Going Anywhere
Earlier this year, Nintendo went through a period where it seemed like they could no longer make good decisions. I explained why some of those decisions were bad in a piece called "Why Nintendo Can't Fail," but in the end I had to admit that the Big N is going to keep persevering and will eventually reclaim their throne. The reason: They have too many great IPs that are beloved by gamers everywhere. Alas, the 3DS is finally taking off in a pretty huge way, thanks in large part to Mario. Great long-standing exclusive IPs will always keep gamers coming back to Nintendo.
Now, these are just a few of the predictions I've made over the past year, and there are many more coming in 2012. I'll see you next year.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*