Video games, like movies, are largely franchise based—if a game does good it will likely be rewarded with a sequel. Some games are created with the intention of a sequel (or in the case of Mass Effect, a trilogy) and some sequels are made in large part to satisfy gamers clamoring for a new one, and really, why would the developers deny them when it is essentially, easy cash. Good sequels are ones that build off the original and create something altogether new, not just rehash old ideas and throw in a new multiplayer mode. Two of the most anticipated games of 2010 in my list are sequels and one of a game that, if it succeeds commercially and critically, is almost guaranteed a sequel of its own.
1) Bioshock 2
The first Bioshock was a rarity for games of this generation—it had only a single player campaign, albeit a lengthy one with an engrossing story, but no multiplayer. The sequel to the critically loved Bioshock is getting multiplayer and it’s changing the perspective of the gamer from mysterious human to mechanical Big Daddy. In the first game the Big Daddies, with their high tech machinery and impenetrable body kitswere your enemies so it will be interesting to see how the story plays out when you are in their shoes. The multiplayer has been the object of some derision, with fans saying it looks tacked on to appease the multiplayer hoards but only time will tell how the story and experience holds up against the hard-to-beat original.
2) Mass Effect 2
Planned as a trilogy and developed by one of the smartest game developers working today, Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 has all the makings of an “Empire Strikes Back” middle-movie-of-a-trilogy sequel. If you asked me, “Empire Strikes Back” was my favorite of the trilogy so I have high hopes that Bioware is using that film as a model for their follow-up—I’m talking more action and more characters and everything bigger and better. The first game was hampered a little by somewhat wonky controls but word is that they have taken gamers’ complaints to heart and tweaked them to make them more workable.
3) Alan Wake
This mysterious title by Remedy Entertainment, the developers of the popular Max Payne series, has been gaining more and more buzz as word slowly leaks out. Word is that it is a psychological thriller influenced by one of my all-time favorite TV shows, “Twin Peaks” as well as “Lost” and the works of author Stephen King. There haven’t been too many survival-horror games on the Xbox 360 besides the Condemned series and Resident Evil 4, so Alan Wake sounds extremely promising. Lets just hope it actually comes out next year.