There's already a host of big titles coming up, but what about the more general overview of what we can expect from the games industry this year? Take a peek at what players everywhere will be talking about as 2008 progresses.
The dawn of a new year brings with it the exciting prospect of new possibilities, especially as developers look to expand on their previous efforts with even more astonishing games. So here's a glimpse into some of the things to look out for as we venture into the unknown of 2008, onwards.
Increased emphasis on story-driven games
As games continue to establish themselves as a powerful storytelling form, a stronger focus on plot driven narrative has already emerged, with more professional writers being hired in games to flesh out the virtual characters. Through the additional power granted by PlayStation®3 and the massive amount of storage space on Blu-ray Discs™ there have already been excellent examples of story heavy games, such as Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Heavenly Sword, which streamline the amount of information presented on screen and focus on making the combined gameplay and storytelling experience as seamless as possible.
Watching developers explore this further should be one of the more exciting things to observe this year, especially with the PlayStation®3 bound Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, White Knight Chronicles, Final Fantasy XIII and Resident Evil 5 around the corner, promising not just an expansion of some of the medium's most successful brands but the growth of their story and gameplay potential as well.
More multimedia crossovers
Games have never been bigger in both sales and scope and now it's not just the games industry taking advantage of that - companies in other mediums are looking to crossover their franchises and increase the range of entertainment their intellectual properties can offer. While movie tie-ins have always been popular, the vast amount of power afforded by systems like PlayStation®3 opens up new and previously unexplored avenues.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is such a title, having been described by creator Dan Aykroyd as the next part of the Ghostbusters saga, utilising his unfilmed Ghostbusters III movie script. He also intends to use his own likeness and voice for the game along with the rest of the principle cast from Ghostbusters, letting them bypass the potential aging issues of going back to the big screen - a huge advantage for any filmmakers and actors wishing to maintain visual consistency across sequels and spin-offs, nicely complimenting CGI works such as Beowulf.
As also demonstrated by other titles such as Scarface: The World is Yours, this is unlikely to be the last time a popular licence has been taken from one medium and continued in games.
Sports sports sports
Not to be overshadowed by 2007, 2008 is the year for several big sporting events that will naturally have a number of game tie-ins to match. While the tennis extravaganza of Wimbledon was somewhat of a missed opportunity last year, there should be a couple more examples of the summer sport to make up for it during 2008, such as Sega Superstars Tennis which will be served up on both PlayStation®2 and PlayStation®3 - meaning the only thing you'll need to serve up are the strawberries and cream.
The Beijing Olympic Games will get its fair share of officially licensed titles with Sega taking up the baton during the summer. For those after something a little less serious, Atari has Asterix at the Olympic Games on PlayStation®2 to coincide with not only the event, but also the live action movie of the same name.
Major football tournament Euro 2008 has yet to emerge with any announced games, but we're likely to see at least one associated title as Electronic Arts currently holds the official license and has created games for the past two tournaments, linked with its successful FIFA series.
Extra control in your hands
2008 should see a new dawn of user generated content as the community based service Home is released on PlayStation®Network. Players will not only be able to communicate with each other, but also develop and customise their own virtual apartments with various games, decorations and accessories. The result will be a space unique to the user, constantly growing to their needs.
Similarly, innovative platformer LittleBigPlanet will give players a fresh way to express themselves, allowing you to develop physics rich environments where original levels can be created and posted online to share with other users - expanding the boundaries of game creation in the process.
Approaching the next level of genre blending
The PlayStation®2 generation really came into its own when it mixed two or more genres into a playable and cohesive whole. The Grand Theft Auto series blended 3D action, shooting, driving and mini-games into some of the most popular and acclaimed games ever seen - something that was never truly achieved before on that scale. This concept should be taken even further thanks to the increased power and storage capabilities afforded by PlayStation®3 as more titles become an umbrella for multiple genres. Grand Theft Auto IV is already hinting towards this and there are likely to be many other examples coming up within the year.