The lights are on
Complaining about a lack of new IP is a favorite pastime of
gamers, and the undercooked launch lineups of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox
One served up plenty to gripe about. If you're still bemoaning the industry's lack
of new IP, however, it's time to find something else to whine about; there are
plenty of great-looking new games on the horizon.
Admittedly, the titles that initially debuted on our new-gen
consoles were pretty abysmal. The launch lineups for both systems were
dominated by multi-gen sequels, and neither company offered new IP that reached
must-have status. Knack
was the PlayStation 4's only new triple-A title, along with two indie exclusives,
Xbox One offered up four new IPs – Ryse:
Son of Rome, Crimson
Within – but LocoCycle was the only game of the pack to achieve even a mediocre
score of 7. All in all, it felt like neither Sony, Microsoft, or any of the
major third-party publishers were willing to bet on new IP, which made critics
and gamers alike understandably skeptical.
However, plenty of new franchises have been announced since
then, and as far as I can tell, there's something for everyone. Feel like
scoffing in disbelief? Let's take a look.
Man's Sky, Fortnite, and
Middle-earth: Shadow of
Mordor are the four original titles that I'm most excited about, and not
just because they lack sequel numbers in their titles. From asymmetrical multiplayer
match-ups to dynamic enemy hierarchies to an entire procedurally generated
universe to explore, all four games sport some promising
new ideas I haven't experienced before in games.
We're also getting some rare new IP from big-name
developers. Microsoft fans got Titanfall
from the Call of Duty veterans over at Respawn earlier this year, and September
will deliver Bungie's first non-Halo game in over a decade: Destiny. After years of
working with other developers' licenses, The Order: 1886 will be Read
At Dawn's first original IP, and so far it looks
great. Shooter fans looking for something different will want to check out Sunset
Overdrive's Tony Hawk-inspired action, or The
Division's mixture of MMORPG elements and squad-based warfare.
But we're just getting started; action fans who prefer a
sword to a firearm have plenty of options as well. Capcom's gorgeous Deep
Down features four-player co-op, procedurally generated dungeons, and a surprise
future setting. Additionally, both Microsoft and Sony announced exclusive, original franchises for their new systems that focus on melee combat: Platinum Games'
Monster Hunter-esque Scalebound,
and From Software's gorgeous and punishing-looking Bloodborne.
The latter was discussed all week during E3, and won our award for Best
Into horror instead? Forget your Resident Evils and Silent
Hills – you've got Shinji Mikami's The
Evil Within, Suda51's Let
It Die, and Techland's newest open-world zombie sandbox game, Dying
Light, to get excited about. There's also Alien:
Isolation, which, even though Alien is an existing license, is still
offering players a different experience in that universe and is so far living
up to the excellence of the original film.
Even the racing genre, which has long been dominated by
countless Gran Turismo and Need For Speed installments, has two new IPs
speeding toward the finish line. Evolution Studios' Drive
Club focuses on team-based progression and dynamic challenges, while Ivory
Crew is attempting to recreate a massive open-world version of America for
players to race across – even if they did decide to wipe Minneapolis off the
map, which is pretty unforgivable as far as this Minnesotan is concerned.
If you're still not convinced that there are plenty of new franchises
being worked on, just look at Nintendo's E3 offerings. Nintendo! The industry
veteran is notorious for sticking to tradition, but it still managed to show
off five new franchises: Splatoon,
Name S.T.E.A.M., Yoshi's
Woolly World, Hyrule
Warriors, and Captain
Toad: Treasure Tracker. Sure, half of them are still based on the company's
existing characters, but it beats the by-the-number sequels we've all grown
accustomed to seeing, which should be enough to get any Nintendo fan
The shifting focus of the console makers also guarantees we'll
be seeing plenty of new IP in the years ahead. Indie games have become
a linchpin in this new console generation; they provided Sony with an early
boasting point to differentiate its platforms from the competition, and
Microsoft has since spent
a great deal of effort and time playing
catch up. Indie games are almost always new IP, and frequently explore
nontraditional ideas and mechanics that simply wouldn't fly in triple-A games; that's
why players like them so much. E3 had no shortage of awesome original indie
projects, including Below,
and the Blind Forest, Galak-Z,
Witness, and Hyper
Light Drifter, many of which we discussed
anew here. Sony and Microsoft's willingness to accommodate MMOs and free-to-play
titles should also expose console gamers to more new IP as well.
The video game industry will never suffer from a shortage of
sequels, and undoubtedly some the new IP listed above will spawn their own endless
succession of annual installments. Like most gamers, I'd love to see more original
titles and fresh ideas over iterative offerings. But the current outlook for like-minded
gamers is actually pretty darn great. Discounting some of our multi-game concept covers,
we've featured as many new franchises on the cover of Game Informer this year
as any other year since our 2009 redesign – and we're only halfway through
2014 (rest assured, we're likely to feature a few more original surprises before
the year is over).
The next time someone complains that the industry is
creatively bankrupt or that publishers are unwilling to take chances on new IP,
gently remind them to take a look at what's actually out there. If you can't
get excited for at least a couple of games on this list, you're probably
investing in the wrong hobby.
What new franchises
are you most excited about? Share your picks in the comments section below!
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.