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Opinion – There's No Shortage Of New IP On The Way

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, Contrast and Resogun. Xbox One offered up four new IPs – Ryse: Son of Rome, Crimson Dragon, LocoCycle, and Fighter 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.

Evolve, No 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 and plays 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 PlayStation Exclusive.

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 Tower's The 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, Code 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 salivating.

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, Ori and the Blind Forest, Galak-Z, The 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!

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