Andrew's Shortlist of Upcoming PC Games for 2009 You Should Be Aware Of

2009 is starting and the first official week of of the year ends today, so here's a short-list of some of the PC games scheduled for a 2009 release to which I'm most looking forward. Again, this short-list (note: it's not even a "list," it's a "short-list") is NOT supposed to be all-inclusive. If I...

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2009 is starting and the first official week of of the year ends today, so here's a short-list of some of the PC games scheduled for a 2009 release to which I'm most looking forward. Again, this short-list (note: it's not even a "list," it's a "short-list") is NOT supposed to be all-inclusive. If I don't include your favorite game in this post, it's not because I'm biased or hate that particular game, it's because your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.

Here's the shortlist in no particular order:


Empire: Total War
Projected release date: March 2009
Genre:
Strategy, Real-Time + Turn-Based
Recent Preview Coverage: Exclusive Naval and Campaign Hands-On Impressions


Empire: Total War will offer grand economic and political strategy plus gigantic real-time land battles, and real-time naval battles in the Age of Sail. Pictured: The Sail. Not pictured: The Age.

This one is a pretty obvious addition to nearly any short-list of promising PC games for this year. The Total War series is known for its epic, era-spanning strategy based on various contentious periods in actual world history, such as the conquest of Rome, the unification of the Holy Roman Empire, and feudal Japan. However, the Total War series has often focused on historical wars between massive world superpowers, while Empire will include new campaigns based on the war between the royal armies of England and 13 scrappy, underdog colonies that came to be known as the United States of America. It's also going to have some of the best-looking real-time naval combat I've ever seen in a game on any platform, and the naval battles seem pretty satisfying so far, at least in my short time with them. The new Colonial America setting also gives the Total War development team a chance to play with new economic options, such as commodity trading (tobacco, sugar, and so on) and fur trading, as well as with new government options, some starring such American luminaries as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, as well as new land army types and new military officers, such as the steady veteran general George Washington. Empire looks like it could provide lots of really cool new content for Total War fans to sink their [collective] teeth into, and hopefully, it will.


Dragon Age: Origins
Projected Release Date: March 2009
Genre:
Role-Playing
Recent Preview Coverage: Interview on the Characters of Dragon Age: Origins


Dragon Age: Origins will attempt to recapture the magic of Baldur's Gate. No, not the console version of Baldur's Gate. Turns out there was a PC one about 10 years ago. Then, fire was invented.

This may or may not be news to you, but the developer we know as BioWare started off making hardcore nerd role-playing games for the PC, and a few years later, the studio created some obscure outer-space game about aliens nobody has ever heard of. Then, from what I can tell, it decided the key to success would be to make outer-space games that went further and further into outer space each time. In 2009, BioWare finally seems ready to return to its roots with Dragon Age: Origins, which will be a fantasy RPG, minus the Dungeons & Dragons license used for the Baldur's Gate series, and minus the setting-free D20 ruleset used for Knights of the Old Republic. I first saw Dragon Age at the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event and was excited by the prospect of BioWare returning to its fantasy RPG roots. Then about four years passed, and I saw the game again. Even though the developer seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on the new game's story, I'm personally hoping for another Baldur's Gate II-style hack-and-slash odyssey. Since it seems doubtful we'll ever get another Baldur's Gate game, I'm hoping Dragon Age: Origins ends up being the next best thing. (And yes, the game will eventually come to consoles as well, but it's debuting first on the PC.)



The Sims 3
Projected Release Date:
February 2009
Genre:
Strategy
Recent Preview Coverage: Interview on the Improved Aspiration System


The Sims 3 will have improved AI, in-depth careers, and much more character customization. It'll also let you strike out with the ladies in even more embarrassing ways. (pictured)

This is another obvious addition to add to the wishlist of most any PC game player (and if you don't happen to be a Sims 2 player, it's OK, there are more than 5 million other people out there who are). One of the most intriguing aspects of The Sims series is how it lends itself to be played in a bunch of different ways. It's either a quirky role-playing-game-like experience where you try to build up one individual "sim" (those funny little computer people who talk in gibberish); or a strategy game where you try to manage a group of sims and all their little needs and wants; or a hands-off ant-farm-like experience where you simply sit back and watch whatever zany hijinks these little computer people with differing little personalities get into (if any); or an out-of-game design exercise where you play as an interior decorator, laying out an outdoor "lot" area like a restaurant or a bowling alley, or designing the interior of a tricked-out home, usually with the help of the free money cheat code. Or it's some combination of them all, since, if you ever get bored of any one of these aspects, you can immediately switch to focus in on another. It sounds like The Sims 3 may not be as open-ended for home designers who want to do nothing but build, build, build, since the game will ship with only one town (not multiple towns to build up and tear down, like in the Sims 2, but the town itself is said to be enormous), and hopefully future expansion packs (another hallmark of The Sims series) will remedy this. The Sims 3 will also have streamlined "motive" needs (no more having to worry about whether the room you're standing in is pleasing enough to the eye), an enhanced life goal system with short-term "wish" quests, and longer career paths that even include moral choices. I haven't asked about this specifically, but my gut tells me you'll also still be able to have two little sims make "Woohoo." For those who aren't familiar with the term, but think they know what it might mean...it means exactly what you think it means.


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Projected release date:
Q2 2009
Genre: Strategy, Real-Time
Recent Preview Coverage: Exclusive Single-Player Hands-On Impressions


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II will offer a unique campaign and lots of violence and gore. In fact, this screenshot is rated M for "Mature."

Dawn of War II is one of the most promising strategy games of the new year, if not the most promising. If you're not familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe, here's a quick primer: It takes place a zillion years in the future, where squadrons of supercharged human Space Marines in gigantic suits of power armor go out and fight pretty much everybody else in the universe, which includes a bunch of different alien races like the Orks (yes, that's how it's spelled), techno-elf Eldar, insect-like Tyranids, and plenty of other races that are all basically a different shade of murderous crazy, and pretty much all hate each other. Because the Space Marines are genetically engineered for battle and fanatically devoted to fighting wars in the name of their crippled, god-like emperor, they actually win a good number of their battles, even against impossible odds...and this is, incidentally, the foundation of Dawn of War II's single-player game. I've had a chance to try out the single-player campaign and from what little time I've spent, it seems like it has every chance of turning out to be the kind of addictive, easy-access, hack-and-slash experience that the development team seems to be shooting for, and should hopefully bring in a lot of new players to the world of real-time strategy. I haven't had a chance to try out the multiplayer personally, but from the sound of it, it's much closer to a more-traditional real-time strategy experience, just highly streamlined (there aren't a bunch of different base structures to build) to minimize building and maximize combat. It's unfortunate that Dawn of War II will apparently ship with "only" four playable races (Space Marines, Orks, Tyranids, and Eldar)...which is actually a pretty substantial number on its own, but fewer than what the original Dawn of War and its expansion packs eventually offered in total (such as the Necron, the Imperial Guard, and Chaos). Even though lunch breaks don't actually exist in my world, Dawn of War II's quickie campaign mission structure should still come in handy for my schedule, and hopefully the multiplayer turns out well, too.


Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III
Projected release dates:
2009, maybe.
Genres:
Strategy, Real-Time and Role-Playing, Action, respectively
Recent Preview Coverage: Starcraft II Hands-On Impressions
and Blizzcon 2008 Diablo III Hands-On Impressions


No, I didn't forget either of these games. Did you really think I would?

Yeah, duh. I know. Not much to say except that these two games are probably the most no-brainer of the no-brainer additions to whatever list of upcoming games that every PC game player out there is keeping tabs on. Also, that last sentence was probably the ugliest sentence I've ever written in my entire life. Maybe there is one other thing to say: Hopefully one or both of these games actually does, in fact, get released this year. We'll see.


See All Videos for Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty


See All Videos for Diablo III



That's the short-list so far. Again, this isn't supposed to be a comprehensive list that has every single 2009 PC game on it, just some of (but not all of, I admit) the more interesting ones I think should be on your radar. One other thing: I purposely haven't included Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare's massively multiplayer game based on KOTOR, but only because this game's release date appears to be even more uncertain than the Blizzard games.

Did I miss any? (Just kidding, of course I did.) Let me know with a comment. And if you're upset that I didn't include your favorite game on this short-list...again, don't blame me, blame your heritage.

Discussion

227 comments
cybersleuth58
cybersleuth58

Let's see: Sequel to Freelancer, Homeworld 3, a new WIng Commander series... Need I keep going? It would also be nice if the Star Trek games could be re-released to play on an Intel Mac.. :oP

invinciblesuman
invinciblesuman

Blizzard have mercy on us.. STARCRAFT 2 this yr.. Pleaseee e

Douken
Douken

Or this list is incomplete or there are no more demanding games coming? With a 8800gt you can run everything these days. And that won't cost you over $130, hey that's cheaper than what my last card (Radeon 9250 PCI) costed.

Douken
Douken

What happened to mass effect 2??

caktus9
caktus9

what about mass effect 2?

caktus9
caktus9

What about MASS EFFECT 2??

Chicken_101
Chicken_101

This is going to be a excellent year. Especially with Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2:Wings of Liberty coming out. Yeah!!!

KlnP1987
KlnP1987

Mass Effect 2 oh yes :D and Starcraft 2 I wont be surprised in the least if it gets pushed to 2010 cause they decide to "improve gameplay or experience" by the time that an diablo are ready we be plugging it into the back of our heads like the matrix?

watercandle
watercandle

ETW and DAO - My head is exploding! Need more money for PC

inferna_hermit
inferna_hermit

1.Dragon Age - 2.Empire Totalwar - 3.Starcraft II - 4.Dawn of War II - 5.Diablo 3 ...after playing these game + Masseffect 2 i'm ready to die .

Divine_Dragon02
Divine_Dragon02

I haven't looked through the comments below, but am I the only person who is interested in "Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising"? It looks absolutely stunning judging from the interviews and footage so far and is set for (speculated but cant be far off) a March - April release (If neither than much later in the year). Will probably be well up there for GOTY if anyone recognises it amongst all the other well known titles and sequels that are bound to come out out over 2009. Will be World In Conflict all over again :P Other than that, I'm looking forward to E:TW and The Sims 3 (Which had better blow The Sims 2 out of the water!)

SolarConception
SolarConception

I vant Street Fighter 4 on PC!!! It better be a good conversion or they can shove it. :-p But Capcom have made some pretty good, if rare, efforts @ converting to PC the last few years.

Jaywalker9876
Jaywalker9876

Darkfall is more than a game bakkoda24, its a revolution. Why don't you go fanboy somewhere else. I'm not a fan of Darkfall the game, I'm a revolutionary! Viva le revolution!

Bakkoda24
Bakkoda24

@ thedarkbice, Starcraft is beyond hyped-up. Blizzard spent nearly all of 2008 telling us what a great game it will be only to announce it will be split into 2-3 separate games. Diablo III however, is the second sequel to, in my opinion, one of THE best RPG Hack'n'Slash ever made. @Darkfall Online fans: Unless you enjoy paying a 12-15 monthly fee (which most of you may be fine with) for a game that is known to still have bugs after CB and OB will most likely be not worth your money when it is first released. But that is also my opinion. Those of you that enjoyed WoW know what it's like. @ Muldervayne, Its been said before but I shall say it again. That line is from Monty Python. Particularly the Holy Grail Movie, I believe. Please pull you head away from your XBOX 360 ELITE and COD4 to enjoy society. And no, this does not include anime.

blueliquidplus
blueliquidplus

"No not the console version of Baldurs Gate, turns out there was a PC Version about 10 years ago, and then fire was invented" lol... BG, BG:ToSC, BGII:SoA, BGII:ToB were all awesome... BG2 was alot of fun running around Amn.

thedarkbice
thedarkbice

booo u left out hearts of iron 3!!!! I'd take away starcraft and diablo and stick that in together with prototype. We've seen hack n' slashers/grind RTSes enough already.

santanu_k
santanu_k

So nice disappointing list ;)

mpiliotis
mpiliotis

All I see on this page is blah blah blah blah blah Diablo III. 'nuff said.

Janersulce
Janersulce

u made a great choice of games i culdnt make a beater one my self... actually i could i would add prototype but since it was the release date was pushed back so many times it is still a doubt if it is coming out on1-st of april or will it be pushed back even furder

chriezz
chriezz

Street Fighter 4 !!, and Gears of War 2 for PC (i'm only dreaming, am i?)

DigitalExile
DigitalExile

If this is what we've got to look forward to it's going to be a very boring gaming year for me. I'd love for Homeworld 3, as Mcwalen said, or a Freeelancer 2, but I'm not sure if either will happen (though at least it's highly possible for a H3). A new CoH expansion is coming out too, so that's something, and Black Mesa (mod) should hold me over until Episode 3. Until then I think I'll have to step backwards and look for older games to play to tide me over.

GidsyWidsy
GidsyWidsy

Starcraft 2 is the game i've waited 4 the most! 10-11 years! how much more messed up can u get? Honestley, i don't know y i even bother. Wat about desert bus? HUH? It's so boring, kids play it for CHARITY! Talk about child labour laws.

Marzillius
Marzillius

The only games I want at the moment is Battlefield Heroes, StarCraft II, Command and Conquer 4/Generals 2 (none of them annouced yet) and the Fifth Generation of Pokémon (which is released like... 2010/2011 -.-).

Mcwalen
Mcwalen

Please Santa, give me Homeworld 3....

Mcwalen
Mcwalen

Nice list, dude. I just hope that the Blizzard games are going to be released ths year. Not expecting it though...well maybe Starcraft II.

Orledjro
Orledjro

The fact that this list is limited by unkown vgame release dates is the only exuse i can see for it's chose.

Bauholzwolf
Bauholzwolf

Darkfall Online looks pretty promising.

PolskaKing
PolskaKing

U forgot GW 2, but then again still no release date for it

_owen_
_owen_

well, i have to say i'm keen on seeing cities xl. looks like i might be a minority though...

Arvendragon
Arvendragon

STARCRAFT FOREVER! Play me. US East Into.the.Storm. :P BEST. GAME. EVER. WORST. USE. OF. CAPS LOCK. AND. PERIODS. EVER.

willie1963
willie1963

What ever happened to Storm of War? I better sit down getting tired of waiting!!!!!!!!

rayrayob
rayrayob

You forgot CHAMPIONS ONLINE....DUH!!!

sealover8
sealover8

Pretty good list. A game that I'm DEFINITELY gonna be watching out for is Darkfall Online. If that game can deliver on half the things it promises, it's gonna be awesome.

mbashour
mbashour

yea these seem great although i never got into diablo or warhammer. i just watched the dark void video and that game looks pretty sweet too. i agree with hl2:e3...whenever that comes out lol

masterofevil1
masterofevil1

well not sure about many otehr people but the liust suits me just fine, lookin forward to every single one of those games except sims, never played it before tho like Andrew said, 5 million people do so cant be that bad, but D3,DOW2 and E:TW im especially looking forward too, already pre-ordered E:TW and DOW lol Muldervayne - watch monty python u prat best comedy in the world imo :P

SolarConception
SolarConception

The writer probably knew that no matter what he wrote, someone would be offended... :-p Any more complaints and we may have to bring out the comfy chair ;-)

TheOmen69
TheOmen69

Muldervayne is missing the Monty Python reference... Lighten up.

Glorparin
Glorparin

Have some sense of humor, please :P

Muldervayne
Muldervayne

"it's because your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries." Am I the only one who thinks that the author of this article is offending us??? How can he address to us readers saying our mother is a hamster??? And at the end of the article the pumpkinhead says "don't blame me, blame your heritage. ". GAMESPOT, review your own workers!!! This is just rude behavior!

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

Well, I am waiting for the PC version of Street Fighter 4. It will be a blast to play a proper next gen fighting game on PC with full details. Also, Burnout Paradise seems to be another great game, and the uprising expansion for RA3. Undoubtedly, I can't wait for Sims 3; I started playing Sims 2 Free Time again.

Wraither
Wraither

It's going to be SUCH a good year for RTS/RPG lovers!!!!!

GreyMarine
GreyMarine

DoW2 and StarCraft2 .................. This is gonna be a sweetest games ever

Fox-HTV
Fox-HTV

A decent enough list if you're waiting for SC2 like I am; lol, it shrouds all the rest under the veil of the shadowless Xel'Naga. ;-) Otherwise, it's quite short but decent enough, since all games here are in one way or another must-haves. (if only Blizzard didn't overshadow so...lol :p)

olak329
olak329

omg starcraft 2...cant wait really. i had seen the video of the gameplay, better graphic,same interface which is soo cool more unique units, damn cant wait for this game...

DrogosIronfistcg
DrogosIronfistcg

Diablo 3 is the Precious!! Me wants! Me wants the precious! Give us the Precious damn dirty hobbits'es!!!

bankerdanny
bankerdanny

I REALLY REALLY hope that Bioware uses the melee style combat from BGI and II and not the incredibly tedious turn based system used by Never Winter Nights and Lord of the Rings. I also hope that the party controls are BG and not NNW. The whole point to the ground and issue commands is also to step intensive and tedious. It slows play necessarily.

eddy96_1
eddy96_1

yea diablo 3 and starcraft 2 are definetly at the top of my list for sure.... theres no doubt that starcraft 2 will b released this year but cross fingers for diablo 3