GTA 5, Xbox 720 & iPad 3: NowGamer’s 2012 Gaming Predictions

Nick Jones

Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3, Portal 2 – 2011 has been a great year for gaming. But what's in store for is in 2012? Read on to find out.

Published on Dec 13, 2011

GTA 5, Xbox 720 & iPad 3 – what more could you want from a year of gaming? Well, quite a lot more actually.

We know some things: BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect 3, GTA 5… But there will always be more. Much more.

So we’ve put our heads together to come up with the most likely announcements, happenings and, or course, the games coming your way in 2012.

GTA 5 will release in October and on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC

Nothing’s been confirmed in terms of release date or formats for the GTA 5 launch, but we’d bet the farm on it being released towards the end of next year and on all three formats simultaneously.

There’s always a chance – like with GTA 4 – that GTA 5 will suffer a delay of some kind and that’s probably why Rockstar didn’t advertise a release date with the announcement trailer.

Historically though, the time between GTA game announcements and the release date is no more than 12 months.

So, that would make it October, probably, but by the end of November certainly.

Nintendo’s Wii U re-evaluated at E3, this time it’s better understood

The world’s press wasn’t exactly bowled over the Nintendo’s Wii U reveal at last year’s E3. Most people’s reaction was a resounding “huh?”

Well, here’s what the Wii U is. It’s like a Wii but a bit more powerful, about the same as an Xbox 360. It comes with an iPad-style controller that isn’t portable and you can only use one of them at a time. The other players have to use old Wii controllers. And possibly 3DSes. And Gamecube controllers. And there are loads of potential uses for the iPad-style controller like maps and menu screens and as an AR viewer and… oh, we ran out of ideas.

Hopefully Nintendo can shed some more light on the Wii U and its uses. Because we’re really struggling.

Microsoft unveils the new Xbox at E3

All signs point to a new Xbox being shown next year: Microsoft has been hiring, and hints (and outright admissions) have been cropping up on a number of developers’ CVs.

Also, where have all the first and third-party 360-exclusive games gone? There aren’t any because everyone’s working on Xbox 720 games. Maybe.

E3 would be the perfect time to show the next Xbox because a) it potentially ruins Nintendo’s Wii U conference and b) Sony will almost certainly be talking about PS3 and PS Vita.

But what can we expect? Probably all the usual stuff: faster graphics, more memory, 1080p and 60fps for everything. What will be more interesting is the software (and more specifically) how Xbox Live develops and how closer integration with social networking could benefit the service.

We expect the battle for next-gen will centre on the software rather than the hardware, and that the next Xbox will have a version of Windows 8 at its heart.

Cloud will be a part of the software battle – but not the complete solution – so a storage medium of some description will be required for big games and to keep retail happy. Blu-ray, on balance, is the best solution here.

Will the next Xbox be revealed next year? It just feels like it’s time.

Kinect 2 incorporated into Xbox 720 hardware

If Microsoft is serious about capturing the casual side of the market, then it needs to continue to support and develop Kinect.

A more advanced Kinect would better track body movements and could bring us the holy grail of motion control, a Minority Report-style UI.

Accurate voice recognition is more interesting, however, and we’ve often wondered how this kind of control could work. How good would an RPG be where you could freely talk to NPCs?

Both Milo and Mass Effect 3 demonstrate that this is something that developers are thinking about, so don’t be surprised if it’s a common feature in next-gen gaming, starting with the Xbox 720.

Halo 4 to bridge the gap between Xbox 360 and Xbox 720

What’s the best game to launch a new Xbox with? That’s right, a Halo game. And when’s the next Halo game out? That’s right, at the end of 2012. Does this point to the Xbox 720 release date? Well, we can’t rule it out.

If Halo 4 was an Xbox 720 launch game it would certainly shift new consoles but then wouldn’t you also want another 8 million plus sales from all those 360 owners? Probably, yes.

So why not have the best of both worlds – release Halo 4 on both 360 and 720 but with significant improvements for the latter version to tempt the core gamers to upgrade.

It’s never happened before but if any Xbox-exclusive franchise has the pulling power to bridge two generations of games consoles, then Halo would be it.

No PlayStation 4 shown at E3, or at any point of 2012

Tactically, there are two ways Sony can go with the PS4. Rush it out to compete head-to-head with the next Xbox or wait a few years for the technology to evolve so that it’s significantly better than the next Xbox and launch then.

The public perception would be that it’s ‘next-gen point five’. It could work.

However, we’re not even sure that Sony’s in a position to be contemplating the PS4’s release alongside the next Xbox, so it’s likely to be the latter.

The signs are that we’re not going to be seeing a PS4 until at least 2013, but more likely 2014. Remember the infamous 10-year plan? Well, that doesn’t even finish until 2016 so if you’re waiting for a new PlayStation, don’t hold your breath.

PS Vita to sell worse than 3DS

Don’t get us wrong: we’re excited about the PS Vita launch.

As a piece of technology PS Vita is right up there with anything that Apple has to offer. It’s powerful, sexy and has just about every piece of technology you could name.

Unfortunately for Sony the portable gaming market has changed somewhat since the launch of the PSP (and DS for that matter) and people now have access to console-quality games on their mobile phones.

Which they already own.

The trick for PS Vita is to persuade people they need one in addition to their smartphones. And at £250? In this economy? That’s a tough sell.

So, initially at least, we expect PS Vita sales to be slow but will probably pick up later in the year with the inevitable price cut. Just like…

3DS sales to pick up, Nintendo to deem it a ‘success’

The signs are already there of a 3DS revival. A keener price point and the launch of a Mario game (and Monster Hunter in Japan) has seen sales increase over the Christmas period.

This will probably continue into 2012 if Nintendo returns to the formula that we so effective for DS. Basically, celebrities playing casual games on the console.

2011 has proved that 3D isn’t enough to the sell the 3DS alone. Now let’s get Girls Aloud on it and watch the monies come pouring in.

Half-Life 3 won’t be announced

Oh Valve, you little tease. We’d like nothing more than for Half-Life 3 to be announced next year but what we don’t want is for Valve to announce Half-Life 3 and then make us to wait four years while it perfects it.

Ideally, Valve would announce Half-Life 3 on a Friday and release it on the following Tuesday. That would be ballsy.

But Half-Life 3? Next year? We can’t really see it happening.

Gears Of War: Exile revealed as a Gears prequel

Okay, now that the Gears Of War trilogy has been finished, and Epic has moved onto Fortnite, what’s happening with Marcus Fenix and his chums?

Well, if rumours are to be believed then development of a Gears Of War prequel has already begun and will be shown at E3 next year.

Epic has already registered the name Gears Of War: Exile so that would tie in nicely with the prequel idea. A Gears Of War game that’s all about Marcus Fenix’s dad? It could happen.

Respawn’s first game will be revealed

Remember Respawn? This is the development team formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella when they left Infinity Ward.

There are also a lot of other ex-Infinity Ward developers at Respawn too. Check out the staff profile page to see just how many of them worked on one or all of the Call Of Duty games. It’s a lot.

But what can we expect from Respawn’s first game? Another near-future war shooter?

Well, here’s a screenshot of its first game game. A very blurry screenshot that could be, well, just about anything. Are those destroyed buildings? An alien sky? A mushroom cloud?

It’s pointless guessing. In fact, if you’ve got any of that Hollywood-style anti-blur imaging software, now’s the time to tell us. Please.

Bungie’s first game for Activision will be revealed

Meanwhile over at Activision, Bungie has been hard at work on its first real game since Halo: Reach. There’s a good chance we’ll see it announced this year.

But what could it possibly be?

A quick look at their jobs page shows us that it’s looking for a Sky Artist (so it probably has sky in it) and a 3D Artist (so it is probably a 3D game) and, ooh, a Gameplay Designer (so probably has some kind of gameplay in it).

Whatever Bungie’s new game is we just hope it hasn’t got zombies in it.

Assassin’s Creed 3 announced

And… just in the nick of time. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations proves that the series is running out of steam with Ezio and the Renaissance setting.

It’s time for something new.

By all means keep the basic premise (we know you will Ubisoft) but we need an overhaul of gameplay mechanics. This could come with a new, more modern setting and the introduction of proper guns and vehicles.

We’d favour London or Paris during Victorian times, but that’s a total guess. You might as well just stick a pin in a history book.

Batman: Gotham City announced

Wait, what? No, bear with us, it could happen.

Just going on the cycle for the previous Arkham City announcement, we’re predicting that the next Batman game – whatever it’ll be called – will be at the Spike TV Awards next December.

Oh, and there was a reference made to it (maybe) during the Joker’s acceptance speech at this year’s awards.

That’s it.

Well, maybe this prediction is more out of hope than anything else.

Call of Duty: Iron Wolf will be revealed as Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2

What’s this Call Of Duty: Iron Wolf, you say? Well, that’s the rumoured codename for the next COD, supposedly being developed by Treyarch.

It’s an interesting codename because it ties in nicely with the codename of an elite Lithuanian special ops unit that operated at the end of the Cold War. And that ties in nicely with the whole Black Ops Cold War thing.

Whatever the next Call Of Duty game turns out to be, we do know one thing for sure: there will be one next year.

WoW slump continues, but Blizzard shows Titan at Blizzcon

The MMO market is moving in one way and one way only, the free-to-play model.

WoW tipped its hat to this with ‘free to play up to level 20’ this year; it is an indication that this trend will continue in 2012 and more MMO-players will abandon subscription-based MMOs. Even with the release of the new WoW expansion, Mists Of Pandaria.

But if there’s one thing to arrest this slide (sorry, Star Wars: The Old Republic) then it’s got to be a new MMO from Blizzard, this one with more of a casual slant.

Titan was announced a little while ago, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it revealed at the next BlizzCon, once Diablo III has been released. Actually, and in spite of the WoW slide, it could be a really big year for Blizzard next year.

iPad 3 released, Retina screen, Siri-controlled games, 1080p games output

We were all a little bit disappointed that the Retina screen was omitted from iPad 2 this year, so it’s no surprise that the HD LED screen is high on our wanted list for iPad 3.

That, along with a faster processor, better graphics and Siri will probably be enough to make the iPad 3 the best-selling tablet since the iPad 2. April? May? Probably.

The thing we’re most interested in, though, is if someone can work out how – or if – Siri technology can be incorporated into games.

Could be awesome.



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