Preview for 2007

The year of 2007 will be an interesting year for online FPS players.

Now, to say something a bit less cliché, we will see a few important releases, including new multiplayer-based iterations for two of the longest running FPS series (Quake and Unreal), a legend that makes a comeback (Team Fortress 2) and a few other surprises. How will they fair online against the new Battlefield generation?

Without further ado, these are the events to look out for on this new year.

  • Unreal Tournament is unstoppable: the sequel to the most popular ‘twitch’-style deathmatch game today arrives this year, powered by the ever popular FPS engine Unreal 3. Like its predecessor Unreal Tournament 2004, it’s loaded with eyecandy and plenty of game modes to select from, including popular vehicular objective-based mode Onslaught. It will go directly against games like the Battlefield series and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Officially set for a release on the first half of 2007, with a public demo available one month earlier.
  • Quake Wars begin: id Software’s official amalgam of Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory’s asymmetrical objective-based gameplay with Quake’s futuristic sci-fi settings, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is being developed by Splash Damage and brings vehicular combat to the award-winning Enemy Territory mix of class-based awesomeness. Developed with their new MegaTexture&#153 technology and using feature sets such as the Stuff&#153 system, it’s id Software’s answer to the claims that the Doom 3 engine can’t do outdoor areas. Whether or not the netcode will be up to the task is the big question. Set to be released somewhere during 2007, with an open beta taking place before that happens.
  • Team Fortress 2 is alive and about to capture the flag: the MIRV bomb has been dropped this year when Valve let us know that Team Fortress 2, one of the longest-running vaporware game announcements ever, was still under development; more than that, the game had changed considerably from the realistic-looking army concepts shown years earlier, and now it was a twisted look back to classic Team Fortress’ roots, with a cartoon-like look. It’s set to be released along with Valve’s Portal and Half-life 2:Episode 2 (both still mainly singleplayer games). The current release date is 2007.
  • Crysis is impressive: Developer Crytek impressed gamers by creating Farcry, a game set on a stunning paradisiac tropical island, and now they’re at it again, developing Crysis, a game set on a stunning paradisiac tropical island, but one in which the tree’s leaves react to your movement. While Farcry isn’t a big participant on the online multiplayer popularity contest, Crysis is looking really awesome and it’s a given that some players will want to see that stunning paradisiac tropical island move its tree leaves online. The game will support a few standard multiplayer game modes, plus a couple of additions to the mix. This one will probably try to gather to the Counter-Strike crowd; it’s surely one tough task for a game. Oficially set for a release on the first quarter of 2007.
  • Quake 4 trying a comeback: despite a not very satisfying first year of existence, Quake 4 is still trying to stay afloat above the water level of inexistence. The first good news is that the battle for the competitions mod has finally ended, and Q4Max is the winner. Regardless of who won it, however, players are the ones who get the prize – they won’t have to keep two different mods with different settings and features (that serve the same purpose) updated on their machines anymore, and won’t have to select between different servers. Much like the battle between OSP and that other mod (what was the name again?) during the early Q3 days, this might be the help Q4 needed to have a more steady player base. The second good news is, developer id Software has also announced an official deathmatch map contest (about to end this month); maps will be later distributed on an official pack, so the game will have one more chance to prove it’s worth the community’s support… or vice versa.
  • Progaming is severe business: last month, the CPL announced they’re creating Severity, meant to be their new competitive game. It will feature both 1v1 and 5v5 modes, having different game rules and physics for each of them. Trying to beat both Quake and Counter-Strike at the same time, maybe? Nobody knows much more about the project, but it’s safe to say it’ll find some heavy opponents on the online arena, as well as some pretty vocal crowd ready to fully support the initiative (or burn it down to ashes). Public testing to begin sometime in 2007.
  • Coop strikes again: Valve brings the dual coop shotgun to the table with both Left 4 Dead and The Crossing. These two games have been recently announced by Valve, and will be using the Source engine to bring cooperative multiplayer (each one with its own twist) to the online table again. Little else is known about the games. Under development at third-party studios, Left 4 Dead is set for a 2007 release, and The Crossing doesn’t have a release date set yet.

And finally, I think the big question is this: will there be enough fans of online, vehicular-based mayhem to pay off the investment made by UT2k7’s and ET:QW’s developers? Will they crush Battlefield, be crushed, or just split the player base? Hard to say by now, but should be an interesting thing to watch.

Runner-up to the big question is the twitch deathmatch struggle. With Q4’s comeback, Severity to begin testing, and UT2k7’s release, this year will be crucial to show developers whether or not the grunt-like multiplayer deathmatch is a thing of the past.

So, did I miss something (other than Duke Nukem Forever)? Feel free to comment on how much I forgot about some very special new multiplayer game on the comments.

2 Responses to “Preview for 2007”

  1. Zeh Says:

    Here are my personal predictions, so in one year I can look at my comments and feel like a dork.

    ET:QW and UT2k7 will be released and in the end both will share an equal portion of the online played base, probably splitting the pie with BF2 and BF2142 in four close slices. Of those two, whichever gets released earlier will have the upper hand. UT2k7 has some advantage as it’s not based on only Onslaught and “Conquest” or “Warfare” or whatever’s the name of the new gaming mode, but I think it won’t be enough to get a huge impact, specially because the DM crowd will take some time to make a switch.

    TF2 is a huge contender, but how many of the current online players remember or have played Team Fortress Classic, or the original Team Fortress? Where does it gameplay fit today, in a world so divided between the rocket-yielding futuristic grunts and the bush-sitting modern-world soldiers? Regardless, specially because it’ll come in a HL2EP2/Portal/TF2 bundle, I’m guessing it will be huge amongst the non-CS:S playing HL2 fans, and it will have numbers more or less similar to DoD:S has today.

    Q4 won’t have a comeback and will continue to struggle, being played only by a handful of people (I’d love to be wrong on this one).

    Severity will be released on a very beta state (which is good). The progaming crowd will come up with dozens of recipes to make it “the best game EVAR”, but it will still be ignored by most players so it won’t have a huge impact on the online numbers.

    Crysis will look great and be totally ignored online. The hefty system requirements won’t help.

    Left 4 Dead will slip to 2008 (at least), and The Crossing will also end the year with a release set for “2008”.

    All this while CS and CS:S continue to reign supreme.

  2. Beleriand Says:

    Thats a nice prediction Zeh. For me, TeamFortress2 is the most interesting game 2007 (beneath the singleplayer-games coming with it). I’m missing new features in all those upcoming multiplayer-games. Players seem to be got stuck in their favoured 4 shooter-genres. One type of players prefer these unrealistic, fast shooters (Quake and Unreal). Some players the more-or-less realistic soldiers-and-vehicles-games (BF2, 2142). Then we have the CS-game-type (which is occupied forever by CS1.6 and CS:S) and some friends of World-War Shooters (DoD, DoD:S, RO and CoD). I’m feeling that not much players preferring one of these genres will change to another genre, if publishers continue concentrating on continuations. I remember that some years ago BF1942 created a genre and players had a new favourite. But most of these upcoming games 2007 do not create something new, even if they are released with mind-blowing graphics like we can see on some Crysis-Shots. I hope that TF2 with its cute comic-look-a-like, even if its not creating a new type but waking one that slept a while, will bring new breeze to online gaming. But I could also imagine that we need some kind of MMOSG (Massive Multiplayer Online Shooter Games) as a mix between world of warcraft and shooters based on historical, present or futuristic scenarios. Such a game would be much more coop-based (remember the clans and guilds of warcraft) but also has a competitive team-vs-team aspect.
    Yeah maybe, maybe not…

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