The Xbox 360 has been out for over seven years now. Think about that for a second. The original Xbox’s lifespan only lasted four years before the 360′s arrival in 2005. There’s been little news of a new Xbox so far; plenty of rumours and ‘leaked’ documents though. If a new console is going to arrive this year, it will no doubt be announced at this year’s E3. With that in mind, just what would we like to see on this new console? No doubt it will have a bunch of features to cater to the entertainment industry but will it have the core titles to go with?
Here’s a list of ten games I would love to see on the new Xbox (or Nextbox… or Xbox 720… or whatever you want to call it).
1. A new Fable
The original Fable was released on Xbox in 2004. By today’s RPG standards, it’s fairly dated, but at the time, features such as morality and an in-game clock were mind-blowing. You could even murder everybody in sight simply by clicking the safety off button. Fable 2 proved a worthy successor to the first but Fable 3 definitely fell short of expectations. Recently, we’ve had a couple of spin-off titles in Fable: The Journey (a Kinect title) and Fable Heroes (a four player Arcade co-op game) but no news on Fable 4. The future of Fable is also unclear due to Peter Molyneux leaving Lionhead Studios (and Microsoft). Whether we’ll see another true Fable game is a mystery but at least we won’t be told “you can do anything!” in it.
2. Halo 5
Halo 4 made somewhat of a return to form in 2012, starting a new trilogy entitled ‘The Reclaimer’. So Halo 5 is definitely on its way and is probably destined to be the first big name exclusive on the new Xbox. A new console announcement in June might be too soon for Halo 5 to be in the new Xbox’s launch window but can you imagine if it was? How better to launch a new console than with Microsoft’s biggest franchise?
3. Rock Band
Rock Band seems to have lost a lot of its thunder. There was a time when a plastic drum kit was the must have gaming accessory. Now, it’s probably gathering dust somewhere. Rock Band Blitz returned to Harmonix’s roots with controller based rhythm action last year on the Xbox Live Arcade. As good as Blitz was (go and download it! Now!), it wasn’t the same. A new Rock Band might not sell as well as it would have done a couple of years ago but I know there are plastic instrument aficionados just itching to come out of retirement.
4. The Walking Dead Season 2
Did you play The Walking Dead last year? If you didn’t, you missed out. Sure, it isn’t the most action packed of titles but since when did that matter? I’ve been craving Season 2 ever since the tear-streaked ending to Episode Five (seriously, go and play this game!). Exact features of the new Xbox are unknown as of now, obviously, but hopefully it has a function to pipe this game immediately into my head the second it arrives.
5. Banjo Threeie
Remember Rare? British company responsible for nearly every good Nintendo 64 game? Whatever happened to them? Oh… Kinect Sports… And Kinect Sports Season Two… It’s kind of ridiculous that we haven’t seen a new Banjo game, given that Banjo Kazooie is hailed as one of the best platformers of all time. Of course, there’s a danger attached to this (see Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts) but if Rare were to get it right… It could be a major selling point for any new console.
Redlynx didn’t have the best track record in games before 2009, largely publishing on mobile devices and Windows. Then, Trials HD launched on the Xbox 360 and Redlynx are now one of Microsoft’s key publishers. Since then, Trials Evolution has broken download records and has become renowned for a track editor letting you recreate the game however you see fit. A new Trials game might be far off but it will be a huge hit for the new XBLA when it arrives.
Forza Horizon came out last year and was somewhat of a revolution for the series. Gone was the ultra-realistic simulation. Instead, Forza Horizon was all about fun – drifting, off-roading, speeding through a sandbox-esque world… No doubt some are already craving a return to Le Mans and the Nürburgring though; so a return to Forza’s simulation would also be welcomed. Of course, Forza Horizon could also warrant a sequel. Forza 4 and Horizon can also claim to be some of the best looking games on the Xbox 360. Next gen versions of both could look incredible.
8. Call of Duty
Hear me out. There’s no doubting we’re going to be seeing Call of Duty games for a very long time. It’s the biggest franchise in entertainment right now. It can also benefit most from some of the rumoured features of the new Xbox; for example, improved streaming and recording capabilities through an in-built video recorder. Even without this rumoured feature, love it or hate it, you can expect big things from Call of Duty in the coming generation.
9. Skate 4
Dear EA, you had me at hello. A skateboard game to challenge Tony Hawk’s dominance over the genre. A whole new flick mechanic; a living free roam city to skate through; online multiplayer to boot. Skate was the kind of game you could put on for a few minutes and spend several hours playing. Skate 2 and 3 followed and were every bit better than the original. And then nothing. Every year I watch your conference at E3, praying on my knees for a new Skate. So here’s my open letter to you. Bring me a new Skate on the new Xbox. Maybe I can forgive you for that Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco then.
10. A new IP?
Sequels are good and all that but nothing beats the fun of discovering a new series. The 360 has helped launch several in its time (Bioshock, Mass Effect) and the new Xbox will hopefully be the same. Game developers receive a lot of criticism for not coming up with original ideas but a new generation gives new game ideas a platform. So the next big thing might still be just forming in a designers head.
This is just one writer’s thoughts on what he’d like to see on a new console. Are there any forgotten classics you’d like to see make a return to a new console? What game could Microsoft announce in June that will have you running to preorder? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.