Every generation introduces gamers to a new franchise developed by either an upstart studio or an established developer. These creative geniuses develop worlds that we would have never even imagined. They push the boundaries of imagination and interactive media while allowing us to go on adventures we never thought possible. Growing up, most of these individuals were gamers like us and just wanted to spend their lives contributing to the hobby we love.
The previous generation was a glorious one as we were privileged to play games such as God of War, Halo, Forza Motorsport, Kingdom Hearts, Splinter Cell, Fable, and many, many more. With the release of the Nintendo Wii U, announcement of PlayStation 4, and the impending announcement of Microsoft’s next console, it looks as though we’re winding down on the great series being introduced this generation and moving on to the next. Even though we’re still going to experience great games like The Last of Us and Watch Dogs this year, it will soon be time to look ahead.
Before we do so, we’d like to look back on this generation and choose what we feel are five of the prominent series created this time around.
Gearbox Software originally introduced Borderlands as an everyday shooter that had no real distinction from any other shooter outside of its ridiculous amount of weapons. However, throughout development, Borderlands went through an unorthodox change that resulted in the franchise being built around a stylized visual feel that no gamer truly saw coming.
Unexpectedly, Borderlands was met with critical and retail success, followed by four stellar campaign-based DLC that were not only fun as hell to play, but absolutely massive. Due to this success, Gearbox was able to build on this foundation with Borderlands 2, featuring new Vault Hunters, new campaign-based DLC, and one of the best online co-op experiences available in gaming.
The day BioWare revealed Mass Effect there was no question about it: We wanted to play this game immediately. Every fan of the franchise who was a part of this love from day one knows exactly what we’re talking about. Frankly, Mass Effect is the closest thing to Halo that gaming received this generation. Like Halo, ME was able to branch outside of the gaming industry and add comic books, novels, clothing, action figures, and much more to its expanded universe. While other games have tried to do the same, very few have had the success that Mass Effect has.
Not only did Mass Effect deliver, but its ability to addict gamers to its storyline gave way to two more installments, creating an amazing trilogy to behold. Although Shepard’s story has come to a close, gamers are salivating to see where BioWare is able to continue the universe they’ve come to know and love — just like we are.
Gears of War
This series hit store shelves and immediately flew off of them by eager gamers who wanted nothing more than to take the fight to the Locust horde. Gears of War quickly became the highest selling game of 2006 and it hasn’t looked back since. Spawning two true sequels in Gears of War 2 and 3, the franchise has recently seen the release of a prequel in Gears of War Judgment. While Judgment hasn’t been as critically well-received as the original 3 releases, but that still hasn’t stopped gamers from eating it up.
It will be interesting to see what the team at People Can Fly and Epic Games choose to do moving forward now with the eventual release of Unreal Engine 4. Obviously, this new technology is going to allow the Gears franchise to take another step forward, unless the prequel was the finishing touch on what has already been a formidable series — hopefully not though.