Sunday, 20 May 2012

Will Dungeon Crawlers be the Big thing this year???

This week, the day that countless gamers have been waiting for arrived.

Diablo 3 has finally been released (much to everyone's joy and delight), and countless players revved up the disc drives, with one hand twitching anxiously over the keyboard while the other hand sits resting on the mouse ready to play as they wait for the loading screen to disappear.

I am one of the shameful few who didn't pre-order (or purchase) the game and whilst tears of joy may have filled up the eyes of many a tears were of regret, and are kept deep inside under a layer of anticipation for when I do actually buy it.

Of course, waiting a while might have been a good thing considering all the issues people had authenticating to Blizzard's servers.

The Diablo series has captivated many a gamer since 1996 (myself included), and although many other games were available before and after of a similar style (The Ultima series, Icewind Dale etc.), the isometricly viewed, strategic RPG was forever defined by Blizzard's blockbuster hit.

The inclusion of multiplayer was also an incredible step up from what most considered to be an entirely single player experience. An expansion pack (Diablo : Hellfire) followed a year later and everyone was loving it.

Eventually Diablo 2 was released in 2000 and followed up on the success of the original. It surpassed all expectation and ended up being superior to the first game in every way.

The inevitable expansion pack for Diablo 2 : Lord of Destruction was released and even though many players would continue to play both of these games for several years to news of Diablo 3 surfaced.

Over time the genre began to drop in popularity somewhat and subsequent games with a similar style (The Dungeon Siege series and Titan Quest as examples) just didn't seem to have the same impact.

 Over the next few years, less of these types of games were released and it seemed that this genre was on it's way out.

Then in 2008, Diablo 3 was announced and people began to show interest again in a big way. Any gamer that played the first two suddenly had their faith in the genre revitalized and the excitement began to build once again.

In 2009, Torchlight was released by Runic Games and due to it being partly made up of by Blizzard North's previous staff (the sub-studio that was responsible for the original Diablo games themselves) it definitely showed us that there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had from this genre.

The incredibly solid port of Torchlight to Xbox Live also showed us that games like these can be successfully made for console as well. 

So now we're in 2012 and as previosly mentioned...Diablo 3 has been released and almost anyone with a PC is playing it as we speak.

However, this isn't the only reason that this genre is set to make a comeback this year. It certainly shows us that one game that's taken 11 years to come out can be incredibly popular considering how many of us used to play the previous games.

 Torchlight 2 is due for release soon, and will also include a multiplayer aspect to it's gameplay.

It's certainly going to be an improvement on the first game if any of the gameplay videos and screenshots are anything to go by. And I'll be honest in saying that I am actually just as excited about this game as I was for Diablo3.

Baldurs Gate, which was originally released in 1998 with great success is now getting an enhanced remake for PC, Mac and the Ipad and will  be released later this year.

This genre is now looking to make it's way to other platforms as well this year as well.

 Heroes of Ruin is due for release on the Nintendo 3DS and looks like it might be a brilliant portable helping of dungeon-crawling and loot collecting. It's also set to utilize Spotpass and Streetpass functions to allow for collection of different loot from your friends.

Ruin (or Warriors Lair) is a PS Vita and Playstation 3 title which will be playable between both consoles and will also be released later this year.

So, with all of this in mind, it's probably a safe bet to say that the genre has definitely made a come-back.

Which other developers jump on the bandwagon remains to be seen, but if it's any indication...the announcement in 2008 of Diablo 3's release may have set off a chain of events that bode well for this genre's future.



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