2012 looks to be another great year for co-op gamers, at least initially. While in the past we always seemed to build slowly to a series of fall releases, this year looks to reverse the trend with an action packed middle of the year. Are the summer doldrums a thing of the past? Locke and Nick take you on a magic carpet ride through 2012 in both written and video form.
Things start at the end of January with Neverdead (360, PS3) from Konami, a game in which you play as a character capable of losing appendages and using them as weapons. The four player co-op game will feature a survival style mode with some co-opetition as players try to accumulate a lot of points but staying (un)alive as long as possible.
Our first surprise of the year comes from The Darkness II (360, PS3, PC), a game which only recently announced its co-op modes. You’ll have both a campaign and survival flavors for up to four players, each capable of choosing a unique character in a story that rides alongside the single player game.
Another winter title we’re really looking forward to is the reboot of Syndicate (360, PS3, PC), being developed by former Darkness developer Starbreeze. In the game you’ll take on 9 unique co-op missions based on the classic game. Four players can join up online choosing a specific character class.
Finally the Winter months are capped off with Mass Effect 3 (360, PS3, PC) and it’s four player online co-op mode. Players can create a custom character to be used online with persistant RPG progression and take on numerous survival style missions with friends. All of your progress will affect your single player game, giving players an incentive to go back for more co-op goodness.
Of course these are just the big titles coming out, we’ve also got these on tap for Winter 2012:
Resident Evil Revelations (3DS) - 2 Player Co-Op Simpsons Arcade (XBLA) - 4 Player Online Co-Op Warrior’s Lair (VITA, PS3) - 2 Player Online Co-Op StarHawk (PS3) - 4 Player Online Co-Op Torchlight 2 (PC) - 8 Player Online/LAN Co-Op Ninja Gaiden 3 (360, PS3) - 4 Player Online Co-Op Binary Domain (360, PS3) - 4 Player Online Co-Op Twisted Metal (PS3) - 2 Player Co-Op Inversion (360, PS3) - 2 Player Online Co-Op
It’s been one of our most anticpated games for years now, but it seems Aliens Colonial Marines (360, PS3, PC) will finally shed the vaporware category and hit consoles and PC with a bang. Four player online co-op through the campaign in the gritty Alien atmosphere should make this a top notch experience.
Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City (360, PS3) takes the franchise in a new direction, creating a tactical shooter set in the city that started it all. Players can use persistant characters that they upgrade through gameplay.
I won’t lie, we’re featuring Shoot Many Robots (XBLA, PSN, PC) here because it features Co-Optimus characters Billy and Friends as a usable item in the game. That said, we’re mixing Contra with item collection and character customization for a ridiculously addictive formula. Four player local or online co-op in this is going to be insane.
Diablo...3? Maybe? Possibly. We should know soon if the Lord of Darkness will be joining our co-op gaming regiment.
Shank 2 (XBLA, PSN, PC) - 2 Player Co-Op Dungeon Hunter 3 (VITA) - 4 Player Co-Op Ghost Recon Future Soldier (PC, 360, PS3) - 4 Player Online Co-Op Realms of Ancient War (XBLA, PSN, PC) - 2 Player Co-Op LittleBigPlanet Vita - (VITA) - 4 Player Online Co-Op
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (360, PS3, PC) is a bit of a disappointment after the success of Transformers: War for Cybertron. Gone is the three player co-op campaign, in it’s place we’re simply left with the survival mode from the previous title. Hopefully we’ll see some significant upgrades to that at least.
Star Wars Kinect (360) looks to finally fulfill your childhood fantasies of acting out light saber battles, flying X-Wings, and destroying the Death Star...all from the comfort of your living room. Co-Op play is available through most of the mini-games - just don’t fight over who gets to be Jar Jar.
Battleblock Theater (XBLA, PSN) - 4 Player Co-Op Project Draco (360) - 2 Player Local Co-Op Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 (360, PS3, PC) - 4 Player Online Co-Op
End of Year
The end of the year, as of now, is pretty barren, with only two standout titles. The first we know will have co-op, but we don’t know for sure if it’ll be out. The second will be out but we don’t know if it’ll have co-op.
Borderlands 2 (360, PS3, PC) will be bringing us back into one of the most addictive co-op games of this generation with an all new cast of characters, quests, and of course millions of weapons. Everything we’ve seen from the game looks like a much tighter experience, lets just hope we see it this year.
Halo 4 (360) is promised for a release this Fall, and its 343’s first original Halo title since the whole Bungie split from Microsoft. There’s a good bit of the team still left at Microsoft’s studio, so there should be little doubt they can pull this one off. We haven’t had official word yet on co-op gameplay, but considering every Halo game to date has had it, we’re fairly confident in its inclusion.
And...that’s about it. Of course all these dates and estimates are subject to change. We’ve only gone on the information that was available to us at the time of publishing. In fact, during the course of putting this article together we had one date shift on us. 2012 should be an exciting year for co-op fans, at least the early parts, the end looks pretty barren. We’re sure that space will be filled by plenty of downloadable titles when the time comes.