Gearbox's next game
Dallas based Gearbox Software has slowly become one of the biggest and busiest independent game studios there is. The developer has just released two titles this month (one of them being Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway) and has two announced games in development (Borderlands and Aliens: Colonial Marines). But Gearbox already has at least one unannounced project in the works and it could be major.
Even Gearbox head man Randy Pitchford, who will be directing the game's development himself, is quoted on the Gearbox web site as saying, "It's big. It's, like, 'look-at-our-line-up-and-imagine-something-even-bigger' kind of big." Rumors are the game could be some kind of Halo game project (and Gearbox did handle the excellent PC port of the original Halo) but so far those rumors have not been confirmed.
2K Boston/Australia/Ken Levine's next project
2K Boston/Australia (it will always be Irrational Games to us) hit a home run with 2007's BioShock and while a sequel is in the work it's mostly being developed by 2K Marin with little input from BioShock's creative leader Ken Levine. So what is Levine and his team working on for their next project? Good question.
One clue was found by Shacknews over 18 months ago when a legal document listed X-Com as among the titles Irrational Games had developed. 2K Games had purchased the classic sci-fi game property from Atari (one of Atari's many fire sales) back in 2005 so it certainly is a possibility. On the other hand it could be a game that's being handled by 2K Australia's offices with Levine directing 2K Boston on yet another (perhaps original) property. It's a safe bet that no matter what the game turns out to be it will generate tons of interest among BioShock's many fans.
ZeniMax Online Studios MMO title
Many people may be familiar with Bethesda Softworks but not as many are familiar with ZeniMax Media, its parent company. The Maryland based organization has some major names on its board of directors including movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS head Les Moonves. In August of 2007, ZeniMax announced the formation of ZeniMax Online Studios, an all new game development company devoted to making MMO titles.
Many have speculated that ZeniMax Online's first MMO game will be based in Bethesda Softworks' Elder Scrolls universe but so far the company has not announced any details on their first game's plans. It is known that the game is being headed up by Matt Firor, who was a major force behind the development of Mythic Entertainment's Dark Age of Camelot title. It's also known that ZeniMax recently got a $300 million investment, part of which will be used to help develop ZeniMax Online' first game. You can bet that it will be at least a year, if not more, before details of the game will be announced.
Blizzard's next MMO game
Even before the release of World of Warcraft back in the fall of 2004, Blizzard was one of the very few developers that can be counted on to create games that are both good and generate millions of unit sales. Even still the huge success of their first MMO game (nearly 11 million subscribers at last count) took everyone, including Blizzard, by surprise. In January 2007 Blizzard;s first commercial expansion for the game, The Burning Crusade, sold 2.4 million copies in just its first 24 hours. The second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is planned for a Nov. 13 release and sales are expected to be as high or higher.
While Blizzard will continue to expand World of Warcraft, it is known that it has begun the hiring process for their next full MMO game projects. Blizzard, as per their way, has refused to discuss any details at all on the game other than that they are indeed ramping up the team to work on the project. A sequel to World of Warcraft would appear to be unlikely and before the announcement of Diablo III this past June many assumed that Blizzard's next MMO might be based on the Diablo universe. So will Blizzard's next MMO be based on a previous franchise or will Blizzard do something completely original for their next major project. We won't likely know what they have planned for several years as they will most likely stay silent until something playable can be shown to the public.
As you can see there are a ton of games out there that have the potential to be the next major PC game franchise. Furthermore, we haven't scratched the surface of all the unannounced titles out there just waiting for PR folks to sent out the first press release. Look for a second "Black Ops" article in the near future.