What follows is my visionary and cautionary tale of what will come to pass as Square Enix takes over the reins on some of gaming's most beloved franchises.
Hitman 5: Penultimate Zeigeist of Kings
We join Number 47 in his latest adventures, his trademark black suit now features many chains, buckles and pouches. Jesper Kyd is replaced by Nobuo Uematsu on soundtrack duties. The opening cutscene is 12 hours long and features at least 8 hours of longing staring by 47 at love interest. His first mission is given: "Assassinate John Smith, local drug lord", you attempt it but fail miserably as you get defeated time and time again by the first guard you encounter. You try and try and try again, each time being doomed to a half hour cutscene showing your pitiful demise to swelling orchestral chords. A hint box pops up: "If you are having trouble, try levelling up before the fight." You spend the next 12 hours hunting rats for XP. Then, once you have enough levels to face off against the boss safely, you try once more and as soon as you come face to face with the boss the game goes to a cutscene and you die of sleep deprivation before it is over. And that's just the first level.
Deus Ex 3: Crystalline Dreams of Oepdipal Schadenfraude in the Sky
JC Denton returns in this thrilling turn based RPG. Progress through more than 2000 hours of content, of which only 2 are actually relevant! Watch as JC Denton's hair becomes blonder, taller and more outrageous in style with each level gained! Thrill to canned combat animations featuring a sword 5 times taller than Sears Tower! Remain disengaged and impassive for hours on end as you watch cutscenes! Go and make a cup of tea - they're still going! Walk the dog too - this might be a while, he's still crying about that girl, you know, the one who got ganked by that guy who was totally evil, but JC Denton was obilivious to. Actually, you should probably get some sleep now, we lost enough people with the first boss cutscene in Hitman. It's OK, by the time you wake up and get back from work tomorrow, he'll almost be done crying. Sure there's nano-tech and the ability to restore her to perfect health using technology, but don't question the writers - she's dead. She was stabbed in the middle of the hospital ER by the badguy and she's dead. Now stop poking holes in our plot and watch more cutscenes because you're asking too many questions.
Thief X-12.2[b]s9 (paragraph 4)
Garrett travels through time to help popular Disney characters defeat the evil ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Innovative and revolutionary new controls for the series mean that you can only move in one axis at any given time! This changes the entire dynamic of the genre as the controls suddenly become another layer of depth which you need to conquer in order to become the new spirit of Christmas.
Tomb Raider: Underworld
Lara Croft battles her way through yet another adventure, coming face to face with her arch-nemesis - herself. The pseudo-mysticism kicks up a notch as she battles her doppelganger for . . . Wait a minute, that was the last Tomb Raider game.