Courtesy of IGN
Courtesy of IGN

By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Columnist

The next-generation of gaming consoles is upon us. Sony has finally unveiled the Playstation 4, Microsoft is expected to unveil the next Xbox (Xbox 720?) soon, and Nintendo’s Wii U has been out for almost six months now. But what does this mean for gamers? Sure, developers are embracing things like touchpad gaming and new gaming engines will push the graphical limits of games past their breaking point, but what will this generation offer us to make it stand out? What will we see from these new consoles? Personally, I’d like to see these:

1. New IPs

This is a given, but every new console brings with it an eager anticipation for new franchises for us to experience. Developers have already revealed a few titles like Watch Dogs and Destiny, and recent new franchises like Dishonored are expected to truly hit their stride on the new consoles. Serialized franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed won’t be leaving us anytime soon, and we all have franchises we want to see continue onto the next-gen (I personally was ecstatic when Infamous: Second Son was announced). But I want something new. I want explore the world of Destiny. I want experience the next great art game like Journey. I’d even love to play another great platformer like Sly Cooper, and I think it’s safe to say I’m not alone.

2. Continued Emphasis on Storytelling

When video games were first conceived, they really didn’t have stories but rather goals: get the most points, finish the race first, the princess is in another tower, etc. Now, video games have created a level of storytelling that could rival the best in literature and cinema. In the past few years alone, games like Uncharted, Half-Life, Mass Effect, and Bioshock have pushed storytelling in games to unprecedented levels, engrossing gamers in their worlds like never before not just with their narratives but also with the variety and depth of the characters that inhabit these worlds. While I don’t think it’s necessary for every game to provide award-winning writing or agonizingly painful player choice (I loved Bulletstorm and I don’t think it even had a story), I’d still like to see storytelling continue to become more prominent in the medium.

3. More Innovation

I might get some backlash for this, but I don’t mind motion-control gaming. Nor do I mind the addition of touchscreen gaming to the Wii U and PS4 and I have no issue with Quick-Time Events. Why? Because they’re different, plain and simple. They’re different ways to experience a game, and, when used properly, they can even improve a title’s gameplay. Yes, QTE’s are often overused and can sometimes be distracting and there hasn’t been enough reason for the hardcore demographic to be interested in motion-control. But that’s not stopping me from being optimistic that developers will develop better uses for these tools, and I’m certainly going to hope that developers will continue to find new methods for us to experience a game.

4. Female Protagonists

In the past couple years, the portrayal of female characters in games has made great strides forward, but for every one Tomb Raider there are about five Lollipop Chainsaws. For games like Final Fantasy or Asura’s Wrath, the portrayal of women as beautiful beings with skimpy outfits and breasts that defy gravity is usually taken for granted, particularly since men are usually treated as having a perfectly muscular physique and a face that puts Ryan Gosling to shame. These types of games draw heavy inspiration from mediums like anime and manga, so the “over-the-top” mentality can be understandable. But that mentality shouldn’t extend to all gaming genres. Personally, I’d like to see more Samus Arans and Lara Crofts; I’d like to see more strong female protagonists and even strong secondary characters like Uncharted’s Elena Fisher. We already have about a million Nathan Drakes and Master Chiefs; we could use a few more Cortanas and FemSheps.

These are just a few of the things I want to see from the next-gen consoles. What about you, what would you like to see? E-mail me at aynclan@umd.umich and share your thoug