The statement made by Official Xbox Magazine on the cover of their March issue that "You WILL Buy This Magazine" is a bold one to say the least, and has already gotten a number of gamers scrambling to think of what title could be absolutely impossible to resist.
When CVG first reported the mysterious announcement that would be unveiled in April's issue, our minds locked onto the 'Xbox 360' section of the announcement. But now the magazine's editor has set the record straight, and revealed that the secret reboot has already been guessed.
We're used to being let down by what publishers like to call 'a surprise,' so we went straight to an official announcement of the HD remake of Halo: Combat Evolved. While those rumors are still circling confirmation, OXM's editor Jon Hicks has stated the game in question is most definitely not Halo: CE.
But that wasn't the only detail he gave. Hicks was impressed to see that the reboot had correctly been guessed in the article's comment thread. There's plenty to read through, so we've gathered them all here, and given our own predictions of which are the most likely to see.
Extremely Unlikely/Not Going To Happen:
Blinx: An entertaining but challenging "4D Action Game" that launched a sequel, but to less-than-spectacular sales. Developer Artoon has since moved on to developing for Nintendo.
Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine: A new game for Sonic the Hedgehog's long-time rival would make a handful of people happy, but it's not going to happen.
How to be a Complete Bastard: The book has already seen a transition to game form, but there's no way this makes the cover of OXM.
Jet Set Radio: We'd love to see it, but with almost none of the original team still at SEGA, who would make it?
Perfect Dark: The most recent games haven't reached anywhere near the success that had been hoped - especially for an Xbox 360 launch title.
Q*bert: We may be dreaming of another romp with the 'bert, but we'd lose our internet access if we said it was remotely likely.
Steel Battalion: This one's not a bust, but has sadly already been announced as an upcoming Kinect title.
Theme Hospital: No comment.
XCOM: Already announced by 2K Marin, and will apparently only be launched on Xbox 360 and PC, not cross-platform like Hicks has implied.
Somewhat Possible/Could Happen:
Beyond Good & Evil 2: A definite possibility, since reports have gone quiet over the game's development recently. It has already been announced and received a teaser trailer, so there is a chance this could be it.
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay: A cult favorite of gamers and video game clerks alike, this isn't completely out of the question. Developer Starbreeze Studios isn't making The Darkness 2, but we'll still keep this one as an outside choice.
Conker's Bad Fur Day: The little game that could, Conker refuses to leave the minds of many gamers. The original was received fairly well by critics and developed a following, but we would be shocked to see it grace the cover of the mag.
Elite: A space trading game from the 80s that might be easily dismissed. The game did influence many other projects with its unique take on player interactions, including EVE Online, so it can't be overlooked.
GoldenEye: The recently-released Wii title brought gamers another chance to relive one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time. The game did not receive an HD upgrade though, and hearing that the most beloved multiplayer shooter would be coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3 would be more than worth an OXM cover.
GTA: San Andreas: Some can argue whether the game qualifies as one of the greatest of all time, but it's been a while since we've heard anything about a new GTA title.
Hitman: Any fans of the series who look at the blueprint background of the magazine's cover will instantly start planning their path through the environment to execute the perfect attack. Rumors of a new title have been circling for a while, so this could be it.
Jade Empire: One of the best RPGs that showed BioWare's strengths in the genre, we would love to see another title announced. Even if it's on the minds of the Doctors, they've got Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3, and Star Wars: The Old Republic to take care of first.
MechWarrior: We know that the game is in production as a reboot to the franchise, but no news has surfaced on the game since the developers ran into some legal trouble. It could be assumed that they've been hard at work, but this one would really come out of the blue.
Shenmue: We've been hurt too many times before, so we won't be holding our breath.
Sim City: Several games have since taken over the large-scale city sim space, and more than enough years have passed for a new Sim City to bring plenty of new mechanics to the table. The Sims Medieval may be next for the team, but the capitalization of 'Will' could refer to the game's creator Will Wright. But on consoles?
Star Wars: Battlefront: No question that the game had both massive strengths and scores of fans, and a fully competent online component could go a long way. Given LucasArts' recent reigning in of projects, this one can't be expected too strongly.
Star Wars: KOTOR: As mentioned, BioWare is already busy with other major franchises, so unless they've perfected cloning, this one won't happen.
High Likelihood/Any Day Now:
Counter-Strike: Valve's former heavyweight in competitive online shooters - the company has since been spending its time on zombie-survival and puzzle-solving. Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 are constantly bringing in money, they've got both the resources and the talent to give fans what they've been begging for: Counter-Strike 2.
With publishers boasting that their shooter will be the one to take down Call of Duty, CS2 on consoles would have the fans and publicity needed to steal the thunder away from Medal of Honor, Battlefield 3, and whoever else steps into the ring. If nothing else, an announcement of Counter-Strike 2 would explain what they've been spending their time on for the past few years. Because it sure isn't Half-Life 3.
Rainbow 6: There has been no shortage of games under the banner of Rainbow, but a few less than stellar titles have leaked quite a bit of momentum away from the franchise. Plenty of squad-based military games have been vying to take their place, but a true reboot would bring some hype and quality back to not only the game, but their loyal fans.
The blueprint background of the magazine could apply to any tactical combat game, but a CoD-sized relaunch of Rainbow Six would be something to make note of. We know that Ghost Recon will be making a return before too long, and we would be happy to see Team Rainbow get to share in the glory.
Star Raiders: A classic space shooter before enemies were little more than triangles and meteors. The title may be somewhat obscure for gamers who weren't into video games during that period - but we know that Incinerator Studios is working on a cross-console release of the Star Raiders for 2011. The release date is what makes this one a possible choice, but we won't be the only ones a little disappointed if that's the case.
S.W.A.T.: The spin-off of one of the greatest RPGs to date, Police Quest, this one may come as a surprise to many. After moving through various license-holders, S.W.A.T. eventually became the property of Activision through its merger with Vivendi. That alone makes this one a compelling choice. Activision is up to their ears in CoD money, but they don't have a top-level squad-based shooter to advertise as well.
With SOCOM 4 on the horizon, and more than a handful of development studios working on whatever shooter they're thrown, it's a strong likelihood that Activision will come out with something sooner rather than later. S.W.A.T. is as likely an option as any of their properties, so consider this one a strong contender.
Syndicate: The isometric game that put players in charge of a squad of cyborg agents in a futuristic metropolis is set to make a comeback in a big way. Hailing from the golden age of the Amiga and SNES, the game gave players the responsibility of handling various missions, objectives, and managing resources to become more than just a gang, and the authority overseeing an entire city.
Starbreeze Studios is unavailable to make the next Riddick game because they've been at work on a new Syndicate title for over a year. Electronic Arts is the one set to publish the unnamed reboot, titled Project RedLime. The game is intended to be a complete reinvention of the game, so it definitely meets all of the criteria for the cover reveal. As without a doubt the most interesting of the top choices, we have to hold out hope that this may be the one.
So there you have it, the top contenders for the next major reboot/relaunch/reinvention coming to next-gen platforms in the near future. We know that the game won't be making it to the March issue of OXM due to delays in development, and editor Jon Hicks has warned that we shouldn't expect to see any more news concerning the game for some time.
Sadly, that means we'll have even more time than we would like to scour over this list, with the knowledge that somewhere above is the very title set for a major multi-platform relaunch.
Which game do you hope gets announced in April? Are there any titles that haven't made the list that you wish would have? On the bright side, many of the games we've named here seem to be making their way to another incarnation sooner rather than later. So no matter where your favorite title lands on our list, there is every possibility that we could be way off, so don't lose hope just yet.
Conker will never die.