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Letters from the Front

The third year of last generation ( if you count the Xbox 360’s launch date in 2005.) was defined by innovation and invention of something new in gaming. It was the year that developers really came to understand the new hardware and technological leaps in the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and delivered games that would go down in gaming history despite not even knowing that their games would be heralded as a new decade came and a new generation would soon follow in 2013. Some of gaming’s most iconic franchises like BioShock or Assassin’s Creed made their debut in this year while Wii owners were treated to Super Mario Galaxy, one of the greatest Mario games and 3D platformers ever made.

The sheer amount of games that released in 2007 was astonishing, from Halo 3 to BioShock to the Orange Box, the industry was at its peak in 2007 and it delivered the receipts. 2007 was the biggest year in gaming history and the gaming industry hasn’t really been the same since then and it hasn’t reached the same heights as it did in 2007.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Before Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty was the small kid on the block but with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the franchise went from the small kid to a household name overnight. It wasn’t undeserved either as Call of Duty 4 was an impressive and innovative game. 2007 was the year that World War II was still in fashion but Modern Warfare changed all of that, Call of Duty 4 moved away from its World War II roots and into the modern day, creating a masterful campaign that was inspired by the headlines of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that were raging at the time. Sure, Call of Duty isn’t the same as it was in 2007 and the late 2000s but everything that Call of Duty now has was innovative at the time, it pushed the boundaries even more.

However, it wasn’t the campaign that stole the show it was its multiplayer. With a full set of maps that would later become iconic, 18 player online mayhem, kill streaks, perks, and an RPG like leveling system and class system, Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer would change the world of online multiplayer forever. On top of an innovative multiplayer, you had Xbox Live and combine the two and you have a winning formula. Thanks to Xbox Live and Activision’s deal with Microsoft, Modern Warfare helped make the Xbox 360 the home for Call of Duty and the premier choice for online shooters. Thanks to Modern Warfare, the series has dominated the industry for a solid 12 years.

BioShock

BioShock was a game changer. Thanks to Ken Levine and former Looking Glass developers that helped make System Shock, BioShock was an intelligent game that made you think. BioShock isn’t like any other game out there and even today it isn’t like any other game out there in the modern day, with its Ayn Rand-like objectivism and its philosophic teachings BioShock remains one of the most unique games that I have ever played. The opening sequence and the Fort Frolic level remain some of the most unforgettable moments in gaming history. The story that BioShock told and the introduction of Audio Diaries and how the game felt like a radio play remain a massive influence. BioShock was ahead of its time and its still a wake up call to the industry, 12 years after its release.

The Witcher

2007 was a heavy year for games and a lot of those games were releasing on consoles but it grabbed most if not all the majority of the attention span, but PC still had some exclusives up their sleeves. Based upon the books that was first written in the 1990s by Andrzej Sapkowski and developed by CDPR, the original Witcher was a groundbreaking RPG that shifted the gaming industry forever.

The Witcher was a very mature tale set it in a medieval world. The notions of good and evil were thrown out for a more realistic morality system in which everything is a grey line while the game mechanics also strayed from the normal controls of TPRPG / TP games and its mature themes were revolutionary which inspired numerous games in the years since its release 12 years ago.

Assassin’s Creed

The original Assassin’s Creed sparked the beginning of an iconic franchise that would become one of the biggest franchises in Ubisoft’s portfolio. The OG Assassin’s Creed didn’t launch without its issues but it was like nothing else you could play at that time and place, it’s visual take on Jerusalem was gorgeous but it was its stealthy combat, the historical narrative in a point and place that was never seen before in videogames, the shadowy narrative and much more kept players interested. It’s mechanics inspired games within the rest of Ubisoft’s catalogue like Splinter Cell and others, this is one of the games that would make 2007 a legendary year.

Rock Band

The original Guitar Hero and its spin-offs was raking in serious cash for the now defunct Red Octane and its publisher Activision and by 2007, the music genre was exploding and was at its very peak. However, by the time that Guitar Hero III and Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s released in 2007, Harmonix who were the original creators of Guitar Hero had moved to create Rock Band. Like its sister franchise, Rock Band made use of a plastic guitar with buttons that you hit in a quick time event to correspond to the notes that were being shown on screen. But unlike its sister franchise, Rock Band allowed you to take control of the entire band and with that, something new and refreshing was born.

Rock Band quickly rose to the top of the music game genre and became the go-to party game and it would go to spawn several sequels, including a spin-off titled The Beatles: Rock Band that would release in 2009 but thanks to the economic depression in the United States and the overabundance of music games, the genre started to decline and games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero fell out of favor and by 2010, the genre was well past its prime.

Super Mario Galaxy

The Wii was a legendary console. It was a revolution in gaming. A year after its release, the risk that Nintendo took paid off and Nintendo reentered the gaming sphere as absolute legends and kings of their craft, the likes of which wasn’t felt since the GameCube released in 2001. The Wii came to dominate the seventh generation in ways that nobody could ever predict in a world where there were better and more powerful consoles like the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.

Super Mario Galaxy came at a time where the world was still head over heels over motion controls and it changed the platform genre forever. The creativity of Super Mario Galaxy’s level cannot be understated, this was a game that wasn’t afraid of risks and it looked really good on the console and it proved that you didn’t need an HD TV or HD graphics to create a beautiful game.

The Orange Box

While Half-Life 2 and its two expansions may have been the draw of the Orange Box, it was Portal that stole the show. The Orange Box arrived to consoles in October 2007 compiling Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and a small little game called Portal.

Inspired by a student project from Digipen students who were hired by Valve, Portal mixed first person puzzle-ing with a weird and quirky story that was directly set within the Half-Life universe. By making great usage of momentum redirection, puzzles, and unusual physics, Portal made gaming history.

Halo 3

“A hero need not speak. When he is gone, the world will speak for him.

Halo 3 was a legendary game.

On September 25th, 2007 the final installment of the original Halo trilogy released to the world and it was a huge success with a killer marketing campaign; Halo 3 became the biggest entertainment launch in history and it ended up being the best-selling game of 2007 and I ended up being very obsessed with it. My evenings in late 2007 ended up being a mix of Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

It wasn’t the sales or the hype of Halo 3 that made it a legendary game, it was the experience. The experience of ending an epic journey that began six years earlier with the launch of the original Xbox and Halo: Combat Evolved, another legendary game that changed the gaming landscape. People across the world was talking about this game and building new experiences and friendships across the world, if it wasn’t for Halo 3 then I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends on Xbox or I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to meet them in person if it wasn’t for Halo 3. The memories of this game are ingrained in my memory, Halo 3 was culturally significant and it remains a golden moment in gaming. Much like the rest of the games in this article, Halo 3 was a watershed moment in gaming history.

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