2007 Might Have Been One of the Most Influential Years for Video Games, EVER

Samantha Loveridge

As we hurdle towards the end of 2017 and prepare our weekends and our wallets for games like Super Mario OdysseyCall of Duty: WWIIStar Wars Battlefront II and more, it’s particularly lovely to remember what the gaming landscape was like 10 years ago. And this year looking back is particularly important because 2007 just happened to be one of the best years EVER for games.

Let’s rewind the clock a decade. The final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released; Apple revealed the very first iPhone; 300 hit cinemas; The Departed won Best Picture at the Oscars and a load of bad stuff happened.

However, it also brought us some of the biggest, industry-defining games of all time, including the likes of The WitcherMass EffectAssassin’s Creed, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

So here’s a list of the biggest and best game releases from 2007 and why they defined that year as one of the most influential in gaming history:

BioShock

Release date: August 21, 2007

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC

We can’t quite believe it’s been 10 years since BioShock submerged itself into our lives, but here we are. Back then, no one quite knew what to expect from 2K’s brand new IP, telling tales of sunken cities and mysterious people.

But in reality, BioShock was an RPG that no one quite expected. Based on the novels of Ayn Rand and her philosophical Objectivism system, the storyline was a quite the head messer, all culminating in the line “Would you kindly…” from the Rapture founder himself, Andrew Rand (see the connection?).

It’s mix of brilliant storytelling, genetically-enhanced combat and that brilliant sense of eerie unease made this game go down in history as one of the greatest FPS titles of all time.

And despite the fact it’s spawned two sequels – BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite – it’s also influenced a ton of other games, including 2017’s Prey.

Halo 3

Release date: September 25, 2007

Platforms: Xbox 360 exclusive

Still classed as one of the best multiplayer games ever made – and quite possibly, ever will be – Halo 3 gathered people together for a what became an utterly addictive, and sometimes a little too tea-bagging obsessed, slice of your life. If you’ve ever partaken in the two-vs-two team deathmatch, you’ll know what we mean.

There’s a reason that Microsoft released the remastered Halo: The Master Chief Collection in 2014 to let us experience the brilliantly crafted multiplayer maps and that Deathmatch mode all over again.

And that’s all without us even touching on the campaign, either. It’s the classic Halo action that made the series famous and console-defining, with destructive vehicle segments, co-op moments that forged brilliant gaming memories and more.

It’s a game that has influenced so many multiplayer games in the 10 years since it was released, including the likes of Overwatch. You can’t look at Soldier 76 and not think Master Chief, after all.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2

Release date: October 10, 2007

Platforms: PC exclusive

As we near the 10th anniversary of the Half-Life 2: Episode 2 release, there’s that little voice in the back of our head that whispers Half-Life 3, but we know the reality is that it’s probably never going to happen.

It’s a particular shame because Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was an almost perfect slice of storytelling. Forget Half-Life 2: Episode One (despite it’s brilliance) and even Half-Life 2 itself, because it was Episode 2 that really resonated with fans. The storyline had serious pace, never leaving you for one moment feeling lost or the faintest bit bored, and it was filled with great action moments that constantly surprised and engaged.

Episode 2 gave you characters to care about and then left you with one of gaming’s biggest cliffhangers.

Portal

Release date: October 10, 2007

Platforms: PC exclusive

Valve really treated us to a great selection of games in 2007. Not only did we get Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (see above) but we also got Portal, and everything got packaged up in one beautiful collection known as The Orange Box. But it was Portal that really stole the show in that collection as a brand new IP for Valve and one hella clever puzzler.

The game dropped you into a mysterious testing facility overseen by the one-eyed robot known as GLaDOS and armed you with some revolutionary tech known as a Portal Gun. The rest of the game saw you catapulting yourself and companion cubes through your well-positioned portals, with each “test chamber” brilliantly designed to really test your puzzling skills.

And don’t get us started on the brilliance of the game’s obsession with cake, the derailing mind of GLaDOS, or her plaintive song as the credits rolled.

It’s a game that may have spawned a sequel, but nothing can quite compare with the brilliance of the original.

The Witcher

Release date: October 30, 2007

Platforms: PC exclusive

It’s hard to believe that The Witcher launched as a PC exclusive to very little fanfare. Fast forward to 2016 and The Witcher 3 is available PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and being crowned Game of the Year across the board.

But The Witcher 3 wouldn’t exist without the original game, which was one of those games to launch in the influential year that was 2007. It was the first to introduce us to the impressive hero that is Geralt of Rivia outside of the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski.

Its stunning fantasy world, mature humor, bizarre characters, sex, drugs, and other adult themes made this an RPG to stand out from the crowd. Yes, the combat wasn’t perfect, but it was the excellent grounding that has got The Witcher series where it is today, and we can only imagine where developer CD Projekt Red will take it next.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Release date: November 5, 2007

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 and PC

Like Halo 3Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is on this list partly because of its multiplayer innovations. It was the first game to introduce Perks, Killstreaks, Prestige and Class Customization; features which are readily aped by the majority of online shooters released in the past ten years.

Developer Infinity Ward introduced them in the right way too, making sure multiplayer still felt balanced, Killstreaks never made anyone overpowered and the focus was very much on the firefights.

But it also did the single-player campaign right too. Not only did it choose a modern, ground-breaking setting, but it wove a believable narrative that included some of the best warfare set pieces in gaming history. ‘All Ghillied Up’ is still one of the best FPS missions ever, to the point where we played it over and over again, and then again with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered last year.

Super Mario Galaxy

Release date: November 12, 2007

Platforms: Wii exclusive

Super Mario Galaxy took what was so successful about the first 3D Mario adventure, Super Mario 64, and made it a billion times better. Usually dubbed “Super Mario in Space”, Galaxy took what you know about Super Mario platforming and turned it on its head. Taking Mario into space made it possible to create more inventive environments, break the laws of gravity and explore spherical physics.

It really made sure that this felt like a game that was part platfomer, part puzzler, reinventing Super Mario as we knew it.

Now, 10 years later, we’re working our way towards the release of Mario’s biggest – and hopefully best – 3D adventure ever.

Assassin’s Creed

Release date: November 13, 2007

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC

It might not be anywhere near the best of the series, but Assassin’s Creed had to start somewhere. You pretty much had one job – to assassinate – and you had to do that over, and over, and over again. But it was a brilliant tech demo of what was to come for the Assassin’s Creed series.

It really nailed down the idea of learning about a target, plotting the kill and assassinating them early on, making sure that this would become the mainstay of the series – even if the graphical quality and the engagement wasn’t quite there yet.

We’re now about to get the tenth installment in the main series, Assassin’s Creed OriginsWho knew one of Ubisoft’s main franchises would come from such humble beginnings.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Release date: November 16, 2007

Platforms: PS3 exclusive

We’ll always be thankful for a game that birthed Nathan Drake. Who doesn’t love this hunky, haphazard hero? It might not be the best in the series but it had all the elements of what would make this PlayStation exclusive series one of its defining ones.

Drake’s first story, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is full of well-executed set pieces, solid characters and a great, treasure-hunting story. It had all the ingredients needed to make developer Naughty Dog continue with the series.

Nathan Drake’s story might be over (for now at least), but we’re now getting some serious spin-offs, with the first coming in the form of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy in August.

Mass Effect

Release date: November 20, 2007

Platforms: Xbox 360 (PC version arrived in 2008, PS3 in 2012)

In 2007, Mass Effect arrived like a breath of fresh air. This space-centric action/RPG was one of the first to include LGBTQ relationship options and characters, has one of the most immersive storylines to date, complete with tons of player choice, recognition and brilliantly crafted relationships.

It also imbued players with a fantastic sense of adventure, was lauded for being non-human-centric and felt like real science-fiction. Mass Effect‘s fully customizable hero, Commander Shepard, also helped make sure that players felt truly connected to the game – and with subsequent sequels too, thanks to your decisions, choices and characters carrying over from game to game.

It’s a testament to this first entry that fans fell so in love with the series to the point that they practically forced developer BioWare to rewrite the ending to Mass Effect 3.

Samantha Loveridge
Sam is the UK Gaming Editor at Fandom. She's been addicted to games since she first got her paws on a GameBoy and hasn't looked back.
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