2011 was a firecracker, and its afterglow is set to last. The likes of Batman, Link, and the Dragonborn are sure to keep us busy for days to come, but there’s no time like the future. For your convenience, here – in no particular order – are GotGame’s 15 most anticipated games of 2012.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
We haven’t heard much about Ghost Recon: Future Soldier since footage of the E3 2011 build. But Tom Clancy has a tendency to do things right, and my, what footage it was. In a dystopian near-future, you are the elite force equipped with augmented reality, active camouflage, drones and shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. Rainbow 6: Patriots is a treat for yet another year, but Ghost Recon: Future Soldier hits shelves on March 6th, 2012. Hmm… now that’s a familiar release date.
Mass Effect 3
Making anyone’s top of ’12 list is the continuation of Shepard’s trials in Mass Effect 3. Players will naturally be picking up where they left off, and that includes *SPOILER* going on without the deceased squad-mates from Mass Effect 2‘s final ordeal. The combat in EA’s next is looking tighter than ever, and an online co-op mode by the name of Galaxy at War presents itself for those of competitive bent. Commander Shepard and company defend humanity in its terrestrial homeland on March 6th, 2012.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Nintendo’s got a lot of roots. The hopes and dreams of fans lie on which of those roots it chooses to water. Kid Icarus is making a comeback in Kid Icarus: Uprising for Nintendo 3DS. The last (and second) game in the series came out in 1991, but Nintendo must mean business seeing as the bow-wielding angel was included in the roster for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Here at GotGame (make that: here in the skully confines of my head), the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising (on March 23rd) is also synonymous with the holy day that development on the next Super Smash Bros. title starts.
The first Borderlands made quite a cel-shaded splash in 2009, combining RPG and shooter elements in a desolate wasteland. Those who’ve gotten their hands on the game report a much richer color palette; brown and orange are nice, but Gearbox Software is also giving us trees of green. Another addition is the Gunzerker, a walking arsenal who can dual wield for short periods of time. Shotty/snipers, anyone?
For those who enjoy a helping of narrative genius with their games, BioShock was a spine-tingling adventure of deliciously twisted fiction. What we’ve seen of Infinite so far assures us that storyline is playing a prominent role yet again. But the differences are patent: BioShock dealt in eerily close and sunless quarters – Infinite plays out on a wide-open scale, and one can all but feel the sun beating down. Will Infinite still have that BioShock feel? We’ll find out later this year (release date still unannounced!).
Blizzard has been cutting this gem for some time, but this year is the year. Diablo III will be putting PC gamers in a blood-splattering click-frenzy in Q1 2012. Yes, March will suck your wallet dry.
And it doesn’t let up, as it’s also the month of FIFA Street. I had to throw up some illegal elbows to make sure this game made our list. I got some weird looks, ones that asked: “Really? FIFA?” That’s when I stared right back and said: “really really.”
FIFA 12 is a hell of a game, but I can understand those who find it a little unapproachable. FIFA Street is going to fix that. The large scale of 11-on-11 soccer is out. Just you, the pros, and some concrete. Fewer players (and thus a much closer view) brought to life by the same masterful engine. Come on, America. Soccer’s cool.
Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar sets its sight on grandeur once again with GTA V. As the game’s protagonist in what seems to be sunny Los Angeles, you’ll be doing the same. Well, grandeur and fatherhood, if we take the script penned by GTA veterans Dan and Sam Houser in the literal sense. Poppa or not, this is one rising star we can’t wait to play in 2012, though no release date (or year) has been announced.
Guild Wars 2
I’ve lost faith in MMOs. Most of them are about as stimulating as watching a hamster run in a broken wheel… one that doesn’t move (no, there’s not much to get in that simile. It’s just really lame!). ArenaNet is aware of that reality, hamsters and all, and they’re looking to change it with Guild Wars 2. Dynamic events that players shape and react to, a beautiful art style, and an aversion to the notorious grind are all things that have us excited to see more.
If this list were ranked by anticipation factor, Halo 4 would make a mean contender for the summit. That we know nearly nothing of the game only helps its cause. Allow me to quote a tweet from @HaloWaypoint from mid-December: “The Halo 4 multiplayer team just exploded into uproarious celebration after a face-shooting match concluded. Wonder what they’re playing…” Yes, in this world are walls within which people actually play Halo 4, while I’d lop off a toe to see the iris of a grunt in said game. Godspeed, 343 Industries.
The Last Guardian
One of the games most often invoked in the “games as art” debate is Ico, a solemn tale of rescue and vulnerability. The Last Guardian is its spiritual successor, and the first in the thematic series to hit the current generation of consoles. PS3 owners rejoice for this exclusive!
The Last of Us
And this one. Sony-owned studio Naughty Dog is playing a supervisory role in Drake’s future (on PS Vita), focusing instead on the development of The Last of Us. Those watching (or, more painfully, attending) the Video Game Awards will know as little as anyone, as Naughty Dog is keeping to the shadows. Still, the studio’s pedigree and mountain of experience on the PS3 make this game a sure-fire entry on our list.
Max Payne 3
Dan Houser is at it again in Max Payne 3, the first game of the series to undergo a changing of the scribal guard. And Rockstar itself – mastercrafter of the sandbox experience – is taking the helm on development. Payne finds himself in Brazil, “a few years older, more world-weary and cynical than ever.” Slow-motion dive-shooting can’t come fast enough.
When I jumble random letters around, some of the combinations strike me as full of potential. MMOFPS is one of them. Sony Online Entertainment has a world of science fiction up its sleeve, and everyone can jump in. PlanetSide 2 has you taking up arms in one of three factions: the conventionally-equipped Terran Republic, the rebellious New Conglomerate, and the tech-inclined Vanu Sovereignty. The first game didn’t make greatest impression on the gaming world, but here’s hoping that Sony’s persistence pays off.
The cover art to series reboot Tomb Raider speaks volumes. Ms. Croft isn’t striking out to the exotic corners of the world from Croft Manor in Surrey, England. She is cast away on an island near Japan, fending off death with a limited set of equipment. With such a visceral premise, perhaps Crystal Dynamics can regain the crown unarguably lost to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series.
What do you think? Is it even possible to rank these? Are you outraged that a certain game didn’t make it into our list? Be sure to let us know!