Confirmed for 2012
BioShock Infinite (2012; PC, PS3, 360; Irrational Games, 2K Games)
If we were going to rank the most anticipated games of the year, there is a very good chance that this would be number one. But we love all our games equally, so we won’t do that (but secretly we kinda would). Originally slated for spring of 2012, the release date has gone vague on us. It is due out in 2012 though, and hopefully it will be early 2012 rather than later. Set in the floating city of Columbia in 1912 America, the game is a spiritual successor, and possibly a direct prequel to the 2007 original. The story has also changed in tone, and rather than a voiceless protagonist, you play a former Pinkerton man named Booker DeWitt tasked with rescuing Elizabeth, a young woman with extraordinary powers who has been imprisoned most of her life. Her guard, a monstrous bird-like creature, is none too pleased when you break her out, and has decided to kill and possibly eat you to teach you a lesson. BioShock Infinite stole the show at E3 last year, so the hype is already heavy.
Far Cry 3 (2012; PC, PS3, 360; Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
One of the surprise hits from E3 was Ubisoft Montreal’s upcoming Far Cry 3. The property took a serious blow at the hands of Uwe Boll and his painfully bad adaptation of the franchise. The film was so bad that those that watched it probably liked the games less because of it. Sometimes when a movie is really bad it is good. This was not one of those times. The only saving grace of the film is that most people haven’t seen it. But with Boll’s dreams of a movie franchise mercifully dashed, the game is set to rise again. FC3 will be set on a remote tropical island and feature a somewhat open-world experience. You will be able to approach areas in multiple ways — just as in previous Far Cry titles, but this game promises to be much bigger. You play a new protagonist stranded on the island, searching for his girlfriend. The tone looks intense, and the plot will feature several memorable characters, both good and bad. If Ubisoft has a sense of humor, perhaps Uwe Boll will be one of the bosses to defeat. By kicking him to death.
Hitman: Absolution (2012; PC, PS3, 360; IO Interactive, Square Enix)
A new mission awaits Agent 47, whose last missions took him to the big screen in the façade of Timothy Olyphant. Although more successful than the god-awful Far Cry film, the Hitman movie was not terrible, but was quickly forgotten. But that’s ok, 47 belongs in a game, it is his natural habitat. In this outing of the follicley challenged assassin, he is forced to eliminate his handler, which soon turns out to be part of a much bigger plot. And since no one puts 47 in a corner, the assassin is soon in the middle of a hunt for a mysterious girl named Victoria. New gameplay elements will be introduced, but the core mechanics of choosing your own method to progress — and then inevitably assassinate your target — remain.
The Last Guardian (2012; PS3; Team Ico, SCEA)
There is as much anticipation as there is uncertainty surrounding this game. The makers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus have been working on a follow up for a few years now, but there have been a lot of delays. The game was originally scheduled for late 2011, but now even a 2012 release date isn’t completely certain. To further terrify fans, the game’s designer and executive producer both announced that they would be leaving Sony. They will supposedly both be involved with The Last Guardian until it is released, but it is still alarming news. When a director of a film quits just as filming has completed, it typically means that the movie will be a mess. That probably isn’t the case, and there are plenty of talented people involved that can ensure this game will be at the same insanely high level of quality as Team Ico’s other titles though. We’ll have to wait until it is released to be sure though.
Starhawk (2012; PS3; LightBox Interactive & SCE Santa Monica Studio, SCEA)
The 2007 PS3 game Warhawk was such an incredible success that fans have been clamoring for a sequel, even after they have totally forgotten about it. Although the original game is a distant memory, LightBox and SCE Santa Monica are bringing it back to life with an entirely new look, story, and setting. But even though this game is more of a spiritual successor than a literal one, Starhawk has a lot going for it. There is a huge story involving the colonization of other planets by humans — and the consequences of that — as well as a multiplayer that is already gaining a lot of buzz thanks in part to the early beta, which has gained it a lot of attention. Of all the reboots and tenuously connected sequels, this one may be one of the best games of the year in its own right.