December 13 - December 17

Nothing.

That's the watchword for basically the next 3 weeks. There are no new releases coming. And, I don't just mean there's no triple-A games on the horizon; aside from 1 or 2 throwaway Wii and DS titles, there is an absolute vacuum of games coming out the rest of December.

I'm pretty ok with that, actually. It gives me the opportunity to begin looking back and taking stock of the year, a year that began with Mass Effect 2 and ended with Cataclysm. I know we've been going on all year about the consistency of good releases -- there was essentially no down season for the industry this year -- but looking back as a whole I feel a little underwhelmed by 2010. For me the year is kind of defined by games like Alan Wake, Crackdown 2, Elemental and Epic Mickey. I walk away feeling like we were missing the 1 or 2 really exceptional, quintessential core-gamer games that exceeded any reasonable expectations, and instead ended up with a bunch of games whose names in the long scan of gaming history are writ in water.

That's not to say there weren't highlights, but I think one could pretty easily argue that the best game released in 2010 was a one-man project with virtually no budget, no marketing and no bells or whistles. I realize that a sentence like that is flavored with the kind of annoying cynicism and self-awareness that you get when a fan of true cinema points out that the best movie of the year is a Ukranian coming of age story about a boy and his grandfather set during the Turkish-Armenian War. So, let's just chalk up the bad vibes coming from my mood ring to a freak storm and a too-early Monday morning.

Comments

I think I bought fewer games in 2010 than I did in the last several years. 2011 has me waiting eagerly for many games, however. I think I only bought ME2, Fallout New Vegas, Transformers, and M&B Warband. It just seemed like an "eh" year.

In addition to Dragon Age 2 and ME3, there's The Witcher 2, Portal 2 (and whatever Valve packages with it), Batman Arkam City, and I know I'm missing one or two "must have" titles.

Well, if we could go back a year and look at what was promised for 2010, would it compare to what's been promised for 2011?

Because this is just part of the cycle.

trueheart78 wrote:

Well, if we could go back a year and look at what was promised for 2010, would it compare to what's been promised for 2011?

2010 will wither into insignificance compared to 2011, because Duke Nukem Forever is coming out! I mean, I don't want to give the impression I don't care about any other games, I'm really looking forwards to loads of other games, pretty much most of the games listed, but it's Duke.

Scratched wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:

Well, if we could go back a year and look at what was promised for 2010, would it compare to what's been promised for 2011?

2010 will wither into insignificance compared to 2011, because Duke Nukem Forever is coming out!

Scratched nails it. In addition to all the good games previously mentioned, the icing on the cake for 2011's historical signifigance will be the fact that DNF actually gets released, regardless of how good it is.

MeatMan wrote:
Scratched wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:

Well, if we could go back a year and look at what was promised for 2010, would it compare to what's been promised for 2011?

2010 will wither into insignificance compared to 2011, because Duke Nukem Forever is coming out!

Scratched nails it. In addition to all the good games previously mentioned, the icing on the cake for 2011's historical signifigance will be the fact that DNF actually gets released, regardless of how good it is.

I can't believe people really care about this. I could barely believe it when it would still have been a halfway relevant title, and now people are talking like it'll finally be the "this is our year" year that Cubs fans have been talking about for the past century.

Unless Duke comes out of the closet. That could certainly make a difference.

Having said all that, given it's history don't go counting your chickens yet.

trueheart78 wrote:

Well, if we could go back a year and look at what was promised for 2010, would it compare to what's been promised for 2011?

As I recall, at the end of last year, people were looking forward to 2010 as a fantastic year for games: Mass Effect 2! StarCraft 2! Cataclysm! Alan Wake finally gets released! New Fallout and Fable and Metroid and Mario Galaxy.

Doubtless, when next year's big titles turn out to be disappointments or divisive love-them/hate-them titles, people will say that 2011 was an off year, but here's looking to 2012!

ClockworkHouse wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:

Well, if we could go back a year and look at what was promised for 2010, would it compare to what's been promised for 2011?

As I recall, at the end of last year, people were looking forward to 2010 as a fantastic year for games: Mass Effect 2! StarCraft 2! Cataclysm! Alan Wake finally gets released! New Fallout and Fable and Metroid and Mario Galaxy.

Doubtless, when next year's big titles turn out to be disappointments or divisive love-them/hate-them titles, people will say that 2011 was an off year, but here's looking to 2012!

We had a number of years there where we were saying that the previous year couldn't be topped. I think things are different with this coming and this past year because the gaming cycle now runs into Q1 of the next year ... and I approve.

Shoal07 wrote:

Starcraft 2? It's kinda a big deal. And while I think a lot of goodjers for many reasons passed on it, COD: Black Ops was a super seller. Red Dead Redemption was a sleeper hit. Some more notable titles for 2010:

AC Brotherhood
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Dance Central
Rockband 3
Fable III
Fallout: New Vegas
Halo: Reach
R.U.S.E.
Transformers: War for Cybertron
Blur
Alan Wake
Just Cause 2
Supreme Commander 2
FF XIII
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Bioshock 2
Mass Effect 2
Mafia 2
Split/Second
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Mount & Blade: Warband
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising

Was 2009 that much better?

Maybe it doesn't feel good because of, well...look at all those numbers at the end of the titles? I hate to drag this into a "franchise vs. new IP" discussion, but most of that list was already expected to be good and had expectations of what it was going to deliver to the players. Maybe what some are disappointed with was the lack of a title that completely blind-sided us? Perhaps that is why we are so favorable to Minecraft? This year had lots of fun games, but there was no Bioshock/Portal/Half-life to slip into the scene and become a gigantic, sleeper hit.

Coldtouch wrote:

Maybe it doesn't feel good because of, well...look at all those numbers at the end of the titles? I hate to drag this into a "franchise vs. new IP" discussion, but most of that list was already expected to be good and had expectations of what it was going to deliver to the players. Maybe what some are disappointed with was the lack of a title that completely blind-sided us? Perhaps that is why we are so favorable to Minecraft? This year had lots of fun games, but there was no Bioshock/Portal/Half-life to slip into the scene and become a gigantic, sleeper hit.

I'd say that's a good point. There's something about a game being new, rather than more of something that's already established.