The Year Ahead: 2011

We will return to our normally scheduled program -- Elysium Picks Something You Hate to Focus on This Week -- next time, but first it's time to close the door on the corpse of 2010 stuffed into so many Hefty bags at the backdoor and turn our eyes forward to 2011, which, I think we can all agree, will certainly be the best year ever for videogames.

A bevy of announcements and sneak peeks at the culturally bankrupt VGAs late last year added to an already intriguing list of possibilities for the incoming class. A solid lineup of highly anticipated sequels is punctuated by a few potential standouts in original games and even totally new IPs. Big hitters like id and Rockstar are set to launch big titles without falling back comfortably on the crutch of past successes, while BioWare is all in for 2011 with 3 major launches from major franchises. Kinect has launched to a successful reception, but now faces the same challenges the Wii once did to actually build games that take advantage. The 3DS is poised to provide the unique experience that is almost becoming trivially required with any Nintendo hardware launch, and Sony's plan is apparently to just keep being Sony.

Just thinking briefly about some of the titles we may have played by this time in our final apocalyptic year of 2012, our next long trip around the sun will likely see the launch of Dragon Age 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, LA Noire, Little Big Planet 2, Rage, Killzone 3, Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Mass Effect 3, Gears of War 3, Rage, Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2, and that's just the handful of major AAA releases that I'm interested in. I'm certain that I've criminally left out some absolutely crucial game of 2011, that you are all welcome to grimace and glower at me about for forgetting.

But, for my money -- because isn't is just more fun to pick a Game of the Year before anything's even come out -- I'm giving my personal most anticipated game of 2011 to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This is, of course, operating on the assumption that Diablo 3 is destined to slip to 2012.

So what game are you most looking forward to?


Skyrim is the one I'm excited about.

I haven't had the opportunity to feel let down by Bethesda yet, but I figure that I'll either love the game or finally become a full-fledged Bethesda fanboy (club motto: "The last one was so much better"), so I can't lose, right?

I think I'm more excited for the games not on that list like Portal 2, the Game Informer rumor that Half Life 3 might get announced, and then LA Noire.

Oh and since I recently bought Oblivion, Skyrim is now on my list.

The Witness, Rock of Ages, From Dust, Monaco.

Most AAA games this year look like fairly traditional sequels and the ones that aren't, Rage and Bulletstorm, don't look like real steps forward. I'm sure I'll still play and enjoy plenty of AAA games but I don't expect any of them to wow me. Brink could be a dark horse though. I also wish there was a PC port of LA Noire just because of its new facial animation style, even though I don't really like the Rockstar games formula.

nivek wrote:

I'm looking forward to playing Torchlight 2 and Dungeon Siege 3. I enjoyed the Dungeon Siege games way back when and I'm interested in seeing how they shape up. Granted, I probably won't play it until 2012 when Obsidian has patched it to a playable condition and the price has come down to $20 or less.

Oh, and the optimist in me is hoping that Skyward Sword comes out this year.

Ah good one! Torchlight 2! Much more interested on that one than D3. Can't wait to get back to that world.

Probably Dead Space 2 - I love me some space horror!

Mass Effect 3 - I can't wait to see how this trilogy wraps up.

Torchlight 2 - co-op FTW

LA Noire - That tech demo has me quite intrigued.

Skyrim and Xcom, despite my inner self telling me it will be crap.

The games I'm looking forward to are ME3, Skyward Sword, and Rage.

The Witcher 2 is the big one for me. Loved the original, so this is the one definite day 1 buy. Also hoping for Guild Wars 2, but it's not a certain release.

Deus Ex looks interesting and Mass Effect 3 is a day one buy, but that's because I'm invested in the story of 'My' Shepard. As Tanglebones says there is an element of 'just another sequel' about it.

There are a bunch of other interesting looking games I don't feel the need to pick up immediately though.

If I had a console, and I doubt it will see a PC release, I would be excited for Mortal Kombat. I'm not generally into fighters, but there is an element of nostalgia about the game and apparently it won't be too technical.

LA Noire also looks interesting, but my expectations of it are lower.

Yeah, I think you've nailed it here.. LA Noire won't quite get it right, but I expect it'll be a lot of fun anyway. I'm also trying to keep my expectations low on that one, hoping I'll be pleasantly surprised. I was kind of so-so on GTA4... it was interesting, and a good story, but it never quite clicked for me. The lack of real choice was probably the biggest factor. It felt like I was piloting a prescripted movie, instead of playing a game. My sense of immersion was almost non-existent. It looks like Noire will have meaningful choices, which has me very interested.

I think Arkham City is my #1 interest right now. Arkham Asylum was one of the best games ever done, and the sequel has me very jazzed. And I played so goddamn much ME2 this year that I'll be buying ME3 Day 1 for sure. I dunno what it is about ME2, but that thing was pure crack for me, even with all the bugs in the expansions.

I haven't been paying attention to Deus Ex, but it looks promising in a quick check. Between the poor quality of DE2 and Epic Mickey, my regard for Warren Spector has dropped a great deal, and I'm glad he's not involved.

I'm apprehensive off the wazoo about Deus Ex. It seems cool, but I didn't get too into the first, and it seems like biggest potential 'FFXIII' for 2011.


Of the games you listed, 'Deux Ex' most intrigues me. I've heard great things about the first game, so I'm looking forward to playing the follow up.

I've gone a little cold on 'LA Noire' since reading last month's Gamestm feature on it. It seems that the detective element of the game cannot be failed; if you miss clues, then the game simply generates new ones until you get the hint. My comments on other threads about other elements of the game notwithstanding, but one of the things I did like about 'Heavy Rain' was the idea that failure had major consequences.

However, what leaps out at me when I read your list is the number of sequels. Can we really be on Gears, Uncharted and Killzone 3s already?

I know that this has been a perennial debate since the days of Ms Pacman, but reading your list makes me wonder whether we've quietly reached some sort of tipping point where only sequels, rehashes and rock solid pre-existing IP will get the AAA treatment.

Rage: So excited he mentioned it twice?

Personally, I'm most looking forward to Mass Effect 3 (I'm with whomever said that they would preorder the collector's edition knowing nothing else about the game), The Witcher 2 and Deus Ex 3. Probably in that order. That said, Uncharted 3 has me excited too, I think the first two were the best games released on the PS3 by a mile.

Isn't "I am Alive" supposedly due in 2011? I remember being quite interested when I saw the trailer for the first time, but since then I'd forgotten all about it. Have they really been talking about it for 5 years already? I can't help but feel they start their hype-engines a little prematurely these days

FatConan wrote:

Isn't "I am Alive" supposedly due in 2011? I remember being quite interested when I saw the trailer for the first time, but since then I'd forgotten all about it. Have they really been talking about it for 5 years already? I can't help but feel they start their hype-engines a little prematurely these days :)

Depends what you call Hype engine. As far as I recall a lot of 'announcements' for games is a little leaked detail, a trade mark, some artist's portfolio or updating what project they're working on. I think last year's E3 was the first where Ubisoft released something intentionally about I am alive, and even then it was only a teaser.

If anything, with a well managed production, I wouldn't mind longer development cycles on games that need it (proviso: take as long as it needs, but not a second longer). It just seems like the games industry has an insatiable appetite for games, and must have them and consume them as fast as they can as soon as they know it exists. Ubisoft seem to be a company that is doing their production right on most of their games.

Another release I'm keeping an eye on: X-Plane 10, which might require a new CPU.

If the Witcher 2 and Mass Effect 3 are released this year, I'll be a happy man. Episode 3 would be just icing on my dreamcake

The new XCom looks nice as well, but more after a price drop.

I don't tend to get too excited about upcoming games anymore. Maybe it's the combined hurt of previous letdowns. Maybe it's the knowledge that even if I were excited, I still wouldn't get around to buying a game for a number of weeks after launch.

So to put on the "real gamer" face: I'm excited for the sequel to that one franchise that promises more of the same, only even moreso.

Pick one? That's impossible.

If they actually come out this year (lolz, yeah right)
The Last Guardian
Diablo III
Battlefield 3

Definitely Buying
Portal 2
Mass Effect 3
Starcraft II: The Heart of the Swarm
Marvel Vs Capcom 3

Plan On Getting But Hopefully Will Control Myself
Ghost Trick
Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright
Paper Mario 3DS
Metal Gear Solid 3DS
Kid Icarus Uprising
Child of Eden
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Torchlight II
Deus Ex
Crysis 2
Uncharted 3
Ni No Kuni
Infamous 2
Twisted Metal
Ico/SoTC Collection
Gears 3
Batman: Arkham City

Someone is going to have to slap me every time something new comes out. Man, this year is going to be gaming bliss.

So far, the only announced games that I am really interested in for 2011 are Uncharted 3 and the Ico/SoTC collection. Otherwise, I'm going to wait and see on everything else.

I'm having an extremely difficult time getting excited for any game titles until they actually ship (and even then only if they're good, stable games). Maybe it's just gaming apathy but I haven't been excited for a game to ship since Civ IV: Beyond The Sword.

Personally, I'll be looking forward to Elder Scrolls V and Gears of War 3.

My youngest son is very excited for Little Big Planet 2, which is only a few weeks away. (perfect timing for his birthday) We had great fun completing the original together.

For my sons (10 and 7) Pokemon Black and White is going to be huge, so I'll have to list that. I'm excited for them. They have gotten so much gaming value and shared fun out of HeartGold / Soulsilver during 2010.

In a way, I wish I could muster some nostalgic anticipation for Id's Rage. Unfortunately, I'm at the point where I just feel like most of their products have no gaming soul. Great tech, polished mechanics, but always a bit stale / sterile.

Scratched wrote:

I think last year's E3 was the first where Ubisoft released something intentionally about I am alive, and even then it was only a teaser.

Wasn't it first teased in 2008?

I must've missed the trailer from last year completely, thanks for the heads up. It's here, if anyone's interested.

The 3DS and Skyward Sword are the only gaming-related things I'm really looking forward to this year. My wife is excited about watching me play Portal 2 and has even expressed interest in co-oping it with me, provided there's support for local co-op.

I'll follow I Am Alive, but mostly because it's set in my neighborhood. You better believe I'll scoff at every architectural inaccuracy.

wordsmythe wrote:

So to put on the "real gamer" face: I'm excited for the sequel to that one franchise that promises more of the same, only even moreso.

So you're looking forward to this year's crop of indie games, too? I can't get enough of that memento mori.

wordsmythe wrote:

So to put on the "real gamer" face: I'm excited for the sequel to that one franchise that promises more of the same, only even moreso.

Skyrim as well, eh? Squeee!

On a totally different tack, Dirt 3 is looking really really good, and really really less neon and American, Ken Block notwithstanding. So big hopes for that one.

ilomilo is officially a 2011 release, so I'm totally looking forward to that one (to fix its freezing bugs) (and grammatical errors).

Portal 2, obviously.

Deus Ex 3, I have no right to be excited about that, two (!) still unplayed, ever unplayed, copies of the first Deus Ex sitting neglected at home.

LA Noire is definitely something I'll be watching, but not totally buying into yet, for reasons mentioned by others.

If The Witcher 2 fulfills the rumours of a console release, it'll be on my list, having had the same Witcher/iMac problem as Jayhawker.

But 2011 is mostly about Skyrim.

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm excited for the sequel to that one franchise that promises more of the same, only even moreso.

Tempted to make space in my signature for that...

EDIT: I couldn't resist. Yoink!

I'm actually comfortable thinking that Diablo 3 will launch this year (and it's the first year I've been willing to let myself think that). So with that said, and with the knowledge that Diablo 2 was my previous Game of the Decade, I think the no-brainer conclusion is that the game I am more excited about in 2011, WAY above and beyond any other possible game release, is Diablo 3.

If D3 slips to 2012, then Mass Effect 3 is my most anticipated title this year. But it will make me a sad, sad pirate kitty.

Uncharted 3! I had a great time playing Uncharted 2, the single-player was great and so was the online co-op; never really enjoyed the other online modes most likely because I sucked.

Did I miss the news that Diablo 3 is slipping until 2012? That seems like an awfully long time for Blizzard to put off a game that looks pretty polished from the game coverage I've seen in PC Gamer and other new outlets. I may very well be wrong, but from a business standpoint it would make the most sense for Diablo 3 to ship out holiday 2011.