The Year Ahead – 2012


During this season when everyone will be or has been announcing their games of the year for 2011, I like to stop and get ahead of the curve to announce game of the year for the coming year. And, if I may be so bold, on the years when I actually remember to do this I have a pretty decent track record. At this time last year I called it and announced Skyrim as 2011's game of the year, and damned if I wasn't basically right.

In 2008 I called Dragon Age: Origins for 2009's GotY, which I think is pretty dead on, as was calling Fallout 3 in 2007. As for the other years, I either forgot to go ahead and make the prediction or I made one and it was so bad that I surreptitiously deleted the post mid-year when no one was looking. I honestly can't recall.

2011 was a stellar year for video games, and frankly 2012 looks set to pick up right where '11 left off. As for game of the coming year, I admit I'm torn between three choices. First on that list is Mass Effect 3. BioWare has been on a roll with me of late, and ME2 is one of my favorite games of the past few years. Next up is Diablo 3, which just looks to be shaping up better and better every time I see it. And, let's not even talk about how many hours I put into D2 over the years. But, neither of those is my game of 2012.

No, the "honor" goes to Bioshock Infinite as my choice for Game of the Coming Year. Everything about this title excites me. The setting looks as unique and inventive as Rapture ever dreamt of being, and when it comes to making a game I'm going to give a damn about, I'm not sure there's a company in the business right now I trust more than Irrational Games. If I could pick only one new game I get to play this year, it's Infinite.

But, I don't have to pick just one game, which is why there is also room in my heart for Starcraft II Heart of the Swarm, The Last Guardian, Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, WoW Mists of Pandaria, Max Payne 3, The Last of Us, Borderlands 2, Syndicate and probably a half dozen other games I don't even know that I should be excited about yet.

What's your pick for Game of the Year: 2012?


Crusader Kings II.

Okay, that's what I most excited about. We've yet to see if it ships broken or not.

ME3. Others I want, ME3 I really, really, really, really want.

That, or Skyrim, which I haven't bothered with, because I've been way too busy giving random strangers DDTs and drop kicks in Saints Row the Third to give a crap about dragon shouts.

Bioshock Infinite is one of the few games I can say I'm looking forwards to this year, but I wonder if it might be hindered by association to Bioshock, which would be wearing out it's welcome if they were doing Bioshock3.

The other big one for me is Guild Wars2, but I imagine this one will suffer from being overhyped as the MMO messiah to save us from WoW clones. I think it'll be a good game, but nothing turns opinion sour like inflated expectations. That said, there's no subscription so people can't exactly 'leave' it.

I look at the list and am almost despondent about how little time I have to experience all these titles. I'm only 3/4 of the way through the 2009 pile and halfway through the 2010 pile. It's such an awful first world problem. Anyhow, ME3, Bioshock and Borderlands are probably pre-orders for me.

Most looking forward to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Luckily for me it is not very far off with a scheduled February release.

Bioshock, Guild Wars 2, and Torchlight 2 are very high on my anticipation list.

Here's hoping for STALKER 2 as my 2012 GOTY, but the entire company seems to be on shaky ground.!/gscstalker/status/150324514121719808

Just an observation: Every game on the list (except for The Last of Us) is either a sequel or a remake or an extension of a known quantity (Bioshock Infinite, The Last Guardian). I wonder what title will surprise us this year?

As for me, I'm most looking forward to Bioshock Infinite, mostly because I haven't finished Mass Effect 2 yet, and I'm worried that Diablo 3 will choke my aging Mac.

Oh man, I forgot that Bioshock Infinite and The Last Guardian were coming out next year, all of a sudden I'm excited!

Aristophan wrote:

Just an observation: Every game on the list (except for The Last of Us) is either a sequel or a remake or an extension of a known quantity (Bioshock Infinite, The Last Guardian). I wonder what title will surprise us this year?

Every game on the list with the exception of Torchlight2 is a big AAA game, so I'd say it comes with the territory. Even then, TL2 is made by an established studio of ex-Blizzard ex-Flagship guys and a sequel to what can be described as a Diablo clone.

I think a lot of the big games are just going to be 'comfortable' predictable games, Bioshock Infinite will broadly be like Bioshock and last 8 hours or so, Mass Effect 3 will be like Mass Effect 2, and so on. Any surprises are going to be genuinely surprising, rather than just picking an obscure game.

garion333 wrote:

Crusader Kings II.

Okay, that's what I most excited about. We've yet to see if it ships broken or not. ;)

Me too! I'm sure it will be gloriously broken in fine Paradox tradition (although Sengoku was not, so maybe it won't be - nah, this is Paradox we are talking about ).

Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, Torchlight 2, Guild Wars 2 and Bioshock Infinite are the games I'm most anticipating.

BI is a safe, early prediction for 2012 GotY. Although, if GW2 lives up to what's been promised by ArenaNet, it will be a contender as well.

Borderlands 2 and Guild Wars 2.

Here's a list of known releases (so far). Most are in the last category, "unscheduled".

For my part, I'm more excited for the Wii's Xenoblade Chronicles than anything else, though it's only the American release that is in 2012. Other personal highlights: SSX, FFXIII-2, Tales of Graces, Dragon Quest X, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, The Last Guardian, and whatever crazy game Japan comes up with out of left field that winds up in my top 3 of the year (this year was Catherine and El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron).

Minarchist wrote:

Here's a list of known releases (so far). Most are in the last category, "unscheduled".

Again, like the 2011 GOTYs, it's interesting noting which games don't get mentioned. The one that popped out to me was Syndicate - I guess that one is going to be in one ear and out the other pretty quickly.

Oh, for sure, it's definitely not a complete list. European and Japanese games tend to be entirely absent.

Yep, those are three on my list too; after my pig-out on the Steam Holiday Sale, I'm going to try really hard to purchase ONLY those three games between now and the next sale. Even if I'm successful, I'm sure some of my recent purchases will remain unplayed come next December.

My personal GOTY will be The Witcher 2 for the 360. I'm pretty excited to make this my first true blue RPG.

And while it won't be a GOTY worthy title, I suspect SSX may dominate a lot of my time.

I'm hopeful the Tomb Raider is going to be an event worth commemorating at year's end.

The pile is big and Steam sales have spoiled me. Still, I will buy Mass Effect 3 at full price, so this must be my most anticipated game. I'll reconsider though if I find out they're including story content available only if you preorder or get a store exclusive or collector's edition only...

Borderlands 2 and Diablo 3 I might have to get at full price also if I have buddies playing them, but they're not gonna be GOTYs for me most likely.

If I had to venture a guess, it would be Mass Effect 3 to win my top honors for 2012. However, it appears that Bioware are really messing with a tried and true formula, so we'll see how much that affects my enjoyment of the game.

Not sure where the dupe came from, sorry.

Paper Mario 3D. It looks like a return to the sharp writing and great turn-based gameplay of Paper Mario and the Thousand-Year Door.

Beyond that, Xenoblade Chronicles and XCOM have my attention.

I'm most interested to see how Infinite handles the politics of late-19th C. America.

I am already overwhelmed with the quality coming down the line in 2012 and we're 2 days in. Awesome.

Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3 and Bioshock Infinite are the games I'm anticipating.

Infinite will probably be the 'better' game, but I'm most excited for GW2. If they achieve half of what they are aiming for it's going to be ground breaking.

ME3 would be top of the list if I trusted Bioware to not screw with the formula I'm familiar with. I'm still making sure my PC is repaired by the time it launches though.

ME3 and Assassin's Creed 3 are on my list. I'm mildly interested in Metal Gear Rising.

The rest that I'm looking forward to are JRPGs. Tales of Graces for the PS3 and Tales of the Abyss for the 3DS are also on my list. Finally, Xenoblade Chronicles finally gets the US release.

Coming in the "probably will be released" list, Diablo 3.

In the "probably won't be released" list: SC2: Heart of the Swarm.

And in the "won't ever be released, but someone needs to have it here" list: Half Life: Episode 3.

You know, I'd like to chime in and say this:

2011 was an amazing freaking year for games. It was an embarrassment of riches. I've got fantastic games coming out my freaking ears. There were any number of games that would have been GOTY candidates, except that they all came out at the same time.

Now if we could just talk developers into really using the PC, instead of limiting themselves to consoles, I'd be in hog heaven.

Oh, as far as this year's games go: the only ones I'm really super-excited about are ME3 and Infinite. D3 is a no-buy because of the monetization and nasty DRM.

But I bet almost anything my favorite game of the year will be something I haven't even heard of yet.

Oh, Elysium, good call on Skyrim, by the way. And Infinite looks to be a similarly excellent prognostication.

I'm holding my breath with anticipation over The Last Guardian. As time passes and more news leak out, its development went from troubled to radioactive unapproachable.

ME3 will be a delight to play; but I will mostly enjoy starting campaigns in ME1 and see ongoing ramifications in ME3.

This is tough. The game that I'm most excited for is Diablo 3. However, I suspect that ME3 will be the best overall gaming experience for me next year. It's just that Diablo 3 will still be in rotation for the years that follow.

I really hope Guild Wars 2 comes out as interesting as they've implied.

Aside from ones mentioned already, Dishonoured looks pretty interesting. Be keeping my eye on that one. Also Dead State (that zombie RPG from doublebear).

I'm also desparately hopeful that the Carrier Command remake turns out to be a good game too.