GamesBeat

Surveying the 2012 Gaming Apocalypse

This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

So what's in store for 2012?

Nintendo has thrown down the Powerglove and rumblings continue circulating around Sony and Microsoft's possible ripostes.

With so much anticipated next year, I thought it would be interesting to survey what it has to offer between consoles, handhelds, and PCs in North America.

The results, tallied at the end of this article, might not be as surprising as anyone might expect.

A few things to mention first

This snapshot was put together using a number of sources such as Wikipedia, Gamestop, and what I've been tracking myself. Some simply have TBA as release dates though are what I consider a 'safe bet' for 2012, but above all should not be considered an absolute guarantee of release. A few of those were put on this list simply to help bring attention to them.
 
Seeing that Xbox disc in this 720 concept only makes me sad knowing that it will probably not happen.I've also cut back on a few names, mostly due to just a sheer lack of info. A game like Crytek's Ryse, for example, isn't on here because little to nothing has been revealed about it for 2012 since its trailer was shown at E3. MLB 2K12 has nothing going for it at the moment other than the news that Justin Verlander is on the cover and a March release estimate.
 
Also excluded are mentions of games such as the next Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed despite expectations that they are coming out in 2012. Again, as with Ryse, for the reason that so little information has been made public about either one up to this point. For all we know, the next Call of Duty could be taking place at your local Gamestop to give players a chance to rescue DLC codes that will make Ubisoft's Assassins a playable class.
Iwata says hi with the Wii U
 
Japanese-only titles, such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, aren't on this list, either, because of not knowing for certain that they're coming out in NA along with ones such as Level-5's Time Travelers.

Where are the indies?

There are a few on the list, but covering the vast majority of them with projects in the oven for 2012 would probably require another list of its own. A far better overview of the exciting stuff happening there is provided at sites such as the IndieGame Magazine along with the vast community of projects listed at IndieDB.
 
The mobile market is also beyond the scope of this sample list but no less important. If you want to know more on what that segment has to offer devices such as the iPhone or Android, sites such as touchArcade and Phandroid are loaded with plenty of info.

Format

The list is broken up into the following categories:
 
 
…with final thoughts on the last page.
 
But more importantly, if you have any games that aren't on this list but you're excited about for next year, be sure to put them in the comments to let everyone know!

 

Lastly, if you have any games that aren't on this list but you're excited about for next year, be sure to put them in the comments to let everyone know!As 2011 comes to a close, 2012 promises to offer even more to blister thumbs and drive players insane with devious puzzles and unsolved cases. And with Nintendo having thrown down the console gauntlet and rumblings circulating around Sony and Microsoft's possible ripostes, I thought it would be interesting to survey what the next year has to offer between consoles, handhelds, and PCs in NA. The results, tallied at the end of this article, might not be as surprising as anyone might expect.
 
This sample was put together using a number of sources such as Wikipedia, Gamestop, and what I've been tracking myself. Some simply have TBA as release dates though are what I consider a 'safe bet' for 2012, but above all should not be considered an absolute guarantor of release.
 
I've also cut back on a few names. A game like Crytek's Ryse, for example, isn't on here because little to nothing has been revealed about it for 2012 since its trailer was shown at E3, though this isn't an absolute rule as the list includes other items that skirt what little information has been released for them but provide an inch or two more of concrete information to go on. 
 
Japanese-only titles, such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, aren't on this list, either, because of not knowing for certain that they're coming out in NA along with ones such as Level-5's Time Travelers.
 
Scores of indie developers outside of the ones mentioned in this article also have their own games in the oven for 2012. A far better overview of the exciting stuff happening there is provided at sites such as the IndieGame Magazine (http://www.indiegamemag.com/) along with the vast community of projects listed at IndieDB (http://www.indiedb.com/).
 
The mobile market is also beyond the scope of this sample list but no less important. If you want to know more on what that segment has to offer devices such as the iPhone or Android, sites such as touchArcade (http://toucharcade.com/) and Phandroid (http://phandroid.com/) are loaded with plenty of info.
 
Also excluded are mentions of games such as the next Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed despite expectations that they are coming out in 2012. Again, as with Ryse, for the reason that so little information has been made public about either one up to this point. All indications point to being due out next year owing to the aggressive schedule for both franchises by Activision and Ubisoft, respectively, but putting them on the main list without anything else than a name seemed pointless to me.
 
Lastly, if you have any games that aren't on this list but you're excited about for next year, be sure to put them in the comments to let everyone know!

Action and Adventure

Alan Wake's American NightmareAlan Wake's American Nightmare – Remedy (XBLA)
ETA – Early 2012
 
What's it about?
Taking place after the events of the first game, Alan Wake is now an experienced survivor taking his battle against the darkness in an episode of the TV series, Night Springs. This apparently combat-heavy entry is a different take to the horror trappings from the original with, as developer Oskari Hakkinen describes, "a Dusk 'Til Dawn-ish grindhouse feel to it. More pulp fiction."
 
AmyAmy – VectorCell, Lexis Numerique (PC, PSN, XBLA)
ETA – Mid January 2012
 
What's it about?
You and an autistic girl will be trying to survive on the run from formerly human pursuers turned walking horrors following a train wreck. Part of me wants to think “Ico” crossed with “The Walking Dead”. Another part of me is thinking that there's also a hint of “Amnesia” styled helplessness worked in there somewhere for a stab at real horror.
 
The Amazing Spider Man – Beenox (Multiple)
ETA – Summer, 2012
 
What is it?
This appears to be the inevitable movie tie-in to the Hollywood reboot of the same name. Beenox has worn the Spider Suit before with Edge of Time and Shattered Dimensions, so the chance that this might only be "only" a one-off for the movie might actually be slim.
 
Asura's WrathAsura's Wrath – CyberConnect2, Capcom (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 12, 2012
 
What's it about?
As a mix between Oriental mythology crossed with sci-fi with the debut trailer showing off a giant Space Buddha's meteoric fingertip, Asura's Wrath promises to be one of the most unique experiences to emerge next year. It looks like it could be an EXTREME version of Clover's God Hand as a pugilistic paradiso which might be all that it needs to attract would-be heroes into the strange space it lives in.
 
AsylumAsylum – Senscape (PC)
ETA – TBD 2012
 
What's it about?
Amnesia proved that there's a market out there for fresh underwear and Asylum wants to continue that tradition. The setting seems perfect for trilling the nerves of would-be adventurers. Run down, psychiatric hospital? What could possibly go wrong there? (see: Sanitarium).
 
BattleBlock TheaterBattleBlock Theater – Behemoth (XBL)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A competitive co-op platformer from the makers of Alien Hominid, help free prisoners captured by mysterious, yet well dressed, cats from an island theater thing! This also has the potential for vicious infighting as leg ups turn into opportunities to backstab your partner for the lulz.
 
Blades of TimeBlades of Time – Gaijin Entertainment (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Early 2012
 
What's it about?
It's the unexpected successor to the third-person action adventure, X-Blades, which sees heroine Ayumi back in action on a mysterious island. With new abilities like a dash attack and the ability to rewind time, the sequel hopes to distance itself with its improvements from its critically eviscerated predecessor.
 
Brothers in Arms: Furious 4Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 – Gearbox Software (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What's it about?
Basically, “Inglourious Basterds – The Game” making it worlds away from the seriousness of BiA's previous efforts. This is something of a gamble that Gearbox is taking with its fans. The concept has potential though little else has been released on the game since the debut trailer and official site earlier this year.
 
ClosureClosure – Closure Team (PSN, PC, Mac)
ETA – TBA
 
What is it?
What started out as a clever Flash game has grown over three years into a full fledged 2D adventure where light reveals safe places for you to jump to without falling into darkness at the very “edge” of existence. Light does more than reveal navigable surfaces; they literally materialize within its glow in this unique platformer where nothing can be taken for granted.
 
Cross of the DutchmanCross of the Dutchman – Triangle Studios (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
There's still room for a good action adventure game or two and Cross of the Dutchman looks to want to deliver that with its cel-based look and a strong basis on folklore. In this case, a story involving Pier Gerlofs Donia, a Frisian legend from the sixteenth century.
 
 
The Darkness 2The Darkness II – Digital Extremes (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
Sequel that sticks you back in the cursed boots of Estacado, now with cel shading. The game will have an upgradable, RPG-like skill tree, a bigger arsenal to compliment your Darkling minions, and co-op Vendettas wrapped up in their own storyline running alongside the main one.
 
Darksiders IIDarksiders II – Vigil Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
ETA – June 2012
 
What is it?
Playing as Death? More powers? Bigger hub areas with NPCs throwing quests at you? An even larger game space than the last? Sounds like Darksiders II is widening its world with more of what the fans want while packing in a few more tricks to make the end times party time.
 
DishonoredDishonored – Arkane Studios (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Q2 2012
 
What is it?
Arkane Studios (Arx Fatalis, Dark Messiah) is behind this. It looks set in a place that seems to be a mix between colonial England, steampunk fantasy, and a little sci-fi weirdness of the mad science variety. As the titular protagonist, you'll also have powers that seem to be a blend between being the Prince of Persia and Harry Potter from Third Echelon to help clear your name. One thing that the game will also be looking at is how bloody your path will be to determine the kind of situations that evolve around you.
 
DmC Devil May CryDmC: Devil May Cry – Ninja Theory (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A “rebirth” of the Devil May Cry series starring a much younger, devil slaying Dante. This is the first Devil May Cry game that isn't being made internally at Capcom who tapped Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved) to take it on. To say that the first screens showing the redesigned Dante weren't met with enthusiasm would be a criminal understatement. Later movies showing off more of the action seemed to go over better if not because of the character's appearance than the flashy gameplay reminiscent of the original series.
 
Escape PlanEscape Plan – Fun Bits (Vita)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
From the makers of Fat Princess comes this black & white title for the Vita. Here, the player guides two different characters through rooms of death in order to escape whatever it is they need escaping from by helping each other out.
 
FezFez – Polytron (XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A unique indie game with the gameplay of an old-school, side-scrolling, 2D puzzler until you spin the entire level in 3D to see what's around the corner.
 
Grand Theft Auto VGrand Theft Auto V – Rockstar (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA
 
What is it?
The grandaddy of the urban sandbox will send players to Los Santos set in sunny, Southern California. We can likely expect a tight story, interesting characters, criminal enterprise, and stolen cars all in pursuit of "the mighty dollar". Rockstar hasn't officially said that it will be out in 2012 and they're known to take their time. After all, it's being promised as their "largest and most ambitious game" ever created, though I wouldn't be surprised to see even more of before the next year is out.
 
 
Gravity Rush
Gravity Rush – SCE Japan Studio (Vita)
TBA
 
What is it?
As a cel shaded heroine awakening in an unfamiliar, turn of the century city that appears to be empty, you can manipulate gravity to solve puzzles and survive the dangers lurking within. So far, it's a go for Japan and Europe for the Vita, though it sounds like it'll also eventually make it here when the system debuts.
 
Hitman: AbsolutionHitman: Absolution – IO Interactive (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The dapper assassin makes his return, though a lot is still under wraps aside from that Agent 47 doesn't take kindly to people shooting up a hospital unless he's the one doing the shooting.
 
HakuokiHakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom Limited Edition – Aksys (PSN, PSP)
ETA – February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
According to Siliconera, this is North America's first “otome game” which is something like an interactive adventure aimed at a female audience with the opportunity to develop a romantic relationship. Taking place in 19th century Japan, players will take on the role of a daughter trying to find her missing father in Hakuoki. Supernatural mystery, history, and possible kissing involved.
 
I Am AliveI Am Alive – Ubisoft Shanghai (PSN, XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Escaping from development hell, this disaster epic could be a win for those waiting to see it. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic city following a natural cataclysm, players will be fighting for survival through its crumbling streets as well as against more human obstacles that don't take kindly to strangers.
 
JourneyJourney – Thatgamecompany (PSN)
ETA – Spring 2012
 
What is it?
The developers behind Flower will be sticking players in a desert as they journey to a distant mountain. The online component will bring in other players that you can help out, though there is no speech – only symbols and gestures. Little else has been revealed such as what the story is or what players will need help with, though not being able to speak to anyone and relying on what is literally at hand is an interesting twist in today's heavily social world.
 
Kid Icarus - UprisingKid Icarus: Uprising – Project Sora (Nintendo 3DS)
ETA – March 23, 2012
 
What is it?
The long awaited sequel to the NES' Kid Icarus. Aside from being in 3D, it'll have a social aspect with its multiplayer deathmatch and augmented reality using Kid Icarus playing cards in 3 vs. 3 battles.
 
Kinect Star WarsKinect Star Wars – Terminal Reality (Xbox 360 Kinect)
ETA – April 2012
 
What is it?
Set during the prequels and adding a scene or two from the originals, it's Star Wars for the Kinect allowing would-be Jedi to swing their lightsabers even closer to Lucas' universe – hopefully without destroying their living room and having it go viral on Youtube.
 
The Last GuardianThe Last Guardian – Team Ico (PS3)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
It's hard to deny the artistry of Ico along with its spiritual sequel, Shadow of the Colossus. Both left fans eager to see what subtle heartstrings that Team Ico would prepare their reflexes for next and the Last Guardian promises to follow in their footsteps with a giant griffin and a young boy who will be his partner. As an unusual note, it's creator, Fumito Ueda (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus) is reportedly finishing the game in a freelance capacity after leaving Sony.
 
Little DeviantsLittle Deviants – BigBig Studios (Vita)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A batch of mini-games and arcade activities designed to take advantage of everything the Vita's hardware has to offer.
 
Lollipop ChainsawLollipop Chainsaw – Grasshopper Manufacture (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – August, 2012
 
What is it?
Suda 51 didn't waste any time after Shadows of the Damned, creating this blend of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spiced with Pulp Fiction. Players take on the role of Juliet Starling, a cheerleader who will be battling the undead with the titular chainsaw, lollipops, and the disembodied head of her boyfriend at her high school. There will be blood, there will be body parts, and there will be cheering. Violent cheering.
 
MGS Rising: RevengeanceMetal Gear Solid: Rising – Revengeance – Platinum Games, Kojima Productions (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Raiden earned serious cred for his radical cameo in MGS4, a redesign that gleefully threw his MGS3 debut under a bus and having a cyborg'ed shinobi emerge to kill everything in his way with a nano-thin blade in his own gaiden taking place after MGS4. Also noteworthy is that the game is not a major chapter to the main series and will act more as a gaiden focusing on Raiden's character. Platinum Games has also taken it on to finish it out with Kojima's okay after he felt that canceling it might be better than letting it flounder – a surprising dose of insight into the history of its production. And what we might expect from the finished game.
 
Pink? PIIIIIIIIIIIIIINK?!Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D – Kojima Productions (Nintendo 3DS)
ETA – March 13, 2012
 
What is it?
It's the 3DS version of MGS Snake Eater, though instead of a straight port, it will also have a number of features to make use of the handheld such as using the camera to create your own camouflage.
 
NeverDeadNeverDead – Rebellion Developments (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – January 31, 2012
 
What is it?
Players will be a 200 year old demon slayer who was “despised by Death” and whose dismembered body parts can move on their own and possibly fight or set off traps. Bizarre, weird, but it could be different – and entertaining enough – to stand out from the crowded zombie market.
 
That's...a lot of bloodNinja Gaiden 3 – Team Ninja (PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it? 
It promises more blood, more ninpo, and a story written by Masato Kato – the guy the wrote the original plot for the Ninja Gaiden trilogy on the NES – that has London in the grip of terrorists and Ryu cursed by their leader to suffer for every death he has caused. It's also going to be the first Ninja Gaiden without Itagaki making it something of a special test to see if Ryu can survive without his creator at the helm.
 
OverstrikeOverstrike – Insomniac Games – (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Not much was revealed of this game since its debut trailer at 2011's E3 which advertised Insomniac's creative weaponsmithing flowing through every pixel. It looks like players will be part of a small squad called in to do the impossible – black ops troubleshooting with flashy action and bizarre weapons. Cloaks and portable, return-to-sender, bullet shields? If only there was some gameplay to go with that CG tease.
 
Papo & YoPapo & Yo – Minority – (PSN)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
It's not every day that a game designer comes forward and says that the game he's designing is actually about a dark place from his life. But that's what this is, a game with an intensely personal twist as Vander Caballero and his team transform his turbulent childhood into an interactive metaphor for others to grab onto and explore. Another great reminder of how games can deliver a piece of someone's soul in as much as they can allow us to save the world as someone else.
 
Prototype 2Prototype 2 – Radical Entertainment (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – April 24, 2012
 
What is it?
Taking place around the same time as the first game, players will dive back into an infected NYC to hunt down the previous hero. Hopefully the sequel will provide a much more interesting sandbox with a greater variety of things to do and a story that doesn't require a scavenger hunt to understand the basics. From the videos released thus far, they could be succeeding.
 
Quantum ConundrumQuantum Conundrum – Airtight Games (PC, PSN, XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Designed by Valve alum, Kim Swift (Portal), this cartoonish first-person puzzler turns you into a kid dropped off at his genius uncle's mansion. He's also gone missing, but he's left his Interdimensional Shift Device behind allowing you to shift to four different dimensions to unlock the mystery. 
 
Resident Evil: RevelationsResident Evil: Revelations – Capcom (Nintendo 3DS)
ETA – February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
The next major installment to the series is 3DS only. It sounds like it could be everything that a new Resident Evil should be with more of an emphasis on horror, better limits to ammo for that survivalist feel, and being able to move while shooting. Taking place on an ocean liner in the middle of a storm, Jill Valentine is trying to find out what happened to Chris Redfield without becoming one of the ship's victims.
 
Stab...stab...stab...punch...arm removal...stab...Shank 2 – Klei Entertainment (PC, PSN, XBLA)
ETA – Early 2012
 
What is it?
The sequel to Klei Entertainment's surprise hit, the 2D stab 'em up starring Shank blasts back with a new mission to defend his friends and mulch everyone in his way, one machete swing at a time. Unless he dual wields a pair of guns because it's Tuesday.
 
Shinobido 2Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja – Acquire (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
The stealthy ninja adventure returns in a new setting on the Vita. By taking on a variety of different missions, players will curry favors from a number of factions in a quest for revenge after being betrayed by those that were trusted friends. 
 
Silent Hill: DownpourSilent Hill: Downpour – Vatra Games (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
As a standalone story, this Silent Hill takes place in an unexplored area of the infamous town. Players will be seeing this adventure from the perspective of Murphy Pendleton, a stranded prisoner who finds himself forced to puzzle his way through this stretch of Silent Hill while fending off nightmarish creatures during a raging storm.
 
Sly CooperSly Cooper: Thieves in Time – Sanzaru Games (PS3)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A surprise sequel that sees Sly Cooper return for another heist, this time to save the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus from disappearing into history.
 
South Park: Tenorman's RevengeSouth Park: Tenorman's Revenge – Other Ocean Interactive (XBLA)
ETA – Spring 2012
 
What is it?
A 2D, side scrolling, platforming beat 'em up featuring the crew from South Park as they battle a furious army of “gingers” in a desperate bid to stop Cartman's half-brother, Tenorman. It will also feature multiplayer co-op so you won't have to laugh alone.
 
Star TrekStar Trek – Digital Extremes (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Ever since the amazing trailer at E3, there hasn't been much else to come out of the Neutral Zone concerning this game. It will reportedly have co-op along with thinking moments, so it seems as if it's going to make an effort to avoid being “set phasers to kill” 24/7  if you want to do a little exploring. Other than that, Digital Extremes have been keeping mum on what they are doing, probably while talking up the Darkness II.
 
Super Stardust DeltaSuper Stardust Delta
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
This is the Vita-only release of Super Stardust configured especially for the handheld.
 
Mutant Blobs AttackTales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack – Drinkbox Studios (Vita)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The follow-up to About a Blob, this one is about a blob that escapes into the world and begins eating everything in sight. The catch is, you're the blob, and you'll be munching your way through this 2D world of platforms and puzzles to satisfy your hunger.
 
Little did Joe the NPC know that starring in a Sherlock Holmes game might be the death of himThe Testament of Sherlock Holmes – Frogwares (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Not based on the Downey Jr. character, this take on the classic is set in 1898's London. Holmes is on the run when he is suddenly framed as a suspect and must rely on his investigative skills to save his reputation and his life. Players will follow up on leads and interrogate suspects to try and clear his name in this adventure game before Scotland Yard ends his detective days behind bars.
 
Tomb RaiderTomb Raider – Crystal Dynamics (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA Q3 2012
 
What is it?
A reboot of the series, this takes Lara back as a 21-year old on her way to one of her first adventures, lost within a graveyard of ships somewhere off the coast of Japan. Crystal Dynamics' grittier and survivalist-oriented gameplay appears to be a far cry from the third-person action that the series is known for being, focusing more on realism and desperation than on bullets and uzis.
 
Touch My KatamariTouch My Katamari – Namco Bandai (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
The Katamari emerges on the Vita, ready to consume everything you touch.
 
 
Twisted MetalTwisted Metal – Eat Sleep Play (PS3)
ETA – February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
David Jaffe (Twisted Metal, God of War) returns to the demolition derby that he and his team had helped create packed with armed vehicles, insanity fueled drivers, and giant flying robot bosses. Multiplayer will round out the vehicular mayhem allowing online drivers to crash, burn, and recycle each others' faces.
 
Uncharted Golden AbyssUncharted: Golden Abyss – SCE Bend Studio (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This Vita-only adventure will have your fingers flicking Drake to ledges and overhangs as he fights his way through danger lurking amidst ancient ruins to discover the answer to a 400 year old mystery. 
 
War of the RosesWar of the Roses – Fatshark (PC)
ETA – Q2 2012
 
What is it?
Players will battle, hack 'n slash-like, through 15th century England doing their part in the War of the Roses. Upgrades will turn a dirty, unwashed peasant into a knight in muddy armor as they cleave their way to victory in this third-person action title in team-based multiplayer or the single-player campaign.
 
The WitnessThe Witness – Jonathan Blow (PC, iOS)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
From Jonathan Blow (Braid), a first-person puzzler will take players to a mysterious island where they are the only inhabitants. Would-be explorers will solve unique mazes through a variety of means unlocking more of the island and a possible answer to the messages that each leaves behind.
 
Yakuza Dead SoulsYakuza Dead Souls – Sega (PS3)
ETA – March 30, 2012
 
What is it?
Famous faces from the series show up under siege from an invasion of the undead in this very different take on the Yakuza series. After trying the Japanese demo, my first impression was that it plays out as if it were Yakuza: Resident Evil edition. The demo threw me into Akiyama's shoes for a taste of the gunplay mechanics and the contextual options it brings to the table, such as exploding gas tanks with a special shot for zombie flambe. All of this firepower can be a bit bizarre to a longtime Yakuza fan as myself used more to foot smashing combos and gangster busting fisticuffs. At the same time, the demo was also pretty fun.
 
Action and Adventure
 
Amy – VectorCell, Lexis Numerique (PC, PSN, XBLA)
Mid January 2012
 
What's it about?
You and an autistic girl will be trying to survive on the run from formerly human pursuers turned walking horrors following a train wreck. Part of me wants to think “Ico” crossed with “The Walking Dead”. Another part of me is thinking that there's also a hint of “Amnesia” styled helplessness worked in there somewhere for a stab at real horror.
 
The Amazing Spider Man – Beenox (Multiple)
Summer, 2012
 
What is it?
This appears to be the inevitable movie tie-in to the Hollywood reboot of the same name.
 
Asura's Wrath – CyberConnect2, Capcom (PS3, Xbox 360)
February 12, 2012
 
What's it about?
As a mix between Oriental mythology crossed with sci-fi with the debut trailer showing off a giant Space Buddha's meteoric fingertip, Asura's Wrath promises to be one of the most unique experiences to emerge next year. It looks like it could be an EXTREME version of Clover's God Hand as a pugilistic paradiso which might be all that it needs to attract would-be heroes into the strange space it lives in.
 
Asylum – Senscape (PC)
TBD 2012
 
What's it about?
Amnesia proved that there's a market out there for fresh underwear and Asylum wants to continue that tradition. The setting seems perfect for trilling the nerves of would-be adventurers. Run down, psychiatric hospital? What could possibly go wrong there? (see: Sanitarium).
 
BattleBlock Theater – Behemoth (XBL)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A competitive co-op platformer from the makers of Alien Hominid, help free prisoners captured by mysterious, yet well dressed, cats from an island theater thing! This also has the potential for vicious infighting as leg ups turn into opportunities to backstab your partner for the lulz.
 
Blades of Time – Gaijin Entertainment (PS3, Xbox 360)
Early 2012
 
What's it about?
It's the unexpected successor to the third-person action adventure, X-Blades, which sees heroine Ayumi back in action on a mysterious island. With new abilities like a dash attack and the ability to rewind time, the sequel hopes to distance itself with its improvements from its critically eviscerated predecessor.
 
Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 – Gearbox Software (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What's it about?
Basically, “Inglourious Basterds – The Game” making it worlds away from the seriousness of BiA's previous efforts. This is something of a gamble that Gearbox is taking with its fans. The concept has potential though little else has been released on the game since the debut trailer and official site earlier this year.
 
Closure – (PSN, PC, Mac)
 
What is it?
What started out as a clever Flash game has grown over three years into a full fledged 2D adventure where light reveals safe places for you to jump to without falling into darkness at the very “edge” of existence. Light does more than reveal navigable surfaces; they literally materialize within its glow in this unique platformer where nothing can be taken for granted.
 
Cross of the Dutchman – Triangle Studios (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
There's still room for a good action adventure game or two and Cross of the Dutchman looks to want to deliver that with its cel-based look and a strong basis on folklore. In this case, a story involving Pier Gerlofs Donia, a Frisian legend from the sixteenth century.
 
The Darkness II – Digital Extremes (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
Sequel that sticks you back in the cursed boots of Estacado, now with cel shading. The game will have an upgradable, RPG-like skill tree, a bigger arsenal to compliment your Darkling minions, and co-op Vendettas wrapped up in their own storyline running alongside the main one.
 
Darksiders II – Vigil Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
June 2012
 
What is it?
Playing as Death? More powers? Bigger hub areas with NPCs throwing quests at you? An even larger game space than the last? Sounds like Darksiders II is widening its world with more of what the fans want while packing in a few more tricks to make the end times party time.
 
Dishonored – Arkane Studios (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Q2 2012
 
What is it?
Arkane Studios (Arx Fatalis, Dark Messiah) is behind this. It looks set in a place that seems to be a mix between colonial England, steampunk fantasy, and a little sci-fi weirdness of the mad science variety. As the titular protagonist, you'll also have powers that seem to be a blend between being the Prince of Persia and Harry Potter from Third Echelon to help clear your name. One thing that the game will also be looking at is how bloody your path will be to determine the kind of situations that evolve around you.
 
DmC: Devil May Cry – Ninja Theory (PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A “rebirth” of the Devil May Cry series starring a much younger, devil slaying Dante. This is the first Devil May Cry game that isn't being made internally at Capcom who tapped Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved) to take it on. To say that the first screens showing the redesigned Dante weren't met with enthusiasm would be a criminal understatement. Later movies showing off more of the action seemed to go over better if not because of the character's appearance than the flashy gameplay reminiscent of the original series.
 
Escape Plan – Fun Bits (Vita)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
From the makers of Fat Princess comes this black & white title for the Vita. Here, the player guides two different characters through rooms of death in order to escape whatever it is they need escaping from by helping each other out.

Fighting

Anarchy ReignsAnarchy Reigns – Platinum Games (Xbox 360, PS3)
ETA – January, 2012
 
What is it?
This Platinum Games title pitches over-the-top fighters against each other in what they are calling an online brawler, so of course there will be team-based or one-on-one duels. Characters range from a pimped out cyborg fitted with “super sexy fists of fire” to a guy wielding a flaming chainsaw. 
 
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift ExtendBlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend – Arc System Works (PS3, Xbox 369, Vita)
ETA – February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
The next iteration of the BlazBlue fighting series from the developers of Guilty Gear. This cel animated fighter will feature new stories, new characters, and team battles bringing even more frenetic action to its 2D dojo.
 
Dead of Alive 5Dead or Alive 5 – Team Ninja (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The fifth game in the series is without its creator, Tomonobu Itagaki, and will feature the fighters that everyone knows including a few new guests such as Ninja Gaiden's Ryu. 
 
Deadliest Warrior: Ancient CombatDeadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat – 345 Games (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – January 10, 2012
 
What is it?
The television show hits shelves again as a fighting game pitting the warriors of history against each other in brutal combat. 
 
 
Naruto ShippudenNaruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations – CyberConnect2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
The always popular Naruto returns in another fighting game.
 
 
Reality FightersReality Fighters – SCEA (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This game aims to turn the Vita into a virtual arena wherever you go, allowing you to build your own fighters and then use your real-world surroundings as the battleground. You can even scan yourself for an additional ego-trip against your friends – or whatever stranger happens to be around playing the same game.
 
SkullgirlsSkullgirls – Reverge Labs (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Early 2012
 
What is it?
A fighting game featuring anime-inspired female fighters armed with funky abilities is an ode to 2D fighters such as Arc System Works' Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series. Aside from its clever art direction, this freshman effort has also snagged veteran composer Michiru Yamane (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra: Hard Corps) to set the pace of every beat down. 
 
Soul Calibur VSoulCalibur V – Project Soul (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – January 31, 2012
 
What is it?
“The Legend will never die” says Soul Calibur's oft spoken in-game motto as it enters its fifth major incarnation pitting armed fighters against each other in a bid to reclaim the titular blade. In addition to most of the old faces returning, a few new additions have also found their way into the game such as Ubisoft's Ezio from the Assassin's Creed series.
 
Street Fighter X TekkenStreet Fighter X Tekken – Capcom (PC, PS3, Vita, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
Fighters from both famous franchises will duel each other in this crossover epic from Capcom. Interestingly, the game will adhere more to the 2D style of fighting from Capcom's SF series as opposed to the Tekken's "3D" approach.
What is it?
Fighters from both famous franchises will duel each other in this crossover epic from Capcom. Interestingly, the game will adhere more to the 2D style of fighting from Capcom's SF series as opposed to the Tekken's 3D approach.
Fighters from both famous franchises will duel each other in this crossover epic from Capcom. Interestingly, the game will adhere more to the 2D style of fighting from Capcom's SF series as opposed to the Tekken's 3D approach.Fighting
 
Anarchy Reigns – Platinum Games (Xbox 360, PS3)
January, 2012
 
What is it?
This Platinum Games title pitches over-the-top fighters against each other in what they are calling an online brawler, so of course there will be team-based or one-on-one duels. Characters range from a pimped out cyborg fitted with “super sexy fists of fire” to a guy wielding a flaming chainsaw. 
 
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend – Arc System Works (PS3, Xbox 369, Vita)
February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
The next iteration of the BlazBlue fighting series from the developers of Guilty Gear. This cel animated fighter will feature new stories, new characters, and team battles bringing even more frenetic action to its 2D dojo.
 
Dead or Alive 5 – Team Ninja (PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The fifth game in the series is without its creator, Tomonobu Itagaki, and will feature the fighters that everyone knows including a few new guests such as Ninja Gaiden's Ryu. 
 
Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat – 345 Games (PS3, Xbox 360)
January 10, 2012
 
What is it?
The television show hits shelves again as a fighting game pitting the warriors of history against each other in brutal combat. 
 
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 – CyberConnect2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Q1 2012
 
What is it?
The always popular Naruto returns in another fighting game.
 
Reality Fighters – SCEA (Vita)
February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This game aims to turn the Vita into a virtual arena wherever you go, allowing you to build your own fighters and then use your real-world surroundings as the battleground. You can even scan yourself for an additional ego-trip against your friends – or whatever stranger happens to be around playing the same game.
 
Skullgirls – Reverge Labs (PS3, Xbox 360)
Early 2012
 
What is it?
A fighting game featuring anime-inspired female fighters armed with funky abilities and indominable fighting spirit with shades of Arc System Works' Guilty Gear. Aside from its clever art direction, this freshman effort has also snagged veteran composer Michiru Yamane (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra: Hard Corps) to do the music. 
 
SoulCalibur V – Project Soul (PS3, Xbox 360)
January 31, 2012
 
What is it?
“The Legend will never die” says Soul Calibur's oft spoken in-game motto as it enters its fifth major incarnation pitting armed fighters against each other in a bid to reclaim the titular blade. In addition to most of the old faces returning, a few new additions have also found their way into the game such as Ubisoft's Ezio from the Assassin's Creed series.
 
Street Fighter X Tekken – Capcom (PC, PS3, Vita, Xbox 360)
March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
Fighters from both famous franchises will duel each other in this crossover epic from Capcom. Interestingly, the game will adhere more to the 2D style of fighting from Capcom's SF series as opposed to the Tekken's 3D approach.

MMO

DeadlandsDeadlands – Cliffhanger Productions (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Based on the PnP tabletop/card game from Pinnacle Games, Deadlands is set in an occult/steampunk treatment of the Wild West where the undead have risen up and magic is all too real. Cliffhanger estimates a release in 2012 for this Flash-based, free-to-play browser MMO.
 
Dragon Quest XDragon Quest X – Square Enix, Armor Project (Wii, Wii U)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The tenth Dragon Quest is a console based MMORPG, a huge surprise to many fans expecting another traditionally single-player focused campaign. Though it will be playable for a “few” offline hours, apparently you will still be required to connect to the internet.
 
Dust 514Dust 514 – CCP Games (PS3, Vita)
ETA – Spring 2012
 
What is it?
A UE3 powered MMOFPS that will directly tie into the world of the PC-only MMO, EVE Online. Think MAG, only now you can coordinate a ground assault while possibly getting help from your EVE friends in high orbit. And like EVE, it will also have its own economy to buy new toys with in order to swing the battle on some far off world for corporate glory or for your own. An ambitiously unique experiment tying PCs and consoles together expanding EVE's vast slice of the universe.
 
End of NationsEnd of Nations – Petroglyph Games (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
An MMORTS set in the not-too-distant future as players battle around the world to defeat the Order of Nations, or fight amongst each other in battles as small as 1 vs. 1 to 26 vs. 26 on a persistent map. If multiplayer isn't your thing, it also has a solo mode for lone wolves.
 
Gotham City ImpostorsGotham City Impostors – Monolith Productions (PC, PSN, XBLA)
ETA – January 12, 2012
 
What is it?
A multiplayer-only FPS cosplaying players as Batman or the Joker as they battle it out in teams using everything from explosives to jack-in-the-boxes. 
 
Guild Wars 2Guild Wars 2 – ArenaNet (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The sheer detail of ArenaNet's GW2 makes me wish that it were a single-player RPG on the scale of Skyrim instead of an MMO. Guild Wars 2 is the long awaited series follow-up to a world that will be shaken to its core by cataclysmic changes with players taking part in a story that will actually do more by responding to their actions. As before, potential heroes will only need to pony up the gold pieces for the client but the game itself has no subscription fee.
 
Jagged Alliance OnlineJagged Alliance Online – Cliffhanger Productions (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The online reboot of the classic PC tactical strategy game, Jagged Alliance, emerges as a browser-based MMO promising guns, explosions, contracts, base building, and plenty of mercs. A short clip setting up the premise and showing off a bit of the turn-based action is also available for longtime fans to whet their appetites over as the devs prepare it for release sometime in 2012.
 
MechWarrior OnlineMechWarrior Online – Piranha Games, Smith & Tinker (PC)
ETA – Summer 2012
 
What is it?
This is going to be a free-to-play reboot based on the classic BattleTech Universe. One of BattleTech's original creators, Jordan Weisman of Smith & Tinker, is also helping with MechWarrior's electronic resurrection. Interestingly, the game will start in the year 3048 and time will actually pass in 'real-time' for every day, changing the universe as it travels along the fiction.
 
NeverwinterNeverwinter – Cryptic Studios (PC)
ETA – Q4 2012
 
What is it?
It's a free-to-play, action oriented, online RPG based on D&D's 4.0 rules. The Foundry toolset will even allow players to craft their own adventures and Monty Haul campaigns if they so choose, all without having to deal with temperamental DMs. This is not a sequel to BioWare's Neverwinter Nights series coming off instead as a kind of a reboot of the MMO that ran on AOL in the 90's. However, this will have its own unique storyline and set of adventures to set it apart.
 
Shadowrun OnlineShadowrun Online – Cliffhanger Productions (PC)
ETA – TBA
 
What is it?
Shadowrun has had a rough history in the console space despite the promise shown years ago on the Genesis and the SNES. This time, the reboot is going to be another free-to-play browser based MMO for PCs. Word is that one of Shadowrun's original founders, Jordan Weisman, is also involved so that's some sliver of hope for this to be the start of something good. From the video footage seen so far, the isometric mechanics appear similar to the “action point” system utilized by titles such as Interplay's Fallout.
 
The Secret WorldThe Secret World – Funcom (PC)
ETA – April, 2012
 
What is it?
With Ragnar Tornquist (The Longest Journey, Dreamfall) as the creative lead filling everyone's heads with twisted conspiracies and urban legends, the Secret World could be unique enough to draw in players eager to take the modern world into a shadow war. Without levels or classes, the gameplay promises a unique approach to typical MMO character development.
 
Tera OnlineTera Online – Bluehole Studio (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
South Korea has already been enjoying this MMO since January, but the UE3-powered fantasy will be making its way westward in early 2012. The combat system is touted as real-time action meaning that anything you see coming at you, you'll need to dodge it yourself and to hit something, you'll need to close in for your weapon to have any bite. Politics also allow players to become “vanarchs” of a province, effectively influencing its players and the environment. How you get there, either by kicking the smiles off other contenders like yourself or using social media instead such as Twitter to get the vote out, is up to you and your guild.
 
Transformers UniverseTransformers Universe – Jagex Games Studio Hasbro (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Not much was revealed on this outside of the basics. It's going to be using an updated version of the RuneScape engine, so whether it's going to feel like RuneScape with Autobots and Decepticons is something that is up in the air.
 
Tribes: AscendTribes: Ascend – Hi-Rez Studios (PC)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
It's the online only version of classic Tribes FPS gameplay, rebooted as a free-to-play MMO. The original Tribes, especially Tribes 2, was renowned for its vast maps and unique multiplayer gameplay using vehicles, loadouts, and a slew of community friendly tools. Mods and a strong association of fans have kept the series alive years after the publishers and design studio that put the series on shelves had dissolved.
 
WakfuWakfu – Ankarma Games (Linux, PC, Mac)
ETA – February, 2012
 
What is it?
A tactical, isometric, free-to-play MMO based on the media series, Wakfu, players pick a class to start with and can rise to become seasoned adventurers or part of the politics governing the land. Turn-based battles, an ecosystem that responds to players for good or ill, and fourteen classes will tempt armchair industrialists or glory-hungry soldiers.

RPGs

Age of DecadenceAge of Decadence – Iron Tower Studio (PC)
ETA – TBA
 
What is it?
Taking place in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world that has seen the end of a mighty empire swallowed by its own Dark Ages, this independent title hearkens back to a time when NPCs didn't tell your their life stories at the drop of a hat, tactics meant something in round-based combat, walls of text were the only real textures that mattered in the game, stats were well oiled cogs driving your characters to victory, and choices weren't welded to morality gauges. It's currently in closed beta with no firm date for release, though it's safe to guess that we could see more in 2012. A combat demo is available for download.
 
The Dark Eye - DemoniconThe Dark Eye: Demonicon – Noumena Studios Berlin (PC, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
“The Dark Eye” is a popular PnP tabletop RPG series in Germany and this is the latest PC version based on its world. The first game I had played based on the Dark Eye, Drakensang, was a fun CRPG steeped in stats and quests though it tended to be a bit too linear. Seeing that this dark and grim chapter is also making its console debut, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the gameplay detail that the previous series loaded up on in the past will make it over intact.
 
Diablo IIIDiablo III – Blizzard Entertainment (Mac, PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
One of the grand scions of the classic dungeon crawl returns. I thoroughly enjoyed both Diablo I and II and looking forward to finishing the next battle. The “always on” DRM, however, is a sticking point that has put me on the fence. While the reasons for doing so make sense, the way it was implemented has left more than one prospective player bitter.
 
Dragon's CrownDragon's Crown – Vanillaware (PS3, Vita)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
George Kamitani had said that he had worked on “Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom” for Capcom, an experience that seems to flow right on through the 2D, beat 'em up action of Dragon's Crown if the videos are anything to judge it by. Up to four players can even join up as a party of treasure rifling monster busters leaving the effort of placing a token on the bottom of the glass screen the only thing missing from this welcome throwback to the classics.
 
Dragon's DogmaDragon's Dogma  - Capcom (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 27, 2012
 
What is it?
A dragon has taken your heart, literally, and you have to discover why while depopulating caves, fields, and dungeons of nastiness. Epic monsters and bosses that celebrate Capcom's artists once again along with a sandbox-like approach to questing seem to be the ingredients for this upcoming dungeon crawl from Capcom.
 
Fable: The JourneyFable: The Journey – Lionhead Studios (Xbox 360 Kinect)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
It's safe to say that the initial video showing off The Journey resulted in mixed responses, something that Peter Molyneux had admitted later, as it looked to be a Kinect game on rails (which it has been said it won't be).
 
FFXIII-2Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Square Enix (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – January 31, 2012
 
What is it?
Serah, the sister of Lightning, takes on a quest three years after the ending of FFXIII to find the truth behind her sister's strange disappearance. It was no secret that the production of FFXIII had left a large amount of content on the cutting room floor and the sequel will have a number of improvements to entice fans to return. An more open world, a “Chrono Trigger” like time travel mechanic, a new dialogue system, and tweaks to combat suggest that the sequel could be more of what FFXIII should have been.
 
Heroes of RuinHeroes of Ruin – n-Space (Nintendo 3DS)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Featuring dynamic dungeons and simple hack 'n slash gameplay, this dungeon crawler for the 3DS will also allow players to team up in multiplayer alliances and make use of the handheld's online capabilities for trading or in downloading new challenges. 
 
Game of ThronesGame of Thrones – Cyanide Studio, Atlus (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA
 
What is it?
It looks like the game will take its cue from the HBO show of the same name than directly from the novels and act as a side story taking place in parallel to it. Could it be good? It was recently mentioned that it will only take thirty hours to get through it, roughly the same amount that both Mass Effect 1 and 2 had averaged for me. The question is whether the gameplay will be as interesting and, aside from a few screenshots, that's still up in the air. 
 
Grim DawnGrim Dawn – Crate Entertainment (PC)
ETA – TBA
 
What is it?
This hack 'n slash dungeon crawler is made by many of the same guys behind Iron Lore Entertainment's Titan Quest. It looks to be much grittier than Titan's Mediterranean paradise while packing as much loot into every inventory panel. It's still too early to tell when this will actually be out, or if it will just skip 2012 to keep away from Diablo III's shadow, but it's looking good so far.
 
Kingdoms of AmalurKingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – 38 Studios, Big Huge Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
Brought back from the dead with no ties to fate, it's up to you to discover the mysteries of Amalur and become its hero. Looking at it from the videos and screenshots that have come out, it has a sort of “Fable” aesthetic only lathered over with deeper gameplay systems and far more options to be a belligerent badass wielding unstoppable power.
 
Mass Effect 3Mass Effect 3 – BioWare (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
The final chapter to Shepherd's saga. With three different modes in which to experience the game, BioWare is going all out to make his last outing as appealing as possible to would-be galactic saviours. Tying in the Kinect with voice commands along with features such as deeper customization for weapons, a multiplayer co-op mode, and whether combat will either shed its RPG-lite shell and go full Borderlands, ME3 promises to be as much a gamble in polishing its system as it will be for players to survive the climactic battle ahead.
 
PSO2Phantasy Star Online 2 – Sonic Team (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The sequel to PSO, but so far, it sounds like it will be PC only. It entered Alpha testing earlier this year in Japan and there are strong hopes that it will eventually make it over to NA in some capacity as its predecessor had. Phantasy Star fan site, PSO World, has been keeping a close eye on the series.
 
Risen 2Risen 2: Dark Waters – Piranha Bytes (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – April 24, 2012
 
What is it?
The first Risen was an enjoyable, Gothic-like romp that left itself open enough to stumble into an early grave. It had its issues, but on the whole, it had solid RPG elements to help it stand out from the crowd especially for fans of Piranha Bytes' work. The second one will take place some time after the first game across an archipelago of mystery and adventure, but this time, it's a pirate's life for everyone especially for the downtrodden hero.
 
RuinRuin – Idol Minds, SCE San Diego Studio (PS3, Vita)
ETA – March, 2012
 
What is it?
An isometric dungeon crawler that debuted during Vita's official unveiling at 2011's E3. The PS3 and Vita version will be able to use the same save data allowing players that own a copy on both to continue their adventures on either platform. It will also have social components such as multiplayer, trading, and the ability to create their own “lairs” to show off their best items which can also be raided by other players.
 
SMT Devil Survivor 2Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 – Atlus (Nintendo DS)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A tactical RPG that is out in Japan and is due for a NA release. Like other SMT titles, players can capture demons to add to their ranks and fuse together to create new ones to aid in battle. Skills can also be learned during battle and relationships can be formed with party members.
 
 
SorcerySorcery – The Workshop (PS3 Move)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Would-be sorcerors will get the chance to weave virtual spells in a bid to save the world from darkness in this Move-exclusive action RPG. Other than a few videos and screenshots, little else has been revealed though it's expected to be out sometime in 2012. 
 
South Park: The GameSouth Park: The Game – Obsidian Entertainment, THQ (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
An RPG based on South Park where players will star as a new kid on the block and have a chance to befriend Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny in an eventual bid to save the town. Obsidian Entertainment will be helming this surprising entry into the series, so it's reasonable to expect branching dialogue choices along with the series' trademark humor worked in somewhere. More interesting are just what kind of stats and skills will be floating around. Does Kenny truly have godlike CON? I guess we'll find out the answers in 2012.
 
Tales of Graces FTales of Graces F – Namco Bandai (Wii, PS3)
ETA – March 13, 2012
 
What is it?
Though the series can be argued to have been overshadowed by Final Fantasy, its longevity and the strength of its fanbase easily attest to its lasting appeal as NA players finally get a chance to experience the localization of this previously Japan-only chapter. As the twelfth “mothership” title in the series, players will again experience Tales' fast paced combat system, a suitably lengthy story, and engage in skits in with the major characters as they quest to save the world.
 
Torchlight 2Torchlight II – Runic Games (PC, Mac)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The follow-up to Torchlight promises more of what its predecessor had handily delivered – dynamically generated dungeons, loot, and more monsters. Now it will have an overland area to explore along with day and night cycles, changing weather, and a much longer story to plow through now with co-op multiplayer.
 
Witcher 2Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings – CD Projekt RED (Xbox 360)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
This is the console port of the acclaimed CRPG sequel of the same name featuring Geralt the Witcher and his world based on author Andrzej Sapkowski's books. The gritty and mature atmosphere of its world and purely consequence-based choices have set its storytelling aesthetics apart from other titles in the genre along with an upgrade system emphasizing cherry picking skills over equipment and loot.
 
Xenosaga ChroniclesXenoblade Chronicles – Monolithsoft – (Wii)
ETA – April 2, 2012
 
What is it?
Nintendo has finally decided to bring Xenosaga over to NA and, having played the European version, can say that the wait will be worth it. Cast as a party of who are probably the most gung-ho individuals to ever grace a JRPG outside of a Tales game, this is an epic-sized, largely angst free story of fantastic twists, devious villains, and surprisingly deep gameplay elements spanning buckets of equipment statistics, skill lists, and gem crafting possibilities. This isn't only a brilliant JRPG for the Wii. It's a fantastic RPG…period. 
Nintendo has finally decided to bring Xenosaga over to NA and, having played the European version, can say that the wait will be worth it. Cast as a party of who are probably the most gung-ho individuals to ever grace a JRPG outside of a Tales game, this is an epic-sized, largely angst free story of fantastic twists, devious villains, and surprisingly deep gameplay elements spanning buckets of equipment statistics, skill lists, and gem crafting possibilities. This isn't only a brilliant JRPG for the Wii. It's a fantastic RPG…period. RPGs
 
Age of Decadence – Iron Tower Studio (PC)
TBA
 
What is it?
Taking place in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world that has seen the end of a mighty empire swallowed by its own Dark Ages, this independent title hearkens back to a time when NPCs didn't tell your their life stories at the drop of a hat, tactics meant something in round-based combat, walls of text were the only real textures that mattered in the game, stats were well oiled cogs driving your characters to victory, and choices weren't welded to morality gauges. The combat demo impressed me and the only disappointment I felt was that it was only about the combat. It's currently in beta with no firm date for release, though it's safe to guess that we could see more in 2012.
 
The Dark Eye: Demonicon – Noumena Studios Berlin (PC, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
“The Dark Eye” is a popular PnP tabletop RPG series in Germany and this is the latest PC version based on its world. The first game I had played based on the Dark Eye, Drakensang, was a fun CRPG steeped in stats and quests though it tended to be a bit too linear. Seeing that this dark and grim chapter is also making its console debut, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the gameplay detail that the previous series loaded up on in the past will make it over intact.
 
Diablo III – Blizzard Entertainment (Mac, PC)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
One of the grand scions of the classic dungeon crawl returns. I thoroughly enjoyed both Diablo I and II and looking forward to finishing the next battle. The “always on” DRM, however, is a sticking point that has put me on the fence. While the reasons for doing so make sense, the way it was implemented has left more than one prospective player bitter.
 
Dragon's Crown – Vanillaware (PS3, Vita)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
George Kamitani had said that he had worked on “Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom” for Capcom, an experience that seems to flow right on through the 2D, beat 'em up action of Dragon's Crown. Up to four players can even join up as a party of treasure rifling monster busters leaving the effort of placing a token on the bottom of the glass screen the only thing missing from this welcome throwback to the classics.
 
Dragon's Dogma  - Capcom (PS3, Xbox 360)
March 27, 2012
 
What is it?
A dragon has taken your heart, literally, and you have to discover why while depopulating caves, fields, and dungeons of nastiness. Epic monsters and bosses that celebrate Capcom's artists once again along with a sandbox-like approach to questing seem to be the ingredients for this upcoming dungeon crawl from Capcom.
 
Fable: The Journey – Lionhead Studios (Xbox 360 Kinect)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
It's safe to say that the initial video showing off The Journey resulted in mixed responses, something that Peter Molyneux had admitted later, as it looked to be a Kinect game on rails (which it has been said it won't be).
 
Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Square Enix (PS3, Xbox 360)
January 31, 2012
 
What is it?
Serah, the sister of Lightning, takes on a quest three years after the ending of FFXIII to find the truth behind her sister's strange disappearance. It was no secret that the production of FFXIII had left a large amount of content on the cutting room floor and the sequel will have a number of improvements to entice fans to return. An more open world, a “Chrono Trigger” like time travel mechanic, a new dialogue system, and tweaks to combat suggest that the sequel could be more of what FFXIII should have been.
 
Heroes of Ruin – n-Space (Nintendo 3DS)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Featuring dynamic dungeons and simple hack 'n slash gameplay, this dungeon crawler for the 3DS will also allow players to team up in multiplayer alliances and make use of the handheld's online capabilities for trading or in downloading new challenges. 
 
Game of Thrones – Cyanide Studio, Atlus (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA
 
What is it?
It looks like the game will take its cue from the HBO show of the same name than directly from the novels and act as a side story taking place in parallel to it. Could it be good? It was recently mentioned that it will only take thirty hours to get through it, roughly the same amount that both Mass Effect 1 and 2 had averaged for me. The question is whether the gameplay will be as interesting and, aside from a few screenshots, that's still up in the air. 
 
Grim Dawn – Crate Entertainment (PC)
TBA
 
What is it?
This hack 'n slash dungeon crawler is made by many of the same guys behind Iron Lore Entertainment's Titan Quest. It looks to be much grittier than Titan's Mediterranean paradise while packing as much loot into every inventory panel. It's still too early to tell when this will actually be out, or if it will just skip 2012 to keep away from Diablo III's shadow, but it's looking good so far.
 
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – 38 Studios, Big Huge Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
Brought back from the dead with no ties to fate, it's up to you to discover the mysteries of Amalur and become its hero. Looking at it from the videos and screenshots that have come out, it has a sort of “Fable” aesthetic only lathered over with deeper gameplay systems and far more options to be a belligerent badass wielding unstoppable power.
 
Mass Effect 3 – BioWare (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
The final chapter to Shepherd's saga. With three different modes in which to experience the game, BioWare is going all out to make his last outing as appealing as possible to all comers. Tying in the Kinect with voice commands along with features such as better customization for weapons, a multiplayer co-op mode, and whether combat will either shed its RPG-lite shell and go full Borderlands, ME3 promises to be as much a gamble on polishing its system to match the high note that its story will be at for the fans.
 
Phantasy Star Online 2 – Sonic Team (PC)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The sequel to PSO, but so far, it sounds like it will be PC only.
 
Risen 2: Dark Waters – Piranha Bytes (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
April 24, 2012
 
What is it?
The first Risen was an enjoyable, Gothic-like romp that left itself open enough to stumble into an early grave. It had its issues, but on the whole, it had solid RPG elements to help it stand out from the crowd especially for fans of Piranha Bytes' work. The second one will take place some time after the first game across an archipelago of mystery and adventure, but this time, it's a pirate's life for everyone especially for the downtrodden hero.
 
Ruin – Idol Minds, SCE San Diego Studio (PS3, Vita)
March, 2012
 
What is it?
An isometric dungeon crawler that debuted during Vita's official unveiling at 2011's E3. The PS3 and Vita version will be able to use the same save data allowing players that own a copy on both to continue their adventures on either platform. It will also have social components such as multiplayer, trading, and the ability to create their own “lairs” to show off their best items which can also be raided by other players.
 
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 – Atlus (Nintendo DS)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A tactical RPG that is out in Japan and is due for a NA release. Like other SMT titles, players can capture demons to add to their ranks and fuse together to create new ones to aid in battle. Skills can also be learned during battle and relationships can be formed with party members.
 
Sorcery – The Workshop (PS3 Move)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Would-be sorcerors will get the chance to weave virtual spells in a bid to save the world from darkness in this Move-exclusive action RPG. Other than a few videos and screenshots, little else has been revealed though it's expected to be out sometime in 2012. 
 
South Park: The Game – Obsidian Entertainment, THQ (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
An RPG based on South Park where players will star as a new kid on the block and have a chance to befriend Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny in an eventual bid to save the town. Much mayhem and chaos are expected.
 
Tales of Graces F – Namco Bandai (Wii, PS3)
March 13, 2012
 
What is it?
Though the series can be argued to have been overshadowed by Final Fantasy, its longevity and the strength of its fanbase easily attest to its lasting appeal as NA players finally get a chance to experience the localization of this previously Japan-only chapter. As the twelfth “mothership” title in the series, players will again experience Tales' fast paced combat system, a suitably lengthy story, and engage in skits in with the major characters as they quest to save the world.
 
Torchlight II – Runic Games (PC, Mac)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The follow-up to Torchlight promises more of what its predecessor had handily delivered – dynamically generated dungeons, loot, and more monsters. Now it will have an overland area to explore along with day and night cycles, changing weather, and a much longer story to plow through now with co-op multiplayer.
 
Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings – CD Projekt RED (Xbox 360)
Q1 2012
What is it?
This is the console port of the acclaimed CRPG sequel of the same name featuring Geralt, the Witcher, and the world based on author Andrzej Sapkowski's books. The gritty and mature atmosphere of its world tinting grey Geralt's choices and the consequences after them have set its storytelling aesthetics apart from other titles in the genre along with an upgrade system emphasizing cherry picking skills over equipment and loot.
 
Xenoblade Chronicles – Monolithsoft – (Wii)
April 2, 2012
 
What is it?
Nintendo has finally decided to bring Xenosaga over to NA and, having played the European version, can say that the wait will be worth it. Cast as a party of who are probably the most gung-ho individuals to ever grace a JRPG outside of a Tales game, this is an epic-sized, largely angst free story of fantastic twists, devious villains, and surprisingly deep gameplay elements spanning buckets of equipment statistics, skill lists, and gem crafting possibilities. This isn't only a brilliant JRPG for the Wii. It's a fantastic RPG…period. 

Shooters

Aliens: Colonial MarinesAliens: Colonial Marines – Gearbox Software, TimeGate Studios (Multi)
ETA – Spring 2012
 
What is it?
The last Aliens game I played was in the arcade, but the one on the Apple was exciting stuff for me as I yelled “I'm in the pipe, five by five!” during the descent simulation. On the surface, this looks like another cut and dry shooter though Gearbox isn't known for simply leaving things as is. The dirty future kept alive in the trailers along with the gameplay vids rolling out the welcome mat back to LV426 keep me cautiously optimistic. It's still bizarre how enough colony survived the fusion explosion, though if you've read the Colonial Marines Technical Manual, and if it means using pulse rifles and automated turrets to send xenomorphs on to their personal hells, it won't matter.
 
Binary DomainBinary Domain – Yakuza Studio, Sega (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
In this third-person shooter, players will battle humanoid bots gone mad in the future with a squad of stereotypes. But the big deal about this one is in its Consequence system. Depending on how you treat your teammates such as whether you carelessly order them into a fight to be bullet sponges or carefully use their skills to support the team down to what you say to each one, they may or may not feel all that willing to cover your ass in battle and may even alter the story. If it can be done well, this could mean that no two playthroughs may be quite the same between anyone.
 
BioShock InfiniteBioShock Infinite – Irrational Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The second sequel in the series takes the player to Columbia, a flying ambassadorial city of Freedom above America where a grand experiment has gone tragically wrong. The twist of having an NPC companion to care for who will actually be an integral part of the gameplay adds neat wrinkles to the highly secretive storyline as well as possibly push the envelope on tugging emotional heartstrings. And then there's all of that steampunk flying around and the whole metaphysical strangeness of your partner's powers.
 
BlacklightBlacklight: Retribution – (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A free-to-play FPS for PCs with upgrade points earned during play to customize equipment and even “hardsuits” – mechs called into battle and which players can suit up in to rain tempered steel down on everyone's happy parade.
 
Borderlands 2Borderlands 2 – Gearbox Software (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – September 1, 2012
 
What is it?
The sequel to the hugely successful Borderlands, Borderlands 2 promises even more guns than the last one. All of the previous goodies will be back – the experience, the skill trees – along with new tweaks such as a new set of four characters to pick from and weapon customization options as insane as the number of guns expected to be overflowing from an improved generator. There's also a story with this one and some of the quests will reportedly be dynamic enough to fail if you can't rescue certain someones in time.
 
Counter-StrikeCounter-Strike: Global Offensive – Valve, Hidden Path Entertainment (Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
It's another console-only take on Counter-Strike. It will be interesting to see how this will do in 2012 with another Call of Duty on the way along with Halo 4. Sounds like a fine substitution for those hungering after more FPS MP ASAP.
 
Far Cry 3Far Cry 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 2012
 
What is it?
Taking place on a tropical island and playing as a reporter with survival skills caught in a battle for survival, I just hope it doesn't have checkpoints with reinforcements that show up two minutes after you genocide the area with tons of lead. Otherwise, fans have a sandbox, guns, targets, and vehicles aplenty to look forward to. And I hope that when we're talking aplenty, and that it also includes tanks.
 
Halo 4Halo 4 – 343 Industries (Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Speculation is that the top secret story will focus much more on the Forerunners than previous games had, something that a new novel campaign has begun to pave the way for, as the first part in what has been called the “Reclaimer” trilogy. Other than that, it's anyone's guess as to what game play changes 343 Industries will shape to launch the series into the post-Covenant era. It's also reportedly the last Halo game to appear in this present generation with the next two in the new trilogy slated for whatever Microsoft has planned next.
 
HawkenHawken – Adhesive Games (Unknown)
ETA – Unknown
 
What is it?
A flashy and fantastic looking mech-combat game that could give MechWarrior and SHOGO fans something to pine for if it ever finds a publisher. This was made by nine guys using the free UE3 UDK, then down to seven after the interns left to continue their schooling. It's still in development, however, and hopefully more info will be coming out in the months ahead.
 
HybridHybrid – 5TH Cell – (XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The same studio behind Scribblenauts takes a very different approach with this dark, apocalyptic third-person cover shooter using Valve's Source engine.
 
InversionInversion – Saber Interactive (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
A third-person shooter set in the midst of an invasion by an unknown enemy. Exploring the ruins of the city that is the beachhead of the attack and aided by others, a young father searches for his missing daughter using the power of lead and gravity. If they can make the gravity shifts of being able to walk on walls and ceilings more than a gimmick, players could be in for a unique ride.
 
Max Payne 3Max Payne 3 – Rockstar Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 2012
 
What is it?
It's the sequel to Max Payne that sees the former cop in Brazil working as private security eight years after the end of Max Payne 2. Just like before, it's going to be a third-person shooter with a number of new tweaks that sound as if they'll help Max keep up with Chow Yun Fat.
 
Metro: Last LightMetro: Last Light – 4A Games (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
ETA – Summer 2012
 
What is it?
Metro 2033 was as close to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that players would get on a console featuring bullets as currency and a subway system as a maladjusted shanty town of survival populated by exhausted survivors, Neo Nazis, and bizarre, mutated horrors. Unique, eerie, and peppered with survivalist undertones, fans have plenty of good reasons to look forward to blasting back in and out of Moscow's post-apocalyptic guts. And with the troubles surrounding S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2's developer, might be the only passport players on any platform may get in awhile to check into a uniquely flavored Eastern European apocalypse.
 
Prey 2Prey 2 – Human Head Studios (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Players return to the world of Prey, this time as alien abductee Killian Samuels. It's a good thing he's an air marshal meaning that he can practice the required, lead-based, diplomacy when needed. Boasting an open world, this new chapter looks like it wants to take Prey into a sort of intergalactic franchise if the action can pull things together.
 
Resistance: Burning SkiesResistance: Burning Skies – Nihilistic Software (Vita)
ETA – Summer 2012
 
What is it?
This portable FPS on the Vita puts players into the boots of firefighter, Tom Riley, as he fights his own battle in the United States against the invading Chimera.
 
SyndicateSyndicate – Starbreeze Studios (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 21, 2011
 
What is it?
The controversial reboot of Syndicate as an FPS game makes it hard not to seem like a cop out to the FPS market with lip service paid to bits and pieces from its tactical original. Yet Starbreeze is responsible for the neck-breaking Riddick games, good solid shooters with plenty of atmospheric action, so there's enough promise there to make it exciting though no less of a hard sell to the fans of the original game.
 
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon CityResident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – Slant Six Games, Capcom (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
Developer Slant Six Games is the name behind the recent SOCOM tactical shooter titles, and from what has been released so far, it's a safe guess that this won't be as much about scares as it will be about bullets. Think Cameron's “Aliens” to Scott's “Alien”.
 
ScivelationScivelation – Black Wing Foundation (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Another first-person shooter from the Ukraine with a story almost as bizarre as E.Y.E.'s. Not much else has been revealed on this one aside from a stylish trailer which is a radically different version of what it had apparently started off as.
 
Hate robots? Here you go!Shoot Many Robots – Demiurge Studios (PC, PSN, XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
A side scrolling shooter reminiscent of titles such as SNK's Metal Slug or Konami's Contra where players can shoot many robots solo or with up to four players in co-op goodness. It's also the first title that Demiurge Studios (they also did the PC port for Mass Effect) has all to themselves as an original IP.
 
StarhawkStarhawk – LightBox Interactive, SCE Santa Monica Studio (PS3)
ETA – July 11, 2012
 
What is it?
The sequel to Warhawk now with its own storyline casting players as Emmett, a reluctant hero infected by a strange energy source. All of Warhawk's elements will be available to help spread firepower all around this new story with mechs, buildable structures, and multiplayer with up to 32 players. 
 
At least the visuals are looking niceSniper: Ghost Warrior 2 – City Interactive (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 20, 2012
 
What is it?
The sequel to the first game will be using Crytek's CryENGINE 3 and will also include vehicles for the first time as players don ghillie suits and night vision goggles across a variety of “real world” settings. I thought the first one was pretty meh, but that also leaves things open for a lot of welcome improvement.
 
Spec Ops: The LineSpec Ops: The Line – Yager Development (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Not related to any of the events in the previous games, this third-person shooter takes the player to Dubai where the sand buried facade of its modern vista hide battles and bullets as they embark on a rescue mission. In addition to outlaws in the threatened city, random sandstorms will blow in from the desert pitting the environment as everyone's worst friend.
 
Future Soldier!Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (Multiple, except PCs)
ETA – March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
Russia has been taken over by ultranationalists that push the country into war and Ghost Recon will be traveling around the globe to try and stave off disaster while competing with MGS Rising: Revengeance for the longest title used with a military-styled game. New tricks, such as optical camoflage that can render soldiers invisible and Kinect integration with its interactive gun modding system, are set to make the series' updated formula as polished as possible. The bad news? PC users won't be getting this chapter of the story.
 
Ghost Recon OnlineTom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online – Ubisoft Singapore (PC, Wii U)
ETA – Expected 2011, or early 2012
 
What is it?
This is the free-to-play version of the third-person shooter, Ghost Recon, for PCs, though it is also coming out for the Wii U. Though free-to-play, micro transactions can allow players to “rent” equipment such as guns for a number of days much like how titles such as EA's Battlefield Play4Free and Battlefield Heroes do.
 
Grimlock burninate!Transformers: Fall of Cybertron – High Moon Studios (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Fall 2012
 
What is it?
This sequel will tell the story of the last days of Cybertron, picking up after the events of War for Cybertron, with a grittier and darker story as befits an apocalypse waiting to happen. Whether Autobots and Decepticons will be limited by tiny clips of ammo again is still up for debate.
 
 
Apple Pie and AliensXCOM – 2K Marin (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
This is a reboot of the XCOM franchise, now recast as an FPS with tweaked tactical elements from the original series. XCOM is going to suffer the same kind of scrutiny that EA's Syndicate will of what some take to be an ill-conceived attempt to reboot a franchise into a more acceptable mold – in this case, another FPS. It could be exciting stuff though I suspect that fans of the PC strategy game, which was regarded as the Dark Souls of strategy in its day, won't be as forgiving.

Simulation

Animal CrossingAnimal Crossing – Nintendo EAD (3DS)
ETA – TBD 2012
 
What is it?
Featuring better graphics, character customization, and the ability to swim opening up new possibilities, this Animal Crossing looks to have an appealing bundle of tweaks for fans when it comes out on the 3DS.
 
Armored Core VArmored Core V – From Software (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 1, 2012
 
What is it?
It is not a sequel, but a new chapter in the series as the third reboot. The game will also feature team oriented, objective based multiplayer on a persistent map, and over 500 parts in eleven categories for customization. Missions will be lengthy affairs, though all of them can be played via co-op.
 
In ARMA 3, you can fly thisARMA 3 – Bohemia Interactive (PC)
ETA – Summer 2012
 
What is it?
This military-sim sandbox sequel will be taking place across 900km of solid ground on the real-world island of Lemnos as NATO attempts to hold of an offensive from “the east” threatening the region. In addition to updated graphics detail, players will reportedly be able to finally get wet by being able to dive underwater and use it as a potential attack angle.
 
Birds of SteelBirds of Steel – Konami (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – Early 2012
 
What is it?
Konami is teaming up with Gaijin Entertainment (IL2-Sturmovik: Birds of Prey) to bring this WW2 to life. Birds of Steel will feature 100 planes and battles across twenty missions which will be a mix of history and fiction from both the Pacific and European theaters along with potentially hundreds of “procedural missions” to add to the replay potential. Weather changes, co-op, and competitive tournaments round out this addition to an otherwise under-appreciated genre on consoles.
 
Combat WingsCombat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII – City Interactive – (PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
This WW2 flight-sim will also take players to the Pacific and to Europe with a stable of twenty kinds of planes and multiplayer featuring modes such as racing and escort. Four pilots' stories will be told in this game and players will choose which one to play through as they duke it out against Axis forces from one side of the world to the next.
 
Damage Inc. Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII – Trickstar (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February, 2012
 
What is it?
MadCatz has gone from hardware to publishing their first game with a WW2 flight sim developed by Trickstar. Info suggests that the game will allow players to pick between arcade controls or go hardcore with simulation ones instead. This one features over forty WW2 planes across twenty missions focusing on the Pacific theater.
 
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3DRollerCoaster Tycoon 3D – n-Space (Nintendo 3DS)
ETA – March 2012
 
What is it?
This is the franchise's first portable outing bringing the kind of coaster design craziness the series is known for to the 3DS. Tutorials and a sandbox should make it easy for would-be theme park architects to twist virtual steel into instant vomit comets.
 
Talk to me Goose...Top Gun: Hard Lock – 505 Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 20, 2012
 
What is it?
This takes place 25 years after the movie and players are a new, hotshot pilot called Spider who is basically the new Maverick. This third-person flier isn't as much of a hardcore sim as it is an arcade-like combat serving up crazy maneuvers, juicy orange fireballs, and a “Hard Lock” ability allowing players to perform acrobatic aerials right before they kill their mark with a missile fatality. 
 
X RebirthX Rebirth – Egosoft (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Built from scratch, this is the fifth game in the long running “X universe” space sandbox series from Egosoft. As before, this is like Origin's “Privateer” on steroids allowing players to trade, fight, and custom build vessels ranging from small fighters to mammoth warships all of which have a captain's seat with their name on it.
Built from scratch, this is the fifth game in the long running “X universe” space sandbox series from Egosoft. As before, this is like Origin's “Privateer” on steroids allowing players to trade, fight, and custom build vessels ranging from small fighters to mammoth warships all of which have a captain's seat with their name on it.Simulation
 
Animal Crossing – Nintendo EAD (3DS)
TBD 2012
 
What is it?
Featuring better graphics, character customization, and the ability to swim opening up new possibilities, this Animal Crossing looks to have an appealing bundle of tweaks for fans when it comes out on the 3DS.
 
Armored Core V – From Software (PS3, Xbox 360)
February 1, 2012
 
What is it?
It is not a sequel, but a new chapter in the series as the third reboot. The game will also feature team oriented, objective based multiplayer on a persistent map, and over 500 parts in eleven categories for customization. Missions will be lengthy affairs, though all of them can be played via co-op.
 
ARMA 3 – Bohemia Interactive (PC)
Summer 2012
 
What is it?
This military-sim sandbox sequel will be taking place across 900km of solid ground on the real-world island of Lemnos as NATO attempts to hold of an offensive from “the east” threatening the region. In addition to updated graphics detail, players will reportedly be able to finally get wet by being able to dive underwater and use it as a potential attack angle.
 
Birds of Steel – Konami (PS3, Xbox 360)
Early 2012
 
What is it?
Konami is teaming up with Gaijin Entertainment (IL2-Sturmovik: Birds of Prey) to bring this WW2 to life. Birds of Steel will feature 100 planes and battles across twenty missions which will be a mix of history and fiction from both the Pacific and European theaters along with potentially hundreds of “procedural missions” to add to the replay potential. Weather changes, co-op, and competitive tournaments round out this addition to an otherwise under-appreciated genre on consoles.
 
Combat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII – City Interactive – (PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
This WW2 flight-sim will also take players to the Pacific and to Europe with a stable of twenty kinds of planes and multiplayer featuring modes such as racing and escort. Four pilots' stories will be told in this game and players will choose which one to play through as they duke it out against Axis forces from one side of the world to the next.
 
Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII – Trickstar (PS3, Xbox 360)
February, 2012
 
What is it?
MadCatz has gone from hardware to publishing their first game with a WW2 flight sim developed by Trickstar. Info suggests that the game will allow players to pick between arcade controls or go hardcore with simulation ones instead. This one features over forty WW2 planes across twenty missions focusing on the Pacific theater.
 
Outdoors Unlimited – Navarre (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
February 21, 2012
 
What is it?
A hunting sim featuring fishing and camping in one game along with an “RPG system” for character advancement, thirty six missions, and a leaderboard.
 
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D – n-Space (Nintendo 3DS)
March 2012
 
What is it?
This is the franchise's first portable outing bringing the kind of coaster design craziness the series is known for to the 3DS.
 
Top Gun: Hard Lock – 505 Games (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
March 20, 2012
 
What is it?
This takes place 25 years after the movie and players are a new, hotshot pilot called Spider who is basically the new Maverick. This third-person flier isn't as much of a hardcore sim as it is an arcade-like combat serving up crazy maneuvers, juicy orange fireballs, and a “Hard Lock” ability allowing players to perform acrobatic aerials right before they kill their mark with a missile fatality. 
 
X Rebirth – Egosoft (PC)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Built from scratch, this is the fifth game in the long running “X universe” space sandbox series from Egosoft. As before, this is like Origin's “Privateer” on steroids allowing players to trade, fight, and custom build vessels ranging from small fighters to mammoth warships all of which have a captain's seat with their name on it.

Sports

Asphalt InjectionAsphalt: Injection – Gameloft (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
Asphalt: Injection is another installment in the Asphalt racing series. This one is also expected to launch at the Vita's release, because it can't have enough racing games.
 
FIFA StreetFIFA Street – EA Canada (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 2012
 
What is it?
This spinoff of EA's main FIFA series takes the sport to the streets while retaining the gameplay polish and mechanics that FIFA is known for. Global venues such as London and Rio de Janeiro will vie for your skills along with 50 new moves to add to your style of play.
 
Grand Slam Tennis 2Grand Slam Tennis 2 – EA Canada (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
This sequel will serve up a host of tennis elements ranging from better control to living out a ten year career. Multiplayer will test prospective pros against others online.
 
Hotshots Golf World InvitationalHotshots Golf World Invitational – Sony Computer Entertainment (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This humorous and charming series makes its way to the Vita with its own release. It's safe to assume that it to offer up as much goofiness with its visuals as its golfing mechanics do in providing a challenge enjoyed by players of all levels.
 
Joe Danger Special EditionJoe Danger Special Edition – Hello Games (XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012 
 
What is it?
First released on PSN, this will be arriving on XBLA with new modes, characters, and something called “Laboratory” which will test players with special “developer challenges”. In an interview for Edge, Hello Games' Sean Murray noted that there's “a whole new game's worth of content” tallying up to “ten or 15 hours of playing time” with the Laboratory alone.
 
London 2012London 2012 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games – Sega Studios Australia (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Not to be confused with the Mario & Sonic title, this is the “official” video game in the works by Sega that will feature over thirty events and online leaderboards for competitive scoring.
 
Mario Tennis 3DSMario Tennis (Nintendo 3DS)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Mario returns to play tennis on the Nintendo 3DS, featuring friends and enemies once again engaged in a duel on the court. Not much else is known about the game other than its debut on the 3DS, but it's a safe guess that it will draw on what the series had done best in its previous iterations to maintain fun levels. 
 
MLB 12: The ShowMLB 12: The Show – SCE San Diego Studio (PS3, Vita)
ETA – March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
One of two competing MLB titles and will be the first Vita release. ESPN's preview spoke on better, more realistic animations and better ball physics for a much more compelling experience. It will also feature integration for the Move for both batting and field work.
 
ModNation Racers: Road TripModNation Racers: Road Trip – SCE San Diego Studio (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This version of United Front's racing game will feature a number of improvements from drifting, braking, to being able to experience those changes on PS3-user created tracks played on the Vita.
 
NFL BlitzNFL Blitz – EA Tiburon (PSN, XBLA)
ETA – January 10, 2012
 
What is it?
Elbow drops and tossed players return to the gridiron with this revival of NFL Blitz as a downloadable title. There's even an in-game store that uses Blitz Bucks, earned after every game to customize your teams, purchase power ups, and even pick up "special" cheats like unique characters. Zombies, anyone?
 
 
 
 
 
Ridge Racer UnboundedRidge Racer Unbounded – Bugbear Entertainment (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
The new Ridge Racer is a radical reboot of hte original racing formula, now packed with Michael Bay-sized detonations along with shades of Criterion's Burnout. A Creation toolset is also coming with the game. This is also another title that has some fans divided over whether this is the kind of reboot the series needs, or if it's simply chucking the old out in order to make room for a new audience..
 
SSXSSX – EA Canada (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 28, 2012
 
What is it?
Players will have the chance to snowboard down the side of real mountains around the world thanks to NASA's data and the digital technology used to bring them to life.
 
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 – EA (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – March 27, 2012
 
What is it?
A new Tiger Woods golf game featuring Kinect support, a number of challenges set around Tiger's own career experiences, and a Green Jacket ceremony for the winners.
 
UFC Undisputed 3UFC Undisputed 3 – Yuke's (PS3, Xbox 360)
ETA – February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
This third iteration will feature a number of new improvements such as a choice of control schemes, tweaked moves, and an improved stamina display to help polish the experience and entice new players into the octagon. With over 160 fighters on the roster alongside a few new faces, UFC fans will have a lot to look forward to.
 
Wipeout 2048Wipeout 2048 – SCE Studio Liverpool (Vita)
ETA – February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
Exclusive to the Vita, the futuristic racer will make use of the handheld's features such as motion controls and the rear touchscreen to deliver a unique experience to would-be anti-gravity pilots.
 
WWE BrawlWWE Brawl – THQ (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
So one day, Darksiders walks over to the WWE department at THQ and a battle breaks out. In the end, WWE's wrestlers beat down the Four Horsement with signature moves like Sweet Chin Music, stealing their souls and their powers. Maybe it didn't happen that way, but explosions, post-apocalyptic settings, and super powers will replace tables and chairs in this crazy take on the WWE's signature brawlers.
It looks like THQ decided to cross their Darksiders franchise with WWE and this was the result. Explosions and super powers will replace tables and chairs in this crazy take on the WWE's signature wrestlers.Sports
 
Asphalt: Injection – Gameloft (Vita)
February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
Asphalt: Injection is another installment in the Asphalt racing series. This one is due out in time for the Vita's release, because it can't have enough racing games.
 
FIFA Street – EA Canada (PS3, Xbox 360)
March 2012
 
What is it?
This spinoff of EA's main FIFA series takes the sport to the streets with an arcade approach to its more serious mechanics. 
 
Grand Slam Tennis 2 – EA Canada (PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
This sequel will serve up a host of tennis elements ranging from better control to living out a ten year career. Multiplayer will test prospective pros against others online.
 
Hotshots Golf World Invitational – Sony Computer Entertainment (Vita)
February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This humorous and charming series makes its way to the Vita with its own release. Players can expect it to offer up as much goofiness with its visuals as its golfing mechanics do in providing a challenge enjoyed by players of all levels.
 
Joe Danger Special Edition – Hello Games (XBLA)
TBA 2012 
 
What is it?
First released on PSN, this will be arriving on XBLA with new modes, characters, and something called “Laboratory” which will test players with special “developer challenges”. In an interview for Edge (http://www.next-gen.biz/features/retooling-joe-danger-xbla), Hello Games' Sean Murray noted that there's “a whole new game's worth of content” tallying up to “ten or 15 hours of playing time” with the Laboratory.
 
London 2012 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games – Sega Studios Australia (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Not to be confused with the Mario & Sonic title, this is the “official” video game in the works by Sega that will feature over thirty events and online leaderboards for competitive scoring.
 
Mario Tennis (Nintendo 3DS)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
Mario returns to play tennis on the Nintendo 3DS.
 
MLB 12: The Show – SCE San Diego Studio (PS3, Vita)
March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
One of two competing MLB titles and will be the first Vita release. ESPN's preview (http://espn.go.com/espn/thelife/videogames/blog/_/name/thegamer/id/7349307/show-hands-preview) revealed better, more realistic animations and better ball physics for a much more compelling experience. It will also feature integration for the Move for both batting and field work.
 
MLB 2K12 – Visual Concepts (PS3, Xbox 360)
March, 2012
 
What is it?
One of two competing MLB titles. Aside from Justin Verlander announced as the cover player, little else has been spoken of what has changed between this iteration and the last one.
 
ModNation Racers: Road Trip – SCE San Diego Studio (Vita)
February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
This version of United Front's racing game will feature a number of improvements from drifting, braking, to being able to experience those changes on PS3-user created tracks played on the Vita.
 
NFL Blitz – EA Tiburon (PSN, XBLA)
January 10, 2012
 
What is it?
Elbow drops and tossed players return to the gridiron with this revival of NFL Blitz as a downloadable title.
 
Pro Angler Moves – Interworks Unlimited, Inc. (PS3)
February, 2012
 
What is it?
Can't have too many fishing games on the PS3, right?
 
Ridge Racer Unbounded – Bugbear Entertainment (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
March 6, 2012
 
What is it?
The new Ridge Racer looks to be a Michael Bay-inspired splice between Criterion's Burnout and Black Rock Studios' Split Second: Velocity. It also helps that it comes with creation tools.
 
SSX – EA Canada (PS3, Xbox 360)
February 28, 2012
 
What is it?
Players will have the chance to snowboard down the side of real mountains around the world thanks to NASA's data and the digital technology used to bring them to life.
 
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 – EA (PS3, Xbox 360)
March 27, 2012
 
What is it?
A new Tiger Woods golf game featuring Kinect support, a number of challenges set around Tiger's own career experiences, and a Green Jacket ceremony for the winners.
 
UFC Undisputed 3 – Yuke's (PS3, Xbox 360)
February 14, 2012
 
What is it?
It's the third iteration of the sports game which will feature a number of new improvements such as a choice of control schemes, tweaked moves, and an improved stamina display to help polish the experience and entice new players into the octagon. With over 160 fighters on the roster alongside a few new faces, UFC fans will have a lot to look forward to.
 
Wipeout 2048 – SCE Studio Liverpool (Vita)
February 22, 2012
 
What is it?
Exclusive to the Vita, the futuristic racer will make use of the handheld's features such as motion controls and the rear touchscreen to deliver a unique experience to would-be anti-gravity pilots.
 
WWE Brawl – THQ (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
It looks like THQ decided to cross their Darksiders franchise with WWE and this was the result. Explosions and super powers will replace tables and chairs in this crazy take on the WWE's signature wrestlers.

Strategy

Army Corps of HellArmy Corps of Hell – Square Enix (Vita)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
As the rudely dethroned King of Hell, you must gather together an army of goblins to conquer what is rightfully yours. From the videos, it looks like a bizarre mashup of Triumph Studios' Overlord and Nintendo's Pikmin as goblins follow you around like a multi-headed blanket.
 
Carrier Command: Gaea MissionCarrier Command: Gaea Mission – Bohemia Interactive (PC, potentially next-gen consoles)
ETA – Q1 2012
 
What is it?
An RTS where prospective admirals will command a carrier, build bases, upgrade technology, and mine resources in the future on a distant, colonial world where the United Earth Coalition is locked in battle against the Asian Pacific Alliance.
 
Crusader Kings IICrusader Kings II – Paradox Interactive (PC)
ETA – February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
A grand strategy game spread across four hundred years of history starting in 1066 as you take on the role of a Christian noble to defend, expand, and enrich your dynasty. Fight the Crusades, fend off the Mongol invasion, and maneuver bishops for power and influence against the Pope in a bid to dominate Europe.
 
Lumines Electronic SymphonyLumines Electronic Symphony – Q Entertainment (Vita)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The new iteration of Lumines features the same puzzle strategy of the first game plus a few new extras such as an experience point system, new ways to play with the blocks, and plenty of tunes to go with it.
 
For Mother Russia!Naval War: Arctic Circle – Paradox Interactive (PC)
ETA – Q2 2012
 
What is it?
This strategy sim will allow players to take on either NATO or Russia in a bid for domination along the Arctic Circle in two campaign modes telling the story from both sides. The game will feature realistic units from today's navies waging war across 35 million square kilometers of ocean both above and deep below the frigid waves.
 
Oil RushOil Rush – Unigine Corp – (Linux, Mac, PC, PS3)
ETA – January 25, 2012
 
What is it?
Tower defense game in which you must protect oil rigs from destruction in a post-apocalyptic world using RTS tactics and fleets to conquer other platforms and keep as much black gold for yourself as possible. Screenshots of the action remind me a little of Herzog Zwei on the Genesis.
 
Prison ArchitectPrison Architect – Introversion (PC)
ETA – TBA
 
What is it?
Introversion Software's (Uplink, Darwinia, DEFCON) new project asks you to design a prison in a top-down sim challenging both your ability to design and your perception of what security truly means in today's world.
 
Record of Agarest War 2Record of Agarest War 2 – Aksys Games (PS3)
ETA – Summer 2012
 
What is it?
A tactical RPG that has been out in Japan and which will finally find its way to North America thanks to Aksys Games. 
 
 
Guess who's invited for dinner?Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Blizzard Entertainment (PC)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The second part of the epic Starcraft sequel that takes place after the events of the first game as Kerrigan finds herself freed from the Zerg, yet not quite at peace with her own demons as she embarks on a journey of revenge. This one will focus on the Zerg and feature a number of new units, upgrade options, and even the ability to improve Kerrigan's own powers via an RPG-like skill tree. .
 
Skulls of the ShogunSkulls of the Shogun – Haunted Temple Studios (PC, XBLA)
ETA – TBA 2012
 
What is it?
An indie, squad-based tactical game set in an afterlife filled with “ghost-samurai” and “magical animal-monks” as the player leads forces on a quest to capture the Skulls of the Shogun.
 
UFOExtraterrestrials: Shadows over EarthUFOExtraterrestrials: Shadows over Earth – Chaos Concept (PC)
ETA – March 2012
 
What is it?
The prequel to 2007's UFO: Extraterrestrials, this is an indie strategy game reminiscent of classic titles such as X-Com with squads, destructible terrain, and upgradeable technology. RPG elements ensure that units can improve over time if they survive along with base building to help construct the defenses that you will need to blast those saucers out of the sky.
The prequel to 2007's UFO: Extraterrestrials, this is an indie strategy game reminiscent of classic titles such as X-Com with squads, destructible terrain, and upgradeable technology. RPG elements ensure that units can improve over time if they survive along with base building to help construct the defenses that you will need to blast those saucers out of the sky.Strategy
 
Army Corps of Hell – Square Enix (Vita)
Q1 2012
 
What is it?
As the rudely dethroned King of Hell, you must gather together an army of goblins to conquer what is rightfully yours. From the videos, it looks like a bizarre mashup of Triumph Studios' Overlord and Nintendo's Pikmin as goblins follow you around like a multi-headed blanket.
 
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission – Bohemia Interactive (PC, potentially next-gen consoles)
Q1 2012
 
What is it?
An RTS where prospective admirals will command a carrier, build bases, upgrade technology, and mine resources in the future on a distant, colonial world where the United Earth Coalition is locked in battle against the Asian Pacific Alliance.
 
Crusader Kings II – Paradox Interactive (PC)
February 7, 2012
 
What is it?
A grand strategy game spread across four hundred years of history starting in 1066 as you take on the role of a Christian noble to defend, expand, and enrich your dynasty. Fight the Crusades, fend off the Mongol invasion, and maneuver bishops for power and influence against the Pope in a bid to dominate Europe.
 
Lumines Electronic Symphony – Q Entertainment (Vita)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The new iteration of Lumines features the same puzzle strategy of the first game plus a few new extras such as an experience point system, new ways to play with the blocks, and plenty of tunes to go with it.
 
Naval War: Arctic Circle – Paradox Interactive (PC)
Q2 2012
 
What is it?
This strategy sim will allow players to take on either NATO or Russia in a bid for domination along the Arctic Circle in two campaign modes telling the story from both sides. The game will feature realistic units from today's navies waging war across 35 million square kilometers of ocean both above and deep below the frigid waves.
 
Oil Rush – Unigine Corp – (Linux, Mac, PC, PS3)
January 25, 2012
 
What is it?
Tower defense game in which you must protect oil rigs from destruction in a post-apocalyptic world using RTS tactics and fleets to conquer other platforms and keep as much black gold for yourself as possible. Screenshots of the action remind me a little of Herzog Zwei on the Genesis.
 
Prison Architect – Introversion (PC)
TBA
 
What is it?
Introversion Software's (Uplink, Darwinia, DEFCON) new project asks you to design a prison in a top-down sim challenging both your ability to design and your perception of what security truly means in today's world.
 
Record of Agarest War 2 – Aksys Games (PS3)
Summer 2012
 
What is it?
A tactical RPG that has been out in Japan and which will finally find its way to North America thanks to Aksys Games. 
 
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Blizzard Entertainment (PC)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
The second part of the epic Starcraft sequel that takes place after the events of the first game as Kerrigan finds herself freed from the Zerg, yet not quite at peace with her own demons as she embarks on a journey of revenge. This one will focus on the Zerg and feature a number of new units, upgrade options, and even the ability to improve Kerrigan's own powers via an RPG-like skill tree. .
 
Skulls of the Shogun – Haunted Temple Studios (PC, XBLA)
TBA 2012
 
What is it?
An indie, squad-based tactical game set in an afterlife filled with “ghost-samurai” and “magical animal-monks” as the player leads forces on a quest to capture the Skulls of the Shogun.
 
UFOExtraterrestrials: Shadows over Earth – Chaos Concept (PC)
March 2012
 
What is it?
The prequel to 2007's UFO: Extraterrestrials, this is an indie strategy game reminiscent of classic titles such as X-Com with squads, destructible terrain, and upgradeable technology. RPG elements ensure that units can improve over time if they survive along with base building to help construct the defenses that you will need to blast those saucers out of the sky.

Some Thoughts

That's a sample of 158 games that are coming out in 2012. Breaking that down, we have:
 
Lollipop Chainsaw51 Action and Adventure
9 Fighting
15 MMO
22 RPG
26 Shooters
9 Simulation
16 Sports
10 Strategy
 
Of that total, 64 are sequels; 14 are reboots; 59 can be considered original IP on the developer's part. The rest aren't quite sequels or reboots, though are related to a previous IP often as a 'standalone chapter' such as Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken or Remedy's Alan Wake's American Nightmare. 
 
The high number of sequels shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point; game development among the largest publishers has evolved into a ridiculously expensive business. At the same time, there are also a respectable number of original IP titles under development.
 

Syndicate and XCOM

Syndicate, old school versionTwo franchise resurrections, EA's Syndicate and 2K's XCOM, have had gallons of fiery piss leveled at them from the 'net by fans that remember the originals, though not all comments have been negative. Still, search on nearly any article or video that even mentions either property from Gametrailers to Youtube and you'll see virtual vitriol.
 
Yet the changes also reflect a controversial and, depending on who one asks, a frank approach to today's market – that of marginalizing longtime fans of an older property to tap a presumably larger and fresh audience from the mainstream that has little connection to the past.
 
Predictably, fans of the originals have been quick to post confusion over why the names even have to be used. Both may turn out to be exceptional examples of the FPS genre in their own right and create a dynasty of revenue-generating sequels with a new audience leaving the question open on whether they could have stood well enough on their own as new IP from the respective developers.
 
Will more games undergo the same facelift? I'd say it's very likely if the returns prove to be worth the effort. EA, Activision, and Ubisoft among others have decades deep catalogs of old IP to mine.
 

Extra Lives

With 64 sequels on the list, it's easy to boldly proclaim that “creativity is dead” or that it belongs solely to the indies.
 
But the question is why? There's a number of answers from fans wanting more out of what they enjoyed whether it's a movie or watching sports. This also plays into a much simpler answer: money.
 
Add in the relationship between a publisher with deep pockets and a developer living project to project, and sequels become financially appealing, and safe, answers. Exceptions to the rule, such as Dark Souls, are the rare standouts. 
 
Dark SoulsAt the same time, and especially with story driven narratives, further developing the success of a particular property can also be a driving factor. Halo 4 is presumably due out for the holidays in 2012, though two more sequels are promised afterward on next-gen consoles.
 
Mass Effect 3 will end Shepherd's saga, but it won't be the end of the franchise. Books, comics, and other forms of digital media will keep the backdrops of both alive until the next title as well as provide additional channels for revenue.
 
Indies are also comfortable around sequels. Jeff Vogel's Spiderweb Software has successfully expanded its Avernum and Geneforge series in the same way and Klei Entertainment is currently working on the sequel to Shank.
 
At the same time, most of the games on the list aren't sequels. Sony stands out with a strong number of original titles such as Sorcery, The Last Guardian, Papo & Yo, Journey, and Gravity Rush. 
 
EA is also looking to diversify its own publishing portfolio with Kingdoms of Amalur and Overstrike. Interestingly, Funcom's The Secret World will also be published under the EA banner, indirectly competing for MMO dollars alongside Star Wars: The Old Republic.
 
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Activision's lineup consists mostly of sequels, or titles based on existing properties, such as Prototype 2. However, it also has Diablo III and Starcraft II in the wings along with the next Call of Duty, heavyweights all but guaranteeing comfortable windfalls for Activision's stockholders.
 

Exclusives Narrow

Breaking the sample down into multiplatform releases and platform specific titles, the port of the Witcher 2 and the impending release of Halo 4 appear to be the only major exclusives that the Xbox 360 will have in 2012. Most every other title, aside from those that are specific to Kinect such as Star Wars or Fable: The Journey, are multiplatform releases such as Assassin's Creed. XBLA will also enjoy its own exclusives such as Fez, BattleBlock Theater, and Alan Wake's American Nightmare.
 
The situation on the PS3 appears to fare slightly better. Titles such as The Last Guardian, CCP's Dust 514, Namco Bandai's NA release for Tales of Graces F, and Sega's NA release of Ryu ga Gotoku Of the End (Yakuza Dead Souls) are slated for 2012 along with Eat Sleep Play's Twisted Metal reboot. As noted earlier, Sony's PSN will also have its own set of exclusives such as Journey and Papo & Yo.
 
Torchlight 2The PC has a large number of exclusives expected to emerge in 2012 ranging from Diablo III and Torchlight II to Egosoft's X Rebirth and Introversion's Prison Architect. A small number of grand strategy and tactical titles are also expected such as Naval War: Arctic Circle and Crusader Kings II, genres that have always found a comfortable niche on the PC.
 
As for the Wii, its release schedule isn't as boisterous as the PS3's or the Xbox 360's. With Skyward Sword's recent release, Monolithsoft's Xenoblade Chronicles arriving next year in April, and NOA's continued waffling over whether or not to bring games such as Mistwalker's The Last Story over to NA, it looks like the Wii is rapidly winding down to prepare for the eventual release of the Wii U either next year or further afterwards.
 
Nintendo's 3DS, however, spins a different story. The handheld continues to bolster its roster with titles such as its own version of Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Konami's MGS Snake Eater 3D, and Capcom's Resident Evil: Revelations.
 
Sony's Vita also boasts a large starting library with its own Uncharted title, Resistance: Burning Skies, and the action RPG, Ruin, though a number of NA releases not mentioned on the list such as F1 2011 and Ubisoft's Michael Jackson: The Experience are console ports.
 
The bulk of this snapshot, however, is crammed with multiplatform releases such as Rockstar's Max Payne 3, 4A Games' Metro: Last Light, and the Tomb Raider reboot. Two titles that weren't on the list, the next Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, will more than likely be multiplatform releases as well. Expect even more battles to be fought over exclusive DLC.
 
Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier, historically a multiplatform title, is a strange case in which the developer had explicitly stated the cancellation of the PC version due to piracy concerns.
 
Instead, PC users will get Ghost Recon Online, an MMOFPS that will not feature the “Hollywood” features of its storied cousin. It's something of a bitter irony to note that the series which began on PCs won't be continuing its story there. Even the Wii will get a version of Future Soldier.
 

Finishing Up

The Wii's lethargic release schedule hints at what many gamers have already guessed: Nintendo and its associated developers could already planning for the Wii U. The Wii still has its buyers especially at its current price point. But so did the PS2 when it dropped to $99 well after the PS3 had launched.
 
The 3DS is also stepping up and leveraging its position after a rocky post-launch period in the summer, selling as many units in eight months than what it took the DS to do in twelve. November proved to be a strong sales month for the unit along with a blistering show for Super Mario 3D  turning it into the “fastest sell-through for a handheld Super Mario game”.
 
Oil RushThe PS3 and the Xbox 360 will have another strong showing, though the waning importance of exclusives in this year and the growth of social media in the last five have shifted hardware expectations to that of what lifestyle their respective audiences want to lead in the living room.
 
PC gaming continues to troll its "death" with a solid number of titles on the platform. Games such as Guild Wars 2, Transformers Universe, and indie efforts such as Grim Dawn and Torchlight II may not have the kind of mainstream media presence that MW3 does, but it matters little when there are still many more titles to pick from across a wide spectrum of platforms from Steam to flash-games on Newgrounds. And with games like Skyrim, there are always the mods.
 
The year will also see the conclusion of two major trilogies: Assassin's Creed with Desmond Miles and Shephard's arc in Mass Effect 3. It will also see the start of a new one with Halo 4, a reboot of Tomb Raider and Twisted Metal, and a showdown between Street Fighter's roster and Tekken's. And then there's the shadow of Rockstar's GTA V with an unconfirmed release date.
 
Creativity is far from dead. Developers are still willing to take plenty of risks. Sequels are unavoidable. It all comes down to the fact that depending on what you want, 2012's lineup could be even better than 2011's.
PC gaming is also far from dead with a solid number of titles on the platform. Games such as Guild Wars 2, Transformers Universe, and indie efforts such as Grim Dawn and Torchlight II may not have the kind of media presence that MW3 does, but it matters little when there are still many titles to pick from across a wide spectrum of platforms from Steam to flash-games on Newgrounds. And with games like Skyrim, there are always the mods.Summary
 
Breakdown
 
Breaking the sample list down into boring numbers, we have the following:
 
49 Action and Adventure
9 Fighting
15 MMO
22 RPG
26 Shooters
10 Simulation
18 Sports
10 Strategy
 
159 games total on the list
 
Of that total, 64 are sequels; 14 are reboots; 60 can be considered original IP on the developer's part. The rest aren't quite sequels or reboots, though are related to a previous IP often as a 'standalone chapter' such as Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken. 
 
The high number of sequels shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point; game development among the largest publishers has evolved into a ridiculously expensive business. At the same time, there are also a respectable number of original IP titles under development.
 
So what does some of this mean? A few wandering thoughts.
 
Syndicate and XCOM
 
Two franchise resurrections, EA's Syndicate and 2K's XCOM, have had gallons of fiery piss leveled at them from the 'net by fans that remember the originals, though not all comments have been negative. Nearly any article or video even mentioning either property from Gametrailers to Youtube seem to have a number of upset comments decrying the changes both have undergone.
 
Yet these also reflect a controversial and, depending on who one asks, a frank approach to today's market – that of marginalizing longtime fans of an older property to tap a presumably larger and fresh audience from the mainstream with little connection to them.
 
From a financial perspective, both Syndicate and XCOM reflect the most naked example of ensuring rapid returns on a product whose original formula may not have as much cachet as the originals in today's market. Predictably, fans of the originals have been quick to post confusion over why the names even have to be used. Both may turn out to be exceptional examples of the FPS genre in their own right and create a dynasty of revenue-generating sequels with a new audience.
 
Will more games undergo the same facelift? I'd say it's very likely if the returns prove to be worth the effort. EA, Activision, and Ubisoft among others have deep catalogs of old IP to mine.
 
Extra Lives
 
With 64 sequels on the list, it's easy to boldly proclaim that “creativity is dead” or that it belongs solely to the indies.
 
But the question is why? The old answer: money. Add in the relationship between a publisher with deep pockets and a developer living project to project, and sequels become financially appealing, and safe,  answers. Exceptions to the rule, such as Dark Souls, are the rare standouts.
 
At the same time, and especially with story driven narratives, further developing the success of a particular property can also be a driving factor. Halo 4 is presumably due out for the holidays in 2012, though two more sequels are promised afterward on next-gen consoles. Mass Effect 3 will end Shepherd's saga, but it won't be the end of the franchise. Books, comics, and other forms of digital media will keep the backdrops of both alive until the next title.
 
Indies are also comfortable around sequels. Jeff Vogel's Spiderweb Software has successfully expanded its Avernum and Geneforge series in the same way and Klei Entertainment is currently working on the sequel to Shank.
 
At the same time, most of the games on the list aren't sequels. Sony stands out with a strong number of original titles such as Sorcery, The Last Guardian, Papo & Yo, Journey, and Gravity Rush.  
 
EA is also looking to diversify its own publishing portfolio with Kingdoms of Amalur, and Overstrike. Interestingly, Funcom's The Secret World will also be published under the EA banner, indirectly competing for MMO dollars alongside Star Wars: The Old Republic.
 
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Activision's lineup consists mostly of sequels, or titles based on existing properties, such as Prototype 2. However, it also has Diablo III and Starcraft II in the wings along with the next Call of Duty, heavyweights all but guaranteeing comfortable windfalls for Activision's stockholders.
 
Exclusives Narrow
 
Breaking the sample down into multiplatform releases and platform specific titles, the port of the Witcher 2 and the impending release of Halo 4 appear to be the only major exclusives that the Xbox 360 will have in 2012. Most every other title, aside from those that are specific to Kinect such as Star Wars or Fable: The Journey, are multiplatform releases such as Assassin's Creed. XBLA will also enjoy its own exclusives such as Fez and BattleBlock Theater.
 
The situation on the PS3 appears to fare slightly better. Titles such as The Last Guardian, CCP's Dust 514, Namco Bandai's NA release for Tales of Graces F, and Sega's NA release of Ryu ga Gotoku Of the End (Yakuza Dead Souls) are slated for 2012 along with Eat, Sleep, Play's Twisted Metal reboot. As noted earlier, Sony's PSN will also have its own set of exclusives such as Journey and Papo & Yo.
 
The PC has a large number of exclusives expected to emerge in 2012 ranging from Diablo III and Torchlight II to Egosoft's X Rebirth and Introversion's Prison Architect. A small number of grand strategy and tactical titles are also expected such as Naval War: Arctic Circle and Crusader Kings II, genres that have always found a comfortable niche on the PC.
 
As for the Wii, its release schedule is pretty miserable compared to the others. With Skyward Sword's recent release, Monolithsoft's Xenoblade Chronicles arriving next year in April, and NOA's continued waffling over whether or not to bring games such as Mistwalker's The Last Story over to NA, it looks like the Wii is rapidly winding down to prepare for the eventual release of the Wii U either next year or shortly thereafter.
 
The new handhelds also have a solid share of exclusives to draw from as they ramp up their own efforts to garner fans. The Vita will boast a large starting library with its own Uncharted title, Resistance: Burning Skies, and the action RPG, Ruin, though a number of NA releases not mentioned on the list such as F1 2011 and Ubisoft's Michael Jackson: The Experience are console ports.
 
The Nintendo 3DS continues to bolster its sales and position with titles such as an expected adaptation of Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Konami's MGS Snake Eater 3D, and Capcom's Resident Evil: Revelations.
 
The bulk of the list, however, is crammed with multiplatform releases such as Rockstar's Max Payne 3, 4A Games' Metro: Last Light, and the Tomb Raider reboot. Two titles that weren't on the list, the next Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, are likely to be multiplatform releases as well.
 
Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier, historically a multiplatform title, is a strange case in which the developer had explicitly stated the cancellation of the PC version due to piracy concerns.
 
Instead, PC users will get Ghost Recon Online, an MMOFPS that will not feature the “Hollywood” features of its storied cousin. It's something of a bitter irony to note that the series which began on PCs won't be continuing its story there. Even the Wii will get a version of Future Soldier.
 
Finishing Up
 
Next year might be the last big bonanza for the “Big Three” consoles: the Wii, the Xbox 360, and the PS3, as eyes turn towards the next hardware refresh. The Wii's lethargic release schedule already reveals what many have already guessed at in that Nintendo and its associated developers are already planning for the Wii U. The Wii still has its buyers especially at its current price point. But so did the PS2 when it dropped to $99.
 
The 3DS is also stepping up and leverage its position after a rocky post-launch period in the summer, selling as many units in eight months than what it took the DS to do in twelve. November proved to be a strong sales month for the unit along with a blistering show for Super Mario 3D  turning it into the “fastest sell-through for a handheld Super Mario game”. (http://allthingsd.com/20111222/nintendos-president-expecting-a-strong-holiday-and-says-what-he-really-thinks-of-zynga/?reflink=ATD_mktw_quotes)
 
The PS3 and the Xbox 360 will have another strong showing, though the waning importance of exclusives in this year and the growth of social media in the last five have shifted hardware expectations to that of what lifestyle their respective audiences want to lead in the living room. The popularity and strength of Kinect's library has stretched the Xbox 360's legs, something that the PS3's Move could learn a few lessons from.
 
PC gaming is also far from dead with a solid number of titles on the platform. Games such as Guild Wars 2, Transformers Universe, and indie efforts such as Grim Dawn and Torchlight II may not have the kind of media presence that MW3 does, but it matters little when there are still many titles to pick from across a wide spectrum of platforms from Steam to flash-games on Newgrounds. And with games like Skyrim, there are always the mods.

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