Despite previous disappointments (and that’s putting it extremely lightly), I decided to watch the Video Game Awards on Spike. Despite my lowered expectations the show was an embarrassment to the games industry and awards shows in general; instead of presenting actual, you know, awards, Spike decided that our time was better spent with shitty “augmented reality”, terrible writing, several instances of Dane Cook, and a ridiculous amount of cross-promotion. An awards show honoring serial pedophiles would be less awkward to watch … and probably more gracefully handled, to boot.
As such, a flood of game announcements and trailers were the highlight of the night. While people expected to see games such as Uncharted 3, it was great to confirm that Mass Effect 3 and Elder Scrolls V were not only well underway, but also had release dates (or a Holiday 2011 window in ME3’s case). While only a few games were given a 2011 release date at the show, it piled onto an already healthy slate of games that were announced for the upcoming year. Taking it all into consideration … has there ever been a better year for video games?
Think about it: We hit the ground running with Dead Space 2 releasing at the end of January, which promises to elevate the series to the pinnacle of modern survival horror. LittleBigPlanet 2 takes player creativity to a new level by not only letting you build your own levels, but your own games. Just a month later we’ll get Marvel vs. Capcom 3, followed by Killzone 3 the next week. Just weeks after that, the Nintendo 3DS will make people go apeshit for a Ninty handheld all over again.
Not a bad first quarter, to say the very least.
Valve says that Portal 2 will hit in April, though at this point we know better than to believe that. But if it does, the expanded, co-op enabled sequel would be a phenominal way to start the second quarter. While L.A. Noire doesn’t have a firm release date, Rockstar is telling us to expect it sometime before the end of Q2; if you’ve seen the trailer you already know that it’s shaping up to be a serious Game of the Year contender. Mortal Kombat shares L.A. Noire’s release window, and while it isn’t aiming to be GOTY, it’s on course to be the most fun we’ve had with the series since, well, maybe ever — who isn’t excited to see what kind of brutal Fatalities Kratos will execute?
And then the floodgates REALLY open, with more Game of the Year contenders than you can count on a single hand stampeding into the second half of the year.
To warm everyone up to the holiday rush, Resistance 3 will launch on September 6. While people don’t expect GOTY-caliber gameplay from the series, Insomniac Games are extemely talented, and don’t think that they won’t do everything to establish Resistance as a vital brand under the PlayStation umbrella. Uncharted 3 will then kick off the holiday rush on 11/1/11, and RPG juggernauts such as Skyrim will also be jockeying for your time and money. Need more? Look forward to Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War 3 around the same time, too.
Feel like we’re forgetting something? We don’t think so — we’ll almost definitely see The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and The Last Guardian show up in time for the holiday rush, although we don’t have a solid release window for those just yet. Metal Gear Solid: Rising will probably see release in 2011 as well, if GameStop’s June release estimate is anything to go by.
The last few years in gaming have been so good that they almost had me questioning if there’s some horrible catastrophe coming that we’re being preemptively coddled for; 2011 has officially pushed me to believe that it’s true.
Let’s just hope it happens after I find the time and money to play all of these games.