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Top 10 Games of 2012

It used to be that you'd announce a game, and then continually delay it so that it doesn't come out for another two or three years. Nowadays, some publishers simply and purposefully announce (and even demo) games two or three years early. So as great as 2011 is looking, we are already looking forward to 2012 and, yes, even 2013.

The next big game from the development team behind Grand Theft Auto (Rockstar North) that isn't a GTA game. While it's safe to assume that some fellows are working on Grand Theft Auto V, that's completely in secret and unofficial. Rockstar Games did, though, announced that Rockstar North is developing an espionage game taking place in the '70s. Other than that, all that's been said is that Agent will "take players on a paranoid journey into the world of counter-intelligence, espionage, and political assassinations." Since so few developers mess with the espionage genre, we're already interested, and are hoping that the quality is more GTA4 and less Manhunt.

Bioshock Infinite
Infinite takes the world of BioShock and puts it into a city of clouds; if only it were that simple to describe. The city of Columbia, a sort of Death Star crewed by Team America, seems much more desirable (and less claustrophobic) than Rapture -- which seems to be the main idea. Where Rapture introduced us to an underwater dystopia filled with drugged riddled enemies, here we will be plunged into a civil war featuring sky mortars, ultranationalists who can summon flocks of crows, and varied automata resembling circus strongmen and the Maltese Falcon. We're eagerly looking forward to what is next for this franchise.

Darksiders 2
Based on remarks made at this year's International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Leadership Forum, THQ executive vice president Danny Bilson revealed that the sequel to Darksiders will be a story that actually runs concurrent to the events in the first game. This is surprising development considering (SPOILER AHEAD) the ending of Darksiders seemed to set up a sequel in which the Four Horsemen of theApocalypse would be reunited in the war against Heaven and Hell (END SPOILER). Whether it's a follow-up featuring a more badass War, or a concurrent story, we're certainly intrigued by what's next in this franchise.

Devil's Third
Tomonobu Itagaki, best known for heading up the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises at Tecmo, has been relatively quiet since leaving to start independent studio Valhalla. But the first announced game from his new team got many around here excited for the way it blends melee attacks with gun combat. Or the way it looks to, at least -- we've only seen a trailer thus far, and it seems to have slick genre-blending in there, but we don't know how it all fits together just yet.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII
This often-quoted "fantasy that's based in reality," still hasn't materialized as far concrete details are concerned, but there's still no denying that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is one of the most anticipated RPGs of, well, whenever it comes out. Originally announced in 2006 as the second title in the Fabula Nova Crystallis, a trilogy of games all woven within the world presented in FFXIII, Versus XIII is still a big unknown. Hopefully, this long awaited project, helmed by Tetsuya Nomura, creator of the venerable Kingdom Hearts series, will finally surface with new information at the upcoming Fabula Nova Crystallis event to unravel Square Enix's opaque veil of secrecy.

If you've seen Guillermo del Toro talk, you know that he actually knows games. Not content with just parroting Pac-Man or Doom references, del Toro will cite Shadow of the Colossus and Left 4 Dead and numerous others as the games that interest him. While he may not know games (which is where developer Volition steps in), at least he knows distinct style and atmosphere (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, etc). Plus, the simple title implies that it will thematically be linked to del Toro's upcoming adaptation of At TheMountains of Madness. A crazy Lovecraftian horror game from the guy behind Pan's Labyrinth and the fellows behind Red Faction? 2013 will be a heck of a long wait.

Kingdom Hearts 3
Cloaked in rumor and speculation, little is actually known about Square Enix's next installment to the Kingdom Hearts series. Lead director, Tetsuya Nomura has earlier gone on record to indicate due to a busy production schedule, "the opportunity has not come yet", citing the current Kingdom Hearts 3DS and Final Fantasy Versus projects. Consequently, its release date is fuzzy at best, with estimates ranging from a highly optimistic "late 2011" to a more realistic "early 2013." Also unclear is whether or not KH3's tech specs will rise to meet the next generation of consoles and mobile systems, or will be moderated for a more general release. What we hope for is that this title will feature dramatic enhancements and expansions to the current suite of action-based role-playing gameplay and storytelling in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and maybe an appearance from some Pixar characters.

Metal Gear Solid Rising
Years ago, we used to bemoan the very presence of Raiden. But thanks to a slick appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden has moved from a wannabe annoying sidekick to a sort of badass SnakeEyes-from-GI-Joe-style super ninja for the Kojima-verse. Unlike the other "traditional" Metal Gear Solid titles, which were "tactical espionage" games, Rising looks like it uses the same sort of stealth mechanics as Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden. That is, instead of sneaking around and using boxes, you simply have Raiden run in and cut fools faster than they can spot him. While some of us hope for a return to a traditional MGS game, a few of us are actually looking forward to seeing Kojima and his pals tackle a pure ninja action game.

Warhammer MMO
Not to be confused with Warhammer Online:Age of Reckoning, this is the 40K universe we're talking about here. You know, the one that those excellent Dawn of War games revolve around. While details are scarce, the idea of a 40K MMO from the guys behind Darksiders is a damn intriguing one for us to keep an eye out for come 2012. Hopefully, when it comes out, this catches and builds on traction that its fantasy cousin, which itself was an excellent MMO in its own right, did. Well, really, we just want to mess around as Chaos Marines in an MMO.


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