I think that we’re all in agreement that 2011 was a pretty fantastic year for games. While we don’t have as many super-duper hyped games to look forward to as we did at this point last year, 2012 is no slouch.
Obviously we have no way of knowing which games we’ll be praising as 2012’s best come December — it’s only the first week of January, after all. That’s why, just like last year’s GOTY frontrunner article, we’re going to throw out the need for wacky things like “empirical data” and “conclusive hands-on experience”, instead focusing on the pure speculation that keeps the internet turning. Look, I even put them in order and everything!
Now, then. Let’s look at what will surely be the cream of 2012’s crop.
5. Borderlands 2
The original Borderlands was a bit of a surprise for me. I didn’t really follow its development, and I didn’t get around to playing it until well after it released. When I finally did, it ended up being one of my favorite games of 2009.
The sequel looks to build on the what made Borderlands so much fun to play: gameplay best described as “Diablo with guns.” With more guns to loot and more customization options, Borderlands 2 promises to be as addictive as ever. Throw in the return of four-player co-op and slick cel-shaded visuals and we’ve got a legit contender for Game of the Year, and this time Gearbox won’t be the only ones saying so.
4. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Our very own Malcolm Spinedi recently wrote about why (the ridiculously titled) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will be just fine, and I’m inclined to agree. With a post-MGS4 Raiden as the protagonist, a traditional Metal Gear Solid experience simply wouldn’t make any sense. When you’re controlling a cyborg ninja with the power to throw Gekkos in the air and slice anything in half with a high-frequency katana, sneaking around suddenly seems less appealing.
Kojima Productions, however, couldn’t quite pull it off, deciding instead to quietly cancel what used to be Metal Gear Solid: Rising. It has since risen from the ashes to be handled by Platinum Games, creators of the balls-crazy and fun-as-Hell MadWorld, Bayonetta, and Vanquish. Just like that, we’ve got a perfect pairing of project and developer. If you thought Raiden was a badass in MGS4, just imagine what the lunatics at Platinum have in store for him.
Also, it will be nice to see Platinum put out a game that sells more than a dozen copies. Surely, attaching the Metal Gear name to their product will finally give them the success that they so sorely deserve … right?
3. The Last Guardian
People were wondering why I didn’t put The Last Guardian on last year’s list, which was simply because I was completely sure that it wouldn’t come out in 2011. This time … well, I’m still unsure if it’ll make it out any time soon. Still, I’d like to pretend that it’ll happen before the Mayan apocalypse consumes us all at the end of this year.
As for the game itself, it’ll certainly be a Game of the Year contender no matter when it releases. The studio developing it might have just two games under their belt, but those two games are constantly hailed as two of the absolute best games, well, ever. With both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda and his team created two of the best examples of storytelling in gaming, setting the bar way high for games as art.
The Last Guardian seems to be on the same track, telling a “d’awww”-inducing tale of a boy and his giant dog-bird-griffin pet set in the same universe as Team Ico’s previous two masterworks. Besides that? Who knows. We’ll just have to wait and see.