First announced: June 2009
Since then, we’ve seen: A couple of announcements, the promise of a beta invite for those who bought Medal of Honor and not so much as a single screenshot.
Above: Probably it’ll look a bit like this shot from Medal of Honor’s multiplayer
Why it’ll be delayed: We’ve been promised a big reveal of Battlefield 3 at the Game Developers Conference next month, although exactly what a “big reveal” will mean is anyone’s guess. Since it’s the first look, we’re going to guess we’ll see a trailer, some gameplay footage and maybe a controlled, hands-off demo, neither of which are a guarantee we’ll see a finished multiplayer explodaganza by the end of 2011.
Also, developer DICE has been busy on other projects over the past year or so, including Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the BFBC2: Vietnam expansion and Medal of Honor’s multiplayer. So while its full attention might be focused on BF3 now, we’re betting it’s been a back-burner project for a while, and that BF3’s development time (to say nothing of ironing out the kinks in a vehicle-filled, multiplatform online shooter) is going to delay the game beyond an acceptable holiday release date.
Above: Or, more likely, it’ll look like Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Instead of a non-interactive demo, DICE will roll into GDC with a stable, fully playable version of the game. The public beta will then launch during the summer, any bugs will be ironed out (to at least the point where patches can fix them) and the final game will go live sometime this fall or, at the latest, this winter.
Saints Row 3
First announced: October 2008
Since then, we’ve seen: Some vague assurances that the third Saints Row will be much sillier than even its goofy predecessor.
Above: Also, we haven’t seen any screenshots, so we’re using some from SR2. That’s always a good sign that a game is less than a year from release, right?
Why it’ll be delayed: Like a lot of developers, Volition isn’t an enormous operation, and it’s already got a pretty high-profile release – Red Faction: Armageddon – slotted for this year. And while Armageddon is planned for May, we’ve already seen quite a bit of it, starting with the first batch of screenshots just over a year ago. By contrast, we haven’t seen anything from Saints Row 3, and that makes us awfully skeptical that we’ll see a full-on sandbox game that presumably tops Saints Row 2’s scope and craziness by year’s end.
Besides, so long as SR3 ships before the next Grand Theft Auto – which is almost certainly more than a year away – it won’t have to worry too much about strong competition or unflattering comparisons, meaning it can take its time coming out.
Above: So long as it offers plenty more moments like this, we’ll be happy
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Armageddon’s May release does leave Volition with an empty holiday window, and it’s likely that the company has staffed up since the releases of Saints Row 2 and RF: Guerrilla (which shipped only eight months apart). So if Saints Row 3 appeared with a splash at, say, E3, and then made it out in time for the holidays, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise. It wouldn’t really fit with Volition’s past M.O. for revealing games, but everyone’s entitled to switch up their tactics.
I Am Alive
First announced: September 2006
Since then, we’ve seen: A few pieces of concept art, a handful of allegedly leaked screenshotsand a couple of trailers, the latest of which was shown off during E3 2010:
Why it’ll be delayed: I Am Alive is one of those games that’s been mired in development hell for what seems like forever, so we’ll be kind of surprised if it ever ships at all, much less this year. Since its low-profile announcement during a 2006 interview, the mysterious earthquake-survival game has undergone multiple delays and, in 2009, was yanked away from its original developer, Darkworks, and handed over to Ubisoft Shanghai. None of these are good signs, and given that the games press hasn’t seen so much as a gameplay demo, the idea that an ambitious-looking project like this will be ready for launch in a few short months is pretty sketchy.
Then there’s that trailer to consider. Sure, it’s six months old, but what does it show, really? A whole bunch of what looks like pre-rendered cutscene footage, interspersed with a few brief jump-cuts of actual gameplay. If the game were coming along well, Ubi would probably be showing off just a little more than that.
Above: Like more of this lovely brawling action, for example
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Inclined as we are to distrust release dates on trailers, Ubisoft slapped the words “spring 2011” on there for a reason – and to be fair, Ubisoft Shanghai has had its hands on I Am Alive for about two years now, with no other announced projects to distract it. And if Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood taught us anything, it’s that Ubisoft has no problem with springing stuff on us at the last minute. If that’s the case, we’ll probably get our first – and last – pre-release look at the game sometime around GDC, followed by a surprise release sometime in March or April.