10 games we (probably) won't see until 2012

2011 is going to be a pretty big year for gaming. The launch of the 3DS is looming large, Sony’s prepping a stable of high-profile sequels, and a bunch of games that were delayed out of their planned 2010 releases will finally arrive. That last item raises the question of which high-profile 2011 games will actually see release this year, and which ones will be shoved – either by longer-than-expected development cycles or market forces – into the uncertain void of 2012.

You know it’s going to happen. It always happens. It’s just a question of what it’ll happen to. In order to properly brace for unexpected disappointment, we’ve taken a look at some of 2011’s biggest releases and – based on what little we know now – made a few guesses as to what’s going to be pushed out to next year.

Scoff all you want, but remember: the last time we did this, our predictions were 100 percent accurate. Will we repeat that success? Let’s hope not.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

First announced: December 2010

Since then, we’ve seen: A screenshot-filled preview in the latest issue of Game Informer (along with a coded poem and a bunch of behind-the-scenes videos shot at Bethesda's offices), and also this announcement trailer:

Why it’ll be delayed: This prediction might be a little shaky, seeing as Skyrim has a cool-looking release date – 11/11/11 – that it would be an awful damn shame to miss. However, experience has taught us that release dates on trailers are never as ironclad as they seem, and that goes double for teaser trailers that don’t feature so much as a glimpse of the actual game.

That is unless Skyrim turns out to be some kind of side-scroller in which all the characters look like animated carvings in a stone relief. Actually, that idea sounds kind of awesome. Someone should totally make that.

Above: Go on, tell us you wouldn’t play a game that looks just like this

And yeah, we're aware that since that trailer went live, Bethesda's released a ton of screens and behind-the-scenes videos through Game Informer that show the game is pretty well underway. However, that isn't necessarily the same as being less than a year from market-readiness, especially when we're talking about a game of Skyrim's scope. Also, those of you with particularly long memories might remember that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was originally slated for a similar fall release in 2005, but then pushed back to the following March. Four years before that, the exact same thing happened to the third ES game, Morrowind. So it’s not like there isn’t a precedent here.

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Given that Bethesda hasn’t really produced a game since 2008’s Fallout 3, it’s not out of the question that we’ll see Skyrim break the delay curse of the last two Elder Scrolls games. In that case, we can expect to see a wider preview session around GDC or, at the latest, E3. And that all-ones release date will turn out to have been more than just optimistic hubris.

Mass Effect 3

First announced: February 2008

Since then, we’ve seen: This teaser trailer from the 2010 VGAs:

Why it’ll be delayed: Like a lot of the entries in this article, we’re singling out Mass Effect 3 mainly because we’ve barely seen it – and 12 months out from the release of any major game, we’ve usually seen a lot more than just a cinematic teaser. But that’s not the only reason; after all, it’s not unheard of for a huge, triple-A game to have a stealthy sequel within a year. Assassin’s Creed II did it, and we didn’t even know that AC: Brotherhood existed until last May.

But more than that, our skepticism comes from everything else BioWare’s planning on doing this year. It isn’t quite the small operation it used to be, true, but we’re skeptical of any (non-Square Enix) developer that claims it can turn out three super-high-profile RPGs – one of which is an MMO – in a single year. (Four, if you count the PS3 release of Mass Effect 2.)

Above: This is Mass Effect 2 on PS3, but since it’s running in the Mass Effect 3 engine, it’s the closest thing we have to an ME3 screenshot

Dragon Age II and The Old Republic? Those we can believe. We’ve been seeing quite a bit of them for a while now, and their targeted release dates are early enough that a delay probably wouldn’t push them out of the calendar year. However, getting those two to market AND rolling out Mass Effect 3 – sequel to one of the biggest, most impressive games of 2010 – in time for a nebulous holiday release is a pretty tall order.

We’re not saying it’s impossible – just that we’ll be surprised if it happens. A slip into next January seems much more likely, especially considering that that’s when both the PC/360 and PS3 versions of Mass Effect 2 hit.

Above: Still just ME2. Sorry if we got your hopes up

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): It’ll turn out that the only reason BioWare wasn’t showing off ME3 was because it didn’t want to overshadow Mass Effect 2‘s PS3 debut, in which case we’ll see a big reveal in the coming weeks – or, at the latest, during next month’s GDC.

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  • WillisTron - January 21, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    I want The Last Guardian so badly...
  • ayaxe - January 21, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    half-life, Duke Nukem and beyond good and evil are the only games i really care about here :| Btw Thurst
  • keltar93 - January 21, 2011 1 a.m.

    Short of DNF, I believe all of these. Though would love those best-case scenarios, especially for Episode 3
  • Brutalicus - January 21, 2011 1:09 a.m.

    Yay for friendly dinosaur cloning!
  • AxiamWolfe - January 21, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    Doesn't matter how long Battlefield 3 takes, so long as it's a proper sequel to Battlefield 2 rather than a slightly bigger BC2. reCAPTCHA: produce thegames They better!
  • Ironarm - January 21, 2011 1:14 a.m.

    Valve will release Left 4 Dead Infinity before they release HL2E3.
  • Clovin64 - January 21, 2011 1:27 a.m.

    The very thought of Skyrim and The Last Guardian being pushed back to 2012 fills me with bitter sorrow. After all, 2011 can't possibly be as good as it looks, can it?
  • n00b - January 21, 2011 1:28 a.m.

    adding to the list i highly doubt zelda skyward sword will ship this year. and i refuse to believe halflife 2 episode 3 exists until i have it playing in my computer
  • Ampatent - January 21, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    I would be surprised if both ME3 and TES:V were pushed back, given they are slated to release on the same day. I wouldn't be surprised if just one of them was pushed back to try and avoid having two of the biggest releases of the year right on top of each other.
  • rocketfuel - January 21, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    Well, even though Gamesradar remains my favourite site for everything gaming, I have been checking Gameinformer's site here and there and well.... There seems to be a lot more than just a trailer and a coded poem. As a big Elder Scrolls fan I just couldn't help it, and I have faith in Todd.
  • NotBraze - January 21, 2011 1:43 a.m.

    Mass Effect 3 is almost guaranteed to be delayed, but from what I've heard I think Skyrim is pretty well on track for a Holiday release this year. From their podcast they've said that they've been working on it forever and just didn't want to show anything until they could show a lot, and on that subject there have been a few screenshots released already via GameInformer's extensive coverage.
  • hybr1dgamerx - January 21, 2011 1:44 a.m.

    i pray the your wrong about TES:V i honestly couldn't care less if the other games were delayed but dammit i want my TES:V this year bug free or not
  • Stabby_Joe - January 21, 2011 1:51 a.m.

    Episode 3 by this point might as well become just plain Half Life 3.
  • iKOemos - January 21, 2011 1:53 a.m.

    Even the very suggestion of TES:V and ME3 being pushed back makes my heart sink with dread.
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 21, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    "effectively handing total dominance of the PC gaming market to Blizzard." ...uh, no. Also I seem to remember Gabe Newell also saying that the first surprise was that Portal 2 was coming to PS3, so we've already had Valve's big three (which he said would be suprising and potentially controversial, I fail to see how episode 3 being announced could stir up controversy). Oh btw, what with Portal 2 coming out and Steam growing ever stronger, Blizzard don't have a chance of PC domination... I mean Valve stole DOTA from right under their noses, to which I could only muster up a shocked and gleeful lol at the time, and can still manage little else.
  • gopikmin - January 21, 2011 1:56 a.m.

    I remember hearing last year or the year before about HL2: episode 3 being planned for 2011. it is more than probably.
  • Dualcarrot1 - January 21, 2011 2:15 a.m.

    I NEED HL2E3!!!!! That "I am alive" game looks extremely cheesy from that trailer
  • alphaman - January 21, 2011 2:22 a.m.

    Has GR not seen anything on Bethblog or GameInformer? Ever since the trailer there has been almost daily coverage of the game, from videos on the sounds (down to the making of a single spell/monster sound) to the world map to the new Creation kit (Essentialy the new ES mod kit/Geck based on their new engine) to screenshots and random concept art. LOADS of info- I strongly doubt they're delaying this one.
  • batmanboy11 - January 21, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    I have had a doubt in the back of my mind that ME3 won't come out this holiday...
  • NightCrawler_358 - January 21, 2011 2:33 a.m.

    So basically... all the good ones. Its sad but true, these will all be delayed for sure. I wonder if Diablo III will even come out in 2012! I guess Blizzard likes to call snow days on their release dates. hurr hurr

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