10 games we (probably) won’t see until 2013

January is a terrible month for game releases, but it’s a fantastic month for speculating about what’s down the road. We’ve pulled through yet another insane holiday season, and now 2012 stretches before us, filled with possibility. There are a lot of great games on the horizon, to be sure, but as with any other year, you just know some of the biggest ones aren’t going to see store shelves before December rolls around.

With the recent news that XCOM has already been pushed back into 2013 (no doubt partly to make room for the just-announced strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown), now seems like an especially opportune time to start making predictions about which other hotly anticipated titles we think stand the best chance of slipping into next year.

Above: This image may contain some hints

First, though, let’s take a look at last year’s predictions. How’d we do?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Shipped on time, no delays.
Mass Effect 3: Delayed until 3/6/2012.
The Last Guardian: Release still TBA.
Diablo III: Release still TBA.
Beyond Good & Evil 2: Release still TBA (and likely won’t happen until the next console generation, so we’ll leave it out of this year’s lineup for being too obvious).

Above: Don't expect to see this until next-gen hardware becomes available. We know, we're disappointed, too

Battlefield 3: Shipped on time, no delays.
Saints Row the Third:
Shipped on time, no delays.
I Am Alive: Release TBA for Q1 2012.
Half-Life 2: Episode 3: Release still TBA, likely shelved in favor of unannounced Half-Life 3.
Duke Nukem Forever:
Included as a joke entry, but still saw brief delays before releasing in June.

Accuracy of last year’s predictions: 60%

So, OK, six out of 10 isn’t great, but it's not terrible, either, especially since every wrong prediction meant a new game we could play. With that in mind, here’s hoping we do even worse this year.

Prey 2

First announced: August 2006, March 2008 or March 2011, depending on how you define “announced.”

Since then, we’ve seen: A live-action announcement trailer that was devoid of gameplay (always a good sign), a CG trailer that was similarly devoid of gameplay, occasional bursts of screenshots and a hands-off E3 demo that’s since been shown off a couple of times.

Why we won’t see it: Like everything else associated with defunct studio 3D Realms, this open-world, sci-fi, bounty-hunting FPS has been a long time coming. And while the gameplay demo we’ve seen shows a lot of promise, the fact that we’ve seen that same demo a couple more times since E3 (at shows that were open to the public, but still) fills us with suspicion. Prey 2 is reportedly going to be an enormous game, and if it were really on track for release this year, we imagine publisher Bethesda would have shown us a bit more than just the same mission in the same area.

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Our experience with Skyrim (which wasn’t even announced until December 2010, and then wasn't even shown in-game until the following month) has taught us that Bethesda can play things close to the vest with the best of them, so it’s entirely possible that the game has entered the final stages of production. If that’s true, then we’d expect to see it surface sometime this summer, or (more likely) in October or November as Bethesda’s big holiday release.

Dust 514

First announced: August 2008

Since then, we’ve seen: A smattering of screenshots and a few trailers, one of which features gameplay, and an eyes-on preview at Gamescom in August. Oh, and signups have just started for a private beta (available only to EVE Online subscribers), which may or may not be ongoing right now.

Why we won’t see it: Creating a massively multiplayer shooter is a pretty tall order. Creating one for PS3 and PS Vita, and making it persistent with an established, enormous PC MMO that revolves around complicated spacefaring economics, sounds like an absurdly tall order. And doing so when you’re a developer with little to no shooter experience, who’s just laid off a fifth of its workforce in October after saying said workforce was stretched too thin, seems like the start of a particularly cruel joke.

We like the ambitious scope of this project, which mobilizes console players as mercenary grunts fighting for a (presumably) more cerebral overclass of EVE Online players, but the logistics of it alone are terrifying to contemplate. We’re not saying developer CCP doesn’t know what it’s doing, just that we think it’s doubtful it can it do it by the end of this year.

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): As impossible as the project appears, CCP has been working on it for more than three years, so it could have its act together more tightly than we realize. In that case, the rumored summer release date seems attainable – although given the layoffs and reports that the beta was originally supposed to open at the end of 2011, a slip into fall or even winter is likelier.

Borderlands 2

First announced: August 2011

Since then, we’ve seen: A big reveal in Game Informer, a teaser trailer and a hands-off demo that was shown at Gamescom and PAX last year.

Why we won’t see it: This one comes down to developer Gearbox – or more specifically, the other stuff it’s working on. In 2012, Gearbox is also responsible for shipping the  long-delayed Aliens: Colonial Marines in spring, and following that up with the (relatively low-profile) Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 not long after. Unless Gearbox’s staff is more robust than we realize, something’s got to give – and while it could easily be one of the two shooters we just mentioned, Borderlands 2, with its no-doubt huge scope, and wealth of potentially buggy enemies, weapons and vehicles, seems like a likelier candidate.

Such a move would let Gearbox focus its resources and push its comparatively simple shooters out the door, then concentrate on making its flagship product the best it can possibly be. That seems especially plausible when you consider that Borderlands 2 doesn’t yet have a clear release date beyond fiscal year 2013 (which begins this April and extends into March 2013), while the other two games at least have their release windows nailed down.

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Assuming Gearbox resolves to get its surest hit out the door this year (in which case our money’s on it sidelining BIA:F4 or ACM), it still has a bear of a task ahead of it. As with most ultra-high-profile releases, though, we’d expect this one to try and squeeze its way into what’s sure to be another crowded holiday lineup.

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  • birdman1041 - January 17, 2012 10:21 p.m.

    Thank the lord Bioshock Infinite isn't on this list. It's really the only game I care about in 2012.
  • A9entOfChaos - January 17, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    the only two games i care for are Prey 2 and GTA V. Hopefully you're wrong Gamesradar (the only time i wish such a thing) As always love the articles and keep up the great work!
  • Kinnolo - January 16, 2012 2:02 p.m.

    I had hopes for the South Park game, then I caught wind that Obsidian was in charge, so I immediately lost all hope for it. They ruined KOTOR2 and Alpha Protocol, so I can't in good judgment have high hopes for it.
  • Yeager1122 - January 16, 2012 11:46 a.m.

    Hope borderlands 2 comes out on time and the last of us looks awsome had not seen it before now i really hope that doesnt get delayed.
  • Darkhawk - January 16, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    Last Guardian makes me so sad. I remember back when it was announced, it became the main reason for my wanting a PS3. I finally bit, and now I have to wait another year or more? :(
  • mothbanquet - January 16, 2012 7:15 a.m.

    New BIA??!! How did I not know of this before?!
  • komadose - January 15, 2012 2:32 p.m.

    i just want FFVXIII...
  • minimaxi - January 15, 2012 4:14 a.m.

    speaking about anarchy reigns, it just feels like... there's ZERO hype right now. candidate for critical darling/commercial flop? or maybe worse; okay but very niche.
  • jmcgrotty - January 15, 2012 3:19 a.m.

    At first I was going to say that you missed the most obvious ones, which is "Any game for a Nintendo system," but then I realized that these were games that might be seen in 2013. And no Nintendo games will be seen by anyone in 2012 unless you're the guy who stocks (and ultimately unstocks) the shelves at Gamespot.
  • Y2Ken - January 15, 2012 1:28 a.m.

    I'm suspicious of GTAV too, Rockstar loves putting out their big games around the spring time, but if that were the case for this year I'd have expected to at least have seen another trailer by now, if not something more substantial. Please let it not be true for Borderlands 2 though. I'm currently working my way through the PC version of the first game - once that's done I will have burnt out every version of it that they've put out. And I'll probably go back to playing either 360 (more active friends playing Borderlands) or PS3 (have a friend who wants to buy it).
  • HeavyTank - January 15, 2012 12:57 a.m.

    I'm pretty amazed at how nobody noticed how the Last of Us trailer was so..well, good. It's certainly better than the GTAV trailer, in my opinion. From the moment I watched "I am Legend" I knew that, sooner or later, they were going to make a game about one or two people trying to survive in a city where no other human beings could be found. If they manage to pull this off right (and, keeping in mind that ND are the creators of the Uncharted series, there's a pretty high chance that they will) I'm going to be very happy.
  • NanoElite666 - January 14, 2012 9:25 p.m.

    As much as I love Borderlands and can't wait for the second one, I think I'd be fine waiting a little longer for it. Gives me more time to build a spiffy gaming rig to play it all spiffy-like.
  • Barnsley Pal - January 14, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    Borderlands 2 is the only one I would miss. It's in my top 3 most anticipated games for 2012 (along with Mass Effect 3 and BioShock Infinite).
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - January 14, 2012 3 p.m.

    So many games already set to come out, I wouldn't mind seeing Prey 2 get pushed back. If it had to come out, I almost wish it would come out in the Summer since it would be unlikely to go up against any other big games.
  • talleyXIV - January 14, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    Oh Borderlands 2, how I already love you. I bet it makes it in by Winter this year. I'd imagine September or October would be a good release time.
  • TheSharklionBeast - January 14, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    SC2: heart of the swarm better come out this year otherwise I will rip my face off
  • MadMan - January 14, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    GTA V and Borderlands 2, GAWWWWWW WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT!!!
  • Bitchslapthehomeless - January 14, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    I want The Last Guardian out so bad... :( But, don't you think Sony is going to have a tough time marketing both The Last Guardian and The Last of Us without your average consumer being confused?
  • Spybreak8 - January 14, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    Good read, thanks Mikel.