With the possible exception of unexplainable, extraordinary inspiration, the factors which define a game’s quality are roughly quantifiable. The success of a game, however, involves slightly more chance, as the variables are less precise. When is the best time to launch a new PS3 exclusive FPS? Is there a market for fighting games on the Wii? The Western audience likes Final Fantasy – shouldn’t it like other Japanese RPGs? These answers can be approximated with figures and graphs and surveys and other things you’d find on boring people’s desks, but regardless, there’s not always a definable reason why one game succeeds and another flops.
We don’t claim to be psychics (well, actually, we probably have claimed that a few times), but these are the games of 2010 that, based on precedents set by the last few years and what we know about the market, we don’t expect to flood any coffers. We hope we’re proven wrong.
Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
Release date: January 26, 2010 Platforms: Wii Same Time As: Mass Effect 2, MAG, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Why it should succeed: Joe the Condor from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman fighting Yami from Okami in a beautiful 2D fighter, originally exclusive to Japan, for the Wii. We rarely get this kind of stuff in the US, due to both lack of interest and difficulty with licensing, but we begged and Capcom made our wildest dreams come true.
Why it will be ignored: This game is the epitome of fan service – hell, who knows how many Tatsunoko fans there even are in the US. How often do you sit down to watch a bit of Tekkaman: The Space Knight, or Gyakuten! Ippatsuman? (But here's a guide for the confused) And when it’s released, Wii gamers with an itch for something cool will have No More Heroes 2, and those more invested in other platforms will be glued to Mass Effect 2. This most-deserving game truly has no chance to survive, but we’ll sure as hell make time for it.
Above: Are you familiar?
Release date: February 9th, 2010 Platforms: PS3, 360 Same Time As: BioShock 2
Why it should succeed: It’s a God of War style third-person action adventure game based on the Divine Comedy, which is exactly the kind of thing the target audience of young males should think is super cool right now. Not only that, it has the support of an EA marketing blitz, and has even been optioned by Universal for a film adaptation. It’s a sure thing, right?
Above: “Augh, light, our one weakness! Our devilish eyes are slow to adjust!”
Why it will be ignored: BioShock 2 will steal a good portion of its hype, and what air The ‘Shock doesn’t knock out of its belly will be sucked from it by the fact that it falls right between the critically-acclaimed Bayonetta (third-person action adventure game) and the guaranteed-to-succeed God of War III (third-person action adventure game). If the average gamer can only buy one game every month or two, why would he pick up this one and not one of the other, already known-to-be-awesome titles that it’s surrounded by?
Resonance of Fate
Platform: PS3 Release date: March 9, 2010 Same Time As: Final Fantasy XIII
Why it should succeed: Another JRPG for the PS3, and why not? None of them have done immensely well in the US, and no one would expect them to, but they’ve sold enough to be worthwhile (sometimes with the help of price cuts).
Above: Japan’s most popular camera-angle and pose
Why it will be ignored: Really, you’re going to release your generic-ass JRPG with its typically JRPG title and typically JRPG characters on the same day as Final Fantasy XIII? Maybe they’re hoping the stores will run out of FFXIII copies, and that it’ll be a consolation prize for dejected fanboys. More likely it’ll be resonating in the bargain bin in a few months.
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