Above: Sad as it is, we won%26rsquo;t be playing this in 2009
In these dark days of overambitious projects and economic uncertainty, it%26rsquo;s a no-brainer that FFXIII is only the beginning, and 2009 is going to be plagued with more delays, disappointments and even cancellations. In order to help you (and us) prepare, we%26rsquo;ve looked over the upcoming crop of top-tier titles and done our best to predict %26ndash; using a complicated mixture of research, past experience and gut instinct %26ndash; which ones are most likely to bide their time until next year.
First announced: December 2006
Since then, we%26rsquo;ve seen: Sharp-looking screenshots, trailers and a pretty-but-dull demo that was sold as a commercial product.
Why it%26rsquo;ll be delayed: Gran Turismo 5 (the real game, not the $40 tech demo that was Gran Turismo 5: Prologue) has long headlined the wishlists of millions of PS3 owners. For whatever reason, though, there haven%26rsquo;t been many firm announcements about it, except for a few vague promises that it%26rsquo;ll be ready sometime late this year. Meanwhile, developer Polyphony Digital seems to have been more focused on (or at least more talkative about) expanding GT5: Prologue than on actually getting GT5 out the door.
Granted, GT5 could still make a huge splash at this year%26rsquo;s E3 and be out in time for winter. But it seems almost as likely that Sony will throw up its hands and simply declare Prologue to be the %26ldquo;real%26rdquo; GT5, releasing a few premium add-ons to turn it into a finished game. Whatever the case, we put about as much stock in GT5 hitting this year as we do in the franchise finally appearing on PSP.
Best-case scenario (if we%26rsquo;re wrong): Polyphony could suddenly and inexplicably forget that Gran Turismo 5: Prologue exists, and commit all its energies to turning out the most realistic driving sim it%26rsquo;s ever made - crash damage and all - in time for the holidays. And then, within weeks, the PSP version could finally arrive, bringing with it all sorts of cross-platform functionality. And then you could get a pony and a million dollars, just in time to celebrate all your dead pets and relatives coming back to life.
Hey, it could happen. Just sayin%26rsquo;.
First announced: June 2008
Since then, we%26rsquo;ve seen: A large assortment of screenshots and videos showing a remarkably polished-looking game.
Why it%26rsquo;ll be delayed: Blizzard has a long history of releasing fantastic games, usually several months to several years after they were supposed to be released. Granted, the company%26rsquo;s foot-dragging has produced some of the most stellar PC games ever created, but that doesn%26rsquo;t make the long waits any easier to endure. It also doesn%26rsquo;t make us terribly optimistic that we%26rsquo;ll see Diablo III %26ndash; announced just last year and probably slated to be a ridiculously huge, detailed adventure %26ndash; anytime in the near future.
There%26rsquo;s also the fact that, since the advent of World of WarCraft, Blizzard has almost completely abandoned its other franchises. Not that we blame them; if we had a license to print money, we%26rsquo;d probably be just as reluctant to work on anything else. But that focus might also mean that resources could be diverted away from huge, time-intensive projects like Diablo III and StarCraft II in order to feed the massive, bill-paying cash cow. After all, Blizzard fans are used to waiting, right? It%26rsquo;s not like this could turn into another StarCraft: Ghost, or anything%26hellip;
Best-case scenario (if we%26rsquo;re wrong): Having (potentially) expanded its development teams with all that endless World of WarCraft lucre, Blizzard will defy expectations and have Diablo III %26ndash; or at least a demo of same %26ndash; ready for consumption alongside the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.