Since then, we’ve seen: A bunch of screens, a couple of trailers and – once, over two years ago – the actual game in motion.
Why it’ll be delayed: It’s been almost four years since Alan Wake was first revealed, and we still don’t know for sure what kind of a game it’ll be. The last time the game was seen in motion by journalists was in 2006, and those reports indicated it was anything from traditional survival-horror to free-roaming action-adventure with driving thrown in. The most recent trailer, meanwhile, makes the game look eerily like Alone in the Dark (but with prettier scenery and more bumpkins), evoking terrifying memories of nightmarish inventory management and frighteningly shitty combat.
The last trailer was impressive, sure, and it made us excited to play in the game’s pine-filled mountain town of Bright Falls, Wash., but it also didn’t really show anything apart from the title character talking to other residents and running from mostly unseen dangers. Since then, there hasn’t really been any news, and we’re starting to wonder if this story of a writer haunted by his nightmares is actually real, or if we’ve just been insane since 2005 and hallucinated the whole thing.
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): We imagine Alan Wake could go one of two ways if it hits this year: either it’ll get a big reveal at E3 and be prepped for release as Microsoft Game Studios’ big second-string holiday release (see: Fable 2), or it’ll sneak onto store shelves sometime in April or June before quietly slipping into that void of semi-forgotten horror games where Alone in the Dark, Condemned 2 and Silent Hill: Homecoming now reside.
Also, even after playing it to the end, nobody will be able to give a definitive answer when asked exactly what kind of game it is.
First announced: Sept. 2006
Since then, we’ve seen: Two trailers, one of which is just a much shorter version of this one:
Why it’ll be delayed: Accurately re-creating the entire city of Los Angeles as it was in the 1940s is no small task, and it’s exactly what developer Team Bondi has reportedly been doing since 2004. After nearly five years of work, however, we still haven’t seen anything more than a trailer. In fact, the only reason we suspect L.A. Noire could come out this year at all is because it’s being published by Rockstar Games, which has a long tradition of revealing almost nothing about its titles until they’re near completion.
Even if it weren’t for Rockstar’s habitual caginess, though, Team Bondi (which includes some of the people who worked on The Getaway on PS2, itself repeatedly delayed) has a tough row to hoe. The trailers have hinted at a city with all the grand scale and minute detail of GTA IV’s Liberty City, which – if it’s actually going to be a historically accurate replica of the ginormous, sprawling monster of a city glimpsed in films like Chinatown and L.A. Confidential – seems like an insane undertaking.
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Riding high after the one-two punch of Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned and GTA: Chinatown Wars, Rockstar could unexpectedly reveal that L.A. Noire is nearly finished and will be ready for release sometime in October. Screens and trailers would trickle out, “event” trailers would hit and then – in a shocking twist after 2007’s GTA IV delay – the game could actually ship on time.
First announced: May 2008
Since then, we’ve seen: This bizarre little trailer:
Why it’ll be delayed: Yeah, we’re all really excited for this one, but bear in mind that it’s the sequel not only to one of the most critically acclaimed games of the previous generation, but also to one of its biggest commercial flops. And while Ubisoft doesn’t appear to have much else in the works for 2009 at this point, we’re betting they’ll back-burner BG&E2 in a heartbeat if it means that Splinter Cell: Conviction, the next Prince of Persia or (God forbid) Raving Rabbids could be out on time instead.
That element of doubt is only half of the equation, though – there’s also the fact that the game was only just announced last year. Since then, all we’ve seen of it is a slick teaser trailer that features heroes Pey’j and Jade sitting around a broken-down car in the middle of a desert, looking sleepy and bored. No gameplay. No hint of a plot. Just a shred of what might be an opening movie, without even a look at protagonist Jade’s face.
Above: No, she never turns around
Now, we’re not saying the dev team hasn’t been hard at work on creating all of those things since before the trailer was made public, but if they’re going to create an experience on par with the first game, their chances of doing so this year are slim.
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Judging by its behavior in the past, Ubisoft will keep a tight lid on BG&E2 until we’re close to the holidays. Then, it’ll release it – with minimal fanfare and alongside at least three other games - to fight and die against the inevitable holiday rush of higher-profile titles, spurring a whole new wave of critics to write endless articles lamenting the poor buying decisions of the philistine public.
First announced: May 2008
Since then, we’ve seen: A handful of gruesome-looking screens and the following teaser trailer:
Why it’ll be delayed: So, let’s recap what we just saw in the trailer above. Most of the footage is of a live-action workshop, followed by an in-game model of protagonist Rick Taylor standing in a black void. The next shot is of him standing in a kind of generic-looking ballroom, followed by a brief moment where he tears the head off a monster in the same ballroom.
Now, ask yourself: if you were creating a current-gen revival of a cult-classic 16-bit series, and you were well on your way to putting some kickass gameplay together, wouldn’t you want to show it off? Yeah, we know, trailers tend to be months behind the development team, and the screens that came out around the same time are a lot livelier, but even those seem to exist more to show off the game’s impressive damage models than to highlight actual gameplay. It seems that what we have here are the foundations of an impressive game – but solid foundations alone won't be enough to get the final game out the door anytime soon.
Above: HUUUURRRRRRR DUUUURRRRRRR
Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): For all its graphical flash and slick dismemberment, Splatterhouse seems to be a pretty uncomplicated brawler, so it’s probably the likeliest candidate on this list to prove us wrong. Gamestop currently has a June 16 release date for it, which would be a pretty damned impressive target date if the game managed to hit it. Instead, we’d bank on it being out a little later, maybe in October, where it can show up in the usual round of asinine “Top XX Scary Games for Halloween” list articles sure to be circulated by fine publications like this one.