Our predictions for 2009 (that came true)

10 hot games we said wouldn’t release this year – and what really happened

First announced: May 2008

What we said in January: " Most of the footage [from the Splatterhouse trailer] 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.”

What really happened: This one didn’t take too long to come true, although it was for reasons we couldn’t have foreseen: in February, it was revealed that publisher Namco Bandai had booted developer Bottlerocket off the project (citing a “performance issue”), and was handing development over to the same internal team that had produced the visually impressive (but ultimately disappointing) Afro Samurai. Then, the announcement came in Junethat the game had been delayed until 2010, when it’ll hopefully emerge as something more than just a regenerating fratboy in a hockey mask mutilating stupid monsters.


First announced: May 2006

What we said in January: “Like Blizzard… [developer] Valve is known for producing outstanding games after years of hard work and perfectionism. We’re sure Valve has something amazing up its sleeve – it’s been rumored since 2007 that Episode 3 would include the Portal gun – but we’re almost equally sure that before it comes out, we’ll have seen two new Portal expansions and a sequel to Duke Nukem Forever (which doesn’t necessarily mean DNF itself will have come out).”


Above: THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING US

What really happened: Episode 3 was a total no-show in 2009. In fact, apart from the news that a hearing-impaired character might join the cast, there weren’t any substantial announcements about the game at all, which is a little surprising. Not so much as a single screenshot was released. Instead, Valve focused on other properties, such as Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2, while HL2 fans waited patiently. Will they be rewarded next year? We’re a little skeptical, but the fact that Valve appears to at least be quietly working on the third episode gives us hope.


First announced: July 2008

What we said in January: “MAG is a hugely ambitious project that we’d be surprised to see in 2010, let alone this year, from any developer. And although MAG developer Zipper Interactive managed to define PS2 online gaming year after year with its landmark SOCOM series, there’s a big difference between setting up small, squad-based skirmishes on a last-gen console and creating gigantic, persistent battlefields that can fought over by 256 players at once.


Above: About all we’d seen of MAG in January

“The scarcity of information on the game is a little weird for something that could potentially ship this year. As of this writing, Sony has yet to release official screenshots, or to make MAG’s trailer available for download by press outlets. Even at this early date, we should have seen more of what could be the biggest console shooter (literally) of the year.”


Above: The near-finished product in action

What really happened: Much as we doubted Zipper’s ability to get MAG up and running at full capacity in 2009, the company did exactly that – first during E3, and then during the game’s public beta (which means that, in a sense, MAG did come out in 2009). But although it was originally asserted that MAG would ship in November, doubts started to creep in around July, when some retailers pushed back the game’s release date to sometime in early 2010. Then in August came the announcementthat MAG would miss 2009, but only just: in a possible bid to avoid getting lost in the holiday shuffle, the game’s release date was moved to Jan. 26, 2010, and we have every reason to believe that’ll hold firm.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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