Our predictions for 2009 (that came true)

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

First announced: May 2006

What we said in January: “Well, the trailer says 2009, and Heavy Rain has been called Sony’s ‘most important’ game of 2009 by David Cage, founder of developer Quantic Dream, which indicates that the company is at least planning to get the game out the door sometime this year. However, the combination of reportedly tricky-to-program-for machinery, a small development team and one of the most graphically ambitious adventure games ever does not fill us with confidence.

“And really, we haven’t trusted release dates on trailers since Metal Gear Solid 4 kept getting pushed back, so the ‘2009’ date for this eerie suspense story is already suspect.”

What really happened: For whatever reason, this was the prediction that drew the most venom from a handful of Sony fans, many of whom misread our speculation as a desire to see Heavy Rain be delayed, to spread fear and doubt about the PS3, etc. Some said we had no credibility, others insisted we were just trying to bait them, and still others responded with lists of PS3 games that would release in 2009. But they seemed to agree on one thing: we were wrong, and there was no justification for saying Heavy Rain wouldn’t release in 2009.


Above: “IT WILL TOO SHIP IN 2009!”

So it must have come as an awful shock when, in July, it was confirmed that Heavy Rain wouldn’t be released until early 2010. In fact, when we asked the game’s director, David Cage, about the delay, he responded that “Heavy Rain was never announced for 2009,” a statement that sort of clashes with the number at the end of this trailer, from 2008:

All badgering aside, it’s easy to see why Heavy Rain was pushed to early 2010: despite the early anticipation for it, it’s a very unconventional game, and it stands a much better chance of finding an audience if it’s not getting buried under the weight of annual holiday megafranchises. And for what it’s worth, we’re going to go on record to say that we’ve played the first few chapters of Heavy Rain, and that what we’ve played is pretty fantastic. The game’s coming along beautifully, and we don’t think those who’ve waited for it will be disappointed.


Above: Don’t be sad, Detective Shelby, it’s almost here!

But, you know… we were right about this one.


First announced: April 1997

What we said in January: “For those who’ve been following it over the (nearly) 12 years it’s been in development, the title is synonymous with delays. You can’t even say the word “delay” without some asshole popping up in the background and screaming “Duke Nukem Forever!” At this point, it’ll be a massive surprise if it even sees the light of day within our lifetimes.

“Duke Nukem Forever will disappoint us if it does come out. This is partially because a 12-year delay has built up expectations for the game to impossible levels, but also because we (by which we mean “all game journalists, everywhere, without exception”) have grown to love making jokes at its expense.

“We don’t want the game, we want to keep mocking it from now until Doomsday. And developer 3D Realms has given us plenty of fodder over the years; each new, absurdly miniscule announcement revives the seemingly dead horse just enough for us to pile on and joyfully bash its head with a tire iron. To see Duke Nukem Forever actually release would be a shock to the internet humor industry on par with Bush leaving the White House.”

What really happened: 12 years. 12 years! That’s how long Duke Nukem Forever wasallegedly in development. In the amount of time it takes most franchises to rise, fall and be forgotten, the staff at 3D Realms was hard at work on one. Effing. Game.


Above: TIME WELL SPENT

We got a shock in 2009, all right, but it wasn’t one we were half-expecting. Instead, development on the game was halted in June, 3D Realms shut down and all the game’s fans – ironic or otherwise – were left with was a handful of screenshots and one final video that was leaked by former 3D Realms employees. It was hard to tell what was more surprising: that the game was dead, that it left behind a pretty good-looking corpse, that it had taken 12 long years to pull the plug or that we were actually a little crushed to see it go. We’d almost say we were wrong on this one, seeing as the game was killed outright instead of just delayed another year, but somehow, we’re pretty sure we’ll see Duke again, one way or another.

Dec 22, 2009


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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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