What we said in January: “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 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.”
What really happened: In our predicted “best-case scenario” for the game’s release, we said that Alan Wake would likely get a big reveal at this year’s E3, which it did. Not only that, we finally got to see a pretty significant chunk of dark, moody-looking gameplay that filled us with hope that Alan Wake could be one of those rare horror games that’s actually frightening. Unfortunately, that was coupled with the announcement that the game wouldn’t ship until sometime in spring 2010. Which at least proves that the game exists.
4. L.A. Noire
First announced: Sept. 2006
What we said in January: “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.”
What really happened: After nearly a year of no announcements, Rockstar in September broke its habitual silence about upcoming games to say that L.A. Noire was “coming along quite splendidly,” and that more news could be expected soon. This was followed later by news of a motion-capture casting call for the game, with the revelation that mocap for the game would progress into January. With that in mind, we’re guessing we probably won’t see the game until late 2010 at the earliest, although Rockstar’s surprised us before.
5. Beyond Good & Evil 2
First announced: May 2008
What we said in January: “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.
“We’re not saying the dev team hasn’t been hard at work on creating [BG&E2] 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.”
What really happened: After showing off an impressive video at E3 of Jade parkouring her way through a dingy, quasi-futuristic slum, the game was dogged by rumors that development had been suspended or halted entirely, although these were apparently refuted by Ubisoft France CEO Geoffroy Sardin, during an interview with GameBlog.fr in November. So it appears we can still expect to see the game, but exactly when is anyone’s guess at this point.
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