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The Preemptive 2012 Game Awards


Guesstimated Award Probability: 82%

To be fair, we haven’t seen anything yet on the next Assassin’s Creed, and we don’t expect to for a couple months yet. In fact, we’re not even sure it’s going to be called Assassin’s Creed III. But we know it’s going to be awesome, because Ass Creed is always awesome. And even if it stars wet-blanket Desmond, even if it continues the diminishing story returns we saw in Revelations, we can at least rest easy in the knowledge that (so long as Ubisoft doesn’t do something to throw a wrench into the gameplay) running up walls, exploring cities via rooftop and finding creative ways to kill dudes with a Hidden Blade will still be a huge source of murderous fun for hours and hours and hours and hours.

Runner-up:Prototype 2


Guesstimated Award Probability: 82%

“Art games,” such as they are, tend to be perceived in one of two ways: they are either Serious Works That Merit Serious Discussion, or they are pretentious dreck. This latter perception exists because art-games uniformly spring from the minds of privileged collegiate types with lots of free time and no experience with real adversity.*

Papo & Yo, by contrast, is the creation of Vander Caballero, a full-time game designer who wants to use the game to communicate his experiences growing up with an unpredictable, drug-addicted father. And while that might sound like the kind of premise that makes joyless, stony-faced intellectuals stroke their pointed beards in approval, Papo & Yo doesn’t lay its misery on thick. Instead, it takes players on an imaginative romp through a South American favela filled with magic graffiti, world-manipulation puzzles and a giant pink rhino who’s your best friend… so long as you can keep him from eating frogs, which turn him monstrous and homicidal.

So yeah, it’s a colorful, fun-looking game aimed at kids. And it’s also about showing the consequences of addiction for a drug user’s loved ones, something no other commercial game has seriously attempted to tackle. And also pink rhinos. Deep, man.

*Research data provided by the Institute of Making Up Inflammatory Overgeneralizations For The Sake of Comedy.

Runner-up:The Witness


Guesstimated Award Probability: 79%

Look, we… we honestly don’t know why you felt you needed to go and buy Move. Was it to get a little more accuracy in first-person shooters? To play light-gun games? Were your kids, like, really into the idea? We hope it was one of those, because otherwise you spent a hundred bucks for the privilege of playing a bunch of underwhelming casual games and the exhausting Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest. But that may change soon, and the game that might change it also happens to be one of the year’s most anticipated.

During Sony’s press conference at E3 last year, Bioshock creator Ken Levine made a rather sheepish confession: while he had originally been pretty down on motion controls in general, he and his team had taken a serious look at Move, and saw a lot of potential in the motion-control wands. Not just for aiming, either; according to Levine, Bioshock Infinite will take advantage of Move in innovative new ways that’ll make sense for both the controller and the game. We’re a little skeptical, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Levine and Co., so we’re curious to see what they come up with.

Runner-up: Sorcery


Guesstimated Award Probability: 82%

Sony hasn’t put a whole lot of marketing behind this one. And why should it, when game journalists everywhere have been tripping over each other for more than a year to tell you how great it is? Of course, we’ve got excellent reasons for cheering this one: the product of the same minds that brought us Flower and Flow, it’s an innovative, beautiful and surprisingly relaxing platformer that tasks players with finding floating scarves and exploring a huge, desert landscape on their way to a distant, shining mountaintop.

It’s unlike anything else on the market, and seemingly everyone who’s played it has come away impressed, so we can see word of mouth (and not just ours) gradually making this one huge.

Runner-up: Prey 2

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.