The Preemptive 2011 Game Awards

WINNER: The Last Guardian

Guesstimated Award Probability: 69%

Look, we know we bring up Last Guardian every 15 minutes. It’s because we want to play it – no, love it – yesterday. Team Ico’s prior two projects created an aura of adventure and mystery usually reserved for Zelda or third parties at the top of their game, so we have every reason to believe Guardian is going to be one of our favorite games of this entire console generation. But we still haven’t even seen a playable demo. Or even a lot of new screens.

It’s hard to admit this, but given its current state and Team Ico’s reputation, there’s almost no way Guardian is going to make its supposed “fall 2011” date, forcing us to go another season without Trico, the man eating eagle thing. On the plus side, we ARE getting an Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD collection later this year, so that should help alleviate the pain. Sigh, 2012 it is then. Maybe.

Like we said in our article about games doomed to 2012, Blizzard will ship this when it’s good and ready. There’s no pressure whatsoever to deliver Diablo III before the end of the year, so why hustle when you’ve got constant WoW and StarCraft cash flowing in?

On a cold, hypothetical winter night, sometime in late December of this year, a group of editors are gathered around a large mahogany table, mulling over every detail of every game they played in 2011.The boredom hits them first, then the hunger. After two hours, one of them leaves for a smoke break. After three hours, several have resorted to playing Angry Birds in their iPhones. Why is that game so popular, anyway? It's alright, but it's just... I mean, it's not really that good. You mostly beat levels by getting lucky! It's stupid.

But anyway, someone finally says what someone has to say every year...

"Dammit, this is taking too damn long! It doesn't matter anyway, we’ll either be accused of being too mainstream, or trying too hard not to be mainstream. They’ll say we only overlooked Portal 2, Mass Effect 3, and Uncharted 3 because we 'didn’t want to be predictable.' Oh, and how dare we not give GOTY to the most innovative game ever, LittleBigPlanet 2 - we must be 'bias' against Sony! And how could we 'forget' about Deus Ex? It’s so deep and blah blah we probably just like Call of Herp Derp because we’re not 'real gamers' or whatever. Just give it to whatever."

And so "whatever" it was...

While the majority of outlets picked Uncharted 2, we drop-kicked our 2009 Game of the Year award into Arkham Asylum. Uncharted 2 remains one of the most polished games we've ever played, but we went with Mr. Bat for a lot of reasons that we wrote about in 2009. The point is - Arkham Asylum is the best superhero game we've ever played, and Arkham City could soon become the bestest.

This 'aint no island no more, this is Gotham! With Joker! And Two-Face! And Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange, and more!

1st Runner-Up | Portal 2

Portal 2 will likely get a boatload of GOTY awards too. Valve isn't just giving us some new puzzles, it's building a bigger, more completer adventure through the now-decaying Aperture Labs. Oh, and it's throwing in adorable co-op robots which we love using screenshots of.

If the teaser video doesn't give you a warm, tingly feeling, then you don't get any birthday presents this year (from me).

2nd Runner-Up | L.A. Noire

If everything Rockstar has said is true, then L.A. Noire could blow us away. That is... assuming these faces tell a deep, emotional story rather than looking creepy the whole time. Beware the uncanny valley.

*Unless The Last Guardian actually comes out this year. Although Uncharted 3 could also win. Who the hell are we kidding, we have no idea.

Jan 21, 2011

Clear your calendar. Prepare your wallet

The best games of 2010, honored with the glittering trophies and glowing tributes they truly deserve

The worst games of the year, strung up and ridiculed in front of the whole dang internet