This year is destined to be massive. Currently scheduled for release? Uncharted 3, Elder Scrolls V, Dead Space 2, Batman: Arkham City, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Pokémon Black / White, Gears of War 3, Portal 2, LA Noire, Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age II, Bulletstorm, Deus Ex... and that's just the smallest, shortest of samples.
But what about 2012, 2013 and 2014? If those years have any chance of competing with the excitement of this year, we're going to need more than a bunch of amazing new games in 2011. We're also going to need a bunch of exciting new announcements.
This is our wish list. What's yours?
7) Bayonetta 2
Platinum Games' four-game deal with Sega has run its course. Sniff. But wait! One more title has been added to the agreement. An as-yet-undisclosed title. It's surely time for Sega and Platinum to announce the sequel to one of the best action games ever made.
We're mildly interested in the new Devil May Cry that's on the horizon, but it just isn't the same now Bayonetta's around. Which is why Bayonetta 2 doesn't need to be radically different. Of course we'd love co-op. Of course we'd love even more nods to our favourite old games. And of course we want more fan-pleasing wicked weave moves.
Above: Flippin' 'eck – would you look at that! Wonder what shampoo she uses…
The other possibility (as we mentioned here) would be to include Rodin as a playable character. He's already got the attitude and the style, not to mention a penchant for outlandish firearms. A prequel or spin-off would be enough to tide us over… just so long as Bayonetta herself isn't too far off getting her own new game.
Above: Rodin would make for a refreshing lead character… though he does long to be a "bald space marine"…
The mystery game has to be Bayonetta. Has to be.
6) Final Fantasy XIII-2
As divisive as certain aspects of its design were, Final Fantasy XIII felt like a much-needed return to form for the series. After an MMO no one wanted with FFXI, and a game that felt like a single-player MMO with FFXII (regardless of whether or not it was actually a decent game, it didn't feel like a Final Fantasy), we can safely say that we don't want any more Final Fantasy MMOs, or even MMO-esque Final Fantasies, period. So while FFXIII's extreme opposite direction was jarring to some fans, it did so many things right after such a long absence that we're eager to see where it goes from here.
FFXIII's battle system is one of the greatest that JRPGs have ever seen, merging the careful strategy of a turn-based system with the intensity of real-time combat. Lightning and company's quest also presented a truly compelling world – the dichotomy of cramped, high-tech Cocoon and the wild, open frontier of Pulse begs to be explored freely, and the struggle between its human and demigod inhabitants could take future stories in countless directions.
We'd love to see a similar combat system in a world that's more open to explore. Square-Enix has shown that it's more than willing to experiment with the series, and what franchise is in a better position to take on the challenge of marrying the best qualities of the JRPG genre with the best qualities of a western RPG? Imagine the possibilities – a sandbox world of colossal gods and wilderness, of futuristic skyscrapers jammed into hollowed-out moons – and you see why we're already dreaming about FFXIII-2.