By now I think we can all agree that reports foretelling the demise of PCs as gaming platforms have been greatly exaggerated. Even though the landscape has shifted somewhat in recent years, with many companies putting a lot more effort behind console development, PC game sales still managed to grow 3% in a year where the industry as a whole was stalemate. That's no surprise with blockbusters like StarCraft II and WoW: Cataclysm breaking records last year.
We expect 2011 to be another great year for gamers, with most of 2010’s delayed titles finally hitting store shelves and many other highly anticipated ones making their debut. To help you keep track of this year’s upcoming releases we’ve put together a list with nearly 30 titles, spanning a variety of genres, alongside their respective trailers and relevant information.
Games are listed by quarter and alphabetically within each period to make them easier to browse. Here are the games to keep an eye on for 2011:
Based on the same Unreal Engine 3 graphics technology that powers Epic's Gears of War, Bulletstorm tells the story of a futuristic confederation protected by an elite band of mercenaries: Dead Echo. When two of its members, Grayson Hunt and Ishi Sato, learn they've been working for the wrong side they're betrayed by their commander and exiled to the far reaches of the galaxy. Grayson and Ishi find themselves surrounded by hordes of mutants and flesh eating gangs in an abandoned paradise. They have two objectives: get off the planet alive and get their revenge.
Players step into the role of Grayson Hunt complete with an arsenal of over-the-top combat moves and outrageously large guns. The game features a skillshot system that rewards players for inciting mayhem in the most creative way possible. The more insane the skillshot, the more points players collect to upgrade their character and unlock weapons, which then allow to execute even more creative moves and exaggerated shots.
Originally slated for release in 2010, Crysis 2 is the second title in the planned trilogy and the first to make its way onto consoles after the PC exclusive original. That said, Crytek has already stated that Crysis 2 will be graphically superior on the PC. The developer promises to raise the bar for first-person shooters with impressive visuals courtesy of its own CryEngine 3, support for stereoscopic 3D, and a compelling story penned by sci-fi writer Richard Morgan.
Crysis 2 sees the aliens from the first game returning with a full invasion force and determined to wipe out all humanity. In addition, players will also face a mysterious and virulent plague, as well as a crumbling Manhattan that is rapidly being overtaken by fear. Central to the story will be the nanosuit that appeared on the first game, only this time its powers have been streamlined into two: Power and Stealth. If gameplay footage shared by the developer and short demos at past expos are anything to go by, Crysis 2 may very well be worth the wait – let’s just hope our GPUs can handle it.
DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online is a massively multiplayer online game based on the DC comic book universe that will blend action and role-playing elements. The opening cinematic sequence takes place in a gritty, war-torn future depicting a final battle between the world's greatest heroes and villains. The scene then shifts to the present-day where Lex Luthor is telling the story of how all this came to happen, warning today’s superheroes that a new army of metahumans is in the making on planet Earth and must be trained in preparation for war.
Players will create a custom character and enter this fabled world as a hero or villain in one of several cities, including Metropolis or Gotham City. They’ll also choose a mentor to help them build up their powers as the game progresses – Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman for heroes and Lex Luthor, The Joker, or Circe for villains. The game brings high-energy action to the forefront with a combat system designed to deliver a fast-paced action experience, while keeping key elements of MMORPGs like a leveling system, raid instances, endgame progression and inventories.
Dead Space 2
Engineer Isaac Clarke returns for another blood-curdling adventure in the sequel to the critically acclaimed Dead Space. After waking from a coma on a massive space city known as "The Sprawl", the lone survivor of a horrific alien infestation finds himself confronting a catastrophic new nightmare. Battling dementia, hunted by the government, and haunted by visions of his dead girlfriend, Isaac will do whatever it takes to save himself and dominate the gruesome onslaught.
The game also has an all-new multiplayer mode where players face off in four-on-four matches with several objective-based missions. One side plays as a group of four humans decked out in suits like Isaac's, and the other four combatants take on the roles of Necromorphs. Besides this new addition it seems Visceral Games' horror follow-up won't stray too far from the original. Considering how beloved the first game was that's definitely a good thing.
Dragon Age II
Dragon Age 2 is set within a ten-year period and features a new protagonist and a new locale within the Dragon Age world. Players will take the role of Hawke, known to be a survivor of the Blight, as he rises from a poor refugee to the Champion of the Free Marches making tough moral choices, gathering the deadliest of allies and sealing their place in history. Players will also be able to transfer saved data from Dragon Age: Origins into the sequel and experience the consequences of their previous choices – though this is not necessary to fully experience Dragon Age 2.
According to the little information available at this point, the Dragon Age 2 story will be a non-linear framed narrative and you will have unprecedented control over the directions your character goes and the sequence in which the story unfolds. There will be many spells, abilities and specializations to choose from and customize your character, while the original dialogue system will be replaced by the "wheel" system previously seen in the Mass Effect series.
Duke Nukem Forever
Put on your sunglasses and prepare to step into the boots of Duke Nukem, whose legend has reached epic proportions in the years since his last adventure. The alien hordes are back and only Duke can save the world, again. Pig cops, alien shrink rays and enormous alien bosses won't stop our hero from accomplishing his one and only goal: to save the world, save the babes, and to be a badass while doing it.
After more than a decade in development it looks like we’ll finally see Duke Nukem Forever in 2011. The game was officially announced on April 1997 with the intention of releasing it no later than mid-1998 as a successor to the popular Duke Nukem 3D. But of course that never came to happen. Following several engine changes, missed deadlines, teaser videos to placate anxious fans, legal wrangling with publisher Take-Two and eventually the demise of 3D Realms, Gearbox picked up the project last year and is polishing things up for a release this quarter.