2011 – a vintage golden year in gaming

If the Spike Video Game Awards last night told us anything, it is that is a massively big farce in terms of awards – Neil Patrick Harris, the host, as Best Human as a Videogame Character? Yeah. But on an announcement level, it was fantastic. It’s shaped up the massive gaming landscape that is set to be 2011.

Next month, we kick off with Mass Effect 2 PS3, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Dead Space 2. By the end of it, we’ll have Mass Effect 3, The Last Guardian (God willing) and Forza Motorsport 4.

The fact some announcements didn’t leak out before the show really impressed me, especially Elder Scrolls V. While we did have the Eurogamer Denmark report weeks earlier, the fact it hid the actual reveal itself is absolutely impressive. Bethesda should be given mad props for doing that. Well done.

EA definitely had a quiet one, even with Mass Effect 3. It was obvious what we were going to see with Mass Effect 3, but none the less, I’m up for it.

It also had another reveal in the form of a new title from EA Sports, or rather, a revival of an EA Sports BIG series: SSX. Now, I’m just going to come out and say it: I absolutely adored the first SSX, Tricky and SSX3. As far as I’m concerned, Tricky and SSX3 are two of the best games I played on PS2. So when I seen within the first opening minutes of the show an SSX reveal was incoming, I was so happy. The series went south, as far as I’m concerned, after On Tour, so this could be a fantastic way to bring back the series to its roots.

Except Deadly Descents didn’t. It was snowboarding, yes, but with a Call of Duty vibe. This was not the SSX I fell in love with. Okay, it’s a teaser so far, so I am willing to give it a chance, but my first impressions are not good.

As for Activision, just stick Tony Hawk on stage, say how “well” his games are selling – “My games have been popular amongst young people.” – and give him the reveal to Prototype 2, the sequel of a game which I absolutely didn’t like first time round. Now, I’m going to give it a chance, but I wasn’t a fan of the first one. Let’s hope Radicial’s massively improved it from the first game. That said, putting it in 2012 instead of an already massive 2011 was a wise move on Activision’s end.

For THQ, it had the Bilsons out in force! No, seriously, core boss Danny and daughter Rachel (yes, her from The O.C.) – the latter of which presented an award with an awful “that’s what she said” routine. Danny also had a new partner to formally announce, even if the cat was already out of the bag beforehand: Guillermo Del Toro. The trailer for Insane didn’t give us anything other then just a 2013 release date. A promised Saints Row 3 reveal also didn’t materalise.

Microsoft were set to have some big ones set for the show. Turns out, it only had just one. Hours before the show, a promised Gears of War announcement was postponed. But it did have an announcement out of left-field ready for us which absolutely surprised me: Forza Motorsport 4. And it’s out next fall. I’m a big fan of Forza, probably more so then Gran Turismo, and Forza 3 is a fantastic racing game. Bring it on.

But if there was only company who ruled the show with an iron fist with its showings, it was Sony. It showed a technically impressive Uncharted 3 trailer with glimpses of gameplay at the end, with the trailer itself in real-time. But it was Resistance 3’s trailer that properly did the business. A mix of live-action and gameplay footage, Resistance 3 looked absolutely fantastic, even more so then we thought it was going to.

The big shocker? Both of them had dates confirmed a good 9-11 months ahead of time: Resistance 3 launches on September 6 and Uncharted 3 getting a November 1 release only after recent reveals, especially for the latter.

The same can also be said for Elder Scrolls V. Announced and dated for Novemebr 11, 2011 at its announce.

We also had decent trailers for Portal 2, Mortal Kombat and a fantastic trailer for Batman: Arkham City from Warner and Rocksteady. That looks set to be a brilliant videogame.

Overall, 2011 looks set to be a fantastic year. Here’s just some of them:

  • LittleBigPlanet 2
  • Mass Effect 2 PS3
  • Dead Space 2
  • Test Drive Unlimited 2
  • Marvel vs Capcom 3
  • Bulletstorm
  • Killzone 3
  • Dragon Age II
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Homefront
  • NFS Shift 2: Unleashed
  • Shogun 2
  • Crysis 2
  • F.E.A.R. 3
  • Brink
  • Portal 2
  • The Witcher II
  • Resistance 3
  • RAGE
  • Uncharted 3
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Driver: San Francisco
  • Duke Nukem Forever
  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Gears of War 3
  • inFamous 2
  • LA Noire
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Motorstorm Apocalypse
  • Tomb Raider
  • Twisted Metal
  • The Last Guardian

(with a little help from here. Don’t take the dates for some games at face value, they haven’t been announced yet)

And all this in a year without a major GTA or (most likely) MGS.

Best trailers of the night go to: Mass Effect 3, Resistance 3, Batman: Arkham City.

Catch the coverage we did on VG247 last night here.

Needless to say, trade show season? Bring it.

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