The Exciting List Of 2011′s Excitements

By Jim Rossignol on January 3rd, 2011 at 8:00 am.


Hello. I’ve written a list feature containing the PC games that I’m most excited about in 2011. It’s enormous. I’ve made the list appear in roughly the order of excitingness. You can read it, below, if you want.

And if you’re not already freaking out about how much game there is to play this year, then you should definitely take a look…


THE TOP EXCITEMENTS OF THE PC GAMING PLATFORM

The Witcher 2 is the game I am most looking forward to in 2011. The original game was deeply flawed, it’s true, but it was also a game that spoke strongly of the passion and dedication of its creators. What we have seen of the sequel only serves to amplify that feeling that CD Projekt not only want, desperately, to create a genuinely great RPG, but that they have the means to do it. All my hopes go with this project.


Portal 2. PORTAL 2. There’s just no possible way I could not be in a frenzy of anticipation when the last few bytes of this download from Steam. I’m intrigued inside out to see what the co-op holds, but the single player element will no doubt be devoured first, and with great relish. What will Valve have done with the sequel to one of the most interesting games of all time? The answer to that question is going to be delicious. It’s out on April 18th in North America, and April 22nd for Europe. What does that mean for Steam? I am not sure, but it worries me.


Deus Ex 3. I think we’re all getting tentatively excited about this. Hell, it’s a Deus Ex game. Even if the result is an abortive monstrosity we’re going to need to play it out, just to be sure. What we have seen, however, is promising. This could just work its way into the classics list if the dev team do not falter. Oh God, let them not falter.


The application of Monaco is, perhaps, limited. Our experiences with the game suggest that you’re really going to need to have four people in a room together, with gamepads and such, if you want to make the most of it. However, what we can say is that’s it’s going to be chaotically splendid. There’s a reason this won the last IGF, you know. This is the reason: it’s brilliant.


Brink. An odd one to get truly, unmitigatedly excited about, eh? Well, not only does it look beautiful, I think that we are ripe for another big multiplayer FPS, and this might just be it. Quake Wars might have missed the mark a little, but there’s no doubt that it was extremely impressive and enormously ambitious. It felt, I think, like a game company learning its limits, testing the boundaries of what it can do. Brink will be that same company at full power. It’s already had a strong showing at the EG Expo. The final results could be extremely interesting. (I’ve lost track of exactly when this is coming out… April-ish?)


PlanetSide Next – we don’t know a whole lot about this, to the point where there isn’t even a website I can link to, but that only makes the excitement more acute. It’s in that nebulous state where it might be an incredible sequel/rebbot, or it could just be a free-to-play relaunch or similar, we just don’t know. The first few months of original PlanetSide was one of the greatest gaming experiences I have known, I pray to the grim Gods of the gaming that this will recapture even a fragment of that awesome chaos. The beta is up “soon” for some kind of relaunch in March/April. Even if it is just the f2p reboot, we are getting in there for some Vanu action.


Diablo III. It’s funny how all the screenshots make it look tiny and fiddly, and yet it all makes sense in motion. Yeah, let’s face it, Blizzard’s action-RPG is going to be enormous. There’s no doubt about it. We’re going to play the hell out of it, whether we think about skeleton-shattering level ‘em is a good idea or not. It’s like a black-hole: the gravity of hyperbolically slick loot-collection is just too great. I’m expecting to be sucked in at the end of 2011, just like everybody else.


Speaking of Diablo-alikes, the squad-Diablo of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution is looking extremely attractive. Orks, Eldar, Tyrannids, Space Marines and even – we hear via some German PC mag – playable Imperial Guard. It’s going to satisfy the urge to kill stuff for the Emperor/Blood God like nothing else. Not quite clear when this comes out, but I believe it’s “Spring”. My favourite time of year for sitting inside, playing games.


We’re not entirely sure whether Dead State is going to make it into 2011, because all we know for certain is that the game isn’t going to arrive in 2010. However, the zombie-survival RPG is one of the most alluring projects currently underway, not simply because of the ex-Troika pedigree, but because of this sprawling interview we did with the project director, the same chap who wrote Bloodlines.


You are probably going to say that the main reason I am excited about Guild Wars 2 is the amazing-looking fantasy environments that the ArenaNet team keep showing off and, well, you’d be right. So there. I’ll probably wander around as much of that world as I can, just because it’s there. Fortunately it also looks like the game that underpins it all is really something special. If this isn’t the MMO that gets the most RPS attention in 2011 then I will eat my Epic Hat Of HoboClown +2.


Firefall. The designer of Tribes 1&2 meets the designer of World Of Warcraft. They fall in love decide to make a game together. That game is going to be a free-to-play shooter that mixes third and first-person perspectives, which blends MMO with traditional FPS action, that is mostly co-op vs alien monsters, but also has some big old PvP possibilities. It looks totally gorgeous. It should be out at the end of 2011. That is what I am talking about. Dev team Red 5 talk about it, too, just here.


Duke Nukem Forever. I’m not all that excited about this in terms of being an interesting experience. It’s going to be a first-person shooter, and not much more. But holy crap I am looking forward to seeing this saga resolved in an actual, playable game. Phew!


Six Gun Saga is the single-player not-boardgame that we can next expect from one-man studio Vic Davis. This time it’s a game about cowboys. It was also the feature of a pretty extensive interview that Mr Kieron Gillen conducted with Mr Davis. It would be wise to read that interview, which can be found here. We were expect this game around Christmas 2010, so I am guessing it slipped to 2011, unless it was released in secret, and invisible.


Subversion. We saw Introversion’s procedurally-generated tactical espionage ‘em up Subversion being played at London indie-fest, World Of Love, and we saw that it was good. Just how good? Well, that’s something we should find out when Introversion release the beast later this year. We’re going to say it’ll probably get a meta-good of “pretty good” on a scale of one-to-good.

OTHER CONTENDERS FOR POSSIBLE EXCITEMENT AND HYPETALK

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad represents the best of the kind of grim, grey, manly manshoot that scares us here at Castle Shotgun. There’s no doubt the potential the game has for brutal accomplishment, however, and we’re expect this to be one of the quiet masterpieces of 2011. Quinns has already begun to just eat rats and chair-legs in anticipation of a bit of method-gaming for the review. Tripwire are talking “Q2 2011″ for this one.


Skyrim. The fifth Elder Scrolls game arrives on the 11th of November. Apparently the engine is all new. Apparently it’s a direct sequel to Oblivion. We will learn much more about the game in the coming few weeks. Right now, I am cautiously optimistic, with an undertone of extreme excitement.


DOTA 2. I still find it a bit odd that Valve are making this, but not as odd as Blizzard find it. They find it so odd that they have activated their lawyers, and legal stuff is happening! Hard to say if that will influence the announced 2011 release date, but I think it might. There’s not much else to go on, but we do have this Q&A for some details of what DOTA 2 might entail.


I actually managed to leave Mass Effect 3 out of the original draft of this. We’re fairly excited to see how Bioware follow up on one of the best games of 2010, of course. And the trailer has London in it? Hmm.


Blight Of The Immortals. Thanks to IronHelmet’s accidental beta we were playing it in 2010, but I am expecting this game to go huge in 2011. What we are playing now certainly needs to some balancing and some tweaking, but both co-op and PvP games are already fascinatingly compulsive. Expect RPS to be laden with talk about this real soon.


Rock Of Ages. Art history in a bowling/tower defence game. We talked to Ace Team about why the boulder is smiling. That made us smile. There is no firm release date for this yet, aside from “2011″. Ah, sadface.


Total War: Shogun 2. Yes, we know that Empire betrayed your trust and made you want to sacrifice your mother on the altar of indignation, but frankly that does little diminish the fact that The Creative Assembly are going back to remake Shogun into a new thing of beauty. I couldn’t really give two hoots about the overhauled multiplayer, but that campaign map looks lavish, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. SEGA are claiming a March 15th release date, which is going to make this a rather busy springtime.


Fate Of The World. Another game due in March is the worringly bleak and pleasingly elegant global End Times simulator, Fate Of The World. Quintin frightened himself by playing it just here. I think it’s going to be a splendid controversy when it arrives, and I look forward to not being able to cope with international grim meathook futures.


Batman: Arkham City. Blimey, Batman had a long intro sequence. If you got past that then you began to look around and say stuff like “hey, guys, this might be one of the best superhero games of all time!” No one will listen, until they do. When they do listen, they will be very excited. And that will get boring. All of which makes the sequel, due at the end of 2011 but already spitting out lavish screenshots like sequined bats from the batcave, one of the most attractive propositions of the year.


There aren’t many MMOs on this list, but there’s no way that we could leave Funcom’s contemporary supernatural outing off it. The Secret World provides numerous reasons to be excited, not least of them being the skill-based structure and the “flat” nature of the world that will allow everyone to play together. Quintin previewed the game here, and described it as a “gentle revolution”. That’s what we’ll be hoping for.


Torchlight II. All I need to know about this is that it is more Torchlight, only co-op this time. That means I can play it with Lady Rossignol, and there will be harmony in the household.


Crysis 2. It’s going to be fascinating to see whether CryTek were able to learn from their mistakes with Crysis and to make the sequel into the rounded, muscular manshoot that we all want it to be. The idea of it being “wide but linear” seems to have been at forefront of their design chatter, so we can expect some large arenas to mess about in, just like the best bits of Crysis. Seeing how those urban environments work out will be the thing, of course. As shooters go, this is a big deal, especially for CryTek. It’s out at the end of March.


Dragon Age 2. Well, it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. Right? It’s out March 8th in the US, and March 11th in Europe. (March is seriously going to kill me, isn’t it?)


Bulletstorm. Epic might be talking about creativity and stuff, but we know the score: sometimes you just want to kill up some dudes and hear a congratulatory “M-M-M-MONSTER KILL” echoing in your years. And that is sort of what will happen here. A February 22nd release date for the booted sci-fi death-frenzy from the makes of Painkiller, with a little help from Epic.


Spy Party. This could be like an antidote to Bulletstorm. Hecker describes it as “A Spy Game About Subtle Behaviour.” Or in more depth: “an asymmetric multiplayer espionage game, dealing with the subtlety of human behavior, character, personality, and social mores, instead of the usual spy game explosions and car chases.” It’s not clear when it’ll be out, but it is clear that it will be enormously interesting to play.


Jon Blow is also at the controls for another game. It’s The Witness. It’s all still fairly mysterious at present, with the art revealing a 3D island, with lots of buildings and doors and levers and stuff. Blow is saying that the game will be “quiet and philosophical”, which makes it different enough for the rest of the army of loud and unthinking games that we’re going to want to take a look. Let’s just hope the PC version is timely.

ALSO ACCEPTABLE


Grim Dawn. I know we haven’t talked much about this, but I think Grim Dawn could be splendid. It’s being made by some chaps who worked for Iron Lore, and it’s built using much the same tech as Titan Quest. More interesting, perhaps, is the sort of Steam-Cowboy supernatural apocalypse world that it’s set in. Definitely something I’m looking forward to exploring. The game is already available to pre-order, so we’re hoping it will hit early on in 2011, despite the lack of a firm date.


Men Of War: Assault Squad. I’ve harped on about this at length a couple of times now on RPS, but I’ll admit that it’s a bit of an odd fish. It’s basically a pure skirmish and multiplayer game, which is being developed by DigitalMindSoft, rather than the original MoW team, who are now making Men Of War: Vietnam for 1c. Assault Squad has been in beta for a while now, and I expect it to be out soon.


Men Of War: Vietnam. 1c are releasing the next big single-player Men Of War game, this time set in Vietnam, and with US and Vietcong campaigns. I’m still a bit wary of it, because I am not 100% convinced of the setting, but the Men Of War engine could definitely handle this kind of tactical game. I’ll be interested to see more. We wrote about it in a bit of detail here. No firm release date on this that I can see.


Cargo! It’s hard not to take a good look at whatever Ice Pick Lodge now produce, because their previous games – Pathologic, The Void – were headbender insane. Cargo! is in stark contrast to those werid, nightmarish games, being both a puzzle game and enormously colourful. We’re certain that the weird isn’t going away, however.


Natural Selection 2. It feels like a lifetime since Unknown Worlds embarked on their project of turning the sequel to a Half-Life mod into a commercial RTS/FPS hybrid, and the final stages of that project are now underway. With the beta underway, we should see the game arrive within the next few weeks, all being well.


Rage. I liked it when Tim Willits said that Rage was basically nothing new, but it was awesome. These days that seems reassuring. Id aren’t going to mess with the formulas, they’re just going to make it even prettier than it’s ever been. That said, this isn’t a straight up scripted shooter, and I’m intrigued by its vehicular carnage and apocalyptic world. I think Rage still has scope to surprise us on its scheduled launch in September 2011.


Dead Space 2. The first Dead Space game stamped its way into our hearts in a rather awkward fashion. It felt a little clumsy, but there was no denying the ambition and pace of it. We’re hoping for great things of the sequel, which has already been showing off some spectacular space sequences at press events. Still not quite sure about that Left 4 Dead styled multiplayer, however. Hmm. It hits on January 25th.


Max Payne 3. It he still Max Payne if he’s bald and living in Brazil? That’s the question everyone is asking. And you can see why they might be worried… Of course all that really matters is that he can still slow down time to shoot people quite accurately as he sails through a bunch of slow-moving debris. Isn’t that right? Right. No release date on this, but we’re assuming toward the end of 2011.


Warhammer 40k: Space marine. I can’t believe this is the first game to use the URL spacemarine.com! Also: this delayed action ‘em up looks like just the ticket for those of us with a fondness for large men in armour. The Emperor is going to get served, and not in a bad way. If you want to know a bit more about this then check out Quintin’s preview. We currently have this pegged for “summer 2011″.


From Dust is looking shiftily unusual, and that pleases The Hivemind. A game about magical terrain deformation that involves looking after a tribe of weird humanoids sounds right up our… tract of terrain. It’s going to be available via digital download during the first half of the year. Word on the street is that we will play it and the write words that in some way evaluate its worth in the wider scheme of things.


The Sims: Medieval seems to be turning The Sims into a quest-driven fantasy adventure with political, romantic, and diplomatic elements. It’s intriguing. The Sims has always been a series worthy of experimenting with, but I wonder if this could finally uncover a formula for using the simulated people in a way that is even more inventive than the vanilla version. It’s out in March.


The Old Republic. Bioware’s grand MMO project continues to trundle towards the enormity of its release. There’s little doubt that it’ll be a decent game, but whether it’ll be one of the great MMOs, well, that’s still unclear. We’re expecting this in the third quarter of 2011.


Neverwinter. Cryptic are having a go at the D&D universe by create a quasi-MMO online RPG, which will supplement its own adventures by allowing players to use the world to create their own scenarios. Sounds like something we should play! What’s perhaps even more appealling is Cryptic’s own admission that they need to do better than they did with Champions. Neverwinter should be arriving at the end of 2011.


XCOM. Yeah, yeah, it’ll be crap because it’s not X-Com, it’ll be crap because it’s like Bioshock. All that stuff. I am still genuinely interested to see how it turns out – just put it through a filter whereby it’s actually called “1950s UFO Investigation” or something. The setting looks great, and the game idea is strong. I think this could be awesome. It’s due at the end of 2011.


Section 8: Prejudice. This budget multiplayer sequel might just be another flash in the pan when it hits, but we’ll definitely be playing it. Partly for robo-biff, partly for the big sci-fi maps, and partly because falling from the sky is always okay, no matter how many times you do it. This is arriving from the big blue skies of development “early” in 2011, which we think means Februaryish.


Might and Magic Heroes VI. The name format has been altered slightly, but this is still much the same game that we’re familiar with from endless years before. Of course it’s also looking lavishly pretty, and apparently Black Hole are enhancing the RPG aspects of it. Not sure of the release date on this one, apart from it being some time in 2011.


Cities In Motion. Okay! Fine! This probably won’t be that great, but I am infrastructure junkie. It’s out on the 25th of February.


Frozen Synapse has been available for a while in that paid-for-beta sort of way, but the final release should be early in 2011. Kieron has already raved about it to you, so there is no reason for me to point out that there is a serious game of tactical cleverness down there. You should take a look.


Xenonauts. Ah yes, the XCOM antidote! Alec interviewed its creator here. This is a game based on the original turn-based dynamics of the X-Com games, designed to fill the gap that other games no longer seem to wish to slot into. We’re hoping to see it arrive sooner rather than later, if just because it will cheer Alec up. No precise release date for this, but the main site is full of information about the ongoing project.


Battlefield Play4Free. So DICE are taking Battlefield 2, optimising it, and making it free to play. That’s some kind of seriously big deal, I think. Battlefield 2 already ate a large chunk of my life, so I don’t know if I can allow this to get me too. It’s been announced for “early 2011″, whatever that means.


I really don’t know enough about Sword Of The Stars 2 to judge whether it will do important things to the space 4X genre, but I do know that I like big shiny spacecraft, and it has those. Look at those fuckers!


Dirt 3, or “Thirt” as I believe we are calling it, is a game in which cars are driven faster than can be reasonably expected to be safe. I don’t know if I like the sound of that, but at least it’s the kind of thing that should be happening in a videogame.


Depth. It’s a multiplayer “aquatic stealth” game. One team of divers, one team of sharks. I can’t wait to see how that plays out. I suspect it will play out with some divers getting eaten. Also, we’re always saying how they’re aren’t enough stealth games, well, the same is true of playable sharks.


I’ve really not got much interest in the Tomb Raider games, but John seems to like them, so maybe he’s on to something. This year will see a reboot of the series with Lara Croft, in which the traditional Lara is turned into a muddy adolescent. It’ll probably be fine.


Infinity Universe. Well, we hope it will come out in 2011, but it’s one of life’s beautiful mysteries.

Yes, I’ve missed out a bunch of games, especially on the indie front, but that’s because this is just the list of stuff that has caught my attention, or that I know enough about to have some kind of personal interest in. If something isn’t on this list it’s because I hate it and think it will be the worst game of all time. On that basis: holy crap that’s a year of games to look forward to. Let’s get to work.

[Header image derived from this splendid story.]

, , .

158 Comments »

  1. The Army of None says:

    OH MY YES.

  2. mod the world says:

    That’s a bunch of games to play. Luckily, atleast half of them will disappoint at the review phase.
    My favorites for 2011: Monaco, Natural Selection 2 and the Old Republic.
    TOR is now officially postponed to quarter 3? :(

  3. frags says:

    What about XCOM? :P Oooooo and Fez? Hopefully PC version will be out shortly after XBLA :s

  4. Premium User Badge

    DarkNoghri says:

    Dang, I just realized I’m only halfway through the list, but I wanted to make this comment:

    Woohoo, new update! I’d totally forgotten ya’ll were coming back today, and was pleasantly surprised tonight on my way to the forums. Yayness!

    With that, I’m off to bed. It’s late, and I’ll finish the list tomorrow.

  5. Miker says:

    I’m looking forward to Brink, Portal 2, and Deus Ex HR the most of these, although I can see my wallet getting equally destroyed in the second half of 2011. Crap.

  6. Vinraith says:

    Holy crap, I’m doomed. I’ve got a backlog a mile high, but the year’s probably going to be mostly consumed playing SotS 2 and Skyrim. Not that there aren’t dozens of other great games in that list, and not that I won’t buy them, but nothing consumes my life like a good 4X TBS or a moddable open-world RPG.

    Overall this looks like an amazingly strong year for PC gaming, and we haven’t even gotten to all the indie stuff I won’t hear about until you guys discover it!

    • MrMud says:

      Lets hope Skyrim is moddable.
      If it is a new engine as they say, it may very well not be.

    • Vinraith says:

      Bethesda would be, for all practical purposes, abandoning the PC platform if they abandoned their reputation for moddable RPG’s. I’m not remotely suggesting it’s impossible, but it’s something of an open-world gaming apocalypse to my thinking and not worth worrying about until and unless it happens. But, yes, if Skyrim does not include mod support it goes from “my most anticipated game of 2011″ to “faintly tempting in a Steam sale 2 years from now for $5″ at a stroke.

    • DrGonzo says:

      No, if they didn’t release it on PC they would be abandoning PC. If they don’t allow it to be moddable they will be frustrating a small portion of their PC audience. I agree it would be a stupid move, but it would most definitely not be giving up on PC.

    • Premium User Badge

      jaheira says:

      Moddable schmoddable. Much better for Bethesda to concentrate on making a good game, rather than making tools so that other people can patch it up after them.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jaheira

      I couldn’t disagree more. While it’s certainly best if Bethesda creates a quality vanilla game, the important thing is to generate a quality canvas and then open it up to the community. No matter how good the game is, it’s never going to be the game I want to the same degree that a fully modded Bethesda title can be. The Morrowind I love, the one I played better than a thousand hours of, isn’t quite the same Morrowind that everyone else played. That’s the beauty of mods, you can make the game you want.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The last handful of Bethesda games were meh without mods and got quite bearable to interesting thanks to them.

      Given that you basically prolong sales and game life by almost half a decade just by enabling modding, any developer who is making something other than Yet-Another-Corridor-Shooter would be insanely dumb not to open himself up to this.

      Sadly, many are just that, plus a good dose of DRM thumpage. Maybe the next 10 years we can roll all of this back..

  7. Spinks says:

    Should be a great year :) Mass Effect 3 is also currently slated for 2011. Looking forwards to Portal 2 mostly, and Diablo.

  8. scardb says:

    Ahhh, I missed you RPS!

  9. J. says:

    No love for Magicka? :(

  10. agent47 says:

    Red Orchestra 2, Shogun 2 and Spy Party should’ve been in the top section …

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      I think Spy Party is more likely to arrive in late 2012.
      Also The Witness seems unlikely in 2011, but who knows.

      I’m eagerly awaiting both of them! :)

  11. ran93r says:

    This year is really going to sting the pocketbook. I hadn’t heard of Dead State before now, it doesn’t look like all that much mind you, hope we hear some more from Undead Labs this year.

    • The Army of None says:

      I attended a panel at PAX this year with Brian Mitsoda, and I think I was the only one in the room who had heard of it, which is a shame because it looks amazing and Brian’s a pretty great guy.

  12. Decimae says:

    You forgot Achron, the time-travel RTS. I think that is significant, and RPS covered it a year ago.

  13. Chandrose says:

    I have a list full of Steam games (and Christmas games) that is pretty much going to ensure I won’t play any of this until at least 2012. God damn, why can’t I be an independently wealthy gamer?

  14. Text_Fish says:

    Beyond Good and Evil 2 for me please.

  15. Olli T says:

    Jagged Alliance, too!

    • Sic says:

      I take it you haven’t read much about it lately?

      It’s shaping up to be a ridiculous flop. They went from “we’re making a JA2 copy with better graphics and tweaks” to “we’re making something completely different”.

  16. aerondight says:

    What about Mass Effect 3??? Or is it coming out in 2012?

  17. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Blimey.Portal, Witcher, XCOM, Batman, Rock of Ages and Deus Ex are day one sales for me. But most on that list look intriguing.

  18. mcwizardry says:

    That’s a pretty impressive list, although I assume at least a few will get delayed into early 2012.

  19. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’ll add in ME3 and Magicka after my tea.

  20. The Dark One says:

    Iron Lore’s fate was depressing, so I wish the guys from Crate the best.

    • subedii says:

      Grim Dawn is really bizarre.

      Titan Quest: A PC exclusive, top-down action-RPG in the vein of Diablo

      Years ago Iron Lore famously go under, and have a tremendous hissy fit about how the PC platform is unviable and that piracy destroyed them. It becomes a massive industry talking point and symbolic of how the PC platform is “dying”. It literally became one of the big industry stories of 2008.

      Iron Lore reforms as Crate Entertainment, and are NOW working on:

      Grim Dawn: A PC exclusive, top-down action-RPG in the vein of Diablo, because they now say their previous title Titan Quest… did… so… well?

      I mean what the heck? Now they’re going to release this new virtually unheard of title in the same year as Torchlight 2, Dungeon Siege 3, and I don’t know, some other Blizzard game I think, starts with a D.

      So if they end up releasing after Diablo 3 (or any of the other established titles for that matter) and flopping, are we going to see a repeat performance and crying about how they CLEARLY should have done better but that the platform’s unviable? I’m genuinely curious as to whether this is going to lead another round of pure angst over PC gaming dying again.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Not bizarre at all: they’re clearly not all the same people, and Crate seems like a much smaller operation than Iron Lore was originally. Just because Iron Lore’s management couldn’t manage to make Titan Quest successful doesn’t mean that Crate will suffer the same fate.

    • subedii says:

      Maybe I’m mistaken, but isn’t the reason that Crate is different to Iron Lore just because Crate has fewer people in it?

      I’m being unnecessarily angsty myself in that post, but they’re releasing under much, much worse circumstances than previously, with a game developed by a smaller team going up against far more established franchises in a market that’s still relatively niche compared to other genres. Unless they’re bringing something truly unique and interesting that will make them stand out, I don’t see how Grim Dawn is going to be some massive improvement on what happened last time.

    • DrGonzo says:

      They look like they are in a much, much better position to me. The engine has already been developed, they have a smaller team so less overheads. Steam is more established now. Torchlight and Titan Quest seem to still sell a lot of copies and show there is a market for those types of games.

    • subedii says:

      I think those are fair points. Steam has expanded. But Titan Quest was viewed as a failure by the studio, at least to the extent that it wasn’t able to save them from closing.

      Torchlight was able to take advantage of Steam’s prevalence, but largely succeeded because it was a Diablo clone introduced into a market where there hadn’t been a real competitor in a long time. It still sells copies today, but only at drastically reduced prices. This year Torchlight is an already established franchise getting a new iteration, alongside two other well known ARPG franchises, one of which is pretty much to Action RPG’s what Starcraft 2 is to RTS’s.

      It just strikes me that they’re repeating the same thing all over again, but going up against the BIG guns now. Smaller team means less overhead, it also means they likely won’t be able to do as much with the game itself, even with having the old engine in place (something that would naturally have to modify and update heavily in itself). Maybe I’m missing the idea, but what’s going to make Grim Dawn really stand out against the competition? And how are they going to be pricing it?

      And that’s before you get to the problem of what happens if they do happen to release after something like Diablo 3 hits.

    • Archonsod says:

      Diablo 3 will face an inevitable Angry Internet Man backlash, with complaints of it not being different enough from D2 to justify it, and at the same time being completely different from D2. It’ll also retail as a full price release, and given Actard’s usual practice I wouldn’t be surprised if that was circa $60.

      Grim Dawn is a digital only release, looks to be Steamworks bound and they’re talking about a price point of $20. It’s set in a steampunk style world rather than the generic fantasyland of Diablo, which might be just what it needs to differentiate itself from the rest of the Diablo clones.

      I predict it picking up a fair few sales based on the simple premise it isn’t Diablo 3, in which the only competition would be Torchlight 2 (and GD is likely to have the edge in being distinct visually from D3 somewhat more than Torchlight). The visual distinctiveness is also likely to attract people for whom Diablo 3 rekindles their lust for clickitty death RPG fun and hunger for more, while the lower price point makes it appealing for what will no doubt be a sizeable influx of WoW players who are interested in this Diablo 3 by the same company but don’t want to cough up full whack without knowing what they’re getting.

      And of course, reality points out that few people have an annual gaming budget which stretches to one title per year, and common sense would also like to say that fans of Diablo style games are the very people you can count on to buy more than one Diablo style game for their library. In fact, in most creative industries releasing a similar thing at the time of a big release tends to result in better sales than releasing when there isn’t. It’s the secondary effect of advertising; Seeing a Star Wars trailer makes you more likely to want to watch a sci fi film, even if that film is not Star Wars.

    • subedii says:

      “Reality points out” that as soon as any Call of Duty game is announced, every possible FPS gets re-scheduled to avoid its launch window, sometimes by as much as six months, and post release other FPS’s tend to see significant drops in their communities. In the same fashion, the release of Starcraft 2 saw multiplayer numbers for pretty much every other RTS out at the time dip significantly. Games centred around multiplayer aren’t like movies. “Common Sense” dictates that regardless of how many you may want to buy, to get anywhere in them requires a hefty time investment that typically requires forfeiting other titles. Really major releases can act like black holes, which is why publishers try to avoid them or if at all possible, release significantly before they hit. If they manage that, they’re in with a much better chance. But Grim Dawn doesn’t look to be near release yet and will probably be releasing in the 2nd half of the year. Which means if Diablo 3 doesn’t slip to 2012 (always a possibility with Blizzard), things could be extremely problematic for them.

      Speaking of some big fan backlash against Diablo 3, that’s realistically going to happen, anymore than it did for Starcraft 2, Left 4 Dead 2, or Modern Warfare 2 (The latter two being such triumphs of boycotting). If we’re to go into more specifics, the nature of Starcraft as a competitive multiplayer game is what created such an entrenched fanbase, and why Blizzard weren’t really free to experiment more with the formula. If you were part of the Starcraft community you would have seen this, even minor additions and changes saw massive backlash. However, this did not prevent them from buying Starcraft 2, and crucially, Diablo 3′s nature as a relatively simple co-op multiplayer game means that the fanbase is, while dedicated, not nearly as entrenched into keeping everything exactly the same. You’ve seen this already, because unlike with Starcraft 2, Blizzard have had no qualms with showing just how drastically they’ve re-tooled and continue to re-work Diablo 3, instead of “sticking with what ain’t broke”. You’re still going to get people saying “LOL WoW Gayness!”, because they’re idiots and don’t understand that they haven’t seen everything of the game. But like MW2, they’re still going to buy it purely out of hype and because that’s what their friends are playing, regardless.

      You say that Grim Dawn is Steampunk and that this will be enough to draw people in. But visually, the released media so far (and this is open to change, but it’s also all we’ve got to go on right now), looks very much like Standard fantasy. Visually it doesn’t come close to something like Diablo 3. Torchlight 2 is also not only Steampunk, but its visuals have a far more unique art style than what’s displayed in the video and screencaps released for Grim Dawn. You’re free to say otherwise, but to be honest, to me what’s been released for GD just makes it look generic. If it’s going to separate itself from other games, it’s going to have to be from a gameplay perspective, because the visuals are looking pretty outclassed at the moment. And if they’re sticking with the standard gameplay formula, people looking for a different take on the ARPG may be enticed towards Dungeon Siege 3 instead, which is going with a very different and more direct play-style compared to most ARPG’s.

      The $20 price point is a definite bonus. That will help it an enormous amount (however, it’s worth bearing in mind that Torchlight ALSO released at $20, and it’s very likely the sequel will as well). What will ALSO help it a lot though is how they do the multiplayer. Because one of the key flaws that hurt Titan Quest is that the multiplayer was completely open to abuse, and nothing was really done about it. Given the option of pubbing it with Titan Quest, or going to the far more well regulated environment of Diablo 2, it wasn’t really a competition.

      Before Torchlight 2 was announced, and stated as coming with multiplayer, they would barely have been able to get through with poorly implemented multiplayer. Now that that has happened, Grim Dawn NEEDS that solid multiplayer.

      Frankly, out of all four, unless Obsidian do a massive botch job with Dungeon Siege 3, it’s Grim Dawn that looks to have the least chance of success.

      DrGonzo convinced me that Grim Dawn is in with a slim chance and worth keeping an eye on to see what other information they come out with, there’s still time for something interesting or impressive to be shown. But so far, there’s nothing that strikes me as letting it stand out from the other three unless they can get some very good timing in on their release. If they get some bad timing in on their release however, I don’t see that it really has much of a chance.

      At which point, we’re at Titan Quest all over again.

    • Premium User Badge

      dhex says:

      grim dark, despite the silly name, seems neat-o. titan’s quest was above average, so there’s some decent design dna at work, we hope.

      to be honest i’ll probably still be playing din’s curse because that shit is crack. (the add-on beta was released a few days ago, it’s bonkers in a mostly good way, lots of insane town interactions).

    • Archonsod says:

      “In the same fashion, the release of Starcraft 2 saw multiplayer numbers for pretty much every other RTS out at the time dip significantly.”

      And? For the game to be successful it simply has to sell. It doesn’t matter if there’s then nobody playing it, in fact from the dev’s standpoint it’s actually better if nobody plays it since you don’t have to fork out for server hosting or bother with post-sale support. What people do with the game after they’ve stopped giving you money for it is largely irrelevant on determining whether it’s successful from the developer’s side of things.
      Also worth remembering it’s a small team who are going digital only (at least initially). They don’t need to make anywhere near the number of sales of a triple A title to be successful. Their break even point is likely in the hundred or thousand of sales range. It doesn’t need a massive boycott of D3 to work, it just needs a couple of thousand, say 10%, of the 9 million or so who bought D2 to decide they don’t like the look of the new Diablo but hey, here’s a game that looks like I remember D2 looking and it’s cheap, maybe I should give it a try instead.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Titan Quest was so massively superior to every other entry in the genre that I can’t help but be slightly damp and squishy at the prospect of Grim Dawn.

      There may be an element of wishful thinking since I already preordered it, but let’s wait and see.

    • jonfitt says:

      If it is a good game I will play it (eventually). Surely all the beard scratching about whether or not it will be a financial success up against other ARPGs is neither here nor there for those not untimately involved?

    • subedii says:

      Aaaand reply fail. Let’s hope this works.

      And? For the game to be successful it simply has to sell. It doesn’t matter if there’s then nobody playing it, in fact from the dev’s standpoint it’s actually better if nobody plays it since you don’t have to fork out for server hosting or bother with post-sale support. What people do with the game after they’ve stopped giving you money for it is largely irrelevant on determining whether it’s successful from the developer’s side of things.

      That’s completely untrue if you look at Titan Quest’s history. Or Diablo’s.

      A solid multiplayer component and active multiplayer community is crucial to ensure continued sales beyond the first month, and belief that it’s going to be there helps drive sales in the first month. Unless they’re hoping to get the vast majority of their sales off of the singleplayer, then as I pointed out before a solid multiplayer’s going to be crucial to the game’s success. Titan Quest was viewed as a financial failure, but continued to sell in low level numbers through word of mouth, because it was the only real Diablo-alternative around at the time. However, its poor multiplayer implementation and lack of community very definitively hurt those numbers.

      On the flipside, the only real reason games like Diablo 2 and Starcraft continued to sell for years is because of their huge multiplayer base. For a developer like Crate, server costs are going to be minimal since they’re just running a matchmaking server via Steam. If you’re saying it’s “better” for the developers if nobody plays multiplayer, then implementing it in the first place doesn’t make any sense. Surely they should drop it altogether and try to get sales purely off of the singleplayer like Torchlight?

      Pegging hope on some mass exodus of people from Diablo 3 is silly (and yes, 10% is a huge exodus). Grim Dawn isn’t going to depend on people abandoning Diablo 3, because few are that would have remained in the market for an ARPG in the first place. It’s going to depend on being a good game in itself, and crucially, if we’re going by pricepoint, beating out Torchlight 2 in either release date or gameplay.

      I’ve already said that Grim Dawn’s pricepoint will be a massive help for it. The fact that it doesn’t depend on a 3rd party publisher is a big plus. You see, I’m not going to say it’s going to outright fail. Torchlight was a a success with small sales numbers after all. And in some ways they’re in a similar situation to Runic, Runic was a splinter off of Flaghsip, and depended a lot on previous experience and groundwork with Mythos to get Torchlight out.

      But if you’re trying to convince me it’s releasing in a good position, I fail to see that. They haven’t shown anything unique, and they’re releasing against the kind of competition that Torchlight thrived on specifically because it wasn’t present at the time or release. You seem to be pegging the game’s success on a massive exodus from Diablo 3 (which isn’t going to happen), and also effectively ignoring Torchlight 2, when you should be primarily pegging it on its own merits. And those aren’t clear yet. And that’s leaving Dungeon Siege 3 out of the mix at this point (which I’ll happily say, is still an unknown quantity and very much a wildcard).

  21. Maykael says:

    The biggest excitement is that RPS IS BACK!!!! Hope you had a great holiday guys! And yest, it’s going to be a great year for PC gaming.

  22. Kuroko says:

    Lots of very interesting games there but there is only one GREATEST game:

    RED ORCHESTRA 2: HEROES OF STALINGRAD!

  23. Chris D says:

    Now that is a list. It’s like everyone decided to skip 2010 and put out twice the amount of stuff in 2011. (Apologies to devs who did release good stuff in 2010, but it was a bit sparse.)

    I have no idea where I’m going to find the time to play all these, I mean Guild Wars 2 alone could eat months. Also if Shogun turns out to be good….. (I will not get my hopes up. I will not get my hopes up….)

    Also, welcome back RPS. I know it’s only been a week but it seems longer somehow. Happy 2011 all, looks like it’s going to be a busy one.

  24. Centy says:

    Well doesn’t this looks spiffy,. Nice to see even little things like Grim Dawn getting a mention. It’s going to be a blinding year and with little or no chance of some form of Call of Duty coming in and screwing with every release date as all the publishers jump out of the way of the console juggernaught.

    No mention of Overgrowth though makes me sad even though it’s not confirmed for 2011 it’s still looking fairly special.

  25. CMaster says:

    Wow, there’s some really, realy awesome stuff there.
    Also some stuff that I don’t really get why anyone would be excited about, but that’s tastes I guess.
    Oh, and lots of stuff that won’t see the light of day in 2011, but isn’t that always the case?

  26. sk2k says:

    Heh, what about Capsized? :) This looks like a lot of fun to me.
    http://www.capsizedgame.com

    MfG
    sk2k

  27. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    If 2011 comes and goes with no further news of HL2 Episode 3, I think it’ll be the year I finally give up all hope of seeing a resolution to that saga. That is, unless Gearbox get their hands on it…

    I’ve got Deus Ex 3 and The Witcher 2 preordered (despite not having played The Witcher), but will be waiting and seeing for most of the others listed here.

    Is anyone else getting a Myst-like vibe from The Witness? I am, and I don’t think that’s a good thing; I couldn’t stand Myst.

    • Hematite says:

      I’m in the same boat re:The Witcher 2, although I recently bought numero 1 in the Steam sale to figure out what it’s all about. It’s… hard going. The setting is fantastic – sort of gutter medieval with plagues, racism and politics and very well fleshed out. The city actually feels very alive with random NPCs filling the streets during the day (day-night cycle), and proper NPCs wandering to different places at different times. There’s an advancing timeline as well where stuff changes in previous areas as you progress through the game which is nice. The characters are very well realised, and there’s an alchemy system for making various buff potions and weapon poisons.

      Unfortunately the combat’s not very engaging (although not too tedious either), and I’ve been spending a lot of time running around trying to find the correct NPCs or locations to advance quests. The dialogue also seems oddly disjointed at times, but I eventually realised that it’s because most of the quests seem to have multiple outcomes depending on your dialogue choices! So remember that before you start lazily clicking through all the conversation tree options. You may actually have to think about the right choice rather than choosing the blue/red option. *cough*masseffect*cough*.

      The game’s got a lot of meat in it, plus a few big flaws. Very promising for the sequel I think.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Ep3 will totally be out this year, its just Valve will annouce it about a month before it launches

  28. zipdrive says:

    Is this a good place to mention Minecraft is supposed to be Officially Released in 2011?

  29. Rond says:

    Quake Wars might have missed the mark a little
    Wrong. It was frikkin’ awesome.

    Deus Ex:HR must be the first.
    Also, if I was making this list, I’d swap Retribution and Space Marine.

    And it looks like we aren’t doomed for another year? I’m in rage!

  30. Premium User Badge

    pauleyc says:

    I will cry true tears of happiness if Infinity comes out in 2011. No, correct that, I will cry if Infinity is ever released.

    edit: Ah, nvm. Morning blindness.

    • opel says:

      Agreed, but I won’t be holding my breath. Because I’d die. I’m going to doubt that it ever gets released, for my own sanity.

  31. Chunga says:

    If Desktop Dungeons doesn’t go all pear-shaped in the new extravaganza, overloaded graphics, Unity-version I’ll be playing that when it comes out. I have the free version on the drive, playing it every day. Timesink? Oh yes.

    There is some good stuff in here, like Guild Wars 2, and the extras for DoW II. Orkz is always a good thing.

  32. Amasius says:

    Looks like 2011 will be a great year for PC gamers. I have high hopes for the Witcher 2 and Dead State. And Age of Decadence. Oh yeah.

  33. HeroJez says:

    OOoooohhh… content! Good job, too… My veins were beginning to heal.

  34. Subject 706 says:

    Aargh, too many (potentially) great games coming out, and I still have a large backlog to play through. The Steam christmas sales sure didn’t help with that…

  35. mcnubbins says:

    EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD

    I must play Monaco. I must!

  36. Strangelove123 says:

    I think you meant to put Portal 2 on the 2013 list of excitements.

  37. Heliosicle says:

    Theres a lot of good (I hope) games on there.

    The Witcher 2 is definitely my number 1 though.

  38. Gassalasca says:

    I am literally weeping.

  39. obvioustroll says:

    You missed out Postal 3. I’ve missed urinating on people ever since uninstalling Postal 2, and the court order.

    I’m also hoping to get some info on the next Thief game this year.

  40. The Pink Ninja says:

    Not sure I’d buy any of the retail games at full price except Mass Effect 3…

    By the way RPS, can you try to avoid spoiling me on Mass Effect 3? I want everything to be a total mystery.

  41. Freud says:

    I could attempt to be all blasé, but there is no denying that I’ll probably play more hours of Diablo 3 than all other games on this list combined in 2011, if Blizzard gets around to releasing it.

    At this stage I’m just happy it’s not a game/nicotine delivery system.

  42. Greg Wild says:

    My… my wallet!

  43. MadTinkerer says:

    I find it mildly amusing that Minecraft hasn’t been mentioned on the list. I know it’s easy to forget, but MINECRAFT TECHNICALLY ISN’T OUT YET. Notch keeps saying he wants to do more with it. It’s been mostly bugfixes and Survival Multiplayer updates since Halloween, but there are other things on his to-do list. I’m hoping for NPCs and NPC towns, for example, maybe some trading Elite-on-foot style.

    Also hopefully ocean biomes and fishies to make Atlantis-style fishbowl settlements more interesting under all the blue.

  44. vanarbulax says:

    I had created this excitement for myself already, when I wrote down a list of games I was looking forward to and quickly reached 23 before 2011 had even started.

    …This is one hell of a promising year.

  45. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Feel I should point out that you shouldn’t be expecting Grim Dawn this year.

    Pre-orders get in on alpha and beta testing (depending on how much you paid) and we’ve had no word yet about alpha testing.

    I would chalk it in for 2012.

    Also, Men of War: Vietnam? Love a bit of MoW, so will look forward to this. I expect gratuitous RPS coverage! ;)

  46. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    I think Depth wins the screenshot competition. It should win something, like a biscuit, or a picture of one.

  47. Tainted says:

    I tried to write down a list of my top 3 but it ended up being a top 14 and I won’t bore you all with it. That’s got to be a good sign right?!

    Ah screw it I am most looking forward to: Portal 2, Deus Ex 3 and Mass Effect 3. (Sci Fi theme anyone?)

    Welcome back RPS!

  48. Navagon says:

    Awesome list of impending excitements!

    Needs moar Dungeons though.

  49. Auspex says:

    Awesome list and I’ve still got so much of 2010 to play (and ’09, ’08, ’07…)

    I would even add to the list:
    Age of Decadence
    Tomb Raider

    Colour me excited!

    Edit: I’d just like to note that Tomb Raider wasn’t on the list when I commented and therefore I am not some kind of raging idiot.