We've wrapped up our retrospective look back at 2012, and now it's time to consider what's up ahead. As well as the usual list of games that we're looking forward too, there are a number of happenings that we're eagerly anticipating too. Will 2013 be the year that we launch fully into a new generation? The past two years have been littered with leaks and rumours, mutterings here and whisperings there, and it certainly looks as though we might see one if not two hardware releases towards the end of the year. Either way, E3 and Gamescom are going to be hugely interesting.
Speaking of interesting, 2013 will bring us the Oculus Rift, and we can't wait. We might find out what Sony's big plans are for Gaikai, and Valve might even let us peek at some of these wearable computing ideas that they've been having, and if we're lucky, let us in on their further plans for the living room.
Existing hardware has much to do this year as well, particularly the Wii U. With a stellar lineup on the current crop of seventh generation consoles, Nintendo must find a way to grow their install base and capitalise on the headstart that they have. Then, of course, there's the Vita. Much like the Wii U, it's still looking for a game to define the system and give it the sales boost it so desperately needs. The price cut will help, of course, but we want those killer apps more than anything. Something unique. Something with undeniable quality. Something we can't get anywhere else.
Speaking of which...
Media Molecule dominated Sony's Gamescom presser utterly, by presenting us with exactly what we wanted: a reason to be excited for the Vita again. Immediately charming, and looking enormously inventive, we just hope it's out in time for Christmas.
There's a swathe of 3DS titles that we're eagerly anticipating (Animal Crossing. ANIMAL CROSSING!! - Jon), but perhaps none more so than the return of everyone's favourite overlooked brother. Along with other returns for Animal Crossing, Castlevania, and Fire Emblem, (not to mention that Pokemon news emerging next week), it looks like 2013 will be a good year for Ninty handheld fans.
Platinum have a number of games in the pipeline that we're excited for... i.e. all of them! Alongside The Wonderful 101, this is our action pick of the year. Stupendously slick, remarkably responsive, and utterly exhilarating, thankfully there's really not long to wait for this. Read our recent preview now!
Quantic Dream are making a new game in which you play as a medium and her immensely powerful poltergeist chum. Erm...yes. A thousand times yes.
6. Tomb Raider
Lara's back, just not quite as we know her. Crystal Dynamics have attracted a little bit of controversy for rebooting the First Lady of Gaming as a weeping young twentysomething in this origin story, but thus far we've found it to be emotional, challenging, and fantastically engrossing from what we've played of it. Could this actually be one of the best origin stories ever told?
5. Pikmin 3
It's a shame it wasn't a day one title for the Wii U, but a Miyamoto-led masterpiece is exactly what the console could use. Whether or not Pikmin 3 will be exactly that remains to be seen, but it's just as effortlessly charming as the series has always been, and looks set to be a sure Spring hit.
The Creative Assembly are returning to the largest pit of intrigue and power-struggles there has ever been with Rome II. Combining epic battles of land and sea for the first time, it's the most ambitious Total War game to date. If they manage to iprove upon the formula they perfected with the original Rome, chances are it'll probably be the best too.
Naughty Dog wrote the textbook on modern, cinematic action/adventuring in gaming with the Uncharted series. Can they do the same with survival horror? If what we've seen of the game thus far is anything to go by, The Last of Us looks pretty damn unmissable.
It disappeared from view for a little while, but you've got us Irrational. We're hooked all over again, and it's all down to that box art.
An FPS that doesn't treat its audience like meatheaded buffoons? An FPS set in a stunningly unique, enticingly rich world? An FPS that delivers a barnstorming story, and action that requires grey matter as well as blood splatters? Oh go on then.
We didn't really expect civic engineering to make it to the top of this list, but it has. Every time we've seen SimCity, we've wanted it more and more, and found ourselves increasingly impressed with the ambitions of the developers and the way in which those plans are being realised. The GlassBox engine is fantastic, the interface crucially excellent, and it seems as though Maxis have managed to make the game supremely accessible without compromising on any depth. In fact, there appear to be even more to do and preside over than ever before.
But it's the connectivity that excites us the most. The thought of being able to build Dealspwnia and build up metropolis after metropolis in a region amongst friends, to work together towards co-operative harmony, injecting a little competition as you vie with other regions for leaderboard scores, or look to make your city that much bigger and better than those of your chums.
As Brits, you had us at bendy roads.
But what about you, dear readers? What games/revelations are you keenly awaiting this year? Do llet us know in the box below, we'd love to hear from you.