PC gaming - will it finally die in 2010? No. C'mon, stop already with that. Sure, 2009 had its ups and downs, PC gaming is very much alive and maybe looking healthier than ever in 2010.
Blizzard will, we hope, stick to its early 2010 release date for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the first entry in the planned real-time strategy trilogy. And the publisher developer is threatening to release two titles next year, including the third World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm.
But 2010 cannot survive on Blizzard alone. Blizzard and Valve? Maybe, but beyond more Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2 content, we're not sure what to expect. Episode III? Let's not set ourselves up for disappointment.
Thankfully, there are many strong contenders due in the following year, including highly anticipated MMOs like Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe Online, Star Trek Online and APB, to name but a few. So let's take a look at what's will be pushing PCs to their limits in 2010, starting right now.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
This little known Korean game pits humans, aliens and other aliens against each other in a battle for the biggest collection of minerals and gas. Said to feature more clicking than other real-time strategy games. (Serious portion: OH GOD STARCRAFT II)
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Higher level caps, more real estate, flying mounts, Goblins, Worgen, frothing anticipation, oh my! Everything you really need to know about Cataclysm is summed up here.
APB: All Points Bulletin
Realtime Worlds does cops and robbers in an massively multiplayer online environment, with more style and flair than a proper Grand Theft Auto MMO could afford.
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
Tiberian Twilight may be the last traditional C&C game for the foreseeable future, the final chapter in the Tiberium saga. Thankfully, the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod look to hash it out in a real-time strategy sense that taps the best of the Command & Conquer series.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
BioWare gives Star Wars fans another MMO to live and breath, this one set in the ye olde Old Republic era. Players side with either the Galactic Republic or Sith Empire, settling their differences with lightsabers and blasters.
DC Universe Online
Live your second life in the DC universe, hanging out with some of comics' greatest heroes and villains.
Natural Selection II
We're hoping that this real-time strategy meets first-person shooter sequel can make it to PCs in 2010 and we're keeping our fingers crossed all year just in case.
Ron Gilbert's original DeathSpank should be on the radar of any Secret of Monkey Island fan, an action RPG spawned from Gilbert's own Grumpy Gamer comics.
Kingdom Under Fire II
Silent Hunter V
Naval sims? Not my cup of tea, but if you're looking for deep submarine control and find the prospect of first-person sub simulation exciting, look no further than Silent Hunter V.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
The sequel to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl promises more first-person shooter horror and more irradiated beasts to shoot up.
Star Trek Online
Space battles! Away missions! Bridge socializing! Klingons on the starboard bow! Atari's Star Trek themed MMO is looking more inviting than an empty Jefferies Tube. And I'm out of references.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online
This browser based golf game starring old whatsisname will be an interesting experiment to watch, given Woods' new tarnished reputation. Could it be the final EA Sports golf game to bear his name?
Splinter Cell Conviction
Sam Fisher is back and looking less haggard than originally planned. Expect Splinter Cell-style stealth gameplay, with a few new innovations, including more cooperative and competitive multiplayer.
Mass Effect 2
BioWare's epic space saga continues, now with better shooting mechanics on top of the already intriguing intergalactic soap opera.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
EA adds more multiplayer shooting to the mix with the release of Bad Company 2, which looks to take the Battlefield formula to the next level.
Be the Big Daddy in 2K Games' sequel to the mega hit BioShock. The prequel adds multiplayer, if you consider that a positive or negative.
Capcom's oft-delayed jetpack hero adventure may have a hard time standing out in a crowded early 2010, but the third person shooting, climbing, flying and UFO hijacking sounds like a good combination.
Dead Rising 2
Zombies require killing in Fortune City and you're just the right guy to do it. Kill 'em again with motorcycles, roulette wheels or moose antlers. Your choice.
Dead Space 2
Visceral Games follows up on the excellent Dead Space (and very good Dead Space Extraction) with a new Necromorph dismembering adventure for old Isaac Clarke. Rocket boots? Yes, please.
Lost Planet 2
Get up in them giant bug guts with the sequel to interplanetary adventure shooter Lost Planet. Everything's bigger!
Medal of Honor
EA reboots Medal of Honor, taking the series from World War II theaters and into the modern age. Could have more beards than any other first-person shooter released next year.
Shoot things '40s style with Mafia II, another game that should've been released in 2009, but will settle for a 2010 release nonetheless.
Max Payne 3
Max is back and far less attractive to women. The paunchier, less follicled Payne is drawn back into the dive and shoot at things world he tried to leave behind him. Expect this one late in 2010.
Aliens Vs. Predator
Aliens and Predators settle their differences in this, the first Sega game that will actually take advantage of the Aliens license. Rebellion is at the helm again, which can only mean good things.
Fallout: New Vegas
Crap, they got Vegas too? We don't know too much about Bethesda's follow up to Fallout 3, only that gambling and mutant showgirls are likely to be involved.
The espionage RPG!
Splash Damage's squad based and class based tactical shooter is brighter and more promising than most, featuring a unique movement method dubbed SMART.
Raven's time-traveling first-person shooter was moved out of Modern Warfare 2's way, but now lands directly in the middle of 2010's busy first half. Perhaps that time glove will find it a better spot to find an audience...
Assassin's Creed II
Like a fine wine, the extra aging of the PC version of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed II will only make for a more flavorful experience. PC gamers will enjoy stabbing people in the neck as Ezio in the first quarter of 2010.