We're mere weeks away from the year 2011 and many video game makers are drawing lines in the sand, committing to release dates as late as next November. Let's chart 2011 as it stands right now to see how it's shaping up.
While Sony has locked in November 1 as the far-off release date of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Bethesda has claimed November 11 as the day we'll get the next Elder Scrolls game, there's still much about 2011 that's unknown.
Nintendo, for example, has not told us when we'll get the Nintendo 3DS, the long list of announced 3DS games or its next big Wii game, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. And you won't see the Wii Vitality Sensor attached to a hard date on our list. But we're expecting (some of) those things to be released in 2011.
And though some of the titles below might slip into 2012, the year 2011 is shaping up to be a great year for video games. Get out your calculators, hide your wallets and let's see what the new year will bring in terms of big games.
(Note: The following release dates and release windows are for North America.)
Q1 2011 (Winter)
The first quarter of the year—the new fourth quarter of the year—is stuffed with great games for all tastes. Whether you like horror (Dead Space 2) or cuteness (LittleBigPlanet 2), there's a game with a "2" in the title for you this winter season. Don't be surprised if Nintendo 3DS details and even the release of the stereoscopic 3D device pop up here.
2/8 - Test Drive Unlimited 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
2/15 - Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3, Xbox 360), Conduit 2 (Wii), LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (DS, PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
2/22 - Killzone 3 (PS3), Bulletstorm (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), de Blob 2 (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
3/1 - Fight Night Champion (PS3, Xbox 360), The Sims Medieval (PC)
3/8 - Dragon Age II (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), Homefront (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), MLB 2K11 (PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
3/15 - Shogun 2: Total War (PC), Yakuza 4 (PS3), Okamiden (DS)
3/22 - Crysis 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), F.3.A.R. (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
3/29 - Darkspore (PC)
Q2 2011 (Spring)
Spring is solid. Good shooters, one potentially great fighting game, and what could be a flood of 3DS games are due now. Be mindful of your winter budget, because the second quarter of 2011 may surprise you.
5/10 - Hunted: The Demon's Forge (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
5/17 - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC)
TBD - Red Faction Armageddon (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (DS, PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360)
TBD - Shadows of the Damned (PS3, Xbox 360)
Q3 2011 (Summer)
Few video games have laid claim to the industry's slowest season, with the exception of big shooters Resistance 3 and Rage. Fortunately, summer will typically tide us over with great downloadable games and under the radar releases.
TBD - Madden NFL 12 (TBD)
Q4 2011 (Fall/Holiday)
Here's where the calendar gets hairy. A few games have already carved out release dates for November, including Uncharted 3 and The Elder Scrolls V, but expect the same pre-holiday madness. Just look at the long list of blockbuster games with a vague Q4 release date at the bottom of this section.
(don't expect much)
Also out by this point: Call of Duty (TBD), The Last Guardian (PS3), Mass Effect 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), SSX: Deadly Descents (PS3, Xbox 360), Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360), Max Payne 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PS3), Batman: Arkham City (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), Forza Motorsport 4 (Xbox 360)
There are plenty of video games slated for sometime in 2011, including PlayStation 3 games Infamous 2 and SOCOM 4, the we-don't-dare-date-it Duke Nukem Forever, Wii game Mario Sports Mix, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, games that don't have solid release windows. When we get more concrete release dates on those, we'll update.