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2011 Games Preview, Part 1

News; Dec. 20, 2010; Channels: Video Games; By Robert F. Ludwick, Jason Winstanley
Subtypes: News
Even though the holidays aren't over yet, let's take a first peek at 2011

Nobody can deny that 2011 will be a great year for gaming. Every year is a great year for gaming, mainly due to technological advancements or developers learning new skills and getting better at what they do -- but the titles being released this upcoming year are especially noteworthy. So, with 2011 looming ever closer, let's take a peek at the games already announced for release next year. This isn't a complete list; look for more 2011 previews soon.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is the third game in the series, created by developer Naughty Dog for the PlayStation 3 console, and is a sequel to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted 3 will see the playable character, Nathan Drake, and mentor Victor Sullivan searching the globe for the legendary lost city known as the “Iram of the Pillars." We don't have any concrete information regarding gameplay right now, but we'll definitely have more closer to the release date, currently set for Nov. 1, 2011 for Northern American markets, and Nov. 4, 2011 for the United Kingdom. As always, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news and gossip as we get it.

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City is another sequel, this time from Batman: Arkham Asylum, an action-adventure stealth game released in 2009. Arkham City again puts the player in Batman's perspective, in an action video game incorporating elements of stealth and predator tactics. It's already been confirmed that all the gadgets from the first game will be present right away from the start, several of which have been improved, or have new functionality. There are also new gadgets confirmed, such as smoke bombs and a “broadcast tracer device,” which allows the player to home in on signals and their sources.

The general plot-line of Arkham City draws from Arkham Asylum, one year in the future. Quincy Sharp, former warden of Arkham Asylum, took credit for stopping Joker and has used this as leverage to gain himself the mayoral title of Gotham City. With neither Arkham nor Blackgate Prison being in a state to house inmates, Quincy Sharp buys out a large amount of Gotham's slums and plans to house inmates there, securing the perimeters with private military contractors. Quincy then brings in Hugo Strange, a psychiatrist, to oversee the city, but it appears he has his own secret agenda. Events ensue that cause Batman to decide to head into the secure part of the city himself.

Multiplayer has been confirmed, but we don't have any information regarding settings or characters as of yet, and we don't have an estimated release date on this one as of yet, other than the third quarter of 2011. Again, we'll update you closer to the time.

Resistance 3

Another PlayStation 3 exclusive set for release on Sept. 6, 2011, Resistance 3 is a sequel to both Resistance: Fall of Man and its sequel Resistance 2. It's set four years after the events of Resistance 2, in 1957. The game will not follow the previous protagonist Nathan Hale, but will in fact follow Joseph Capelli, who happened to kill off Nathan Hale in Resistance 2. Gameplay-wise, the sequel will retain most of the old features as the previous installments but with several changes. This includes but is not limited to the weapons wheel returning, which was excluded from Resistance 2. Unfortunately, we don't have much in the way of plot information, except the game will be based in United States, and both New York City and St. Louis, Mo. will appear.

A more streamlined and organized multiplayer has been confirmed, which includes cooperative play split-screen or online. However, it has been announced that the 8-player co-op is no longer available.

Portal 2

Portal 2 was announced at E3 in July and definitely deserves an honourable mention here. Portal was a massive success with gamers in 2007, but it was criticized for being too short, mainly because it was designed to be a filler for The Orange Box. Valve has accepted this, and is making a much larger effort for Portal 2. Unfortunately, due to the phenomena known as “Valve Time,” we can't put an actual date as to when Portal 2 will be released because if we do, it'll change quicker than we can update the article.

Portal 2 will include a variety of changes gameplay-wise, such as the addition of new in-game techniques and items, including speed-up and increased-friction gels, and Portal 2 will include a multiplayer cooperative section, with separate puzzles that will demand cooperation between the two robots ... err, players. Valve has also commented on the return of Jonathan Coulton, who will write more music along the lines of the now famous "Still Alive" track featured in Portal.

Mass Effect 3

With the pre-order page going up and promptly being pulled down the day before being officially announced, Mass Effect 3 has already whipped up a media storm this month. Mass Effect 3 is the direct sequel to Mass Effect 1 and 2, and it concludes the series. An extremely loose release date has been attached to Mass Effect 3, quoted as "Holiday 2011."

Not much is known plot-wise or gameplay-wise about Mass Effect 3 -- all we have to work with are the teaser trailer, and the game's official synopsis pulled from the pre-order page: “Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth.”

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Again, not much is known about Skyrim so far except for the fact that it's the fifth game in the series, and it will be a direct sequel to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda is said to be utilizing a new core games engine for Skyrim, forgoing the Gamebryo engine that was used for Oblivion and Morrowind. The new engine is internally developed and will incorporate some of the technology used in other Bethesda games, such as Oblivion and Fallout 3. Bethesda has also announced that the studios have heavily invested in new talent, so that characters and animation will be hugely improved from previous games.

Development of Skyrim is said to be quite far along, with a release date of Nov. 11, 2011.

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat, one of the classic fighting franchises that made parents cringe back in the day of 2-D blood and gore, is making its comeback to current generation consoles. The series has gone through several changes as the years have progressed, from the gruesome fatalities in the early days to the "family friendly" versions that have hit store shelves in the last few years.

This Mortal Kombat will be a reboot of the franchise to the aforementioned gruesome early days. New brutal fatalities will be back in the game, and even Kratos will make an exclusive appearance in the PlayStation 3 version. This new iteration will hit shelves April 2011.

Homefront

Homefront is a new IP brought to us by the talented people at THQ and Digital Extremes. The story's plot sees America invaded by North Korean armies. Your character is a resistance fighter who ends up getting involved in more and more battles that escalate as time goes on.

There will reportedly be a very heavy multiplayer element to Homefront, which is currently tabbed for a release sometime in 2011. Hopefully we'll be able to talk about Homefront in a 2011 wrap-up, rather than a preview of 2012 games. Homefront will be on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

DC Universe Online

Most of your favorite DC characters will be playable in an upcoming MMORPG from Sony Online Entertainment in DC Universe Online. As the game is in development by Sony, one could safely assume that it will be a PlayStation 3 exclusive -- and it is. That exclusivity only extends to consoles, however, as gamers will see DCUO available for the PC as well.

DCUO is similar to City of Heroes and Villains, except your created character will be able to fight against or alongside the DC superhero and supervillain universe. The game is slated for release in the first quarter of 2011, so keep your eyes peeled after the holiday season ends.

As always, we'll keep you up to date on any news we get on the above titles, as well as other releases announced for 2011. In the meantime, why not check out our forums, where you can meet like-minded gamers, and get involved in discussions!

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