7. Batman: Arkham City
Warner Bros., Rocksteady / PC, PS3, Xbox 360 / Q3 2011
If asked to justify Arkham City's status as one of the most anticipated games of 2011, most Eurogamer staffers would point simply to Arkham Asylum. Ever-so-narrowly defeated by Uncharted 2 in our 2009 poll for Game of the Year, Rocksteady's phenomenal debut on current-gen systems won the studio the megabucks support of Warner Bros. That same year, it also overcame the competing vision of Christopher Nolan's cinematic Dark Knight to establish itself in our hearts. No mean feat.
Arkham City looks to expand on the considerable foundations laid down just under 18 months ago. With Rocksteady's hand on the tiller, it looks set to do so cautiously and with great affection for the subject matter. Asylum's quality owed much to its non-linear progression through an evolving but enclosed environment; Arkham City, we hope, will take a new approach without forgetting those lessons.
6. LA Noire
Rockstar Games, Team Bondi / PS3, Xbox 360 / H1 2011
Until last year, LA Noire was merely the long-forgotten pet project of Brendan McNamara. He's the man who created The Getaway – a reasonable PlayStation 2 openworld adventure now so long in the tooth that many gamers may struggle to remember it, or him.
Now, thanks to the crafty marketing skills of publisher Rockstar Games, some incredibly bold performance-capture technology and some extraordinary gameplay ideas – imagine interrogating a suspect in 1940s Los Angeles and taking your cues from their actual facial response – LA Noire is one of the hottest prospects for this year.
5. Portal 2
Valve / PC, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360 / 22nd April
This was a triumph. Sure, it was delayed, but at least they made a joke out of it. Portal's simplicity and brevity were two vital components of its success so the concepts thrown around last year – such as physics effects 'bleeding' through portals, most notably – raised a few complexity-averse eyebrows.
Then again, we're struggling to think of a Valve game which hasn't been amazing. Like Blizzard the studio simply doesn't release things it's not proud of, and it seems unlikely that it's about to start fouling things up with the sequel to something so universally adored – however delicate the original may have been in hindsight.
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Square Enix, Eidos Montreal / PC, PS3, Xbox 360
In one sense, this was always going to be a risk. In another, the confused response to the rapidly-ageing Invisible War, not to mention the hungry reaction to anything involving choice-and-consequence at the back end of the noughties, gave Eidos Montreal something of an open goal to aim at with this bold new companion to the Deus Ex stories.
Nah, not really – everyone was going to be enormously picky about whatever the studio did with this beloved series. It's one of the few which can be identified by ideals as much as mechanics, so the fact that we're all panting with anticipation speaks well to the decisions the developer has taken. The marketing's been clever, too – playing through the same level for journalists three brilliant times in a row at last year's trade shows illustrated the possibility spectrum better than anything else could have, and was a masterstroke we hope the game can live up to.