3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda Game Studios / PC, PS3, Xbox 360 / 11th November
One of the worst-kept secrets in an industry where Careless Talk seems to be in everyone's default perk loadout, the game we eventually came to know as Skyrim portrays the last of the events that will fulfil the prophecy foretold by the Elder Scrolls. And you play a dragon hunter voiced by Max von Sydow.
Numerous tweaks and changes and enchanting new locations should be enough to keep fans interested (not that they will require much encouragement). A brand new engine (we double-checked) could be enormously beneficial to a series which, like Fallout, could do with a visual makeover in order to catch the passing trade.
2. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Sony, Naughty Dog / PS3 / 4th November
The train level. The mountain village. The ice caves. The train wreck. Shambhala. Uncharted 2 may have been a simple game beneath its layers of narrative and technological artifice, but then Raiders of the Lost Ark is basically about a guy looking for a box and you don't see anyone complaining. As Indy might say, it's the mileage – and the miles we covered in Nathan Drake's shoes in Uncharted 2 were utterly riveting. It was a videogame engineered by people who understood everything they were trying to do.
Now they're coming again, and Drake's quest this time sends him into the heart of the desert – partly on the hunt, as ever, for some ancient, transformative bounty, and partly to stretch Naughty Dog's technological legs. Apparently the desert was chosen because of the unique challenges it would represent at every level of development. Where's Nolan North when you need him? "Woah."
1. Mass Effect 3
EA, BioWare / PC, PS3, Xbox 360 / "Holiday" 2011
Have we run out of drumroll? It's not been a bad fortnight for BioWare on Eurogamer. Mass Effect 2 was confirmed as our Game of the Year, and then you agreed, making it number one in the Eurogamer Readers' Top 50 Games of 2010. With that much momentum behind it, perhaps it's no surprise to see Mass Effect 3 at the top of this pile.
Is it here on merit though? Do we really know enough to justify this level of hype? Cynics might say not, but in truth we have seen far more than that tantalising trailer. We've played through two massive primers in the shape of the flawed but wonderful original and its incomparable sequel. We know what hangs in the balance.
More importantly, we have walked our own path to this moment, and the grave threat we will face off with at the end of the year will have to contend with heroes steeped in hard-thought decisions as well as hard-fought experience. This is our war in a way that few RPGs – few games of any kind – can claim to offer.
Whoever prevails (EA's bank manager can probably afford to crack open the cooking sherry around about now, actually), we reckon Mass Effect 3 will mark the end of something special. It's no surprise, now all the votes are in, to learn you share that sentiment.
Join us tomorrow to find out which games our favourite developers (i.e. the ones who pick up the phone and answer their email) have selected as their picks for 2011.