Every year at around this time the internet is inundated with lists of games coming out in the next 12 months and punchy little paragraphs about why they're exciting. We're not dissing it – I mean hey, we're as bad as anybody! You've probably already read our Readers' and Developers' Picks, although obviously they were respectively your fault and awesome, so get over it.
For our own staff list, though, we thought it might be nice to deviate from tradition and identify forthcoming games that have caught and held our attention for personal reasons, and explain what it is that has managed to write them into our gaming plans for the start of the decade nobody is calling 'the noughteens'.
These aren't necessarily Game of the Year contenders in the making, then, and in some cases they probably aren't the ones we're most looking forward to playing. They're the ones we most respect though, as women and mothers, or the ones that are doing something a bit different that deserves our, and hopefully your, attention. Let us know your picks in the comments below.
Without further ado, over to our crack panel!
The Crack Panel Speaks
- Subject: Tom Bramwell
- Position: Editor
- Special skills: Spreadsheets, Viva Pinata
What is your pick for 2011? Rock of Ages
What is it? It's the next game from ACE Team, who made first-person dolphin-'em-up Zeno Clash. It's a game where you destroy things with a giant boulder throughout different periods of art history (Renaissance, Rococo, etc).
Why do you care? Mainly because of Zeno Clash, which began by inviting you to punt your eight-foot-tall birdlike hermaphrodite parent off a bridge and then got weirder, but also because Rock of Ages is one of those games you can sum up in a line, as the trailer duly does: "Destroy enemy armies and castles with a giant boulder." Who doesn't want a piece of that? Played PVP, it sounds like a kind of real-time tower defence for one player, who erects defences to save their castle from being smacked in the nose, while the other simply steers a massive lump of murderous rock on its way – a massive lump of murderous rock chiselled with a smiley face, obviously.
What makes you think it will come out in 2011? It says "Spring 2011" on the website, so it sounds like they've nearly finished pushing this particular boulder up the hill.
- Subject: Tom Phillips
- Position: Web and Video Admin
- Special skills: General editorial horseplay
What is your pick for 2011? Stacking
What is it? Tim Schafer-founded Double Fine's latest slice of Arcade fun and surely the only game ever to centre around an anti-establishment flat-capped Matryoshka doll. The diddiest of sizes, your wee hero is able to solve puzzles by stacking himself inside his larger fellows, giving you control of a huge array of characters and abilities.
Why do you care? For a start I want to watch varnished dolls (some with very impressive moustaches) totter about in their richly decorated art deco habitat. Also, Stacking's mission-based gameplay looks like an evolution of the developer's previous downloadable hit Costume Quest. A slightly warped logic is necessary to advance and there are now multiple solutions to each puzzle. Need to clear a room of wealthy dolls? Sneak in as a mechanic and watch the upper-echelons recoil at your poorness. Or, capture a pie-loving doll and stand by an air vent in the adjacent room to unleash flatulence, gassing out the tea-sipping gentry with your own definition of the upper crust.
What makes you think it will come out in 2011? With no sequel for Brütal Legend and Jack Black too busy at the cinema being pinned down by ropes and a tiny Emily Blunt, Double Fine promised a buffet of smaller games on a more regular release schedule. Less time to wait between Schafer-approved dollops can only be a good thing.