So what does 2012 have in store for us? And where do we even start with creating a list with so many promising titles being delivered later this year?
In this article we have decided to make our selection based on the past performance of the developer, publisher and previous title in the series (where appropriate) but ultimately, the game is in the list if we think it looks cool. This is our 20 games for 2012 in no particular order (other than alphabetical)...
Bioshock Infinite (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
The third instalment in the Bioshock series has an unspecific release date of 2012. In this first-person shooter set in 1912, we assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to Columbia to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so they may escape from a city literally falling from the sky. DeWitt learns to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and harnesses the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.
Dragon's Dogma (PS3/XBOX 360)
Dragon's Dogma is an exciting new franchise set in a huge open world and offers an exhilarating and fulfilling action combat game with the freedom to explore and interact in a rich, living and breathing environment. Alongside our party of three, we set out to track down and destroy a mysterious dragon. This game is due for release in the North America on March 27rd, Europe on May 1st but a Japanese release date has not been confirmed.
Diablo 3 (PC/Mac)
Diablo 3 has not official release date and is only confirmed for PC and mac; however sources within Blizzard Entertainment have indicated that a console version is in the pipeline and Hardware Heaven has learned that the North American release date may well be February 1st 2012.
The game takes place in Sanctuary, the dark fantasy world of the Diablo series. This world was saved twenty years prior by a handful of unnamed heroes in Diablo II, heroes who, having survived the onslaught brought by the armies of the Burning Hells, have gone mad from their ordeals. It is up to a new generation of heroes to face the forces of evil threatening the world of Sanctuary.
Far Cry 3 (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
In Far Cry 3 we step into the shoes of Jason Brody, a man alone at the edge of the world, stranded on a mysterious tropical island cut off from civilisation. In this savage paradise where lawlessness and violence are the only sure thing, we will dictate when, where and how the events of the game unfold. We will slash, sneak, detonate and shoot our way across the island in a world that has lost all sense of right and wrong. To be release early 2012.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
In the escalating political climate of the near future where strategies on the battlefield must be delicately balanced with manoeuvres at the negotiating table a new breed of soldier has arisen. Trained to be better than the best and outfitted with the most comprehensive array of high-tech gear ever assembled, the future soldier stands apart by his ability to remain undetected. He slips unseen behind enemy lines. He uses the perfect combination of diplomacy and force to achieve his objectives while remaining politically invisible. He is a Ghost! Originally to be release in March the revised release date see the game hitting the North American market on May 22nd and May 25th in Europe. A PC version is confirmed but without any release dates and a multiplayer beta for XBOX 360 and PS3 will arrive in April 2012.
Hitman Absolution (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
This third person perspective, single player stealth shooter is the fifth instalment in the Hitman game series. Due for release at an unspecified time in 2012 the game see us playing the role of the titular character on a personal journey through a corrupt and twisted world that will be both a familiar and yet significantly different experience to any of the other Hitman games. Agent 47 has been betrayed by his most trusted allies and must take on a new and dangerous contract to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy that surrounds him.
Mass Effect 3 (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
The third game in the franchise is going to add multiplayer element and will be released on March 9th 2012. The game see us playing as Commander Shephard in countless assaults again an ancient race known only as "Reapers", who have launched an all-out invasion leaving nothing but a trail of destruction in their wake. Earth has been taken, the galaxy is on the verge of total annihilation, and we are the only ones who can stop them.
Max Payne 3 (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
Developed by Rockstar games, published by Take-Two interactive and to be released in March 2012 Max Payne 3 is a third-person shooter in which we play as the titular character working in the private security sector for a wealthy family in São Paulo, Brazil. Max has been double-crossed in this new city and he is searching for the truth and a way out. Set eight years after the events of the second game we find a world-weary and cynical Max Payne fighting to survive in an environment that looks noticeably more realistic than in any preceding Rockstar games.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
Set for release in the third quarter of 2012, this Metal Gear game sees us assume control of cyborg ninja Raiden, the katana-wielding ally of series mainstay Solid Snake. Unlike previous titles in the Metal Gear series, Rising is strictly an action game, focusing on sword fighting and a sophisticated cutting system. The game's cutting system allows players to engage in third person melee combat, as well as precisely slash enemies and objects. The events of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance take place several years after Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Details on the game's specific plot have yet to be unveiled, but Raiden appears to be a lone warrior following the samurai code of bushido.
Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater (3DS)
From the critically acclaimed director, Hideo Kojima, a new 3D experience re-imagined from one of the most popular Metal Gear Solid titles from the past, comes Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D will be release in North American on February 21st, Europe and Japan on March 8th 2012.
Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3/Wii U/XBOX 360)
Ninja Gaiden 3 will be released in March 2012. The game will explore Ryu's more human side as he descends into a hellish realm. It will deal with the sword of the Archfiend from Ninja Gaiden 2. Ryu gets a request from the Japanese Self-Defence Force, the Ministry of External Affairs, and he is sent to London where he fights unidentified terrorists. Afterwards, he faces a mysterious hooded opponent who kills the Prime Minister. After the fight, the mysterious opponent tells Ryu to "open [his] eyes" and the Dragon Sword is absorbed into his right arm. Ryu escapes and is picked up by Defence Forces. The mysterious hooded opponent appears on the news forecasting that every country in the world must agree to his surrender in 7 days, or will result in immediate destruction.
Never Dead (PS3/XBOX 360)
We play as the protagonist, a wise cracking human demon hunter named Bryce, who was cursed with immortality five-hundred years ago by the demon king Astaroth after his wife was murdered during a battle with the aforementioned demon. Now in modern times, he hunts demons for money and revenge and continues his hunting escapades with a female private investigator in order to stop a demonic invasion that has nearly destroyed the city. Gameplay will also feature puzzle elements. Release date: early February 2012.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
Due for released in March 23rd for the PS3 and XBOX 360 with unconfirmed release dates for the PC Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City delivers a true third person team based shooter experience set within the dark and sinister Resident Evil universe. The setting of the Resident Evil universe not only provides a rich backdrop to the action but delivers a unique and thrilling triple threat battle. Zombies and Bio-Organic Weapons (B.O.W's) add to the mix as players not only compete against their team's opposing squad but also tackle this third unpredictable element that could only exist in the twisted Resident Evil universe, creating a brand new style of gameplay and breaking the conventions of traditional team based shooters.
Ridge Racer Unbounded (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
Ridge Racer has been a provider of top-class racing games since its 1993 arcade debut, Unbounded takes the series off in a new direction as we join a group of lawless races terrorising the street of shatter Bay. With online racing and an unlimited supply of user created maps this game is due for released in March 2012.
Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3/XBOX 360)
Due for release in March 2012 Silent Hill: Downpour will follow Murphy Pendleton, a prisoner who is stranded in the town of Silent Hill after the prison transport vehicle he is being transported with careens off a road. Downpour's plot will be unrelated to previous instalments in the series, focusing on Murphy and its events will take place in the south eastern region of Silent Hill, which has never been explored in previous games.
Soul Calibur 5 (PS3/XBOX 360)
Due for release in February 2012 the upcoming sixth instalment of the series is the second game to take bouts online. Like the other Soul Calibur series, this game will feature a guest. Ezio from the Assassin's Creed franchise will make his first debut in a fighting game. The game is set 17 years after its predecessor, Soul Calibur IV.
Spec Ops: The Line (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
Spec Ops: The Line is a third person shooter which is the ninth instalment in the long-running Spec Ops series and it is set to release in spring 2012. It is primarily a third-person shooter with emphasis on squad-based tactics. We control Captain Martin Walker who is accompanied by a Delta Force bravo team to rescue a U.S. Army Colonel who remained behind in Dubai. The game focuses on the natural sandstorms of Dubai to provide dynamic terrain changing during gameplay, similar to Fracture and the Red Faction series. This is supported by an unpredictable engine that randomises when and where sandstorms will arise, as well as how harsh they will be. Sandstorms may open or close paths as well as turn advantages in a fire fight.
Street Fighter X Tekken (PS3/XBOX 360)
The long awaited dream match-up between the two leaders in the fighting genre becomes a reality. Street Fighter X Tekken delivers the ultimate tag team match up featuring iconic characters from each franchise, and one of the most robust character line ups in fighting game history. With the addition of new gameplay mechanics, the acclaimed fighting engine from Street Fighter IV has been refined to suit the needs of both Street Fighter and Tekken players alike. Release date: March 9th 2012.
Syndicate (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
Set in the year 2069 in a world is divided up into regions controlled by mega-corporations known as syndicates. We play as Miles Kilo, Eurocorp's latest prototype agent, and embark on a brutal action adventure of corruption and revenge. Release date: February 21st 2012.
Tomb Raider (PC/PS3/XBOX 360)
The newest and ninth incarnation of Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold. This extremely cinematic single player action adventure is due for release in the third quarter of 2012.
So that's a snapshot of some key releases for this year but there are so many more including titles such as the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII-2 as one example. Join us as we review most, if not all of them over the coming months.