What's Ahead? Game Informer's 2011 Predictions

by Jeff Cork on Dec 31, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Last year we made our predictions for 2010, with mixed results. Hey, you can’t win ‘em all. This year, we’re doing the same thing. Well, we obviously won’t be making the same predictions. That would be crazy. Anyway, here are a few of our ideas on what you can might be seeing—and playing—in the coming year.

Mobile gaming becomes the next big push
All three major hardware manufacturers are getting behind portable gaming in a big way, though for some it’s essentially business as usual. Nintendo’s 3DS will be a large focus for the company as Wii sales continue to cool off. The PSP2 will arrive later in the year, and it will be a surprising success for Sony, leapfrogging over the failures of the PSP Go with superior hardware and strong third-party support. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 won’t catch on among gamers, who already have options in iOS and Android. That doesn’t deter the company from investing a load of money into what will ultimately be seen as a failure.

Nintendo announces Wii successor
You won’t be able to buy one in a store (or from an eBay reseller) in 2011, but details about the successor to Nintendo’s Wii will come out over the year. In addition to packing in obvious things like HD and premium audio capabilities, the system will have a refined motion controller that puts Move to shame. Nintendo will finally settle on a compromise between safety and functionality in the online space, and connectivity will be a large part of the new console strategy as well.

Microsoft finally announces ‘hardcore’ games for Kinect.
After a long E3 presentation in which still more fitness and casual titles are revealed, Microsoft wraps up with a few surprises. Epic Games reveals the Kinect game it’s been working on, which isn’t exclusively controlled via Kinect but utilizes its features to enhance what looks like an otherwise typical Unreal Engine shooter. Capcom and EA also show off some new titles for the peripheral, none of which use avatars as playable characters.

Harmonix ends up back at Activision
The developer, once homeless, finds lush new digs at Activision. The publisher essentially leaves Harmonix alone for 2011, too, allowing the Rock Band studio to focus on DLC for the game. Some of the Guitar Hero team is absorbed into Harmonix as well, since the publisher decides to give that series a break for 2011 as well. In 2012, expect new installments from both franchises.

Diablo III comes home
Surprising basically no one, a console port of Blizzard’s game is announced for consoles. It won’t make it in time for 2011, however.

A new Final Fantasy will be announced, though not for consoles
Square Enix, still feeling stung over the lukewarm response that Final Fantasy XIII received (and its insane budget), announces that a new numbered entry in the series is in development. The game will be a PSP exclusive.

Half-Life 3 revealed
And it looks great. Surprise.

Microsoft talks next Halo
And it looks like more Halo. Surprise.

Activision will be releasing a new Call of Duty
You could mark this one down as another “duh,” but we bet Activision will be doing a few unexpected things with the franchise this time around. First, the game’s multiplayer element will take the form of a persistent world, where individual matches have consequences on a long-term war. Imagine something similar to Chromehounds only, well, it won’t fizzle out after a few months. There’s a real price to be paid for this kind of experience, however, with the game requiring players to pony up an annual subscription fee. Players will bellyache about it and threaten to boycott Activision while simultaneously giving the publisher their credit card information. Additionally, the game will be support Move but not Kinect.

Duck Hunt revealed for 3DS
It’s not a major part of Nintendo’s E3 presentation, but a few seconds of the game are shown in a 3DS montage. A demo of it is playable on the show floor, and it’s a big hit. And yes, you will be able to shoot the dog.

What do you think? Have you got any predictions of your own for 2011? Sound off now in the comments section.