Now that 2009 is officially behind us, the games that were naught but distant promises last year shift onto the concrete horizon. Amid all the holiday celebrations that have just concluded, it might be easy to lose track of all the major launches fans are looking forward to in 2010.
That's why Gamasutra has decided to round up some of the most anticipated releases in the year to come, from big sequels to promising new IP. We continue our look ahead with the major portable platforms, DS and PSP. Previously: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games.
Rather than focus on portable siblings to console releases, we decided to look at the highly-anticipated properties making their way to DS and PSP in games built specifically for that platform. This is far from a complete list, of course, and we encourage readers to add their own most-anticipated titles in the comments.
Dragon Quest IX (Level 5/Square Enix, DS) - TBA
The best-selling game of 2009 in Japan will come to U.S. shores, bringing classic RPG fans the latest installment of a classic -- this time adding a new character creation system and cooperative multiplayer.
Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver (Nintendo, DS) - March 14
The remake of Pokemon Gold/Silver goes beyond a graphics and interface upgrade: it adds numerous new gameplay elements, most notably a pedometer-like accessory that can be used to earn game currency.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (Konami, PSP - May 25
Although Hideo Kojima's fan favorite Metal Gear franchise has seen PSP installments, Peace Walker is the first full-scale sequel for the platform, following MGS3's Big Boss with an emphasis on co-op play.
Valkyria Chronicles 2 (Sega, PSP) - Summer 2010
The original Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 was well-received for its solid tactical RPG mechanics and the depth of its story, and the long-awaited sequel is coming to PSP, promising plenty of elements geared at the fanbase created by the first game.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (Atlus, DS) - March 23
The Shin Megami Tensei games have earned a loyal fan following in the West, and this outing on DS has been fairly well-received in Japan. Intriguingly, it casts players as researchers investigating a mysterious demon phenomenon in Antarctica.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (Square Enix, PSP) - TBA
The popular crossover action RPG franchise gets a prequel in Birth By Sleep, and fans look forward to seeing the world of the game before the events of original PS2 Kingdom Hearts, with promised explanation for many of the series' later elements.
You may be wondering why this list of upcoming portable releases doesn't include arguably the hottest portable platform, the iPhone. Thus far -- perhaps due to the sheer volume of releases coming to the App Store -- there's very little previewing done, and it's usually tough to tell what's planned for the platform more than a few weeks in advance.
But Gamasutra continues to watch the popular iPhone space, likely to continue growing in 2010 -- even if developing a list of anticipated key releases is less possible. And our sister website FingerGaming is keeping a daily tab of the major iPhone game news and releases.
If you'd like to make suggestions -- both for anticipated iPhone games and for DS and PSP 'honorable mentions' that you think should also be considered -- please post below in the comments.