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 start with the major home consoles, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
This is far from a complete list, of course, and we encourage readers to add their own most-anticipated titles in the comments.
Mass Effect 2 (BioWare, Xbox 360) - January 26
Fans of BioWare's space opera are looking forward to resurrecting Commander Shepherd just as much they anticipate the intriguing promise that Mass Effect 2, in which player choice plays a significant role, will "know" what players did in the first Mass Effect.
Splinter Cell: Conviction (Ubisoft Montreal, Xbox 360) - February 23
The latest in the Splinter Cell series was unveiled with one of the most popular trailers at E3 in 2009, thanks to the intuitive environment-based user interface and brand-new targeting system that many look forward to seeing in practice.
God Of War III (Sony Santa Monica, PS3) - March
One of the most popular PlayStation 3 franchises -- if not the most popular -- gets its third installment soon, bringing Kratos right back into the action in ancient Greece. The team's promised more weapons for the cinematic melee, bigger brawls and a more interactive environment.
Halo: Reach (Bungie, Xbox 360) - Fall
Reach will be developer Bungie's last dance with Microsoft's blockbuster franchise. In this series prequel, players will begin by defending a colony against a Covenant invasion.
BioShock 2 (2K Marin/Australia, Multiplatform) - February 9
The underwater dystopia of Rapture as envisioned in 2007's BioShock earned a permanent place in many gamers' memories. Now with the sequel, they can finally go back -- as a hulking, helmeted Big Daddy in an even further-decayed world overrun with new horrors.
Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix, Multiplatform) - March 9
Few franchises reliably trigger mammoth fan surges the way Final Fantasy does, and with the thirteenth installment owners of either Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 will be able to play the game for the first time for a series that's been Sony-allied for some years.
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream, PS3) February 16
Quantic Dream's David Cage, known for Indigo Prophecy, has spoken passionately about what he believes games can be, and Heavy Rain will be the studio's effort to address that desire for a deeper experience. Expectations are high, and many await the results.
Other Notable Xbox 360/PS3 Releases Of 2010 (All are multiplatform unless otherwise noted):
Bayonetta (Platinum Games/Sega, January), Darksiders (Vigil Games/THQ, January), Lost Planet 2 (Capcom, February), Dante's Inferno (Visceral Games/EA, February), Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego, April), Crysis 2 (Crytek, TBA), Alan Wake (Remedy/MGS, April, Xbox 360), Mafia II (2K Czech, May), Brink (Splash Damage/Bethesda, May).