Many analysts expect the game industry to rebound in 2010, and a big part of that expectation has been the many likely hits moved out of year-end 2009 into this year.
Those titles form the backbone of a strong first quarter on the PC as well as on its console cousins
, while the remainder of the year on PC contains a number of exclusive titles and online offerings. Beyond February, established release dates become a lot less frequent, as the slate contains more vaguely-targeted MMOs and titles from prediction-spurning developers like Blizzard and id.
This is far from a complete list, of course, and we encourage readers to add their own most anticipated titles in the comments. Previously: the most anticipated Xbox 360 and PS3
and DS and PSP
(Blizzard) - TBA 2010
Incredibly, StarCraft II
will be the first new non-WarCraft
game Blizzard has released since the 2001 expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
, and the first sequel to its classic 1998 RTS predecessor. It's safe to say expectations are high, and Blizzard is taking its time to get things right, having already delayed the beta out of last year. Still, most observers expect the game to launch some time this year.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
(Blizzard) - TBA 2010
Two Blizzard releases in one year? It's a phenomenon that hasn't occurred since 1998, when both StarCraft
and its expansion pack were released, but all signs are pointing in that encouraging direction. World of Warcraft
's third expansion promises to be the game's most ambitious, drastically redesigning much of the world in the wake of a major catastrophic event.
Napoleon: Total War
(The Creative Assembly) - February 26
Rather than dedicating its newest Total War
outing to a broad era, The Creative Assembly is drilling in on one of military history's most fascinating figures: Napoleon Bonaparte, the first Emperor of France. The studio says this will be the most character-driven Total War
yet, focusing not just on Napoleon himself but his generals as well, as players attempt to change the path of history that ended at Waterloo.
(2K Marin) - February 9
The sequel to 2007's acclaimed BioShock
is being developed by a newly-built studio, but its creative leadership contains key figures from the original 2K Boston team, as well as some talented additions. The group has a lot to live up to, but early glimpses (of which there have been relatively few, thankfully) are promising.
(Crytek) - TBA 2010
More than two years on, Crysis
still serves as a major graphical benchmark -- even as PC hardware improves, the game keeps scaling up with it. But that achievement has also meant the tight gameplay and sprawling structure crafted by Crytek are unfortunately often given short shrift. If the studio can further improve upon that legacy in the series' first multiplatform effort, Crysis 2
will be a big deal.
Mass Effect 2
(BioWare) - January 26
It arrived a little late, but the PC edition of space RPG Mass Effect
improved many elements over its initial Xbox 360 release. This time around, BioWare plans to release the versions alongside each other. The game will import character and decision data over from the original game, so make sure you've got your save files lying around.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
(Ubisoft Montreal) - February 23
Ubisoft Montreal has taken more than three years (and reportedly restarted production at least once) in developing Sam Fisher's fifth main outing. Splinter Cell
has always been well-received, but it was clear the series needed a bit of a refresher. After years of confusing multiplatform, multi-studio development, Conviction
strips down to just the PC and Xbox 360, frees up its protagonist's methods, and introduces some intriguing stylistic elements.
Other Notable PC Releases Of 2010 (All are multiplatform unless noted "PC"):
(Realtime Worlds, PC) - TBA 2010, Blade & Soul
(NCsoft, PC) - TBA, Brink
(Splash Damage) - fall, DC Universe Online
(Sony Online Entertainment Austin) - TBA 2010, Elemental: War of Magic
(Stardock, PC) - TBA 2010, Mafia II
(2K Czech) - Q3, Natural Selection 2
(Unknown Worlds, PC) - TBA 2010, Rage
(id Software) - TBA (may not ship in 2010), Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
(Tripwire Interactive, PC) - TBA 2010, The Secret World
(Funcom, PC) - TBA, Star Trek Online
(Cryptic Studios, PC) - February 2, STALKER: Call of Pripyat
(GSC Game World, PC) - February, Star Wars: The Old Republic
(BioWare Austin, PC) - TBA (may not ship in 2010)