The holiday season is always the time of year when publishers pull out all the stops, releasing their biggest and best titles to capitalize on our willingness to break the bank on gifts. Fortunately, the gaming release calendar has become more balanced throughout the year as of late, but the fall easily remains king. 2011 appears to be no exception, with a seemingly endless offering of top-tier titles. The following are our most anticipated titles for this fall, loosely defined as the second half of the year, in alphabetical order.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
After consecutive years of Assassin's Creed instalments starring everyone's favourite badass with a heart of gold, Ezio Auditore, many expected Ubisoft to take some time off to thoroughly prepare for Assassin's Creed III. As it turns out, Ezio's saga is far from over. Revelations will see him follow the footsteps of the series' original protagonist, Altair, to Constantinople. Ubisoft Montreal hasn't put out a poor offering yet, so there's good reason to expect another thrilling adventure when Revelations hit store shelves this fall.
Batman: Arkham City
With Batman: Arkham Asylum, developer Rocksteady showed the world what a game based on comic book fiction should look and play like. Arkham Asylum was praised for combining the combat elements of brawling and stealth with impressive voice-acting and storytelling into a cohesive world. The follow-up, Arkham City, promises to deliver all of those great things, but in a vastly expanded, open-world setting. Oh, and Catwoman is playable. What more could you want?
Activision's Call of Duty series has been comfortably sitting atop the lucrative first-person-shooter genre for several years now, successfully fighting off a few challengers from rival publisher Electronic Arts. However, that may soon change, as Battlefield 3 likely presents the most credible threat to date. D.I.C.E.'s revered, multiplayer-focused series made waves upon its debut with cutting-edge visual presentation and the promise of significantly improved destructibility.
Demon's Souls was easily one of 2009's biggest surprise hits. Those who played it reveled in the brutal, punishing atmosphere and combat From Software created for the game. It also received substantial praise for innovative online features that allowed players to leave messages for their peers while traversing the campaign. The spiritual follow-up, Dark Souls, appears to stay true to its roots, delivering the same challenge, boarder environments and new online features.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda Game Studios
Bethesda Game Studios have consistently nailed the open-world RPG this generation, creating compelling experiences within the fanciful Elder Scrolls and apocalyptic Fallout series. The original engine from 2006's Oblivion has been showing its age as of late, especially in the bug-ridden Fallout: New Vegas. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim definitely represents the next big step forward for Bethesda's RPG formula, filled with gorgeous environments, emergent questing and, of course, dragons.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War is, without question, one of biggest and most influential franchises of this console generation. The series popularized the snap-to-cover mechanic, now a staple of third-person shooters, among other things. Gears of War 3 represents the epic conclusion to Marcus Phoenix and Company's trilogy, with greatly expanded multiplayer options thrown in for good measure.
Thatgamecompany have garnered quite the following in their short lifespan. Their first two projects, flOw and Flower, received widespread critical acclaim for pushing the gaming medium in new directions. Journey looks to continue that trend, attempting make you feel small and helpless compared to the natural world. It's an intriguing concept, one that's still shrouded in mystery.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
We didn't hear much about Skyward Sword since its epic unveiling, that is until E3 2011 rolled around. During that information void, it wasn't too far off base to wonder if the latest Zelda title had been held back to endure the same fate as its predecessor The Twilight Princess, a GameCube game ported to the Wii prior to its launch, and have development shifted to Wii U. Fortunately, Skyward Sword will in fact hit store shelves this fall, representing the Wii's swan song and saviour of the Nintendo faithful.
RAGE, developed by id Software, is another title from an iconic studio making their long awaited return to store shelves. In id's case, RAGE will be their first new IP in a decade, and possibly their most ambitious project yet. A stunning open-world, RAGE utilizes id's engineering prowess to create dynamic AI, non-repeating textures, and smooth controls you'd expect to see from a scripted, linear experience.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Generally considered 2009's Game of the Year, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves set the bar for action-adventure and storytelling this generation. All signs point to Naughty Dog rising to meet the massive expectations with their follow-up, Drake's Deception. The game promises more epic set-pieces, expanded co-op, impressive 3D support and an evolution of their unique take on competitive multiplayer. Uncharted certainly goes into this fall with a large target on its back.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Forza Motorsport 4