Top Ten Most Anticipated Downloadable Titles

By Jordan Douglas on March 11, 2011, 2:38PM EDT

The downloadable games scene on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and, to a lesser extent, WiiWare has given smaller developers an outlet to experiment with creative ideas this console generation.

With the pressure of multimillion dollar budgets and retail shelf space off, innovation can flourish, which we've seen with titles such as Flower, Limbo, and PixelJunk Eden.

After playing some of the newly released PixelJunk Shooter 2, it felt like an appropriate time to look ahead at what's coming on these notoriously hard to predict, digital platforms. Without further ado, our most anticipated downloadable games, in alphabetical order.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Dust: An Elysian Tail
Developer: Dean Dodrill
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a perfect example of how the digital marketplace has given a wider variety of creators a voice. Single handedly developed by Dean Dodrill, with music composition by HyperDuck Studios, Elysian Tail features beautifully hand painted visuals and detailed environments. This action RPG was originally supposed to be independently released on Microsoft's XNA platform, but was later revealed to become a full Live Arcade release.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Fez
Developer: Polytron
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade

Another great example of a small team getting an opportunity to fulfill their unique vision, Polytron's Fez has been in development for quite some time since receiving universal praise when it was revealed three years ago at the 2008 Independent Games Festival. Fez is a platformer that allows players to shift from various 2D and 3D perspectives in realtime to solve puzzles. Here's hoping this long-awaited title sees the light of day in 2011.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

From Dust
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

The latest project from Eric Chahi, best known for his work on Another World, From Dust made waves after debuting at E3 2010. The game gives players god-like control over a dynamically evolving world, able to manipulate the elements in order to protect the native population. Not much is known about the end objectives and progression, but From Dust is surely one to keep an eye on.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Journey
Developer: thatgamecompany
Platform(s): PlayStation Network

Journey is the latest project from thatgamecompany, the team behind such revered titles as flOw and Flower. Both previous games were praised for their ability to express emotions not usually explored in gaming, and Journey appears to be no different. thatgamecompany's goal is to make players feel small and vulnerable in the face of a vast, untamed wilderness. An online element will also experiment with creating powerful, infrequent interactions between two players among this journey.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Mega Man Universe
Developer: Capcom
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

Following in the footsteps of user-created content pioneers such as LittleBigPlanet, Mega Man Universe attempts to revitalize the classic platforming series by allowing players to create and/or modify levels and characters. The brainchild of Keiji Inafune, Capcom's former head of global development, Mega Man Universe is a clear attempt to capitalize on popular Western game design philosophies. It remains to be seen how the project will end up without Inafune's stewardship.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Ms. Splosion Man
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade

Twisted Pixel's 'Splosion Man was a surprise hit when it captivated gamers during 2009's Summer of Arcade. The game featured clever, one-button platforming that was also incredibly challenging and addictive. The sequel, Ms. Splosion Man, looks to continue that proud tradition, and add to it with new mechanics and environments outside the laboratory to add versatility to the experience.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Outland
Developer: Housemarque
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

Outland is the latest venture from Finnish studio Housemarque, the team behind PSN favourites Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation. Outland combines 2D platforming with colour co-ordinated combat, taking chances notes from classics such as Ikaruga. Players will need to navigate the stunningly stylized environments by changing colour states based on the various types of oncoming enemies.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Rayman Origins
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

Another title from the fine folks at Ubisoft Montepllier, Rayman Origins sees series' creator Michel Ancel - also known for Beyond Good & Evil - return for a prequel explaining Rayman's background. The game is also notable for its use of the UBIart Framework, allowing custom artwork to be easily integrated into the environments, and for attempting to successfully translate episodic releases to games.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Red Faction: Battlegrounds
Developer: Juice Games
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

Red Faction is the latest series to receive a downloadable tie-in prequel in the hopes of generating buzz for the retail launch. In this case, Red Faction: Battlegrounds hopes to attract those eagerly awaiting Armageddon with top-down, vehicular combat that focuses on the series' signature destructibility. While very different from anything Red Faction has done before, the possibilities for an action packed, destructible playground are always worth exploring.

Dust An Elysian Tail, Fez, From Dust, Journey, Mega Man Universe, Ms Splosion Man, Outland, Rayman Origins, Red Faction Battlegrounds, Trine 2, Dean Dodrill, Polytron, Ubisoft Montpellier, thatgamecompany, Capcom, Twisted Pixel, Hoursemarque, Juice Games, Frozenbyte, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, WiiWare

Trine 2
Developer: Frozenbyte
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

2009's Trine was a clever puzzle platformer set in a gorgeously crafted, fantastical world for up to three players. Trine 2 appears to stick closely to the successful, interchangeable knight, thief and wizard character formula. However, a handful of new abilities, improved physics, and a new standard in absolutely stunning, incredibly detailed environments make this title something to watch out for.

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