With summer coming to a close and school fast approaching, the game developers and publishers know that gamers will be spending more time indoors. That means it's time to crank up the machine, fly games out the door and prep for the end-of-the-year holidays. Oh, yeah, and there's that minor bit of news that Nintendo is expected to release the next generation console, the Wii U, by the end of the year.
But let's bypass titles like God of War Saga (all five games in one bundled pack) and the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Set (scheduled for mid-September) that are merely trying to capitalize on the franchise without really turning out anything new. DOOM 3: BFG Edition (releases Saturday, Oct. 16, on PC, Mac, Linux, 360 and PS3), which features remastered versions of DOOM 3 and the Resurrection of Evil Add-on Pack, is another similar attempt to capture gaming dollars. Instead, let's get right to the new games and break it down by category. Here are a few of the top releases we can expect to see in 2012:
Action, Adventure and Horror!
A few brand names immediately leap out and grab dedicated gamers by the throat. Names like Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield or Medal of Honor. All of those titles have releases later this year.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 releases Tuesday, Nov. 13, on the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U. Halo 4 is targeting a Tuesday, Nov. 6, release date, exclusively to the 360. Battlefield 3: Armored Kill will release on the 360, PC and PS3 in September. There is also an online shooter component for the Battlefield franchise (titled End Game) slated for a fourth-quarter release, while Medal of Honor Warfighter heads for the PC and 360 on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
For those who like to be creeped out on the go, Silent Hill: Book of Memories launches on the PlayStation Vita (Sony's latest and somewhat-waning handheld) in October, just in time for Halloween. Resident Evil 6 (PS3, PC and 360) is a better bet in October, crawling onto retails shelves on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Square Enix tries its hand at a mash-up of classic Hollywood and Asian cinema with a third-quarter release of Sleeping Dogs on the PS3, PC and 360. Anything developed by Square Enix usually means amazing graphics. Speaking of mash-ups, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, a side-scrolling fighter that Capcom is renowned for, is a September publish.
If the first Borderlands was your cup of apocalyptic tea, then you will be delighted to know that Borderlands 2 releases mid-September. Mass Effect 3: Leviathan (PS3, 360, Wii U, PC) explores the origin of the Reapers starting in the third quarter.
Get up and get moving is the theme, and several titles may well have players breaking a sweat. Wii Fit U, appropriately released for the Wii U, will release likely in conjunction with the console. If dancing in the dark is more to your liking (as in, dancing and exercising when no one can see you), Zumba Fitness Core, for the 360 Kinect and Wii, will samba onto store shelves in mid-October. If you have a secret fondness for things J.K. Rowling, third-quarter release Harry Potter for the Kinect (an adventure with hand motions) is based off all the books.
Role-playing and MMO Games
For MMO buffs (that's enthusiasts of massively multiplayer games), the end of August brings the long-awaited release of Guild Wars 2.
Fans of the RPG genre know the name of The Elder Scrolls. Bethesda is working on an MMO for release in 2013. In the meantime, RPGers will have to settle for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim--Dawnguard (PS3, PC, 360). This expansion has no set release date as of yet. And Baldur's Gate--Enhanced Edition revisits the legendary D&D genre in mid-September, but it's not from BioWare.
Assassin's Creed III, set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, hits stores in late October.
Lord of the Rings Online launches an expansion with Riders of Rohan (Wednesday, Sept. 5). LotRO is a F2P (free-to-play) game and players have to buy the content they wish to play. World of Warcraft, the top-grossing MMO of all time, also has an expansion coming out with Mists of Pandaria (slated for a Tuesday, Sept. 25, release).
Sports and something that's like sports
The end of August and September are busy months for sports games. Madden 13 (360, Wii, Vita, PS3) starts the onslaught at the end of August, and then in September, there is NHL 13, FIFA Soccer 13, F1 2012 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13--The Masters Collector's Edition.
It's sequels galore for vaunted sports franchises heading down the stretch of 2012. WWE 13 (PS3, PC and 360), Forza Horizon (360 only), Need for Speed Most Wanted (also on the Vita, Android and iPhone) have an October release. Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 may come out in the third quarter as well.
After some lackluster releases, the Tony Hawk franchise is looking to reboot its popularity with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD for the PS3, 360 and PC but this is a remix of franchise elements moving back to the handheld controller and is another third quarter release.