Gaming & Technology

Gamer's Manifesto: Our picks for the best games coming in 2012

So what does the new year hold for gaming? More great games, and new ways to play them.

The handheld PlayStation Vita will launch in February, and Nintendo's new Wii U console is expected to go on sale near the end of the year.

Neither are likely to produce the best games of the year, though. Those will belong to the technological powerhouse Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.

What will be the most anticipated titles in the new year? The Manifesto's contributors offer a few. Start saving your money now.

Pablo Alcalá

2012 pick: Halo 4. Master Chief is the reason I got back into gaming in my 30s after a 15-year hiatus. Now that original developer Bungie has handed the torch over to 343 Industries, I hope to continue fighting the Covenant, Flood or whatever else the universe can throw at a genetically enhanced space marine for some time to come.

Honorable mention: BioShock Infinite.

Josh Kegley

2012 pick: The Last Guardian. Forget for a second how predictable The Last Guardian is likely to be when and if it ever launches. Young boy trapped in a scenic stone complex? Check. Loyal companion who helps ease the pervasive sense of isolation and menace? Check. Tear-jerker ending? Probably.

Of course, those details are gleaned from two lone promotional videos released for the title over the past three years, so it's hard to tell exactly how much like its predecessors it will be based on those brief, teasing clips.

You will play as a boy who befriends a giant cat/bird creature, who will help you defeat guards and solve puzzles. Sounds silly, but the developer of The Last Guardian, Team Ico, has a knack for telling believable, moving and minimalist stories. Rest assured, before the credits roll, you will care for the cat-bird as if it were your own child.

The game is a spiritual sequel to 2002's Ico and 2005's Shadow of the Colossus. Six years is a long wait for the follow-up to two of the most beloved games of all time, but the wait might end up being longer.

The Last Guardian, which was delayed indefinitely after a shakeup of its development team, was supposed to have launched this year.

You won't hear me complaining, though. Team Ico productions have always been more London Philharmonic than Justin Bieber, so the team should take however long it needs to make the game live up to my artistic expectation.

I'm holding out hope that we'll see it on store shelves in 2012.

Honorable mention: Street Fighter X Tekken.

Delano Massey

2012 pick: Grand Theft Auto V. Quite honestly, there are a lot of games coming out in 2012 that have a whole bunch of hype, including I Am Alive, Halo 4, Twisted Metal, Mass Effect 3 and heck, the next Call of Duty game. All promise to be exciting games for 2012, but none interests me as much as the mere prospect that Grand Theft Auto V could be released.

There's been no official word on a 2012 release, although developer Rockstar has put out a trailer. I'm being optimistic, maybe outright wishful, but this is the game I want more than any of those others.

Very few games can be compared to the GTA franchise, and if you're like me, you've been itching for another incarnation since GTA IV's release in 2008. There is no question whether this game will be good. Rockstar rarely makes duds, and this franchise has always been their baby. There's always a lot of depth, a good story and layers of fun. The question is: Will it be out in 2012?

Honorable mention: NBA 2K13.

Scott Sloan

2012 pick: Kid Icarus: Uprising. This is by no means going to be the best game of the year, but the classic NES fan in me can't wait for the first new entry in this series since 1991's Of Myths and Monsters on the original Game Boy.

Sure, the protagonist, Pit, has shown up elsewhere, including in a Smash Bros. title, but it's high time he returns to his own world, especially given that he once was a Nintendo golden child, picked to be included in the Captain N animated series.

Here's a little-known fact: Pit was voiced in the cartoon by a young Alessandro Juliani, known for later portraying the traitorous Felix Gaeta in TV's Battlestar Galactica.

Honorable mention: Ninja Gaiden III.

Will Wood Jr.

2012 pick: Mass Effect 3. The third primary release in this epic science-fiction saga will tie up lots of loose ends and conclude the main story line. Developer BioWare also promises that many of the side quests will come to a satisfying close.

Fans of the first two installments will be happy to hear that BioWare has allowed players to carry over saved games. The actions taken as Commander Shepard in the previous two iterations can and will drastically affect the gameplay in Mass Effect 3.

Honorable mention: The Last Guardian.