Top 10 most anticipated video games of second-half 2012

We’ve already named our most-anticipated games of 2012, but with some of them out and others being pushed back to 2013, we feel it’s best if we revise the list — especially after everything we saw at E3 and PAX East. Check out our new top 10 list of the staff’s most-anticipated games for the second half of 2012. Let us know yours in the comments.

Note: The following list is organized by release date.

Sleeping Dogs PAX East Screen 5 630x354 Top 10 most anticipated video games of second half 2012

Sleeping Dogs

The game that caught us most off-guard at PAX East 2012 easily skates into our top ten of second half 2012. The title, which has been riddled with cancellations, acquisitions, and name changes, is finally nearing its launch. The pleasant surprise of PAX brings the open-world experience with the potential to rival the Grand Theft Auto franchise if the whole game is as strong as the extended demo we got our hands on in April. And don’t worry if you didn’t like the True Crime games; Sleeping Dogs looks, plays, and feels so much better than either of those games ever did. Check out our full preview for more information on this potential sleeper hit from United Front and Square Enix.

Release Date: August 14, 2012
Developer: United Front
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Nintendo’s 3DS has been struggling with the same hurdles that Sony’s Vita has been struggling with: a lack of public interest in a dedicated handheld gaming device, and a lack of a consistent flow of new releases worth checking out. Of course, when Nintendo comes upon a hurdle in any situation, the gaming giant has one fail-safe method to boost sales and interest: throw a Mario game at the problem. Luckily, that Mario game happens to be New Super Mario Bros. 2, the latest in the critically acclaimed and fan-pleasing throwback series featuring the iconic plumber and his pals. The game will continue the tradition of the New Super Mario Bros. series by introducing a few new features and power-ups, but largely bringing the same game that fans adore.

Release Date: August 19, 2012
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

Borderlands 2 SnowAttack 630x354 Top 10 most anticipated video games of second half 2012

Borderlands 2

The game that has probably impressed the VGW staff the most (winning “Best Console Game” at PAX East and “Best in Show” and “Best Shooting Game” at E3) is likely due to the fact that it appears to one-up its beloved predecessor in almost every way. Sure, the “bigger and better” method doesn’t always work, but for Borderlands 2, it sure seems like it will. Bigger boss fights, crazier weapons, new classes to play as, and, of course, that same frantic cooperative play all add up to one seriously awesome experience that is not to be missed this September. You can read up on Borderlands 2 in our full hands-on preview.

Release Date: September 18, 2012
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360


The upcoming stealth action title Dishonored has a lot of hype to live up to. From its tendency to allow the player the freedom to choose how they approach each situation, to the insane spectrum of wild powers that the player will have command of, it’s easy to see why Dishonored made this list. The game took home two of VGW’s top honors at E3: winning “Best Playable Game” of the show, as well as “Most Anticipated New IP.” Check out our full preview for more on the exciting game.

Release Date: October 9, 2012
Developer: Arkane Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

ac3 screen 05tcm1942723 630x354 Top 10 most anticipated video games of second half 2012

Assassin’s Creed III

VGW’s biggest winner of PAX East 2012, Assassin’s Creed III, has proven itself at both shows to be one of the most promising titles of the year. Taking place in the colonial United States, Assassin’s Creed III is more than just the next game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Bringing new terrain for the new assassin, Connor, to traverse, new threats, such as wildlife, and the largest-scale battles the series has ever seen, Assassin’s Creed III impresses on so many levels. The fact that Ubisoft has decided to simultaneously release Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation on Vita, a handheld game that looks to rival the console version in terms of smooth gameplay and exciting assassinations, and Ubisoft might just have one of this year’s big winners on its hands. Check out our preview of Assassin’s Creed III, as well as our hands-on with Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation for more.

Release Date: October 30, 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Halo 4

Halo 4 was very much up in the air prior to E3. With no showing at PAX East, the VGW staff, and really, much of the public, went into E3 2012 with no idea what to expect from the first Halo that would feature 343 Industries exclusively at the helm. Luckily, it would seem as though the team not only picked up a lot from its time collaborating with Bungie, but came up with a few tricks of its own. Of course, Halo 4 signals the return of the beloved Master Chief, but he’s in far from familiar territory. With new weapons, enemies, abilities, storylines, and settings, VGW’s winner for “Best Console Game of E3 2012″ looks to be much more than just “the next Halo game.”

Release Date: November 6, 2012
Developer: 343 Industries
Platforms: Xbox 360

black ops 2 screen 1 630x354 Top 10 most anticipated video games of second half 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

We know what you’re thinking and we know what you’re probably going to write in our comments section before you even write it! Yes, we did choose a Call of Duty game for our top ten most anticipated of the second half of this year. Sure, the series has become notorious for releasing a similar title year after year with minimal updates, but Black Ops 2 blew the VGW staff away with the fresh, futuristic take on the franchise, as well as the updates made to the gameplay that include the ability to essentially change your Call of Duty experience into a real-time strategy one. If you’d like to learn more about why we’re so excited for Black Ops 2, check out our hands-on preview.

Release Date: November 13, 2012
Developer: Treyarch
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Hitman: Absolution

One of the games that wowed us the most at PAX East wasn’t even on display on the show floor. Hitman Absolution, which took home the honors of “Most Anticipated Sequel of PAX East 2012,” will be the first time we get to see Agent 47 (in games, at least) since his 2006 outing in Hitman: Blood Money. The staff watched in awe as Agent 47 broke free of confines of the past and became an even more well-equipped killing machine. The element of choice is more present than ever in Absolution, as we got to see how the story is affected by the player choosing stealth over run-and-gun, and vise-versa. If you’d like to learn more, you can see our preview here.

Release Date: November 20, 2012
Developer: IO Interactive
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Far Cry 3 Gets New Screenshots Fresh Details 2 630x354 Top 10 most anticipated video games of second half 2012

Far Cry 3

What started out as a mildly interesting sequel to a divisive 2008 release has catapulted upwards in terms of excitement. Far Cry 3 started out impressing our entire staff at PAX East 2012, where it brought home VGW’s award for “Best Shooter” of the show, and continued to ramp things up at E3 2012. In a year where first person shooters are paramount, Far Cry 3 makes itself stick out more than enough to get noticed. Also, there are crazy tigers and lots of fire. Just be sure to pick up the PC version if that’s an option — the console versions didn’t look anywhere near as pretty at E3. Check out our preview of Far Cry 3 to learn more.

Release Date: December 4, 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360


There’s hardly anything unique or exciting about most zombie games these days, but ZombiU looks to bring an interesting twist to the concept. In addition to implementing imaginative controls for the Wii U GamePad, ZombiU gives players the ability to truly feel as though they are in the midst of an all-out zombie apocalypse. The first-person shooter accomplishes this by not only having each zombie come from a survivor in the previous section of the game, but also by making it so that if the player dies, they become the zombie and they must kill a survivor to re-assume the role of a human. If ZombiU is successful in what it hopes to accomplish, it could very well be the killer IP that the Wii U will need to move units early on in the console’s lifecycle.

Release Date: Holiday 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platforms: Wii U

What games are you most looking forward to?
About Brian Shea

Brian Shea is VGW's Editor-in-Chief and one of the founding members of the site. In addition to leading the team at VideoGameWriters.com, he contributes such regular features as “Shea’s Say,” "Eleven Things," "Commercials from the Past" and “Essential Gaming."
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  1. Joe Victory says:

    You know what sucks though? You’d think this was just a ‘grab all AAA titles across all platforms’ article but in reality there isn’t much else to choose from. My only personal change would be to toss out SMB2 for Darksider’s II. Not hating on SMB2, in fact I like Mario just as much as the next guy, but we already know what to expect out of it…it’s kind of like being anxious for the next Pokemon game. Fun, great etc…but more of the same. I’d say the same for Black Ops 2, but I want to see how the decision making in the campaign mixes up what typically has always been a throwaway feature of the game.

    Darksider’s II looks to add much more to it’s franchise; I’m eager to see what that game does. I’d toss this game in the list as either a replacement for SMB2 or perhaps just as an honorable mention.

    • It’s true — and thanks for recognizing that fact. Had several delays into Q1 2012 not happened, this may be a very different list, and while I”m personally excited about stuff like Hawken and Sound Shapes, we had to weigh the collective staff votes into the mix. ~Jason

  2. Bruce Burns says:

    Borderlands 2 is at top of my list pre-ordered it yesterday now to find a way to speed up time.
    Assassin’s Creed 3 would be next but still have to play Assassin’s Creed Revelations

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