2009 is done and dusted, but there's an awful lot to look forward to in 2010. Over the next week we'll bring you our 50 most anticipated games of the year. It's fair to say that gamers appear to be in for quite a treat in 2010, should most of these titles make their expected release dates and deliver on their early promise. The year will bring everything from MMOs and single-player JRPGs to mature adventure games and visceral first-person shooters. Read on for games 30-21. Missed the earlier entries in our Top 50 countdown? You'll find 50-41 here and 40-31 here
30. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, PSP, May
We liked the last Prince of Persia game. Sure, it wasn't for everyone, but for us it was a beautifully animated forward roll through pixel perfect platforming goodness. It seems however, that Ubisoft Montreal would prefer to start again... again, and rekindle the Sands story arc. What do we know? Ubi says: "Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is the next chapter in the fan-favourite Sands of Time universe. Visiting his brother's kingdom following his adventure in Azad, the Prince finds the royal palace under siege from a mighty army bent on its destruction." It'll "feature many of the fan-favourite elements from the original series as well as new gameplay innovations". Yeah, yeah, but will it be any good?
29. Medal of Honor - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Autumn
EA doesn't like Call of Duty. It's jealous, understandably, of its ridiculous success. It wants to kill it. Kill it good. It wants to kill it, eat it, throw it up, and then kill it again. And its weapon in this very modern video game war will be Medal of Honor. The recently released trailer knocked our socks off (it was, apparently, "100% in-game footage"), and the game's cover star, a "Tier One Operator" soldier working under the National Command Authority, has a wicked beard, but the multiplayer excites us most. Why? It's being developed by Battlefield kings DICE. Will MoH kick CoD's arse? Will Batman escape the rubber shark? Fall 2010 will tell us.
28. Fallout New Vegas - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
At the moment, New Vegas is something of a mystery - we could count the hard facts on the fingers of a hand withered by radiation. However, one thing we do know: it's being developed by Obsidian, the studio that rose from the ashes of Interplay's Black Isle Studios. In other words, it's being made by a team of Fallout veterans. That alone is enough to get us excited, but the name "New Vegas" is also pretty enticing: it evokes the spirit of Fallout 2's New Reno - a casino-heavy, gangster's paradise. Presumably we'll get a few concrete details in the near future; we'd better, because the anticipation is driving us loco.
27. Lost Planet 2 - Xbox 360, PS3 - After Q1
We've been waiting a long time for Lost Planet 2, but it looks like we'll have to twiddle our thumbs for a little while yet: Capcom has just announced that it's slipped until sometime after March. That's a real drag, because we really like what we've seen of it thus far. It's got massive insects, it's got robot mech-suits, and it has bosses so large that you need to climb down their gob and blow them up from the inside. And naturally, you'll be able to do all of these things with the co-op help of up to 3 other chums. As annoying as it is that we're still a few months away from Lost Planet 2, Capcom's track record suggests that it should be worth the wait.
26. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - PC
Azeroth's broken! Run for the hills! Oh, they're broken too? Run for the dungeons! Oh, Deathwing's back. Run for the forest! Oh, there are Worgen there now? Run for the shop! Oh, they're packed with Goblins? Hmm. Seems there's nowhere else to run (won't someone think of the murlocs!). What to do? We'll have to make do with the level cap increase, the two new races, the new race/class combinations, the new monsters, quests and zones, the new dungeons, raids and battlegrounds and all the other MMORPG goodness you just know Blizzard will pack Cataclysm to bursting point with - not much then. The world's biggest MMO is about to get even bigger. Fear for your free time. Fear for it good and proper.
25. Super Street Fighter IV - Xbox 360, PC - After Q1
"In-de-structible!" Oh no, that song's gone! Oh well, it was a bit, well... N-Sync, wasn't it? Still, it'll be sorely missed, because there's nothing bad about Street Fighter IV. NOTHING! Well, Seth's bad. And Blanka - he's pretty annoying. And don't get us started on Sagat... We're getting distracted. The point is, Street Fighter 4 was the best fighting game of 2009, and there's no reason to believe Super Street Fighter 4 won't be the best fighting game of 2010. So much is familiar, yet so much is making our hit boxes wet: the rebalanced gameplay, the new characters (go Makoto!) and the new Ultra combos - we'll greet them all with a bear hug of Zangief proportions (without, of course, the spinning piledriver bit).
24. Gran Turismo 5 - PS3
We were spoilt by brilliant racing games in 2009, with the likes of DiRT 2 and Need for Speed: Shift being joined by the incredible Forza 3, but the biggest racing game of this generation for many is still to come. Gran Turismo 5 has been a long time in the making, but it's finally nearing the end of its development cycle. We're going to get incredible graphics, a new damage modelling system, head tracking, online play and a ton of cars and tracks. A teaser of what you can expect was released on PlayStation Network, and we've been busy playing it most days. If a demo can keep gamers occupied for hours, just imagine how much time you're going to sink into the full release.
23. Call of Duty - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Autumn
Jesus, is there really another one on the way? We're still recovering from Modern Warfare 2, and we're not sure if our brains and thumbs can deal with another CoD just yet. Still, give us a few months and we'll probably be good to give it another go. In keeping with the alternating-developer production cycle, the next Call of Duty will presumably be handled by Treyarch. We know it's already in the kitchen, but beyond this we know nothing. The smart money is naturally on (yet) another WW2 shooter, but in theory it could be set anywhere: Vietnam, The Gulf, perhaps even Civil War-era USA. Whatever the setting, you know it's going to sell millions, but Treyarch will have to work hard if it's to escape the long shadow of Soap MacTavish.
22. BioShock 2 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC, February 9
The critical and popular success of 2K's BioShock made a second visit to Rapture all but inevitable, but this year's sequel will have a couple of tricks up its sleeve. For a start there's the new Big Sister - a sinister-looking nemesis who will supposedly hunt the player through the game's leaky urban ruins. Then there's the addition of competitive multiplayer, something that could in theory create a whole new flavour of plasmid-driven combat. Apparently Andrew Ryan will return in some form, too - presumably via the omnipresent propaganda and audio diaries that helped to make the first game so memorable. Indeed, BioShock itself is arguably the only true rival to this follow-up; given how magnificent that adventure was, this sequel will have its work cut out if it's to garner similar praise.
21. Crackdown 2 - Xbox 360
If you played Crackdown you'll know why the sequel is appearing so high in our most anticipated of 2010 list. If you didn't play it, you should go play it now. The sequel will let you and up to three friends cooperatively fight through Pacific City, taking on crime syndicates and Left 4 Dead style mutants that are now roaming the city. From what we've seen it looks like it's going to be crazily good fun. There'll also be 16-player competitive multiplayer modes to sink your teeth into, should you tire of the orb collecting that made the original such a huge time-sink. It might not have the glamour of some of the other games in our list, but Crackdown 2 may end up being one of the most fun.