What's described above are skeletons of games - fantastic concepts, but with little real idea of what you'll do from minute to minute.
This is Spore's real issue - it's filled with all this amazing stuff, but we still have no idea if it's fun. We loved making our own little creature, but we've no idea what we'll be doing with it.
Star Trek Online (ETA: Winter)
An MMO where players start by learning the basics at Starfleet Academy before boldly going on to explore the Star Trek universe. Pilot your own ship or join a crew to operate a larger vessel. An unnamed new alien race will be your main enemy.
Storm of War: Battle of Britain (ETA: Summer)
Oleg Maddox has been producing superb WWII flight sims for nearly a decade. This is his finest hour - a detailed recreation of the Battle of Britain. More than a sim, it lets you control the entire air war.
STALKER: Clear Sky (ETA: Summer)
Last year's bravest game, Stalker, asked players to explore the area around the ruined Chernobyl reactor. Filled with physical and biological anomalies, it demanded players swallow their fear and go for long, lonely walks in the haunting countryside.
Clear Sky is a prequel that offers similar lowbeat thrills. Rather than focusing on a single storyline and channelling you down a linear path, in Clear Sky you're free to choose a faction (the original game let you choose missions from two sides: Duty and Freedom) from the offset - your objective being to dominate the zone for them by finding artefacts, raiding encampments, and generally making a nuisance of yourself in this radioactive wasteland.
StarCraft II (ETA: Summer)
It's all about the mini-tanks: Starcraft's space-faring strategy wouldn't be anywhere near as popular if it wasn't for the personable vehicles and infantry that batter each other in the tight skirmish maps. Each of these brilliant tech-toys have dozens of roles, and best exploiting them requires quick wits and even an quicker hand on the hotkeys.
For Starcraft 2, the designers have new tricks and toys to play with, and each promises to be more fun than any unit we've played with in an RTS to date. The bad news: some of your favourites from Starcraft 1 won't make it (the Firebat's been extinguished! Noo!). But honestly, after a few hours with Starcraft 2, we don't think you'll miss them.
Subversion (ETA: Winter)
Introversion aren't telling us what this is about, but the sight of vector cities points to science-fiction paranoia. Because these are the guys who produced Defcon, we'll just sit cooing over the screenshots, patiently waiting for news.
The Swarm (ETA: Spring)
In a Moscow destroyed by alien attacks, you have to defend yourself against humans scavenging for food and supplies, as well as the aliens. You survive by adopting new powers and abilities that erode your sanity, and your humanity.
They (ETA: Winter)
It's 2012 and robots are attacking London. Robots controlled by the phantoms wrapped around their heads. Naturally, you fight them off with guns. Each weapon is customisable, and you can share your ingenious creations online.
Totems (ETA: Winter)
Inspired by parkour, Totems has a main character, Gia, who adopts powers from four animal spirits. Enemies are anthropomorphised animals with the same environmental awareness as you, letting them walljump and climb mid-fight.