Year of the Ox? Nope. 2009 is the Year of the Delay. Stop sobbing and get pumped for the scorchers awaiting in 2010...
A suspiciously quiet one, the chances of Bioshock 2 making its planned October 2009 release were as slim as Jeremy Kyle's chances of making it into heaven. The official line from Take Two goes something like "we felt it was essential to invest additional time to ensure this title will deliver what its fans expect and deserve", but the Xbox World translation goes "There's a recession on and we'd never get the game finished for October even if we smashed open all the piggybanks in the world."
ETA: March 2010
SPLINTER CELL CONVICTION
The one most likely, Splinter Cell Conviction is delayed yet again, pushed back to the usual March Clancy spot for 'polishing'. It's been on the cards for a while - when publishers are set to roll out the latest instalments of their biggest franchises we expect more public chest-beating and grunting but Conviction has been shown to the games press only once in a hands-on fashion. Ubi's sole demo is the very same segment their team presented on Microsoft's stage and even that brief snippet needed so much polish even Mr Sheen's bi-plane would have been outgunned.
ETA: March 2010
The most curious delay of the whole bunch, Bayonetta is still bang on track for a late October release in Japan but has been delayed until January over here in the West. It's a smart move - Bayonetta is a corker which will have the month of January and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of Granny-gifted Christmas money all to itself. Sometimes great games can slip through the cracks and January is a far safer bet than being the meat in an ODST/Modern Warfare 2 sarnie, even when the meat is this tasty. Wait, that sounds awfully sexist. Er, we... (snip - Ed.)
ETA: 29 January
RED DEAD REDEMPTION
Take Two's Gay Tony dollars will keep food on the table but the three big delays will make for a leaner Christmas than they were planning. A less crowded yule gives Borderlands some wiggle room, and Rockstar's western was never likely to be Christmas number one anyway. Still, their 1880 GTA-alike is a rock-solid game which will do far better in the new year so long as it's released at the right time. They promise to get it out by March but while a March release worked for GTA, Red Harlow is no Niko Bellic and no match for an all-new Sam Fisher.
ETA: March/April 2010
Like Red Dead Redemption, Mafia 2 has been bumped back to the end of the financial year. Take Two's bosses now have the game lined up for the first few months of 2010, but don't be surprised if it's all flexing and posturing and the game slips beyond March. It was Take Two who proved you can have a colossal summer hit with Bioshock's August release back in 2007, so here's hoping the money men keep their nerve and get this on shelves in the summer where it'll actually stand out.
ETA: Summer 2010
ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES
Whether it's too many projects taken on by a developer spread too thin, general mismanagement, the recent departure of a number of Gearbox staff, or just overly-optimistic release plans, Gearbox are the masters of the extended delay - and between Hell's Highway, Borderlands, and Aliens: Colonial Marines, they're becoming something of an industry in-joke. Colonial Marines looks brilliant but surprised and girlishly excited if that TBA turns out to be a date before next autumn. At the earliest.
ETA: God Knows