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Q4/11 & TBA: Diablo 3 - The Elder Scrolls V

Diablo III
Release Date: TBA | Genre: Action RPG | Also on: Mac

There's still no official confirmation on when this game is coming out but from the few tidbits Blizzard shares from time to time at least we know it’s alive and looking well. The game takes place in Sanctuary, the dark fantasy world of the series, twenty years after the events of Diablo II. Like its forerunner, Diablo III combines dungeon roaming with hack and slash action, and will introduce several new dimensions to the gameplay.

Unlike most potion heavy titles in the genre, players will collect orbs from fallen enemies to regenerate health. There will be five character classes (and you'll actually be able to select your gender), including the Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Monk, and Demon Hunter – which was shown off at last BlizzCon. Diablo III will also take advantage of the revamped Battle.net, which rolled out last year alongside StarCraft II. Unofficial rumors have pointed to a Q4 release, but Blizzard has made its bones by never releasing a game before it's ready, so we’re not holding our breath yet.

Mass Effect 3
Release Date: Q4 2011 | Genre: RPG | Also on: PS3, Xbox 360

Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth.

Based on a modified version of the Unreal Engine 3, Mass Effect 3 is intended to be final game in the planned trilogy. Not much has been revealed in terms of gameplay as it’ll still be a while before this game sees the light of day. However, in past interviews developers have said that it will continue the approach of Mass Effect 2, with a few adjustments, by focusing on an awesome sense of exploration, intense combat, and a deep non-linear story that's affected by your actions. The player's choices in the previous games are also expected to have a significant impact on the plot and conclusion.

Max Payne 3
Release Date: TBA | Genre: Third-person shooter | Also on: PS3, Xbox 360

An aged and ever-cynical Max Payne continues his struggle with life as the story leaves the streets of New York and picks up 12 years later in Brazil, where Payne is double-crossed and on a mission to find the truth.

Rockstar hasn't revealed many details about the upcoming Max Payne title and its release date is a bit ambiguous. It was originally due in late 2009, but ended up being pushed back to March 2010 along with several other games and then again until 2011 with no specific date. Amazon is already taking pre-orders, but curiously, Take-Two, the game's publisher recently presented its release schedule for 2011 and early 2012 where Max Payne 3 was nowhere to be found. The company has since confirmed that the game hasn’t been canceled but offered no explanation beyond that.

Metal Gear Solid: Rising
Release Date: TBA | Genre: Action | Also on: PS3, Xbox 360

The next installment in the Metal Gear series will position Raiden as the main character and will chronicle the series of events that resulted in his transformation into the cyborg ninja he was in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Not many concrete details have been revealed about the game's plot, but the developer has said Rising will put a greater emphasis on gameplay while featuring a less complicated story with shorter cut-scenes than previous titles. The idea is to provide an enjoyable experience those that are new to the series so it’ll likely feature a self-contained story.

Unlike previous Metal Gear games, Rising will be a fast-paced action game focusing on two key elements: sword fighting and a style of stealth that differs from the ‘Tactical Espionage Action’ oriented gameplay of previous titles. You’ll be able to slice up virtually any object in the game with your katana, including vehicles and enemies, and use acrobatic maneuvers to stay out of sight while closing in on your target. Metal Gear Solid: Rising will also mark the first MGS title in the series to appear on the Xbox 360, and it will reportedly use a brand new game engine.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
Release Date: TBA | Genre: Persistent Online RPG

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Star Wars fictional universe, 300 years after the events of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games and more than 3,500 years before the events in the Star Wars films. Expected to be released before the end of 2011, the game marks BioWare's first entry into the MMORPG market and it will be the second Star Wars MMORPG after Star Wars Galaxies.

Player can choose to be a Jedi, a Sith, or take on a variety of other classic Star Wars roles. Their decisions define their own personal story and determine their path down the light or dark side of the Force. Along the way you will befriend courageous companions who will fight at your side or possibly betray you based on your actions. BioWare intends to put a large emphasis on the story element of the game, something that the company feels is lacking in other MMORPGs.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Release Date: November 11, 2011 | Genre: RPG | Also on: PS3, Xbox 360

Skyrim's story is set 200 years after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. In this timeframe, the once great province fell into the hands of the Elves, the Blades are no more, and the murder of the King of Skyrim has ignited a civil war amongst the Nords. This war is last in a sequence of prophetic events foretold by the Elder Scrolls and the massive dragon known as Alduin arises to destroy the world. Players will take control of the last remaining Dovahkiin (Dragonborn), a dragon hunter anointed by the gods to help fend off this threat to Tamriel and Skyrim.

Bethesda's newest title features a new engine with improved visuals and several other modifications to the game’s workings. There's the addition of a HUD-less first-person view, an improved third-person camera option, a reworked combat system, the character class system has been axed and the game's leveling mechanic has been improved.

So, what's your take on 2011's PC game line-up? Hot or not? Did we miss one of the titles you are looking forward the most? Share your thoughts with the community.