17) PS Vita
The Lowdown: What would a new year be without a wholly unnecessary portable gaming system? Joking aside, Sony's PS Vita will attempt to take some of the handheld gaming market back from Nintendo thanks largely to the device's use of Augmented Reality -- a technology that utilizes the built in camera to juxtapose gaming action with real world environments (imagine Seaman on this thing? Trippy). Starting at $249, the PlayStation Vita also is backwards compatible with PSP titles and features iPhone-inspired apps as well. It's a mighty little bugger indeed, just probably not enough of one to considerably damage Nintendo's bottom line. Speaking of which, sales in Japan thus far have been disappointing in comparison to those of the 3DS. This trend that will most likely continue when the Vita debuts here, so meet 2012's first underdog.
Release Date: February 22nd.
16) Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray
The Lowdown: Screw space, high-def is the final frontier. The long-overdue Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays will finally be making their way onto store shelves this year. Fortunately, it looks like they will be worth the wait. Paramount has been painstakingly recompositioning the special effects to and remastering the visuals from the original studio negatives in order to ensure that the episodes will adhere to Blu-ray quality standards and look and sound better than ever before. Alas, no amount of tinkering can make "Shades of Gray" watchable.
Release Date: The Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Next Level sampler Blu-ray (featuring "Encounter at Farpoint," "Sins of the Father" and "The Inner Light") will be released on January 31st. The individual season sets will be made available throughout the year with the exact release dates to be decided.
15) Grand Theft Auto V
The Lowdown: The next entry in Rockstar's seemingly unkillable Grand Theft Auto franchise has the action once again returning to the San Andreas area. (Specifically the Los Angeles-inspired city of Los Santos). Expect the requisite violence, humor and general misanthropic behavior that you've grown to know and love from the series. Complete details about exactly what GTA 5 remain shrouded in mystery. One thing is clear however, in these heady post Saints Row: The Third days; Grand Theft Auto V will have to really ramp up the anarchy or completely reinvent itself in order to remain relevant.
Release Date: You'll be able to legally indulge in your favorite criminal activities some point this summer.
14) Tron: Uprising
The Lowdown: This 10-part animated series bridges the gap between Tron and Tron: Legacy by telling the story of a young program's revolution against the tyrannical Clu 2. Despite having a new character in a leading role, the toon will feature familiar faces like Kevin Flynn and Tron himself. As you can tell from the video above, the show takes its visual cues from the sequel film as opposed to the retrotastic look of the original Tron. Not that I'm complaining. The animation on display here - a mixture of 2-D and 3-D - is stunning. Better still is that the show's voices are provided by Elijah Wood, Lance Henriksen (fuck yes!) and Bruce Boxleitner. Even though this is conceived as a limited run series, any additional exploration of the Tron world is a good thing. End of line.
Release Date: Summer.
13) John Carter
The Lowdown: Does anyone else hear this title, think about how good ER was in the early years and smile? Having absolutely nothing to do with NBC's seminal medical drama, this John Carter is Disney's eagerly anticipated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. So far, it's looking amazing. This is a budding franchise for the company, whose non-Pixar projects haven't exactly impacted the pop culture zeitgeist of late (with The Muppets being a noteworthy exception). It may seem like an odd decision to have Wall-E helmer Andrew Stanton make his live-action directing debut here, but once you see the sheer volume of effects in the trailer it's clear that his CGI-heavy background makes him more than up to the challenge. His obvious skills aside, it remains to be seen if audiences will actually turn out for this given the fact that John Carter doesn't have the mainstream awareness level of some of the other entries on this list. If crowds do turn out, expect to see cinematic adaptations of the rest of Burroughs' throwback sci-fi adventures... and hear plenty of bitching from purists.
Release Date: March 9th.
12) Avengers vs. X-Men
The Lowdown: Never one for hyperbole, Marvel is billing Avengers vs. X-Men as "the biggest comic book event in history." It's questionable if the 12-issue miniseries will even come remotely close to impacting the comics industry as much as DC's recent New 52 initiative, not that it matters because the Avengers and the X-Men are going to be pummeling the living shit out of each other as they try to keep Hope Summers from becoming the next Phoenix and destroying mankind. Just another day in the Marvel Universe really. The above video gives you more information than you could possibly want about the series. To bottom line it, expect lots of surprises, action and far-reaching ramifications for both parties. Not to mention plenty of trouble for your wallet.
Release Date: April.
The Lowdown: Ridley Scott is still refusing to call this Alien prequel an Alien prequel even though it clearly is. Sigh. Anyway, there's a cloak of secrecy surrounding the project that is surprising given our spoiler-driven times. That's nice I suppose. Yet as interesting and undeniably visually stunning as this project appears to be, the question should be raised if we should have the mysterious elements of Alien's back story explained (Space Jockeys, I'm talking about you). Scott recently went on record saying that the Aliens we all know and love won't be making an appearance in Prometheus. Don't believe his lies. The smart money says that not only will the creatures turn up, but we will discover that humans are directly responsible for their creation in a none-too-subtle twist given the Greek myth the film was inspired by.
Release Date: June 8th.
Release Date: Summer, but expect lots more information on these wonders to be revealed at Toy Fair next month.
Tags: Apocalypses, Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, G.I. Joe, Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, John Carter of Mars, Lego, Marvel, Mass Effect, Prometheus, Retaliation, Spider-man, The Hobbit, Tron