Holy hell. I don’t know about anyone else, but 2015 felt like such an insane year for video games. We had a lot of games that overwhelmed and underwhelmed. We didn’t get a lot of broken games, though a few fell through the cracks that were nearly unplayable (I’m looking at you PC version of Batman Arkham Knight) We had the all-too-bizarre happenings at Konami that took over almost the last half of the year in mystery and perplexity. CD Projekt Red surprised just about all of us with The Witcher 3 by pushing the envelope of open world RPG’s and the amount of content you can cram into a game. (almost too much deepsighofunfinishedgamestress) Being able to ship a massive title like The Witcher 3 and having it run smoothly at launch is, unfortunately, a real success story these days. It goes to show how hard everyone over there worked to produce that game and what an independent team can accomplish. Bethesda once again scratched the itch Fallout fans had with Fallout 4. However, I feel it fell flat in regards to innovating the RPG genre the way I expect Bethesda to do. Here are some really fantastic games I thought released in 2015: Her Story, Super Mario Maker, Life is Strange, Splatoon, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dying Light, Bloodborne. Hopefully we’ve had a chance to play most of the games we wanted to from 2015 because 2016 is leaving us spoilt for choice. Here’s a list of some of the games I’m excited to see this year.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
After seeing footage at E3 and gameplay trailers, this game is high on my “cannot wait” list and I anxiously look forward to it’s arrival. The battle mechanics look fun and have you utilizing the environment to your advantage. Action adventure titles in this vein are such a rarity and are a lot of fun when done right. The scenes that Guerrilla Games have showed off in previews and gameplay demos look so vast with every corner of the map demanding to be explored. I haven’t seen any confirmation on the type of in-game collectibles, but hopefully they will have some thrown in the mix. No release date has been announced by Sony or Guerrilla, but 2016 has been promised so let’s hope for the best.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY FEELINGS AROUND THIS. I have admittedly been late to the Uncharted train and I take full responsibility for my tardiness. There is no excuse for myself, having owned a PS3 for a few years now. I missed the boat because I picked up my PS3 pretty late in it’s life cycle. As more and more footage comes out at each conference it reminds me it’s time to do a run-through of the previous games to have the story fresh in my mind. Between it’s multiplayer offerings and dialogue options that will supposedly affect the storyline, a feature that I\’m indifferent on, there will be plenty of content to keep us busy. With this being the final chapter in the Nathan Drake story it’s not surprising that Naughty Dog is running through this game with a fine toothed comb, perfecting every inch to end the series the way it deserves. April 26th is the latest update in pushback dates from the studio and hopefully the final date to be expected.
Overwatch comes to us via Blizzard Entertainment as a first person MMO shooter being released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC with no mention of Mac OS X support. I didn’t expect to care about this one, however, Blizzard knows how to make a multiplayer game that put its hooks into you like no one else. Even still, when I first saw footage it didn’t grab me the way their other games do. However, after watching more actual gameplay footage it slowly started to peak my interest more and more with an art style that\’s light, inviting, and familiar with a world that feels warm and lived in. The characters don’t look menacing or overtly calloused, but instead look like if the Snowboard Kids grew up and went through intense military training in the year 2296. The gameplay calls back to iconic multiplayer games like Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress with perks and ammo sprawled through the sandboxes, fast fluid movement, and a vivid art style. There is no set date for us here in the US, but there are hints of around Quarter 2 2016.
Fullbright is a development studio totaling just three people who made little noise previously but then blew everyone away with Gone Home. After winning Polygon’s GOTY award in 2013, they are following up with their next game titled Tacoma, a first person exploration game similar to Gone Home. This time, however, their new story takes us millions of miles into space aboard an abandoned space station with a crew that\’s seemingly disappeared. Gameplay video shows us we’re able to interact with most of the environment by hunting for clues to piece together the whereabouts of the crew and, perhaps, something even bigger at play. No specific date has been announced but it\’s supposedly coming to us in for PC in 2016.
No Man’s Sky
I’m not sure how much needs to be said about this desperately anticipated, phantom game. We’ve seen hours of gameplay footage, read about hundreds of articles already, heard people talk about every detail and promise of seemingly infinite planets to be explored, and yet we haven\’t actually seen a lot of gameplay. Hello Games is a team of about 12 people which is crazy with a game of this size and ambition. Perhaps it\’s not surprising then that we saw glimmers of it in 2013 and are just now getting a TBE date of 2016. I have no doubt that this game is going to pull a lot of attention upon release as with most things that are hyped up over and over again. My biggest question is, will this game pack just as big of a punch as we have been expecting? Particularly when it comes to the near infinite number of planets to be explored. I\’m interested to see how varied one planet is to the next and if some feel very similar to planets already explored. As long as it ships playable, (I have a rather low bar for success these days) I can expect myself to put in hours of time flying from planet to planet exploring the wilderness and trying not to get my ass handed to me by all the troublesome creatures that await.
Of course this list only reflects a small number of games I’m personally looking forward to. I have some worries mainly around Xbox\’s short list of anticlimactic exclusive content and with a few titles announced sure to get our attention such as Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2, I am not sure it will be enough to keep the trend of console sales in Microsoft\’s favor. Overall it\’s a pretty underwhelming list of exclusives. Especially when it\’s just now January and they already pushed back Scalebound to 2017. Should we be expecting more push back releases in the coming months?
Meanwhile Nintendo is keeping us excited for games such as Legend of Zelda, which will offer us our first glimpse at a Zelda title properly realized in high definition. They’re continuing to put out content that we want to see, even as the attention on Nintendo themselves waxes and wanes . We look to the future in anticipation for more details on their newest console development, the Nintendo NX.
2016 is going to be a great year full of even more content than last year and more than enough games to keep me occupied and chatting with you about. What are some games that you are excited to see this year? Leave a message in the comments or get at me on twitter @aalaskaa until next time!