Gaming comes in waves and we’re just on the cusp of the next big launch phase over April and May in the run up to E3. After that there’ll be a Summer drought and it’ll pick up again at the end of October through to December. Recently we’ve heard that lots of games people assumed would be coming out this year (Zelda, Rollercoaster Tycoon 4, Quantum Break, Uncharted 4, Homefront and possibly The Division) have been pushed into 2016 so what’s left to look forward to this year?
There’s plenty of other games we’re looking forward to that we don’t have definite dates for yet (The Witness, No Man’s Sky, Star Citizen) but here’s our (nearly) comprehensive list of games we’re excited about that we’re fairly sure will be out between now and 2016.
1. Mortal Kombat X (Multiplatform, April 14th)
There hasn’t been this much hype for a Mortal Kombat game in quite a while, which is surprising considering how excellent both Injustice and the recent ‘Mortal Kombat’ were. Mortal Kombat X seems to be a return to the more showy and slightly over the top roots, but the core fighting game market haven’t been ignored and there’s new levels of complexity to each character including three individual (and very different) movesets to be picked between. There’s a solid new roster of characters with many of them having been introduced in the excellent comic book series that’s currently on issue five (and includes all the trademark gore of the IP) alongside some suitably crazy guest appearances from Jason Voorhees and the Predator.
Early gameplay reports have all been incredibly positive and the game looks spectacular. There’s still a slight question about whether or not the extreme gore is still acceptable with the industry’s developing tastes, but even if it’s a little sickening it’s still going to be a lot of fun. For a lot of people it’s going to be a lot of fun precisely because it’s a little sickening.
2. Grand Theft Auto V – The PC Version (PC, April 14th)
This is the first game in a long time we’ve tripled-dipped on. We were never sent a review copy of this and yet we’ve bought it three times (technically four because we ended up with two copies of the Xbox One version). Grand Theft Auto V is simply a phenomenal game and one of the few where we can consistently have fun in and find new things over a year after its release. The recent current-gen ports showed that Rockstar weren’t resting on their laurels when it came to the new versions and the PC version seems to be no different. Aside from the expected visual and framerate boosts and the capacity for modding, Rockstar have announced a movie creator mode so you can create your own short films in the engine. This isn’t some awkward user-unfriendly system either, this is fully integrated into the game and the story.
The trailers and screenshots of the PC version have left us in no doubt that this will be the version to own when it releases in a few short days. It’s agonising that it’s sitting on our hard drive right now but we can’t play it!
3. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Multiplatform, May 5th)
We understand that this is really an expansion rather than a full game but it is a standalone and the original current-gen title was so good we’re just as excited about this as we are many full-price games. The last Wolfenstein game was a glorious return to some old-school sensibilities of FPS corridor shooting combined with much more modern ideas about how to present a story in a single-player game. It was gory and over the top but it also had solid shooting and an exciting and, dare we say it, moving plot.
This expansion is a prequel split into two parts and looks to be leaning more towards the occult side of the franchise with some real B-movie style scares and more ridiculous and amazing action. We can’t wait.
3. The Witcher 3 (Multiplatform, May 19th)
There’s very little we need to say about The Witcher 3. CD Projekt Red have shown time and time again that they care about their fans and they know how to craft an excellent RPG. Now they’ve had the budget and time to create something truly epic within the world of The Witcher. We seen this game at events a few times now and every single time they’ve blown us away with the detail, the humour and the spectacle that drives through the heart of it. The world feels much more solid than many open-world RPGs and the story is far more mature than those we’re used to seeing in RPGs of old. We’re really hoping they’ve managed to keep the game interesting throughout the whole run time and that our almost impossibly high expectations can be met. If you want to find out more about the game there’s plenty of videos and playthroughs of one particular area, but we’ve recently heard that if you did a speedrun of the full game it would take you 26 hours so we’re assuming there’s a huge amount we’ve not been shown yet.
The more recent trailers also show some hilarious dialogue options if you enjoy playing the ‘I hate everyone and am going to make this as unpleasant as possible’ style RPG character. And who doesn’t?
4. Splatoon (Wii U, May 29th)
Splatoon was a surprise when it was announced last year by Nintendo. An entirely new IP and very nearly an entirely new genre by itself. Yes it shares some similarities with other third-person arena shooters (of which there surprisingly aren’t that many unless you count the multiplayer mode of Uncharted etc) but the mechanics are completely different. You play as a team of teenagers armed with paint guns who can become squids at will. The squid form allows you to sink into paint that you’ve thrown around onto the arena and move at impressive speeds. Some game modes have you simply trying to paint more of the arena than your opponents, forcing you to work together as a team to cover more ground. Other modes have more typical team-deathmatch rules but with increased mobility on your own paint there’s still an incentive to keep the ground covered.
We got a chance to play this at a Nintendo event shortly after E3 and we were pleasantly surprised with how polished it was and how satisfying the basic gameplay is. Thanks to Ninty’s reluctance to embrace online chat or parties we’re not convinced it’ll become an eSport hit right away, but it’s definitely got potential and if you can get a team of friends together there’s nothing else like it on the Wii U.
5. Batman: Arkham Knight (Multiplatform, June 23rd)
The Arkham games have sadly been declining in quality over the years, with the excellent and atmospheric Asylum being followed by the sprawling but less focused City and then Origins, which still had a great line-up of baddies and the same great fighting but didn’t really bring anything new to the table. Now Rocksteady are back at the helm with Knight and they’re definitely willing to take a few more risks. Now taking place in a larger area, you have full control of the batmobile and can move around faster than ever before. Visually it’s one of the most impressive games we’ve seen and Rocksteady’s insistence on gameplay-based trailers can only be a good sign that they’re confident with what they’ve created. We know very little about the plot so far but we’re intrigued by the introduction of a brand new character to the franchise, the Arkham Knight.
As long as it’s not the Joker in a mask. If it is we’re done with you Rocksteady.
6. Lego Jurassic World (Multiplatform, June TBC)
This isn’t the only Lego game on our list and with good reason. The Lego games might all be far too similar but their use of IP is simply brilliant and that combined with one of our favourite franchises is simply too good to pass up. While we expect there’ll be plenty of stud-collecting and areas shut off until you unlock a character right at the end, there’s also a few new ideas like the ability to control the dinosaurs such as the sick triceratops. We’re assuming near the end of the first film you’ll get to play as the T-Rex and get rid of those pesky raptors terrorising the puny humans. Jurassic Park has always been vaguely hilarious in its own way and we can’t way to see what Traveller’s Tales manage to do with the script.
If you watch any trailer on this page, watch that one. Clever girl.
7. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Multiplatform, September 1st)
We’ve never been fans of Metal Gear Solid. We foolishly tried to get into it with the fourth game only to be treated to ridiculously long cut-scenes where we had no idea what was going on or who anyone was. We decided to go back to the first game and found out that this wasn’t a problem with us necessarily, it’s just a spectacularly complicated plot that possibly only makes sense in Hideo Kojima’s head. We were intensely sceptical of the newest entry until we played the expensive demo that came out last year. It might have been a demo you had to pay £20 for, it might have only really been one level, but what a level. It was so open and vast with complicated systems, easter eggs, hugely different possible approaches and all kinds of delicious statistics thati t kept us entertained for longer than many full games have. If that really is just one typical level in a wider game, The Phantom Pain is going to be absolutely magnificent.
The recent news that Kojima has left (or been pushed out of) the company shouldn’t be worrying too many fans, the creative work on this game will be almost entirely done, we’re sure. It might spell the end of the franchise (although we doubt it) but his mark is still clear in everything we’ve seen of Metal Gear Solid V.
8. Mad Max (Multiplatform, September 4th)
We know very little about this game in truth and it’s entirely possible that it’ll be a cynical cash-in devoid of any real merit. But the trailers are really encouraging us to believe otherwise. From the brief snippets of gameplay you get in this ‘gameplay trailer’ it looks like a cross between Uncharted, Destruction Derby and Borderlands, with an IP that has been dramatically underexploited in video games. We love smashing cars about and we love post apocalyptic landscapes so we’re sure there’ll be something to enjoy here. The fact this is being created by some of the people behind Just Cause 2 warrants our optimism a little.
Just show us some of the actual game next time you announce a gameplay trailer please.
9. Lego Dimensions (Multiplatform, September 29th)
We only found out about this game recently and there’s two completely valid reactions to the trailer. One is ‘eurgh, another Skylanders cash-in rip-off’ and the other is ‘oh my god, Gandalf AND Batman, and that’s just to start?’. We fall into the second group, we’ve dabbled a little with Disney Infinity and Skylanders but neither really grabbed our attention for very long. The Lego games on the other hand have been pretty consistently great and they’ve gathered up so many licences it’s going to be exciting to be able to start mashing them together. We know from the trailer there’s definitely Lord Of The Rings, Batman, Lego Movie, Wizard of Oz, Ninjago and Back to the Future in the game, we’re really hoping for Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Carribean to feature in there too, it might be a bit too much to hope for Star Wars and Marvel as well.
We’ll forgive them for having that incredibly irritating fun-draining vampire that is Joel McHale in the trailer, just this once. Mostly because it appears that you get actual Lego as part of the game. Actual Lego! The portal that you use (like in Skylanders) is a lego playset like any other, opening up possibility for customisation and playing with Lego.
10. Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One, October 27th)
Halo Five is a game we know basically nothing about, even though hundreds of thousands of us have played it in the recent Alpha. We know there’ll be arena shooting, we know the story will feature Locke hunting down Master Chief who is now a traitor to the UNSC, we know at some point Chief is facing down some giant weird looking things in the desert. Other than that we’re still pretty much in the dark until E3.
What we do know is that 343 did a great job with Halo 4, and that the recent alpha was a lot of fun and a refreshing take on the series. We’re willing to forgive the dramatic missteps with the Master Chief Collection and assume the core 343 team were working on Halo 5 all this time. Weirdly the alpha ran far better than the MCC does, even now.
11. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Multiplatform, November TBC)
This is possibly the most tenuous entry on the list as it’s only just been officially teased, without a real announcement. We’re pretty sure it’s set in the future with cybernetically enhanced soldiers battling in some kind of war, but beyond that it’s all guesswork. Treyarch have done a really good job with the series over the last few years and we’re excited to see what they can do with the new hardware. While people always voice their opinions loudly about COD games, we’ve enjoyed every single one (including Ghosts) so we’ve got the point now where we now every November we’ll enjoy whatever they’re planning on putting out. We’ll find out more about this game at the end of April, but they might as well take our money already, we’re in.