2015 proved to be a dynamic, very successful year for video games across the globe. With titles to satisfy the appetite of every genre-lover out there, many video game backlogs grew to even greater proportions. 2016 is set to raise the bar even further with the release of several marquee titles. The year has started with a bang with Street Fighter 5, Far Cry Primal and Fire Emblem Fates already arriving. The following 10 games are the most anticipated titles still to come. No firm release date needs to be set; however, the titles must be confirmed and fully expected to arrive during 2016 in order to crack the list.
10. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (TBD)
When The Stick of Truth released during early 2014, gamers fell in love with the best South Park video game ever made, bar none, and one of the finest efforts of fan service ever delivered for an entertainment-to-video game transition. The game threw so much nostalgia at South Park fans that even casual viewers of the show were able to recognize elements from the few episodes they had seen. For the hardcore fans, The Stick of Truth was a thing of dreams. With two years to reflect, the reality is that title, while deeply amusing, is incredible flawed. Offering very light RPG elements, cumbersome menus and being far too short and easy to complete, The Stick of Truth was hilarious but overrated. The creators of the series (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) recognize their mistakes and have vowed to obliterate the reception placed on the original game with this sequel. Now armed with the knowledge of how to create a video game, there is no doubt that improvement to the formula will be made, as the gameplay is set to match the uproarious humor this time around.
9. Dark Souls III (March 24)
Once considered a niche brand, the Dark Souls series has proven to be an exemplary action-RPG saga. The final chapter of the series, set to be released March 24, has a lot to live up to. Following the fantastic Bloodborne, Dark Souls now returns to PC and Xbox as a multi-platform release for all to enjoy. Known for being excruciatingly difficult, the series caters to fans of old-school gaming accustomed to tough gameplay. Grueling gaming at its best, Dark Souls is unmatched in the quality and difficulty departments. While most games nowadays hold gamers’ hands while guiding them through the title, Dark Souls relishes in providing a challenge. Dark Souls III appears to be the most gorgeous title to date. Expecting painful bosses and an unyielding difficulty level, it’s clear why this title (and series) is highly anticipated among the hardcore crowd.
8. Final Fantasy XV (TBD)
Following a multitude of delays, Final Fantasy XV appears to finally be on the horizon. While a majority of the luster has worn off the series, this title still carries a significant amount of allure. With Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 dominating the Square Enix news, Final Fantasy XV has somehow managed to recently fly slightly below the radar. Considering the negative reaction to previous titles in the main line, this is not surprising. However, the decreased expectations may be the best thing to happen to the series in quite some time. At the very least, the game will appear gorgeous as Square Enix titles always do, and the quest will be lengthy and meaty, occupying a significant amount of time. At its upside, Final Fantasy XV will offer a compelling story to hook gamers, very strong gameplay elements and an addictive combat system.
7. Quantum Break (April 5)
Recently announced to be arriving on PC for more to enjoy, Quantum Break is a new Microsoft IP from the developers of Max Payne and Alan Wake. A thrilling action game that features time manipulation, Quantum Break appears fascinating and beautiful. Gorgeous action pieces are to be expected, while the time-bending aspects appear ambitious. The time travel idea beefs up the potential of yet another third-person action game, as it is involved in the plot as well as in the gameplay. Quantum Break has built significant hype through its numerous delays but it has nearly arrived. With a story set to be elaborate and thrilling, the sky is the limit for this title. With an excellent track record behind them, developer Remedy seems prepared to deliver yet another satisfying action game.
6. Gears of War 4 (Q4)
After the disappointing Gears of War Judgement, this series entered hibernation mode. With an oversaturated market of third-person shooters, Gears had become dormant. Then Microsoft released Gears Ultimate Edition for the Xbox One, a remaster of the original title (also containing direct ports of the sequels). Gamers were reminded how influential this co-op shooter was and witnessed jaw-dropping visuals teasing how good Gears 4 will look on new-gen consoles. Practically inventing the cover system, Gears may be influential but is it still good? The answer is a resounding yes, as few co-op games can match the quality of the first three titles to this day. Now the fourth iteration is due for release this year, and with Microsoft having taken their time on it, the benefit of the doubt must be given despite little information being available. This title is important to the Gears legacy as some new ideas and innovations will be refreshing and are necessary.
5. Mass Effect: Andromeda (Q4)
Following the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, there were questions regarding how the series would continue. That has been solidified as players will no longer control Commander Shepard. Instead they will create a brand new character. An entire new galaxy is set to be explored and with the power of current consoles, the potential of deep space seems incredible. The series, known for its ability to transfer over save files from previous titles, is now one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year. With this game appearing on a new console and no longer featuring the same characters or universe, the question regarding how save transfers will work, if at all, has been raised. Developer BioWare surely has some tricks up their sleeves and the inclusion of this aspect is one of the most exciting things still to be revealed regarding this game. The most likely game on this list to be delayed into 2017, Andromeda is currently still penciled in for a 2016 release and gamers should be crossing their fingers to enjoy it this holiday season.
4. No Man’s Sky (June)
Every piece of information leaked regarding No Man’s Sky simply points to how gigantic this game will be. Containing an entire universe with infinite planets, beings and dangers, this is theoretically the largest game ever created, as well as the most ambitious. With the galaxy populated as gamers explore it, the sense of discovery and wealth of locations are unmatched. This open universe represents a vision yet to be fully realized in gaming and is therefore one of the most exciting titles set to be released in 2016. An innovative game stealing the spotlight from much higher-budgeted AAA titles, this is a title that gamers can’t wait to get their hands on in order to experience. Even naysayers who doubt the project’s scale will surely be interested in following how well No Man’s Sky will deliver on its promises. For that reason, this game is truly special as the interest surrounding it continues to grow.
3. The Last Guardian (TBD)
It’s taken nearly a decade of development, however, The Last Guardian is nearly here, at last. After complete silence on the project for several years that had many in the industry doubting whether the project remained alive, Sony and Team Ico shocked the crowd at 2015’s E3 expo by revealing the title to not only still be in existence, but nearing completion and expecting a 2016 release date. Placed on this list on hype alone, not much is known about the title other than the fact that gamers play as a young boy and his giant dog exploring a fantasy world devoid of life. From the trailer, rather than the world appearing “empty” it appears enthralling and mysterious, as well as gorgeous. Shadow of the Colossus fans recognize the stylistic art and surely expect thrilling puzzles and gameplay adventuring Team Ico is known for.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (April 26)
Hyped beyond belief since the reveal of the PS4, this much-anticipated next chapter in Nathan Drake’s exploits is finally just around the corner. Developer Naughty Dog’s first original game to be released on the PS4, there is no doubt that Uncharted 4 will deliver on the immense expectations placed on it. With graphics set to define this generation of gaming and gameplay to match the gorgeous visuals, this is the title to convince those that have not migrated to a PS4 yet to make the plunge. Featuring intense action sequences reminiscent of a blockbuster movie, Uncharted 4 appears to be a playable action film, one with cinematics to upstage any video game and voice acting comparable to any Hollywood film. Gamers can expect fluid gameplay, a gripping story and stunning action as they take on the role of an Indiana Jones-like treasure hunter.
1. The Legend of Zelda – Wii U (TBD)
After experiencing several delays and the announcement of the Nintendo NX, the realistic possibility that this title is pushed back to 2017 remains in play. However, with the NX stated to launch during the holiday season of 2016, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U should be comfortably slotted into a 2016 release. As Nintendo demonstrated with Twilight Princess, launching the title on two consoles simultaneously is a viable option. An original Zelda title has not been seen on consoles since 2011, making this Wii U title the most anticipated game of the year. While the 3DS has seen a fantastic Zelda game, and both the 3DS and Wii U received amazing ports of previously-released titles, only a current-gen system can do justice to the breadth of this gigantic world. Zelda titles never disappoint and this ambitious iteration, set to feature the largest overworld ever seen in a Zelda game, is certain to be remarkable. A new Zelda title needs little hype, as the quality of excellence trademarked on the series is well-known. There is simply no title as likely to be the game of the year as this one.