Well, 2015 is almost in the books, and a slew of top video game titles are being issued now in time for Christmas—from Halo 5: Guardians and Just Cause 3 to Rainbow Six: Siege and Xenoblade Chronicles X. So it seems only appropriate to look forward to 2016 and offer up some bold predictions for the video gaming world in the New Year. After all, it’s never too early to jump onboard the hype train, speculate on rumors and put forward dream ideas we’d like to see come true. Many of these predictions may not become reality, but it’s still fun to theorize. So here are 10 gaming predictions to consider as we head into 2016.
10. Mass Effect: Andromeda Gets the Series Back on Track
The next installment of Bioware’s Mass Effect series is likely to appear in 2016. And it couldn’t come soon enough. The last game in the series, Mass Effect 3, left most gamers feeling betrayed and unsatisfied with the ending—to the point where they disowned the series. In fact, the negativity surrounding Mass Effect 3 got Electronic Arts (EA) voted The Worst Company in America by Consumerist magazine. Fortunately, the rumor is that Bioware is now working to right the Mass Effect ship with the upcoming title Mass Effect: Andromeda, which is expected to deviate from the original trilogy altogether. If chat boards are to be believed (and they are), the gameplay in the new Mass Effect will move into a Metal Gear Solid open world style, and use interweaving character arcs, base building and an expansion on the series’ mythology. Look for this title to be released in late spring or early summer.
9. Diablo 4 is Released
Gaming company Blizzard recently let slip some interesting information on a job posting found on the company’s website. Blizzard advertised for an Art Director to work on an “Unannounced Project.” However, in the job description, it says that the Art Director will work on a game called “Diablo.” While some Internet fortune tellers speculate that this position is to work on yet another expansion pack for Diablo 3, we like to think (hope) that the Art Director will actually be working on the long anticipated fourth installment in the Diablo series. If it were just another expansion pack, then Blizzard could easily say so. No, the title Unannounced Project is only befitting of a new game that the company is hoping to keep under wraps until a release date is formally scheduled.
8. Rockstar Drops a New Red Dead Redemption Game
With Grand Theft Auto 5 taking open world gaming to new heights, its now time for game company Rockstar to plan their next release. And we’re putting our money on a new Red Dead Redemption game. The last Red Dead game contained a great ending and final mission that took revenge to a new level, and both critics and gamers ate it up. So there’s no reason to think Rockstar won’t make a new Red Dead Redemption the next game they release in 2016. If they don’t release a new game in 2016, it will be the biggest gap in release times in Rockstar’s history. And while a new Red Dead Redemption game makes sense, there are gamers who believe that Rockstar will instead…
7. Grand Theft Auto 6 is Announced
Rockstar are still busy pushing Grand Theft Auto Online, the fifth game’s tie-in mode. And the Grand Theft Auto series seems to be the company’s priority right now. So, is it too much of a stretch to say that a sixth installment in the Grand Theft Auto series will be, at least, announced in 2016? We think not. In a perfect world, Grand Theft Auto 6 will be released in 2016. However, while that timeline may be a shade too optimistic, it is conceivable that Rockstar announces the sixth title in the series at E3 or another venue. And why not? Nothing gets video game fans into a lather like the anticipation for a new game in their favorite series. And after the success of Grand Theft Auto 5, it only makes sense for Rockstar to keep this train moving at full speed.
6. We Get a Decent Superman Game
Game maker Rocksteady has done right by Batman with its “Arkham” series of games. The latest, Batman: Arkham Knight, is exceptional and continues the momentum of the franchise. We feel that now it is time to give the Man of Steel his due with a decent game that is dark, brooding and violent. And, with a number of Superman Easter eggs appearing in Batman: Arkham Knight, the rumor mill started that Rocksteady is testing the waters for an upcoming Superman title. It would make sense for Warner Bros. to want to issue a Superman game in order to capitalize on the upcoming movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Rocksteady designers have been open about their love for the DC Comics universe, and there have been rumors of a Green Arrow or Flash video game as well. But no character is bigger than Superman, and giving the Man of Steel a decent game makes the most sense…from a rumor standpoint anyway.
5. Assassin’s Creed Heads to the Orient Where it Belongs
Fans of Assassin’s Creed have long been screaming for the series to move its story to the Orient, specifically Japan. Recent titles have taken place during the French Revolution and in Dickensian London. But we have never seen the Assassin’s Creed franchise move to its natural location of Asia, notably Japan—the land of Samurai, Ninjas and other sword-wielding acrobatic assassins. Could it be that game maker Ubisoft will finally heed the calls (screams) of fans and critics who want to see the story and platform in an ancient Japanese setting complete with parkour, wooden swords, throwing stars and nun-chucks? Here’s hoping that Ubisoft sees the light and does the natural thing to revive this ailing and tired franchise. It seems we get a new Assassin’s Creed game every year. But, at this point, is anyone paying attention?
4. Metal Gear Solid Continues Without its Creator
Metal Gear Solid is one of the most popular and enduring video game series of all time. And, it is fair to say that no designer has enjoyed more success, or been more closely identified with a title, than Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima. However, as we approach the 30th anniversary of the first Metal Gear Solid game’s release, it looks as though this iconic franchise will continue without the guiding hand of Hideo Kojima. After a hug falling out with the brass at game maker Konami, Hideo Kojima had his name removed from all the promotional material surrounding the release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Now Hideo Kojima is out as Konami moves forward with plans for a Metal Gear Solid 6 game. But can they really proceed without Hideo Kojima? Will fans tolerate it? And what kind of game will it end up being? So many questions to answer. One thing is clear, the success of each Metal Gear Solid game has been due to one consistent factor—Hideo Kojima. Without him the franchise could be doomed.
3. The Last of Us 2 Arrives in Autumn
Rumors of a sequel to the game The Last of Us have been red hot ever since video game voice actor Nolan North let slip at E3 that he is working with game maker Naughty Dog on a new Last of Us game. And while Naughty Dog head honchos have remained mum on the subject, we think there is a good chance that The Last of Us 2 drops in time for back-to-school or early autumn 2016. While some video game purists balk at the notion of giving this title a sequel or turning it into a franchise, we feel that it could be great if the same storytelling and graphics are brought to bear on a second installment. The only question is how long it takes Naughty Dog to get this title out the door after finishing the game Uncharted 4, which is due in March 2016?
2. The new Doom game Will Be Better Than Expected
There has not been a new Doom game since 2004, and development of a new title in the series that has been billed as a “reboot” has been long delayed. But with a new Doom game set to be released in 2016, we are optimistic that it will live up to the hype and be even better than expected. Developer Bethesda Softworks has been fairly quiet concerning details and promotion of the new Doom game, but rumor has it that the title will feature mechanics such as melee combat, finishing moves, and the ability to rip someone’s arm off and use it to open a security door. Cool! Also said to be featured in the game are double jumping and freedom of movement such as vaulting. Billed as a reboot or reimagining of the Doom series, the creators behind the game say they are aiming to blow minds and establish the Doom mythology with younger gamers, who are fixated on first person shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefront. It sounds like a tall order, but we predict the results will exceed expectations.
1. Nintendo Releases its New NX Console in Time for Christmas
What exactly is the Nintendo NX console going to be? Die hard gamers are hoping it’s a return to the old N64 and Game Cube days, and a move away from the Wii and Wii U consoles of recent years. That is to say a dedicated games console that can focus on great game play and innovation among classic Nintendo titles, rather than interactivity and body movement. Sure, the Wii was inventive and changed the industry, but the Wii U never really caught on and many gamers are now crying for a return to the Game Cube—a console that can support awesome games such as Super Mario Sunshine and Eternal Darkness. We think now is the time for Nintendo to capitalize on nostalgia and win back the more mature gamers it has lost in recent years. Of course, the next Zelda has been announced for the Wii U, but other great titles could be developed for a late 2016 launch of the NX console. Metroid Prime anyone?