When the clock struck twelve on 2015, it brought with it a close to another year of gaming. While last year might have been filled with the its fair share of controversy (sorry, Konami), I think it’s safe to say it was a pretty damn great year in terms of games. With that being said, it’s time to turn our eyes to 2016, and look ahead to what might honestly turn out to be one of the best years the gaming scene has ever had. Tons of hotly anticipated games are coming out, and we’ll be seeing some of gamers’ dreams come true this year.
With so much to look forward to, it’s hard to narrow down an entire year to just 10 items, but the list I’ve compiled has, I believe, the games you won’t want to miss out on. Ranging from the very well known to the independent darlings that you’ll grow to love, there’s something for everyone here, so let’s get on with it.
10. ‘THE LEGEND OF ZELDA’
Another game that might leave you waiting until the very end of 2016, the new The Legend of Zelda game will most certainly be worth the wait. While the game was originally set to come out in 2015, lack of any solid news and Nintendo being notorious for taking their time with titles led to this one being pushed back to 2016.
While we still don’t have much info to go on, we do know that it will still be the dungeon crawling game we love, but will take place in a completely connected open world. The game is also slated to challenge the norms of the series by letting players choose in what order they complete dungeons. Judging from the brief footage we’ve seen of the game, it seems to be pushing the Wii U to its very limits, so while we don’t know a lot about it, it’s a Zelda title at the end of the day, which means you aren’t going to want to miss it.
9. ‘THE LAST GUARDIAN’
I’m going to be honest here and note that I am bit skeptical to have this one on the list. While The Last Guardian has been confirmed to be coming out in 2016, a lot can change, especially when you’re dealing with a game that’s been “in development” for almost ten years.
In The Last Guardian, you take on the role of a small boy who befriends Trico, a weird looking (but in an adorable way) cat/bird/dog creature. As the game progresses, you’ll explore the ruins of a fantasy land and build up the bond between you and your new found friend. Not much else is known about the game, but the fact that it’s coming out and the pedigree of the studio developing it are reason enough for you to keep your eyes out.
8. ‘MIRROR’S EDGE: CATALYST’
Imagine going on Youtube and searching up some parkour clips filmed on a GoPro. Then, imagine that you’re the one doing those awesome tricks, while also working for an underground rebel group who wants to overthrow a corrupt group of corporations that run the world. Essentially, that is what Mirrors Edge is all about.
When the first Mirrors Edge released in 2008, it was generally praised by the media as an inventive take on free-running and visuals. While sales for the game didn’t go as hoped, the game quickly developed a cult classic status amongst the gaming world. Flash forward to 2016, and Mirrors Edge Catalyst looks to reboot the series with an entirely different look and the same old feel. Lucky for you, you won’t have to wait long to live out those dreams of being a parkour master, as Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst will be out in May.
While Firewatch might not be as big of a title as the games listed prior, it’s still something you’ll be wanting to keep an eye out for. The game puts you in the shoes of Henry, a fire lookout stationed in the wilderness of Wyoming. You’ll find that your lookout tower has been vandalized, and as you play, you must communicate (via walkie-talkie) with your supervisor as you figure out just what’s going on in the forest you find yourself surrounded by.
Featuring some incredible art design from the hyper talented Olly Moss and development by the two creative leads for Telltale’s The Walking Dead, it’s hard to not be excited about this one. Thankfully you won’t have to wait very long to experience the game for yourself, as Firewatch releases next month.
Imagine being able to control the characters of old-timey cartoons as they fight through boss after boss in order to repay a debt to the devil and you have Cuphead. While the gameplay may not be anything groundbreaking, take a moment to appreciate the level of detail this game will have.
Not only will the game already have an incredibly unique look, modeling itself after animator Max Fleischer (Fleischer and his works were too numerous to name, but just know that if there were a Mt. Rushmore of animators, he’d be on it.), but the visuals of the game will all be hand drawn and inked. Soundwise, the game’s composers have also come up with entirely original jazz recordings to give the game a look and feel similar to that of the 1930s. If you didn’t know about Cuphead before, you need to know now.
5. ‘NO MAN’S SKY’
Some of you may have seen this next game when it made an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. During the segment, the game was such a hit that it even left Stephen Colbert at a loss for words, especially when creator Sean Murray revealed just how large the world of the game is. I’m talking about No Man’s Sky, a game that was revealed 2 years ago and remains one of the most anticipated titles for the new generation.
No Man’s Sky is nothing more than a game of space exploration and survival, only multiplied by 18 quintillion. That number? How many planets are in the game, and many of them will have their own ecosystems, complete with plants, wildlife, and weather systems. With the promise that everything that you experience will be new, it’s hard not to be excited about this game, and when you add in the fact that it may support virtual reality devices, the excitement only grows.
4. ‘HORIZON: ZERO DAWN’
When the creators of Killzone unveiled their newest project at last years E3, I don’t think many anticipated it to be something so different. Taking place 1000 years in the future, you are a skilled archer named Aloy who, by the looks of early gameplay, really likes to hunt down robotic dinosaurs that roam the land.
Without knowing much else, this game features a bunch of things that make it worthy of being on this list: a badass female lead, bow and arrows, dinosaurs, and robots. Couple that with role-playing elements said to be “a mix between Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim”, and you have a game that you absolutely have to keep an eye out for.
3. ‘DARK SOULS 3’
When FROM Software first introduced us to the Souls series, the games were definitely for a niche audience. Known for unforgiving gameplay and brutal boss fights, they were made for a certain type of gamer in mind. However, when Bloodborne released last year, it broke into the mainstream. With universal praise and exceptional sales behind it, it’s now time for a return to the places where it all started with Dark Souls 3.
In order to keep the game a bit more accessible, qualities from Bloodborne have been added into the makeup of Dark Souls 3, which should make it a bit easier for new players to the series. Don’t fret though, you can still expect the same extreme attention to detail, stunning art direction, and rage inducing gameplay that you’ve come to love (and hate). You can’t expect series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki to go easy on us.
2. ‘MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA’
With Commander Shepard and his story now done with, it’s time to set our sights on uncharted territory. I’m talking about the galaxy of Andromeda, of course. In the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda, that’s exactly what you do. What else you do is anyone’s guess, as the only footage of the game we’ve seen is of presumably your character as he (or she) jumps into frame like the badass they will be.
It was tough for me to put this game on the list, as the release date for it is already a very nerve-racking “Q4 2016”. However, should the game release this year, it will undoubtedly be on the shortlist for games that must be on your radar. While Bioware may have hit a bump in the road with Mass Effect 3, their reputation for quality gaming and storytelling is still too impeccable to keep this game away from a spot here.
1. ‘QUANTUM BREAK’
In today’s gaming landscape, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get new series to stick. Sony has been doing fairly well by locking up a deal with Hideo Kojima, but Microsoft has been struggling. However, with the upcoming Quantum Break, things could easily change. Coming from Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne, Alan Wake), we already know what we’re going to get from the game: beautiful graphics, lots of environmental destruction, and probably a really weird storyline.
What we’re also getting, though, is a game that’s not just a game—it’s a combination of a game and a TV show. It’s certainly a break from what we’re used to, but if it succeeds, it can mean the start of a new way of storytelling. Make sure to keep this one on your radar and you might kill two birds with one stone: you’ll get a great game, and a fun new TV show to obsess over.
Anthony Nash is a freelance writer, obsessed with writing about all things gaming. He lives in NY but don’t worry, he still manages to get tons of sleep. When not playing games, he’s probably talking about them on twitter. Follow him @_anthonynash.
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