2015 is almost over, which means it’s time to look ahead to 2016. Here’s a quick rundown of a dozen games that I’m looking forward to.
12) Final Fantasy VII Remake
In a world full of remakes and definitive editions, it’s surprising that it’s taken so long for Square to give a facelift to one of the best games of all time. But, we will finally (if the tentative schedule is to be believed) travel back to Midgar in Final Fantasy VII Remake. There are some big questions that still need answers, though. How will the active battle system work compared to the old-school turn-based combat? More importantly, what are the “episodes” that the game will release as? There is a pretty defined breakpoint after the first disc of FF7, but will there be more? I hope we find out this year.
11) Super Senso
I’ll always have a spot in my heart for turn-based strategy games: Advance Wars, Fire Emblem (more on this later), Final Fantasy Tactics, etc. When I read that the developers of Super Senso want to create “the Hearthstone of turn-based strategy games”, I gobbled up every bit of news that I could, subscribed to the subreddit, and signed up for the beta. Games look to be pretty quick, the graphics seem flashy and the addition of hero units, called sensos, sound like a good twist. I’m all over this one.
10) Horizon: Zero Dawn
One of the biggest surprises of E3 had to be Horizon: Zero Dawn. I mean, just look at that picture. We’ve got a nomad/barbarian woman with a bow drawn, staring down a huge robotic dinosaur. Horizon promises to be an open-world game with crafting, a day/night cycle, and many ways to kill enemies. Honestly, I’m just super excited about robot dinosaurs. The child in me is ecstatic.
9) Fire Emblem Fates
Continuing on with my love of turn-based strategy games, Fire Emblem is one of the longest running franchises in the genre with a dozen entries. The previous game, Fire Emblem Awakening, was great. The newest release, Fire Emblem Fates, is following in the footsteps of Pokemon by releasing three separate games that all involve the same story. It’s been out in Japan for a little while now and should come stateside this year. I’ll be waiting for it when it does.
8) Gears of War 4
Who doesn’t love a little excessive gore every once in a while? I know I do. We know almost nothing about the fifth entry in the Gears franchise, Gears of War 4, aside from the gameplay trailer we saw at E3 featuring a few new characters and a seemingly darker tone. My money is on a holiday 2016 release, so expect a steady drip of information in the coming months.
7) Mass Effect: Andromeda
I was a big fan of the Mass Effect trilogy, horribly lazy ending (that my wife still isn’t over) aside. I loved exploring the corners of the universe with my personal version of Shepard and my main squadmates — Wrex, Liara, and Tali — across three different games. I always went full renegade, unless it came down to my teammates. I was always good to my own. Following the unwritten rule that the fourth game in a series can’t simply be [Game Title] 4, Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place long after Mass Effect 3, so we are at least led to believe that Shepard and company won’t be returning. Whatever the details, I’m ready to get back to Bioware’s interstellar universe.
6) Bravely Second
Bravely Default is hands down one of the best JRPGs I’ve ever played, even with it’s lackluster second act. From simple things like a random encounter frequency slider to all-new systems allowing you to use or store extra turns worth of actions, I loved it. Bravely Second has been out in Japan since April and is planned for a western release in 2016. When it does, you can be sure I’ll be playing it.
5) No Man’s Sky
Players have been waiting for a few years to jump into No Man’s Sky, where we will be able to explore over 18 quintillion procedurally-generated worlds, each with it’s own environment, weather, and living creatures. Each of those planets will be added to a living encyclopedia and their coordinates can be shared with other players. It sounds like Spore for planets. I am really, really hoping that it doesn’t have the same life as Spore, which became a glorified character creator in it’s short lifespan. I’ve become wary of games touting their size and fancy terms like procedural generation, so I’m tempering my anticipation of No Man’s Sky, if only slightly.
4) Mighty No. 9
Mighty No. 9 is one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, although it has had it’s share of highly-criticized delays and problems. Lead developer Keiji Inafune led a separate, unsuccessful campaign for Red Ash, leading some to speculate that it delayed a game that backers (like me) have already paid for. Mighty No. 9 is one of the main reasons why I don’t back games on Kickstarter anymore, but I’m still looking forward to playing it. I’ll have a review up shortly after it’s February release.
3) Hyper Light Drifter
I backed Hyper Light Drifter, a game inspired by developer Alex Preston’s heart disease, on Kickstarter back in 2013 and with it’s hopeful release in 2016, I’m getting more and more excited to finally play it. It started as a challenge to simulate older SNES games and the image above definitely invokes that feeling. Tight, tactical action with a retro vibe is something I can get behind. You should too!
2) Destiny 2
If Destiny 2 was anything more than rumor at this point, it would easily be #1 on my list. Many people, including me, believe that Bungie will release the full-fledged sequel to Destiny in September 2016. I think the recent announcement that no major content releases similar to previous DLC (The Dark Below, House of Wolves, The Taken King) will come in Destiny’s second year point towards Destiny 2 being on the horizon. Bungie is typically tight-lipped about upcoming content until the 11th hour, so we probably won’t see much news until May or so. Fingers crossed!
1) Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal is the second game on this list to feature dinosaurs, although Ubisoft’s world looks a lot less futuristic and a lot more … primal (sorry). Ubisoft’s adventure/FPS franchise has always surprised me, whether it be the 80’s-tastic Blood Dragon, the bad spring break vacation of Far Cry 3, or the Himalayan dictatorship in Far Cry 4. I have all the faith in the world that Far Cry Primal will be another great entry in the franchise, which makes it my most anticipated game of 2016.