The 25 Most Anticipated Games of 2016!

I know, I know, we’re already two months into 2016 and great games like The Witness and Firewatch have already come out. But, I’m a slacker and I at least wanted to at least talk about the big games before more start coming out, or before half of them are delayed to 2017.

So, before we get into this, there are WAY more than 25 awesome looking games coming out this year, and plenty of awesome looking games that just don’t really interest me personally. So, please leave in the comments what games you’re most looking forward to, but realize that if a game isn’t on the list, it’s for a reason. I didn’t forget anything, my opinion is just better different than yours. It’s been known to happen.

I want to make mention of two games that I’m highly anticipating, but that DO NOT HAVE A CHANCE IN HELL of coming out in 2016. Otherwise, they would definitely be on the list.

Kingdom Hearts 3
1-KH-3

Release Date: TBD
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

I know, I want to play it too, but there is just no way that KH3 comes out in 2016. We’ve seen too little of the game, and resources at Square Enix have been moved around so much between Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3, it’ll be a miracle if either game comes out this year. But, since they have to ship something in 2016, I’m putting my money on Final Fantasy. Expect KH3 to ship in Fall 2017. I know. It sucks.

Final Fantasy VII Remake
1-FF-VII

Release Date: TBD
Developer: Square Enix, CyberConnect2
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4

Speaking of Final Fantasy, here’s another pipe dream of a game. Now, maybe the new episodic release model that Square is trying will enable the first episode to hit in 2016, but I’m not holding my breath. Executives at Square have come out and said the footage that’s been shown is basically all that exists at this point, and that they’re still trying to figure out how the game will play and what the changes to the story will be. That’s pre-production stuff, and probably means we won’t see Episode One until Spring of 2017, with maybe Episode Two hitting in Fall of that year, if they’re going for a really aggressive release schedule. And that’s a big “if,” considering it’s Square Enix that we’re talking about.

And now, the real list! All games will be listed alphabetically, and as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m only considering games that have been given a 2016 release date, or that are far enough along into development that a 2016 release seems likely. With all of that in mind, here’s the list of my 25 most anticipated games of (the rest of) 2016!

 

Abzu
1-Abzu

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Giant Squid
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PC, PS4

We’re starting off this list with a bit of a weird choice. I haven’t seen many people talking about Abzu, which surprises me considering how video game outlets have begun focusing on smaller, more experimental titles like Undertale and Her Story. Not that Abzu necessarily throws video game conventions out the window, but it certainly tells an uncommon story in an unconventional way. Basically, you explore the ocean, at all of its different depths. There’s no combat, there aren’t even complex puzzles to solve. It’s mostly about exploring the most unknown place left on our planet. I’m completely terrified of the open ocean, but hopefully the beautiful, painterly art design makes this less of a horror game for me.

Adr1ft
1-Adr1ft

Release Date: March 28, 2016
Developer: Three One Zero
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Despite having a stupid number in the title, Adr1ft is the title that’s probably sold me on VR the most. Not that I plan on picking up the Oculus Rift or PS VR day one (I’m not rich and/or crazy), but Adr1ft seems to experiment with a lot of the coolest VR possibilities in one game. It’s first person, there’s a story based around exploration and self-discovery, there’s no combat so there aren’t any wonky controls to worry about, and it takes place in the vastness of space. As with the ocean of Abzu, space terrifies me, so I’m sure it’ll be a complete blast to be constantly out of oxygen and on the verge of floating away into space. Sounds like a great time.

Banner Saga 2
1-Banner-Saga-2

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Stoic Studio
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platforms: PC

The first Banner Saga made it onto my Game of the Year list for 2014, and while that was an admittedly weak year overall for gaming, I still loved my time with the game. The art style was unique, and evoked a combination of the hand-drawn Disney movies of yesteryear with the violence of the most graphic animated films from Japan. I originally described the game as Oregon Trail mashed with Game of Thrones, and I still think that rings true. My biggest complaint was that the turn based tactical combat seemed to take a back seat to the world and character building, but when those things are this top notch, it’s hard to fault the game too much. The first game recently released on PS4 and Xbox One, so if you haven’t checked it out, do yourself a favor and remedy that. Banner Saga was a truly special game that didn’t receive enough attention, and I hope the sequel has more opportunity to impress.

Cuphead
1-Cuphead

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Studio MDHR
Publisher: Studio MDHR
Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Cuphead is still one of the coolest looking games I’ve seen, in pretty much every category. It looks like a Looney Toons cartoon and it plays like the boss battles from your favorite side scrolling shoot ’em ups. That’s a pretty awesome combination, and it’s even more impressive when you consider that it’s basically being made by two dudes. I’m glad you can bring a friend, but with so many crazy things happening on screen, I’m not sure that it will actually make the game easier. Regardless, I plan on roping my brother into suffering through the co-op with me.

Final Fantasy XV
1-FF-XV

Release Date: September 30, 2016
Developer: Square Enix, Avalanche Studios, XPEC Entertainment, HexaDrive
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

After tons of trailers and gameplay videos, and even a sizable free demo, I’m just ready for Final Fantasy XV to come the hell out already. I’m sold, just give me the game. It’s interesting because Square Enix has been taking a lot of flack for betraying the series roots with recent games, especially the mixed bag XIII trilogy, and Square definitely seems to be listening to feedback with their new entry. It still isn’t the Final Fantasy from when you were a kid, there’s no turn based combat or sprites, but there is a huge open world, fluid combat, gorgeously animated characters, and plenty of world ending melodrama. The characters themselves I’m less interested in, but I love the idea of turning a bro-time road trip movie into a video game, especially when there are mechs and giant monsters involved. Final Fantasy is the only video game series that I still use a guide with, because I just want to see, do, and learn everything. I’m excited to do that at least one more time with Final Fantasy XV.

Horizon: Zero Dawn
1-Horizon

Release Date: (sadly delayed to 2017)
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4

When Horizon: Zero Dawn was revealed at E3, I was stunned. Most people (including me) were expecting to see something new from Guerrilla, but the stage demo completely shattered my expectations. An open-world RPG, sure, that’s what they had been rumored to be working on. But the design and depth of the world, and how far along in development they seemed to be, that’s what was truly surprising. First, you get a badass female lead. Next, place her in the future of the future. So, not right after the Apocalypse has happened, not even a few hundred years after like the Fallout series, but years and years after to where society has been reformed. Or, at least a version of society. Horizon: Zero Dawn looks like that dinosaur hunting game you never knew you wanted, only set in the future. Read that sentence again and tell me you aren’t excited.

Hyper Light Drifter
1-Hyper-Light-Drifter

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Heart Machine
Publisher: Heart Machine
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox One

I haven’t seen nearly enough people talking about Hyper Light Drifter. It might be the faux-pixel art graphics, which are nearing the point of being overdone in games, or it might just be the fact that gamers tend to look down on “indie” games, but with the success of games like Dark Souls, you’d think more people would be excited for Hyper Light Drifter. It’s a really hard, action combat and exploration focused game that doesn’t hold your hand. It’s basically Dark Souls in 2D. Now, I never really got into Dark Souls, but Hyper Light Drifter excites me because the player character has more mobility, including a “dash” that zooms you forwards, and by necessity, the scale has been dialed back significantly. Hyper Light Drifter seems more approachable in a “can you figure this out” context, but it’s still tightly focused around the game mechanics. I also just really want to learn more about the world of the game, and who this Drifter is.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
1-Zelda-Wii-U

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Wii U

When Wii U games are as few and far between as they have been, Nintendo needs to make them count. And I’ve heard the conspiracy theories that Nintendo is going to hold back Zelda as a crossover game between the Wii U and NX, same as what they did with Twilight Princess, but I don’t see that happening. Porting the game over to the NX for launch or soon thereafter? Sure. But they would be nuts to hold it back so long when they so desperately need new games on the platform. Anyway, Zelda looks awesome. We’ve still only seen a scarily small amount of the game, but I love the open world idea, and the visuals are beautiful. Some of the combat and aiming for the bow seemed wonky during a live demo, but hopefully Nintendo isn’t making an overuse¬†of the Wii U game pad. I love the bright colors, I love the setting, I just want to see more of the game in action. Especially if it is in fact launching this year.

LEGO Worlds
1-Lego-Worlds

Release Date: 2016 (currently available in early access)
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Platforms: PC

I know, I know, Minecraft mania is on the downslope and voxel-based crafting and exploration games are still taking over the early access page on Steam, but LEGO Worlds is different than its contemporaries for two big reasons. First, the pedigree. LEGO is an awesome brand, known for inspiring creativity and adventure. The game is also being made by TT Games, makers of the almost always awesome LEGO games from your favorite franchises. Second, judging from the success of the early access version of the game, TT Games, LEGO, and Warner Bros are definitely taking the opportunity seriously, offering a huge variety of things to do and places to explore. Obviously the game has the advantage of a large development and publishing team behind it, bu this isn’t the typical “small team of people made a thing and will update and support it if we get the time and money.” It’s safe to count on plenty of big updates on a consistent basis when the game fully launches later this year. If you like this style of game, LEGO Worlds looks to raise the bar significantly.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
1-Andromeda

Release Date: (sadly delayed to 2017)
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

If you review my post about my favorite games from last generation, you’ll see that all three previous Mass Effect games graced my top 50, so it should be no surprise that I’m highly anticipating the next entry. While the story of Shepard and the Reapers is over, I have no doubt that the folks over at Bioware are crafting something truly special. They’ve been very hush hush so far, but plenty of rumored information has leaked over the past couple of years. If we look at Bioware’s video game trajectory, it’s probably safe to assume that there’s very little chance that fans of the original Mass Effect’s hardcore RPG roots will be satisfied with the new title, but I’m counting on amazing characters, interesting, evolving relationships, smart combat, and an epic tale with a wealth of amazing things to do and places to explore. I’d love to have more customization options for my weapons and armor, and to be able to drive the Mako around an entire planet, but those things don’t define Mass Effect games to me. Please don’t let this one slip into 2017, Bioware.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
1-Catalyst

Release Date: May 24, 2016
Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The first Mirror’s Edge was a critical darling with a cult fan base, but it never sold particularly well so most people thought the series was dead before it had really begun. Personally, I was a big fan of the first game. It had its problems, of course, namely the shooting mechanics and lack of story, but the new and fresh ideas of Mirror’s Edge far outweighed the negative. Well, the series is back, and DICE seems to be focused on rectifying the problems with the first game while still staying true to what made it so unique in the first place. There’s no longer any gun play, all combat is hand to hand only, which is a huge improvement. The trailers have also been highlighting the story, so while it’s kind of confusing that the game is part prequel and part reboot, at least we can hope for something there to justify all of the free running and parkour other than it looking really cool. But honestly, as long as DICE nails the feel of the game, I’ll be satisfied. I’m just happy that we’re getting another chance to play Faith at all.

No Man’s Sky
1-No-Man's-Sky

Release Date: August 2016
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games
Platforms: PC, PS4

If you asked me a year ago, No Man’s Sky would have been my most anticipated game of 2015 (even though no hard release date had been announced). Since then, the game has been “delayed” into 2016, and we’ve continued to not really see a whole lot of gameplay. There have been plenty of videos, but they mostly consist of walking around a planet, clicking on some stuff, and then flying to another one to do the same thing. The tech that Hello Games has built is completely mind boggling, but it’s worrying to me that we haven’t seen more of the moment to moment gameplay. I want to know how trading works, how crafting works, and why we’re trying to get to the center of the universe. No Man’s Sky is an incredibly risky, ambitious project. While I’m still very excited to explore the universe, my expectations have been tempered ever so slightly. Here’s hoping that No Man’s Sky delivers on that original promise when it launches later this year.

One thought on “The 25 Most Anticipated Games of 2016!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.