The 25 Most Anticipated Games of 2016!

Quantum Break
1-Quantum-Break

Release Date: April 5, 2016
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platforms: PC, Xbox One

I may be a “Playstation fanboy,” but I can still acknowledge cool Xbox games when they come around. And while Quantum Break might seem confusing, it certainly is cool. What interests me most isn’t the actual game itself, though the time manipulating powers seem fun to mess around with. What interests me the most is the linked live action television series that will be coming on the disc. Remedy has said that the story in the show will change based on your decisions in the game, which seems absolutely nuts. But Remedy has always had an interest in television and in new ways of telling stories, so if anyone was going to tackle something this ambitious, it would be them. I’m going in cautiously optimistic. There’s a fair chance that the tv portion of the game won’t hold up, but the actual game itself seems cool enough to sustain the series. Let’s just hope Quantum Break doesn’t turn into the next Defiance. Don’t remember that game/show hybrid? That’s exactly my point.

Ratchet and Clank Remake
1-Ratchet-and-Clank

Release Date: April 12, 2016
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4

Despite many people’s fatigue on the series, I love Ratchet and Clank. It’s fun, colorful, funny, the combat is tight, and collecting and upgrading everything fulfills my OCD needs. Games like All4One and Full Frontal Assault were missteps in Insomniac trying to diversify the gameplay, but I’ve loved every single one of the main entries. Tools of Destruction, Crack in Time, and Into the Nexus all made my Top 50 PS3 Games list, and the new game looks to be upping the ante in every way. This is no simple HD re-release of the original PS2 title. Insomniac is completely re-tooling Ratchet’s origin story, with new weapons, characters, locations, and story beats. Plus, the game looks like a Pixar film and ties in with the upcoming movie (which also looks awesome).

Rime
1-Rime

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Tequila Works
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4

Rime was first announced quite a while ago, mixing design elements from games like Ico, Zelda, and Journey. Now, that’s obviously setting the bar quite high, which might explain the delay of the game and the lack of new details over the last several months, but I’m still highly anticipating the new game from Tequila Works. The art design is beautiful, and the linear exploration and puzzle solving seems interesting, if simple. But what intrigues me the most about the game is the world that it’s set in. I want to learn more, to explore, and to see the different elements in action. There’s still very little detail on what the story of the game actually is, and I’m excited to hopefully hear more in the coming months.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
1-Fractured-But-Whole

Release Date: December 2016
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Considering the trials and tribulations Matt Stone and Trey Parker went through to get The Stick of Truth out the door, I was completely shocked to learn that they wanted to make another game. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy they’re making another one, and I’m sure the critical reception and sales helped motivate them, but for me this announcement was one of the biggest surprises at E3 last year. I was hoping the potential sequel would cover nerd ground other than the fantasy aspects of the first game, so I was excited to see the superhero slant. There’s plenty of topical material considering everyone’s current obsession with superheroes. I will say that there’s a large chance this will slip into 2017, but with the might of Ubisoft behind it, I’m hoping this one sticks to a Fall 2016 release date. The Stick of Truth was my Game of the Year in 2014, so I definitely have high hopes for this one.

Superhot
1-Superhot

Release Date: February 25, 2016
Developer: Superhot Team
Publisher: Superhot Team
Platforms: PC, Xbox One

When the demo for this game was first put online a few years ago, the concept blew me away. It was one of those “how has no one does this before” feelings, because the gameplay felt so simple and yet so fresh. For anyone that hasn’t seen it in action, Superhot is a first person shooter where time doesn’t move unless you do. You need to line up your shots beforehand so that the enemies move into them, while also keeping yourself in a position where you aren’t walking into the line of fire. The game also has this minimalist art style that really fits the gameplay and movement. I haven’t seen many people talking about Superhot, but it’s definitely one to keep your eye on.

Tacoma
1-Tacoma

Release Date: (sadly delayed to 2017)
Developer: Fullbright
Publisher: Fullbright
Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Gone Home was one of my favorite games in recent memory. A lot of the “indie hating” crowd railed against the game as not really being a video game, since you’re mostly just walking around a house, picking up items and gathering little pieces of story until you reach the conclusion. I understand those complaints, to a point. Gone Home wasn’t a video game in the traditional sense, but it absolutely pushed the boundaries of storytelling and emotion in gaming, and that’s something I have huge respect to Fullbright for. The reason I reference Gone Home is that Tacoma seems to be the next logical step in that form of video game design. You’re still just exploring a space, following along a somewhat pre-set path of discoveries, with very little in terms of puzzle solving. If “walking simulator” games don’t interest you (I for one find that moniker extremely reductive), then you probably won’t find much of interest in Tacoma. But, if you care about story and characters in games, and you like the idea of exploring a derelict space station, uncovering just what went wrong, then check out Tacoma later this year. As a matter of fact, go play Gone Home right now. I have confidence that neither game will disappoint.

Telltale’s Batman
1-Telltale-Batman

Release Date: Summer 2016
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive, DC Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Telltale is on the brink of over saturation. It feels like they constantly have 2-3 series running at any one time, and it’s been affecting their ability to put out episodes on time. Things have seemingly been getting better, however. The Minecraft series has mostly hit its marks, and the newly launched Walking Dead: Michonne mini-series will hopefully keep that up. With all of that being said, I’m still enjoying most of their output. Both Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones had their ups and downs, but they were still among my favorite games from last year. I’m taking most of their series on the strength of their properties moving forwards, and as a huge Batman fan, I’m willing to give their newest series a try. While their output has been inconsistent to say the least, and their game engine is in need of a major overhaul, Telltale’s storytelling ability is still near the top of the industry, and the Batman universe if ripe with interesting stories. Let’s just hope they stick to their release schedule and get those episodes out on time.

The Last Guardian
1-Last-Guardian

Release Date: October 2016
Developer: Team Ico, SCE Japan Studio
Publisher: Sone Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4

Oh boy, The Last Guardian. If it feels like people have been talking about this game for ten years, it’s because we basically have been. Originally announced back in 2009 at E3, the game was supposed to launch almost five years ago. But, after development troubles and high ranking developers leaving the project, The Last Guardian seemed dead. It became a running joke to expect some kind of update every year at E3, and every year, there was still nothing. Until 2015, when Sony announced that the game still existed, and that it was being released in 2016. Not getting a hard release date was a bit of a bummer, since they could very easily delay the game yet again, but I’ll take what I can get. The game doesn’t look to have changed much in its many years of development, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And judging from the Team Ico’s previous games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, it’s safe to assume either the boy or the dog/bird will die. Hopefully we do in fact get to find out this year.

Tom Clancy’s The Division
1-Division

Release Date: March 8, 2016
Developer: Ubisoft, Red Storm Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

My excitement for The Division is more tempered than most. After the incredible disappointment that was Destiny, I’ve become very wary of these open world, MMO-lite RPG shooters coming into the market. I’m mostly a single player kind of guy. It’s not that I don’t like multi-player games from time to time, it’s just that I typically approach gaming time as relaxation time, or personal creative time, and so I don’t usually want to be conversing with other people. It’s not them, it’s me. Destiny looked to be something different, a game that would actually suck me into the multiplayer and force me to make some new online friends (since most of my real life friends have in large part moved on from gaming). Sadly, Destiny did not do that. I ended up playing hours and hours by myself, and then feeling like I had wasted my time, since the best gear and most fun could only be had with a group of people. The Division is definitely cut from the same cloth, but I’m at least going into it knowing that a few of my real life friends are planning on joining in. It’s too early to tell if the endgame will be as unsatisfying as Destiny’s was, but let’s hope that Ubisoft learned from the many and obvious mistakes of Bungie, and that they’re planning on releasing an entire game, not something that’s been chopped up in order to sell more DLC. Only time will tell.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
1-Uncharted-4

Release Date: April 26, 2016
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4

I recently played through the Nathan Drake Collection, and despite the fact that some aspects of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune don’t hold up particularly well, it still cemented in my mind how amazing the Uncharted series has been, as well as how ready I am for Nathan Drake’s story to wrap up. I’ve had such a great time over the past several years getting into and out of seemingly impossible trouble with Drake, Sully, Chloe, and Elena, but I’m ready for Naughty Dog to move on. They’ve proven with The Last of Us that they can make even the most tired zombie trope into something worth experiencing, so I’m excited for them to try their hands at something else completely new. The game looks beautiful, and the gameplay additions seem meaningful yet still in the spirit of the series. I’m not sure how the dialogue options will end up playing out, but I trust Naughty Dog to tell an action-packed yet character focused tale. Drake’s story may be ending with this game, but Naughty Dog clearly still has a lot to say with their games. I’m excited to see what’s next.

We Happy Few
1-We-Happy-Few

Release Date: July 2016 (early access)
Developer: Compulsion Games
Publisher: Compulsion Games
Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Another game I think has been flying under peoples’ radar, We Happy Few is being made by the studio that put out Contrast, a PS4 launch game that was flawed but had a lot of great ideas. Their new game is based around stealth and exploration, with some combat thrown in there to spice things up. Design-wise, the influence of games like Bioshock Infinite is obvious, as We Happy Few offers up a fictional dystopian 1960’s England filled with situations and people that make it clear everything is not as it seems. The game actually reminds me of films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Equilibrium, where the main character is having to blend in with the people around him/her, while hiding their true personality. it’s a fascinating set up for a game, and the mix of horror elements matches well with the universe they’ve created. We’ve yet to see if the whole thing will come together in a satisfying way, but the idea for the game is sound.

What Remains of Edith Finch
1-Edith-Finch

Release Date: 2016
Developer: Giant Sparrow, SCE Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS4

The Unfinished Swan, Giant Sparrow’s previous game, was among my favorites of the PS3 generation, and it was a surprising one, at that. It came out around the same time as Journey, and was completely overshadowed by Journey in terms of sales and critical response. All that aside, I’m excited for What Remains of Edith Finch purely on the pedigree of Giant Sparrow and their partnership with Sony. But what’s more, the game does in fact seem intriguing and mysterious, with an element of horror thrown in. The game is a collection of short stories about a cursed family, and you control several different people/animals over the course of the game. A young girl, a cat, a bird, a shark, and more. I’m curious to see how the gameplay changes depending on who you control, and to learn more about this cursed family. The Unfinished Swan had beautiful art direction and inventive puzzles, even if they were simple at times. I hope What Remains of Edith Finch follows the same trajectory, and builds on some of the unique ideas from Giant Sparrow’s freshman outing.

Yooka-Laylee
1-Yooka-Laylee

Release Date: October 2016
Developer: Playtonic Games
Publisher: Playtonic Games, Team17
Platforms: PC, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One

What a weird world we live in, where nothing goes away forever and if one company doesn’t allow you to make the game you want, you can just raise the money to make it yourself. That’s the story behind the development of Yooka-Laylee, one of the more recent KickStarter successes in the gaming industry. The game looks to bring back the 3D platformer in a way that no other game has really been able to do. Last year’s Grow Home jumps to mind as a valiant effort, but it certainly didn’t have the scale or ambition of Yooka-Laylee, or the pedigree behind it. Yooka-Laylee is being developed by designers formerly of Rare, creators of some of your favorite games as a kid (or at least mine). Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country, and more all serve as inspiration for the new property. The game has an adorable art style and fun world, and while we haven’t seen much gameplay, it’s easy to give the benefit of the doubt considering the team behind it. I for one am ready for the return of the 3D platormer. Are you?

So there you have it, 25 amazing games still to come this year. What games are you most looking forward to in 2016? Any games on this list that you think will be delayed to 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

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