A new year brings a host of exciting new games and it looks like 2016 will be no exception. From triple A titles to inventive indies it looks like this coming year will have a host of games for everyone, no matter your genre preferences. With this in mind the Player2 crew were asked to name one big budget and one indie title that is set for release in 2016 and explain why these titles are so appealing to them. These are those very explanations. Welcome to the Player2 New Year Wishlist.
New Year Wishlist – Part One
AAA – Horizon: Zero Dawn
Most people who have followed me over the journey know of my great love for the Uncharted franchise, and my lifelong adoration of Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda, but my most anticipated big name game for 2016 isn’t the impending release from any of these franchises. The reason for this is quite simple, when I pick up the controller for the first time with any of these three upcoming games, I have a fairly good idea what to expect. Being a new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn has the potential to be anything, but the fact that it’s an open world action/RPG with a strong female protagonist, robot dinosaurs and eye-bleedingly good visuals (all this from one gameplay demo!) is a pretty good start! The promise of Horizon already has my imagination running wild – now I cross my fingers and hope it lands in 2016.
Indie – Yooka-Laylee
There are some wonderful independently developed games coming out in 2016, I cite Rime, No Man’s Sky, Inside, Below and of course A Hat in Time as just a few examples, but the hype train left the station for this particular title the moment that the Kickstarter was announced in May 2015. Yooka-Laylee has an incredible pedigree, being developed by many of the ex-Rare geniuses that developed Perfect Dark, Golden-eye, Donkey Kong Country and of course Banjo-Kazooie. Taking great influence from the latter of those titles, Yooka-Laylee looks to take us back to a time where the mascot platformer thrived, and though we’re yet to have seen much (what we have was quite primitive footage) the quality of those working on Yooka-Laylee guaranteed my immediate excitement. I’m uneasy about it actually releasing in 2016 – but I’m hoping against hope.
AAA – Mass Effect: Andromeda
I am holding out for Mass Effect: Andromeda with every fibre of my being, which is currently apparelled with as much N7 garments that I am able to wear at any one time. With news that one of the developers has played the first hour of the game, I am reasonably confident that we will see Andromeda in 2016. Guessing through the E3 2015 trailer and Bioware’s N7 Day message, the consensus seems to be that this series focuses on the main playable character tasked with the mission to find a new home for humanity and other races. Of course, I don’t think that anyone has forgotten that moment at the end of Mass Effect 3…
Just keep breathing, Sarah. Just keep breathing.
Oh and there is something about maybe being able to pilot the ship, which would be fantastic but makes me miss Joker that much more.
While this is the major game on my horizon this year, I am also hoping for a waggle-free Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, a portable-friendly Hyrule Warriors on the 3DS, and more fantastic RPG action in Divinity Original Sin 2.
Indie – Hollow Knight
In contrast, this is the first time that I went to PAX Australia and had a good solid look at the indie games on display, and I am really excited for the further developments for Hollow Knight from Team Cherry. In particular, I am excited for this to be on the Nintendo Wii U (if they can make it in before Nintendo tries to pack up the console and promote the “NX” or whatever they are planning on calling it) as there are so many wonderful ways that the developers can integrate gamepad capabilities that would complement the hardware. It is gorgeous, has a beautiful soundtrack, and takes me back to playing Super Metroid so automatically has my tick of approval. Paul did a great preview of this game before PAX Australia where he caught up with Team Cherry that will also reiterate the awesome design choices of the team.
AAA – Uncharted 4
In terms of looking over the slated releases for this year and actually saying out loud, “Hell yes, I’m going to buy that!” there’s only one game that qualifies and that is Uncharted 4. Having recently replayed the previous three (3 was much better than I remember), I’m really keen for some tightly scripted exploration. I’d actually play an entire Uncharted game minus the gunplay, but of course Naughty Dog will go all out in that department and I’ll probably enjoy it with a big grin like everyone else. There’s undeniable charm in the series’ honest chin-thrusting, and something thrilling in Nathan Drake’s full-bodied punches, even if there’s heavy reliance on the ghosts of Indiana Jones and Prince of Persia.
Indie – The Witness
My indie pick for 2016 has to be The Witness. Some of it is pure curiosity to see if Blow can match his ego and follow up Braid with something equally as compelling. I have a feeling that The Witness will be something of a fart-sniffer’s game, with the playing elite standing back and laughing at us dullards wallowing in the mud of obscure puzzles. However, there’s also the potential for something quite special, for players to learn a new language of understanding and to become completely entranced by something truly amazing. I’m hoping it’s the latter. And if it’s a success, we can look forward to Blow’s next game in 2035.
AAA – Dark Souls 3
Any of you that follow me on twitter will probably find it no surprise that the big AAA title that I am looking forward to in 2016 is of course Dark Souls 3. Hot off the success of Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3 sees the return of long running Souls-Borne game director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who for those unaware did not direct Dark Souls 2. Frankly I don’t have a lot to say about Dark Souls 3, because with souls games I try to ‘go in blind’, so I haven’t watched any of the trailers, gameplay videos or developer diaries. Simply put a new Dark souls game with Miyazaki at the helm is all the information that I need. (Total War: Warhammer is a very close second)
Indie – Grim Dawn
The Indie game that I am most looking forward to in 2016 is Grim Dawn from Crate Entertainment. I am so looking forward to Grim Dawn that I backed it on Kickstarter back in 2013. The main developers over at Crate Entertainment worked on the super awesome ARPG Titan’s Quest so it’s fair to say they know their way around an ARPG. Fantastically detailed environments, super deep character development and a great story are what we can expect from Grim Dawn. If this seems like something you would be down for, why wait, It’s currently available for Early Access now on steam.