If I had to pick the one feeling that defined video games in 2015, it would be "surprise." More so than any other year in recent memory, I was shocked by the games I found myself enjoying, and the ones that I really didn't like as much as I suspected:
- Couldn't stand The Witcher 1/2, enjoyed W3
- Enjoyed the wacky stories in MGS but disliked the gameplay, loved the feeling of MGSV more than anything else this year
- After revisiting New Vegas and having a great time with that, Fallout 4 wound up as a big letdown
- After getting really pessimistic with what Nintendo was saying about Mario Maker, the game turned out to be a blast
- Having so many people hype up Undertale led to unrealistic expectations that torpedoed it for me
- Hidden gems like Renowned Explorers, franchises that went from subpar to outstanding like Cities: Skylines, and love letters to classic genres like Axiom Verge dominated far more of my time than I ever expected.
The list I wound up with at the end of 2015 looked nothing like the list I would have had going into it, with perhaps two games making an appearance on both. Thinking back on it, I would have had a real laugh looking back on my predictions, and I doubt I'm alone in that. So, I figured I'd centralize that by making a topic that asks:
What game (or list of games, if you are feeling extra daring) will be your winner(s) at the end of this year?
A lot can happen in one year, as 2015 proved. Your prediction(s) may wind up totally wrong due to delays, faulty releases, poor design decisions, terrible ports, or unexpected/unknown gems stealing the crown. Hell, if you were riding on Scalebound as your GOTY hope, that's already been bounced out in the first week!
So, after consulting my crystal ball/future video game almanac/friendly neighborhood time traveler, my GOTY for 2016 is:
Ok, that's a bit of a cop-out, seeing as there's a good amount of hands on preview information out there from people I trust, and the buzz has been overwhelmingly positive. But if XCOM 2 is even slightly better than its predecessor, I should have no problem falling in love and devoting 100+ hours to it. At the very least, I can be sure it won't slip to 2017, so only a catastrophic series of design failures can ruin this for me.
Seeing as that's a bit cheap, here's my predicted top 10:
- XCOM 2
- No Man's Sky
- Dark Souls 3
- Mass Effect Andromeda
- Hearts of Iron 4
- Street Fighter V
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
And some that won't make it on my list so you can laugh at me when I totally fuck this up and get it all backwards (I don't own a XBONE, PS4, or Wii U, so any exclusives are right out):
- Far Cry: Primal (not a fan of the prehistoric theme)
- Dishonored 2 (won't be as good as Deus Ex for my stealth action RPG needs)
- Doom (You can't go back home (or to hell) again)
- Mirror's Edge: Catalyst (not a fan of first person platforming)
- The Witness (looks beautiful but not a fan of puzzle games and No Man's Sky will fill the "serene colorful game I play with a podcast on" niche
So, what are you 100% rock solid sure will be your 2016 GOTY? Do you hold out hope that Mass Effect will actually make it this holiday season, and are you willing to bet your imaginary internet street cred on that? Taking the safe bet like me and choosing a AAA game that comes out in the first half of the year? Going to sneak back in July and edit your post to save face?
Bookmark this and come back in a year, and prepare to laugh your ass off.