Top 35 Most Anticipated Games of 2015 - #35 - #21

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Posted by DevourerOfTime (707 posts) -

2015 is something like 10% done so it's a little hard to do a "looking ahead to 2015" piece with a straight face, but WHATEVER. Here's the first 15 games of 2015 that look hella fucking cool. Enjoy the list.

Note: For this list, I don't consider Early Access games to be released. There is a lot that can happen during a game's time on the service and for those of who wait for a game to be complete to play it, we're still waiting for its release date regardless.

#35 -Gang Beasts

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An insane piece of rubber baby wrestling, drunken Pillsbury Doughboy street brawling, humanoid stress ball king of the hill nonsense Gang Beast’s simplistic style, basic ruleset, and thin content doesn’t exactly belie any sort of hidden depth in the game, but it’s still a bundle of good, stupid fun. Sure, there’s a few “advanced” techniques to get a hang of, from wall climbing to using momentum to toss players around, but from the state the game is currently in, it’s merely a multiplayer riot.

And there is nothing wrong with that. Playing Gang Beasts with several other people is an absolute blast and definitely a game to add to your local multiplayer rotation.

But I’m interested to see what exactly Boneloaf can do to expand on the core of this game before they officially launch it. I don’t know what mechanics could add depth without ruining the simplistic design they currently have, but I can’t help but feel there’s some sort of potential with this game’s core idea that’s left untapped…

If they just end up adding more levels and costumes, polishing up the menus, and tightening the controls a wee bit more, Gang Beasts will be worth every cent if you’re a fan of local multiplayer games. So I guess I should just be happy with that.

#34 - Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

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I’m taking a very optimistic view on this new Kirby game, as it seems I’m the only person out there who was thoroughly unimpressed by Rainbow Curse’s predecessor, Canvas Curse on the DS. It was a neat idea, but it felt shallow in its execution. However easy it would be for me to dismiss this new game as just the same design with the same flaws a decade later (yes, it has been a decade since Canvas Curse came out. Yes, that makes me feel really old.), I don’t feel like being a downer on such a happy, charming game. So instead I’m hoping that Rainbow Curse can make good on the promise the original had, with more interesting level design and better use of Kirby’s powers.

And if it doesn’t? Well, maybe that co-op and unbelievably cute art style will make up for it. Hey, it worked for Kirby’s Epic Yarn!

#33 - Mario Maker

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I'm never going to be good at level design if I can't make something better than this mess!
I'm never going to be good at level design if I can't make something better than this mess!

Considering my plan in life is to go into game development professionally within the next two years or so, it might be weird and slightly discouraging that I’ve never really had any passion to mess around with these types of create-your-own-level games, like LittleBigPlanet or WarioWare D.I.Y. I respect the hell out of those who make beautiful, weird, wonderful levels in these games/tools, especially since I can then download those levels and enjoy myself, but I would much rather get into the code, into the nitty-gritty than using a toolkit that is more approachable, but limited.

But you know, if the tools are robust, the controls are accurate to their originals, and the sharing and discovery of levels is quick and easy to use… I might just give this game a shot. I mean, unlike something like LittleBigPlanet (which has robust tools but not exactly the tightest platforming), the Mario series is pretty much the best you can get when it comes to platforming physics and design.

It might not be working on the code and design of a new Mario game, but Mario Maker could be the next best thing for both big fans of the games and up-and-coming developers.

#32 - Gravity Rush 2

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I finished Gravity Rush over the summer, twisting and turning my Vita screen as I flew through the air while divekicking the same amorphous blobs in the big glowy red spot over and over. It was repetitive, looked a little too brown and dull for that amazing art style, and crammed way too many instances of forced touch screen and motion controls, but I enjoyed my time with it. More so than most other open worlds of its type, in fact. And on the Vita, no less!

Really, the game has an excellent core to its design. It just needs to flush out everything around it. That’s a big “just”, but the most fun I had with Gravity Rush was just zooming around the world, looking at the sights as I soar by, finding gems on top of lighthouses, and running on the side of buildings. If they could make some compelling side content, a story that focused a little more on Kat’s character, and give the combat system a little more love, Gravity Rush 2 would be killer. With the early-in-development footage released (embedded below) you can already see a lot more vivid use of colour in the world, so the game’s already on the right track in my books.

So let’s go, Sony! I’m willing to give this gravity defying series another shot.

#31 - Firewatch

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What is this game!?
What is this game!?

What is Firewatch? Well we’re not really sure yet, even those of us who have seen lengthy demos or have talked to the developers themselves. It seems to be simultaneously embracing and rejecting the modern models of adventure games. It focuses on the human relationships and choices like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, but doesn’t limit the player to doing this through binary choices or text selection. It has an extreme amount of detail in its environment and relies on the player to explore it carefully to piece together the details of the characters’ lives, much like Fullbright’s Gone Home. Yet the setting varies drastically, as you fan out to different parts of the Wyoming wilderness. It does this through use of jump cuts in a linear story, showing different scenarios that expose something about the greater story and character interactions. Kinda like how Thirty Flights of Loving uses them to force the player’s imagination to fill in the blanks, though Firewatch seems to not use jump cuts quite as liberally.

So what is Firewatch? It could be what I described above, but that’s mostly just a guess on my part based off the little footage I’ve seen of the game. I could be completely wrong! Who knows! Either way, it’s certainly something unique and interesting. Hopefully, whatever Firewatch ends up being, it will be right up my alley.

#30 - Star Fox Wii U

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The last (and only) time Star Fox was good.
The last (and only) time Star Fox was good.

I say this a lot and I get a weird amount of pushback on it, but Star Fox 64 is one of the best games ever made. The movement… the shooting.. the enemy waves, designs, and placement… branching paths based on in level performances… the way score is handled and encourages replayability. Ahhh… it’s easily the best game in the series, a highlight in the Nintendo 64’s catalogue, and stands up there with the best of the best in the on-rails shooter subgenre (like Sin & Punishment and Rez). It’s not for everyone, sure, as many criticized its 3DS remake recently as too short or repetitive (a criticism that reminds me of reviews fixating on Street Fighter IV's lack of story or Spec Ops: The Line's poor multiplayer), but for even the most tangential fans of the genre, it was a pure and near perfect shooter experience.

Fast forward two decades and the Star Fox series is still riding on the back of its only notable entry like a forgotten actor milking their only big TV performance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the idea of a new game, but twenty years is a really long time to wait for a series to produce a game worth anyone’s time (beyond Star Fox Assault’s so-bad-it’s-good multiplayer). Do I have faith that Miyamoto can bring the series back on track? Not really. Star Fox 64 is the kind of technical game that is not really Miyamoto’s forte. He’s better at taking a complex set of genre conventions and designing them to be approachable, like Pikmin or those demos he showed off at E3 last year. As much as it would be wish fulfillment for Kamiya, I really think a studio that puts as much focus on fine tuning combat mechanics like Platinum would be the ones to return the series to form.

But Nintendo is always full of surprises, which is why this game is on this list. I might not have a lot of hope for the project, but, it’s good to see the series get a new installment after such a long wait and, hey, it could be fantastic! Who knows! And if it’s not, well, at least we’ll always have that Bayonetta 2 bonus level.

#29 - Darkest Dungeon

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It may be grossly oversimplifying its mechanics and maybe even a bit reductive of the innovations Red Hook Games is making with Darkest Dungeon, but I have to hand it to them for tricking a lot of people to talk about an indie JRPG. An independent developer has to struggle to get all the coverage they can, while most games with a classic turn-based RPG battle system are largely ignored by the western press. So for this game to get the attention it deserves and run a successful kickstarter, no doubt influenced by the inclusion of some popular roguelike mechanics and use of a popular dark & gloomy art style, is simply amazing, as it looks outstanding.

I could go on for quite a bit about the little things this game seems to be doing right so far, but the way it tries to humanize its randomly generated characters is what grabs me. The story and concept of the affliction system remind me a lot of Rogue Legacy, though with less of a goofy tone to it (I don’t think we’ll be seeing upside down screens or constantly farting characters). The more serious handling of such a touchy subject (especially for someone who suffers from a few mental illnesses) is a tricky tightrope to walk and I’m not exactly sure that they’ll pull it off, but the end product will end up being infinitely better if they do.

#28 - A Hat in Time

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Getting some serious Banjo-Kazooie vibes here.
Getting some serious Banjo-Kazooie vibes here.

Look, I get it. The 3D platformer died for a reason. The overemphasis on collectibles lead to trash like Donkey Kong 64, the studios that once excelled at its design have shut down or moved to bigger markets as the medium sized developer shrunk out of existence, the rise of indie games and the (comparative) ease of 2D platforming design made 3D platformers unattractive to smaller teams, the market for even the children 3D platformers dried up as mobile exploded… there is no reason to believe that the 3D platformer will ever see a return to prominence like we saw around the turn of the millennium.

But I still want to see it have a comeback. I miss them. I still have enough good memories about the early games like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie from my childhood, I still would love to see more entries in the PS2 trifecta of Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet & Clank, and I love the more experimental designs in the genre with Psychonauts and Jet Set Radio (totally counts. Think about it).

A Hat in Time might be kickstarting that 3D Platformer resurgence. It looks a little rough in it’s alpha footage, but watching that footage invokes all of that wonder I had when I jumped into a brand new world in Super Mario 64. It gives me hope that, with so many indie games covering the gaps left by AAA game design stagnating, the 3D platformer might not quite rise again, but definitely have a brighter future than it has in the past few years.

#27 - Tokyo Xanadu

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  • Platforms: ???
  • Release Date:2015
  • Video: N/A

I’m really rolling the dice here. The only thing we know about Tokyo Xanadu is a few pieces of art, a short paragraph describing the story premise, and the legacy of the series. Beyond that, who knows? Will it be some sort of visual novel spinoff that never comes out to North America? Will it be a smartphone only game that is a large departure from the original games? Will it be a faithful sequel with some key elements that will turn me away from it? When I put it like that, I don’t really have a rational reason to put this game on this list. There are too many unknowns…

Yet, I am still excited for it. I may be a new fan of Nihon Falcom, but some of their recent releases like Ys: Memories of Celceta have won me over with their excellent gameplay design and smart world building. I’d be happy to see more localizations of the games (they’ve been churning out games in the Trails franchise almost every year over there), but a revival of one of their older franchises seems a lot more interesting than rapid-fire iteration.

It might not exactly be a new, unique property like I’d hope they’d do next and I might not have much experience with the Xanadu franchise, but I have a lot of trust built up for the developers at Falcom to build a fantastic game. And that’s enough for me to get excited for it, even if it ends up being a Japanese-only cell phone free-to-play game that I have no interest in.

#26 - Bloodborne

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Bloodborne takes the
Bloodborne takes the "Blood" part of its name very seriously. Glad I got over my hemophobia in games.

I have not seen a Souls game through. Still! Not due to lack of interest or excitement, mind you. I respect the gameplay, adore the world design, and even enjoy the clunky nature of its asynchronous community within the game. No, it’s not that I don’t believe that Dark Souls or Demon's Souls won’t hold my attention, I’m afraid that they will hold too much of it.

For the past few years my life has been a mess of ever-present anxiety, strained relationships with family and friends, and the soul-crushing weight of an overabundance of obligated responsibilities, (rather than motivating and fulfilling responsibilities like game making). It would be irresponsible to believe I could dive headfirst into the worlds From Software have been releasing for the past 6 years and think I could juggle it alongside everything else.

Bloodborne will be hitting store shelves at a weird time of transition in my life, as two decades of school ends and the rest of my life begins. I hope that, once that transition is over, I can finally find that oxymoronic middle ground where my life is proceeding in such a satisfying direction that I’ll have the luxury to remove myself from it for hours at a time.

Until then, I’ll be very excited for Bloodborne and it’s evolution on the style of its Souls spiritual-predecessors, but only from afar.

#25 - Phantom Dust

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By the time I knew about Phantom Dust and had the means to play it, the community had dried up. With the looming closure of Xbox Live for the original Xbox, I felt like the door had closed, that I missed my chance to experience this weird arena based, collectible card game, deck building, action RPG. Sure, there was still a lengthy campaign to experience, but it would still only be part of the full experience. I put the game in the backlog, making the empty promise to return to it one day.

I wasn’t the most excited person on the internet when this Phantom Dust remake was announced at E3 last year (that would be Nick Robinson), but I was pretty happy to see it. It’s one of those truly surprising announcements at E3 that ensures you watch every year. It wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out, but with the buzz from diehard fans, from people who clued into the game just a little too late (like me), and, hopefully, a warm reception of a good remake, I think there will be a lot of people experiencing this forgotten classic for the first time when it eventually launches. And it might just be enough to convince me to grab a Xbox One for myself and be right there with them.

#24 - Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

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This game looks really, really ugly, stars a bunch of American and English historical and fictional figures I don’t know (beyond Lincoln), has a steampunk theme to it (blah!), and seems to be taking most of its mechanics straight from Valkyria Chronicles, but with more spring-loaded-boxing-gloves and less horrors of war.

Code Name S.T.E.A.M. has a lot souring my excitement for it, which is really unfortunate because “new SRPG series from Intelligent Systems” is just about the most excited I could get for a 6 word pitch for a new game. I’ll pick this game up despite everything about it looking boring, bland, and ugly, just because I’m positive the mechanics will be superb.

#23 - Danganronpa: Another Episode

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*shakes fist at sky* ANIIIIIMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEE
*shakes fist at sky* ANIIIIIMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEE

It’s hard to explain why I am so excited to play Danganronpa: Another Episode without spoiling the rest of the series. Anyone who has played the games knows exactly why the idea behind this game could be so appealing, so I guess a quick, very vague recap for those not in the know is the best way to proceed….

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair are visual novels that lock up over a dozen high school students with over-the-top anime trope personalities. Some wacky hijinks ensue just based off of that, but once their captor Monokuma (a black and white bear… thing) appears, he threatens to keep them locked up forever unless they manage to get away with murdering one of their fellow classmates.

It plays out like a mixture between thrilller visual novels like Zero Escape, mystery visual novels like Ace Attorney, the SAW franchise of films, and a parody of anime cliches. The characters, initially just paper-thin anime stereotypes, are fleshed out really well. In fact, I’d say only a handful of characters across both characters don’t have satisfying arcs, mostly due to them dying early in their stories. So you end up liking a lot of the cast… only for them to die horrible, horrible deaths at the hands of your other favourite characters. You then have to suspect all the rest of your favourite characters, find out which one of them committed murder, and watched helplessly as Monokuma deals out horrific retribution.

This is the only other screenshot in the Giant Bomb gallery that doesn't have spoilers for Danganronpa 1 or 2.
This is the only other screenshot in the Giant Bomb gallery that doesn't have spoilers for Danganronpa 1 or 2.

These arenas of life and death, stories of mysteries and tragedies, struggles between hope and despair…. they are all taking place in a box, in a cage that both the characters and the player cannot leave from. The game is great at world building within that cage, but only makes vague references to the world outside. Why aren’t you being rescued? Why is this allowed to happen? Is everything okay outside? There’s a big curtain there, that you only, briefly, get to peak behind if you follow the story close enough.

Another Episode isn’t that. The curtain is thrown wide upon within the first 20 minutes of the game, letting all the theories, all the speculation you have about the world of Dangitronpaul lay bare (bear?). Some would question that approach after being so coy about it, that it would ruin some of the magic of the first two games, but it was really the only way to proceed.

Another Episode doesn’t look like the most compelling game from a gameplay perspective, but I cannot wait to sink my teeth (and claws) into what those first two games have been keeping from me.

P.S. This game is not announced for North America yet, but I hope and pray that the disgusting tickle (see: boob touching) minigame that’s in this game gets taken out in its English release. Guh. Blah.

#22 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D

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There’s not much that needs to be said about this remake. It’s the best Zelda game ever made with a fresh coat of paint and a few gameplay tweaks. Given how high quality the Star Fox 64 and Ocarina of Time remakes were, I think it’s pretty safe to say this will end up just as good.

And that’s about it. Pick it up if you haven’t played it before, as it ages just as well (if not better) than Ocarina. It’s not the most exciting entry on the list, but having this excellent experience in your pocket wherever you go is going to be a blast.

#21 - Superhot

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SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.
SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT.

I like to think of myself as someone who gives every game, every genre a chance, but the single player FPS is a hard sell for me. Very few games have ever made just the action of shooting a gun an enjoyable activity for me, so with a genre that uses that as its main draw I’m kinda left out. It’s like if I tried to get someone who hated turn based RPG combat to play Etrian Odyssey, a game that is nothing but that. So when games like Far Cry 4 were getting Game of the Year nods from several publications last year, I was having incredibly boring flashbacks to that one time I thought renting Far Cry 3 was a good idea.

(It wasn’t.)

Superhot managed to, in a demo that takes ten minutes, grip me in a way no single player FPS has in years. It’s funny, it’s creative, it’s stylish, it’s tactile, innovative, and refreshing. Every shot you take has weight, every bullet whizzing by your head is an actual obstacle, and every level is a delicious puzzle to be solved. While there is very little details out there on how this game will be expanded from a short game jam project into a full title, which leaves me a little concerned if this will hold up over a longer experience, Superhot already has me on board.

Don’t just take my word for it though. You can play the original 7DFPS demo here right in your browser or watch Drew play through it in the video link above.

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#1 Posted by BeachThunder (15158 posts) -

I really hope Firewatch ends up good, if done well, it could be GOTY material.

SUPER.

Also, Code Name STEAM seems promising. Hopefully it has some good tactical depth. Also, it's been a long time since I've bought a physical 3DS game.

HOT.

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#2 Edited by Corevi (6796 posts) -

Good list.

Wanting something to be cut from a game because it offends your sensibilities is a bad idea because that's how we get to things like Hotline Miami 2 being banned. It's a slippery slope and unless it's actively promoting hate speech then the developers have the right to make whatever game they want. If you don't like it then don't engage with it. I'm sure the minigame in Another Episode is completely optional.

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#3 Posted by Fredchuckdave (10824 posts) -

Bloodborne at 26 is nuts. I'll accept 2.

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#4 Edited by Karkarov (3385 posts) -

You have Danganropa ahead of Bloodbourne. I am afraid not many will take this list all that seriously.

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#5 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

I never heard of a Hat in Time. That looks interesting.

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#6 Posted by DevourerOfTime (707 posts) -
@karkarov said:

You have Danganropa ahead of Bloodbourne. I am afraid not many will take this list all that seriously.

Bloodborne at 26 is nuts. I'll accept 2.

Thanks for reading!

This list is about the games I'm personally looking forward to at this given time. As I explained in the blog post, I haven't yet made my way through Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, or Dark Souls 2 yet. I'm inundated with Souls games to play. Having another one on the pile isn't exactly the most exciting thing coming out this year.

Danganronpa, on the other hand, I played through completely. There's nothing left of that world to explore that has been translated into English. So, naturally, I'm really excited to have another game in that series in my hands after enjoying the first two games so much.

Do I think Another Episode will be a better game than Bloodborne? No. Actually, I can pretty much guarantee that it will be worse, just by how those games are shaping up (Another Episode looks like a pretty mediocre third person shooter). But am I more excited to play Another Episode? Yes, absolutely. I feel like I need to know more about that world.

If you're more excited for Bloodborne than most, or even all, of this list, then that's completely understandable. I'm just in a position where I don't have as much to be excited about as you.

@corevi said:

Good list.

Wanting something to be cut from a game because it offends your sensibilities is a bad idea because that's how we get to things like Hotline Miami 2 being banned. It's a slippery slope and unless it's actively promoting hate speech then the developers have the right to make whatever game they want. If you don't like it then don't engage with it. I'm sure the minigame in Another Episode is completely optional.

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

I disagree about the second point though. When it comes to giving the player a way of actively feeling up underage girls, I don't really think there is much you can defend against it. That shit's gross and should not be a feature in your video game. I'll take that stand, slippery slope be damned.

Also, it's just poor design and marketing. It's actively alienating part of your audience, does not serve the existing fanbase, and is an intrusive minigame that does not support the core design philosophy of your game.

You could make an argument that Danganronpa as a series already has its own share of pervy scenes in it, but every single one of them is either optional or used in a subverting "have your cake and eat it too" kind of way (which in no way excuses it, but makes it easier for people to give it a pass).

@slag said:

I never heard of a Hat in Time. That looks interesting.

An exciting thing I forgot to mention about the game is that it's got Grant Kirkhope, composer of games like Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Pinata, doing some of the music. Thanks for reading!

I really hope Firewatch ends up good, if done well, it could be GOTY material.

Campo Santo seems like this superindie studio, with a ton of talent shoved into a very small team. I'm sure that, whatever it ends up being, it will be good. Whether it's what you or I are looking for? We'll have to wait and see. Thanks for reading!

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#7 Posted by JBG4 (711 posts) -

I noticed a lot of Nintendo games on that list and that is A-OK with me... it seems we share a number of games that we're looking forward to. Bloodborne, Mario Maker, and Kirby are three that I'm really excited for that you listed here

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#8 Edited by DevourerOfTime (707 posts) -

@jbg4 said:

I noticed a lot of Nintendo games on that list and that is A-OK with me... it seems we share a number of games that we're looking forward to. Bloodborne, Mario Maker, and Kirby are three that I'm really excited for that you listed here

I can guarantee you that there will be more Nintendo games in the rest of the list! :D Glad you're enjoying it so far.