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Building the List! 2016 Edition.

Here are games that are scheduled to (or might anyway) come out in 2016 that I am potentially excited for. This may be because I want to play them or because I think they are important or even just because I need to know.

This list is alphabetical, for simplicity.

If you want a more nicely-formatted version, check my blog on here or over at my own personal page.

List items

  • Since the arrival of the New Telltale Order with 2012's The Walking Dead, I'd been waiting for them to apply their award-winning formula to a franchise that appealed more directly to me. In part this came from a preference for comedy over drama - I should note my fondness for their Tales of Monkey Island series. 2015 brought me what I wanted in the forms of Minecraft: Story Mode, which I have been enjoying as one might a Saturday-morning childrens' cartoon, and Tales from the Borderlands, which currently sits right atop my Pile of Shame.

    I doubt that Telltale will opt for the comedic route with Batman, but it is still a franchise I have a lot of time for. It fits well into the formula - making snap decisions about how to apprehend a criminal or pondering over the meaning behind a clue with Robin and Alfred could certainly make for a compelling title. My only real concern is how Batman's "no-kill" policy will affect the range of decisions you will have to face, but I'll leave that up to the experts for now. Telltale have been fantastic so far at capturing the essence of the worlds they are exploring, so I'm eager to get hands-on with their take on Gotham and its heaving underworld of unsavoury inhabitants.

  • Are we actually going to see Battlefield 5 already? Wouldn't be out of place after the timing between BF3 and BF4, but with Titanfall also presumably gearing up for a new release (more on that later) will we actually see the next iteration in core Battlefield during 2016?

  • I'm still a little sad that I didn't spend more time with Bravely Default. I picked up the demo and spent quite a while exploring what it had to offer, but didn't end up playing the final release for a variety of reasons, not least that I didn't have time for it at launch. I thought the battle system was creative, allowing you to essentially store up "turns" for each individual character and then blow them all at once. Between that and the way jobs could be combined to augment your skill setup, it brought a unique layer to the Final Fantasy-style battle system. It also included a bunch of neat, progressive touches, such as the ability to adjust random encounter frequency.

    Perhaps I'll find the time to get around to Bravely Default, but I've also heard several things about the structure of that game which make me a little wary of diving into it. With Bravely Second on the horizon in 2016, it's possible that this will prove to be a great jumping-in point. Second is set in the same universe as its predecessor, but a while after the events of the first game, so I'm hopeful that the story will still be approachable to those new to the series. If they manage to incorporate what the first game did well and build on those strengths, Bravely Second could turn out to be a must-play for fans of that style of JRPG.

  • Is this Ghosts 2? Or something else? Regardless, whatever the Infinity Ward team has become by this point they have an awful lot to prove. Ghosts was widely regarded as the most disappointing moment in the series - and had many suggesting this was the end for CoD until both Advanced Warfare and BlOps III proved that there's life in the old fish yet. They'll have to do a lot to transform the public perception.

  • I spent a not-insignificant chunk of time with the first Cook, Serve, Delicious! It's a game I go back to every so often and just run through a few days of restauranteering - balancing out orders and chores, trying to make sure that all the customers are satisfied; that no-one has an overcooked steak, that people get the right Flavor Blast in their soda, and that the toilets are polished and shining. It's a constant series of spinning plates - both metaphorically as well as literally, sometimes.

    I'm incredibly excited for the follow-up, which looks to be sticking with the formula but expanding and improving on it in a whole breadth of ways. More dishes to create, deeper customisation of your restaurant, new chores to take on, a wider variety of (wonderfully straight-faced) clientele to keep content, and much more. Developer David Galindo has been keeping an active blog on his Tumblr and the official CSD website explaining some of the improvements he's hoping to make. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2 looks to be shaping up to be a follow-up that does for it's predecessor what Rebirth did for The Binding of Isaac - taking the core formula and making it bigger, better, and more beautiful.

  • They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I could write one hundred thousand words attempting to sell you on Cuphead and still achieve less than a few seconds of footage could do. So I'll save myself the trouble and tell you to watch their trailers instead.

    The artstyle, the animation, the music... I wouldn't even consider myself as a fan of side-scrolling shooters, yet I feel compelled to get my hands on Cuphead. Were it not for reassurances from multiple people who have played it, I'd almost be skeptical that you could really control it, It's bizarro 1930s cartoons made into a video game, and it's dripping style from every orifice. Delightful.

  • Oh, Dark Souls, how I love you so. I doubt there are too many people out there now who don't have some opinion on this series one way or another, which seems like a rather spectacular ascent from where both Demon's and Dark Souls were at the time of release. Such a rise speaks to the power of From Software's creations, then. They may be divisive, but there's no denying that - for the people who love them - few other titles hit their marks more spectacularly. Even within fans the series there are advocates and detractors for every entry. Personally I enjoyed Dark Souls II well enough, but it felt like it was missing that special spark. Bloodborne rediscovered that spark for me, so I suppose there might be some real credence to the "Miyazaki magic" - at least for my own personal tastes.

    As much as I adore it, however, Bloodborne sacrifices a lot of variety in world design and character building to fit into its tight aesthetic. While that didn't bother me during my time engrossed in Yharnam, I'm certainly excited to return to the more open-ended approach that Dark Souls offers. I haven't paid too much close attention to the details of Dark Souls III so far, because it's very much a game I want to see in its whole form rather than attempting to pick apart pieces of the scraps that are thrown out to sate the initial appetite for teasers. That said, Miyazaki's team are huge fans of mystery, intrigue, and misdirection - as Bloodborne proved. So I'm sure there will be plenty to discover and pore over once Dark Souls III rolls around early this year (it's currently scheduled for worldwide release in April).

  • Darkest Dungeon has been available to users as part of Steam's Early Access program for a large chunk of 2015. Personally, I made the decision a long time ago now that even if I was interested enough in an Early Access title to buy in, I would wait until full release to start putting time in. After seeing some early footage of Darkest Dungeon at the time that rolled out, I was eager to see where Red Hook Studios would take things over the journey to a finished product. The initial offering certainly caught my eye: a randomly-generated turn-based dungeon crawling RPG where party members can easily die - or suffer any of a wealth of terrible mental or physical conditions thanks to dungeon-related trauma - and must be carefully treated (or replaced) between outings, as appropriate.

    I haven't followed the Early Access period too closely, but I've heard that there have been some ups and downs with regards to how updates have been received by the community. That said, the last news I heard sounded very positive and with everything that Darkest Dungeon looked to be shaping up to be from the outset, I'm keen to check back in with it once they hit version 1.0, which it sounds like will be fairly soon.

  • The original Destiny proved that Bungie can still create a gorgeous and compelling world and craft an immensely satisfying combat system. The Taken King proved that they are still capable of providing compelling content and quest progressions to undertake in those worlds. Now, with a possible Destiny 2 set for this year, it's their chance to prove that they really can make this thing work. Destiny 2 might be the make-or-break moment for this franchise, so it'll be interesting to see whether they push hard to release it for 2016 (especially given the apparent reduction in new content for the current game scheduled throughout the year) or whether they hold off until they are completely satisfied with the product.

  • The first Dishonored is another game prone to splitting opinion. I'm definitely amongst the Love Squad for this one; I adored the aesthetics and design of the world, I loved sneaking around on rooftops and down alleyways with Corvo's potent supernatural skillset, and while I thought the binary good/bad ending split based purely on your kill count was a little hamfisted, I adored pursuing the "alternative" solutions to each quest - solutions which almost uniformly turned out to be more terrifying and horrendous fates than if I'd simply given all the targets the ol' "Requiescat in pace."

    Bethesda has shown off very little of the upcoming sequel - it was unveiled officially during their E3 press conference in a rather unfortunate Doom/Fallout 4 sandwich, both of which had rather meaty gameplay demos and thus left more of an immediate impression. Yet I came away very excited about taking the reins as a grown-up PrincessThankfully, it sounds like developers Eidos Montreal learned a lot from the post-release community feedback, because despite a few minor flaws Human Revolution seems to have won itself many fans. Emily, alongside her protector Corvo, and seeing what new stories can be told in Dunwall. The city was certainly far from redeemed by the end of the first game, so I'm sure there will still be plenty of grimy city streets to wander and ravenous sewer rats to fear.

  • Speaking of Doom, the rebooted genre-definer is set to be unleashed on the world all over again in 2016. I liked parts of what I saw of the game at Bethesda's E3 showing - although I still think there's absolutely room for a well-made game that plays with the simplicity and speed of the original game, which this is very much not. That said, it looks weighty and visceral; packed with violent, up-close kill moves and an arsenal of the beefiest weapons you'll see outside of the Adult Movie Awards.

    I'm glad they chose to step away from the more survival-style elements of Doom 3, which had their novelty but felt out of place for a franchise so deeply-rooted in the simplistic joy of pumping round after round into terrifying hell-beasts until they collapse into a pile of meaty chunks and ribcages. The modern tech also looks like it will enable some of the most iconic monsters from Doom's demonic cast to be realised at the scale and size they deserve, which could lead to some breathtaking encounters. Throw in multiplayer that allows you to play as a revenant and the shades-of-Timesplitters multiplayer level creation tool SnapMap, and you have my attention.

  • 2011's Human Revolution was another game which I didn't get to at release, and then heard just enough things that made me hesitate when I was contemplating playing it that I've still never given it a proper shot to win me over. I can say with some confidence, however, that the unfortunately-outsourced boss fights which proved near-impossible for players with certain builds to deal with were certainly that game's biggest weakness. There were also some notable issues with the AI, which often led to scenarios where guards would pile up on the floor as you took them out one-by-one while they investigated a disturbance in turn.

    Thankfully, it sounds like developers Eidos Montreal learned a lot from the post-release community feedback, because despite a few minor flaws Human Revolution seems to have won itself many fans. While I may not be the genre's most avid fan, I'd certainly class myself as pro-cyberpunk, so the world on offer does hold plenty of appeal for me. Games with multiple solutions to a puzzle, such as "hack this terminal," "jump over this wall with your cyberlegs," or "murder everyone with your future gun," certainly also pique my interest - so I'd love it if Mankind Divided successfully pulls off being an improved, more polished version of its predecessor.

  • I liked Far Cry 2 a fair bit. I loved Far Cry 3. I adored Far Cry 4. The progression through the core series has very much been an upward curve for me. While it is certainly a prime example of the Ubisoft Open-World Game, it pulls off almost every aspect of that to a more satisfying degree than anything else can. Climbing towers is a rickety, creaking joy! Side quests feel like genuinely pleasing distractions rather than box-ticking busywork. Cleaning out camps is intense and thrilling, whether you're doing it alone or co-operatively with a friend. A lot of it comes down to just how tight Far Cry's mechanics are at this point: shooting, sneaking, gliding, driving... every aspect of the gameplay is easy to grasp and fun to engage with.

    That said, we're getting to the point where it's all feeling a tad repetitive. I would still play a straight-up Far Cry 5, because I know I'd have a good time. But I suspect that partway through, I'd start to wonder why. I don't want to burn out on something which is riding so high right now, so I'm glad to see that Primal is aiming to take things in a slightly new direction. Whether it'll end up being a mere re-skin or whether it'll feel genuinely original remains to be seen, but a game wrapped around those core mechanics and layered with a new approach is a pretty easy sell for me. Perhaps I'm getting soft... I did just praise first-person platforming sequences, after all.

  • I said at the outset of 2015 that I didn't think it would be Final Fantasy XV's year. Honestly, I didn't want it to be - I don't know where I could have squeezed it in. But, while I'm sad that we missed out on some minor year/entry numbering #synergy, I think 2016 is going to be the year that we get our hands on that roving band of J-Pop funsters and their oversized swords. I've been a long time fan of Final Fantasy for some time now (and possibly one of the few who's enjoyed all of the recent main-series iterations). The thing which immediately caught my eye way back when Final Fantasy XV was first shown was the combat system - at the time, it was impossible to tell how it would actually play out in-game, but it looked unlike anything the series has had previously.

    Final Fantasy certainly changes up its systems dramatically between every entry - in fact, I'd suggest that desire to offer up a fresh experience with each adventure is one of the core reasons why I keep coming back - but this feels like one of the most dramatic shifts to date. Recent gameplay demos, including the playable one offered to those who bought Type-0, seem to have all but confirmed that. It also looks simply gorgeous, with the spectacle on show in some of the trailers (including some of the larger encounters, the cities, and the summons) enough to leave my mouth agape in awe. That should come as no surprise from this series, but it doesn't make me any less excited to get my hands on it and experience that spectacle first-hand.

  • What... Is... Firewatch?

  • I came to the original Gears trilogy a little late (actually, just before 3 came out) but played through all of them in fairly quick succession and had a fantastic time. They wrapped up the story pretty well (albeit with one or two notable loose ends), and nothing I saw about Judgement enticed me to play that game. I'm hopeful that Gears of War 4 will be able to bring something fresh to the self-coined stop-n-pop shooter genre. I've not yet been convinced by the early footage, but it'd be silly to write off a franchise with the (literal and metaphorical) weight of Gears.

  • We've only really had a few small glimpses at segments of Horizon: Zero Dawn so far, but already it's looking as though it has the potential to become one of the first real standout new big-budget ideas since the current generation of consoles arrived. It's wonderful to see Guerilla Games branching out to something so different from all their work with the Killzone series, if only to see what else they are capable of. The bright, colourful landscapes of Horizon's post-post-apocalyptic world are enough by themselves to make me want to dive in and explore them, even without taking the likes of the gameplay and storyline into account.

    That doesn't mean you should discount those aspects by any means, though. Fiery-haired rotagonist Aloy comes equipped with the "future primitive" toolset of a spear and bow. To accompany that you can seemingly craft a wealth of different arrows to use, such as electrically charged shots, explosive tripwires, and grapple lines which can tie the hulking cyber-dinosaurs that roam Horizon's landscapes down so that you can finish them off and scavenge precious materials from them. There's still plenty to be seen about how the majority of the game plays out and where exactly the story might be heading, but everything I have seen of Horizon: Zero Dawn so far just makes me want to see more.

  • I want to believe. There's been worlds of speculation about where development the next Legend of Zelda title is right now. With Nintendo's new NX console looming on the horizon, speculation has been rife that this will see a Twilight Princess-style cross-generation launch. Whether that's the case or not, there's every reason to get excited for this latest return to Hyrule. Personally, I'm coming off A Link Between Worlds, which I played early in 2015 and was the first full Zelda game I've been through - it hooked me in an instant and kept me going for two full playthroughs straight. I'm hoping that this new game can do for 3D Zelda what that game did for top-down Zelda and win me over.

    It's not that I disliked other games in the series, but I hadn't found one which captivated me quite that way until recently. The promise of a more open-ended approach, one which sounds more akin to the original stylings of those top-down entries, has piqued my interest. It certainly also doesn't hurt that all the footage so far has been simply jaw-dropping to look at. The artstyle is sublime, the animation is smooth and flowing, and the vistas are lush and spectacular. It's certainly shaping up to be on heck of a year for good-looking games. The only real doubt on this one is whether or not it makes 2016 - but I'm sure Ninty would love to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series this year with a big new release.

  • I'm not quite sure where I got my copy of the original Day of the Tentacle. It was one of those few PC games that my parents collected during my childhood - I suspect it may have come from one family friend who was responsible for slipping quite a few of his older PC classics my way, but I could be mistaken. Regardless of its origin, Day of the Tentacle was a wonderful introduction for young Ken to the world of the point-and-click adventure game. I wasn't able to finish it initially, but would return a few years later, that little bit older and wiser, to push past the puzzle that had trounced me and complete the remaining half of the game.

    I'm certainly not alone in my love - Day of the Tentacle is still widely considered to be one of the finest titles in its genre. Industry legends Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman weaved a hilarious and wacky tale of three friends cast through time in an attempt to put a stop to the mutated and power-hungry Purple Tentacle before he can take over the world. It's still playable through the use of ScummVM (indeed I replayed it in such a way a few years ago) but I'm incredibly excited both to experience it for myself once more with a fresh new coat of paint and also to have an easy way to introduce one of my favourite games of all time to as many people as possible.

  • I'm going to be realistic here and say that of all the games on the list, this is the one that I am least confident about releasing in 2016 that I still felt had enough of a chance that I should include it. I will also note that even if it doesn't actually come out, I'm still excited at the prospect of finding out more about what Mass Effect: Andromeda is going to be. We've seen very little of it so far, so there's not really a whole lot to say. But the idea of a new story in the Mass Effect universe is certainly enticing.

    I don't really mind what they do with it - BioWare have certainly had their ups and downs in recent years, but their world-building and storytelling is still some of the most compelling stuff out there even when it's not firing on all cylinders. I'm also including this game as yet another platform to tell people who skipped it to go play the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer - I've been back to it recently and it's still one of my favourite co-op modes of the last generation. It absolutely still feels fresh even today (and after spending around 170 hours with it) and I really hope it sees a return in Andromeda.

  • I'm absolutely on Team Mirror's Edge. That shouldn't come as a surprise at this point - not only did I talk lovingly about my time clambering about Dunwall in Dishonored, but I even praised the relatively simplistic first-person platforming sequences of Far Cry 3 and 4. So it won't shock you to learn that I adored a game which provides probably the most satisfying and breathless free-running experience to date: one where you sprint, leap, and scramble your way through a gorgeous yet minimalistic future cityscape to a sublime ambient soundtrack. Yeah, I'm on Team Mirror's Edge alright.

    Catalyst is an exciting prospect for fans of the original - it's been described as a much more open-world design, which should help to make the parkour feel a little more natural and free-flowing than, "find the one object you can climb/grab/push to get to the next area." The team at DICE also seem well aware of the issues that people had with combat interactions in the first game, and it sounds from some initial previews that they're very much "sticking to their guns" and avoiding sequences where Faith would have to do the same. (It's not going to be a shooter. I just needed to make that pun, okay?) Solar Fields, the composer behind the original game's soundtrack, is also returning - so we can expect plenty more of those glorious, evocative soundscapes.

  • It's a new Danganronpa! Says it right there in the title. I've no idea where they're going to go with this game, but the past two were both filled with unique and memorable characters, so it'll be cool to see what's next for the truth bullet murder mystery genre!

  • I have to know. That said, I feel as though we have a fairly good idea of what No Man's Sky is all about at this point. But we still need to reach the point where it comes out, everyone can get their hands on it, and we can all make our own decisions about whether it's the game for us or not. We know that it will have billions of procedurally-generated planets in a single universe, all governed by one single creation seed (so all players will have the same universe, though any given two of them will likely never see the same parts of it).

    We know that you can name planets and the species which inhabit those planets, if you are the first to discover them. We know that you can analyse the environment and mine resources; that you can upgrade your ship and your suit for further exploration and action; that you can engage in space combat or encounter a mysterious on-world "police force" if you are deemed to be a troublemaker. But there's still that certain "je ne sais quoi" that no-one outside of Hello Games seems able to put their finger on. Whatever No Man's Sky ends up being, I think I'll enjoy seeing it for myself.

  • Oh boy. We're really going to have the Duel of the JRPGs in 2016, aren't we? While Final Fantasy has long been sitting atop that pile, it feels more and more like Persona is building up an almost unstoppable momentum across fans of the genre. After a brief initial brush with Persona 3 and its (quite literally) mind-blowing "Evokers," I was introduced to the series fully with Persona 4 and it didn't take long to see why so many people were in love with it. The wonderful balance of living your daily life and fighting through surreal dungeons against the manifestations of people's secret desires, wrapped up in a gorgeous package filled with some of the most memorable characters and most catchy music tracks to make their way into a video game... Once you've experienced the world of Persona, you won't forget it.

    Persona 5 also follows the life of a Hot Teen who has just transferred to a new high school and has to deal with the troubles of everyday teenage life while also contending with the aforementioned mysterious forces. Expect to see an early appearance from series regular Igor, but after that anything goes. Reassuringly, series composer (and producer) Shoji Meguro is returning - which all but ensures a raft of hot jams* which will be stuck in my head for years to come. I put Persona 5 atop my most anticipated list at the start of 2015 - but, much like Final Fantasy XV, I didn't expect that last year would be the year for Atlus's banner RPG. I think 2016 is the year though, so get ready for two of the biggest franchises out of Japan to clash for your time. At this early stage, I think Persona has my heart - but I fully expect to lose a lot of hours to both releases this year.

    * I've had the extended cut of 'Specialist' from the P4 OST on loop while writing this. So good.

  • As a fan of Pokémon since it launched, being the perfect age to get in from the ground up back in 1997, and a long-term fan of the Tekken games, which began with Tekken 3 but developed to the point where I have ended up spending lengthy amounts of time with every single entry in that series, I'm probably at the perfect cross-over point for Pokkén Tournament. That said, my expectations are somewhat tempered: I'm interested to see what Harada and Hoshino will come up with, but I worry that it won't really be able to hit upon the things that I love from either series.

    Both Tekken (Harada) and Soul Calibur (Hoshino) are combo-heavy games filled with lengthy move lists that don't make a ton of sense with Pokémon's (intentionally) fairly limited skillsets. Similarly, the vast roster and tactical depth of Pokémon is unlikely to translate over fully to a fighting game. That doesn't mean that Pokkén Tournament can't be a fun novelty - indeed if they pull it off, I'm sure I'll have a ton of fun with it - I'm just not expecting it to reach quite the high standard I regard either franchise in by themselves. I'm more than willing to be proven wrong, however!

  • There's certainly been a lot of personal favourites littering this list over the past few games... Ratchet & Clank is no exception. I've been a huge fan of the series since it's initial release on PlayStation 2, which is precisely where this new game is aiming to re-visit. Set up as a tie-in for the upcoming movie - which I still can't quite believe is happening, as much as I can see it making perfect sense as a Pixar-esque family movie - this Ratchet & Clank "re-imagining" returns to the original game but will include additional mechanics and sequences to bring it in line with the film's expanded plot.

    I've actually been playing through the original game fairly recently on PlayStation Vita, so I can definitely speak to how that original game feels now. It certainly still plays well and the crisp art style means it pleases the eye even today, over 13 years after its original release. That said, by comparison to later titles the levels feel tight and the mechanics are notably simplistic. A lot of the upgrade features weren't introduced until the second game onwards, so the arsenal feels a tad underwhelming despite a fairly novel selection of tools at your disposal (although even that pales in comparison to the weird and wacky variety on offer in later releases). It's still a great game, but there's no doubt that it stands to benefit from a full overhaul.

  • This one might be a bit of a cop-out, as it already released in 2015. However, I don't have an Xbox One yet so I'm very much looking forward to playing this on PC or PS4 when I find the time to squeeze it in. I played the early hours of 2013's Tomb Raider reboot and liked it well enough, but it didn't keep me hooked in for much past the initial areas. Everything I've heard about Rise has me interested, however - it sounds as though they've smoothed out some of the rough edges and cut down on some of the "interactive cut-scene" sequences and murderboner ultra-deaths in favour of, y'know, some actual Tomb Raiding.

    The game also looks absolutely gorgeous, which suggests it'll be a strong candidate for one of the best lookers of the year when it hits the PC (and early 4k screenshots are certainly proving that to be a valid assumption). I'm definitely all in favour of a shift towards more puzzling - it can certainly be tempting to weight the puzzle/platforming/combat triangle in favour of the latter third, but I'm definitely a believer that a well-designed puzzle or platforming sequence will often be just as striking and memorable, if not more so, than a good combat sequence. I'm fully expecting to get deep into the challenge tombs when Rise of the Tomb Raider hits multiple platforms this year.

  • I'd always been more of a 3D fighters guy until Street Fighter IV came along. I knew that people had a lot of love for 2D fighting games, and I spent a little time with the likes of Street Fighter II, but I never really grasped their fundamental concepts and mechanics. However, when SFIV arrived on the scene, the chatter around it was so intense and enthusiastic that I felt compelled to give it a shot. Everything lined up: starting at launch meant I wasn't trying to play a game people had spent years learning inside and out; One of my close friends had played enough of the series to understand the mechanics and help me learn them, but wasn't familiar enough that he would completely trounce me; and we were in our first year at University so had plenty of free time on our hands to spend with it.

    And practice we did. Fast-forward to now and Street Fighter IV (in its many iterations) is absolutely one of my favourite games of all time. It's still a joy to play every time and just as much fun to watch, whether it's a group of friends sparring or big-money games on the competitive scene. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the SFV betas (without pre-ordering) and though I haven't had a ton of time to spend with them, I'm already loving how simultaneously familiar and different it feels. The roster has been shaping up excellently, the V-stuff is all a neat replacement for the Ultra mechanic, and the way they've been talking about post-release support and buying DLC characters with earnable in-game currency sounds incredibly promising. (Also the first run of those includes both Ibuki and Juri - so thanks for paying attention to that wishlist I sent you, Capcom.)

  • Originally designed for a First-Person Shooter game jam in 2013, Superhot puts its own twist on the genre by tying the passage of time to your movement. This means you can set up shots, note incoming bullets, and then dodge out of the way of them. It's a joy to experience - and you can do so right now, as the original release is still playable on their website (no download; it runs in-browser through Unity, just make sure you have the Unity web player set up). If you haven't seen it, go give it a shot and I'm sure you'll see why it makes this list.

    It's a game that oozes style, from its minimalist red-on-grayscale look through to the sound of bullets whizzing idly past your ears and the "SUPER. HOT. SUPER. HOT." which comes upon the completion of each level (something you won't be able to stop yourself from repeating over and over for quite some time). With the final version due early this year and set to include features such as a speedrun mode and the much-requested "replay completed levels in real time" option, Superhot is set to be the finest Tool-Assisted Speedrun simulator on the market. SUPER. HOT.

  • 2014's Gone Home split opinion in a number of different ways, but it certainly got people talking. The sense of place, the attention to detail, and the small-scale, personal stories it told certainly resonated with a sizeable audience. So Fullbright's next game is certainly one to watch out for. This time, the setting takes an off-world twist; taking place on a Lunar Transfer Station. There aren't too many specifics out there yet, which makes sense when you consider how little information most people had going in to Gone Home and how key the sense of discovery was to that whole experience.

    Much like its predecessor, Tacoma looks to set you as the lone human exploring said station, with all interaction coming from an on-board AI by the name of "Odin." Unlike Gone Home, however, this interaction appears to be slightly more of a dialogue than the voice-over in that game. That won't serve to make the whole thing any less unsettling, I'm sure - but the potential to tell a slightly more sci-fi tinged story compared to Gone Home's very much grounded offering should be an interesting twist. If you liked Fullbright's previous work, then Tacoma should certainly be on your radar.

  • I thought Titanfall was a really neat idea, but while I adored the player movement I wasn't a huge fan of the Titans. Given a more substantial offering, however, I might be convinced to give it another shot. I don't even necessarily think it needs a single-player campaign, but if it's going to be multiplayer-focused once again they need a LOT more weapons and equipment options than their first release had on offer.

  • Okay, this one's been so long in coming that perhaps Ubisoft can't put it off any longer. I've been saying for multiple years that we're nowhere near The Division seeing the light of day - but by now there's been enough clear indications of gameplay and enough people have put hands on that game that we have to be close. It sounds very much like this could be shaping up to be Ubi's third-person answer to Destiny: group up in small teams to head into "Darkness Zones" and complete missions to earn loot. No messing around either... rarity-graded, colour-coded loot with numbers that get bigger. The Division really does appear to be a not-so-secret Secret Numbers Game.

    With all that said... I loved playing Destiny. Even back in its first year, when it was fairly simple and the content was light, earning those new weapons and increasing those numbers felt great. My biggest concern with The Division will be how it holds up mechanically. Destiny worked for me because, underneath all the polish and the loot and the numbers, there was one of the most resoundly satisfying first-person shooters I have ever laid hands on. If The Division is a blast to play, then that might be enough. Or maybe there's some additional layer to it that we've yet to see. Or perhaps they will have learnt from the mistakes of others and just included enough content and story in it from the get-go to keep people compelled the whole way through? Personally, I've never been completely sold on this one being a game-changer. Regardless, I'm still fascinated to see how it actually turns out.

  • I'm certain there are a whole bunch of licensing and marketing people behind why this could never happen, but I will never look at this game's name and not feel a tiny pang of sadness that it isn't called "Total Warhammer." That said, I'll still continue to keep an eye on it because it does pose some interest to me. After all, I've had a ton of fun with the Total War series in the past (although certainly less so over their more recent iterations). My knowledge of Warhammer - and bear in mind that this is the Fantasy variant, not the 40k one - is limited to a brief stint with the tabletop RPG during University, but it seemed like a fairly entertaining and well fleshed-out fantasy world to be in.

    offering, simply because I tend to find it a little more in my wheelhouse - at least from the perspective of a strategy game. It sounds bizarre to say, but 40k feels a little "closer" to reality, so perhaps it's the potential for a sizable departure from the Total War norms that interests me here. As I mentioned earlier, however, I've been a little disappointed in what I've played of The Creative Assembly's more recent offerings - so, in a year seemingly packed full of big games, this may need to be quite a notable step up if it's going to convince me to make what is usually a fairly hefty time investment. Still - one to watch out for, especially for the legions of Warhammer fans out there.

  • By the time Uncharted 3 arrived, I'd probably had close to my fill of cheeky murderman Nathan Drake and his chirpy, whimsical adventures. This wasn't really Naughty Dog's fault - if anything, it was a testament to the first two games in the series that I replayed both multiple times and wore myself out on them. I played through (and enjoyed) the third release, but never felt any compulsion to return to it after the credits had rolled once. Since then, we've had a few years away from Drake and friends. I recently picked up the Nathan Drake Collection as it was on sale, and found myself playing through the first game two and a half times over the course of a few nights and burning my way to the Platinum trophy. So perhaps it's been long enough, for me at least.

    The series certainly needs a little freshening up, however - but it looks as though Naughty Dog's time developing The Last of Us has given them plenty of new ideas. They look to be incorporating more open-ended environments and bringing across the stealth mechanics from TLoU - probably the one real stand-out improvement that game made to combat over the Uncharted series. Whether that will be enough to make this game stand out remains to be seen, but I think I'm ready to play another Uncharted game now. Additionally, everything from its name to the talk coming from Naughty Dog (and departure of former series lead Amy Hennig) suggests that this might actually be the conclusion to the Nathan Drake arc that Drake's Deception didn't quite manage.

  • Remember the Swedish Yarn Man from last year's E3? There's no doubt that Martin Sahlin, creative director of Unravel, brought a lot of smiles to people's faces with his impassioned tale of Yarny - the cat-like creature made of a thread of yarn - and its representation of love. It was a bizarre and heartwarming offset from the rest of EA's (fairly lacklustre) 2015 press conference.

    When all's said and done, it looks to be a fairly simple 2D puzzle-platformer centred around unravelling yarn from your character to hook onto things, swing across the environment, pull objects about, and so on... but the presentation is so pleasantly adorable that it'll certainly be worth a look. It's also representative of the fact that a big-name company like EA doesn't always have to be about the "triple-A guns and explosions" and can sometimes get behind small, personal projects like this one.

  • The Witness may be the closest we get to Braid creator Jonathan Blow's magnum opus. Originally announced in 2008 following the successful launch of Braid, it has apparently evolved through an extensive development cycle which has seen Blow pour time and money into perfecting his vision. Harkening back to the days of classic puzzler Myst, the player is set on an island where they are free to explore and solve the various puzzles they encounter around the world to progress deeper into certain areas. The narrative has been kept largely a secret, other than that the player is trying to work out exactly who and where they are, and why they ended up there.

    Blow himself has stated that his original intent was to create around an 8-hour experience, yet his most recent estimates have put the total for the finished game to be around 50-80 hours. That's certainly a mammoth feat for what is seemingly a puzzle game, so it'll be fascinating to see how much the tasks on offer differ over the course of the game and whether it can stand up to that length of play without ever feeling stale. That said, its launch date early in the year may make it a perfect game to dip into in short bursts and play for a while until you hit a wall, only to return a few days later and take a fresh approach at it.

  • Time to round things off with another early release - albeit likely a much more intense one. XCOM 2 is the follow-up to 2012's reboot, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Wonderfully, developers Firaxis decided that the canonical ending to the original was the human race losing their fight against the invading alien forces - certainly a believable outcome, especially if you played on Ironman or the harder difficulty levels. This means that XCOM 2 sees the world under the rule of said forces, and you take control of a roving force of rebels attempting to wrest back control from the invaders.

    Expect plenty of familiar aspects if you've played the previous entry - the side-on base construction returns, allowing you to outfit your home facility (built inside a scavenged alien transport ship) with a variety of research, development, intelligence, and medical facilities. The in-mission combat will feature the same grid-based movement and cover systems, with plenty of careful planning and tactics required if you're going to complete your objectives without losing key members of staff. It's going to be an even tougher fight than Enemy Unknown... and I can't wait to scramble every last scrap of hope together to struggle against the odds for the survival of the human race.