Since we did our look back at 2014 last week, it only makes sense to use a video games post exactly one week later to look forward. It’s only logical to follow-up on our list of our favourite games of 2014 with a look at the games that we’re most excited about in 2015 with the Most Anticipated Games of 2015.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I’ve gone a year without buying a PlayStation Four. Since it was announced, I’ve built a PC, bought a cheap laptop and picked up a Wii U. The PS4 (and Xbox One) hasn’t been on my radar. That changes with Uncharted 4. This is the one game that I will feel absolutely and completely compelled to buy a PlayStation 4 for. To me, this is the dictionary definition of a system seller.
From the little bit that we’ve seen of Uncharted 4, it doesn’t look like Naughty Dog is going to reinvent the wheel in this game. There looks to be some sort of grappling hook and more context driven stealth movement but those aren’t revolutionary overhauls to the game. What might be is the graphics which are frighteningly realistic. That won’t affect gameplay either but if ND gets it to 60 FPS, it will be the first real showcase of what the current generation of consoles can do.
What interests me the most is the story. Sure, you’re not buying Uncharted for the story but without the blockbuster action movie plot, it wouldn’t be worth the $60 price of admission. This time, we’ve got Drake’s brother Sam played by Troy Baker. Yes, the two best/most prominent male voice actors in gaming as the leads in the same game. Hopefully this doesn’t shuffle Sully to the side but if the story is compelling enough, we can forgive it.
No Man’s Sky
Returning from last year’s list is No Man’s Sky. It was probably asking a lot of Hello Games to release this in 2014 after a December 2013 reveal and a flood that destroyed their office space late in the year. Still, it does look to be on course for a release in 2015.
In case you’ve missed out on the hype train so far, No Man’s Sky promises a procedurally generated universe with the possible number of different planets estimated in the range of 18 quintillion based on the generation system that Hello Games is using. They’ll also allow you to fly from space, right into the atmosphere and exploring right down to the bottom of the planets’ oceans seamlessly. That would be impressive for a triple-A game (in fact, that’s what the original Battlefront 3 was aiming for). If Hello Games can pull it off, this should be on everyone’s top games of 2015 lists.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
I recently got ripped apart by some acquaintances (okay, fiancés of acquaintances but you get what I’m trying to say) at a party. The topic of games came up and when Zelda came up, it was quickly discovered that I’ve never played a Legend of Zelda and I wasn’t mocked so much as given shit for never playing one.
Despite never playing a Zelda game, I’m excited for Zelda U (or whatever it’ll be called) for two reasons. First, Nintendo absolutely killed it with the Wii U last year. Second, Nintendo doesn’t half-ass its key first-party franchises and games. Even though they’re trying something very new with an open-world Zelda game, there’s no reason the believe that Nintendo is setting themselves up for a disaster. When they risk big, they tend to win big.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
This is a bit of an outside the box pick if you look at some of the 2015 hype lists but 2012’s Xenoblade Chronicles was considered one of the best JRPGs of the last generation. You probably never heard about it because it had a very small release in North America. Will it have the same issue this time? I’m hoping not but I’m also hoping we’ll be big enough by the second half of 2015 that we can get a review copy.
The hype for Xenoblade Chronicles X is basically relying on the goodwill generated by Xenoblade Chronicles. I haven’t seen too much on new gameplay or story tricks apart from the fact that this will be an open-world game. The one genre lacking from the Wii U right now is the epic RPG and this more than fits the bill.
Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix has given me absolutely no reason to trust them with the Final Fantasy franchise since 2009 when they released Final Fantasy XIII. This year will make it six years between decent releases for SqEnix’s flagship franchise. They’ve been working on the former Final Fantasy Versus XIII for years so they damn well better have worked the kinks out of the gameplay and story by now.
It looks like it’s going to be something closer to Final Fantasy XII or Kingdom Hearts in terms of combat. The game’s setting seems to be something a bit less fantastical than some past entries. Dare I say that it seems a bit closer to FF7 or FF8 that way? Those parts add up well on paper. Of course, the sum of FF13’s parts seemed like they were going to add up to someone great. But since I’m an FF fan at heart, I’m looking forward to seeing this one in action. If we’re lucky, we’ll even get a release on PC at the same time as console.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Last year was supposed to be this epic next-gen fantasy RPG showdown between The Witcher 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. That didn’t happen when The Witcher was delayed from Fall 2014 to February 2015 and again to May 2015. If it wasn’t for a barrage of buggy triple-A releases immediately prior to the announcement of the delay to May 2015, this latest delay might have had a bit of backlash. In reality though, CD Projekt Red taking the time to get The Witcher 3 right is a good thing.
So while it won’t be going head-to-head with DI:A, TW3 will have to live up to Dragon Age. In the battle of sequels between Dragon Age II and The Witcher 2, it was CD Projekt Red that came out ahead. BioWare really doubled down on their game for Inquisition but TW3 is looking to be just as ambitious in terms of scale, graphics and storytelling. I would have liked a more head-to-head battle because it would have been a heavyweight battle the likes of which wouldn’t be replicated for a while.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Oh DICE. I desperately want to believe that you’re capable of more than the crappy release of Battlefield 4 but I don’t know if I’ve seen anything that fills me with confidence. At the very least, it looks like you guys are big Star Wars fans and will treat the franchise with the reverence that it deserves. And the movie getting pushed back to December also gives you guys at least six more months of development time to iron out the kinks since I just played BF4 and it crashed at least once per level one year after release. Hell, the cutscene for the final chapter didn’t play for me ONE YEAR after release.
But it’s DICE. The game is going to look fantastic. The gunplay should be spectacular. I’d hope that vehicles will play will despite being just a little different from what they’re used to. If there’s one place I want them to work on, it’s the music. So many Star Wars games just slap a looped Williams score over the game and it doesn’t always work. Compare the DOS Tie Fighter to Windows version and you’ll see what I mean. A little love and attention here can knock it into the stratosphere.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
This one might be worse than the Legend of Zelda confession but I’ve only played like five minutes of a Metal Gear Solid demo and that’s the sum of my experience with the Metal Gear series. Well, that might not be strictly true. I wasn’t an MGS player until I played Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Now that I’ve played that and learning a bit more about the franchise’s history, I’m looking forward to what Kojima can do with a full game rather than just two hours.
MGS5: Ground Zeroes rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because it was $30 for a two to four hour prologue to MGS5: The Phantom Pain. What was there wasn’t too bad. The game looked fantastic. The PC port was amazing. I’m not a huge stealth game fan but I found the stealth gameplay reasonably intuitive and it wasn’t like stealth launched you into an immediate fail state. That flexibility in the gameplay should keep me interested in between the trademark lengthy Kojima cutscenes and storytelling.
Heroes of the Storm
I’m not the biggest MOBA fan of the world but I did get a bit into League of Legends and Infinite Crisis this year. The former because a friend of an acquaintance was looking for people interested in starting and running an eSports league that would kick off with LOL (it never got off the ground because I was the only one willing to part with my own money to make it happen) and the latter because I’m a big DC Comics fan.
Heroes of the Storm, though, just seems like fun. MOBA communities don’t have the best reputation but a game built around working as a team, through unique team objectives and levelling as a team, would seem to take a lot of pressure of the individual player as they rest of the team would keep him afloat. Add to the fact that it has five maps to keep things fresh with more on the way and I think I’ll probably be sinking a lot of time into this when it hits beta… assuming that Blizzard finally lets me in.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
I had this on last year’s most anticipated list at #5. It’s tumbled down the list a bit after going largely unheard from since the rape controversy in 2013. I believe that Dennaton Games are accepting pre-orders for a premium package on their website but that’s the closest we’ve had to a sign that the game is in development for nearly a year now.
We know that Hotline Miami was great. We know that the formula isn’t going to change too much for HM2 and what changes are being made should be improvements. Of course, we won’t know until we see this game in action again. Going this long without much in terms of updates isn’t the most confidence inspiring but I’m willing to cut Dennaton some slack this time. Let’s hope it gets repaid.