Wondering what next year holds for gaming? Using my fool-proof divination methods - specifically, throwing darts at a bunch of X-Men trading cards that I found in the shed - I have sought to detail the path that gaming will take in the space year 2016. So to that end, I present my forward-gazing findings.
1. Hoping to capitalise on the box-office success of The Force Awakens, EA states that they will be resurrecting the highly-anticipated Star Wars: 1313 game A million voices cry out in joy but are suddenly silenced as it is revealed that 1313 will be an Android and iPhone strategy game, developed by the same team that was responsible for Dungeon Keeper Mobile.
2. Hideo Kojima releases the first trailer for his new independent game, 'Hideo Kojima's a Hideo Kojima Game by Hideo Kojima.' Konami subsequently calls a press conference, insisting that Kojima is in fact still working for them and remains so '..until he's got the chewing gum off that last row of Big Boss pachinko machines.' The conference is cut short when the spokesman's trousers spontaneously combust.
3. The long-awaited Final Fantasy 7 remake is released, though it transpires it's more of a re-imagining than a straight out re-make, which enrages some long-term fans of the game. Some of the controversial changes include fan-favourite Aeris being replaced with comedy robot sidekick A3R15, the end-of-game dance-off and Tifa's breast reduction.
4. Valve announces the launch of 'Counter Strike – Really Offensive', a new game designed to corral inappropriate behaviour in online gaming. A Valve spokesperson explains - 'I'll make no bones about it – if you play this game, then you are going to get sworn at. Your sexuality will probably be called into question, as well as your parentage and so forth. In fact, if you're not a straight, white male then you're probably going to have a bad time. But we hope that by creating this non-safe space, and using Steam to auto-filter idiots into it, other online gaming arenas will become more welcoming places.' It doesn't work.
5. Netherrealm Studios, the development team behind Mortal Kombat X, decide that they are going to let their fans decide which TV, movie or comic characters will feature in the next downloadable Kombat Pack. Things go a little awry, however, after several popular online forums storm the voting system. The end result is that Jar Jar Binks, Tommy Wiseau, Bella Swan's dad and Bob Ross join the fighting game's roster.
6. The Assassin's Creed film is released, receiving somewhat mixed reviews from the mainstream press. Similarly, it performs fairly poorly at the box office until it finds a fresh audience amongst horror fans, who embrace it wholeheartedly. 'That one scene, where Michael Fassbender's skin sloughed and his eyeballs were just left floating in front of his face? Man, I couldn't sleep for weeks after that!' exclaims a satisfied gorehound.
7. Pre-order culture reaches a new nadir, one publisher revealing that there will be two versions of their upcoming AAA title, the pre-order and non pre-order edition. The pre-order version will come with a bonus art-book and soundtrack CD, as well as two new character skins. The non pre-order edition, will, on the other hand, come packaged with an enraged and possibly rabid howler monkey. The company strongly urges gamers to go for the pre-order version of the game.
8. Deep Silver announces that, to the mark the forthcoming release of the much-delayed 'Dead Island 2', they will be having a competition to design the 'Collector's Edition' of the game. 'We felt that while the Zombie Bait edition of the game, which featured a severed female torso, was fairly offensive, we want to go further this time,' explains a Dead Silver spokesman. 'We've had a few suggestions going around the office – several involving the late Princess Diana – but we're looking for an idea so controversial that it will guarantee us at least ten consecutive days of Fox News screentime.'
9. VR finally becomes a thing, as Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive all released within the space of a month. However, sales are slow as gamers find it tough to decide which headset should gather dust next to their George Foreman grill and popcorn maker. Potential sales take a further blow when a Youtuber uploads a hack revealing that it's possible to flail around like a buffoon without investing in a headset.
10. Micro-transactions in AAA game continue to permeate the industry, with some companies now offering in-game car insurance in case your vehicle is dinged. The originators of this particular 'feature', Konami, take things to the next level by announce that Metal Gear Solid 6 will feature permadeath, meaning that when your character dies, you have to start the game again. This can, however be avoided, by purchasing their special Metal Gear Life Insurance, a snip at only £10.00 a character.
Though these predictions were made in jest, it wouldn't surprise me if at least of some of these turn out to be true? What are your gaming predictions for 2016, both serious and silly?