What to expect when you’re expecting
While 2015 might have been a rathole of a year, a terrible time for all parties involved, it at least had better games than 2014. That year sucked. With the current generation of consoles finally hitting their stride (and a possible new one from Nintendo), could 2016 keep that momentum trending forward?
Maybe everything will right itself. Giants go win another world series, Tony Hawk is elected the 45th president of these United States of America, the Coca-Cola polar bears get dentures to replace their decomposed soda fangs, I’m awarded a $6.9 million cash prize for “Best in Sex” — it’s just a return to normalcy I’m seeking after the murderous roller coasted that was 2015.
Here is a list of games we’re looking forward to in 2016, provided they aren’t delayed into 2017. So much potential disappointment!
Last year I wrote about my anticipation for Rob Daviau’s next legacy board game SeaFall, but it got pushed back to 2016. It would be easy to just use that one again, because I am still looking forward to it (though I don’t seethe with hunger for it since Pandemic Legacy has me sated on that front for now).
So instead of that copout, I’m going with an entirely different copout! I’m looking forward to basically my entire friggin’ Kickstarter queue of backed projects. Some of these were originally scheduled for 2015, but they aren’t out yet. Heck, some of these were supposed to come out in 2014! Good grief. Kickstarter, am I right?
The big one for this year is Yooka-Laylee, which I hope lives up to its Rare pedigree. Then there is also the Castlevania-esque Timespinner (originally scheduled for November 2015), beautiful pixel art metroidvania Heart Forth, Alicia (May 2015), cartoony narrative Night in the Woods (January 2015), stealth metroidvania Paradise Lost: First Contact (December 2014), grow/shrink puzzle platformer Scale (December 2014), neon action Hyper Light Drifter (June 2014), and dark hand drawn Metroid-like Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope (May 2014), among others. Yep, maybe a couple of these will release this year. Maybe.
I think 2016 will be one of the best calendar years for gaming in the history of the medium; in part because so many of the games seeing release were delayed from 2015. Looking at this year’s release calendar it’s fucking hard to just pick one. Do I go for The Legend of Zelda NX or 2017’s The Last Guardian?
Hell, I could write for days about how excited I am for either of those games, but if I’m being honest with myself I must admit the game I’m most looking forward to is Treasurenauts. Renegade Kid is one of my favorite platformer developers out there and I have been anxiously waiting to get my hands on this title since it was announced two and half goddamn years ago. The run-and-gun platformer is my favorite pick-up and play genre, and if the developer’s work on Xeodrifter is any indication, Treasurenauts will be yet another instant classic for my 3DS. Now there is no guarantee this title will come out in 2016, but if the last reports on the game are to be believed, Renegade Kid is hard at work on it in-between sessions of writing blog posts.
I’ve been walking the Kentucky Route Zero beat for a while. You might even say I’ve been walking it my entire life, if you had a very loose grasp on the concept of time. Over the course of the game’s lengthy development cycle, I’ve made a fuss about Kentucky‘s rich atmosphere, its fully realized characters, and its re-contextualization of modern adventure game mechanics. There are many adventure games — most of which have the Telltale name attached — that allow you to forge a character through immediate choices. If the conclusion to Episode 3 is any indicator, Kentucky Route Zero is more concerned with a shifting past and an immutable future.
Here is the part where I attach an asterisk to this prediction; there is nothing to suggest Kentucky Route Zero will release a new episode in 2016. Previously, there was one per year — but 2015 flitted by with nothing more than a handful of updates from the developers. We may never see Episode 4, let alone the conclusion to the series (which is alright, I think Episode 3’s finale works if you’ve got a melancholy streak), so this entry may be entirely moot. In which case, pretend I said [INSERT WINNER OF DESTRUCTOID GAME OF THE YEAR 2016] instead!
I sit here egg on face. My entry for “most anticipated” last year (Persona 5) is coming out this year. My entry from two years ago (Gravity Rush 2) is also coming out this year. I can’t do either again, right?
Ok. Let’s be safe. XCOM 2 is definitely coming out in 2016. What are they going to do, delay it all the way out of February? Ok. XCOM 2. Hell yeah. I have to keep myself from playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within because I know it’ll suck up dozens of hours I don’t have, but every few months I slip and play a few hours of the campaign. My favorite thing I’ve written about XCOM has to do with the game’s setup, which lets you completely fail to stop the alien invasion, rather than let you brute force through 100 game over screens. Losing is viable narrative, too.
And what does XCOM 2 do? It takes the god damn losing route as canon! And, lo and behold, we’ve got a heck of an interesting thing going on here. There are swords and snake people, damn it. Snake. People. The future is dope as hell.
Runners-up: Persona 5, Gravity Rush 2, The Witness, Firewatch, Fire Emblem Fates, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Dishonored 2, Final Fantasy XV, VVitch
It’s no secret that I love Monster Hunter. I’ve made friends, bonded over hunts, and absolutely adore the nostalgic combo system that’s both rigid and flexible. Monster Hunter X is the newest release of the long running series that is currently Japan only. Cross introduces more flamboyant and flashy moves to make the normally deliberate looking combat look cooler to watch. With actions like springboard jumps, diving evades, and plenty of explosive looking effects coupled with several brand new monsters and variants, western fans are gnawing at every piece of information they can get as we’re left waiting on the edge of our seat for news of a western localization.
I’m also a die hard fan of fighting games. I loved my time with games like Marvel 3, Injustice, and Street Fighter IV. With only Smash Bros. 4 to sate my appetite for glory and salt, I’d all but given up hope for something substantially new to come to the Wii U. Then Pokkén Tournament was revealed and it eventually received a 2016 release date. While I’ve never been much of a Tekken fan, like everything else Nintendo has done in the past few years, I’m absolutely ready to jump into something different thanks to a coat of Nintendo paint. If I could love Hyrule Warriors, which is Zelda themed Dynasty Warriors, I can give Pokkén Tournament a shot.
Persona 5 has been my most anticipated game for the past three years, since its release keeps getting pushed back. Hopefully, 2016 will be the year it finally appears, because I cannot wait to dive in! Persona 4 is definitely in my top ten games of all time, and Persona 3 is up there on my list of favorites as well, so I have exceptionally high hopes for the fifth installment. I’ll be going in completely blind, having only seen the initial teaser trailer and actively avoiding all other info, so I won’t know what to expect. Let’s hope it’s not a let down, although I can’t imagine it will be!
I don’t know what could top my excitement for Persona 5, unless Shigesato Itoi suddenly takes back his word and announces an official Mother 4 or Capcom suddenly decides to bring back Mega Man Legends 3 (I know neither of those will ever happen), but Nier: Automata comes pretty close! I honestly never expected to see a sequel to Nier, so the announcement was both very surprising and super exciting. If both Persona 5 and Nier: Automata come out this year as planned, it’s going to be one hell of a year for me!
My pick last year was The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U, and that’s still the game I’m anticipating the most at the moment. That text has already been written though, so just for the heck of it, I’ll tell you about my second most anticipated game for 2016, even though it’s already out in Japan and hasn’t been announced for my region at all!
Rhythm Tengoku: The Best+ is the latest, and some would say greatest game in the Rhythm Tengoku/Heaven series. It offers up a collection of the best stages from prior Rhythm Heaven/Tengoku games, plus a selection of all new levels. There’s even a series of unlockable Wario-themed remixes. Seeing as I still regularly play the previously released games in the series, I have no doubt that Rhythm Tengoku: The Best+ will end up being one of my all time favorite games. I’m giving Nintendo until Dec 31st, 2016 to announce it for territories outside of Japan. If they fail to comply, then I may have to tickle Reggie’s feet until he cries for mercy.
And even if they do comply, I still may have to tickle those feet. I bet they’re huge…
My most-anticipated games of last year got pushed back to this year, so for me, it’s Persona 5 and No Man’s Sky by default. Barring some kind of disaster – it is an election year – I’ll be able to write about something else this time in 2017.
That said, there’s plenty to GET HYPE for elsewhere this year, as well. XCOM 2 and Firewatch are due in a few weeks, while playing Gravity Rush Remastered has me excited for what they can do with Gravity Rush 2. And I’m strangely excited about Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, despite the fact that I know virtually nothing about Digimon other than that some of the ‘mons are too damn lewd.
Then you’ve got other franchise heavy-hitters like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Final Fantasy XV, alongside less-known quantities, like What Remains of Edith Finch, Wild, and Boundless, though those latter ones may end up pushed back as well, seeing as they’ve only recently been announced. And let’s not even start whatever Sony, Oculus, and Valve are planning for their respective VR rollouts, all scheduled to pick up steam this year. I just hope they can all agree on some kind of common standard or something because fuck if I’m gonna pay for more than one set of hardware to enjoy that stuff. Also, I really want to play Summer Lesson. It’s everything I want.
Traditionally, I use this opportunity to talk about how much I’m looking forward to the next Souls game, and 2016 is no different in that regard. In this case I’ve actually played Dark Souls III by way of a Namco Bandai event, and I know that it’s already looking like it will live up to its name, so I don’t think I have a whole lot to worry about here.
But next year I may have to find a new franchise to move on to as this might be the end of the Souls series as we know it. I’m willing to bet that Sony and Namco Bandai are going to have a say in that decision too, as Bloodborne and Souls have been huge hits for them, but for now, From Software and series director Miyazaki are keen on possibly stopping it. We’ll see what happens, but before then, we’ll have Dark Souls III to play. And it looks fantastic.
Unsurprisingly, Shin Megami Tensei IV Final rests at the top of my list. I’m looking forward to Persona 5, Fire Emblem Fates, Zelda Wii U, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and the updated version of Odin Sphere as well, but the heart always yearns for post-apocalyptic, crapsack worlds.
I’m not sure I buy SMT IV Final’s idea of multiple “neutral” paths, though, given one path favors anarchy and another peace. Nocturne pulled a similar stunt with its “Reason” alignments. Chaos and Law weren’t really gone, they were just named differently.
Just don’t let players harm a hair on Nozomi’s head. Flynn worked hard to make her queen of the fairies.
This is the first time I’ve been able to look at the year ahead for Destructoid, and wow are there some exciting games coming out!
The big one I’m looking forward to the most is Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. I love the original game, and have played it to death, but I was unsure of what I played of Catalyst at EGX. At the time, it was due to be released in February, but now that it’s been delayed to May I’m hopeful those extra few months of polish will do the world of good. Taking the original game’s fantastic movement and adding it into an open world with expanded lore is a recipe for greatness, so I really hope they pull it off.
I’m also really excited for Mafia 3. Mafia 2 was pretty barebones as an open world game, but everything else about it was fantastic. Exploring a new criminal underworld in New Orleans sounds awesome to me, so I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Other games I’m pumped for are Street Fighter V, Dishonored 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Cuphead. There’re so many other games coming out this year that I’m sure I’m forgetting a few as well!
If there is one thing I want this year, it’s closure for D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die. During the game’s final moments, there’s a big character reveal — but then it drops a “To be continued…” and raises even more questions in a post-credits sequence. Where’s that second season?
At this rate, I’d be happy just to get an officially sanctioned plot summary, Carnivàle-style.
This year is very special, for me and for you, whether you choose to care or not. More special than awaiting a new console release or a long-anticipated game — within a few months a brand new paradigm of entertainment finally comes to fruition. Of course, I’m talking about virtual reality. Call me whatever names you want, call me insanely optimistic, but it’s undeniable that VR is one of the biggest fundamental changes to how humans consume media and interact with technology in a very long time, perhaps ever. The switch to smartphones or high definition displays wasn’t as disruptive as this, and if I’m being completely honest I’m just excited to be around when it happens.
Oculus, HTC, and Sony are tasked with bringing VR to the masses in 2016, and even through it might be a bit of a bumpy ride during the early years, it’s safe to say that nothing is going to be the same again. That is what I’m looking forward to this year.
If I had to name a few video games I’ll definitely be purchasing and playing over the coming months, Persona 5 and Street Fighter V are absolutely on that list.
That reminds me, where the hell is Frog Fractions 2?
As someone who can’t stand to be let down, I often avoid letting myself get hyped over games, but there are still a few I’m looking forward to. As a huge Zelda fan I’m always looking forward to the next iteration(s), which this year will be both Hyrule Warriors Legends and the upcoming title for Wii U. Legends because of the ability to play as Linkle, while not exactly female Link she is probably the closest we will get. I just hope Linkle makes an appearance in the next home console-based title, be it on Wii U or the NX.
Outside of Nintendo, I’m looking forward to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, as the original is easily one of the best and most original shooters in some time, certainly way better than Titanfall, which occupied around a week’s worth of time before I went back to PvZ: GW.
Other games that I’m pretty pumped about that is probably flying under most people’s radars is Gearbox’s hero shooter, Battleborn, and Fable Legends, both of which I may or may not have played. All I can say is I’m looking forward to them because they look hella fun.
Last but not least No Man’s Sky, the sci-fi game so ambitious that I’m not sure it will be fun at all, but I have some hope. Surely a giant MMO-like space exploration game couldn’t possibly fuck everything up could it? If it includes a bunch of dull survival or crafting elements then, in my opinion, yes it could.
I’ve been hopelessly waiting for for XCOM 2 like a prom night date worried she’s been stood up since I first heard about all the soldier customization options. As you might know if you’ve read what I thought about Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within, I take a particular delight in fashioning my squad of alien hunters to resemble my friends, family, and co-workers, and then watching them get massacred by Mutons and Sectopods. In my more reflective moments I worry there might be something really wrong with me.
I’m also really looking forward to Street Fighter V. The closest I ever got to being competitive in a fighting game was Super Street Fighter IV with Vega, so I’m pretty excited that by most accounts he is going to be a serious threat in SFV and I plan to get in early and stick with the game this time. Maybe, possibly, if I wish upon a shooting start and practice till my fingers bleed, THIS will finally be the year and the game that I feel confident enough to enter a fighting game tournament.
Also, I may have to buy a Vita, in 2016, thanks to Gundam Vs Extreme Whatever. Sometimes I hate myself.
When I was 18, I broke my wrist. Stubborn and still very much not an adult, I refused to go to the hospital. “It’s just sprained,” I insisted as my ability to use my right arm waned. This went on for eight months when my mother finally convinced me to get it fixed. I now have a two-inch crooked surgery scar to serve as a monument to my idiocy.
That is to say, I’m not one to seek medical attention. For three years now, I’ve skirted Obama and have gone without health insurance. You may think of me as a god-fearing, law-abiding American but I am just the opposite. Steven’s a family man; I’m a goddamn rebel.
Quick parable: Before working at Destructoid, I was employed at a law firm. One day, I was working on a case with the firm owner when his property manager interrupted. She started talking to him about insurance on some vacation homes he was renting out. I told him verbatim “Insurance is for people who plan to lose.” He looked the property manager in the eye and said “Yeah, insurance is for people who plan to lose.” She left in a huff and I stifled a laugh about the absurdity of the situation.
I bought health insurance this year. I plan to finally lose. That’s what I’m anticipating most for 2016: Some sort of physical and emotional trauma, a pain or ailment so great that I can’t just ignore it. Good tidings to you and yours, friends.
New year, new me! What games are you looking forward to getting your slimy, suction-cupped hands on in 2016?