Enjoy the calm while you can, because it’s not going to last very long.
This past year was a colossal one for video games, with a massive stack of huge, slick, relentlessly hyped blockbusters, half of which seemed to come out during the same week in November. It’s been tough to keep up, but things are finally beginning to quiet down.
Next year, though? It’s going to be even bigger. Not only will we see the release of devices from all the major virtual reality gaming platforms – Facebook’s Oculus, Sony’s PlayStation VR and HTC’s Vive – but game developers will be wringing every ounce of power out of the now-familiar home gaming consoles, while also taking advantage of the price/performance sweet spot in PC gaming hardware.
In short, there are going to be a hell of a lot of cool games in 2016.
To that end – and keeping in mind that everyone’s taste in games is different – here’s a rundown of the games I’m most looking forward to next year. This list could easily be three times as long, but my worn-out thumbs need a little rest.
The fourth chapter in adventurer Nathan Drake’s saga will also be the first to debut on the PlayStation 4, and it already looks freakin’ amazing. The exploration, gunplay and sarcastic quips – this time between Nathan Drake and his long-lost brother, Sam – are all there, but I’m just as excited for the game’s online multiplayer component, which was recently unveiled in a limited-time beta and turned out to be a crazy amount of fun.
The original Deus Ex, released in 2000, remains one of my all-time favourite games, and Eidos Montreal’s 2011 prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution was very solid and satisfying. But I’m loving how they’re really opening up this sexy, intriguing cyberpunk world for this second Deus Ex prequel, which will see technologically augmented counterterrorism agent Adam Jensen embroiled in the fight of his life.
Crackdown 3 (TBA for Xbox One)
You can’t swing an AK-47 without hitting an open-world action game, but the Xbox exclusives Crackdown and Crackdown 2 brought a special kind of superheroic mayhem to the mix. With Crackdown 3 marking the franchise’s debut on the Xbox One (and utilizing some interesting cloud computing technology to amp up its visuals), I’m stoked to take skyscraper-jumping, car-throwing, rocket-launching destruction to a whole new level.
No Man’s Sky (June for PS4 and PC)
I almost want to forget No Man’s Sky exists until it actually comes out, because the wait has been long and a little baffling. This wildly ambitious space exploration game could be one of the most interesting things to happen to gaming in quite some time, but the repeated delays have been worrisome, and it could end up falling victim to its own stratospheric expectations. Plus, I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s being morphed into a launch title for Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR accessory.
Tacoma (TBA for Xbox One, PC and Mac)
I loved 2013’s Gone Home for the way it told a story through player exploration rather than a scripted and linear plot, so I’m excited to see what indie developer Fullbright will do with its next game. Set on an abandoned lunar space station, Tacoma will involve unravelling the mystery of the station’s missing crew by investigating clues and playing augmented reality logs of their past conversations. Looks fascinating and creepy.
The Last Guardian (TBA for PS4)
This PlayStation exclusive has almost become as mythic as its titular giant bird-dog creature, but I went hands on with it at last year’s E3 Expo and not only does it exist, it really does feel like a spiritual successor to developer Fumito Ueda’s extraordinary ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. And it should definitely be out next year. Definitely maybe. Definitely maybe possibly. Until I have the game in my hands, I’m not falling for any more promises.
Far Cry Primal (Feb. 23 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC)
I was skeptical that the popular Far Cry franchise formula could work in a Stone Age setting, until I recently spent an hour with this game and learned that you don’t need guns, grenades and jeeps when you have arrows, bears and a woolly mammoth to ride on. Even with its low-tech weaponry and prehistoric setting, it looks and feels like a Far Cry game while offering something completely fresh.
Anything on the Nintendo NX
Nintendo is still being very hush-hush about its upcoming high-tech game console, currently codenamed NX, but some rumours suggest it could be released as early as the end of 2016. While this seems unlikely – mid-2017 feels more realistic – if the NX does land next year, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see a next-generation Mario, Zelda or Metroid game. Not that we won’t have our hands full already.
The patent below is suspected to be for the NX controller.
Nintendo controller patent by Brett Makedonski