For many, 2015 is when many of the biggest and potentially best titles are set to arrive, and we’d tend to agree. Our high expectations were dashed quite a bit in 2014, as big name releases failed to deliver on their promises. Not to mention all of those delays. At this point, though, we pretty much prefer the delays to half-made games.
But we’re ready to trust again. 2015 looks set to be one of the best years in gaming for some time, with some big names on the way, new IPs launched, and the return of some old faces in new guises. So, we picked our top 25 titles out of next year’s schedule, and here they are. Of course, this is based on games we know are coming, and new announcements and reveals cannot be taken into account.
The classic Myst series has always been divisive, and despite being one of the best-selling games ever made, there’s no middle ground. It’s a true love or hate relationship, and the slideshow puzzler is either your perfect idea of a brain-bending challenge, or your own personal yawn-fest of boredom. Even with the series’ move into 3D first, and third person exploration and puzzling, it’s never really won over its critics.
Despite the contrasting opinion, Cyan’s series has a huge, loyal following, and I’d certainly count myself as one of them, so the Kickstarted Obduction is a title that makes it onto this list. It’s been a while since the last Myst release, and Obduction looks set to deliver the difficult puzzling and engrossing exploration the series revels in, all with a new direction and an intriguing new world.
24. Quantum Break
Quantum Break was one of the first games revealed for the Xbox One, and although the console has been out a for a year, we’ve still to actually get our hands on the hybrid game and TV show creation from Max Payne creator, Remedy.
2015 will finally see the arrival of the game, and Xbox One owners will decide if all the waiting was worth it, and we’ll also see how Microsoft delivers on the fusion of game and TV show. How will players impact the TV show, and vice versa? More importantly, will the game be any good, or will the new direction land in gimmick territory?
23. Shadow Realms
We still don’t know a great deal about the new title from BioWare (some gameplay was shown at Gamescom), but the idea of a new online action RPG set in a world crafted by BioWare is enough to get our role playing juices flowing. It’ll boast 4v1 story-driven gameplay, and promises dynamic co-op missions and an evolving world. It’ll feature third-person play and combat that looks very similar to Dragon Age and Diablo.
The 4v1 approach sounds very similar to D&D, where one player takes control of the enemy legions, whilst the other four cooperate to triumph over the dungeon master, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s how the game plays. One thing’s for sure, a new BioWare RPG is something to get excited about.
Here’s some more co-op dungeon crawling, this time randomly generated first person action from the team at Techland (Dead Island). Hellraid may be relativity low on many people’s radars, but the four-player co-op, and the online Game Master mode is enough to make this a title to keep an eye on, as well as it’s similarity to the Dead Island series.
It’s been described as a mix of Dead Island and The Elder Scrolls, which sounds like a great mash-up to me, and it’s been called a spiritual successor to classic Raven title Hexen. We’ll see much more about the game in the following months, but this should be one to watch.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has just landed, delivering more of the same Borderlands actions fans want, and with Battleborn, Gearbox is delivering more co-op action, but this time it’ll also boast some MOBA elements.
Gearbox calls the game a ‘next-gen hero shooter’, and the game is coming from the same team behind Borderlands. It’ll feature another selection of powerful combatants, and as well as the inclusion of proper PvP modes.
20. Mad Max
With Mad Max: Fury Road looking pretty damn impressive, next year should be the year of the road warrior, as we’ll get the new Mad Max game from Just Cause developer, Avalanche Studios.
Mad Max will be an open world action title that’ll mix vehicular and on-foot combat set within Max’s post apocalyptic world. Being a Mad Max game, there’ll be plenty of warped and twisted gangs to deal with, and a powerful, upgradable vehicle for Max to drive called the Magnum Opus.
As well as a focus on melee combat (ammo for ranged weapons will be scarce), the game will include stealth options, and a full crafting and advancement system will allow players to improve Max, and his vehicle and weapons. Max’s goal is to find his lost Interceptor (the car that featured mainly in the second film).
With experience crafting both open world and vehicle-based action, Avalanche has a chance to deliver a great Mad Max game, and we hope both the movie and the game deliver when they arrive next year.
19. Let It Die
The next game from Grasshopper Manufacture is this free-to-play slasher. To be released for the PS4, along with a mobile companion app, Let It Die has been touted as an ‘extreme action game’, and will feature plenty of fact-paced online combat.
As it’s from Suda51, we can expect a title that doesn’t shy away from quirky and original concepts. In fact, Suda has already confirmed that player deaths won’t be the usual gaming occurrence, and dying on one game will result in you appearing in another person’s instance. There’ll also be plenty of AI enemies to fight, and no doubt all manner of strange content.
18. Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat‘s return in the ninth major game in the series was a genuine success, and is one of the best fighters released for a very long time. It also included an interesting and enjoyable story mode, something few other fighters have managed. This carried over into the equally good Injustice: Gods Among Us.
The advances made in both the return of Mortal Kombat and Injustice have been carried over to the next installment, Mortal Kombat X, and from what we’ve seen so far, it could be the best in the series.
Visually brilliant, and boasting some of the most gruesome and disturbing fatalities yet, the game incorporates environmental interaction from Injustice, and mixes in a new role system that gives each combatant several different fighting styles and specials, making for the most complex MK so far.
17. Final Fantasy XV
Although opinion might be a little divided on the fifteenth Final Fantasy entry, the change in art style, and the road trip, open world setting is far more interesting in my opinion, and although not traditional Final Fantasy, its direction may be a good thing for the series in the long run.
The game will be set in the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe, which may or may not cause you to lose interest, depending on your opinion of the Final Fantasy XIII games. However, even if you didn’t like those releases, don’t rule XV out, as it’s a totally new story, with new characters and a different world.
Using a combat system similar to Kingdom Hearts, as well as incorporating vehicles, Final Fantasy XV could be an impressive outing for the long-running series.
16. The Order: 1886
Like the Xbox One’s Quantum Break, The Order: 1886 was one of the first titles announced for the PS4, and like Quantum Break, it’s also not out yet. We’ll finally get to see what Gears of War would look like on a Sony machine in 2015.
Okay, so there should be more to the game than a simple GoW clone, but even if it simply riffs on the Microsoft flagship title, it’s no bad thing, and if The Order manages to capture the same silky smooth cover-based combat, PS4 owners will be in for a great, steampunk-themed outing in an alternate 1800s monster-slaying adventure.
15. Xenoblade Chronicles X
The original Xenoblade Chronicles is hailed as one of the best RPGs ever created, and its sequel is shaping up to be every bit the worthy follow up, and is exclusive to the Wii U, giving Nintendo’s console a much-needed boost in terms of must-have titles.
It’ll be another large, open world RPG, and allows players to travel and fight in massive robots called Dolls. These robots can fly and transform into other vehicles, which should make for some great action and boss battles. The battle system will retain the classic Xenoblade feel, and as it’s exclusive to the Wii U, it’ll also boast plenty of improvements and mechanics that’ll make use of the Wii U’s features.
14. Rainbow Six: Siege
The reveal of Rainbow Six: Siege at this year’s E3 was not only a surprise, but also a highlight. Although the demonstration itself was probably scripted and not entirely accurate to gameplay (a big trend in recent times), the idea of the game is great, and is a good move for the series, which has been dormant for a while now.
Instead of the usual global fight against terrorism that the Rainbow Six titles usually feature, Siege will instead pit teams against each other in SWAT vs. Terrorist missions. One team will plays as the criminals, securing the location and blockading doors and areas, as well as moving hostages to defensible positions, whist the Rainbow team will have to plan their assault in order to surprise the enemy and minimize hostage casualties.
The demo we saw looked very promising, with a large focus on real teamwork and communication, on both sides, and the smaller scale, shorter matches may make this a new online favorite.
13. Star Wars: Battlefront
Being developed by DICE, the team behind the Battlefield series, the new Star Wars: Battlefront promises to be the ultimate Star Wars battle experience, according to EA. Like its predecessors by Pandemic, it’ll feature recreations of famous battles from the series history.
Although DICE has said the game will be a reboot of the license, Battlefront will stick to it’s series’ roots, mixing on-foot infantry combat with vehicles, including a wide selection of types, from speeder bikes to AT-STs. Locations we know will be included include the icy Hoth and the jungles of Endor. Also, given the recent disconnect and wipe of the extended Star Wars universe, we know that future Star Wars games, including Battlefront, will all be canon, connected to the movies, which could be interesting.
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12. Dead Island 2
I have to admit, zombie games have become the equivalent World War II and modern warfare shooters. They’re being milked to death (no pun intended). The number of games involving zombies is just insane, and that doesn’t even include the mixed bag of titles that appear on Steam day after day.
However, if there’s one zombie title that I do still find interesting, it’s Dead Island. The mix of first person melee, looting, weapon crafting, and an open world makes for a more engaging experience, and Dead Island 2 looks set to ramp this up, moving from non-descript tropical islands to the sunny urban sprawls of California.
A more urban and detailed setting, which covers a huge area spanning Los Angeles and San Francisco, should present a greater scope for gameplay possibilities, and should help the series grow from its rough and ready roots. Hopefully, new team Yager Development will be able to produce a zombie game delivers something new.
11. The Legend of Zelda Wii U
As one of, if not the best game series ever created, Zelda is always high on lists like these, and it’d be much higher if we knew more about it. As it stands, we don’t know all that much, except that the game will look great, making use of the Wii U’s improved graphical capabilities, and it’ll take place in a more open, free-roaming world that won’t restrict you to a linear progression, and will give players even more freedom. As Zelda games are rarely rigidly linear anyway, we’re hoping this extra open design will produce a Zelda game that’s more like Skyrim in terms of freedom and scope.
The Wii U has started to pick up some steam with bigger titles, and if there’s one title other than Mario that can shift consoles, it’s certainly Zelda, and I’ve yet to play a bad Zelda game (yes, I even liked The Adventure of Link, so there).
10. The Division
Tom Clancy’s The Division was another stand out performer at E3 when it was revealed, and it’s definitely one of the most interesting co-operative online titles coming next year. Planned as a large scale online MMO of sorts, the game takes place in a United States that’s been crippled by a disease, which has caused the total collapse of society, which the Strategic Homeland Division has to try and tackle.
The game is going to be a third person action MMO where players will be able to team up to fight other players, as well as AI foes. It’ll feature heavy strategic elements, including the use of equipment, special skills, and players taking control of spy drones (using mobile devices).
The setting, tactical gameplay, and large, open world will makes the game very different to many other MMOs, and along with some impressive visuals and clever use of mobile platforms to add to the gameplay, The Division could be an online classic in the making.
9. Star Citizen
This is a game that just keeps getting better with each reveal, with the latest demonstration of planet-side content only serving to beef up excitement even more. Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts’ epic spacefaring trade and combat title look every bit like a modern day Elite.
Built using the impressive CryEngine, Star Citizen will feature a truly mammoth MMO universe that you’ll be able to trade and fight in, and it’ll also feature a multiplayer component called Squadron 42. Total freedom will be granted, and transitions from space to planet will be seamless. You can even get up and walk around your ship as it flies through space.
During the game, one of your goals will be to earn citizenship, hence the title, which will bestow various benefits, and as it’ll be a trading game, there’ll be a dynamic economy, affected by player actions and dealings.
Although it could be easily dismissed as Left 4 Dead with aliens, there’s much more to Evolve than that, and it promises to not only be a great game, but also a truly original multiplayer title.
It’s a 4v1 game, in which a team of four hunters tackle a powerful predator, controlled by the fifth player. The creature begins each match as a smaller, less dangerous threat, but as it hunts prey and eats, it evolves into more powerful forms, eventually becoming a towering monster that’ll give the four hunters a very stiff challenge.
The hunters are made up of various classes, including assault, medic, support, and trapper, and their goal is to simply take down the creature. As the monster, players either have to kill all four hunters, or complete level-specific objectives, like destroying a specific target.
We’ve seen asymmetrical PvP before, but Evolve undoubtedly looks like it could be a great example of the sub-genre, with some unique mechanics and a simple, but great idea behind it.
7. Halo 5: Guardians
If you’re an Xbox One owner, the arrival of Halo 5 is probably going to be your most anticipated exclusive of next year, and rightfully so. 343 did a great job with Halo 4, and Halo 5 will surely deliver more of the same great Halo gameplay, only this time it’ll do so with the power of the Xbox One behind it.
We don’t know a huge deal about the game at this time, but some story snippets have been revealed. A new protagonist is being introduced into the game in the form of Agent Locke, and he’ll be accompanied by the Arbiter from Halo 2. The main premise will be the disappearance of the Master Chief, and Locke is tasked with finding him.
Halo 5: Guardians will arrive alongside the Steven Spielberg series, which will feature Locke, and will tie in with the game.
6. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Although Naughty Dog may have overshadowed its brilliant Uncharted series with The Last of Us, Nathan Drake’s final adventure is going to be a massive hit nonetheless. In fact, if the team incorporates the best elements from both series into Uncharted 4, along with new tricks allowed by the PS4’s hardware, we could well have the studio’s best game yet.
As with a few titles on this list, we’ve not seen much about the game so far, save for the CG teaser, but there’s really no need to justify its appearance here. The previous Uncharted games have been superb, amongst the best on the PS3, and Naughty Dog has a proven track record, leaving little doubt about the quality of this upcoming Ps4 exclusive.
5. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima may have shifted some of the hype away from Metal Gear Solid 5 with the recent reveal of Silent Hills and the P.T. teaser, but there’s no forgetting the next instalment in the Metal Gear series.
Set in a large open world and offering some of the best and most complex stealth mechanics yet (as evidenced in Ground Zeroes), The Phantom Pain is looking very tasty, indeed. It’ll break free of the rigid and ageing stealth mechanics used by the series previously, and will pilfer from the best open world features in other games to produce a new breed of MGS.
If you’ve played Ground Zeroes you know what to expect, but on a much larger scale. As well as the actual stealth missions, the game will also borrow from previous title, Peace Walker, and will feature a base building system. This will allow the development of weapons and equipment, and you’ll be able to rescue allies and capture enemy soldiers in order to staff your complex.
4. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 looks like it could already be a contender for the best-looking game of 2015, and it also looks like it could be the best RPG too, especially on the PC where the hardware can make it look truly stunning.
The final story of Geralt of Rivia is going to be the biggest game in the series yet, with huge open areas, non-linear story, real-time combat, and the same player impact on the world as before, affecting how events unfold.
I’ve seen several gameplay demos, and each one has impressed me more than the last. The Witcher is a series I’ve always liked, but I’ve also felt that it was a little restrictive in many ways, especially the closed-in world areas. The Witcher 3 should remedy this and deliver a mammoth RPG set in one of the richest fantasy worlds in gaming.
I’m a huge fan of the Souls series of games, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see Bloodborne so high on the list. I’ve no doubt that it’s high on many other people’s lists, too.
Originally believed to be Demon’s Souls 2, Bloodborne is the next project by From Software. It’s going to take the punishing series in a different direction, focusing more on faster-paced aggressive combat instead of the slower, defensive combat of the Souls games.
A very dark Gothic world will be the setting, with a hero who wields both blades and guns against all sorts of nasty creatures and massive bosses.
2. Batman: Arkham Knight
Of all the games I saw at E3 this year, only one managed to impress me more than Arkham Knight (which is next in the list, of course). Even then, in terms of visual quality, I don’t think I’ve seen a game as impressive, and demonstrative of the power of the current gen as this.
Batman: Arkham Knight is being worked on by series creator, Rocksteady, and whilst delivering more of the same core gameplay that’s made the series so good, it’s going to improve on every aspect, including the addition of the Batmobile and a larger, more detailed Gotham.
The fluidity in the game is one of the things that impressed me the most during demonstrations. Batman can go from rooftops to gliding, to fighting, to Batmobile, and so on, effortlessly, and it’s a joy to behold. The Batmobile, and its combat mode will open up the possibilities for the game, including large bosses and action sequences. With Rocksteady back behind the wheel, this should be guaranteed to be one of the best games of the year.
1. No Man’s Sky
Many say that it stole E3, and No Man’s Sky certainly steals this list. Despite Star Citizen‘s strong showing, I’m still far more excited about No Man’s Sky. The sheer scale and ambition of the project is just mind-numbing, and the change in direction in terms of gameplay should make for a refreshing MMO, even if developer Hello Games isn’t branding it as such.
Spanning an entirely procedurally-generated universe, including planets, space stations, fleets, and more, it’s a huge undertaking that’ll allow players to explore entire planets (very, very large planets) and galaxies. Players will be able to travel on the surface on foot, and then to hop in your ship and seamlessly fly through the skies, and up into space, moving on to the next destination, wherever you want that to be.
There’s going to be trading, combat (space combat and first person on-foot), and you’ll be able to meet and interact with other players. However, as the universe is so massive, Hello Games has stated that it’s going to be very rare you’ll encounter other people, if at all.
A great feature of the game will be the tagging of planets and geography. When found for the first time by a player, planets and locations on planets will be named and tagged as being discovered by that person. This will be shown to others stumbling upon it. So vast is the world, though, others may never even discover these locations, making you the only player in the game to ever see certain sights.
Exclusive for PS4 at first, and then arriving on PC, No Man’s Sky tops this list as the most anticipated game of 2015.
Of course, this list is merely based on my opinion, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste. You’ll no doubt have your own inclusions, and want to tell me I’m wrong. Did I miss out one of your favorites? Have your say and let everyone know in the comments.