We’re all aware that the coming year will bring us some major releases, a la Street Fighter 5 and Uncharted 4, but for those of you who want to delve a little deeper, here’s a little peek beneath the surface at some of the more obscure titles that are showing promise for 2016.
WARNING: Some of the videos in this article are unsuitable for children
Overwatch (August – PC/PS4/XBOX ONE)
Blizzard are a studio who are synonymous with high-quality PC RPGs and strategy games. As creators of the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo franchises, it came as a shock to all of us when they announced back in 2014 that they were beginning work on a multiplayer FPS. However, over time it has become apparent that Overwatch probably has a lot more in common with their RPGs than we had initially thought. In Overwatch, you take control of a specific character in a 12-man battle. Each of these characters have their own special attacks and abilities from wall-running to teleportation to ‘dropping the bass’ (I’ll let you wonder about that one.) Overwatch looks set to stitch together multiple elements from other genres into a fantastic Frankenstein’s monster of a game.
Hellblade (TBA – PC/PS4)
Ninja Theory are no strangers to the action-fighting genre with titles like ‘DMC’ and ‘Heavenly Sword’ under their belts, but Hellblade looks set to shake up the formula in 2016 through the use of a protagonist who is clearly mentally unstable. The player takes the role of Senua, a Celtic warrior suffering from severe trauma and paranoid schizophrenia in a time when such disorders were unheard of. Consequently, most of what you’ll be fighting are just delusions conjured by Senua’s fractured mind and the literal hell into which she believes she is journeying is nothing more than her own personal, psychological hell. Originality abounds in Hellblade and that’s why it’s definitely one to watch out for this year.
Allison Road (Q3 – PC/PS4/XBOX ONE)
You might be aware of the now-infamous ‘P.T’ demo for ‘Silent Hills’ which was released on the PlayStation network and then swiftly removed after Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami. It showed promise and left many fans disappointed when it was evidently cancelled. However, did you know that British developers ‘Lillith Ltd’ began work on a gorgeously photo-realistic horror adventure, inspired by P.T? In Allison Road, the player controls a nameless protagonist who repeatedly wakes up in a house where it quickly becomes apparent that some horrific crime has occurred. But what really makes this game stand out is the incredible level of graphical detail.
Black Desert (Q1/Q2 – PC)
I’m getting that MMO itch once again. You know the one, where you feel the need to go questing with about a thousand other questers. Black Desert has actually been out in Korea for over a year, but localization and translation have held it up in the West until 2016. It would seem, at first glance, to be a fairly standard high-fantasy affair, but two things set it apart from the competition. First of all, the combat is action-based. Skills are activated through use of combos. Furthermore, with the lack of a healing class players must rely on well-timed dodging or blocking to stay alive in dungeons. Secondly (as can be seen in the video) the game has one of the deepest and most realistic character creation tools I’ve ever seen. I fully expect to spend the first day of my ownership of this game tinkering with the cheek bones of my character.
Firewatch (9th February - PC/Mac/PS4)
Set in the Wyoming wilderness in 1989, Firewatch puts you in the role of a wildlife ranger who notices some strange occurrences following the ransacking of his tower. Throughout his investigation his only point of contact is with a woman named Delilah, via his walkie-talkie. Though the game looks set to have an over-arching plot, the really interesting elements will come via your conversations with Delilah. Deciding what to say (or whether to speak at all) will have long-lasting consequences on your relationship with her. If the voice-acting maintains the quality of the trailer, Firewatch could provide some of the most compelling narrative of the year.
For Honor (TBA – PC/PS4/XBOX ONE)
Arguably the least obscure game on this list, For Honor has captured the imagination of many mainstream gamers as effectively ‘Gears of War with swords.’ However, it looks to be much more than that, with its more intricate 1 on 1 battles and strategically designed maps, For Honor would appear to have some serious potential with regards to replayability. Furthermore, the game’s mash-up of various different medieval combat styles, namely knights, samurai and Vikings means that there will also be something to switch to when you get bored.
Detroit: Become Human (Q4 – PS4)
David Cage with his ‘Quantic Dream’ studio is no stranger to complex narratives, having been the director of both ‘Heavy Rain’ and ‘Beyond: Two Souls’ and Become Human looks to be no different. The player takes the role of Kara (played by Valorie Curry of The Following and Twilight), a freshly produced android with an artificial consciousness, attempting to find her way in a World which refuses to view her as anything more than a complex tool. Other details are fairly scarce at the moment, although the trailer is quite revealing.
Cuphead (TBA – PC/XBOX ONE)
Having lost a bet with the Devil, Cuphead and Mugman are forced to do his bidding and apparently what Satan really needs is someone to fight a relentless rush of outlandish boss battles. Cuphead is a run and gun title in the most literal sense. Lives are unlimited, weapons are kept in-between deaths and you just keep going until you succeed. Its frantic pace and ‘30s Disneyesque art style are what look set to distinguish it in 2016.
Total War: Warhammer (28th April – PC/Mac)
The Total War team are nothing short of veterans when it comes to making grand strategy war sims and I think every nerd, at some point, has asked why they haven’t made a fantasy game. Well now they have and what a game it looks set to be. I think what makes this game so exciting is the fact that we haven’t has a truly great Warhammer Fantasy game since the late ‘90s and everything points towards the suggestion that Total War: Warhammer will be the game we’ve all been longing for.
Adr1ft (28th March – PC/PS4/XBOX ONE)
Floating through the wreckage of what was once a fully-functioning space station, struggling to scavenge enough oxygen to survive whilst uncovering the truth behind what caused all of this carnage. These are the concepts at the heart of Adr1ft, the first game from new studio ‘Three One Zero.’ The game itself evokes classic Sci-fi movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in all of its beautiful loneliness and desolation. Ar1ft looks set to be more of an experience than a game. Nevertheless, that experience will surely be one to remember.