After discussing my hopes and dreams for 2016 with friends I came to realise that out of my long list of wishes for the gaming, three stood out to me. As excited as I am to get into the new year, 2015 set the bar in so many ways. How could we possibly top it? Here are three of my wishes for a great year in gaming!
Lots of new IP (and some sequels too)
2016 looks set to be a great year for games, not just for sequels (and sort-of sequels. I’m still not entirely sure where to place Far Cry Primal, all I know is I need it) but also for some brave new IP. It looks like a lot of companies are starting to step in new directions with games, which is something to be massively excited about.
We saw in 2015 how well games like Undertale and Pillars of Eternity did, now (hopefully) it’s the turn of new IP like Firewatch, Wild, Unravel, Yooka-Laylee, The Last Guardian, No Man’s Sky, The Witness, We Happy Few, Darkest Dungeon and Horizon: Zero Dawn to take our breath away and to transport us to new worlds. While I’m desperate to try all of these new experiences, I’d also like to be transported back to quite a few worlds that I miss too. I can’t wait to get to grips with Dishonored 2, Ni No Kuni 2, Doom, Persona 5, Mafia 3, Ratchet and Clank, Hitman and Starfox 0 to name a few.
Although there are so many titles that I’m looking forward to, I’m more importantly looking forward to being surprised. Lots of the titles I loved from last year came out of nowhere, and I’m hoping the same will be true for this year. There is nothing quite like the feeling of stepping into a complete unknown and being blown away by what you find there. More like this please.
Nintendo’s NX to be marvelous (and have great games to boot)
While we’ve no real confirmation of just about anything to do with the NX, we assume that more details and hopefully the console itself will be revealed this year. Personally I’m not one to worry about what the console is capable of. I assume it’ll run the new Zelda game they’ve been showing off, and it looks stunning, so I have high hopes. Instead I’m worried about the games they release with it. This will be massively important for the NX, as the launch and launch window title selection for the Wii-U was so poor, leading to many holding off on the console until much later in it’s lifetime.
As far as these titles are concerned, there are a few things I’d like to see. Where in-house titles are concerned I’d love to see the NX come out in time to have the Twilight Princess re-make as well as the new Zelda title they’ve been teasing for a while now. Needless to say the new, fresh approach they’ve been taking to their old formulas have been working very well, and this looks to be no different. As far as our favourite plumber is concerned, I think Nintendo have to think seriously about the fact that Mario Maker is as popular as it is. This could give them the freedom to try something totally new with the Mario series, much like they did (very successfully) with the Galaxy games and Super Mario Sunshine. I’m also keen to see if they do anything with the Mother/Earthbound series this year after bringing them back to light last year, and am hoping for a console Animal Crossing game. We’ve not seen one since the Wii, and not a good one since the GameCube - come on Ninty! It’ll also be interesting to see how developer relations change with 3rd party companies as well as indie developers now that Mr Kimishima is in charge. We started to see Nintendo showing more and more interest in the Indie market last year, a trend I’d love to see them really push this year!
Top companies taking the more personable approach
One of my most memorable moments of 2015 was watching Coldwood Interactive bringing their game Unravel to the stage during EA’s E3 presentation. Amid the businessmen and officials was a man who stood on stage and touched the hearts of every person I was watching with. Someone who genuinely cared about the game they were presenting. Someone whose passion you could feel reach you from the stage. Show me more developers talking about their games, give me an insight into why a game is so special and why I should want to experience it. It’s something I get every time I speak to developers about their games, and it’s almost magical. Get the people who have personal connections to these games talking about them and I’m sure we’d get a lot more engaging press conferences.
A lot of companies felt colder than ever in 2015, from the massive breakdown Konami seemed to have, to companies like Warner Brothers condemning their own games publicly with no real apology or resolution. Even when Valve had various issues at the end of the year they delayed writing any kind of explanation on their own forums in favour of writing to a handful of news outlets. It’s almost as if top flight companies are becoming detached from us, their consumer base. If we can get Microsoft to backtrack on their used games policies and their views on
backwards compatibility, surely this isn’t much of an ask in comparison? A little personal touch from those companies we’ve looked to for years. It doesn’t have to come down to writing individual messages, but more simply just treating us as consumers, their staff and indeed their games with some care.
2015 was a strange one for the industry. We saw just about everything, from reboots of games thought long dead, bonds breaking where we thought they were at their strongest, some of the best received new IP out there and of course, some of the worst received sequels to date. We’ve seen companies go into meltdown, Kickstarter support some of the best loved and known names in the industry and pre-orders face even more scrutiny as the deals surrounding them have tried various new models. It’s been a year where I feel more indie games have broken the surface and really gotten the attention and love they deserve, and I honestly cannot to see what is brought out this year.
So, those are just three of the things I’d love to see this year. An honourable mention goes to putting games back on disks instead of just giving us Steam Client installers. I miss whole games on disk.
I originally had a list as long as my arm, as I’m sure you all do - feel free to disagree with the above or tell me what you’ve been looking forward to, and how you hope the industry changes this year! It’s shaping up to be a big year for gaming, and I for one cannot wait to see how well it turns out.