2015 was a good year for gaming. We found a steady supply of decent AAA titles drop into our eager hands with a sprinkling of indies to boot: Dying Light, The Witcher 3, Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid V and Fallout 4 released alongside the likes of Her Story, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture and couch play classic Rocket League. Although many of these games featured massive and detailed open worlds — without doubt we’ll still have lots to do in Fallout‘s Commonwealth and Bloodborne‘s Yharnam well into this year — some games have been delayed and have slipped to a 2016 release date. But, this means that we have a whole host of, inevitably RSI-inducing, games coming out this year: here are my top three:
No Man’s Sky
Eight quintillion planets. I simply don’t have enough fingers and toes to make sense of how large a number that is, and trust me I’ve tried. Hello Games, a team of a mere 15 people headed up by space genius Sean Murray, have appeared to have created a fully-functioning universe with so many planets that you’ll be discovering brand new species and star systems (that you can name so be sure to keep it clean). It’s also highly unlikely you’ll even see another player, let alone play co-operatively. It’s made possible through something called procedural generation: every element in the game, from environmental flora and fauna to the make-up of planets themselves, is decided by an algorithm that produces the universe as you’re playing. If it even comes out it’ll be an astonishing achievement, but I’ll only believe it when I see it: delays seem highly likely here.
The Last Guardian
Ever since E3 2007, many have been desperate for any scrap or tidbit of information about this elusive follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. However, gamers have known only disappointment as The Last Guardian has been locked in development hell for a good eight years, until last year’s Sony E3 conference that is. Flying onto screens was, once again, the ‘mysterious bird/dog/griffin type thing’ and our first look at gameplay after the announcement of the game surfaced all those years ago. Narrative details have been few and far between, as all we really know is a young boy befriends this creature and works with it to complete platforming puzzles and evade guards. The game looks as beautiful and intriguing as it did in 2007, but it is unclear how the game’s troubled development will impact it. As for a release date, we’re promised some time in 2016, so fingers crossed the problems are truly behind Ueda-san and his team.
Uncharted 4: Drake’s Deception
Resurrected platformers are fine. Unprecedented simulations of a whole universe are all well and good too, but Nathan Drake’s latest outing is shaping up to be my game of 2016. For PlayStation gamers a new delay over Christmas from March to April this year was tough to take after the game’s release had already slipped from last year. But, everything developer Naughty Dog have shared thus far make that wait worthwhile and agonising in equal measure. Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley (of The Last of Us fame) at the helm, new characters, sumptuous graphics for console, silky smooth gameplay, exhilarating action, detailed landscapes with multiple pathways and dialogue choices: this will be the PlayStation event of 2016 and has ‘essential’ written over every last bead of sweat on Drake’s beautifully-realised face.
And, the great thing is, I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s to come in 2016. Legend of Zelda Wii U, Doom, Dishonored 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dark Souls 3 and Tom Clancy’s The Division are simply a taste of what gamers have in store. 2015 was good, but 2016 is going to be all kinds of great.