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Som Pourfarzaneh : Five Games to Watch in the Second Half of 2015

Columns By Som Pourfarzaneh on July 24, 2015

Five Games to Watch in the Second Half of 2015

It’s hard to believe that it’s July, and we’ve already seen a number of highly-anticipated titles release in the first half of the year.  Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher 3, and Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward are all out, The Elder Scrolls Online has launched on consoles, and there have been open beta or “live” releases for Trove, Heroes of the Storm, and Skyforge.  While 2015 may not have seemed at the outset to be a year overflowing with MMOs and RPGs, it’s certainly shaping up to have quite a few games from which to pick.

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Here are five games to look for in the second half of 2015!

WildStar’s Free-to Play Conversion

Some games were made for a free-to-play monetization model, and WildStar is one of them.  I know that not everyone has had the best experience with Carbine Studios’ flagship MMORPG, but it has a core appeal that the team is dedicated to building upon.  There are aspects of the game that are super fun, and it has a quirky sense of humor that is not to be missed.  The conversion to free-to-play later this year should give WildStar exactly the thing it needs: more players, and the platform to make a great game even better.

Fallout 4

Bethesda performed a master class in game marketing at E3 this year by showing off an awesome trailer for Fallout 4, and then announcing the game as coming out in November.  Although we don’t yet know as much as we’d like about the next installment in the Fallout series, I have every faith in the developers to make it just as engrossing, if not more than, the previous games.  They’d also do well to create a Pip-Boy themed Apple Watch.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

We haven’t received an official release date for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns just yet, but the general understanding is that we’ll see the game’s first expansion in 2015.  AreneaNet has been teasing a good number of new features for Heart of Thorns, including the new Maguuma Jungle region and Revenant profession, Specializations, Guild Halls, the Mastery System, Stronghold PvP, and a new WvW Borderlands map.  There have been some questions about pricing for the expansion’s pre-purchase packs, but one thing to note is that Guild Wars 2 is and has always been subscription-free.  This means that the developers may be attempting to fold the subscription costs that you’d see in another MMO into the box prices.  Right or wrong, the expansion looks awesome!

Sword Coast Legends

Next to Heart of Thorns and Persona 5, Sword Coast Legends is one of my most anticipated titles for 2015.  If all goes as planned for n-Space and Digital Extremes, Sword Coast Legends will offer a deep single-player isometric RPG experience along with the ability to create adventures and campaigns for you to play against and alongside your friends.  It’s based in The Forgotten Realms campaign setting and structured on the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, ticking all of the right boxes for fantasy RPGs.  What’s not to like?!

Persona 5

Persona is one of the few series that is tons of fun to play and virtually impossible to explain to the uninitiated.  The Persona games combine crazy game mechanics with memorable personalities and a touch of dark humor.  The long anticipated Persona 5 will have to take the series’ formula and push it forward in terms of gameplay and visuals, and what we’ve seen so far seems to do just that.  I’m hopeful that Atlas is able to keep up with the initial estimate of releasing Persona 5 this winter - otherwise I’ll look forward to Persona 4: Dancing All Night to tide me over.

If these five games aren’t enough to whet your appetite for the second half of 2015, be sure to keep your eye on Lost Dimension, Disgaea 5, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and the Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition.  And maybe Just Dance 2016.  What, I can’t have a hobby?!

What games are you looking forward to in the second half of 2015?

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som is a Staff Writer at MMORPG.com and a Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.