Hello everyone and welcome to the new year. I’m writing this on the last day of 2014 and instead of looking over our shoulder and summarizing what has gone I’d prefer to look forward and talk about what is yet to come.
The following is a list of games that I’m looking forward to the most in 2015. They are in no particular order:
The Witcher 3 (PC): We will have to wait a little longer than originally planned for this future gem after it was pushed from a March release until May 19th, 2015. I’m in the camp that would rather this game be late then released as a buggy mess so letting development stew in the pot for another two months is okay with me. The pride of Poland CD Projekt Red’s third Witcher game is an open world role playing game that is 30 times larger than the previous series entries. The 30 minute demo I watched at E-3 really piqued my interest for this title and it hasn’t waned since.
Bloodborne (PS4): Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, the man behind Demon Souls and Dark Souls is back with this PlayStation exclusive due in March 2015. While Bloodborne is an action RPG similar to the Souls games before it the action in this one is said to be faster paced. Players are more nimble and have the ability to strike back and regenerate health if successful attacks are landed. If not prepare to possibly die. This game sounds no less punishing than its predecessors just with a tweaked delivery system.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U): Zelda for the NES is unquestionably the game that started it all for me. Many years later the Zelda franchise is still contains some of the best games ever released. The most recent, A Link Between Worlds, could very well by my Game of the Year for 2013. Some might consider Hyrule Warriors the most recent, and while it is a decent game, It is more of a spin off than a true Legend of Zelda game. Zelda 2015 is no spin off. This open world RPG featuring Link looked stunning at E-3 last year and recent Nintendo directs have only fueled my anticipation. An Elder Scrolls-esque game in Hyrule with Link as the star? Yes please!
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U): I was walking the floor of E-3 in 2013 with our EIC Bill Murphy when this game started streaming on a giant screen over the floor. The game wasn’t identified and we went to the Twitch booth to ask what it was and the lady working there didn’t know. It took us another day to figure out what it was that we had seen but I instantly knew I had to play this game. Xenoblade Chronicles X is the sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. You take control of a group of Earth exiles that are looking to find new habitable worlds. While you think you have found one the local fauna has something else to say about that. Players are fully customizable and will control mechs to explore the surface and will combat everything from small bugs to dinosaur like creatures.
Pillars of Eternity (PC): Pillars of Eternity is a throwback to the cRPG glory days of Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. An isometric RPG playing on yesterday’s nostalgia with today’s tech. While this game is not based on D&D like Obsidian’s previous titles those that are familiar with Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, or Planescape will feel right at home.
Shadowrun Hong Kong (PC): Shadowrun is the first Kickstarter that I backed and fortunately it delivered in spades. Shadowrun Returns, Dragonfall, and Dragonfall Director’s Cut were all great games. This time Harebrained is returning to Kickstarter in January to try and get their third campaign that will take place in Hong Kong off the ground. We have seen North America, and Europe, now it is time to get a look at Asia.
Final Fantasy XV (PS4): I played Final Fantasy XIII but took a pass on parts two and three; however, I did enjoy Final Fantasy XIV: ARR. Final Fantasy VI and VII are both in my top five games of all time. Because of that I have more respect for this franchise then it’s earned lately but I think Square Enix still has it in them to make a masterpiece. XV could be that game. I know some people aren’t too keen already on the setting because of the high technology present in the game but the fact of the matter is that technology has always been a part of the series going back to the Famicon. It’s only natural that it would progress. The game looks gorgeous so far in the videos I have seen and the switch to action combat seems like another natural progression with the creep from turn based, to active time based, to conditional time based, to the command synergy system SE used in XIII, and XIII-2. I’m not sure how much more punishment the FF brand name can take before it becomes irrelevant. While SE does have a few new remakes up their sleeves coming out this year it’s high time they release a unique FF game that revitalizes the brand. Hopefully XV can be that game.
EverQuest Next (PC): I’m not a huge fan of Landmark. I really don’t buy into it as a game in it’s current state, more as a collection of tools that SOE is getting hammered out with the help of the community to make EverQuest Next. I don’t think Next will be out in 2015 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not in a “release” state until 2017. I’d be willing to bet it will have “alphas” and “betas” that you can pay to get into along the way starting as early as 2015. Monetization efforts aside I’m really interested in seeing how SOE will have the game progress with emergent AI. Even if you don’t like how the graphics stylistically stack up in this game the AI system alone could be a massive shift for the genre. I’m also looking forward to see how SOE pushes the characters with achievements instead of quests. It could end up being just another way of saying quest or it could be something entirely new and refreshing.
In addition to not being in order the list is not all inclusive. I left off games like Mortal Kombat X and Metal Gear Solid V that I feel don’t really fit the focus of our readership. I think it is also really telling that there is only one MMORPG on there and EQ:Next probably will not be out until 2016. I do think 2015 will be a great year for gaming, better than 2014 by far, and I’m excited to get my hands on all of these titles but I’m not sure how great it will be for MMO gaming. Let me know what you think in the comments below.