By Quentin H. / December 27th, 2015
oprainfall is proud to present our annual lists of Most Anticipated Games. Just like last year, we will be publishing one per day as we move closer to 2016. Today, we have writer Quentin.
At the conclusion of my first year with Operation Rainfall, Jeff posed a question to all the staff (I’m paraphrasing here):
“What five video games are you most anticipating in 2016?”
Surprisingly, the games came to mind rather quickly. Nowadays, I like to play pretty much everything… except for sports… never been much of a sports gamer.
Soooo, to begin my list…
Mass Effect: Andromeda
“I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite store on the Citadel.”
“Don’t you piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining.”
“Your ‘Joker’ pilot insists I call myself ‘Prothy the Prothean.’ I insisted he allow me to throw him out the airlock.”
When you play through the original Mass Effect trilogy, you quickly discover that your choices matter. Even the smallest decision in the first game can have significant repercussions by the end of the third game. Humanity is just a drop of life in the galaxy and Commander Shepard is a tool that will be used by the Citadel (the location of the governing body for the galaxy at large), Cerberus (a paramilitary pro-humanity group who is not above using terrorism to achieve its ends), and even the Reapers (who want to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy) as each sees fit. The original trilogy was known also for having romantic subplots, witty dialogue (just put Garrus or Javik in your party and you’ll know what I mean), and heart.
With that pedigree behind it, it is extremely easy to see why “Mass Effect: Andromeda” is one my most anticipated games for 2016.
Just…tell me another story about the Shepard, please?
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
It is very rare that a game series maintains a high level of quality all the way through. Only a few movie franchises (most notably Toy Story and Back To The Future) were able to pull this feat off. The Uncharted franchise is the closest we have come in the video game industry.
Nathan Drake is a latter-day Indiana Jones who happens to go on exotic adventures all around the world to find fabled cities and lost treasures. The platforming is top-notch, the dialogue between him/Sully/Elena is both witty and fleshes the characters out to make them all three-dimensional, and the games are perfectly paced to allow you to ‘catch your breath’ between large set pieces.
(Plus, it does not hurt that the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic and that Elena is not a ‘damsel in distress’ but is in fact quite often Nathan’s equal when he is running-and-gunning out in the field.)
Naughty Dog has done an absolutely fantastic job with the series. With Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, I am eagerly anticipating the new chapter in the Drake Saga and to see just what adventure and conspiracy our heroes find themselves getting mixed up with next.
And…a game show?
Yooka-Laylee, by Playtonic Games, is a spiritual sequel to the Nintendo 64 classic Banjo-Kazooie. The game’s existence owes itself to the result of a very successful Kickstarter campaign that raised £2,090,104 (that’s $3,182,503.30 USD for you Americans).
In this game, Yooka and Laylee are a team that must work together across five distinct worlds to collect Pagies (and other various collectables) to unlock and then expand each new world until they reach the final boss in his/her keep.
A lot of the same team from Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong Racing, Viva Pinata, and other classic Rare video games are all returning for this title. If you’ve ever played any of the old Rare games (before they switched their focus to primarily making games for the Kinect), then you know that going back to the ‘old days’ is something to seriously look forward to.
Final Fantasy XV
Uhhhh…It’s Final Fantasy. The fifteenth game in the series. If you have not played any of the prior fourteen games (or any of the many spin-offs or sequels), then stop reading and go play one.
Do it now.
(Shameless Final Fantasy XI plug: The series simply does not get better than experiencing the Chains Of Promathia and Seekers Of Adoulin expansion storylines. You’re really missing out if you don’t give them a try.)
(Formerly known as Project Morpheus)
If you look at my list above — and I suspect most other Operation Rainfall contributor’s lists — you will see a trend.
A grand majority of the games are sequels (direct and spiritual), prequels, remakes, and spin-offs. Most of the most anticipated games for 2016 that are going to be top sellers (such as the next Assassin’s Creed game, the next Madden game, the next Legend Of Zelda game, or the next Call Of Duty game) are all sequels as well.
This is not surprising.
We live in a world where the critically-acclaimed reboot of Tomb Raider was initially deemed a flop by Square Enix, despite selling 3.4 million copies in four weeks and becoming the biggest-selling game up to that point in 2013.
But when a development company is sinking millions and millions of dollars into developing a video game (for example, Borderlands 2 cost between $30-35 million USD and God Of War III had a $44 million USD budget), to sell a product for a price point that has not moved upwards with the development costs since 2006 ($60 USD), then companies are going to want to invest in a tried-and-true franchise that has proven itself over-and-over again. After all, creating the next Heaven’s Gate (the western on roller skates movie, not the cult) or Daikatana (the time-jumping first-person shooter) can sink a game studio.
That is not to say that new franchises/IPs are not being created by developers. But with so much on the line financially, they are usually not an established company’s focus.
There are two exceptions to this practice: First, when a new console comes out, we get a slew of new franchises that come out with it. They are often of varying quality (Knack and Gravity Rush are low/high points, respectively) but they still represent innovation.
The other exception is when a new peripheral is released. With the PlayStation Move, we got Kung Fu Rider. When the Xbox 360 Kinect dropped, we got Dance Central. Again, these games are of varying quality, but they were definitely original titles.
And that is why the PlayStation VR (formerly known as Project Morpheus) is my last pick for what I am most anticipating for 2016.
There are AAA titles — like Thief — coming to and being ported over to the PlayStation VR, yes. However, we are getting some new and crazy stuff.
For example, we are getting Golem from Highwire Games, where you play as a small girl and first create and then take over the body of automatons all sizes. Crytek is putting out Robinson: The Journey, a game which drops the player onto a world where dinosaurs run amok. And one of the craziest of all is Eagle Flight by Ubisoft, where up to six players are exploring the skies of Paris after it has been abandoned for fifty years.
All these titles are new, adventurous, and they dare to push the boundaries of what video games are and where they are heading. I cannot say whether or not PlayStation VR will be a success. What I can say, however, is that if absolutely nothing else…
It will be something new that we haven’t seen before.
Do you agree with me? Disagree with me? What is YOUR favorite store on the Citadel? Please feel free to comment below.
(Credit for the featured image goes to fellow staff member WishingTikal.)
Banjo-KazooieEagle FlightFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy XIFinal Fantasy XVGolemMass EffectMass Effect AndromedaPlayStation 4playstation vrProject MorpheusPS4robinson the journeyUnchartedUncharted 4XB1Xbox Oneyooka-laylee