Will’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2015

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

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oprainfall is proud to present our annual lists of Most Anticipated Games. Unlike previous years, we will be spreading out our lists over multiple days this year as we move closer to 2015. Finishing off our lists, we have Lead Translator Will Whitehurst.

Will's Most Anticipated Games of 2015

2014 was another great year for gaming, and 2015 looks to be even better. I’ll open this list with a disclaimer: there is going to be a lot of Wii U here. In fact, aside from one game available on every platform under the sun, all of the games on this list are Wii U titles. So, if you’re not okay with that, 1) we can’t be friends, and 2) I’m just kidding, but reading on might not be advisable. Also, for this year’s list, I will mostly focus on new IP, but there are two exceptions to the rule: one is a sequel I’ve wanted for almost 10 years now, and the other is a spiritual sequel that only has a developer and name in common.

I’ve decided to not include remakes on this list, so although I’m also really, really looking forward to Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, the NN3DS Xenoblade Chronicles port, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D; they’re all honorable mentions. Furthermore, I don’t expect Bravely Second, Rodea: The Sky Soldier, Scalebound, Fatal Frame V or Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, five other games I wish are at least localized, to come to US shores until 2016 at the earliest, so those are all out as well.

Other honorable mentions/things I can’t wait for in the next year include:

  • The New Nintendo 3DS in general.
  • Persona 5 and Bloodborne. No questions asked―I just need something to play those on first.
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, for all of the reasons already listed in my top 5 list from last year.
  • Code Name S.T.E.A.M. Intelligent Systems has stepped up their game here.
  • ZombiU 2, if the rumors are true. If so, I will be absolutely, positively ecstatic.
  • Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda, and possibly another F-Zero.
  • If Platinum Games has anything else up their sleeves this year, consider me interested.

So, without further ado, here’s my top 5 for 2015.

5. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

I’m going to be honest with you, dear readers: I’m a huge fan of the pink puffball with an appetite and attitude. Canvas Curse, a highly innovative platformer that showed us what the DS’ touchscreen was capable of, is one of my favorite outings of his. And when I learned the GamePad has a touchscreen, I knew there’d eventually be a Wii U sequel in the works. Ten years after Canvas Curse hit DSes everywhere, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse will finally give the Wii U another big platformer after a period that has had some fairly disappointing ones as of late (hello, Sonic Boom).

Kirby’s Epic Yarn and the upcoming Yoshi’s Woolly World used yarn as the medium for their adorable art styles, but Kirby and the Rainbow Curse goes one step further and uses clay as its artistic medium. Every video and screenshot of the game thus far has had a gorgeous stop-motion look, but unlike in Kirby’s Epic Yarn, where the yarn aesthetic is perfectly matched to its easy and even relaxing nature, looks can be deceiving. Canvas Curse is probably the toughest Kirby installment I’ve played, as drawing lines to move that ball-shaped Kirby proved to be no easy task. Regardless, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse looks to be another high point for my favorite old Nintendo standby. And, since I was lucky enough to acquire a Kirby amiibo when I got Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the amiibo support is icing on the cake!

4. Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 - Freeze

Two crowdfunding campaigns and almost three years later, Keiji Inafune’s studio, Comcept, will finally finish an action-platformer starring a robot with blue armor and a gun attached to his arm. Yes, Mighty No. 9 and its protagonist, Beck, both have a passing similarity to Mega Man, but this game has two key mechanics that separate the two. First, Beck has the potential to take enemies’ capabilities, Kirby-style, after they are weakened. Second, Beck can dash infinitely while airborne, allowing players who want to complete the game to do so quickly while also giving more hardcore Mega Man players a chance to move out of harm’s way quickly.

It’s obvious the money Inafune and Comcept acquired has been put to good use, as Mighty No. 9 gets that retro action-platforming look down just right. From the cool sprite graphics to the breathtaking action, everything in this game just looks right. While Inafune’s former company Capcom has not done much with Mega Man as of late, Comcept has made a game that not only breathes new life into the genre he helped define, but also serves as a spiritual successor to the game he defined it with. Cheers, Beck. We needed you.

3. Devil’s Third

Devil's Third - Characters

When the multiplayer demo footage for Nintendo and Valhalla Game Studios’ shooter/hack-n-slash hybrid was first revealed, I thought, “oh, this game is just a dudebro Call of Duty knockoff for the Wii U.” Then, the hilarious multiplayer customizations, ridiculous melee weapons, a deep clan creation system (including propaganda!), and ludicrous amounts of bloodspray showed up, and Devil’s Third went straight to this list. This is coupled by a story in the single-player mode that takes the Kessler theory, where space debris and planetary collisions are linked to one another, and runs with it as planetary debris interferes with military technology. Wow.

It just all makes for an over-the-top spin on a genre that has, as of late, thrived on the same old tired cliches. Originally revealed in 2008, with THQ as publisher, Devil’s Third remained in the shadows for a while and was presumably cancelled after that company’s bankruptcy. But now, it seems like Nintendo has played savior yet again, and if their involvement with Platinum Games’ incredible Bayonetta 2 is to be believed, Valhalla Game Studios’ Tomonobu Itagaki could not have a better partner. If Devil’s Third is like other examples of how Nintendo can push their boundaries with a single game, sign me up. After all, who doesn’t want to kill people while wearing a photorealistic cat mask?

2. Splatoon

Splatoon 02

Although Nintendo does so much with their more family-friendly IPs, such as Zelda, they certainly can’t survive on it if they want to stay afloat. Enter Splatoon. When this lively-looking shooter was also revealed at E3 2014, my jaw dropped to the floor. A 4v4 third-person shooter on the Wii U seems unthinkable, but when the characters are cartoony, squid-human hybrids called Inklings and the goal is for teams to spread colorful ink across a drab environment, it becomes a bit more, well, Nintendo. If the numerous pieces of fan art and impressions about the demo that I’ve seen are to be believed, this game will become quite the hit in spite of—and because of—its newness.

Plus, players can move through their own ink―if it’s your color, you move faster and reload your gun more quickly, while if it’s the opposing team’s color, you slow down. The gameplay sets itself apart from other shooters to begin with, but mechanics such as that separate Splatoon from, say, the Team Fortress 2 mold of team-based multiplayer. Add a single-player mode that takes platforming cues from Mario, and Splatoon is both Nintendo’s most exciting new IP and the multiplayer game to beat this coming year.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles X - Tatsu

This has been my most anticipated game since, well, I started doing these lists, and not just because of the name. Heck, the naming conventions of RPG sequels as spiritual successors have been in place since the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest days, and this game went by X when it was first revealed as Monolith Soft’s Wii U project. But, as in the years before, Xenoblade Chronicles X gets me more excited with every piece of new information about it. The first Xenoblade was good enough to make me join the original campaign and, subsequently, consider it the best game I have ever played, but Xenoblade X looks to top even that.

As with the first, Xenoblade X is a mixture of elements from the action, RPG and open world genres, with a key emphasis on exploring a vast landscape. While Xenoblade had characters traverse around two gods, the Bionis and Mechonis, Xenoblade X takes place in the futuristic American city of New Los Angeles, formed after an alien war made the Earth uninhabitable. Players can set foot by themselves or use mechs called Dolls, which adds an exciting twist to the gameplay. Also, the Wii U’s HD gives Xenoblade X a significant visual upgrade and an even more massive open world. When even Tetsuya Takahashi, director of the Xeno franchise, even proclaims that he has created a game that fulfills a long-held dream of his, you know the results are going to be simply astounding. And when Xenoblade X finally comes out in 2015, I know he will do it right.

And so concludes another list of my most highly anticipated games. 2015 looks to be the best year yet in gaming, and these 5 titles are proof positive of that!

About Will Whitehurst

Will joined the Operation Rainfall Campaign soon after news broke of that infamous French interview about Xenoblade. Subsequently, he got actively involved and became a staff member in July/August 2011. He is currently the head of the Japanese translation team, and loves to play, discuss, debate and learn more about games. Will gravitates towards unconventional action games and RPGs, but plays pretty much anything except Madden. He is also currently attending college, honing his Japanese skills and preparing for medical school. (Coincidentally, Trauma Center is one of his favorite game series of all time.)