Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Epic Games
Expected: 2H 2015
The latest title out of Epic Games, most notable for the Gears of War and Unreal Tournament series, Fortnite is envisioned as a free-to-play co-op game whereby you scavenge the land and build a defensible fortress in the day, only to be besieged by zombies and others monsters at night. You can choose how to keep the bad guys away, and you can choose from several classes.
Since this is going to be free-to-play then the usual caveats about pay-to-win apply here. Done well (League of Legends, PlanetSide 2) it could be no issue, done badly (Star Wars: The Old Republic) it might be a monstrosity. I'm hoping for the former. It's also interesting to note that this will be a PC exclusive at launch, with console ports a possibility down the line.
Developer: Double Damage Games
Publisher: Double Damage Games
Expected: 2H 2015
The debut title from Double Damage Games, the new studio of former Blizzard developers Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer (they created both Torchlight games too during their tenure at Runic Games), Rebel Galaxy gives you a randomly-generated universe each time you start up a new game. Build alliances, go on missions, become a trader... it's really up to you.
I will admit, this is one I am very much looking forward to for this year. I am a big fan of the Torchlight series, and what these guys were able to do on a shoestring budget is nothing short of amazing. For a long time (certainly at launch) Torchlight II was a better Diablo III than Diablo III, until Blizzard got the memo and finally fixed it a year or so post-release. Still though, these guys deserve their accolades and I am very much looking forward to seeing what they can do with one of my favourite genres. Rebel Galaxy will be a PC / PS4 title at launch, and will hopefully drop towards the end of this year.
Developer: EA Bioware
Expected: Q4 2015 / Q1 2016
Much has been written about BioWare's recent exploits (a lot of it by me), but with the excellent (although not without its flaws) Dragon Age: Inquisition it seems as if they have recaptured some of their mojo from previous years. Shadow Realms is slated to be BioWare's latest game (probably sandwiched between Dragon Age: Inquisiton and Mass Effect 4), and is a 4v1 asymmetrical co-op game that looks like it ripped off The Secret World's art style in a big way.
There will be multiple classes available at launch, each with their own abilities, weapons, and combos, and each game consists of four heroes vs the shadowlord. The shadowlord can possess any NPC mob, giving it extra health, damage, and abilities, as well as being able to change the map (break down walls, create monster spawns, etc.) and fight against the heroes directly. The shadowlord essentially seems to be the AI director from the Left 4 Dead games, but with an actual person calling the shots instead of Skynet. It sounds great, but since it's modern BioWare then it could be not-great. Time will tell.
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
Expected: 10th February 2015
The one game on the first part of this list with a definitive release date, Evolve is yet another asymmetrical 4v1 co-op game (although it is going to have an single-player campaign) in a similar vein to Shadow Realms above. A team of four players (or "hunters" as the game calls them) receive assigned missions which they have to complete, all of the time avoiding / killing a player-controlled enemy monster. The team comprised of four hunters always has the same makeup (one each from assault, medic, support, and trapper), but there are several characters available for each slot). The player controlling the monster also gets a choice between several forms of monster, and during the game can consume smaller enemies to evolve into newer forms (hence the title).
I've heard nothing but good things about this game from several sources, and since Turtle Rock were the developer behind the original Left 4 Dead then the pedigree is strong with this one. The game's only five weeks away, and has all the hallmarks of being the first big contender of the year.
Stay tuned for part two my roundup, coming soon.