Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Upcoming Games Of 2015 - Part 2

Onto my final batch of games for this year, starting with...


Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Expected: Q4 2015

Blizzard's first new IP in over ten years, Overwatch is a multiplayer team-based shooter very much in the vein of Team Fortress 2, and has a similar "cartoony" style. The game recently made headlines for the fact that Blizzard's trademark application for the name Overwatch was suspended, due to a different company filing a game-related trademark under the same name two months before Blizzard did. Whether this will result in Overwatch receiving a name change, or Blizzard throwing a big pile of money at the competitor in order to secure the name for themselves, is unclear.

Overwatch itself looks to be a fun mix of tactical gameplay and team-based shenanigans, with twelve classes proposed for launch, each settling into the offence, defence, tank, and support quartet. The usual caveats about betting against Blizzard apply here, as their Rumpelstiltskin-like ability to turn straw into gold has been demonstrated on countless occasions over the lifetime of the company. Team-based multiplayer shooters are very popular at the moment (see Battleborn below), and it will be very interesting to see what Blizzard's take on this growing genre looks like.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Developer: CD Projekt RED
Publisher: WB Games (NA), Bandai Namco (EU)
Expected: 19th May, 2015

Already delayed twice, Wild Hunt is now slated for release in the Spring of this year. The sequel to the highly regarded The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Wild Hunt continues the story of Geralt, the titular Witcher, who must battle a mysterious group known as the Wild Hunt as they threaten the Northern Kingdoms.

Based on a series of Polish novels, the Witcher games have come to be highly regarded RPGs in their own right (although I would say that the first one was quite wonky in places). Created using CD Projekt's entirely in-house REDengine, the game promises breathtaking visuals, a game world "20% larger than Skyrim", and a day / night cycle which can change monsters and the environment around you. Watch the trailer and I think you can agree that they certainly don't seem to be lying about the graphics. Hopefully the gameplay will be able to back that up.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: WB Interactive Entertainment
Expected: 2nd June, 2015

Arkham Knight is the latest in Rocksteady's Batman series, the first two games being Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The most recent Batman game, Arkham Origins, was developed by a different studio (WB Montreal) and as a prequel was not a direct successor to the other games. This is probably for the best, as Arkham Origins received average reviews, and is generally considered to be the weakest of the most recent games in the series, which technically it probably isn't even part of.

Arkham Knight though seems set to be a return to form for the Dark Knight, and noted voice actor Kevin Conroy reprises his role as the voice of Batman himself. The Batmobile will finally make an appearance as a player-controlled vehicle, and can be remotely summoned to appear at a nearby location whether you're on foot or gliding through the air.

The game has been delayed twice already (it was originally slated for release in June 2014, then October 2014), so hopefully the third time's the charm here.

No Man's Sky

Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games
Expected: 2H 2015

One of, if not the breakout hit of 2014's E3, No Man's Sky is a procedurally-generated adventure game where you quite literally have to explore the universe, discover new life forms, and boldly go where no man has gone before (sorry ladies). The debut title from British indie developer Hello Games, this is is probably the game I am most interested in, alongside Rebel Galaxy. Unfortunately it's going to be a timed exclusive for the PS4 at launch, but a PC version has been confirmed after that period of exclusivity ends. Whether that's six months, a year, or longer is unclear, but the chances of this appearing on the PC in 2015 are slim. I'm still hoping though.

The randomly-generated nature of the game means that there are over 18 quintillion (18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) planets to be discovered in the universe, each with its own unique wildlife, geography, topography, and other mysteries to be discovered. Find something new for the first time and your name name is permanently attached to it for the rest of the game, meaning that someone else who examines that planet / animal / area in their game sees your name as its discoverer, forever.

Expect to hear a lot about this game during the next few months, as it looks it could very well be the first must-own game on the PS4 - and hopefully not too long after, the PC.


Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Expected: 2H 2015

Gearbox's first new IP in a while following the success of the Borderlands series, Battleborn is a multiplay "cartoony" online shooter, in a similar vein to Blizzard's Overwatch (Battleborn was actually announced first). Similar to how Borderlands mashed up the RPG and FPS genres, Battleborn seems to be adding some MOBA action into the mix. So FPS + RPG + MOBA... that's a lot of balls to keep up in the air. And since Gearbox were responsible for Colonial Marines, they know all about balls.

As you would expect there are several different factions to play as, and several characters within each faction, each with a unique style and set of abilities. Gearbox have said that they hope to have around 20 characters ready for the game's launch later this year, with more to follow post-release.

With the phenomenal success of the Borderlands series, it's difficult to bet against Gearbox on something like this. Couple that with the fact that sci-fi games seem to be very much in vogue, and in particular multiplayer sci-fi games, and it's quite possible that Battleborn checks almost every box that people are looking for. There's no release date yet, but hopefully we'll hear something at this year E3 with regards to that.


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