Doom (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Release: Spring 2016
The elder statesman of first-person shooters is set to make a return in 2016 and all we can say is "it's about bloody time". We've waited too long for a proper return for id's shooter series, and this year we could be set to het our hands on the best one yet. It's fast paced, extremely violent, full of gruesome demons desperate to be shot in the face, and true to the heritage of the series, the pacing is fast and controls responsive. The shooter genre has been in need of a shakeup for some time now; might Doom be the game to do it?
Mass Effect: Andromeda (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is right at the top of the list of games we're looking forward to getting our hands on. Will it make it out on 2016? It's hard to say, but that isn't going to stop us from keeping our fingers well and truly crossed. The information dripping out of Bioware (whether through official channels or not) is that we're being whisked away to a new galaxy and starting anew, without the reassuring presence of the galaxy saving Commander Shepard. Some familiar themes are set to make a return, but we're also hoping for a few surprises too.
Far Cry Primal (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Release: February 23
Ubisoft are taking their open-world FPS series into the stone age with Primal, a reimagining of the series that will cast away the features we're more familiar with, and instead replace them with some new tricks. We'll be taming nature, battling other hunters, and building a connection with the local wildlife and using them to attack our opponents. There's plenty of potential in this new take on the old franchise, and we're excited to see the impact of the planned changes.
Battleborn (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Release: May 3
Battleborn is a fusion of several things. First it's a shooter. Second there's MOBA-like elements that define several of the mechanics. Lastly the package is wrapped up in Gearbox's trademark style - both visually and in terms of sense of humour. There's a nice selection of characters on offer which should keep things fresh over time, and a story that has players assembling around the last star in the galaxy as they fight back the encroaching darkness.
Final Fantasy XV (PS4/Xbox One)
It's been a long and winding road for Final Fantasy XV since the concept was first shown as Final Fantasy Versus XIII way back in 2006, but development proper didn't kick off as Square Enix opted to expand Final Fantasy XIII along other paths (XIII-2 and Lightning Returns). We've sampled the demo (Episode Duscae) and the new, more exploration rich gameplay on offer. It does feel like the Final Fantasy series is at a crossroad - in order to warrant continued mega budgets and prolonged development cycles this game needs to deliver. It's one of the things we love about Final Fantasy - it's outrageously grand. Fingers crossed Final Fantasy XV is good enough to attract an audience that seem to dwindle with every Final Fantasy XIII release.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Release: February 23
The original Garden Warfare caught us a little off guard with its suprisingly entertaining and highly addictive gameplay loop. The generous helpings of free updates that followed, along with a free download (to celebrate the 20th anniversary of PlayStation) helped carry player numbers to an impressive 8 million in total. With the sequel PopCap have shown they're not content to rest on their laurels. While much of what made the original popular is still there and you'll be able to transfer all your unlocked characters from the first game over, there's also a ton of new stuff. The ability to play as zombies co-operatively against AI for one thing, the 6 new character classes another, and perhaps most notably the completely new hubworld (Backyard Battleground) that offers plenty of diversions, collectibles and challenges.
This promises to be a game we'll sink countless hours into come February and we can hardly wait.
Fire Emblem Fates (Nintendo 3DS)
The new Fire Emblem was released in June last year in Japan and it is a slightly different beast than what we've seen in the past. Naturally we can expect deep and meaningful turn-based strategy, memorable characters, and beautiful presentation, but it comes with three distinct campaigns. We're not entirely sure how this will launch in Europe, but odds are there will be two separate releases with the third campaign as DLC. North America is getting a third option that includes all three campaigns and some extras for a royal fee of $80. Regardless of how it is packaged and how much we're made to pay we're quite excited about the prospect of three Fire Emblem campaigns to enjoy in 2016.
It has been years in the making. After having focussed solely on historical grand strategy, Paradox Development Studios, are finally looking to the future instead. Headed by the same project lead as Crusader Kings II, Stellaris have been worked on steadily over the last few years and by the sounds of it Paradox are relishing the freedom that not being tied down by historical accuracy allows them. Naturally they are bringing over their style of grand strategy to the 4X space genre and their brand of emergent story telling, but perhaps it is their ideas of mixing up the generally fairly tedious endgame phase that impresses us the most. Add to that a novel take on the tech tree that resembles a card game and it certainly appears as if Paradox aren't merely content in entering the 4X space race, but also very much looking to innovative and take the lead.