2014 has been a relatively decent year for us gamers. Some pretty decent games have been released, with titles like Destiny, Sunset Overdrive and Dragon Age: Inquisition being met with much praise (and a little criticism). But I wouldn’t say that we’ve had a variety of games to choose from, if we were to be asked to pick the best game of 2014. Next year, however, us gamers are really in for a treat and we should be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the best game of the year. In the spirit of making wild guesses at the quality of games that are yet to be released, I’ve decided to take a look at the games coming next year, and see which ones could be vying for the top spot on our shelves.
I spent a bit of time trawling through the internet, trying to make a list of games that look good and are set for a 2015 release. In doing so, I came up with fourteen titles… that’s a lot of video-games. This would be one hell of a long article if I were to go through all fourteen games, so I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to slap the list down and then select my top five contenders (and two that could steal the show from left-field).
So, the fourteen games that could be pretty great are: Batman: Arkham Knight, Bloodborne, Dead Island 2, Dying Light, Evolve, H1Z1, Halo 5, Hyper Light Drifter, No Man’s Sky, The Order: 1886, Quantum Break, Star Wars: Battlefront 3, Uncharted 4, The Witcher 3.
I think that all of those games are going to be good, if not great, but I can only see a few of them being incredible.
Dying Light is a zombie game… which have been few and far between of late! (I kid). It’s being developed by Techland, who are the developers behind other great games like Call of Juarez and, quite aptly, Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide. So, they’ve set a bit of a precedent in making good games, but they’ve also made a couple of pretty decent zombie games already. Dying Light, from what I’ve played so far at various gaming events, feels quite similar to Dead Island; but with a few key differences. Firstly, it’s far less tongue in cheek and a bit more serious – which I think is needed for a zombie game to go from good, to great. Recently, franchises like The Walking Dead, developers like Telltale and games like The Last of Us have taken the comedic aspects of the zombie genre away and have added a bit of drama, which seems to have done the genre the world of good. The second difference is that it involves a bit of free-running. I was a little skeptical about it at first, but it seems to make the game world a little more exciting and it doesn’t make it too unbelievable – you’re not flying around the map like Sunset Overdrive, and it gives you far more combat options for tackling those zombies… or running away from them.
It’s another Halo game! But this time, it’s on the next-gen. The great thing about Halo is that, in most cases, you know exactly what you’ll be getting – an engaging story and some brilliantly fun multiplayer. Obviously, Halo isn’t for everyone, but it’s a given that it’s going to sell rather well on the Xbox One. Will it be the greatest game of 2015? Probably not. It’s going to be a good game, at least, but I don’t think it’ll be the best thing to come out of 2015. Game series like these, your CoDs, Battlefields, Assassin’s Creeds and Halos have been there and done that. They’ve already been the greatest games of the year, and now that people know what to expect, it’s difficult for the developers to deliver a game that’s above expectations. For me, it was a tossup between this and Bloodborn. I think Bloodborn has more of a chance of being ‘great’, just because it’s new and has a lot of calibre behind it – but I think that Halo is a safer option – I can either see Bloodborn being fantastic or average, whereas Halo will always be good.
The Order: 1886
For me, The Order is the first real competitor for the title; but that’s mainly because it’s new, it’s different and it’s exciting. We’ve not seen a huge amount about it, so obviously I can’t give any evidence, just speculation. The Order is set in an alternative history, in an alternative nineteenth century London. In this fictional world, there is a group of knights who keep people safe from half breed monsters (half human, half monster). The knights are relatively inhuman, after their ancestors found a way to extend their lifespans and give them healing powers, but not quite as inhuman as those damn half monsters. The technology of this fictional nineteenth century is far more advanced than what we created in the actual industrial revolution, so whilst playing as the knights you’ll have access to advanced weaponry (for the times). Overall, this game seems quite unique and, provided they deliver on the promises, it could be something quite special!
Quantum Break is in the same sort of league as The Order. It’s offering something quite different, which I think is needed these days. I really like the concept of the game, especially the time control elements and all of that slow-motion junk. Bullet time was always my favourite aspect of the Matrix games, or BLACK, or the game Stranglehold, and Quantum Break is pretty much going to be built on that concept. Something else that makes this game a little different is the fact that there’s a TV show being developed alongside the game, and Remedy (the developer) has stated that how you play the game will impact the show, and the show will inform how you play the game. I guess that ‘you’ means everyone, as opposed to the individual player, just because that would be impossible for each individual to have a different show depending on how they play… I think. There’s a big chance that this could feel a little gimmicky, but there’s always the possibility that it’s down-right amazing – I guess we’ll see. From what I’ve seen so far, Quantum Break is looking like a pretty solid game, with lots to offer. Could it be the best game of 2015? Possibly. But I think the next game has the best chance.
Star Wars: Battlefront 3
Star Wars Battlefront fans have been waiting for this game for years; pretty much since the release of Battlefront 2 back in 2005. We’ve been teased and tormented about this game for the past decade and, late last year, we were finally told that a Battlefront 3 is in development. This game has the potential to be more than awesome… it could be sensational. First off, it’s a Star Wars game. Don’t really think I need to say much more there. Secondly, it has the perfect developer/publisher team… kind of. I say kind of because, whilst DICE and EA are in the best position to make a game like Battlefront, because of their success and experience with the Battlefield series, they do have an innate ability to cock-up. I have no doubts that they’ll do the game justice, but I also have little doubt that they will, somehow, shoot themselves in the foot. Perhaps the game will be buggy at first, perhaps the servers won’t initially work, perhaps they’ll try releasing some sort of ridiculous and expensive DLC on day one – who knows. It’s just quite likely that they’ll do something to tarnish the game’s reputation. Take Battlefield 4, for example. It’s a great game, possibly one of my favourite shooters of the past few years, but people tend not to remember how good the game is and, instead, focus on the fact that it had an incredibly rocky release. I could see the same happening with Battlefront 3. It might be an incredible game, but when it comes to choosing the best game of 2015, it’s the sort of cock-ups that EA and DICE are renown for that kick a game from the running. But, if everything goes smoothly and the dynamic duo manage to pull the game’s release off without a hitch, I think that Battlefront 3 is the main contender for the title of 2015’s best game.
And trying to steal the show from left-field, we have…
Hyper Light Drifter
I love a good indie game. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than discovering a gem of game that has been created by a small team with love, passion and enthusiasm. There’s something incredibly personal about some indie games, and that’s what really draws me to them. Hyper Light Drifter looks like it could be one of those games. The game design is enchanting and the concept is really intriguing too. You’ll play the game as the ‘Drifter’, a character who has access to ancient technology from a past civilization that others seem to have forgotten how to use. Your task as the Drifter is to find a cure for an illness that you have but, obviously, you’ll be facing plenty of enemies along the way. It’s basically a 2D action-adventure RPG and you’ll be able to use a variety of weapons, ranging from guns to swords. Overall, it’s looking like a brilliant little game, and it’s these sorts of titles that have the potential to sneak in and steal the limelight.
No Man’s Sky
But I must say that the most likely title to steal the show from under the noses of the big developers is No Man’s Sky. This game has been building steam over the past few months, pretty much since E3. It’s basically an open-universe game where the player can explore an uncharted universe full of planets, each with their own eco-systems, animals and plants. It will also involve space-battles and users will be able to update the evolving universe as they explore for other users. In all, it sounds like an incredibly immersive game, but there is the chance that it could get a little boring, or repetitive after a while. Still, the amount of hype that this game is gathering could lead it to being one of the surprise hits of 2015. Although there’s always the risk, as with any indie game or even game in general, that the developer fails to deliver. I guess we’ll know more as we approach its June release date.