It’s very difficult to pick a top 10 list for upcoming video games.
2015 is filled with interesting and exciting titles, from PC and new-gen exclusives, to cross-platform entries, and from sequels to brand-new IPs.
In this post we’ll take a look at a bunch of these, and we’ll do so in alphabetical order. In fact, we won’t even bother with long intros. We’ll just dive right in….
Assassin’s Creed: Victory - The last major Assassin’s Creed release was a disaster in about every way imaginable. Perhaps “Victory” should be retitled “Redemption” for 2015, because Ubisoft needs to knock this one out of the park just to save face. Then again, the lackluster Assassin’s Creed III was followed up in 2013 by the marvelous Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, so anything’s possible. This time around, our merry band of assassin’s will haunt the streets of Victorian London.
Battlefield: Hardline - Cops and robbers replace soldier on soldier action in EA’s next big competitive shooter. From what I’ve seen of the game, the cops and robbers in question may as well be soldiers, however, replete with military-grade arsenal. Still, this might make for a nice twist on the genre. Maybe a clever developer could copy the formula a bit and come out with an Al Capone era game. Old cars and tommy guns would be a nice change of pace.
Batman: Arkham Knight - The final game in the Arkham series, Arkham Knight is the first new-gen game in Rocksteady’s incredible foray into the Batman universe. It’s also the first time you can drive the Batmobile. It looks amazing, and makes me want to play through all the Arkham games again ahead of time.
Below - One of the most unique looking Xbox One exclusives, Below is being described as a challenging game filled with exploration and brutal combat. It’s also a roguelike with permadeath steeped in atmosphere. Studio Capybara has worked on titles like Super TIME Force and worked alongside Superbrothers on the fascinating Sworcery game, which makes Below even more intriguing.
Bloodborne - There aren’t many games on this list that pique my hype as much as Bloodborne, the spiritual successor to From Software’s Souls games. This time around, the game is set in a dark, Gothic world filled with shambling villagers and massive werewolves. The combat is fast and ferocious, and new gameplay elements such as randomly generated dungeons promise to greatly change up a familiar formula, while still keeping the same, distinctive sense of challenge and despair.
Dying Light - Zombie parkour could make for a nice change in the increasingly over-saturated zombie genre. Dying Light is an open-world first-person-shooter that gives players more movement options to rush about the city. The game also adds a day and night cycle, bringing out the truly dangerous undead only when the sun goes down.
Evolve - This competitive/co-op game pits a handful of human players against a player-controlled monster. This isn’t the first time this concept has been deployed in a video game, but it certainly looks like one of the best attempts at this type of asymmetric competitive play.
Game of Thrones - The remaining episodes of Telltale’s Game of Thrones story game will release throughout 2015. The first entry was quite good, very much in keeping withe the brutal world created by George R.R. Martin. The art-style is great, the voice-acting solid, and members of the HBO show’s cast pop up here and there tying the events in the game to the bigger picture. I’m very much looking forward to what comes next.
Halo 5: Guardians - The next big entry in the classic Halo series is 343 Industries’ second crack at a new Halo game, following Halo 4. The fifth game in the series is already inspiring some controversy for its changes to multiplayer, but I’m excited to see what the developer can come up with for a truly new-gen Halo experience.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number - The sequel to the controversial, ultra-violent, and ultra-weird Hotline Miami looks like it might be even more violent and controversial this time around. I look forward to the funky soundtrack, excellent challenge, and whatever weird twists await.
King’s Quest - Finally a new King’s Quest game! The classic adventure series fizzled out years ago, now developer The Odd Gentlemen is teaming up with Sierra for one more crack at the classic franchise. The old point-and-click adventure has evolved into what appears to be more of an adventure-platformer, but hopefully it retains the charm of the older games.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U - The first truly open-world Zelda game looks absolutely jaw-dropping. If this doesn’t sell Wii U units nothing will. So far, everything I’ve seen about the new Zelda game points to something truly special.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was basically just a preview—a sort of short, over-priced tech demo—of things to come in The Phantom Pain, Hideo Kojima’s biggest, most open-world game to date. The game follows Venom Snake (aka Big Boss and several other aliases) and his new Diamond Dogs as they venture into Afghanistan during the Soviet war. This time around Snake will be voiced by actor Kiefer Sutherland instead of long-time Snake actor David Hayter.
Mortal Kombat - The long-awaited return to one of gaming’s most storied and infamous fighting games actually looks pretty decent so far. I can’t wait to “Finish Him!” though I suspect the gore of Mortal Kombat will no longer be as surprising as it once was, long ago in a more innocent time.
No Man’s Sky - I’m still not sure if No Man’s Sky will actually be a fun game to play, but it sure is a cool looking space exploration title. You can explore near-infinite worlds on your journey to the center of the universe, mapping out planets as you go. The game is massively multiplayer in a sense, and any world you discover will proudly display your tag. I’m very curious. No Man’s Sky remains unlike any other game I’ve seen.
The Order: 1886 - My mind is still not made up on this PS4 exclusive. It boasts gorgeous visuals and an interesting concept, but from what little I’ve played of the game so far it does very little new in terms of gameplay. The fairly run-of-the-mill shooter is bogged down by a wonky stealth mode and fairly boilerplate shooting mechanics, but it’s possible that the final product will be as good as its sumptuous graphics. I certainly hope so.
Overwatch - Blizzard’s newly-announced competitive shooter will at least be in a long beta in 2015, whether or not it actually releases then. The game is the remains of the cancelled Project Titan, Blizzard’s cancelled MMO. It looks pretty terrific, like an updated and expanded Team Fortress 2.
Persona 5 - Anyone who has played Persona 3 and/or Persona 4 understands that their time will be in short supply when the fifth entry in the series arrives. Managing your job, your schoolwork, your friends and other relationships—all of this is time-consuming business. Add to that a deck of Persona cards and some demon-infested dungeons, and you’ve got a full time game on your hands.
Pillars of Eternity - Obsidian Entertainment’s return to the classic top-down, party-based RPG, Pillars of Eternity is currently on Steam Early Access. Like Tides of Numenera, the game seeks to recapture the sense of a bygone era of RPG PC games such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. I look forward to seeing more old-school RPGs running on modern technology.
Project CARS - Okay, so there is a glut of racing games on the market right now, but there’s no denying Project CARS simply looks stunning. No matter how impressive recent new-gen racing games have looked, Project CARS looks better—at least graphically. The game has been in development for a long time, too, so any projected release date (including a 2015 release date) can be taken with a healthy dose of salt.
Rime - The PS4 adventure game looks a bit like the PS3 exclusive Journey. The game’s lovely art-style, open-world exploration, and puzzle-solving all combine to make it a mysterious and exciting looking video game.
Rise of the Tomb Raider - Very little information has surfaced on the next Tomb Raider, but the first Lara Craft reboot was good enough to warrant hype for its sequel. Tomb Raider, the 2013 reboot of the classic series, gave every adventure game around it a run for their money, including Uncharted. We’ll see if the follow-up can live up to the new high bar.
Scalebound - Another Xbox One exclusive, I’m of the mind that you can’t really go wrong with Platinum Games, the developer responsible for games like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. This time around, action-game master Hideki Kamiya brings us a game world populated by massive dragons, and a fighting game that sounds little like his previous work. After the brilliant Bayonetta 2 and charming Wonderful 101, hype is basically a Platinum Games default setting. Scalebound looks very cool.
Silent Hills - From Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, starring Daryl from The Walking Dead, I’m mostly excited about the new Silent Hill game Silent Hills because of the scare factor in the glorious PT demo we got in 2014. Scary is hard to pull off in a video game, but if anyone can surprise us it’s Kojima. (And yes, he is an odd choice for this franchise but sometimes the odd choice is the right choice.)
Splatoon - Nintendo’s weird paint-and-color competitive shooter looks like a breath of fresh air in a genre often populated by gritty military affairs. Given the quality of just about every game Nintendo has put out lately, this one should be a fun diversion.
Star Fox - I remember the original Star Fox with a mix of nostalgia and horror. A brilliant, one-of-a-kind game, it was still among the most brutal video games I’ve ever played. Some levels were nearly as challenging as the bike level from Battletoads. The new entry makes use of the Wii U gamepad, and while I suspect it won’t be as hard, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. (Then again, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze was every bit as hard as the other entries in that series, so who knows with Nintendo?)
Star Wars Battlefront - EA returns to the Star Wars universe with the third Battelfront competitive shooter. If the game does release in 2015, it will be nicely timed alongside Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Built in the Frostbite 3 engine, the game is essentially Battlefield set in the Star Wars universe. Then again, setting just about anything in the Star Wars universe makes it infinitely better. Torment:
Tides of Numenera - The Kickstarter-funded spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment uses an adapted version of Monte Cook’s Kickstarter-funded Numenera pen-and-paper roleplaying game and promises tons of dialogue and choices just like the original, all in an updated isometric RPG format. Part of the CRPG renaissance, if such a thing is truly happening.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege - This game just looks fun. You work together to plan hostage rescues or prevent hostages from being rescued in what looks to be the natural evolution of a game like Counter-Strike. The Rainbow Six games have typically been pretty top-notch, and this one looks like a neat direction for the series.
Tom Clancy’s The Division - Ubisoft has been under fire lately for promising more than they can deliver. The Division promises a lot, including some spectacular visuals that may or may not be the same as the final product. But the open-world cooperative game certainly looks like a unique experience.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End - By far the most impressive video game I witnessed at PlayStation Experience, Uncharted 4 is the first new-gen entry in the chronicles of Nathan Drake and it looks beyond stunning. The game demo played in front of a packed audience in Las Vegas earlier this December drew cheers and gasps of surprise. The graphics and action were both like nothing we’ve seen before from the series, and this easily makes my top five most anticipated games of 2015.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings is a tough act to follow, but if anyone can top their own fantasy masterpiece it’s likely Polish developer CD Projekt RED. This time around, the branching, linear story is being replaced by a massive open-world and myriad different possible endings (or ending states, as it were.) New-gen graphics should make the game look beautiful on consoles, and no doubt strain your gaming rig on PC. Few games have me as excited as Geralt’s final chapter.
Xenoblade Chronicles X - Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the best RPGs, and really one of the best games period, to release on the Wii. Hopefully X will be as tremendous as its predecessor on Wii U. Certainly it’ll be nice to have the game in beautiful HD.
So what did I miss?
Some games like the Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem sound pretty amazing, but there’s so little information out there right now there’s no telling if they’ll even release in 2015. Surely a Call of Duty and a Skylanders will release, but we don’t know what they are just yet.
And I’ve little doubt that finally, finally Valve will release Half-Life 3 on the very same day The Last Guardian hits shelves.
But seriously, if I missed something please chime in on social media or in the comments. I can’t keep track of every promising future video game.
P.S. Several of these games were on my list for 2014 but were pushed back to 2015. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with some titles on this year’s list.
*Several titles were added to this list after its initial publication due to my having overlooked them foolishly in the first place. Thanks to readers for reminding me of my folly.
(By Erik Kain)