2015 was a great year for gaming. Whether it was Microsoft further redefining the Xbox One, news of a new Nintendo console, or VR technology taking the next step, 2015 was exciting by many measures. By and large though, 2015 will be remembered as a fantastic year in video games thanks to the the influx of high quality games.
Every now and then you get a year that just happens to be amazing for gaming. 2013 was one, and 2015 managed to surpass even that with more than its fair share of GOTY contenders. The excitement over the rush of great games to cap off 2015 is enough to carry gamers and the industry into the new year, but now that 2016 is finally upon us, thing seems pretty…barren. Now don’t get us wrong, the beginning of the year is never exactly a foretelling of what to expect from the coming months. But, with the advancements being made in gaming over the past few years, it was reasonable to expect something more. The advent of VR was a huge talking point, strong storytelling through smaller episodic games, and the growth of genres were prevalent last year. And they kicked off right in January of 2015. So seeing some of that spill into the beginning of 2016 wouldn’t have came as a shock.
January is being dominated by indie titles (some of which are quite good), ports, and re-releases. While the second two categories are great for those who have yet to play those games, those new to the latest generation of consoles will want something fresh and exciting to play. Something that they can jump in along with everybody instead of going back to the past. But January doesn’t give much in the way of “new.”
There are some major releases that people might be interested in. There’s The Witness (PS4), Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS), Final Fantasy Explorers (3DS), and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers (releasing on just about everything). While those games will probably be very good, two of them don’t come out until the end of the month, and two are strictly on handheld. That’s not a very strong month if you were looking for something new.
In comparison, January of last year covered the spectrum of gaming with games like Saints Row IV: Re-Elected along with the very fun Gat Out of Hell standalone expansion, Life is Strange, Woah Dave, Grey Goo, Resident Evil Remaster, and Dying Light. All very fun games, two of which easily became GOTY contenders. So even if you’re just comparing the months from each year, this particular January still comes across as a bit light.
It doesn’t help that it also happens to follow a particularly strong fall season for gaming. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 4, Halo 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Star Wars Battlefront, and more have come one after the other in a non-stop flow of huge titles. All of that makes January 2016 feel like someone through the e-break on while the video game industry was in full speed.
Another fact that doesn’t really help January 2016’s case is that there have already been two big delays announced, Scalebound and ReCore. Nobody likes delays, even if we do understand their purpose, but having two announced so quickly certainly kicks things off on a sour note.
2016 is a year to be excited for in gaming, with all members of the ‘Big 3’ and PC gaming making a big push with new technology and highly anticipated releases on the horizon, but January right now isn’t sharing in any of that excitement. It’s average at best, and while we know it is only January, it’s just not the start we were pulling for. There are still 11 months ahead, and there’s plenty of time to make things right. We’ll just all have to ride this one out.
How are you feeling about 2016’s gaming start? Is it what you expected? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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