2015 was a solid year for gaming. In fact, some may even go as far as to say that it was actually pretty great. Not only where there some really great games released that made it incredibly difficult to choose a Game of the Year, but some huge strides in technology and game development were made. 2015 brought a lot of change and creativity to the industry and it was a genuinely fun year, even with some of the not so bright moments.
But even so, 2016 may prove to be even better. All of the hard work put forth by the industry over the past 12 months will come to fruition in the next 12, and it is expected to be a wild (but highly enjoyable) ride. Just why is that, you ask? Well, there are a few reasons and it starts with the games.
Nobody really like delays, we get that. You get excited for something, you go out and pre-order, you consider season passes and collector’s editions, but then the game gets pushed back. Now you’re out of your money, and out of your plans as well. But then those games do come out, and you get to be excited all over again as you dive into beautifully rendered worlds, take control of wonderfully animated avatars, and save (or demolish, we don’t judge) everything in sight. On top of all of the new gaming goodies being released in 2016, there are quite a few of these upsetting delays getting to see the light as well.
Uncharted 4, Star Fox Zero, Quantum Break, XCOM 2, the list goes on. Add that to the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn, Crackdown 3, and Dark Souls III, and you have one seriously exciting line-up that may even manage to put 2015’s amazing train of releases to shame. The fact that all three members of the “Big 3” will be swinging for the fences with new games is something to most definitely be excited about, and we can’t wait.
The Future Arrives
For years the industry has toyed with virtual reality and bringing it to the homes of gamers everywhere. Over the past few years, though, some real headway has been made and those intrigued will finally be able to bring the tech to their homes in the coming year. And this won’t be in the form of some dev kit either. Sony will be putting out consumer models of their PlayStation VR headset in 2016.
You will finally get to see what all the hype is about, and experience gaming on a whole new level. Shooters, platformers, adventures, puzzles, and RPGs are already in the works as a new level of immersion prepares to be released upon the masses of video game lovers everywhere. While the longevity of this technology is unknown, new tech is always exciting. There’s no telling how (or even if) it will be able to transform the way we play. And it’s that mystery that makes it all the more captivating.
Kojima Can Be In Some Positive Headlines
2015 wasn’t so kind to Hideo Kojima in terms of news. Sure, he put out yet another amazing entry in the Metal Gear Solid series and finished off the year with a grin as he embarked on his new future. But, much of the year was muddied by one of the weirdest displays of power ever shown by a gaming company. It seemed as if Konami knew how to do nothing but torture its most well known dev, and in they did it all in the public eye.
Cancelling games, denying access to awards shows, and just being all around weird with their properties (a Silent Hill pachinko machine but no Silent Hills? Seriously?) left Konami and Kojima in some less than favorable positions. But that’s all in the past now. Kojima is free and no longer focusing on 2015, but instead he’s working with his brand new studio on a franchise for Sony. While the man knows how to keep things to himself, we can expect to see some cool art, interesting ideas, and amazing announcements coming from the liberated genius. 2016 just got a lot more interesting.
Nintendo and The NX
Nintendo has been making some moves behind the scenes as the other two members of the Big 3 battled throughout 2015. An early release of the Wii U left it easily outmatched once the PS4 and Xbox One came along, so it was back to the drawing board for Nintendo as they worked to regain console dominance (something they haven’t had in some time). 2016 is the year that Nintendo said it would officially share details on their next home console, currently codenamed ‘NX.’
Nintendo is a company centered around fun for everyone, so combining that with new tech is a big deal. They sort of missed their mark with the Wii U, although there are some amazing games that need to be played. The NX is the company’s opportunity to show that they still know how to make truly impressive hardware while also still making great games.
The company also has that beautiful Legend of Zelda game to release. That captured everyone’s attention when it was first revealed back in 2014, and its scope and wonderful art direction have fans on the edge of their seats. Tie that in with whatever other secret projects Nintendo is undoubtedly working on and you have some big things coming out of the house that Mario built pretty soon.
Dreams Come to Life (…Maybe)
2015 finally gave in to the dreams of millions of fans out there. Psychonauts 2 was announced, Shenmue III got Kickstarted, XCOM had a real sequel unveiled, and Final Fantasy VII Remake is no longer a thing we imagine. It’s as if the gaming deities were just waiting for everything to be ready at once to shower everyone in dumbfounding madness (the good kind of madness, not the type you see in games like Outlast). But do you know what’s better than announcements? Actually getting the things announced.
Now this doesn’t mean everything announced is getting released in 2016. XCOM certainly is, but the other games are still pretty early in development and that’s if they’ve even started at all. But, with all of the hype surrounding games like FFVII, big news isn’t too far from a reasonable expectation. There’s also a chance that we can get our hands on something similar to Episode Duscae, a sizable demo to give fans a feel for the game. It could even come as a bonus when you buy Final Fantasy XV, just like they did with Type-0. No matter how you look at it, something big is coming from these titles that have been begged for for years. 2016 is looking to be bright indeed.
No matter how much fans of this hobby lament the too-early reveals, constant delays, and weird marketing from some of our favorite companies, we all manage to get caught up in the hype of gaming. To be honest, it’s part of the fun. That waiting for something you saw that was too cool to possibly be real is exciting and it’s why so many of us tune into every major event and press conference even though we know things will be years away. E3, Gamescom, TGS, Paris Games Week, Comic-Con, GDC, and more will have glued to our televisions and other internet connected devices as we eat up all the unknowns that will overshadow the greatness that was 2015.
It’s a cycle, yes, but it’s one we accept wholeheartedly as we play through another 12 months. Each year brings us something new to be excited about. Sometimes it comes back to bite us (damn you Evolve!), but other times we get something truly amazing that makes all of the agonizing impatience worth it. 2016 will be no different as we sit down to see what awaits us on the next horizon.
Are you excited for gaming in 2016? Feel free to let us know why in the comments below.