I still get excited for video-games. I see a trailer here or a demo there and a part of me swells with blood (and or affection). For me, there is a thrill in the build up, in speculating over the details and features or drinking down the expertly crafted PR videos of creative titans trembling with anticipation over their latest project, a smile breaking out from beneath a face bludgeoned with four hours sleep a night.
It is a magical time that begs for the imagination to run wild and despite countless negative Nancy’s/Nigel’s working their hardest to derail any kind of momentum, I can not help but revel in the moment all the more. I want to keep the magic alive. Regardless of how many really important opinion generators want to hammer their keyboards with balled fists and snotty lips, screaming at the top of their lungs because an upcoming game’s exploration of gay relationships is the big stinking chem-trail of an underhanded liberal agenda. Or the graphics suck or whatever.
But seriously, let’s have a quick smash at some of the games I’m pumped to get my sweaty hands on.
Final Fantasy XV
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or in the case of Japanese behemoth Final Fantasy, it is a state of conformity adhered to within an unbelievably lush dreamscape. Seriously, that’s not even how hair works.
Final Fantasy XV looks to be the biggest and most bombastic of the franchise yet as you, Prince Post-Hardcore lead your band of photogenic bros to reclaim the magical kingdom in a gorgeous and beautifully detailed world. Square Enix has taken it up a notch this time around so that you, Not-Cloud, Abs and the other one can load up all of your collective teen angst into the back of a big black car and hit the road, traversing the games huge open world. And it looks fucking sweet.
The combat looks flashy and seems to have more in common with overly sexual combat simulator; Devil May Cry but that’s okay since turn based name calling is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea. No expense seems to be spared here and the game looks to promise a plethora of activities to keep the player occupied on their initial forty thousand hour play-through.
Look out for it on September 30th
No Man’s Sky
Plucked straight from the soaking wet dreams of Neil deGrasse Tyson, No Man’s Sky is an open space survival game that tasks you with reaching the center of the universe. Why? WHY NOT.
There is a seemingly infinite amount of possibilities on offer as you the player surveys, scavenges, trades and explores their way through the known universe and beyond. Best of all? There are no loading times to snap you out of what looks to be the most immersive science fiction game every conceived. You fly through space, weighing up your opportunities when you see a planet off into the distant. You keep heading towards it and as it slowly engulfs your screen, suddenly you find yourself busting through the atmosphere and into the clouds. The world below welcomes your curiosity and once landed, allows for a complete exploration of its expanse. Out of your ship you go and into the unknown. Perhaps you will frantically gather resources to supplement your tired climate-shield as blistering chills sweep through the landscape or maybe you just fancy brushing up on the local dialect so you can pull that tasty middle aged squid-monster when you inevitably take her to space-Nando’s. This is all possible because the developers are warlocks.
The game is believed to be so big that it is estimated that 99% of the planets will never be seen despite countless players setting out into the unknown. And for every dream you fulfill, 65daysofstatic have kindly supplied a vault of spacey post-rock for the game to sift through and generate atmospheric soundtracks to accompany every stretch of the imagination.
Look out for it on June 21st
Red Dead Redemption 2
Yeah yeah, so technically Red Dead has not be announced yet and is not even out there as anything other than the wild speculation of those of us still ravenous for another adventure in the old west.
It is believed that Red Dead will be announced at this years E3 conference and with it, I hope comes a remaster or at least a HD release of the original game. Red Dead was so important to the medium since it essentially boiled down to the perfect game; excellent game-play, a compelling narrative, flawless writing, a strong cast of voice actors, a beautiful and immersive open-world, interesting characters and a lick of that tried Rockstar humour and satire. It balanced all of these features so well that every aspect of their previous open world games paled in comparison despite being some of the best of the generation.
Further fuel to the fire is the recently leaked map of Red Dead 2 and rumours that it will be a prequel. True or not, I don’t care, so long as I get another Red Dead game to lose myself in. I personally would love a return of John Marston but before he was weighed down by his own jaded moral hypocrisy. His induction into Dutch’s gang for example would be great but of course that’s a bit too obvious and I know those literal God’s will probably have something simply breathtaking up their sleeve.
This was a selfish choice but I regret nothing.
Batman: A Telltale Games Series
Telltale Games are set to work their magic once again this year and will have their say on the Batman franchise. The developers are no strangers to delivering excellent story-driven adventure games and snagging a property like this is an brilliant opportunity for them to weave another complex and morally challenging narrative.
The game will challenge the player to walk a mile in the shoes of both Batman and Bruce Wayne; the consequences of his action in one then shaping the experience in the other. What Telltale does best is allowing you the player to shape the characters that fill the world, to make the difficult decisions that develop them and in turn drive them down multiple winding paths that will inevitably lead you to one of many predetermined world states.
I am a huge fan of the latter Telltale games like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Wolf Amog Us and what I can only describe as the funniest video-game I have ever played; Tales from The Borderlands. So the idea of them tackling such a rich and widely beloved franchise like Batman fills me with joy.
I want to be able to chase down the Joker and not just have to pummel his soft white clown-face because honestly, that’s never what their confrontation has been about; instead it is a battle of wills, of the Joker forever drawing parallels between the two and Batman often succumbing yet still finding a way to draw one last line between them. To control that conversation, that back and forth, to be driven down a path of darkness as Joker torments you throughout the whole game and forces your hand at every turn. Each decision is orchestrated by a madman, decisions that want to push you the player to the limit. No going back, only forward. I want to live with the consequence of what my Batman has done in his pursuit to stop the Joker once and for all.
The above is of course all wild speculation but you get the idea. All you have to do is play the above games I have mentioned to get an idea of the scope and detail that Telltale Games can deliver.
Look out for it later this year.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Uncharted series has long been, in my opinion, the absolute pinnacle of action/adventure video-games. The consistency Naughty Dog has managed to deliver in quality is something that truly amazes me. From memorable and heart stopping set-pieces to their trademark witty character banter, each game in the series often finds a way to trump the last. Some highlights from Uncharted 1-3 include: Sully, that time you escape the snow train dangling off of a cliff, escaping a plane crashing over the desert, escaping a ship sinking in the sea, outrunning a tank in a peaceful mountain village and so on. Lot of vehicles to escape from actually.
Uncharted is the story of Nathan Drake (Nathan Fillion played by Nolan North), a young Indiana Jones type who for one reason or another suddenly finds himself at the front of a race to track down some mysterious and supernatural artifact. This triggers a globetrotting adventure where you will make spicy friends, spicier enemies and kill a shit load of people. I am talking literally thousands. Nathan Drake is also a mass murderer.
The thing that sets these games apart is the incredible attention to detail, like having Nathan and Sully talk idly as you explore together, their conversations so natural and immersive as you interact with your environment or having your diary to refer to when solving puzzles, the warm and inviting tone of Nolan North narrating as you do so. The games are always visually stunning too and it is evident that Naughty Dog really push the limits of the Playstation for each entry in the franchise.
So A Thief’s End is most likely set to be the last game and it certainly looks like they will be soaring out on a high. Nathan has a brother now, there will be dialogue choices, Sully is still old, you have a grappling hook and all the old gang are reuniting. In addition to the usual shooty/punchy hijinks of the previous games, A Thief’s End is introducing even large playable areas and a persistent stealth system to make the most of your personal approach. There will be vehicles too, like the jeep showcased in their Madagascar demo which comes complete with a winch and four wheels of all terrain madness. From what I saw of the demo, it’s Uncharted to the core and brimming with detail, like the footprints in the mud, the winch banter between Nathan and Sully, the hidden treasures to find, the grappling power punch and so much more.
There is a lot to be excited about with Uncharted: A Thief’s End but if you have not yet dipped into the Uncharted series, I highly recommend it if you own a Playstation console. Sorry Xbox and PC.
Look out for it May 10th
Well there you go, look at what we have to look forward to! A few honourable mentions would be:
Mass Effect Andromeda
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Mirrors Edge: Catalyst
Gears of War 4
And so many more…
Because every game ‘coming out’ should be exciting, at least until you play it and decide whether or not if it was worth the wait. And fingers crossed, every one of these will be…
What games are you anticipating and why?
Let me know in the comments and I will see you next week!