Slow and steady wins the race, right?
The next generation of gaming started with a whimper when PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launched last year, with disappointing exclusives and remastered titles being offered as premium gaming experiences. Sure, games like Infamous: Second Son and Titanfall fared well on review aggregation website Metacritic, but titles of such quality were sporadic releases, and some would argue they fell short of expectations.
Lately, however, a slew of triple-A titles have hit the shelves and online marketplace. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Destiny, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, and even the remastered Grand Theft Auto V, which added a game-changing first-person view option, have finally given gamers a backlog to be proud of.
But the best is yet to come, so prepare yourself for a truly vast and glorious backlog of next-gen games, ones that utilize the sweet, sweet hardware under the respective hoods of the PS4 and Xbox One.
So with that said, let’s take a look at 10 upcoming video games that could define what next-gen gaming is all about.
10 Batman: Arkham Knight
It’s been over three years since players have controlled the caped crusader in developer Rocksteady Studios’ beautifully realized Gotham City. Warner Bros. Games Montreal did an admirable job with Batman: Arkham Origins, but fans have long awaited the return of Rocksteady to swoop in and deliver another amazing open-world experience as one of the world’s most popular and beloved superheroes.
This time around, besides a refined combat system that makes chaining strikes even smoother, the Batmobile will make its debut and is sure to be a game-changer. Mow down trees, barricades, enemies and control the hulking vehicle via remote control; it’s all there. The player can even make an emergency landing inside the Batmobile following their airborne shenanigans.
Due out June 2, 2015, chalk this one up as a Game of The Year candidate.
If you’re old enough to remember the feel of Nintendo’s original rectangular NES controller in hand, you probably remember how difficult and rewarding video games were back then.
This is the mission statement of developer From Software, who have unapologetically left red hand prints on gamers’ collective behinds with the likes of Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls and Dark Souls II. The games challenged players to learn from death and methodically conquer each enemy as they progressed through the story. It’s a refreshing change from holding the player’s hand in order to showcase the bells and whistles of a game.
From Software’s latest, Bloodborne, a PS4-exclusive, aims to continue the trend of grueling difficulty, but in a new Victorian setting with faster, almost arcade-like combat. If the ambitious title proves successful, it may well bridge the gap between casual and hardcore gamers and welcome a new demographic to its rewarding gameplay.
Bloodborne was recently delayed until March 24, 2015.
8 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
It’s been over three years, but we have finally been gifted with another entry in The Witcher series to sink our teeth into. Developer CD Projekt RED has promised a sprawling open world that eclipses modern RPGs in size and scope.
Heavy customization options and a new dismemberment mechanic will solidify its deep gameplay established in previous titles. With upgraded visual fidelity and a plethora of quests and activities to complete, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt should provide gamers over 100 hours of triple-A gaming fun. And with a Feb. 24, 2015 release date, we’re not too far now.
7 Rise of the Tomb Raider
Developer Crystal Dynamix injected new life into the Tomb Raider series with its reboot in 2013. The game featured a headstrong Lara Croft who served as a refreshing change from the typical male action hero. The gameplay, reminiscent of the Uncharted series, was tight and responsive and earned critical acclaim.
Rise of the Tomb Raider, a timed exclusive for Xbox One, is a direct sequel to the first entry. While little has been revealed in terms of gameplay and story, fans of the series should be confident in Crystal Dynamix to take the next step with this series, especially with Lara Croft now a hardened heroine following the events of the first game.
Expect to see Rise of the Tomb Raider in stores during the holidays of 2015.
Of all the games on this list, Evolve might have the most potential, but it’s also a dark horse selection. Developer Turtle Rock Studios, best known for Counter-Strike and Left 4 Dead, is back in the first-person shooter game with a truly unique twist.
Evolve pits two teams against each other in large maps. One team is composed of four hunters, each with different abilities, and the other is a single player who takes control of a monster of their choice, “The Goliath” or “The Kraken” the two monsters revealed thus far. The player controlling the monster must evolve by feeding on small animals in the world in order to grow stronger and eliminate the hunters.
It’s an ambitious title, one that could reinvent the wheel for multiplayer gaming. And who doesn’t want to shout “Release the Kraken!” in their best Liam Neeson voice?
5 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
It will be the first Metal Gear Solid game set in an open world, complete with mountable horses, helicopters, and motorcycles, among other vehicles. Players will have the freedom to choose in what order the story missions take place, which is a considerable change from past titles.
Complete with the series’ typical eccentric and colourful characters, this one should be a Game of the Year contender in 2015.
4 No Man’s Sky
You know the old idiom “the sky is the limit”? Well, that doesn’t apply here. No Man’s Sky looks to break new ground with an open world universe experience that encourages players to explore new planets, each with different ecosystems equipped with unique creatures and landmarks.
No Man’s Sky, a time exclusive on PS4, will also feature space combat as intermediate gameplay while players travel to seemingly endless amounts of planets. The game will also offer customization options for the player’s spacecraft.
It’s ambitious, and there is a considerable amount of hype surrounding it, but No Man’s Sky could well steal the show in 2015.
3 Halo 5: Guardians
Considered by many to be the gold standard of first-person shooters, Halo is back to provide Xbox One gamers with what’s sure to be another classic in the series.
Revered for its multiplayer and matchmaking performance, Halo 5: Guardians has been confirmed to run at a silky smooth 60 frames-per-second. While little has been revealed concerning specifics on the game, it would be criminal not to mention it in this list, especially with the Halo television series, produced by Steven Spielberg, set to be released in conjunction with the game.
2015 could well be the year of Halo.
2 Mass Effect 4
Much like the game preceding it in this list, little is known about Mass Effect 4 other than it exists and is due out in 2015.
Mass Effect 4 will be a fresh start for the series, ditching protagonist Commander Shepard in favour of a new hero or heroine, who has yet to be revealed. The game will also be set in a new universe and offer cooperative multiplayer once again.
Bioware assured fans to expect the game to be in the same vein as the first three, minus the controversial ending to Mass Effect 3, one would presume.
1 Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
You can always count on developer Naughty Dog to deliver a top-notch triple-A experience. Following up The Last of Us’s unequivocal success will be a tough feat, but the Uncharted series has been a staple of consistency throughout the years.
Players will assume the role of the loveable and charismatic Nathan Drake once again. While the setting has yet to be confirmed, early indications are that it may be set in Madagascar and center around pirates.