The Edge’s Most Anticipated Games of 2016

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Now that all of those pesky ‘best of the year’ lists are over and done with, it’s time to look forward to what 2016 has in store. It’s a refreshing diverse line-up for a change, with everything from promising horror titles, to turn-based strategy games and old-school platformers. Whatever you’re into, 2016 probably has it in some way shape or form. Unless you don’t like games at all, in which case, why are you even reading this? Go away.

Cuphead 

It’s not often that an indie platform game will make its way onto a most anticipated of the year list, but then again, Cuphead is something very special. Inspired by 1930s cartoons, particularly those of Disney and Fleischer Studios (Betty Boop, Popeye), the game has a distinctive style unlike anything else out there at the moment. The game even goes as far as to adopt the production methods of older animation, utilising charming handrawn characters and beautiful painted backdrops. The only substantial deviation from the 30s cartoon process comes in the form of the colorization, which is all done on Photoshop. Regardless, the result is not only breathtaking, but also feels startling authentic, clearly originating from a passion for the material. In an age when most indie platformers have jumped on the ‘retro’ 8-bit bandwagon, it’s exciting to see something go in a totally different direction. Also the actual gameplay looks solid too, which is probably important.

Cuphead is set for release in 2016 on Xbox One and PC. 

Words by Harrison Abbott.

Allison Road 

Wait, another indie game? I guess I must be undergoing some kind of hideous metamorphosis into a hipster, the very thing that I hate the most. Either that or  2016’s AAA release slate for horror games is a little lackluster. Regardless, as indie games go, Allison Road is actually pretty high profile. Oddly enough, almost all of the game’s pre-release buzz can be attributed to another game entirely, the notorious Silent Hills. After stunning horror fans with its outstanding playable teaser, or P.T, Silent Hills became one of the most eagerly anticipated games in years. Then it all inexplicably fell apart and the game, along with its teaser for some reason, disappeared entirely. Even after a lengthy period of mourning, the wound didn’t heal for many die-hard horror fans. This was kind of like our Force Awakens after all. Then, two months after the devastating news, the trailer for Allison Road landed. Although the game is only loosely inspired by P.T, the points of comparisons are numerous, from the claustrophobic domestic setting, to the slow burn style and enigmatic narrative, right through to the design of the ghosts. It might not carry the names of Guillermo Del Toro or Hideo Kojima like its forebear, but it manages to evoke a creepy-ass atmosphere and some classy scares in its trailer alone. In fact, with a gameplay teaser that contains more frights than most full games, this is one to get very, very excited for. Just don’t cancel it yeah?

Allison Road is to be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC. 

Words by Harrison Abbott. 

Sea of Thieves

Now that my obligatory pretension is out of the way, we’ll move into the realm of AAA gaming, with what has the potential to be either a total disaster, or one of the most important games of all time. Very little information is available at the time of writing, which fuels this sense of uncertainty, but the premise of Sea of Thieves is very intriguing. The game is a new pirate themed IP from legendary developers Rare, in which the player is purported to have unprecedented control over the story mechanics. Although little is known about this aspect, the early word is that players will be able to use in-game tools to customise narratives which they can then share online with other players. Rare are responsible for some of the most innovative and downright likable games in the history of the medium and the conceit of the game is undeniably alluring. The only crux is that we’ve all heard promises vaguely similar to this before, with games that promised the sun and spectacularly under-delivered (see anything by Peter Molyneux). If all else fails however, there are skeletons. Everyone loves skeletons!

Sea of Thieves is to be released on Xbox One and PC. 

Words by Harrison Abbott. 

Dishonored 2 

Last of my own personal picks is Dishonored 2, the sequel to the surprise 2012 hit that had all ‘games-are-art’ fanatics foaming at the mouth, thanks to its mature storyline, nuanced characters and surprisingly complex lethal/non-lethal system. Few games have made me seriously ponder the possible outcome of my decisions quite like the first game (even if I always did go down the stabby route in the end, because its obviously more fun). 2016 sees the arrival of its long awaited sequel, which promises more of the same open-ended gameplay and unparalleled level design as before. This time however, players will have the additional choice of playing as either Corvo (the protagonist from the last game) or the former Empress Emily Kaldwin (Chloe Moretz from the last game). Both will have their own lethal and non-lethal abilities and will presumably be able to tackle missions in a variety of different ways. It will also be running on Bethesda’s new id Tech 6 engine, so should be a good showcase for future Elder Scrolls or Fallout games in that regard. There’s no word yet on whether any of the all-star cast from the first game will return, but as long as the design, unique world and storytelling is as tight as before, then this should be on the right track.

Dishonored 2 is to be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Words by Harrison Abbott. 

XCOM 2

One of the numerous sequels to be released each year, Firaxis Games’ XCOM 2 is a little different to its compatriots. For one, it’s not one of those titles hastily churned out every. single. year. This game is four years in the making. It also, as with the original, XCOM: Enemy Unknown (although that isn’t an original, but a reboot of a 90s game series), is quite different from most of the other AAA titles that will be released this year. It’s a turn-based, tactical doohickey. And if the first game is anything to go by, it pushes towards masochistic levels of difficulty. The game sees you take control of XCOM, a secret international military organisation, operating in resistance against aliens who invaded and conquered Earth. The game will largely by an updating of the first – polishing and updating gameplay, introducing new features, and doing away with others. And that is honestly fine. The first game was brilliant, the kind you could sink hours upon hours into, and come back to again and again. If that longevity can be repeated in the sequel, then XCOM 2 will probably be one of best games of the year, pound-for-pound. The only drawback is that it’s a PC exclusive – although the last game had quite low system requirements, so this one shouldn’t be out of range for most players.

XCOM 2 is to be released on PC.

Words by Matt Clarson. 

No Man’s Sky 

One of the most hotly anticipated games of the year is British indie developer Hello Games’ open world sci-fi title No Man’s Sky. Since its announcement and showcasing at the 2014 and 2015 E3 conferences, the gaming community has been eagerly following the game’s progress, with a release date that was unconfirmed for a long time, until finally being set for June…ish. The game will see the player take to the skies and explore a procedurally generated fictional universe, discovering any of the quintillions (you know how a billion has nine zeros? This has nineteen) of unique and fully explorable planets, that are made and stored using fancy maths stuff. There have been hints as to what the meat of the game’s content will be (i.e. storyline, etc.), but no concrete details beyond ‘something about travelling to the centre of the universe’. Still, there are already promises that the game will be more than just hopping mindlessly from planet to planet – there will be enemies (or allies, if you choose), and a multitude of things to do on every planet you visit: you can be a pirate, or a smuggler, or some kind of self-mandated universe police. The universe will be your oyster. From gameplay footage, concept art, and hearing the developers talk about the game, it’s clear that No Man’s Sky will be one of the most visually striking, and certainly the most ambitious, next gen games yet. All we can do is hope that there’s enough to it to convert this ambition into a truly top calibre gaming experience.

Words by Matt Clarson.

No Man’s Sky is to be released on PS4 and PC. 

 

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst

The release of Mirror’s Edge in 2009 was a fantastic moment in video gaming. Simply by stepping away from the traditional third person approach to platforming titles, and replacing it with a first-person perspective, Mirror’s Edge managed to stand out from the crowd. With the addition of a fantastic colour scheme and an engaging protagonist in Faith, the game had a lot going for it. In fact, it was only really  let down by a lacklustre narrative and an unwillingness to delve into its own backstory and lore. Since then, fans have been cloying for a sequel, and finally our cries have been answered. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is set for release May 24th this year! While there is some ambiguity as to whether the game is supposed to be either a prequel or a reboot, the general principle of reimagining this game’s world and allowing us to approach it once again in a new light is a huge draw. Moreover there’s the welcome  excuse to re engage with the game’s fantastic take on parkour gameplay. Even its obligatory introduction of an open-world is forgivable, considering the room it provides us for some brilliant freerunning action.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is set to be released May 24th on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. 

Words by Thomas Davies. 

Final Fantasy XV

IT’S FINALLY COMING! Announced in 2006, before Final Fantasy XIII had even released, this game has been in development for ten whole years. With the potential of being the only Final Fantasy game that could dethrone VII as the king of the franchise, Final Fantasy XV is going to feature an immense world, complex characters and, this being a Square Enix game, a rich, intricate (and, admittedly, probably very confusing) story. With the demo release last year being longer than a lot of full-length titles, Square Enix are clearly confident in the amount of work put into this game. Incorporating a new form of battle system into the series, more focused on real-time combat than turn-based, it’s refreshing to see Square Enix stray away from their comfort zonWith no release date more specific than ‘quarter four of 2016’, it’s still unclear when specifically we’ll be able to immerse ourselves back into the Fabula Nova Crystalis narrative, but hopefully it should come sooner than later! In the meantime, we can all happily clamour for the release of Kingdom Hearts 2.8, also coming this year.e with this game, and deliver something that can stand out from the rest of this massive franchise.

Final Fantasy XV is set to be released on Xbox One and PS4. 

Words by Thomas Davies. 

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I have the enviable skill of making TV watching, Video-game playing and ranting about films appear to be a legitimate form of work. It's exhausting. Oh and I am the Culture Editor now... that too!

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A 3rd year English student who likes staring at all the pretty moving pictures. Also books, I suppose. I do take English after all

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I'm Thomas Davies and one of my hobbies is writing in the biographic info section on websites.

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