Hayley Williams' Most Anticipated Games Of 2016

2016 is looking to be an odd one for game releases, at least from this side of the year. Big AAA releases are few and far between, with no hugely anticipated games like last year's Fallout 4. Even Assassin's Creed is rumoured to be giving it a miss. In fact, one of the year's most anticipated games is No Man's Sky, being developed by a small team over in the UK. 2016 could easily turn out to be a great year for both indies and new IPs.

Oxenfree

Oxenfree has been on my radar since I first stumbled on their gorgeous announcement trailer. Partly inspired by Poltergeist and playing with the idea that radios are a great tool for horror (think numbers stations, or mysterious transmissions like UVB-76. Even Silent Hill uses the radio to great effect) Oxenfree has a pretty creepy atmosphere. Yet it was the gorgeous graphics and top-notch writing and voice acting that pulled me in from the first trailer. You play as a teenage girl called Alex who brings her step-brother to an overnight island party with a bunch of her friends. While exploring the island, the teens manage to open a 'ghostly rift' by playing with their radio, and things go quickly downhill from there. After enjoying Until Dawn last year it was quite apparent that there were very few games done in a similar style, and Oxenfree promises to fill that gap quite nicely — even having the potential to pull it off even better than Until Dawn did.

Release Date: January 15

Firewatch

Just like Oxenfree, Firewatch's trailer immediately promised interesting characters and gorgeous visuals. You play as a regular Joe called Henry, who's run away from his life to work as a fire lookout in Wyoming (hence the title). Most of your interactions happen through a handheld radio, where a woman called Delilah, your supervisor, is on hand to direct you. The game builds your relationship with Delilah — although it could go either way, depending on the choices you make throughout. As Henry explores the Wyoming wilderness — which is straight-up graphically stunning — you can talk to Delilah whenever you want, whether it's asking about an interesting geological feature or simply probing for more information about her. Both the characters and the environment of Firewatch look incredibly compelling, and I'm excited to explore them further.

Release Date: February 9

Far Cry Primal

I've never played a Far Cry game. Let's just put that out there. I don't actually know what makes a Far Cry game a Far Cry game. But Far Cry Primal looks like it's going to be a little bit like ARK, but with better graphics and AAA production values and I'm okay with that. I want to ride a saber-tooth tiger, dammit.

Release Date: February 23

No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky has been hyped to the moon and back (and probably even further) and some are starting to wonder whether it can actually live up to the hype. I'm a huge space nerd, so as long as I can fly around space and discover some pretty planets. I love the idea of being a scientist explorer and scanning and discovering new life forms — remember when that was a big part of the Metroid Prime games? No Man's Sky is one of those games I'll either play for two days and never pick up again, or get totally hooked for at least a month. Either way, I'm keen to give it a try.

Release Date: June 2016

Gears Of War 4

Gears of War is one of my biggest guilty pleasure games. Its ridiculous hyper-masculinity and abundance of gun high fives are all too easy to make fun of, but at its heart Gears is a shooter with personality. The original Gears trilogy took three games to give us a playable female character (who had all the personality of a sexy sponge), which is why it's so exciting that the very first reveal trailer for the new instalment has a lady Gear in it. I can't wait to see where Gears of War 4 takes the world of Sera next.

Release Date: TBA 2016

Friday The 13th: The Game

This title started out as an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game called Summer camp — until Sean Cunningham personally reached out and offered the devs a chance to create an official Friday The 13th branded game. A lot of developers have been playing with the idea of asymmetrical horror games, and no one's really gotten it right yet. Here's hoping that Friday the 13th figures out the magic formula. But really, who doesn't want to don the iconic hockey mask to play as Jason and terrorise your friends?

Release Date: Spring 2016

Horizon: Zero Dawn

I honestly don't know much about Horizon: Zero Dawn aside from what was shown at E3, although that was more than enough to pique my interest. Female main character? Red-headed female main character? With a bow? Sign me up. The Viking-esque aesthetics and robo-dinosaurs are just icing on the cake.

Release Date: TBA 2016

P.A.M.E.L.A

P.A.M.E.L.A is like a mix of Bioshock and Mass Effect, with a bit of Dead Space thrown in for good measure. I only found out about this shiny, utopian horror game recently, but it's quickly found a spot on my most anticipated games list. Setting a horror game in such a gorgeous setting (you even get to see sunlight!) is an idea that hasn't been explored in too much depth before, and I'm excited to see how successfully P.A.M.E.L.A manages to do it.

Release Date: TBA 2016

Allison Road

Allison Road has grown in a huge way since its developer posted his first Unity-based level tests on a Facebook fanpage for the PT-inspired game. Its inception happened to perfectly coincide with the cancellation of Silent Hills and take-down of PT from the Play Station store, however, and grieving fans latched onto this tiny indie effort as its replacement. Since then, Allison Road has managed to find a publisher and is on its way to deliver pants-shitting terror not seen since the release of PT. I can't wait.

Release Date: TBA 2016

Mass Effect Andromeda

Although a long-time Bioware fan, I only played through the Mass Effect trilogy for the first time last year. Since then, I've already gone through all three games twice. The Mass Effect games are a unique experience that aren't really like any other game series in existence, so it's hard not to get excited for a new entry set to take the universe in a different direction. Unlike a lot of fans of the game, I'm glad that Bioware is going in a completely new direction (and a completely new galaxy) with Andromeda — if only to get away from the general mess that was Mass Effect 3's ending.

Release Date: December 2016

Honorable Mention: VR Gaming

Although the Oculus Rift's consumer release is too expensive for most Australians to justify buying (thanks, exchange rates), 2016 is no doubt the year of VR. We can only hope that the HTC Vive and Sony's Playstation VR see the light this year as well, although there's no guarantees that they'll be any more affordable than Oculus's entry. Oh well, I guess it's time to start saving up.


Comments

    A friend of mine asked me over the weekend what games I was looking forward to this year and I had no answer for him. Literally none. I'd actually forgotten there was a new Mass Effect coming, let alone when it was expected to release. I know Deus Ex Manind Divided was delayed but from when to when I've no idea. Was it early 2016 to late 2016, or late 2016 to early 2017? Presumably there is a Destiny 2 coming at some point but I'm fairly sure I'm off that bandwagon for the foreseeable future.

    Maybe it's a year of destiny keeping other games off my radar followed by immense hype for Fallout 4 (which I'm still playing pretty solidly), but my interest in upcoming games is not particularly high. Some of these picks here look interesting. I might be interested in Gears 4, and Friday the 13th, then again I could probably let them slip by and not really feel like I missed out.

    Maybe I'm just getting old.

    I discovered Fortnite over the weekend and now I'm interested in that. It's a mix of Minecraft with L4D2.

    Star Citizen Squadron 42 (Singleplayer) is due out this year. I'm also looking forward to continue multiplayer development.

    I'm also pumped for VR particularly the HTC Vive :)

    Last edited 11/01/16 2:51 pm

      Did Fortnite actually come out? That was a big deal a couple of years ago then it completely fell off the radar.

        Not that I'm aware of as I believe they are in the process of alpha testing which ran in December.

    This year I'm looking forward to playing last years games.

    The Division and Dark Souls 3 are notable omissions...

      As is Uncharted 4, Mirror's Edge 2, Dishonoured 2 and hopefully de-awfuled entry in the Hitman saga.

      Yep, The Division is one I'm looking out for. It better be fun to play single player though. Very little info around about that side of things so far, so patiently waiting rather than rushing to pre-order.

      Mass Effect: Andromeda - Interested in checking it out, but ME3's ending soured me on the writers.. there's no way that ending was "what they planned all along", or if it was.. biggest tease in a video game story ever.

      Also looking forward to XCOM2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera.

        Andromeda will work best if they keep away from the whole focus on "a single character being the centre of the universe and it just happens to be you" idea and instead let you create a character that exists within the universe, not a universe that exists for the character. Either that or go all the way like The Witcher 3 did and give you a real character that has history and can affect the world and story in meaningful ways because there's no question mark as a protagonist.

        It's this whole player choice driven aspect of things that makes writing a compelling narrative damn near impossible. Players think they want choice, but it's not always the best idea to give the customer what they ask for.

      I've never gotten into the Dark Souls games really. Maybe one day, but they're not the highest on my list of priorities.

    I'd put money on ME: Andromeda not coming out until 2017. I am certainly anticipating it though.

    The only games that interest me this year are horizon zero dawn and uncharted. I'll finally use my ps4 for something other than Fifa and netflix...

    I dunno I'm pretty happy with 2016, some of my favourite series are releasing installments and they'll keep me busy for months...
    Dark souls 3
    Deus mankind divided
    Mass effect Andromeda
    Gears 4
    Xcom 2
    Anything else is gravy

    No Man's Sky (ported to PC quickly, I hope!)
    Horizon: Zero Dawn (despite not owning a PS4.. this might be the one that has me buying a PS4!)
    Mass Effect: Andromeda (I owned and played the first 3.. so of course I'll be getting this one)

    Also...

    X-Com 2 (of course!!)

      Horizon: Zero Dawn (despite not owning a PS4.. this might be the one that has me buying a PS4!)

      Yup, this, Uncharted and the R&C remake are what I'm hanging for in April.

    Lol So many games on this list have the "it's such a gamble - it would be amazing if it worked but will probably have problems" vibe to them. I like optimism, though - hope all of these will be great but i'm still curious at which of these have the biggest uphill battle. I think maybe Friday the 13th.

    Oxenfree, P.A.M.E.L.A., Allison Road and especially Mass Effect: Andromeda for me.

    Thank you by the way, had no idea P.A.M.E.L.A. existed - now on my watch list!

      I only found out about it recently and I'm still amazed how long it took, considering it's pretty much everything I want from a game.

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