Mark Serrels' Most Anticipated Games Of 2016

2016 is a strange year in the making. In 2015 games were diverse, they were epic in scope and ambition, they were unique and innovative. They were beautiful; they were ugly in the best way. When all is said and done 2015 might be one of the best years for gaming ever.

2016 already has a different feel. For one thing there are far less ‘big hitters’ looming. I suspect 2016 will be defined by the surprise packages, the games we don’t even know about yet.

Which makes putting together a list of ‘most anticipated games of 2016’ a lot more difficult than I um... anticipated.


No Man’s Sky

What will we say about No Man’s Sky when it’s no longer an idea but an object we can interact with? I can almost taste the disappointment.

The problem: No Man’s Sky is one of those video games. At this point it’s a blank canvas upon which we project our most outlandish ideas about what video games are and should be. Can any game live up to that promise? Especially a game made by a small team of developers whose last release was Joe Dangerous, an unremarkable video game about motorbike stunts. It's hard to say.

Look – No Man’s Sky has stumbled on something spectacular, that much is clear. It’s captured our imagination in a way that most games simply couldn’t. It’s captured the spirit of exploration and pure adventure. And personally, the more people complain about not understanding what we’re gonna do in No Man’s Sky the more excited I become. I hope it’s stripped back. I hope it’s minimalist as fuck and I hope it’s just powerfully empty.

There I go again, projecting my own outlandish idea about what video games should be.


Dark Souls III

In a year packed with incredible games, Bloodborne was a standout. For me it was the standout. A clear game of the year in a 2015 stacked with incredible experiences across every possible spectrum.

Could From Software do it again in back-to-back years? Surely it's impossible.

Bloodborne was a unique composition. It was dense, dark, precise and deliberate. A brand new universe, a completely original object. Dark Souls III at least has something to build from (pun intended). It also has a solid foundation in terms of its systems. All that plays in the game’s favour, but it’s also a curse. Have we seen too much Dark Souls? Bloodborne was refreshing in all the ways that it wasn’t Dark Souls.

I wonder if that will work against it?

It’s difficult to say. Regardless, I’ll play it. And I’ll probably love it with a passion that would melt glass.


The Last Guardian

I have some serious concerns about The Last Guardian. Has a development story like this ever ended well? Has a game ever had such a storied history of delays and internal struggle then come out the other side fresh as a daisy?

I want to believe. We all want to believe.

So I choose to believe this video game will be all we hope it will be.

I am also preparing myself for crushing disappointment.


The Legend Of Zelda

I want to love a Zelda game again. Like really love it. Wind Waker love it. A Link To The Past love it.

There are reasons to be optimistic. Nintendo’s last serious Zelda (A Link Between Worlds) game was spectacular and it was spectacular for the ways it subverted the structure that’s had Zelda in the quagmire for well over a decade.

Is that a sign that Nintendo is willing to take Mario Galaxy sized risks with its other prized franchise? I certainly hope so.

Nintendo has hinted at a more open world. We don’t know what that mean yet but I hope it remains focused in its scope but flexible in its approach.

Here’s hoping.


The Witness

What the fuck is happening in The Witness? What kind of video game is it? I’ve given up trying to work that out but Jonathan Blow’s last video game arguably kickstarted a movement that resulted in indie games being tossed to the forefront. That, combined with the whole digital distribution thing, really changed video games for the better.

Will The Witness have a similar impact? Probably not, but I expect it will be a mind blowing video game in spite of that.


PlayStation VR

Every morning I wake up and I have a different opinion about how VR will play out.

Sometimes I wake up and I think VR will change everything. Other days I wake up and think it will be a spectacular failure. But more and more I'm coming to the conclusion that VR's best chance at success won't come via the Oculus Rift. It's just too niche, has too many obstacles. They're catering to a small crowd and I find it difficult to see how the Rift will appeal to anyone outside a small group of hardcore PC gamers.

Bizarrely I believe that VR's best chance at real success is through mobile devices. Gear VR is great and if Apple decided to run with VR its success would be all but guaranteed.

But in terms of gaming, PlayStation VR has a real chance at doing well. Personally, it's been my favourite VR experience so far. The price point is everything here. PlayStation VR will launch with an additional processor to help bear the weight of all the extra frames it needs to render. How much will it cost? It might end up being more expensive than the Rift. That would probably be disastrous. Time will tell.


What games are you most looking forward to in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!


Comments

    Playstation VR together with No Man's Sky is what I'm looking forward too. No way will PS VR be more expensive than the Rift.

      Add Firewatch to that list, and it's mine. However, I really should work on my back catalogue. I could play for years with all my unplayed games.

        Agree, Firewatch on this list also. Silly Mark Serrel, doesn't even know what he's anticipating.

      Umm are you being serious? The plastation VR has to add an additional processing box just to handle VR! The ps4 just simply iant powerful enough and will add a large additional charge.

        Yes, he's being serious. The PS VR is also has less resolution than Rift and Vive. It won't take as much processing power to drive it. Enough that a few good DSPs may be able to handle it. That will make the cost of research and parts significantly less.

        Don't you think that Sony know they have to price this at a reasonable level? They've been at this game for far too long to be making mistakes like that now. Maybe years back, but not now.

    Can't wait until I invade you as a black phantom, lag out because of shit adsl2 speeds, pull off the perfect backstab only to find out I died 10 seconds ago

    Every time I see the Dark Souls III stock image I think the person is giving a thumbs up. I feel like I should be excited for the game because the Souls games' essence is fantastic but then I remember that I lost interest in Bloodborne because it was just too much the same Souls formula with a different skin. Maybe I'll just settle with saying Dark Souls III is my most anticipated game of the year... to watch other people play. (Which is a perfectly fine thing to be)

      Oh shit, I can't unsee that now.

    I agree on the Zelda front. I finally started playing a link between worlds and it's been great fun so far, based on your recommendations when it was released actually! Here's hoping they get another one on the 3DS for us :D

    Literally picked up a PS4 for No Mans Sky and The Last Guardian.

    I'm no longer an xbox fanboy.

    I'd almost buy No Man's Sky for the truly awesome retro sci fi fiction book cover art style and colour palette alone.

    I agree with Mark's statement that 2015 was a truely great year for games.
    The depth and breadth of the gaming world is fantastic to see, because even though I personally have zero interest in any of the games Mark counts as his most anticipated, I'm also hopeful that 2016 will be another great games year. Xcom 2 here we come. What a great start!

      Genuine question: What games made 2015 such a great year for you?

      [I ask because, as my comment below stated, I can only name 2 games I really played that caught my attention].

        Big name releases that were worth it, rediscovering older games and really falling in love with them, getting into couch co-op games and more local multiplayer in a big way and just being surprised by indies/smaller games in a way I didn't expect. For me, anyway.

        First off, I'm not a mass consumer of games, by that I mean I don't play a lot of games, but those I do, I play a lot. Quality over quantity for my own taste I suppose. 2015 had;

        GTA V - I saved myself for the PC release, so it counts.
        The Witcher 3
        Fallout 4
        Grim Fandango Remastered
        Homeworld Remastered
        Pillars of Eternity

        A few others, but those were the standouts.

    Call me the complete opposite..... 2015 was very lacklustre for my tastes. The only standouts in my list are Cities: Skylines and Rocket League. Both awesome games, but were completely off the radar for me until close to launch.

    2016, on the other hand, has in store the following games which have me pumped:

    - Uncharted 4
    - Mirrors Edge: Catalyst
    - Firewatch
    - Uncharted 4
    - Horizon: Zero Dawn
    - Dishonored 2
    - Uncharted 4

      Same here... there were a few great, great games in 2015 (BloodBorne, MGS5, Everybody's Gone to The Rapture, Witcher 3), but I probably bought fewer new games last year than probably any other year in the last decade.

      2016 looking a lot more interesting from where I'm sitting.

      Seems you might like Everybody's Gone to he Rapture if you're looking forward to Firewatch, and also Rise of the Tomb Raider if you're looking forward to Horizon: Zero Dawn :)

    As much as I don't want it to be, I'm calling it now - No Man's Sky will not be the game people were hoping for.

      The Emperor's New Sky is The Order:1886 all over again.

      If you don't get it, it's not meant for you.

    The game i'll sink the most time into this year is commin out Feb 5th ...... XCOM 2 !! omg omg #hypetrain

      My wife and I are going to have to put together a roster for playing XCOM. Either that, or buy a second gaming PC.

    @markserrels
    Re. TLG

    That's pretty much everyone's sentiments: hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

    However there is one piece of news that leaves me feeling more positive: former Team ICO director Fumito Ueda's continuing involvement and oversight in the project despite leaving Sony in 2011. Ueda's creative content and artistic vision is locked in, and that's enough for me.

    The games I am really looking forward to are:
    Uncharted 4
    Persona 5
    Horizon Zero Dawn
    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

    (which I will buy if I can finish my list of 2015 games i.e. Fallout 4, MGSV, Witcher 3 and Xenoblade Chronicles X - there are just not enough hours in the day anymore)

    What the hell?! Why have you got a drop down ad that covers a quarter of the screen? I can't read the article. Please fix?

    Well, it disappeared once I actually clicked the Windows 10 ad. But why the hell did I have to interact with it for it to go away?

    Last edited 19/01/16 12:07 pm

      This has actually happened a ton to me on a lot of articles, I usually end up missing heaps of stuff and end up just going out of the article. Just FYI for any mods reading these comments :)

      Last edited 19/01/16 12:24 pm

        Thanks guys -- I think I had the same problem there so I'll chase up.

        Sometimes it's just a HTML tag out of place, although I notice it can also happen if I've got Chrome zoomed in to 75% or something. Give it a refresh and let us know if you're still having issues.

          My particular problems were on mobile on iOS specifically- probably should have mentioned that >.< haven't had any trouble so far today so that's good news! :)

    For me:
    Day One Games
    Dark Souls III
    Quantum Break
    SuperHot
    Deus Ex Mankind Divided

    Definite but not straight away...
    PvZ GW2
    Mirror's Edge

    Could be good wait and see...
    The Division
    Homefront: The Revolution
    Crackdown 3
    Overwatch

    Ignore with extreme prejudice:
    Far Cry Primal (still playing FC4 will probably never finish it!)
    Dishonoured 2 (still haven't finished the first game not sure if I ever will!)
    Any new Destiny sequel

    If they come out, could be incredible...
    Titanfall 2?
    Watch Dogs 2?
    Nintendo NX

      Oh yeah and Rocket League is a def day one when it hits the bone. I love games like that.

      Also IDARB is apparently getting a multiplayer update soon so you can jump into a ful 4 v 4 match - if it had this at the start it would've been a smash hit because it's a fun game but the online limitations have held it back

      Can't wait for Deus Ex Mankind Divided!!

      Oh man, I'd completely forgotten about Titanfall. I hope they make a second one and put in even a small but decent campaign. That game looked hella fun to just move around in, but no way was I jumping in to multiplayer.

    No Man's Sky, Doom, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Mass Effect, South Park.

    Kotaku Staff:

    Most Anticipated: AAA Games

    GOTY Awards: Weird Indie Games

      We're all capable of liking different things! And there's a strong surprise factor with weird indie games as well too that factors into that; it's not like people knew much, if anything, about the development of Undertale when 2015 began (as an example).

        Ha. You're actually 100% right.
        I went home yesterday and thought about what I'd have picked.

        My original internet [OUTRAGE!!] over so few journalists choosing Fallout 4 subsided when I realised my real favourites of 2015 were probably:

        - Secrets of Grindea
        - Quiplash XL + Drawful
        - Grim Dawn
        - Bloodborne
        - Rocket League
        and *gulp*
        - COD Black Ops 3

        Despite buying Fallout 4 for Xbox One, PS4 -AND- Steam, I haven't made it past level 10 with a single character yet. I find myself playing for 20 minutes, then getting bored and putting on something I consider "fun". Your One Piece choice was a good example.

        In the end, we like what we like :)

        Last edited 20/01/16 4:26 pm

    Read the list and immediately thought the article should be renamed to "Games of 2016 most likely to be delayed to 2017".

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