2014 is at an end. We're closing out the year with more of a whimper than a bang when it comes to AAA offerings (with the exception of a few notable titles, no doubt). Moreover, it's time to look forward to the future and it's time to set in stone the games we can't wait to get our hands on. Of course, we also have to exercise a healthy dose of skepticism as well. We all know what happens when some games receive a too much unbridled hype for their own good, right? We get big disappointments.
Even still, many of the top-tier games that were originally going to make their debuts in 2014 have been moved to 2015. The shift of many big games into 2015 definitely created a drought in the later half of 2014, but it also raised a lot of anticipation and excitement for the games we're expecting to see land on store shelves and digital storefronts over the course of the next 12 months. So whether they were delayed or not, here are the 15 games set to release in 2015 that we can't wait to play.
Witcher 3There's a lot of buzz surrounding this one. The third game in CD Projekt RED's Witcher trilogy promises bigger battles, more diverse choices, better graphics and presumably more boobies. The game's upgrades may or may not turn out to be hype-worthy given the numerous delays, and there's always a factor of the game potentially under-delivering. But CDPR is known for bringing in compelling story elements and top notch graphics on state of the art technology, which is precisely why The Witcher 3 is on this list.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)Nintendo always seems to deliver huge when it comes to their first-party franchises and the upcoming Legend of Zelda for the Wii U looks like another knockout, smash-out hit. The scope of the game alone is massive and the graphics are cinema-worthy. There are some worries about a lack of depth to the game world, which could cause the game to lack engagement, but I do trust that Nintendo will deliver in the way that they've delivered on past Zelda titles.
Doom 4Heck yeah! This game is probably the most talked about game most people have never seen. There was a closed-off showing of Doom to select members of QuakeCon 2014 who all came away absolutely blown away. Supposedly the game will go back to the old-school Doom that helped put id Software on the map and keep them there. Of course, given id Software's recent track record, there are reasons to be wary. Hopefully this new Doom is closer to Doom 2 than RAGE.
Uncharted 4Unlike some other games on the list, Uncharted 4 seems like a true shoe-in for launching in 2015. The game is a technological leap over the last entry on the PS3, and it features the writing and directing from Neil Druckmann, the mind behind The Last Us. Better animations, new physics, and enhanced A.I., are all par the course. My only worry with this title is a potential case of gameplay repetition. However, there's no such thing as too much of a good thing.
Project CARSOne of the few simulation racing titles due out for home consoles and PC, Project CARS is kind of the wet dream for many sports car racing fans. This also marks the first realistic racing simulator for the Wii U. The game sports state-of-the-art graphics and physics technology while housing a tons of licensed cars across a multitude of tracks. The only minor drawback is that there have been complaints about the game's controls not working so great with the DualShock 4. Hopefully that's rectified by release time.
Mortal Kombat XFor the first time in a long time, Mortal Kombat has actually become more talked about and anticipated than Street Fighter. The upcoming game has a ton of hype following it into the early 2015 launch for home consoles and PC, and the 60fps gameplay and smooth new fighting mechanics and combos will add a lot of depth and variety to the overall playability. So far, there are no real downsides to this one, and I expect we'll see a very well-invigorated take of Mortal Kombat in the FGC scene.
Batman Arkham KnightOne of the games a lot of people have been looking forward to is Rocksteady Studios' final Batman title in the Arkham series. The game goes full open-world with the addition of the Batmobile, new gadgets and new physics, interactivity and even cooler graphics. I think this is one of the few games where the expectations will be par the hype. It's a rare feat for devs, but Rocksteady has done it before and it seems their Batman swan-song will do it again.
Mighty No. 9I love just about everything about this game... from what I've seen. The appeal to go back to the side-scrolling platformer-shooter is like a dream come true. The look, the feel, the mechanics, the powers, the puzzles, the enemies – all of it looks amazing. This crowd-funded title was a financial love letter from fans to Keiji Inafune, and Migty No. 9 is his love letter to fans. Did I mention the music is top notch? Well it is. I do have reservations about the game's replayability when it comes to comprehensive level designs, but we'll see when the game gets here.
Hyper Light DrifterOne of the more underrated titles on this list... Hyper Light Drifter is another one of those early Kickstarter darlings that focuses on rekindling attempts at genuinely having fun. A lot of the gameplay mechanics and story depth have been hidden away from media, but we do know that there is co-op play, platforming, leveling, looting and scavenging. It's hard to see a downside for this game because Heart Machine has only been introducing more and more new features as it nears release, making it one to watch out for in 2015.
Mad MaxAvalanche Studios has a lot riding on this one. It's a pseudo-movie-based game since it's set to launch near/around the time of the Fury Road movie, but it's not a direct movie-based game like a lot of those terrible games from Activision and EA in the past. It's a lot like Fallout meets Just Cause, but with an extra dose of badass sprinkled on top. My only worry with this game is that we haven't see enough of it yet and there's a lot that can go wrong with a game as big and as ambitious as an open-world Mad Max title.
Star FoxShigeru Miyamoto plans on releasing Star Fox ahead of the presumed fall release of The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U. We don't know where this puts Star Fox exactly, but we do know that it's coming sometime in 2015 for the Wii U and that it's utilizing the GamePad in a whole new way. There's about as much anticipation as there is skepticism and fear. Miyamoto is a legend so hopefully he won't disappoint with this one.
Star Wars: BattlefrontWhile not quite a movie-based game, this is another title that falls in line with the Mad Max syndrome, where an unrelated game in the same brand as the movie will be launching close to the movie. Hopefully DICE will have paid extra care and attention to the features, playability and functionality of Star Wars: Battlefront. It's running on the latest Frostbite Engine but the last couple of outings from DICE have been sketchy at best. Hopefully they took their time with this one because Battlefront is easily one of the more highly anticipated games of the year.
Xenoblade Chronicles XOne of the most highly anticipated games due out for any console is Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U. The game is a massive advancement on the JRPG genre by combining open-world exploration with vehicles, sky-high monsters, level-grinding and character customization. It's hard to see any drawbacks to the game right now, and all the gameplay footage far exceeds a lot of the standard expectations. A lot of gamers can't wait to get their hands on this one.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainHideo Kojima's latest entry in the Metal Gear series looks absolutely solid as far as gameplay goes (pun intended). The graphics are also top notch and the game appears to be a true next-gen title. Kojima and crew are taking espionage to the next level with both the single and multiplayer. If there is a drawback it might be with the story and characterizations. Hopefully Kojima gets it all wrapped up nice and neat. But so far The Phantom Pain seems to be shaping up to be one of the biggest games in 2015.
No Man's SkyHello Games' biggest project to date. The open-universe game where you can explore entire galaxies and potentially play forever and never meet another soul. No Man's Sky is a procedurally emergent space adventure title that seems to be aiming for the stars and then some. I have no idea if Hello Games can pull it off (and there's plenty of doubt to go around), but if they can manage to deliver what's been promised by all the trailers and stage presentations, then this could not only be one of the biggest games of 2015, but it could be one of the biggest games of the generation.