2015 hasn’t been that stellar of a gaming year just yet. I’m still on the look out for that one defining game, but most of my outings have come up short. Bigger games like Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, and Batman: Arkham Knight have come an gone without leaving that much of a lasting impression. Smaller indie titles have been okay, but again, the indie scene is hardly the gold rush it was a few years ago.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop romanticizing gaming’s past and try to live in “the now,” but I have to be met halfway for that to happen. I enjoyed gaming in the 90s and 2000s, and I don’t now. Maybe I’m getting older, maybe gaming is getting repetitive and uninspiring, or maybe every game simply can’t be Just Cause 3. No lie, I am banking on Avalanche Studios to save my 2015 from total despair.

My history with Just Cause only extends to the previous game. I only played the first one briefly in Joey’s college apartment, but the second I put my hands on its brilliant sequel, I became a fan. I rant and rave about Just Cause 2 all the time, and I have no problem doing it again. This game is the epitome of the open-world action game simply because it manages to be an entire experience with very little developer interference.

What do I mean by that? It means that Avalanche Studios knows when to back the heck off and let me enjoy my experience the way I want to. Very few missions, very few cutscenes, just a world to devastate and a handful of solid mechanics to do it with. Boom, wonderful game!

I’m hoping and praying beyond belief that Just Cause 3 follows in the same line. Too many open-world games have been accompanied by babyish hand-holding over the past few years, none of them following Just Cause 2‘s brilliant example, and it would once again be a breath of fresh air for an open-world developer to just let me uncover their creation on my own terms.

And to do it with such amazing explosions and action effects? Boy, I can’t wait! I’m not convinced No Man’s Sky will be released in 2015, so it looks like Just Cause 3 will go down the the wire with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as my favorite console games from this otherwise underwhelming year. I dunno, but I think the simplicity of its action and the freedom of its progression might give it an early lead.

Just Cause 3 for GotY? Just maybe!