As we welcome the freezing cold days of January and February, we're taking the time to look forward to what games we have on deck for each platform. First up, we have the Xbox One.
Of all the titles confirmed for the Xbox One in 2016, these are our most anticipated.
We'll be updating this article with links to the other platforms as they're published. There will be overlap, and that means you'll see the same game a few times if you read each story. You'll also see console exclusives here.
Without further ado, away we go!
Below – PC, XBO – TBA 2016
This is Below's year! It has to be! Because if we wait any longer, people are going to forget about it. The team behind games like Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP announced this game before the Xbox One was even out, at Microsoft's 2013 E3 show. It's been a long time coming for what looks from the outside like a simple game.
With Capybara's unique art style and Jim Guthrie's music, Below will be memorable when it finally does come out, and we're hoping the procedural elements will live up to the promise the trailers so far have shown.
Crackdown 3 – XBO – TBA 2016
Crackdown was one of Xbox 360's best surprises, and Crackdown 2 was one of its biggest disappointments. At its best, Crackdown is an awesome, explosive romp with big weapons, big explosions, and tons of Agility Orbs. As we look forward to Crackdown 3 that's what we're hoping for.
The big question mark is the mulitplayer mode's use of cloud processing for its detailed destruction model and how that'll end up working. If the team behind the game can bring back the fun of the original and add in the destruction we've seen in demos, this should be one of 2016's most memorable multiplayer experiences.
Cuphead – PC, XBO – TBA 2016
Cuphead is the sidescroller made to look like cartoons from the 1930s. It features, so we've seen, unique boss fights and gameplay that might be compared to the likes of, say, Gunstar Heroes.
The art, the music, the unique inspiration… Studio MDHR, a very small team of designers, have a really charming looking game on their hands. Here's hoping it lives up to the promise.
Dark Souls III – PC, PS4, XBO – March 24, 2016
Are we really doing this every year now? From Software! Come on! Give us a break, please! We're a wisp of wind away from one of modern gaming's most beloved franchises becoming the next Call of Assassin's Battlefield annualized product.
What more is there to really see from Dark Souls? What does From Software have yet to show us that it hasn't over the last decade already? I'm excited to play Dark Souls III, but it's more out of routine this time than it is for the excitement of getting my teeth kicked in once again.
From Software has peeped that it wants this to be the last game in the series, and I agree it should be. If this pans out to be true, another way to look at this title is us getting the ultimate and final vision of this revolutionary formula. In that regard, can anything stop Dark Souls III this year?
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – PC, PS4, XBO – Aug 23, 2016
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a glorious return to form for Adam Jensen and his augmentations. The title was nearly perfect, were it not for the obnoxious and out of place boss fights.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looks to improve upon the already great refresh, and Eidos Montreal is definitely a studio capable of absolutely knocking it out of the park. The new generation upgrades and fixed mechanics could make this game utterly glorious.
Dishonored 2 – PC, PS4, XBO – TBA 2016
Dishonored was a great surprise. A new character set in a unique world – a sort of Victorian world powered by whale oil – with gorgeous art and great first-person gameplay that gave players freedom to play how they wanted and see the consequences unfold.
The sequel, Dishonored 2 was a surprise at last year's E3, but a welcome one. This time around we can play not only as Corvo, but as the girl he was protecting in the last game, Emily Caldwell, deposed empress. She has her own set of powers and agenda. If Bethesda and developer Arkane can differentiate her enough from her mentor, it could add yet another dimension to the many choices the game is sure to present us with.
Far Cry Primal – PC, PS4, XBO – Feb 23, 2016
Far Cry has been a solid, fun series since its inception, with the first, second, and third games each different from each other while adhering to the same basic idea of being alone in the wilderness with a gun. While Far Cry 4 was a fine game, though, it felt tired. Does the series have much life left in it? The most interesting parts were the Shangri-La sections that had you working with spirit animals to go after ghostly enemies.
Far Cry Primal addresses exactly that. Instead of just making a game that takes place in Shangri-La, Ubisoft is taking things back to the Stone Age. You've lost your tribe and have to rebuild, crafting better weapons and taking control of more and more dangerous predators as allies. If the series does have any life left, this should be the kick in the pants it needs.
Final Fantasy XV – PS4, XBO – TBA 2016
Square Enix has been developing Final Fantasy XV for nearly a decade now. There is nothing left to say.
It comes out in 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and you're either going to love it or you're going to hate it.
Halo Wars 2 – PC, XBO – TBA 2016
We don't know much about Halo Wars 2. The images we have come from the reveal trailer for the game, so they're not much help. We know that it's going to be a real-time strategy affair for both the PC and Xbox One.
Now, we're pumped for it because of its predecessor. Halo Wars was a wonderful game, and it's easily among the top echelon of console-based RTS titles. Ensemble did an amazing job. Ensemble Studios is no more, unfortunately, and that means this one is being helmed by Creative Assembly and 343. Creative Assembly does have history in the RTS genre, so we're hoping Halo Wars 2 channels their talents and the quality of the original.
Hyper Light Drifter – PC, XBO, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U – TBA 2016
Hyper Light Drifter has been our most highly anticipated Kickstarter game since the website's break-out year. Every year, we list it here, and every year we're disappointed by the delays. I guess that's just the nature of the Kickstarter beast, but 2016 could very well put an end to our suffering and waiting.
Mafia III – PC, PS4, XBO – TBA 2016
I love open-world games, but too often they pick the same time periods and locations. I've been to more versions of New York across various time periods, more medieval castles, more World War II bunkers than I'd ever want. Mixing those elements up can go a long way toward making things fresh again.
And here comes Mafia III, developed by Hangar 13. The game is set in 1968 and takes place in New Orleans, two settings we rarely – very rarely – see in games. The game stars a Vietnam War vet named Lincoln Clay, as he builds up a crime family for the sake of revenge against the Italian mafia. War, crime, and racial tension should make for an interesting mix we don't often see in games.
Mass Effect Andromeda – PC, PS4, XBO – Dec 2016
After Mass Effect 3 wrapped itself up, I was "anti"-new entry in this series for a while, feeling like it should just be a nice, self-contained story. Only now that I have become somewhat disillusioned by the repetitive beast that huge Western games have become do I see the appeal of jumping back into BioWare's sci-fi universe.
Something is amiss when a half-year old franchise can be looked back on as "the good old days," but Mass Effect just has it where it counts.
Deep characters, excellent storytelling, brilliant settings and music. I have faith that Mass Effect Andromeda will deliver that sense of science fiction adventure all over again, and show us the way. EA backing BioWare with the Frostbite Engine 3 is also a match made in heaven for this series.
Mirror's Edge Catalyst – PC, PS4, XBO – May 24, 2016
DICE is best known for big, wide open battles with tens of players duking it out on a large scale, vehicles, bullets and explosives all whizzing back and forth. The original Mirror's Edge was a huge surprise. This intimate little game about acrobatic running and hand-to-hand combat was unique and interesting. It didn't quite pull the audience Electronic Arts had hoped, and it did have its share of problems, but the idea stuck around and so did fans. Now we have Mirror's Edge Catalyst.
The game is a prequel instead of a sequel, but it builds on the ideas of the original, putting protagonist Faith into an open-world scenario. Instead of items being arbitrarily painted, her Runner Vision lights up acrobatic opportunities. It's great to see this neat idea get a second chance, and we hope it gets the game it deserves and the attention, too.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 – PC, PS4, XBO – February 23, 2016
The original Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was slowly teased with puns like "Grass Effect" before its E3 reveal a few years back. At first, I thought it was a joke. Then I played it. Folks, I adored that shooter. Yes, it's cartoony as all get out, but it's also very well made.
Garden Warfare 2 is coming in February, and it brings new characters, modes and maps along with it. It also features a hub world with a completely new take on conquering the neighborhood. The game looks wonderful, and I can't wait to sink way too many hours into this potted nonsense.
Quantum Break – XBO – April 5, 2016
Very few independent studios manage to release games at the rate Remedy does. Since 2001, they've released three major titles and two downloadable – that's it. Each of those big titles, though, has been an excellently crafted, technically proficient game with a fun, if sometimes goofy story. It's with this in mind, then, that I look forward to Quantum Break,, their time-manipulation action game.
I'm a little worried about how the game will integrate its TV elements, but Remedy and creative director Sam Lake have a great love for TV and if anyone can do it right, it's them. The action? That I'm not worried about. It's going to be excellent.
ReCore – PC, XBO – TBA 2016
ReCore is still shrouded in a lot of mystery, but that reveal trailer sure did have us glued to our monitors. This stood out the most at E3 2015 by capturing the "magic" of video games with its character and robot designs, not the cynicism and calculated gloom of the dark shooters. If it wasn't on its way to PCs, I would have gladly dropped money on the console for this alone.
Still, there are a few red flags here. Mega Man co-creator Keiji Inafune still needs to get Mighty No. 9 out the door, not to mention his outlandish RED ASH project as well. Armature Studio too has been primarily porting games up until this point, and the original game I remember it best for is the Mega Man X Maverick Hunter reboot which never got out the door.
The pieces are in place for ReCore to become a dream come true, but with two studios that have yet to truly establish themselves, it could just as easily go south. Best of luck to all those involved.
Tom Clancy's The Division – PC, PS4, XBO – March 8, 2016
The Division is another one of those games that's been a long time coming. The game was announced at E3 2013 and has been delayed quite a few times since then. Now the release date is near and we've had the game in our hands. The combination of MMO-style game and shooter is appealing, and the game's trademark Dark Zone should result in lots of cool stories.
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