Looking ahead to 2015 produces a huge list of games that we are excited to play. 2014 was a great year for gaming, but primarily for Wii U owners. Nintendo fans saw the console make a significant turn around with the release of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. leading the charge for Nintendo. The two behemoths, Xbox One and PS4, had steady releases but we found that nothing extraordinary was released. Most of what we played and loved on those consoles in 2014 was an independently developed game or a reissue of something we loved on Xbox 360 or PS3. 2015 is hopefully the year that we get some of this generation’s best titles.
Which of the announced games are we looking forward to most? See for yourself below.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
When The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was first released on Nintendo 64, I personally never got a chance to play much of it. Playing it now and then at my friend’s house was interesting, but I never purchased the game and fully experienced it. It seems too tasking to return to it now, and facing the chunky graphics would be too difficult to swallow, but with the game remastered for the Nintendo 3DS I get my chance to experience it fully. From what has been said, Nintendo has gone to the effort of modifying the game somewhat, so that it is even more accessible and being able to play it wherever I am on the 3DS is an inviting promise. When this game releases on February 13, I’ll be downloading it immediately to my console.
Mario Maker was one of those games that we might have talked about being a cool idea that would never come to life, until E3 2014 when Nintendo made it a reality. I was already on board upon the announcement, but during December’s Video Game Awards Nintendo showed off two new art styles: Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Being able to customize my levels to the tune of my favorite Mario games excites me to no end. I am really excited to see what I can build and from there to see what my friends come up with to share with me. Our friend Ako, who you might recognize from his appearance on The Free Cheese Podcast, recently took a liking to LittleBigPlanet and has been exploring level creation on Sony’s side of the fence. Seeing him apply those ideas here in Mario Maker, along with the community that is sure to be in place, puts this game at the top of my list for this Spring’s upcoming games.
Evolve is coming from the folks who brought us Left 4 Dead. This time, we play 4 vs 1 battles, where 4 humans try to take down 1 monster. I’ve purposefully kept myself in the dark on most of the updates that have come since this game’s announcement, but I like what I have paid attention to a lot. This is one of those games that I think will rely heavily upon continued interest in the gameplay, but I think that for a good while I can get into this alongside the rest of the team at The Free Cheese.
Last April, PlayStation announced a lot of games that were making their way PlayStation side throughout 2014 and into 2015. Axiom Verge was the one that stood out amongst the rest. Thomas Happ is the sole creator behind this game that combines Metroid with intentional glitches which represent those we experienced on our old consoles. I went hands on with part of this game around October and it is very much Metroid in the modern era, and that’s a great thing. I still hope that Nintendo has some Metroid related secrets coming this year, but Axiom Verge is going to fill in the gap quite nicely. The game is gorgeous in every way possible, and I can’t wait to feel it running in my hands on the PlayStation Vita.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Hotline Miami was a perfect “just one more” type of game. No matter how quickly you watched your brains sprayed across the floor in the game, you were just as quick to restart the mission. The game’s esoteric atmosphere and outstanding soundtrack, combined with super fast-paced combat easily lends itself to a stellar sequel- one that we have been anticipating since it was announced. Marc is positive that it would’ve taken his vote for Game of the Year in 2014 had it not been delayed, and we find it hard to argue. The little bits that have been shown off from the upcoming sequel seem to be improving on everything that made the first game so memorable and fun.
Mortal Kombat X
2011’s Mortal Kombat was a huge surprise. Not only did the game play great, but it was a return to form that we welcomed heavily. The game was grounded on a story mode that reinvented and reiterated the Mortal Kombat mythos and set the groundwork for what NetherRealm studios would do in 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. Mortal Kombat X coming exclusively to current generation platforms has so much potential and from what has already been previewed, the game looks great. Resident fighting game enthusiasts Chris and Ako have whispered about this game quite a bit, even with Chris preferring the Street Fighter side of the fighting game genre. We’re looking forward to seeing the new characters in action and how our favorite fighters have evolved for today’s consoles.
P.T. was an experience that kept everyone talking for a while last year. Announced out of nowhere, Konami used P.T. as a way to introduce a reboot of the Silent Hill franchise. Rather than simply show off a trailer for a new game, Konami released P.T. and let us play through a cyclical nightmare trapped in a hallway filled with death. The further we stepped, the more we screamed. Whatever it is that Konami is planning with the reboot has our vote after playing through the teaser that they released last year. Marc made sure to bring the teaser up during our Game of the Year discussions as one experience that we hoped wouldn’t go unforgotten during the awards discussion. I’m still not sold on casting a celebrity to drive the reboot, but P.T. was so solid that Konami has earned my interest so far.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Rocksteady has put themselves on the map with their Batman games, defying the odds with 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum. No one expected the game to be so good considering the nature of most licensed video games. In fact, the game had no right to be that good. It combined what we love about Metroid and stealth games with the best character in the world, giving life to not only a great game, but the first great Batman game that actually made us feel like Batman. The continuation of the Arkham world came with 2011’s Arkham City, expanding on a lot of the ideas that were built in the first title and placing Batman inside of a prison state. Batman: Arkham Knight is the final entry in the series coming from Rocksteady and we’re all stoked to drive the Batmobile and find out just who is underneath the mask of the Arkham Knight as we battle through a Scarecrow toxin-filled Gotham.
No Man’s Sky
I talked a bit during our 2015 predictions about how the line between independent games and AAA games will become blurred in 2015. We gave Shovel Knight our Game of the Year award for 2014, showing that that line doesn’t exist for us, but it is something very real and frankly very silly to a lot of gamers. Check the comments on any PlayStation Blog article when an indie game is announced or put on sale. People have a reluctancy to play these games based on the art style and the nature of the way they play. If one game released this year is going to silence these ludicrous voices, it will be No Man’s Sky. Developed by a very small team, No Man’s Sky is shaping up to be one of the year’s most impressive releases. Not only does it look beautiful and nothing like what has become the expected from independent developers, but the game has incredible potential thanks to the engine that the team has created which allows for near-infinite possibilities in space exploration. We’re still not positive what this game actually is, but we know that we want it. Really want it.
Until Dawn was first announced during Gamescom for the PlayStation 3. It was to be a title that utilized the PlayStation Move, putting the player in control of a teen in the woods, living out a cliché slasher movie. Using the PlayStation Move as a flashlight, it was up to you to survive the night and discover what happened to all of your murdered friends. Reinvented for the PlayStation 4, Until Dawn still retains the “teens in a cabin” motif, but changing the gameplay to make the game more of an interactive story. Using quicktime events, players try to survive in this choice-based game, and the developers are promising drastically different outcomes for the story depending on the subtlest of choices. Until Dawn is just one example of the many horror games coming this year, and we couldn’t be happier that this genre is still well and alive.
The Birdman made an appearance at CES this year to confirm that a new Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game would arrive on PlayStation 4 later in 2015. We have no idea what this game is, what it is called, and whether or not it will feature songs from Powerman 5000. We do know that as long as it is nothing like the HD remake- we will be downloading it day one. After the disappointing remaster that failed to capture the feel of the old game’s physics engine and charm, we’re hoping that whatever Tony Hawk and presumably Activision are planning to release gives us the same familiar feelings and excitement that we had at the dawn of the millennium. Hopefully we see something on this title soon, and hopefully it is everything that we dream it can be. Here we are, doing everything we can…
The Legend of Zelda for Wii U
It was no huge surprise that Nintendo was developing a Zelda game for the Nintendo Wii U. Series’ producer Eiji Aonuma had spoken quite candidly about the ideas they were tossing around for a new installment, and we had even seen a bit of a tech demo during the Wii U’s unveiling. What surprised us most about the E3 2014 reveal was the promise that we can go anywhere we want to in the upcoming 2015 game. If we see a mountain in the distance, we can ride there in real-time. This certainly isn’t a captivating mechanic for the general video game player, but for fans of The Legend of Zelda, it is what we have been hoping for since we started playing games like Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls series. If you had been in the room during E3 last year when we all watched the footage begin to play, you could feel the collective want radiating from everyone in the room and how this game was pushing each of us without a Wii U to run out and buy one. For those who haven’t made the purchase yet, this game is certainly going to demand it of them by the year’s end.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Playing Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us left a lot of us satisfied with the world that they had built. We loved the story of Joel and Ellie and didn’t require anything further, hoping for a one-off in that universe. Similar thoughts swirled with us after completing the team’s previous effort, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, as we felt a natural conclusion to the series, eager to see what Naughty Dog could do on new hardware with new ideas. When Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was first revealed, it was a very bittersweet moment. We love Nathan Drake, Kyle particularly. Yet, we couldn’t help but feel a little let down knowing what Naughty Dog was capable of when creating new IP. Then PlayStation Experience happened in Las Vegas and we got to see the game in action for the first time. It seems that Naughty Dog is using every single ounce of what they have collectively learned as a team to bring the PlayStation 4 the best damned action-adventure game that they can. We still have a lot of questions about this game regarding its story, its gameplay, and its setting- but whenever we see its release in 2015, we will surely be ready for another journey with Nathan Drake.
That’s it for our most anticipated games of 2015. We’ll be talking a lot more about everything each week on The Free Cheese Podcast and obviously on the site as more and more of these titles become available.