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Now that four-in-February is behind us, I thought I'd take some time to look into games that I'm at least a little curious about for the calendar year of 2016. I have divided my choices into three broad sections:
Things that will almost definitely be with us in the near-future or before the end of 2016.
Things that might make it into 2016, but you never know.
And, finally, things that I'm totally worried about. Sometimes with good reason.
So, let's take a look and see, shall we?
Games that are TOTALLY HAPPENING SOON.
These are games that have release dates and everything. Or are in the midst of releasing episodes.
Day Of The Tentacle: Remastered
This has a release date. It's going to be with us in short order. I can't say I'm too crazy about it, though. Tim Schafer is at the wheel and we're not getting the original game as it was back in the old DOS days.
"But Greywolfe!" I hear you cry "If it's remastered, it'll INCLUDE the original game!"
And it does. But it's Tim Schafer, you see. And Grim Fandango: Remastered was full of bugs. Bugs that they're now refusing to work on. Porting an old game to new technology inherently introduces new bugs. Tim doesn't seem to understand that. Sorry Tim. I'll give you money when this is SUPER DUPER CHEAP.
Double Fine's game page for Day of the Tentacle can be found here.
Dark Souls 3
DO WANT. And it's coming very soon, now. But...it's Steam, so I'll have to skip this one too.
However, having said that, I'm so glad that someone is paying attention out there and realizes that there is a cabal of total masochists who like playing ridiculously difficult games just for the sake of playing them. I'm especially glad that someone's giving us more of this style of game. Quite frankly, gaming needs this sort of diversity-of-form, otherwise we'll just be treading water.
Devs! Pay attention! We odd folk who like old-style games are still out there. We'll totally give you money. [Well, I might not, if you put your game on Steam and Steam alone, but we already know I'm a little odd.]
The From Software page for Dark Souls 3 is here. [you will have to tell them how old you are.]
I'm a recent convert to the amazing feat that is Banjo Kazooie. It's a game I thought I wouldn't like that took me completely by surprise. The sequel hasn't hooked me nearly as hard as the original game did [seriously: right after finishing my first playthrough, I very nearly just started up a new file right there and then. And I'd just 100%'d the game. That's the mark of a good game. No matter that you've seen it all before, the mechanics, world, music and characters are so good that they invite you back for more.] but this now makes me curious about Playtonic - a developer that's essentially ex-Rare folk making a game in the style that made them famous. I really want Yooka-Laylee to be awesome so that they can keep making new games.
I'm so glad they have their inspiration back.
Playtonic's game page for Yooka-Laylee can be seen here.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Old-style RPG? Check.
Turn-based gaming? Check.
Ultima-style character building? Check.
These are all good things. Like I said of Dark Souls 3, gaming needs to be more than just shooters and me-too games. That we're seeing developers now go back to the past and look to what made those games great - picking and choosing ideas to modernize - that all gives me long-term hope for the games industry. [Then you have terrible "free to play" models and annoying DRM up the wazoo that immediately makes me sad for the industry. but...I'll take what I can get :)]
I want this to come out, be as good as the first one was and succeed.
A mini page with a FAQ regarding Divinity: Original Sin 2 can be had from Larian's Website.
Here's a game I feel a little...middling about. Yeah, it's an old franchise that I really like. And certainly, I'm glad that Activision gave this a nod of approval, but man, everything about this has - and still does - worry me a lot.
It's Activision basically dancing on the grave of Sierra. It's not really an adventure game. It's for Steam [and consoles] right now [hopefully it'll get a DRM-Free release at some point in the future, but I'm not really hopeful] and it sort of...borrows from the old games and re-invents them in a new way. That last part might not be so bad, but it depends entirely on how it's done and just judging from reviews of Episode 2, well...it might be off to a rocky start.
I want this, but I only want it when it's a complete game. I'm not a fan of episodes. I will also only buy it if it ever comes to GOG or the like. Sorry, Activision. No money for you dancing on the grave of a developer I loved. [Yet, anyway.]
A ridiculously terrible single page minisite for King's Quest is available over at Sierra's website. [It looks so home made it hurts. Hey, Activision, throw some money at your web design people.]
Games that MIGHT happen in 2016. But might not.
These are games that have information and look primed for 2016 release, but might juuuust miss that window.
One of the games I absolutely adored in 2015 was a game that has been classified as a "Walking Simulator." Basically, instead of doing very much of anything, you walk around and discover an enclosed little universe with it's own story-in-a-bottle. I'm talking, of course, about Gone Home, a game I reviewed rather highly.
Abzû is a similar experience, though far less dark and moody. Instead of a house, this time, you're discovering an ocean and discovering the secrets this particular ocean has to share. It looks quite beautiful and I hope it's a restful sort of experience, to boot.
More information about Abzû can be had here.
There's a plus here and a minus. I really like the idea of Atari Vault [even if I'll never buy it, because it'll be Steam-only] but I worry that rights issues [who owns what] will scuttle this before it gets the chance to be decent and shine. Well, that and the price tag. If it's too high, only digital collectors will buy in. If it's too low, it'll "feel like Atari Shovelware." It's a tricky, tricky little beast.
So the plus: if Atari Vault is done in the style of Rare Replay - where it shows a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes footage, then I think we have a definite winner on our hands. I'm not too crazy about the mediocre "Best Of" collections we've seen throughout the years and I'm rather hoping that someone learned a thing or two from how Rare Replay was handled.
The minus? I'm not sure it'll sell a lot. These games are old. Gamers are fickle. They might buy it for a laugh if it's cheap, but it's not something that they're going to want to invest too much money in. The price - as I've said before - has to be right.
Wired did a fairly decent piece on Atari Vault and you can find that here. At the time of writing, I couldn't find a list of games included in the package. [And Atari's own page for this collection was abysmal.]
I haven't finished it, but I have loved the half of Okami I've played to bits. This is absolutely the direction I want gaming to go in: exploring different fantasy-styles. Looking at how different parts of the world see ideas like mythology and the arcane.
Eitr itself is essentially a Norse hack-and-slash game. And I am totally down for that.
Devolver Digital's single-page minisite for Eitr can be found here.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Trey and Matt, why do you torture me so? I wanted to buy Stick of Truth almost the minute it came out. Even despite Ubisoft. But then it had terrible DRM and I had to stick to my principles. Sometimes, being principled is ridiculous. ;)
Ultimately, I think Stick of Truth was just right as a "My-First-RPG" and I'm rather hoping that they learned a thing or two and have made their new outing a trifle more complex, but still, essentially, South Park. Very much looking forward to how this one pans out. Steam and all.
Ubisoft's minisite for South Park: The Fractured But Whole can be found here.
This is Fullbright's Next Game. [They're the folks who did Gone Home.] Instead of you walking around a house, this time, you'll be walking around an abandoned space station, discovering why it's abandoned and getting to know the people who abandoned it as you go.
I'm not crazy about this particular setting - Gone Home occasionally relied on "almost-horror" tropes to reel you in a little, and I worry that Fullbright might go the route of an Aliens or the like - making the game darker and edgier for no good reason - but I'm very interested, none-the-less.
The Banner Saga 2
I didn't play the original - largely because I just have too much going on games-wise to even think about taking on new challenges, but that artwork is AMAZING and more of it can only be a good thing.
Plus, again, it's an interesting take on a different mythology. How often can we keep returning to middle-ages-western fantasy? So, I will be curious to see how this shapes up, too.
This isn't really a game page [it's a Steam store page] but the website for Stoic didn't say very much about the Banner Saga 2 at all, so here you go.
Here's a game I'm a little ambivalent about. On the one hand it's a return-to-form for all involved. It's a little like what would happen if we'd stuck to making giant EGA sprites and technology had never really advanced in computers at all. And that part is GREAT. I love old-style computer game art because I find it charming and visually arresting. On the other hand...the setting makes me shrug. I play a lot of fantasy and science fiction games in my spare time. Detective work? Well. I'm not terribly crazy about that.
But we'll see. I hope it works out well for that team, though. More Lucasarts-like games is a good thing.
The Thimbleweed Park home page is here.
Things I'm Kind Of Worried About
Will we ever see these? Who knows?!
Sea of Thieves
So, Microsoft just broke Lionhead who were working on something like Sea of Thieves. Rare has...well, not been itself since Microsoft bought them out. While I am looking forward to their "return" as a gaming studio, one can't help but worry about all the publisher meddling Microsoft might do.
Microsoft have a Sea of Thieves website up here. You can also attempt to get into the beta here. [That's a competition.] Though, you know, temper your enthusiasm. Microsoft have a penchant for breaking things.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
I have two concerns here. One is Ubisoft. Ubisoft are never very good about putting out quality products. The last few Assassin's Creed games have turned them into churnware that's always broken-at-launch and the other is my worry that Matt and Trey will just get tired of dealing with publisher silliness. They weren't even sure if they'd make another game after the first, so I think this might run into...trouble.
I've already linked to this one :)
The Elder Scrolls: Legends
Look, Bethesda, I understand you want to cash in on the Hearthstone craze, but a) I think that boat has sailed. B) I think we've got enough card games already.
Here's the incredibly bare website for the game. It's also been delayed "into 2016" already.
The Last Guardian
This game's route-to-release has been torturous at best. I don't want to say this too loudly, lest I destroy what little hope this game has of ever seeing the light of day, but...it's been pushed back so many times that maybe it'll get pushed back again. Who knows?
Here's the PS4 minisite for The Last Guardian.
The Legend of ZeldaThis started off life as a WiiU title. And we all know how Nintendo now feels about the WiiU [well, seriously, Nintendo, how else could it have ended? You saddled it with a name that was too similar to the old console's name. Regular people must have been completely confused. You did THE SAME THING with the 3DS. Stop it already!] - long story short, it's been delayed already. It'll more-than-likely show up on the NX now [New WiiUX, I imagine.]
Some interesting Zelda/NX speculation courtesy of Forbes. [They don't like you blocking their ads. Have your ad blocker turned off momentarily if you want to read this one.]
Torment: Tides of Numenera
I'm going to confess that I have this on the list for one reason alone. Rock, Paper, Shotgun are calling it "Tides of Gary Numan." I'd buy that game. Someone, please make it. Also, it's an already-delayed Kickstarter game. An uh-oh if ever there was an uh-oh.
Too bad this isn't the "Tides of Gary Numan" page, but it'll just have to do.
World Of Warcraft: Legion
Urgh. It's fan-service-y. I'm not sure I like it. Or care that much. And that's a bit of a problem. While I think it's fan-service-y, I'm not sure that even Blizzard knows who their fan-base are anymore, just judging on the silly flying fiasco that subsumed all of Warlords of Draenor.
The all-fel-green website-of-Legion.
So, how about you? Are there any games you're looking forward to? Any games on my list that have piqued your interest? I'd be curious to see what you're into and wanting to play this year.
Couch graphic in header image courtesy of Pixabay.