2015 is going to be the year that all the potential of next-gen finally comes to fruition. With an extensive amount of development behind them, both major developers and indie studios alike will have the experience necessary to start taking advantage of the power within the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. We can see glimmers of what this generation will be in some recent releases such as Watch Dogs and Titanfall, but we’ve only scratched the surface. In 2015, we’ll have arrived.
You’ve already seen the five games I most enjoyed playing at E3 this year, but as is often the case with fickle gamers, I’m even more excited by the prospect of games that still have plenty of development time left before they’re ready for a retail release. Here are five games slated to come out in 2015 that I can’t wait to see as finished products.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
One of the biggest surprises of the show wasn’t how incredible The Witcher 3 looked, but rather how colossal of a response the game received. The Witcher was a bit of a cult hit on the PC, bringing mature storytelling to the action RPG genre. Its sequel performed far better, bringing the series to consoles for the first time. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be CD Projekt Red’s opus, 30x larger than The Witcher 2 and as visually impressive as anything else on consoles or PC at the moment. With a vast open world, updated combat and 100 hours of gameplay, The Witcher 3 could be the RPG to beat in 2015.
2. The Order: 1886
For a game that isn’t going to be released until next year, The Order: 1886 had a huge presence at E3. It made its annual appearance in Sony’s press conference, I was able to speak with one of the developers from Ready at Dawn during a short walkthrough of a level, I played a separate level myself and E3 attendees on the show floor were given the chance to line up for a playable demo as well. The Order is a standard third-person shooter in many respects, but the cinematic visuals, the unique weaponry and the potential for a worthwhile story are all good reasons to be excited about this PS4 exclusive.
3. Halo 5: Guardians
I’ll be entirely honest — I’m not current with the story of the Halo saga. As the universe continued to grow, I found myself moving on to other games, slowly losing track of the man in the green armor, but as Halo marches its way into the new generation with The Master Chief Collection and a brand new subtitled entry, I’m ready to dive back in. Halo 5: Guardians is still a mystery, as it will likely remain until its release next year, but we should get an understanding of the new characters in the Halo Nightfall digital series, which launches this fall alongside the Halo 1-4 collection.
The leak of the Bloodborne footage before E3 couldn’t have been any more fortuitous. Following two shockingly successful and unthinkably brutal action games out of legendary development studio From Software, the team behind Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls is back, and its new game Bloodborne received about as much attention as any other new property on the show floor. Bloodborne clearly shares a lot of DNA with the Souls games, but its much faster-paced with a distinctly Gothic setting. After seeing an extensive gameplay demo, I can say that Bloodborne looks as tense and as soul-crushingly difficult as its predecessors. In other words, fans of the Souls games should be right at home.
5. Rise of the Tomb Raider
There wasn’t a single trailer during the five press conferences that elated me more than the trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider. The Tomb Raider reboot in 2013 was my favorite game of the year, building off of what Uncharted and other third-person action games had tried to perfect in the past. It contained the most engaging characters, the most satisfying combat and some of the best third-person platforming I’d ever seen. I loved Tomb Raider, and I can’t wait to see how the team plans to bring Lara Croft to life once again as she copes with the insanity of what she experienced on the island of Yamatai.