Open-World Games Continue To Be The Only Thing Worth Talking About - Jon Fisco
Okay, that’s a bit cynical. Clearly there were more games in 2015 that were not open-world titles. But it seemed like every time you turned around another AAA title was being released and it was another open-world game. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman: Arkham Knight, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Just Cause 3, GTA V, and so on. I realize that the immersion and excitement that an open-world game brings is unique, but I also want more unique experiences from my games.
The Same Old Thing - Mark Steighner
That once again in 2016 every big game will be an iteration, sequel, reboot, or ripoff of what has come before. 2015 was a fantastic year for the industry and for gamers, but there was a real dearth of original IP in the AAA-game space. With the exception of Splatoon, I’m looking at a shelf full of games with numbers in their titles. In lots of ways, the indie scene is chasing its own tail more and more as well.
What Is New Is Old - John K
New IPs will be duds, major reboots will boring, and by the end of the year, I will have officially written off my PS4 as just a souped up PS3 with the exact same games and crisper textures.
2017 Is The Year Of VR - Joel Szerlip
I will find myself hurling after playing several VR games in 2016. In the last six months I’ve toyed around with VR a bit and so-far, so-good on the nausea front. However, from countless others in the industry whose word I both value and trust I’ve heard that VR can do quite a number on one's stomach if not optimized correctly. As we enter the “year of VR” (I think it is this time) I expect there to be a wide array of games both beautifully developed and others rushed to be among the first. I just hope that if-and-when the urge to hurl comes I can make it to the bathroom in time.
Can We Wait for 2017? - Chris Jespen
Everything is canceled or pushed back. This is the year for Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy XV, Persona 5, No Man’s Sky, and Kingdom Hearts III. Uncharted is slated for spring, but I’m worried that it could be delayed until fall, or even next spring (alright I’ll admit that’s stretching it). Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III have been delayed so long I couldn’t fault anybody that doesn’t care anymore, and despite Square Enix’s assurances that both games are on track I’m afraid that we may not see them until 2017. Maybe it’s an irrational fear, but I can’t imagine anything worse than a year with no games.
The NX Scares Off Third-Party Developers - Jordan Hurst
The Wii U is the only worthwhile current-gen console because, unlike the others, it’s not just a mid-tier PC with a crappy selection of games and input devices. What does not make it worthwhile is that bulky, expensive, touchscreen gamepad. There’s nothing wrong with it as an input device, but it’s notoriously hard to develop for, and so discourages anyone but Nintendo itself from making games for it. This, along with public ignorance regarding the Wii U’s connection to the original Wii, is the reason the system has all but flopped. Nintendo has had this insular stance on hardware design for 20 years now ‒ dating back to the N64’s insistence on cartridges ‒ and I have very little reason to believe they’ve learned their lesson.
Linear, Narrative-Driven Games Take The Back Burner - Eric Woods
Many of my favorite games of all time are relatively linear, story-driven, atmospheric experiences. For every sprawling game like The Witcher 3 on my “All-Time Favorites” list, there are three games like Dead Space, BioShock and Resident Evil. In 2015, it seemed like all of the major franchises went open world. Sorry, but I’m just not interested in wandering around the desert with Snake and I don’t think the inevitable climbable towers in Ghost Recon: Wild Lands are magically going to solve all of that series’ problems. Meanwhile, many other games that used to have narrative components had them completely stripped out. Instead of expanding upon the story modes from Battlefront II, last year’s reboot abandoned it entirely. Rainbow Six did the same. Sprawling open worlds and massive multiplayer arenas are great, but I don’t want to see ambitious linear AAA games disappear or be relegated to the occasional console exclusive.
Political Correctness Will Become Even More Ubiquitous - Grant Gardiner
I love that the gaming industry has started to break out of some of the more confining gaming "molds". We're starting to see studios traverse uncharted territory in terms of inclusiveness, gender identity, and generally treating some of the more hot button issues with tact and tastefulness. However, we are also seeing the rise of censorship and the stifling of creative expression due to the PC zeitgeist. The backlash associated with Cindy's design in Final Fantasy XV, the decision by Koei Tecmo to not release Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the States due to the "many issues happening in the video game industry", or even Apple removing games and apps that featured the confederate flag are, in my opinion, all examples of political correctness going a little too far. The famous Evelyn Hall quote says it best, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Tom Clancy Dies Again - Jonathan Miley
I don’t mean to make light of the fact that Tom Clancy passed away at the end of 2013. I’ve read several of his books, seen all the movies his name is attached to, and loved many of the games that bear his trademark. But the Tom Clancy games that have come out recently and that are projected to come out soon look nothing like the games I grew up with and less and less like something that the man would sign off on. Fun side-note, in 2008, Ubisoft bought the “Tom Clancy’s” trademark, which is why all of his newer books just say “Tom Clancy” and not “Tom Clancy’s.” Before that, Mr. Clancy literally had to sign off on everything Ubisoft did with the games that had his name on them. Anyway, it’s sad because that name could get me excited about a game without knowing anything about it. And I fear that Ubisoft will continue to dilute the Tom Clancy franchise for a more widespread appeal to the point that I never play a Tom Clancy game again.
The Death of Single-Player In AAA Games - Jonathan Paris
I enjoy multiplayer games just as much as the next gamer, but nothing beats a well written scripted campaign in my opinion. Unfortunately, some developers don't necessarily feel the same way. My fear for 2016 is that this trend continues. Recent games such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Rainbow Six: Siege and even older games like Evolve and Titanfall are missing singleplayer story components. These games aren't necessarily bad, they just feel incomplete to me and could have benefited substantially if there was a campaign. With the success and popularity of multiplayer games in general, I fear that more AAA games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield will follow suite and save money in development cost by cutting these campaigns. I for one, will fight to keep singleplayer alive in 2016.
2016 Marks The End Of The Wii U - Charles Wilson
Like Twilight Princess for the Gamecube, a lot of people are talking about how the new Zelda might be the last major game released for the console. The Wii U has had a pretty decent run with Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros., and the like. Still, it makes me wonder. What, no Animal Crossing? And where is F-Zero?
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.