As we enter September and approach the end of the year, I tend to get a little less excited about game releases. That’s probably because so many big name releases set for Fall or Winter ultimately get pushed to the following year. It’s pretty much a given at this point that a game’s initial release date is going to be moved at least once. It’s not all bad though. I would rather have a late, completed game than an early, unfinished one.
That being said, there are still some excellent games to watch in 2015 and I wanted to highlight a few of those. Keep an eye on these potential blockbusters, as there is still a lot of gaming left to do in 2015.
Some quick ground rules:
(1) I haven’t included any annual releases on this list. No Madden, FIFA, Assassin’s Creed, WWE, or Call of Duty games are listed. Not that these aren’t good games, I just want to highlight games that you may have forgotten about.
(2) I am only listing games that have a definite release date, so no TBA 2015 games like “Persona 5,” “No Man’s Sky,” or “Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.” Any game still TBA 2015 at this point are likely to get pushed back to 2016 and I’d rather concentrate on definite 2015 releases. Enjoy!
What is this? 2005? Ten years after plastic instrument rhythm games burst on to the scene, fulfilling our innate desires to be rock gods, the two major brands return in October for a new console generation. Given the way these games slowly withered and died, I really thought they were gone for good. Frankly, I was shocked when both the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises announced new entries. I’m not convinced that either of these games will be big sellers, I feel like that ship has sailed, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to see how they do.
Shockingly little has been revealed about the storyline for Halo 5, but most players don’t play Halo for the story—they play for the excellent multiplayer. The multiplayer beta for the game released with the Master Chief Collection and has been well-received. This game makes the list, because it is a system seller for Microsoft and should do very well commercially. Rejoice, Xbox fans! You’re mascot and flagship franchise returns in October.
Crystal Dynamics grabbed some headlines when they announced in 2014 that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be an Xbox exclusive (Turns out the game is actually a timed exclusive and will eventually make its way to PS4 as well). The company successfully rebooted the series with 2013’s Tomb Raider, which focused on a younger and more vulnerable Lara. The game took some lessons from Uncharted and concentrated on telling a better story, with an emphasis on survival and realism. The early trailers for the sequel are absolutely gorgeous and seem to place Lara in a more traditional tomb raiding environment while keeping the Uncharted style of gameplay. Whether you plan to play on Xbox, or later on PS4, Rise of the Tomb Raider has the potential to be an outstanding game.
The Star Wars franchise can do no wrong at the moment. Episode VII is set to hit theaters in December and the hype train has been running nonstop. Also riding that wave of excitement is Star Wars Battlefront. Star Wars Battlefront II was released way back in 2005 and fans have waited patiently for a follow-up. Enter EA Dice, the developer best known for the Battlefield series. From the trailers I’ve seen, EA Dice seems to be doing everything right: large scale battles, well-known environments, and fan-favorite characters. It’s hard to understand how this game could fail. My only fear is that Star Wars Battlefront is being released in conjunction with Episode VII and I worry how much of a polished product we are actually going to see if it is rushed to store shelves. Personally, I’m cautiously optimistic.
Until Dawn (Out Now/PS4)
I was going to include this B-horror movie tribute, but I decided against it since it was released a few days before this article got posted. Suffice to say that I am excited for the PS4 exclusive and you probably should be too. A unique visual experience with branching storylines and an emphasis on decision making is right up my alley and I can’t wait to pick it up.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Available Now/PS3, PS4, Xbox One, 360, PC)
All the recent turmoil surrounding Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami caused me to doubt this game’s quality. And to be honest, I haven’t played a MGS title since Guns of the Patriots in the early days of the PS3—a game I didn’t particularly enjoy—so I wasn’t excited about this game. That is until sites started posting their early reviews and giving it more perfect scores than the Metal Gear series has plotholes. Currently, it has the highest Metacritic score of the year, beating out critical darlings Bloodborne and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The series has made a move to open-world, mission based gameplay which has been well-received, and the story apparently isn’t quite as convoluted as previous games. I don’t usually let reviews affect my interest in a game, but from the scores I have seen so far, it’s hard not to be excited.
I wrestled with adding Destiny’s standalone release of its third expansion, but I didn’t feel it was necessary due to it being an “expansion” of the original game. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be excited for it, because it sounds awesome. The way Bungie continues to support this game is unheard of in the console generation and a fresh approach that I hope we see more of in the future.