Looking Ahead: 2015

By Shamus
on Jan 30, 2015
Filed under:
Video Games

I don’t usually spend a lot of time looking forward. It feels dangerously close to buying into the whole publisher-driven hype machine. Too many sites spend all their time looking at the horizon. Rumors. Teaser trailers. Screenshots. Exclusive first looks. Hands-on press demos. Then the game comes out, gets reviewed, and vanishes forever.

It’s common to discuss movies that are a couple of years old. And it’s routine to discuss books decades after they come out. But games are hurried off stage to make room for the next act and we rarely take time to look at old games with fresh eyes. That’s really unhealthy. Moreover, it sort of leaves the readers out of the conversation. During pre-release, there’s nothing to say except:

  1. I am looking forward to this game.
  2. I’m sick of hearing about this game.

But after a game comes out we can talk about what worked, what didn’t, and why. That’s the good stuff. That’s the reason I’m in this writing gig. The looking back stuff is often more fun than playing the games themselves. In my end-of-2014 wrap-up, it was really encouraging to see lots of people talking about how they were playing games from 2013, 2012, or even 2010.

Having said all that, I guess there is a time and place to cautiously look forward. Really, I’m just doing this now so I can look back at the end of 2015 and compare my expectations with reality. So I’m only looking forward now so that later I can do a compare & contrast when 2015 comes to and end.

With that in mind, here is what I’m looking forward to in 2015:

2015_arkham_knight.jpg

Arkham Knight. Yay! A new Batman. And this time it’s being done by Rocksteady and not the team that bungled Arkham Origins. I’m really worried about the way this series constantly feels the need to go bigger. What’s next? Arkham County? Arkham state? Arkham Nation? Super Arkham Galaxy? One of the big drawbacks of Origins was that it was too dang big. We’re looking for Metroidvania here, not Grand Theft Auto. After Arkham Knight I’d be fine if they just dialed everything back to the asylum againAssuming a rebuilt / redesigned asylum. I don’t want a remake. I just want something on the same scale..

2015_life_is_strange.jpg

Life is Strange. Remember the game Remember Me? I fell in love with the trailer. It looked like a mix of Deus Ex and Arkham, with wonderful music and fantastic visuals. Then I played it for half an hour and quit because the combat was stilted, dull, floaty, and obtuse. That, and the world that seems so mesmerizing in the trailer became very flat and dumb once the characters started talking. Life is Strange is by the same team, and I’m having the same “I can’t wait to play this” vibe. Will they nail it this time, or will this be another game that looks amazing in trailers and feels boring to play?


Link (YouTube)

No Man’s Sky. I really want to play this. I really want to play this on the PC, which is where it belongsFirst-person and thumbsticks DO NOT MIX in my book.. But it comes out first on the PS4. Do I get it on PS4 and then buy it again on PC? Or just wait for the PC?

Maybe it will be a big graphics showcase with nothing to do, like FUEL. I don’t know, but I need to find out.

2015_the_order_1886.jpg

The Order 1886. Erm. I dunno. I like the sound of the PREMISE. And the art style looks cool. But then the gameplay shows us a bunch of dudes shooting each other with steampunk versions of modern weapons while our Victorian Aiden Pearce growls about war and duty and my eyes glaze over. I have this image in my head of a game where I run down linear streets, shoot dudes and zombies from behind cover, and once in a while I have to wait for an NPC to open a door for me so I want watch a bunch of constipated macho jackasses recycle cliche movie dialog. I’m thinking this is very much a bog-standard AAA shooter with a very thin retro paint job. I mean, they didn’t even make an effort to make the dialog, accents, vocabulary sound period-appropriate.

Town Crier of Duty. Ugh.

Is this something fresh and new that’s a victim of “safe” marketing, or is this something old and same-y with a steampunk vibe? Fool that I am, I still hope this will turn out to be a victim of safe marketing, not safe design. But that doesn’t sound like a wager I’d put $60 on.

Tales from the Borderlands. I liked episode 1. The rest of the game will come out this year. We’ll see how it turns out.

2015_witcher3.jpg

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I haven’t really liked either of the previous Witcher games. But this game is a little like Dark Souls: They nail the execution of a game that just doesn’t interest me. I’ll probably show up for the third one, just to see if it we click this time.

That’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. I hated the first one. The second one was just dull and slow for me. If this trend continues, then I should really like this one.

Dead Island 2. Yes, the original Dead Island was shallow and dumb and lazy. I did not like it. But this one is made by Yeager, the team that made Spec Ops: The Line. I can’t wait to see what these lunatics do with Dead Island. I’m hoping for some kind of deconstruction of zombie tropes. If they just make a stupid shallow zombie basher I’ll cry.

Wrapping Up

So that’s what’s on my mind at the start of 2015. It’ll be fun to come back to this in 11 months and see how it all turned out.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] Assuming a rebuilt / redesigned asylum. I don’t want a remake. I just want something on the same scale.

[2] First-person and thumbsticks DO NOT MIX in my book.


A Hundred!2018There are 138 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Phill says:

    No Man’s Sky does look rather interesting (and for much the same reason, I’m wavering on buying Elite:Dangerous in the near future). But I’ll be impressed if the actually get something out the door in 2015.

    Also coming in 2015: more updates to Dwarf Fortress ;)

    I’m probably still going to spend most of my gaming time playing various Combat Mission releases though, unless something grabs me (or my wife, who seems to be suffering a steadily rising urge to go back to playing World of Warcraf).

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah! DF!
      I played a succession game with my brother this past year. Turns out, trolls can deconstruct floodgates! Also, the meeting hall filled with the mingled corpses of friends and foes bodes ill. It was all going so well…

    • Bropocalypse says:

      I stopped playing after the army overhaul. In a game about micromanagement, that was too much micromanagement. Did that ever change to something more manageable?

    • Exasperation says:

      Speaking of DF, someone made a survival-horrorish RPGMaker game where you play a lone dwarf exploring the Depths of Boatmurdered. Not my sort of game, but I get a kick out of knowing it exists.

    • Ilseroth says:

      As someone who has put a few hundred hours into Elite: Dangerous:

      It is extremely fun if you can set your own goals.
      If you want structured narrative and all that… game will probably be boring as hell.

      It really is completely based on what you make of it, and for a lot of people they immediately go “I need to make money as quickly and efficiently as possible.” Those people usually get wrapped up in trading and courtier missions and just write off the game immediately.

      But that being said, there’s lots of things missing… it really fels liek it was in Alpha when it was in beta and now in release, it feels like a Beta… may be worth putting it off a month or two for them to fill it out a bit.

      • I was disappointed with the lack of ships on release. (I guess they’re adding a bunch pretty soon)

        For me the game is about trying out new hulls and messing with new loadouts and things, and with the tiny number of ships you could get (even if some of them cost a lot) it seemed like there wasn’t much to shoot for really. In a game like that, with no real structured storyline, you want a lot of stuff for the player to set goals to get, imo. And they didn’t have much on release.

    • Neko says:

      ⛭Dwarf Fortress⛭! My friend got me back into it again recently after a few months hiatus. Loving the new designation priorities. Terrified of the prospect of stuff climbing over my walls…

      • Phill says:

        Just build overhangs. On the plus side, dwarves swarm to complete construction jobs far more than they sued to, so you can build walls and floors in a fraction of the time it used to take.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “I’m really worried about the way this series constantly feels the need to go bigger. What’s next? Arkham County? Arkham state? Arkham Nation? Super Arkham Galaxy?”

    Arkham total war.Or would that be total war:arkham?

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Remember the game Remember Me?”

    Nope.What was that?

    • MichaelGC says:

      Wasn’t it everyone’s least-favourite version of Windows? Until Vista came along, o’ course.

    • Nyctef says:

      Remember Me is one of my favorite games of all time. Fantastic visuals, outstanding soundtrack, a really neat setting, and I totally enjoyed the story as well. It’s just a shame the gameplay was somewhat mediocre because that’s all anyone focused on. It tried to do a couple nifty things with combos and fighting that had some good ideas but just didn’t execute that well

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I second this -I couldn’t stand the combat in Arkham Asylum, but I really liked the combo-creation for Remember Me, and I loved the platforming and problem solving.

        My only real complaint with the game is that -them having put multiple endings into the memory sequences, I wish they’d done something with them.

        • Eruanno says:

          Two things did just not work for me in Remember Me:

          – The combat. The idea of designing your own combos is a good one. I like that. And it looks kind of like Arkham combat which to me is the best dude-punching-system in a game to date. But Remember Me’s combat just. Does. Not. Flow. In the Arkham games you have speed and grace and the animations make you feel like you’re doing awesome things even though you’re just pushing a few buttons. In Remember Me, you punch… and there’s some sort of cooldown between hits because I’m hitting the punch button and she’s still standing there… and then you punch again… cooldown… and then you want to dodge but the animation hasn’t finished so you’re standing there like an idiot and you get hit in the face. Uuuurgh :(

          – The exploration/parkour. Granted, I only played the first two hours or so before I gave up (just past the first memory sequence-thing) and I was so incredibly bored with how the game was so linear. I’m not saying it should have been an Assassin’s Creed game where you can climb on everything, but I feel like in every level there would be one path and one path only. It felt super claustrophobic to see this cool city juuuuust out of reach and you never get to visit.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Personally I found the combat okayish, far as I remember it at least. I seem to remember you unlock bigger combos and more attacks so maybe it’s a matter of getting to a certain breaking point?

        The story however… I’ll give the devs that the premise is intriguing but they don’t really do anything interesting with it. They skim over the ethics of it in favour of typical video game villainity. Character psychology makes no sense and, though I do realise this is largely a matter of taste, most of the writing I found atrocious with large pits sitting somewhere between teenage angst poetry and propaganda posters.

        The story material would be much better served with some kind of branching fiction gameplay focused on the memory editing scenes, rather than using those as a gimmick to a 3rd person puncher.

        Also, I forgot that I suggested it the last few times but I hink Remember Me would make for a good, if relatively short, SW season.

      • Taellosse says:

        I dunno…Remember Me was a really nifty concept backed by very mediocre execution. The setting is really cool, Nilin has a lot of potential as a protagonist, the concept of editing the memories of NPCs to change their behavior is inspired, and the idea of customizable combos for combat is sort of cool too. But the world is turned into an utterly linear corridor, Nilin’s character is led along by the nose with only minimal interesting growth, the memory editing sequences are mostly a gimmick instead of the heart of the game like they should have been, and the combat ended up feeling stilted and awkward.

        I’m not sorry I bought the game, and I think it’d be cool if the studio got a chance to make a sequel that focuses on the first one’s strengths while ironing out its problems. But it didn’t sell very well as I understand it, so it probably won’t.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “In my end-of-2014 wrap-up, it was really encouraging to see lots of people talking about how they were playing games from 2013, 2012, or even 2010.”

    What about a game from 1999 and a game from 2002?With homm7* on the horizon,I decided to go back and revisit some of the fan made maps for 3 and 4.And they are sill glorious,best in the franchise(plus 3 got an hd release).Will 7 finally revitalize the franchise after the meh 5 and crappy 6?I doubt it,but we shall see.

    *Im not calling it mmh7,fuck you ubisoft.

    • RCN says:

      Well, I have no problem with they bringing focus to the Might & Magic part of the title, if it means they’ll give the Might & Magic more focus as a franchise. The release of M&M X last year was a sign that… maybe?

      And at least Heroes VI had a great story compared to V. Let’s hope the writing continues improving and the gameplay gets back on track. Mind you, I still prefer them to experiment with gameplay ideas than just play safe and keep aping Heroes III till the heat death of the universe.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Mind you, I still prefer them to experiment with gameplay ideas than just play safe and keep aping Heroes III till the heat death of the universe.”

        If only they did that with 5,it wouldve been a much better game on release.But alas,they decided to remove some of the more fun parts of the game(mixed and matched creatures)in favor of their homogeneous yawn(too many elves,dear god,enough with the elves!).

        Also,Im baffled by their continuous fear of acknowledging that 4 existed.”Flanking system,something classic for other tbs,but never before seen in a heroes game”.*sigh*

        • RCN says:

          Well, VI did acknowledge IV a little. Advanced classes was something that I did appreciate.

          But allas, IV was hated for two mains reasons: First, for feeling unfinished (most of the graphics and some of the mechanics feel unfinished), which, granted, is what literally happened since 3DO rushed development (seriously, how many times must games with a rushed development run franchises into the ground before companies notice that this in no way will ever save them or even keep them afloat, only accelerating the process instead?), and secondly, for, what seems like the first time since the Heroes I manual, acknowledging the Might & Magic franchise and it’s sci-fi elements.

          I still have a soft spot for IV, to the point it is actually one of my favorites, but I understand why Ubi would like to steer clear of it, the fanbase can be really difficult. Remember Forge? When Heroes tried to tie up with Might & Magic? Remember the riots? To the point they completely inverted Might & Magic VII’s canonical ending?

          And 5 was pretty much a copy-paste of III, mechanics wise. Well, the initiative system was certainly an… experiment. But outside the actual creature roster, they had almost the same basic roles. Academy and Necropolis in particular were almost the exact same as their Heroes III counterparts.

          I, for one, an just glad they’re sticking to the franchise. And that the Skeletons as foot soldiers are back at last.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Oh I know what went wrong with it.What I dont get is the distancing they are doing from some of the great ideas 4 had.Heck,they even reintroduced caravans in 5,a cool idea from 4,and they were so dodgy to even acknowledge that fact.

    • Bubble181 says:

      HoMM VII will get its fair shot from me…But I vastly preferred King’s Bounty over both V and VI. Actually, VI is still sitting here on my HD, uncompleted. Perhaps i should go revisit it, but….Ugh.

      I did like M&M X, though, and keep out hope there’ll be an XI yet.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Oh definitely.The 1c kings bounty is a vastly superior game.I only wish for them to stop making these expansions and do a proper sequel now.

      • RCN says:

        Loved Might & Magic X. They did great with what little resources they had and there are tons of touches that show they really cared about the franchise as a whole.

        I finished the game with 3 different groups. It really is an enjoyably replayable RPG with drastically different experiences depending on team composition (I’m prepping myself for an ALL CASTERS line-up, but I’m pretty sure the game’s balance will grind me to dust without proper tanks. My first play through my Freemage only survived because I gave all the resistance bonuses to him.)

        The game seems to have been successful enough to be profitable, and I’m extremely interested in what they could do with a budget for a second shoestring.

        • Bubble181 says:

          I played through with a Freemage/Runelord/Druid/Defender combo – the only one I think who can have all 7 magic schools GMd by game end with 3 casters.
          If you’re going all-caster, a Crusader or so might be useful…tohugh I think good use of Liquid Membrane and Divine Armor will see you through.
          Also, don’t forget most casters can easily use Medium Armor, especially if they’re never going to attack anyway ;)

          • RCN says:

            Heh, Medium armor. I ranted on the early access forums that the skills are wildly unbalanced. Some are great, some are only worth through their mastery bonuses. But these mastery bonuses quickly show what’s what when you’re weighing skill bonuses through equipment. Bonuses to weapon skills almost always trump any other skill bonus, EVEN at basic skill. And EVADE bonuses are almost useless. Meanwhile Medium Armor bonuses are extremely weak, considering they’re literally half as good as heavy armor bonuses, and heavy armor skill bonuses are by themselves already underwhelming, and both are capped anyway so you can’t stack indefinitely.

            And yeah, I can’t go with Crusader, my definition of an all-caster party means: Rune Priest, Shaman, Druid and Freemage, the 4 Magic-oriented classes. No hybrids. And Medium Armor didn’t save my War Dancer from staying dead or unconscious about half the time… even with an obscenely high evade and a pretty decent armor total. But evade just doesn’t cut it in the late game. More armor is always just more reliable.

            • Bubble181 says:

              GM Divine Armor, GM Regeneration, GM Nurture, GM Arcane and whatever’s-approriate Ward, choose items on 100% protections from pretty muich anything, be sure to master Light on your FM as well so you’ve got 2 resurrectors, and nothing’ll cut you down. I ended my playthrough with my Rune Priest having a Fire skill of 48, her damage was….Nice :p

  5. Dan says:

    Re: No Man’s Sky

    First-person and thumbsticks DO NOT MIX in my book.

    For an FPS, yes. For me, the proportional response of a thumb stick (or flight stick, on PC) is a must for space/flight sims. I find trying to maneuver something presenting itself as an aircraft either by the binary on/off controls of a keyboard, or via the mouse, to be terribly frustrating.

    From the trailer, No Man’s Sky seems to include both ‘flying around’ mode and ‘walking around’ mode. I’m not sure there’s a single control scheme that I would enjoy for both of these.

  6. bucaneer says:

    “But this one is made by Yeager, the team that made Spec Ops: The Line. I can’t wait to see what these lunatics do with Dead Island.”

    The authorship of Spec Ops is pretty weird actually. The lead writer of the game, Walt Williams, was not a member of the Yager studio, but one that the publisher (2K) assigned to the game. In fact, in one interview he mentions that “originally, it was going to be a straightforward military shooter. That’s how it was pitched by Yager to us.” So it’s a very weird case where unconventional and controversial ideas in a game came not from the small and eager dev studio but were passed down from a big, well established publisher.

    Dead Island 2 is not being published by 2K, and Williams has apparently left the company too, so you probably shouldn’t hold your breath expecting something like Spec Ops again.

    • Otters34 says:

      That and, at least going by interviews with Mr. Williams, the team HATED the game by the time they were done with it, just sick of it and the kind of people who would initially be interested in playing something where you shoot ten thousand people for a few hours. That’s where a lot of the sourness and vitriol in the story apparently came from, the Yager crew tearing into something they’d found they despised.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Which leads to an interesting question: Did they hate that kind of game before working on The Line, or did that come about as part of working on the game, and how much was the work and how much was absorbing the overall narrative?

  7. MichaelGC says:

    Life Is Strange is actually out now! Yay!

    Wait a minute … Life Is Strange Episode 1 (of 5) is out now. Boo.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats actually a good thing.Id rather pay $ for a small episode of a game,and see if appeals to me,then to pay $$$ for a full game that may end up being a disaster.

  8. Incunabulum says:

    No Man’s Sky – When they come out with a decent space combat sim with Newtonian physics (no banking flight for example) and requires management of reaction mass (delta V limits) then give me a call. But then again, in such a sim fighters would not exist in the first place.

    The Order 1886: Stupid title, looks interesting (despite the idiotic insistence that 30FPS is as good as 120 – I will grant that 30FPS is tolerable if the art is good) but since its PS4 only its a neverbuy. Even if it comes out on PC later odds are it’ll be a low-quality ‘get-it-out-the-door’ port to cash in.

    The Witcher 3 whether or not I buy is very dependent on the tools released for modding. One of the major reasons no-one comes back to talk about these games is they’re ephemeral entertainments. No-one is playing them 2 years later. But, look at Skyrim – objectively a mediocre, bug-ridden game when released has a huge base still playing and is a top seller in any Steam sale – all due to modding.

    Daemian Lucifer mentioned MMH – published by Ubisoft which has been on my never buy a game from again since their DRM fiasco. So far that stance hasn’t hurt me.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Newtonian physics in space already exist.Its called nexus:the jupiter incident.Great game.

      Now a more realistic space sim would use relativistic physics,because once you get up there,speeds increase drastically,so your run of the mill acceleration doesnt quite cut it.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      You might even drop the delta V requirment and simply focus on the problem of two fleets manouvering in space using newtonian physics. Maybe make reaction mass conservation a strategic problem and not a tactical one. While fighters are silly, you might get away with using multicrew small craft that have the task of getting close enough (dozen of light seconds) to lock on and fire couple of capital ship killer missiles. In such a scenario there is a reason humans are on board since baring the availability of AI, you need humans to recognize the right target and set up the attack run of the missiles.

      But games such as this would look more like an RTS since most of the time you would be spending on the map screen setting up burns and such

      • Incunabulum says:

        Well, actually you don’t.

        Space is a great environment for sensors and there’s no particular reason to send a *crew* (in addition to adding crew and life support weight, you more than QUADRUPLE the delta V requirement – unless you don’t plan to recover the crew). There’s not much they’re going to see from up close that you’re not going to see from afar.

        You’re far better off just making it an ROV missile bus.

        And Dv requirements are a must – mass ratios determine how much *ship* you can have compared to how much reaction mass. Its a key determiner that imposes limits on every aspect of ship design and tactics.

        Without Dv limits you would be able to maneuver infinitely – even being able to afford to come to rest next to your target (rather than the more likely hours to days of maneuver followed by an engagement lasting only seconds as the fleets flash past each other).

        Dv limits shape the battlefield.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          We are talking about different tech levels. You are talking about basically possible space battles with current or next gen tech. Which is fine and would be interesting. What you want is basically KSP with guns/lasers?
          I’m talking about things couple of hundreds of years after that where a warship (while using reaction mass and being limited in acceleration) don’t have to worry about reaction mass on tactical level. And with tech advances militaries would probably find ways to spoof confuse seekers, and that is why you might need torpedo boat kind of small craft to get your gunner close enough to figure out what is a true target and what is a decoy.

          • Incunabulum says:

            You’re always going to worry about mass fraction and Dv – even at torchship levels of tech. The best you can say about it is that your game scenario battle says you have enough Dv to get to your position and assumes you have enough to get back – but that would be too limiting, the equivalent of a level in an FPS.

            Going into an open-world type space-sim, now you have to figure out if that cargo run to Mars is even *possible* let alone profitable, based on what your ship can do. Or can you leave base and intercept those pirates and make it back? How much maneuvering leeway do you have during the engagement? Are you simply too far out of position and have to search for another target?

            As for spoofing seekers – space is cold, has no horizon, and you can see forever. to give some perspective, the maneuvering engines of the space shuttle can be detected (with *current*) tech as far away as the orbit of Pluto. The main engines could be seen as far away as Alpha Centauri. Your life support habitat radiates at 283 K so it alone is a bright beacon to any *passive* sensor. Turn on your drive and now you’ve got a thousand + degree lighthouse signalling your position. And conservation of momentum means that once you course is plotted we can predict where you’ll be for centuries. Light off your drive to maneuver and we simply plot how long and how hard you thrusted (drive intensity and blueshift will tell us how much power you drive produces and how much your ship masses).

            Flares have to burn as bright as your main drive, for a long time, to distract passive seekers, and other decoys will cost so much (they have to have the same mass and drive power as the ship they’re guarding) you may as well put weapons on them.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              “and you can see forever.”

              Actually,you cant.Well ok,you can potentially see forever,but the thing about radiation is that it dissipates,and no source of radiation emission can cover a full sphere around it.So basically if there is a fire lit near pluto,chances are you wont be able to spot it even with the best magnification we currently have.

              So yes,you can hide your approach for quite a long time in space.Especially inside a solar system when you can go around the star and approach from that direction,effectively blinding all sensors.

            • silver Harloe says:

              Even if you never end up playing it because board games aren’t your thing or you lack sufficiently geeky friends or whatever, I highly recommend picking up the reading the rules to ‘Attack Vector: Tactical’. It’s a “darn close to real physics” spaceship tactical combat board game. Even without the ability or desire to play, the rulebook is full of interesting details (and lots of asides about why the rules are the way they are).

            • 4th Dimension says:

              Flares don’t have to burn as long as the engine is burning. Firstly if you have missiles on you that are on theri final acquisition stage you will have to manouver so you will be changing your vector and thus your path. The flares need to burn only for seconds, like modern IC flares, in order for the missile to lock on them and follow them on their divergent course so missile detonates far away so radiation of it’s nuclear detonation (I don’t think you will be using chemical explosives) does not significantly harm the target.

              But sure in this Project Rho kind of scenario jaming is kind of impossible since most of your sensors are passive. Allthough smoke (dust) screend might work by scattering the radiation of the fleet and making their signitures fuzzy? Also while you can spot a ship manouvering in Pluto orbit there are two, ableit slight, problems. First is that any enemy in the general directon of the local star be more difficult to spot because of that star’s radiance. Also the sky is LAAAARGE and allthough engines are bright they are SMALL on such distances. It takes time to catalogie the entire sky and decide if this bright spot is an engine or something else. But on lower distances (relatively in terms of a Solar system) you certanly can not hide.

    • John says:

      I’ve always sort of thought that proper Newtonian physics in a space dogfighting game would make dogfighting as we know it impossible or at the very least un-fun. How would you stay on an enemy fighter’s tail? It seems like combat would consist mostly of launching missiles from beyond visual range (much like modern air combat). There’s probably an audience for a sim like that, but I don’t know how big it is and I don’t think I’m part of it.

      I used to daydream about designing a game like this, actually. Over the years the design in my head has gradually become a 2D arcadey-type thing (but still with quasi-Newtonian physics) with a cartoony art style to distract the physics-oriented player.

      • Lisa says:

        If I remember correctly Elite: Frontier (and First Encounters) used Newtonian Physics. Most ‘dogfights’ consisted of shooting past the other ship, landing a shot if lucky. Without missiles you really had to get lucky.

        At least, someone with my level of skill had to get lucky. I’m pretty sure someone who was better at understanding the movements could make better use of them.

  9. RCN says:

    Things to look forwards to in 2015 for me?

    Heroes VII, Heroes III HD and Galactic Civilizations III.

  10. Attercap says:

    I’m looking forward to Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight, but not to the degrees that I’m anticipating Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera. …And not just because that’ll mark off all my Kickstarter “pre-orders.”

  11. Zukhramm says:

    Yes, the tendency to stop talking about games so quickly is unfortunate, luckily Lightning Returns (the best game from 2014 and all the years before that) is getting a release on PC in 2015, meaning it might get another chance among all you bad people who didn’t play it in 2014.

  12. For me GTA V is dominant as it comes out mid March. (crazy, GTA V release spans 2013-2014-2015 now).

    There won’t be a Mass Effect or Dragon Age game this year (when’s ME4, early 2016?, next DA is late 2016 or early 2017 I’m guessing. Earliest.)
    There is another Elder Scrolls in the works, ditto for Fallout 4, no idea any of those will appear in 2015.
    There is a Just Cause 3 on the way though right?

    I guess there is Pillars of Eternity by Obsidian.
    Now there is a Halo 5 but that is a Xbone exclusive so screw that, I only got a PC anyway.
    There is Rebel Galaxy but no idea if there is an actual story or not. (I really want a good single player space sim with a story but alas none exist on the horizon).

    There is a Rainbow Six game coming, but you mileage varies as it’s either gonna be shit or really good.

    Star Wars Battlefront however is probably (for me) the big 2015 item.

    Shamus mentioned a few others in his article here that I might want to check out so I won’t repeat those here.

    2015 seems to have a few big titles that I’m looking forward to, the rest are either console exclusives or no PC release mentioned, and the 2015 rooster to me at least is very meh indeed.

    Witcher 3, Star Wars Battlefront, GTA V will probably be competing for the 2015 PC game of the year. My guess is Star Wars will win out unless DICE really screwed things up, GTA V has been “out” for the last 2 years or so now so it’s loosing ground. (They where way to late with the Next Gen and PC releases IMO.) WHo knows Witcher 3 just might win.

    I used this list for 2015 game releases, no idea how complete it is though.

  13. DrMcCoy says:

    Games I look forward to:
    Pillars of Eternity
    Torment: Tides of Numenera, if they don’t push it to 2016
    Divinity: Original Sin, because the GNU/Linux port is still missing >:(
    Dreamfall Chapters, the rest of it
    Broken Age, the second half
    The Maker’s Eden, the rest of it

    • tmtvl says:

      There’s a lot of Linux ports that are still missing, how long have we been waiting for Darksiders?

      And how sad is it that for us Darksiders is something to look forward to when Windows gamers don’t even find it all that impressive.

  14. Supahewok says:

    I actually don’t even know what’s in the cards for the AAA studios this year. Last year was the year I gave up on all of the big releases.

    Last weekend, I got my new flightstick set up, I’ve been playing through Tie Fighter for the first time, and I’ve got X-Wing, Alliance, all the Wing Commanders, Freespace, and Privateer all lined up. Been wanting to get into flight/space sims for years, and with Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous on the horizon, (everything I’ve read indicates that Elite isn’t quite here yet) now seems to be the perfect time.

    I also got PS1 and PS2 emulators set up. I don’t feel bad about it because I already own a PS2, I just don’t want to pay $100 for rare games. So I’m compiling a list of classics to play through with them this year. Already played Ace Combat 4, and am looking at Kingdom Hearts and Suikoden.

    The only things I’m looking forward to that are new are Pillars of Eternity and some 3DS games. (Technically, also Torment, but I have my doubts of that seeing a full release this year)

  15. postinternetsyndrome says:

    If there’s something we need, it’s a decomposition of zombie tropes.

  16. Merlin says:

    Really the only things on my radar are 3 Kickstarter projects that should all be wrapping up in 2015:
    Massive Chalice, Double Fine’s fantasy-XCOM-genetics mashup, which will probably fall short of my hopes and dreams but I’ve already spent 60 hours on the demo.
    Darkest Dungeon, the paranoia-themed roguelike that I swear I saw the first previews for in 2012 or so.
    Ghost Song, a smallish love letter to Super Metroid that a single dude has been chipping away at for a long time. It’s the kind of project I forget exists, then get a super low-key update out of the blue where the dev sounds like a lovely person. I’m not even sure how much I’m looking forward to the game versus how much I just want this pretty cool dude to succeed.

    I cannot think of a single AAA game I care about this year. All is right with the universe.

  17. Nick Pitino says:

    I usually don’t keep too close of an eye on upcoming games, instead content to let online gossip tell me what’s what.

    There IS something I am looking forward to right now.

    Homeworld 1 & 2, HD re-release:

    http://www.homeworldremastered.com/

    Oh yeah baby.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I’m only semi-excited. The game still looks very good on its own, and when I started running it on modern hardware it looks even better. I mean, HD re-releases are nice, but the game was already beautiful -so I’m not sure what we’re gaining from another layer of makeup.

      Now, if this is leading to another game in the series (and I confess to not being thrilled with what I see of Shipbreakers) or even just another 3D open space RTS, I’m very excited.

    • tmtvl says:

      I wonder if it’ll work with HomeworldSDL.

  18. Vermander says:

    Regarding 1886, I really like the look and feel of Steampunk (and its various subgenres and spinoffs), but I feel like I’ve never played a game where I really enjoyed the execution. I think for me, the problem is that they always seem to go so dark and moody (Dishonored, Bioshock Infinite) or they just make a typical fantasy RPG with guns and top hats (Fable 2-3, Arcanum). For such an inherently silly genre they all seem to seriously lack a sense of humor.

    I’d like to see something that’s more of a swashbuckling adventure where you can actually have fun flying airships, battling steam-powered mechs and discovering ancient cities on Mars without wallowing in sadness and depression about the injustices of society. I’d also prefer there not be any mages, demons or zombies involved.

    • Otters34 says:

      Ultima Adventures Martian Dream sounds a lot like that. It’s basically an Ultima game set on Mars, but it has a lot of the steampunk weirdness/sillyness, and mostly so you can meet Nikolai Tesla and help him and a crack team of famous turn of the century figures deal with mysteries on Mars. Have I mentioned this game takes place on Mars? And is ten thousand times more interesting than Destiny? Because it is.

  19. Abnaxis says:

    Is Dead Island the one that had the super-emotional trailer that people criticized after they saw the real game? I wonder what will happen if they make a similar trailer…

  20. Jeff says:

    I have Witcher 3 on pre-order because I really liked the structure of Witcher 2.

    Unfortunetely even when I’m holding a copy of Witcher 3in my hands I’ll be unable to play it without a brand new computer, because MAN those prerequisites are steep.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    World of tanks in space?Yup,that is coming out in 2015 as well.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Well there is allready a F2P space combat game called Star Conflict incidentally published by the same company that publishes/makes Warthunder Gajin Entertainment. Unfortunatelly it isn’t that good.
      On the other hand unlike Dreadnought that happend mere meeters above the ground Fractured space will be an actuall multiplayer space SHIP combat game.

  22. Robyrt says:

    I would say I’m excited about Bloodborne, but really it’s more like I know that game will be part of my life as soon as it releases. I have accepted this fact, and no longer derive nervous excitement from wondering whether it’ll be as good as I hoped.

  23. rabs says:

    On my list: GTA V for PC, Hotline Miami 2, The Witcher 3, No Man Sky, Life is Strange.

    I started playing Dungeon of the Endless in 2015, and it will probably rank very high on my GOTY list. The mix rogue-like/tower-defense/squad-management is working great, and discovering the characters/backstory little by little adds some flavor to the die & retry.

  24. Henson says:

    I’ve been thinking that, for a blog like this one, maybe end-of-the-year lists really should be about what games you played rather than what games that came out this year you played. You don’t have the structure of a reviews and news site, so your personal approach would work well for that sort of discussion. Not only will more people be likely to talk about the older games, since more people are likely to have played them, but I find it really nice to see the comparisons between how the older and the newer stuff approach their design elements, and how those things have changed over time.

    For instance, I’m currently in the midst of Jade Empire for the first time, and it’s neat to see how the combat system compares to the approach of something like The Witcher 2 or Dark Souls, how much has changed, and how much hasn’t changed.

  25. RCN says:

    Hmmm… my problem with No Man’s Sky is that it is too easy to transition from outer-space to planet atmosphere. This is jarring to me. I don’t care if the habitable planets are just 5 km in diameter, but I can’t ever buy that it only has a hundred or so meters of atmosphere.

    But it looks good. It’s been a long time since I played a good space sim. I think it was Tachyon the last time? OH! Is it too late for them to get Bruce Campbell in the game? Like, in any role. Even if just for the ship AI’s voice.

    Scratch that, they NEED Bruce Campbell as the voice of the ship AI.

    • Phill says:

      If you are going to scale planets down by a factor of 1000 to make them manageable then at least it is consistent to scale the atmosphere down by a factor of 1000 too (making it around 100 meters thick, with a bit of hand waving over the lack of a clearly defined depth of the atmospehere in the first place).

      Of course to be consistent you have to scale hills and mountains down by a factor of 100 too so they don’t stick out of the atmosphere, making Mt Everest less than 10 meters tall, at which point the fact that player characters aren’t scaled down look rather silly…

      Scale is always going to be a problem in space games, because the real universe is built on an inconveniently large scale. If you try and do everything at real world scales then everything is absurdly large and far away, and you end up with crazy compromises like Mass Effect and SW:TOR where you can go to a whole alien world, and explore about 1 square kilomoeter of it, which is something like 0.0000001% of the surface.

      Or you can scale everything down by a factor of 1000, in which case planets are a manageable 5km or so across (but still have over 300 km^2 of surface to be procedurally generated per planet, which is probably more than one person could explore in the time they play the game for), but huge mountains become less than 10 meters high and the sun is still of the order of 100,000 km away; some things have becomes ludicrously small whilst other things still border on unmanageably large. And going upstairs in large buildings would give you altitude sickness.

      Or give up on a consistent sense of scale and end up with equally absurd situations, but hopefully ones that people won’t notice. (Well, they’ve already done this since people, buildings and vehicles are presumably at normal scale, which creates its own weirdness).

      • RCN says:

        I always appreciated the way Eve Online does it. It takes advantage of the fact that space is big, and makes it finding anything or anyone in a given system a challenge on it’s own. You warp directly to buoys or other markers, or you use complex ship scanners to find points of interest to jump to, mark them, and then jump away to come back with the appropriate ship. And planets are appropriately large.

        But then again, Eve doesn’t expect you to land on its planets…

        Oh, right, now I remember, I did play something after Tachyon, Freelance. Man, talk about underwhelming planetary bodies and tiny star systems…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont mind thin atmosphere in video game planets,because in video games everything is tiny.A huge tall skyscraper that is only a 100m high?A huge city that you can run from end to end in 10 minutes?So why not a transition from surface to space in blink of an eye.

      • RCN says:

        For a space sim that doesn’t work for me. If I’m in space, going through celestial bodies, what I want more than anything is a sense of scale. A planet doesn’t need to by thousands of kilometers across, it should just FEEL like it is. Likewise the Sun doesn’t need to be millions of kilometers away, just feel like it is.

        That was my main problem with Freelancer. Planets were a few hundred meters across, it was maddening. The Stars were 5 kilometers away from their planets. It felt disgusting to have a star closer to its planets than I was from work. And a planet smaller than my city block.

        Now, having an atmosphere that can’t even hold a slightly tall hill? That makes me so underwhelmed…

  26. tzeneth says:

    Actually the first part of the game is going to be a straight Zombie Basher and then they’ll switch it up later :P

  27. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    So, Relevant question about The Witcher. Witcher 2 is on Games with Gold for free, right now.

    I have, to this point, had no interest in it. Should I revise that view and try the game out after all?

    • Phantos says:

      If it isn’t, then at least you won’t have had to pay for it.

    • Nick Powell says:

      I can absolutely recommend it. It’s one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. The combat’s much more about timing your attacks, blocks and dodges than traditional RPG stat-based gameplay though, so if that’s not your thing I wouldn’t bother.

      Also, as an added bonus the entire middle section of the game is completely different depending on which faction you choose at the end of the first act. There are major plot points I didn’t even find out about during my first playthrough because they just weren’t shown (Or maybe they were but I just wasn’t observant enough).

      • MichaelGC says:

        I’d agree with all of that. It can be an odd one, though – I bounced off it 3 or 4 times before it finally clicked for me (and it was quite a big click: Steam now says 96 hours played). So, even one’s own individual mileage may vary…

        Can’t really go wrong at that price, though! :D

    • tmtvl says:

      Well it’s not like you can not get it when it’s free. Seriously, they forced one of those Witcher games onto me one day and when I asked they told me they couldn’t remove it from my account. So now I have it hidden from my shelf, with a few less offensive games.

      I know I must seem mad, to complain about free stuff, but I was so utterly disgusted by the first Witcher that knowing I own one of those games again makes my skin crawl.

  28. McNutcase says:

    Naval Action. I’ve wanted an age-of-sail ship combat sim for ages, and finally one is in the pipeline.

  29. Jokerman says:

    Add in Hotline Miami 2, Bloodborne and Quantum Break (if it ever breaks out of it’s xbone exclusivity) to your list and you basically have mine. I am optimistic of a better year than 2014.

  30. ChristopherT says:

    So far for 2015 I’m interested in

    Mighty No. 9
    Life is Strange (skeptical, but certainly interested in it)
    Resident Evil Revelations 2 (skeptical, but console has split screen for bonus mode, and the opening cinematic is deliciously cheesy – it opens with an advert for the in game company “Terra Save” that ends with the line “Terra Save, because Terr doesn’t have to end with orist” oh I love it.
    Homeworld HD is high on my list as well
    Tales from the Borderlands I liked episode 1 a good deal, really looking froward to the rest. Finally like a borderlands game again, yah! The ending for the first Borderlands game was the final straw needed for me to just find the game unappealing, and the sequels have not changed that at all.
    and because I haven’t got it yet, looking forward to playing Shovel Knight sometime this year.

  31. Exasperation says:

    The game I’m most looking forward to this year is Gorogoa.

    After that, Homeworld HD (Arioch finally wins!) and Medieval Engineers (by the creators of Space Engineers) are both definitely on the list.

  32. Alex says:

    Arkham Knight
    This is the one I’m most interested in. I hated how the end of the last game treated Talia, but all is forgiven if one of her ninjas took her away to get resurrected and she’s back in the next game.

    Life Is Strange and Tales From The Borderlands
    I’m a little bit interested and a whole lot not interested in both of these. Episodic adventure games, one of them from Telltale Games? Screw that.

    No Man’s Sky
    This looks really cool but like Shamus I am still worried that it might be the bad sort of sandbox – broad in scope but as shallow as a mobile game.

    The Witcher 3
    Personally, I really just want CD-Projekt to move onto a new project. The only thing keeping me from buying The Witcher 3 is that it is a Witcher game.

  33. Disc says:

    “Yes, the original Dead Island was shallow and dumb and lazy.”

    Which is exactly why it’s great for mindless co-op zombiebashing. It’s a game that only gets better once you stop taking it (too) seriously. The combat system (in its current state) is still some of the most fun and satisfying systems there is when it comes to melee-based combat.

    If I had to make a guess based on the Dead Island 2 trailer, I wouldn’t stake too much on at least any too serious effort at deconstruction. It feels more like a conscious choice to embrace the inherent silliness of the first two games.

    I’m hoping more that they’ll be able to deliver on that and keep the combat at least as fun as it was in DI and Riptide. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Dying Light, whenever it goes on sale.

    Other than that, I’m looking forward to the new Torment game and Pillars of Eternity. Got a collector’s edition waiting on both.

    Also cautiously looking forward to the new Guild Wars 2 expansion.. there’s still fuck all for information, other than some outlines of new features.

  34. Eric says:

    Very few I am genuinely excited about getting my hands on. Pillars of Eternity is the big one, but beyond that, I have trouble even remembering what is coming out this year. The projects I am working on excite me more than any either games releasing in 2015.

  35. Paul Spooner says:

    Infinifactory anyone? I mean, it’s technically already 2015, and it’s out, so, yeah? Spacechem meets Minecraft! What could go wrong?

  36. Phantos says:

    I’ve had a hard time trying to justify the purchase of a PS4, because “Bloodborne” is the only thing I wanted for it.

    But now that I’ve seen that trailer, No Man’s Sky sure looks tempting…

  37. Doomcat says:

    Can I just say…the one thing I’m really looking forward too in (hopefully) 2015 is Mew-Genics…Which was supposed to come out last year…but got held up by some weird meat-boy mobile game runner thing…?

    Ah well…I guess it’ll come out eventually.

  38. 4th Dimension says:

    What am I expecting in 2015? A difficult question since I mostly don’t have time and play what is cheap and interests me. But here I’ll give it a shot.

    – World of Warships: Published by Wargaming of World of Tanks fame but made by a Leni… StPetesburg (I think) studio that actually knows ships. Also all previews and gameplay videos so far seen are really promising and it seems it will be a great game, unlike the World of Warplanes mess. Also they seem to have hit the nail on the head when it comes down to inertia and ponderousnes of Naval combat back then. So all indications are that it will be amaizing.

    – Witcher 3: will probably get it after the bugs/balancing get ironed out and after I get a new computer. Liked verry much the previous ones.

    – Naval Action – I really like what they are doing allthough I’m not so certain their sailing model is correct. Unlikely to buy it on launch but might spend money if the price comes down.

    As to the space combat genre others are tlaking about, the big problem of introducing greater realism is that if you are shooting lasers you will be shooting at targets thousands of kilometers away so you will never get cinematic battles where ships are hundreds of meeters away from each other. In fact such a game wouild probably be happening mostly in RTS mode.

  39. Jokerman says:

    Also looking forward to Elder scrolls Online being free to play and on consoles this year.

  40. GiantRaven says:

    Bloodborne, Phantom Pain & Pillars of Eternity all come out in 2015. As far as I’m concerned, 2015 is pretty much the greatest year in gaming ever.

  41. Speaking of looking ahead and forgetting the past.
    While folks looking ahead don’t forget to appreciate what you have, sometimes things happen without any warning.

  42. Kyte says:

    Honestly from what I saw of Life is Strange it looked like a Telltale game without the budget allocation to make it truly come to life.

    The fact the trailer itself looked like it really really wanted to be an artsy indie movie didn’t sell me either.

  43. Artur CalDazar says:

    Been playing Life is Strange, its a good game and I am going to hate waiting for each episode. Its seems to be embracing the episodic structure in good ways, but I guess it will take the other episodes to see if this keeps its current shine.

    Really surprised to see you excited for Witcher 3. Its a game in a series you’re not fond of that is taking influence from games you don’t enjoy.

  44. Rick says:

    “The looking back stuff is often more fun than playing the games themselves.”

    I’m trying to say this in a way that doesn’t make it sound like I’m accusing Shamus of “just wanting games to be movies” or something like that, but that line did make me wounder: why did you choose games?

    I mean, if talking about and analyzing a piece of media the the more enjoyable part, why not watch and write about movies instead? You could watch several movies in the time it takes to play one game, and you’d have a larger audience to discuss them with than video games.

    Is it that video games are relatively new, so there’s less documentation, and you have more opportunities to write about and discover new concepts?

    • Shamus says:

      “why did you choose games?”

      I didn’t really. I just discuss whatever intersts me, and games are the most interesting things going these days. I like games more than movies. I know more about games than movies. And also, games have gameplay, which is another system to discuss. And then there’s the programming / graphics angle.

  45. Bubble181 says:

    2015, for me, holds:
    Pillars of Eternity
    Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Heroes of Might & Magic VII
    The Witcher 3
    Total War: Attila (Hurry up and finish your Shogun II play already, Josh!)

    And I might actually try and play all of these this year. That would mean it’s the first year since…2007 I think, that I’ve played more than 1 game in the year it came out – I have a perpetual backlog, but these are all on the “will get priority” list. I’m not entirely sure I’ll have time to play all of these, even…Oh well.

    Anyway, 2015 is a year with a *lot* of promise for me, as far as games go. Looking forward to it.

  46. tmtvl says:

    In 2015 I’m gonna pine for Styx: Master of Shadows, play some Fallout: New Vegas and hope a good TES-style RPG hits Linux, which is doubtful at best (Ravensword: Shadowlands is the worst wanna-be RPG I’ve played since Mass Effect 2).

  47. Galad says:

    I still have a few dozen games to catch up on, so I am looking forward to doing that, especially concerning the multiplayer shooters I own. From the games of 2015 I am sort of excited about the witcher 3, life is strange and the new planescape

    @tmtvl -Styx master of shadows is pretty good – pretty world, varied mechanics, can’t comment on story yet. I’m not very good at stealth games, so I haven’t seen much of it.

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