2015 is behind us. December 30 and December 31 represent something closer to a transition period where we can start looking ahead. Let’s do that.
The GamesBeat staff came together today to decide the best games of next year! OK — that’s not exactly right. We actually looked at the upcoming big-name releases of 2016 and picked the ones we are the most excited for. We recorded the conversation, and you can watch it in the video at the top of this post. Or skip right to our picks below.
But before you start reading what we decided on, keep in mind that the video will probably have us talking about your pick for most anticipated game as well. So watch that for our full thoughts.
Now, let’s see what we are putting our hopes and dreams into for the next 12 months.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
This is the only game that didn’t require any discussion. We had multiple staffers who were adamant that this is already the game of the year for 2016. Their reasoning? No other game series does narrative better. On top of that, A Thief’s End looks technically incredible. Every trailer reveals a level of detail that most other developers can only dream of. This is especially true of the animations. The characters, in battles or in conversations, look photorealistic. And scenes like the car chase, with a jeep barreling through city streets and onto rooftops, feels dangerous because you the damage Drake is causing appears so lifelike.
Uncharted 4 is due out April 26 exclusively for the PlayStation 4.
No Man’s Sky
Few games that aren’t part of blockbuster franchises have had as much sustained excitement as No Man’s Sky. After debuting at the Spike VGX Awards in late 2013, this sci-fi space-exploration simulator immediately captured imaginations. Since then, we’ve heard a lot of promises. For example, the game features 18 quintillion planets. That is enough for each person on Earth to have 2.5 billion of their own planets each. Put another way, the human race will likely never explore No Man’s Sky to completion.
At this point, it seems obvious that developer Hello Games is going to deliver on the size front. But many people are still unsure about what the game is. From what we can tell, it’s a sandbox where you collect resources, discover flora and fauna, and battle with the space police. And while we don’t know if that’s fun, we can’t wait to find out for ourselves whether it is or not.
No Man’s Sky is coming in June for PlayStation 4 and PC.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Here is the latest project from Killzone developer Guerrilla Games, but it isn’t another sci-fi shooter. Instead, this looks like a hunting game where a race of postapocalyptic humans (who are rebuilding civilization) compete with robotic dinosaurs for resources. We haven’t touched this yet, but the early gameplay videos make it look like a Monster Hunter with a bigger focus on storytelling.
When we talked about why we’re looking forward to it, a lot of us highlighted its interesting art style, setting, and combat. In the demo we got at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this year (which is similar to the one above), Guerrilla showed us how you can target specific parts of the mechadinos to demolish their armor and get to the soft electronic bits beneath. That looks like a fine way to spend a dozen hours or so, and it doesn’t hurt that the game has such an interesting world to do it in.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is due out sometime in 2016 exclusively for PlayStation 4.
This is the killer app for virtual reality.
It’s a dogfighting space sim where you will really feel like you’re sitting in a cockpit thanks to the Oculus Rift head-mounted display. It’s hard to understand before you try it, but it is completely different to actually get to look around for enemies as you pilot a fighter in a heated battle. We’ve had plenty of wonderful games about fighting in space battles. This genre goes back to X-Wing and Wing Commander. But putting that into virtual reality will add a new layer of immersion that should convince a significant number of people to invest in VR.
Eve: Valkyrie is due out early next year for PC and PlayStation 4. It’ll launch alongside Oculus Rift.
Friday the 13th
Finally, we have a movie-licensed game. But this isn’t some cash in for the hottest new blockbuster. This is a throwback to the Friday the 13th horror films of the 1980s. In this asymmetrical multiplayer game, one person plays as the unstoppable demonic murderer Jason. Five other people play as young, dumb, and horny teenagers working as camp counselors. The objectives for the two teams are simple. Jason must kill everyone. The teens must flee.
It gets more interesting than that because Jason is truly unstoppable, and so you can’t find the bazooka and blow him away. This makes Friday the 13th a frightening game of hide-and-go-seek. Players can attempt tricks to stay alive. For example, you can throw your friend in front of you to save yourself.
Friday the 13th is due out October for consoles and PC.