The 44 games we can't wait to play in 2016
2015 was a good year for video games — with new releases that ranged from startling teen dramas to gritty post-apocalyptic RPGs — and 2016 is shaping up to be just as impressive. It’s a year where virtual reality headsets, ones capable of playing fantastic games, will be on store shelves and in people’s homes, unleashing entirely new kinds of interactive experiences. It’s a year in which iconic franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Doom look to return to their former luster. It might even be the year that The Last Guardian finally comes out.
The nature of game development means that it’s likely that at least a few of these games will be delayed until 2017 or later. In fact, some of the games on this list are ones we were excited to play this year. But even if some see delays, 2016 still looks to be a very impressive 12 months of new games. And seriously: we might actually get to play The Last Guardian!
Read next: The top 10 games of 2015
Abzu (PS4, PC - 2016)
Abzu is the first release from Giant Squid, a new studio founded by Matt Nava, the art director responsible for the gorgeous Journey and Flower. And just like those games, Abzu is a non-violent experience that has you exploring a wondrous new world — only this time it’s underwater.
Adrift (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Oculus Rift - 2016)
Real, honest-to-goodness virtual reality games are finally coming, and few are as exciting as Oculus Rift launch title Adrift. The game, which puts you in the role of a stranded astronaut trying to survive on a destroyed space station, will also be available as a standard non-VR game, but it becomes something very special — and terrifying — when you strap on a pair of goggles.
Attack on Titan (PS3, PS4, Vita - 2016)
The Attack on Titan anime has all of the building blocks for a great game — it’s set in a future when the remains of humanity fight off waves of people-hungry giants in a walled-off city — but so far the tie-in games have been largely forgettable. This new release, from the studio behind Dynasty Warriors and Legend of Zelda spinoff Hyrule Warriors, could be the first to make good on the promise of the show.
Batman (Platforms TBA - 2016)
It seems that Telltale just can’t stop turning your favorite properties into episodic games. The studio has already adapted everything from The Walking Dead to Game of Thrones to Minecraft, and next year it’ll try its hand at the Caped Crusader.
Battleborn (PS4, Xbox One, PC - May 3rd)
What do you get when you mix the RPG / FPS hybrid Borderlands with a competitive multiplayer game like Dota 2 or League of Legends? The answer looks a lot like Battleborn, the latest genre-defying release from Gearbox Software.
Below (PC, Xbox One - 2016)
The studio that co-developed the beloved mobile game Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is back with another moody adventure, but one that delves deeper into role-playing game-like action. Think of it like Dark Souls crossed with Sworcery, with an added emphasis on cooking soup to survive.
Bound (PS4 - 2016)
Part interactive art piece, part video game, Bound looks like a piece of modern art transformed into a PS4 game. The developers call it "really hard to describe," but that only makes it more intriguing.
Crackdown 3 (Xbox One - 2016)
The explosive sandbox action of Crackdown is making its long-awaited return this year — but this time it’s powered by Microsoft’s cloud technology for even greater destruction.
Cuphead (PC, Xbox One - 2016)
A high-definition video game that looks like a 1920s cartoon, Cuphead is intriguing based on style alone. Just be warned — it looks cute, but it’s hard.
Dark Souls III (PS4, Xbox One, PC - April 12th)
The Souls series took a bit of a detour with the gothic Bloodborne, but things get back to normal with the third installment in April. Expect the same brutal action as past games, but a lot faster and a lot weirder.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PS4, Vita, PC - 2016)
It seems that soon every classic Tim Schafer adventure game will be remastered for modern hardware. Following the excellent re-release of Grim Fandango, Schafer’s Double Fine studio is set to revisit one of his earliest hits with 1993’s quirky Day of the Tentacle.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4, Xbox One, PC - August 23rd)
The sequel to the groundbreaking Deus Ex: Human Revolution doesn’t change the formula too much. Expect the same blend of stealth, combat, and cyberpunk augmentations, only on a much bigger scale, and with more freedom to tackle problems however you want.
Dishonored 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC - 2016)
We still don’t know a lot about the sequel to the wonderful stealth-action game Dishonored, which takes place 15 years after the original. But the four-year wait in between games has been long enough, and we’re ready to hop back into Dunwall.
Doom (PS4, Xbox One, PC - 2016)
The much delayed, much troubled reboot of the demonic first-person shooter is finally coming. The game was first announced in 2008, and after a reportedly tortured development process — which apparently included a complete restart in 2011 — we finally got a proper look at the game at E3 this year. We don’t know yet whether it will be a return to form for the iconic series, but we at least know it will have plenty of demons, guns, and demons-wielding guns.
Edge of Nowhere (Oculus Rift - 2016)
Most VR games are first-person experiences, utilizing the technology to immerse you in a virtual world, as if you were really there. But this game from the studio behind Ratchet & Clank and Resistance instead uses VR to breathe new life into third-person adventure games.
EVE Valkyrie (Oculus Rift - 2016)
If you plan on buying an Oculus Rift, EVE Valkyrie will likely be the first VR game you ever play. The multiplayer dogfighting game will come bundled with the headset when it launches, and will introduce new owners to the joy of gawking at space with a pair of goggles on your face.
Far Cry Primal (PS4, Xbox One, PC - February 23rd)
Ubisoft’s wild open-world series is going back to the Stone Age with Far Cry: Primal, a game that tasks you with fighting off sabertooth cats and hunting mammoths to survive.
Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One - 2016)
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper Final Fantasy to be excited about, so anticipation for FF XV is high. The game has been in development for quite a while — work began in 2006, when it was still called Final Fantasy Versus XIII and slated to launch on the PS3 — so there’s a good chance it’ll end up being a mess, but it’s hard not to look forward to riding a chocobo once again.
Final Fantasy Explorers (3DS - January 26th)
Take the addictive multiplayer of Monster Hunter and set it in the beloved Final Fantasy universe, and you have what could be one of the year’s surprise hits.
Firewatch (PS4, PC - February 9th)
Firewatch is the first game from a brand new studio, but it’s a team that has us very excited, with writers and developers who worked on everything from The Walking Dead to BioShock 2, and art from renowned designer Olly Moss. The result is a gorgeous-looking adventure game about exploring the Wyoming wilderness.
Gears of War 4 (Xbox One - 2016)
This will be the first new release in the brutally violent action series since Microsoft acquired the brand. That means it’s being developed by a new studio called The Coalition, not Epic Games, much in the way 343 Industries took over the fourth Halo game. No matter who is making it, though, you can expect the return of chainsaw guns.
Gravity Rush 2 (PS4 - 2016)
The original Gravity Rush was a fantastic game that was relegated to a cult classic, largely because it was only available on the oft-forgotten PlayStation Vita. For the sequel — which looks to build on the original’s gravity-shifting combat action — the series is moving to the PS4, where it will hopefully find a larger audience.
Hitman (PS4, Xbox One, PC - March 11th)
It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a new Hitman game — not including the inventive mobile spinoff Hitman Go — a series about pulling off cold-blooded murder with brutal efficiency. The new prequel will continue the trend toward giving you lots of freedom in terms of how you go about your job, offering large sandboxes to explore and multiple routes to take.
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4 - 2016)
Video games don’t have enough dinosaurs in them — and they definitely come up short when it comes to robot dinosaurs. Horizon Zero Dawn is an action game about surviving a strange post-apocalyptic future, brought to you by the team behind the Killzone series of shooters. It may take place 1,000 years in the future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play as a badass cavewoman.
Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS - March 25th)
The original Hyrule Warriors on Wii U was a surprise mainly because it actually worked, blending the mindless action of Dynasty Warriors with the iconic characters and locations of The Legend of Zelda. The 3DS version is largely the same, but with one important difference: Linkle, the crossbow-wielding female version of Link.
The Last Guardian (PS4 - 2016)
It’s happening — for real this time. (We hope.) The Last Guardian has been the poster child for delayed games, after originally being announced for the PS3 way back in 2009. It’s been a rocky road since then, but at E3 this year Sony not only showed off what the game looks like on PS4, but said it would be launching in 2016. Now only one question remains: who dies, the boy or the bird-dog?
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U - 2016)
Hyrule is going open world. The much-anticipated new entry in The Legend of Zelda looks to be the biggest yet, giving players a huge world to explore at their leisure, whether on foot or horseback. And with the Nintendo NX on the way, it could very well be the last great game to grace the Wii U.
Manifold Garden (PS4, PC - 2016)
Even describing what Manifold Garden is can feel like a mind-bending puzzle. It’s a game that lets you manipulate gravity so that you can walk on just about any surface, resulting in a trippy MC Escher-style world to explore.
Mass Effect: Andromeda (PS4, Xbox One, PC - December)
The next chapter in the sci-fi role-playing series remains a mystery. We’ve seen a few pieces of concept art and a brief trailer with a western vibe, but beyond that EA and Bioware are keeping everyone guessing.
Mighty No. 9 (PS3, PS4, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, PC - February 9th)
Keiji Inafune doesn’t work for Capcom anymore, but that isn’t stopping him from creating a new Mega Man. Sure, it doesn’t have the Mega Man name, but the crowdfunded Mighty No. 9 has everything else you’d expect from the series, from a robot who runs, jumps, and shoots to bosses that unlock new powers.
Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PS4, Xbox One, PC - May 24th)
Fans have been asking for a new Mirror’s Edge game for years, and it’s finally almost here. Catalyst keeps much of what made the original a cult hit — namely a focus on speed and parkour movement — but also does away with the troublesome bits, with less combat and a bigger world to explore.
No Man's Sky (PS4, PC - June)
No Man’s Sky might just be the biggest game ever made, spanning a procedurally built universe made up of 18 quintillion worlds, each one distinct from the next. Whether or not it’ll actually be fun to play remains to be seen, but the promise has sci-fi fans salivating.
Persona 5 (PS3, PS4 - 2016)
The Persona games follow the exploits of Japanese high school students who have the power to summon creatures and fight off evil monsters. The games themselves are a cross between a traditional RPG and a life sim, forcing you to balance monster slaying with school work and a social life. The fifth entry shifts the series to modern-day Tokyo, and follows a group of students with "phantom thief" alter egos.
Pokemon Go (iOS, Android - 2016)
Augmented reality games are rarely something to get excited about, but then most don’t bring Pokemon into the real world to capture and battle. It's still not clear how exactly Pokemon Go will play, or what it will even look like, but that doesn’t make the promise of meeting Squirtle IRL any less tempting.
Quantum Break (Xbox One - April 5th)
Despite being announced three years ago, Quantum Break remains a bit of a mystery. A video game / TV show hybrid from the studio behind Alan Wake, it’s an ambitious release, but questions remain about how the different parts will work together, and whether they’ll blend seamlessly. But after several delays, we should finally be able to find out in April.
Ratchet & Clank (PS4 - April 12th)
The next Ratchet & Clank isn’t entirely new. Instead, it takes the PS2 original from 2002 and reimagines it for modern hardware — and it looks absolutely gorgeous.
ReCore (Xbox One - June)
Keiji Inafune isn’t just working on a spiritual successor to Mega Man, he’s also developing a mysterious new sci-fi game with some of the key minds behind the Metroid Prime series. Much of the game is being kept under wraps, but at the very least we know it’ll feature both robot dogs and a Tatooine-style desert planet.
Star Fox Zero (Wii U - April 22nd)
The first new Star Fox game in a decade is also a game with a lot to prove. Early impressions of Zero weren’t very positive, thanks to its cumbersome control scheme, so Nintendo pushed back the release for some retooling. On the plus side, it lets you pilot a spaceship that can also transform into a robotic chicken.
Street Fighter V (PS4, PC - February 16th)
The next Street Fighter looks to be a solid mix of old and new. It features returning favorites like Dhalsim, Zangief, and Vega, as well as newbies ranging from Brazilian fighter Laura to the series’ first Arabic combatant, Rashid.
Uncharted 4 (PS4 - April 26th)
The fourth Uncharted game will also be Nathan Drake’s last. The hero’s adventures were a defining part of the PlayStation 3, and developer Naughty Dog is bringing him back for one last hurrah on PS4. Expect to see bigger environments, dialogue choices, and a multiplayer mode that’s actually fun.
Unravel (PS4, Xbox One, PC - February 9th)
You probably know EA as the huge company behind Madden and Battlefield, but Unravel is something very different: a quiet, contemplative adventure starring an adorable little hero made out of yarn.
What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4 - 2016)
Giant Sparrow — the studio behind the gorgeous black-and-white game The Unfinished Swan — describes its next project as "a collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington state." It’s hard to tell what it will play like from the early teasers, but it definitely looks creepy.
The Witness (PS4, PC - January 26th)
Jonathan Blow was behind one of the first big indie hits of the modern era with Braid, but for the past few years he’s been quietly toiling away on a much more ambitious follow-up. The Witness feels like a modern-day take on Myst, setting players loose on a deserted island and tasking them with finding its mysteries and solving its puzzles.
XCOM 2 (PC - February 5th)
The sequel to 2010’s sci-fi strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes place in a future where the aliens have won. Set two decades after the original, it imagines a new version of Earth, one under alien rule, which means plenty of cool new creatures and technology to play around with. It also introduces procedurally generated levels to the game, meaning each battle will be different.