On paper, 2015 has one of the strongest gaming lineups in recent memory. We’ve already seen some stellar titles launched this year like The Order: 1886, Battlefield Hardline, Evolve, and Dying Light among others. On top of these triple-A titles, we still have many more yet to come, with just about every month having a strong game to keep gamers occupied until the next big release. I’m looking forward to almost every game launching in 2015, but this list will be composed of titles that stand out among the crowd. I’ve omitted annualized titles like MLB The Show, Assassin’s Creed, and Call of Duty as those are automatic buys for me. This list will have either completely new IP or installments of franchises that we’ve not seen in a few years. All of these titles’ release dates are subject to change.
Batman: Arkham Knight 6/23
Rocksteady’s final “Arkham” installment will be its darkest one yet, being the first Batman title to receive an M for mature rating from the ESRB. With that valuation upon the game, surely Rocksteady hasn’t held anything back both in terms of narrative and aesthetics. From what’s been showed so far, this new Gotham City looks enormous with plenty of space to keep players busy for dozens of hours. I’m looking forward to finishing the trilogy, having loved the first two installments, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition 4/28
This open world indie game was one of my favorites when it debuted on Xbox Live Arcade back in 2013. It was one of the last Xbox 360 games I played during the summer of 2013 before the PS4 and Xbox One launched later that year. I’ve since been regretful that I hadn’t got a chance to play more of State of Decay as it combined my favorite genre of game – open world RPG – with one of my favorite trends in pop culture – zombies. In my estimation, State of Decay was the best zombie games I’ve ever played and possibly one of the best of all time. I’m very glad that it’s done well on the 360 enough so to make an Xbox One port. I’m looking forward to jumping back into the world where I left off and expanding my experience in their undead world.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
In 2013, Crystal Dynamics surprised everyone with the Tomb Raider series reboot. It was a gritty action game that told the tomb-exploring origins of Lara Croft and included a great story and deep world to explore. A year later, Tomb Raider got a remastered version for the Xbox One and PS4 that just added to the experience. Though I was not originally a Tomb Raider fan, the reboot got me into the franchise and now I can’t wait to see what adventures lay ahead.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 5/19
Admittedly, I haven’t yet dug into The Witcher series – one of my many last generation gaming regrets. The first two entries into the series are beautiful games by 360 and PS3 standards, pushing the consoles to their graphical limits. Given the technical power of both the Xbox One and the PS4, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks like it will push the series forward in spectacular fashion, with an even larger open world filled corner to corner with realistic textures, spectacularly ugly beasts, and a bustling world of unique CPUs.
Halo 5: Guardians
Master Chief makes his comeback in this first new Halo title for the Xbox One. While I still have to finish Halo 4 to understand the story, I’m looking forward to the new and improved multiplayer – a more modern-day shooter experience with sprinting, doubling jumping, and an all around faster pace. I played the Guardians beta back during its limited release in January, and I absolutely can not go back to the normal Halo multiplayer which I used to adore. Here’s hoping Master Chief can rise to prominence once again in a world ruled by Call of Duty, Destiny and the like.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
I hope to God The Division doesn’t follow the hype trajectory that Ubisoft blunderingly catapulted Watch Dogs into. Watch Dogs was a fun game, don’t get me wrong, but what was shown of the game in gameplay demos at E3 and the PlayStation 4 announcement was not the game that ended up shipping. The Division looks great, as is a trend with most games on this list. Where Watch Dogs was an early attempt at making a new next-gen game, Ubisoft has had more time to work with the news consoles’ architecture meaning The Division should deliver on Ubisoft’s promise of a both aesthetically alluring world and intuitive gameplay mechanics. The games is set in modern day New York City after a disease outbreak has decimated life in the city. Fortunately or unfortunately depening on your preference, the game will have a big online component where you’ll be able to fight against rival factions or work together to complete quests in the open world setting. This E3 will be the third one Ubisoft is rolling the game out at, so lets hope for fan loyalty sake that the game launches this year and is as good as advertised.
Star Wars: Battlefront
This beloved franchise has been long awaited by fans who tragically did not receive one during the 360’s and PS3’s life span. Star Wars: Battlefront II launched a decade ago all the way back in 2005. At E3 2013, EA surprisingly rolled the game out on stage, giving a small teaser trailer and a little bit of information about the development of the game. Developer DICE, the same people who make the widely acclaimed Battlefield games, is currently working on Battlefront 3 which is set to launch alongside Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December. Deeper information about the game will be shown at Star Wars Celebration 2015.