Usually after a game is launched, you can easily find different opinions to it in the media. However, before that, all you can find is nothing but a steady accumulation of hype. Times spent for waiting for a game is becoming as important as playing a game, it keeps the traffic of the website high and keeps me energetic in the days of waiting. However, when the developers can’t catch up with people’s imagination, we are so disappointed that we could not appreciate the game’s worthy parts.
These are my top 10 anticipated upcoming games in the order of the amount of anticipation. I will jump up and down for every piece of information of them. I will introduce them in a tone of pessimism though I am not a pessimist. Based on available information about the game, the developer’s history and pessimism if the aforementioned two categories are empty, I will point out how this game might fail to meet my expectation.
10. No Man’s Sky
Is this just another continuation of the idea of Minecraft dressed in a fancy cloth? The only reason this game is here is that the developer hasn’t confirmed this. I don’t really know how long I can sustain that kind of pure exploration with no plot, no missions, no level designs and with almost everything randomly generated.
9. Mass Effect: Andromeda
I am totally okay with an ME without Sheppard. Actually I want it so that I can pretend that the second part of ME3 has never happened. However, as Dragon Age Inquisition get along quite well with critiques and markets, Bioware has reason to “Ubisoftize” ME in the same way as DAI, filling the map with boring sidequests, gathering and cliched plot. It is also questionable whether it will reach a sweet balance between a third person shooter and an RPG. Lastly, EA will of course leave its signature in this game as always.
8. Torment: Tides of Numenera
This game doesn’t have the traditional sense of success or failure: In the eyes of its supporters, it already won; in the eyes of its haters, it already lose. I don’t want to touch the beta before I can enjoy the game at its best, but it is reported to be very glitchy. I wish the developers won’t stand behind illusions like “we are making a goddamn great fantastic classical old-school hardcore traditional RPG which is the spiritual successor of Planescape: Torment, we have the privilege to have bugs”. I don’t want to miss a classics because of bad user experience, but I will.
7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Blood and Wine expansion
The main game already passed its test with flying colors, so there isn’t really a problem here. The danger still lingers around though. Clearly, CDPR is still struggling to improve the combat system but Heart and Stone leaves me doubt whether they will deliver. They might also re-use some NPC faces which makes me misunderstand the plot. And the gwent might collapse due to the introduction of some new cards... But who cares. The only way this game fails is that people start to get bored of the formula that make it successful, but we are not even bored of gwent.
6. Final Fantasy XV
This is one of the few moments in recent years when we don’t need to stare at an JRPG and sigh: “If they have more budget and time.” The game will certainly be crushed by its own history when it comes out. Fans of different ages will complain how it deviates from the FF in their era. I won’t be one of them, but I wish the developer could address how they will retain the desired depth in an ARPG with only one character to control and how they plan to prevent their character from falling into 20 years-old stereotypes. There are some frame rate problems in last year’s beta but based on SE’s history and the fact that they have developed it exclusively for PS4 for years, I would put away with that. Last but not least, Bravely Default informs me that Square Enix won’t feel shame about putting micro-transaction in a single player big title.
5. Persona 5
Few people complain about the wrong atmosphere and numerous loopholes in Persona 4's plot, but I do. So far the settings revealed for Persona 5 is awesome. However, I don’t know if the style of Persona 4 represent the series future, and if Atlus have even get rid of the “Shin Megami Tensei” in front of the title to mark this. It is totally okay to have a light hearted game...only if you don’t put it in some pretentiously heavy settings.
4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The available footage looks like a serious third person shooter, not even shooting RPGs like Division and Borderland, it is a just a shooter. Of course the developers have said something like “we will improve A greatly and meanwhile preserve all the aspects of B”. But in my memory, no games can achieve excellence in stealth and combat simultaneously. Also the recent half-year deley leaves place for some bad imaginations, it could be some unstoppable external force acting on the developer.
3. Divinity: Original Sin II
Most of the game’s kickstarter campaign is about “giving you more of the previous game”, which is nice and assuring since I like the previous game so much. However, the highlight of enhanced multi-player co-op somehow worries me as single-player is all I care. Larian Studio promises and explains that solo still works but I don’t get it. If you want to retain most contents of co-op in single player, you have to do a lot in AI and writing. Considering the variety of characters and NPCs promised in the new game, this sounds beyond imagination. Maybe the more nature conjecture is that I will loose something in single-player mode.
2. Cyberpunk 2077
“Cyberpunk” is a field so less explored by serious RPG developers than medieval fantasy that I don’t really know what would make it good or bad. If Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the role model of a modern cyberpunk RPG, CDPR hasn’t shown enough excellence in level design in their previous games to parallel that of DE: HR. Also, that feeling of clumsiness of movement in their games will hurt badly if they want to build any stealth gameplay, which I think is crucial in a cyberpunk game.
1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III (閃の軌跡 III)
Yes, I mean III, not II. I have played all “Trails of” games in Chinese or Japanese before they come to US and they are my favorite game series ever. I could go on and on about this series (which I will), but now let me just tell you without spoilers: Trails of Cold Steel II’s plot is a big let down, it is a little like what the Metal Gear Solid V did to its series: it sells good (comparing to predecessors); it introduce the series to a wider range of gamers; it introduce some new gameplay (but I don’t think them that good); IT IRRATATES SO MANY OLD FANS. I can only cross my finger to hope Falcom can sit down and respect their symbolic 10 year’s old title, either pulling it back to normal order or giving it a good and quick finish.
Summary and honorable mentions
After I finished this list, it is clear that my passion for single player RPG is forever. You can take this list as my self-introduction to Kotaku. Another feature I see is that distance and mystery are the reason of beauty. None of these games have a detailed release date. Half of them (No. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9) are not likely to make it in 2016. Guess that is a success of the developer’s strategy.
In contrast, games like XCOM2, Division, Dragon Quest Builders and Fire Emblem Fates will get my money not long after they show up but I don’t feel like talking about them, as there is already clear profiles to them by sufficient demo, footage or reviews.
Hitman and Dishonored 2 are two generally interesting games whose predecessors didn’t win my complete trust. They will have to make some surprise.
Kickstarted games are surely a star in recent years. Kingdom Come: Deliverance surely caught my eyes in their debut but I sensed that the developer is lost in the idea of “simulating the medieval life” instead of thinking how to make the game fun. Battletech is an interesting strategic RPG by Harebrained Schemes LLC, but I am not familiar with the original tabletop game which build the universe the game is in; also I am not exceptionally impressed by Harebrained’s performance in Shadowrun: Dragon Fall and Hong Kong. Another two kickstarted games, Underworld Ascendant and The Bards Tale IV... well well let’s wait for another post talking about this.
Now I am feeling a little exhausted after talking about so many games in a single post. I will for the most of the times write short ones and focus on one or two ideas. Wish me a great year.