Games to Watch Out For Part 3: 2016

With 2015 out of the way, its easy to believe that the future is pretty dark, right?  We haven't heard many announcements for what's coming up next, so that's a reasonable assumption.  However, there are still some inferences we can make concerning 2016, so follow me as I introduce you to some of the games we'll probably see in the third year of the PS4/XB1 consoles.



Scalebound:  This trailer is the only substantive information we've been given on the game, and everything since then has been speculation or attempts to derive new pieces of info when people get the chance to speak to Microsoft.  VG247 has the most comprehensive attempt at that, which guesses that Scalebound will be a fantasy-based, open-world action game with RPG elements.  With Platinum Studio's ridiculous programming wizards at the helm, that actually sounds pretty awesome, but it's not confirmed so no one get their hopes up just yet.

Right now, it's basically just Devil May Cry with dragons instead of demons, and that's still something worth getting hyped about for me.   I'm marking this as a 2016 title because Microsoft won't confirm its release for this year, and when they do discuss it they hint that 2015 might just be "too busy" to release it this holiday season.  Either way, Microsoft's E3 conference when they hopefully finally give us some gameplay on this thing should be awesome.

Release Date: Early 2016.


Dragon Quest XI: My first Dragon Quest experience isn't one I have very fond memories of, and it very nearly soured me on the series as a whole.  Still, that was over ten years ago and when it comes to large-scale, console J-RPGs, you really only get to be so picky before you're playing nothing at all.

Now typically Dragon Quest games almost always come to the most popular console first--see Dragon Quest IX and X on the monster platforms DS and Wii, respectively.    There's some dark alternate timeline in which that "most popular platform" rule would mean that DQ was about to transform into a mobile title--but fortunately creator Yuji Horii says the next Dragon Quest will be played on the big screen.

As for why I'm pegging this as a 2016 game, well as it turns out the 30th anniversary of Dragon Quest is next year, and they've already said they've been working on the title since at least sometime last year in order for a release on the anniversary year.   It's exciting, as there hasn't really been a DQ game on a Playstation console since 2004's Dragon Quest XIII.  Here's hoping that means whoever Square taps to develop it can come in with a fresh mind, not overly tied to the way J-RPGs have been done in the past.

Release Date: 2016.



Final Fantasy XV: Speaking of popular J-RPG franchises, Dragon Quest's opposite number should finish development sometime next year.   Its rare that a video game can make gamers feel so many different emotions...without being out yet.   We've gone from excited at its initial release, to depressed that we weren't hearing anything about it, to apathetic that Square could do this to such a great looking game even after its re-debut as Final Fantasy XV, all the way back to excited again with the launch of the Episode Duscae demo. 

It's been a pretty wild ride, and although I think we're finally headed towards the finale now, I still have this feeling like this game won't be released until the holiday season next year.  Takes a lot of time to finish a bro trip, I guess.

Release Date: 2016.



Watch_Dogs 2: The subject of much controversy surrounding Ubisoft's graphical bait-and-switch, when I finally got down to playing the game?  Watch_Dogs ended up being fairly good. 

For certain, it had its share of flaws, but Ubisoft has the proper makings of an entertaining, open-world franchise with their base game presuming they pay attention to their mistakes and actually try to improve.   Hacking and shooting my way around the streets of Chicago quickly became addicting, and with better driving, and a more interesting main character than the bland boy wonder Aiden Pearce, Watch_Dogs 2 could easily become one of my favorite video games.

I don't have any proof that there's a Watch_Dogs 2 in the works, but Ubisoft doesn't usually create an IP if they can't sequel-ize it.  As for a 2016 release--this is clearly their Assassin's Creed franchise for the PS4/XB1 generation, and before Ubi annualized that franchse, they took a year to conceptualize what they wanted it to look like in the future before they released AC2, the most well-received entry.  I'd guess they've been taking the past year to do the same with Watch_Dogs before we see the new title--hopefully at E3.

Release Date: Q4 2016?


Destiny 2:  Bungie's science-fiction epic ended up being a lot less...epic, than most people were hoping for.  While Destiny is a beautiful world backed up by solid first-person gun-play, once a player looks beyond that they'll only find an endless grindfest, left to the cold, non-existent mercy of RNG, and starved of content unless they're willing to pay even more for DLC.   I found all of these things intolerable, and so I ended up returning the game in less than a month.

But many of the things that ruined Destiny will hopefully be less of a problem for the next go-around.   The fact that they won't be catering to last-gen systems alone is a major improvement that will hopefully allow for wider levels that don't kill you if you wander too far off the beaten path, to say nothing of using the spacecraft for actual flying instead of being a loading screen.  And hopefully with fans having made plain their unwillingness to accept an almost non-existent story and a garbage leveling system, Bungie will be able to correct the mistakes of the original game and create an experience worthy to be called a successor to the immensely popular Halo franchise.

All that said, I will be giving this game the harshest of side-eyes and will immediately ignore it the second I feel like it isn't learning from its mistakes.

Release Date: September 2016.

Check out parts one and two of the article here.

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