2014’s done. It’s finished and it’s time to turn our gaze to the future instead, to 2015 and the games that are still heavily in development. Welcome to Ones to Watch.
This is the return of the feature which we ran at the end of last year and revisited back in July, where we sift through all of the games currently on the cards for release in 2015 and pick out those that we think are worthy of your attention. Today’s post features those major cross-platform games that have already been dated for release, with most of them scheduled for the first few months of the year.
You’ll never guess how many of them were delayed from a release in 2014…
Going in order of release, Dying Light will be the first on our little list to hit the shelves, with Techland’s latest crack of the whip at a zombie game. Perhaps best know for their work on Dead Island, this is also their chance to defy people’s expectations from those games.
Releasing a game that’s relatively free of bugs will be high on their list of things to do, but this is also set to be a marked step up from Dead Island in terms of gameplay. Simply getting around the city is transformed by the new parkour world traversal, allowing you to clamber up on top of buildings and avoid the zombie hordes in the street, if you fancy taking a break from the first person zombie bashing and co-op.
The game’s really going to transform when darkness falls, though. Zombies get more aggressive and more dangerous mutations start to try to hunt you down. You’ll do very well to avoid them altogether, or at least run in the opposite direction as fast as you can on the way back to the safe zone. Check out our recent hands on preview, before the game’s delayed release on January 30th in the UK, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC – the previously planned PS3 and 360 versions were cancelled a few months ago.
Evolve has long looked like something quite special, coming from a team that previously worked on Left 4 Dead. It pits four human hunters against a great big alien monster in a fascinating asymmetrical multiplayer set up.
The four hunter classes have to work together as a team, the tracker trying to locate and trap the monster, while the assault, medic and support have to deal damage. It’s a lot tricker than it sounds, because that monster is far from a weakling. In fact, it’s often difficult to know who’s the the predator and who’s the prey, especially as the monster gets more powerful with successive evolutions.
Originally planned for October, Evolve was pushed back to 2015 a few months back and is now coming to PS4, XBO and PC on February 10th. The alpha test that ran a little while ago wasn’t exactly the smoothest of tests, but there’s another Xbox One-only beta test coming in January. There’s also still a whole new monster and set of hunters to reveal between now and then.
It’s quite easy to see why many people dismissed Battlefield Hardline out of hand. It is a major shift away from the traditional fodder of the series, pitting the military might of the world’s superpowers against one another. Hardline is instead a game of cops and robbers.
The multiplayer beta that launched alongside the game’s full announcement at E3 did little to dismiss those concerns, thanks to that tonal shift, and it was off the back of this that the game was pushed back to 2015. However, Visceral – on development duties in DICE’s stead – are much better known for their single player and stories.
In terms of single player it does a really good job of evoking that buddy cop film vibe, but we’ll have to wait and see during the second multiplayer beta whether or not it can turn a few more heads. Either way, you’ll be able to play on both sides of the law on both current and last generation machines on March 19th.
After nearly a year, this generation finally got a decent selection of racing games. Driveclub, Forza Horizon 2 and The Crew have all tried to grab people’s attention, but they don’t necessarily scratch the same sim racer itch which Project CARS does.
I wasn’t all that enthused after a brief hands on with the game at E3, but it came on by leaps and bounds in the months that led up to my second hands on time, not just looking better on the PS4 graphically – at 1080p60 no less – but also seeming to handle much better too. Add to this a variety of ambitious features such as being able to type in a dat from history and play in the actual weather conditions from that day.
Slightly Mad’s determination to do it justice meant that Project CARS was yet another game to shift its release from 2014 to early 2015. Then again, having been planned for November 18th, you could hardly blame them for avoiding a clash with GTA V and Far Cry 4. It’s now scheduled for March 21st on PS4, XBO and PC, with a Wii U version still on the cards for the future.
Fighting games are far from my forte, so I know quite little about Mortal Kombat X. I’ll have to cheat and read through Kris’ preview from a few months back.
From what I can tell, this is set to be a pleasing improvement over the last entry for fans of the series. Fighting should be smoother, faster and more dynamics than before, for one thing, while the X-Ray moves that were introduced last time around have also been spruced up. There’s even a bevy of new characters, thanks to the story being set 25 years later in time.
Fighting fans will be able to get their twitchy fingers and thumbs on the game on April 14th in the UK, as it releases on PS4, PS3, XBO, 360, PC.
If it feels like The Witcher 3 has been in development for a long time, then it’s probably because the game was announced right at the start of 2013 with a release date planned for 2014. It has, of course, been delayed a few times, from Autumn 2014 to February 2015 and now most recently to May 19th 2015, when you’ll be able to play it on PS4, XBO and PC.
Yet, despite that length of development, this is a game that has managed to look better and better with each and every showing. It takes the solid foundations of gameplay from The Witcher 2 and just broadens the scope in every direction as it concludes the story of Geralt of Rivia. The Wild Hunt are invading the Northern Kingdoms, and he’s bound to get caught in the middle of the conflict.
The world that CD Projekt RED are creating for it is simply vast, and it’s packed with a similarly huge amount of content that’s drawn from the fantasy novels of Andrzej Sapkowski, looking to create a deep and involving game for RPG fans to really sink their teeth into.
The conclusion to Rocksteady’s Arkham series is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of next year. Warner Bros. Montreal took over the reigns for 2013’s Arkham Origins, but it didn’t quite manage to strike the same chord that Arkham Asylum or Arkham City did.
Batman: Arkham Asylum really set the bar for superhero games and fluid combat close quarters combat systems when it released in 2009, and Arkham Knight looks to continue that tradition. The familiar counter-based combat will remain, but there’s plenty of new additions in the mix, such as using the Batmobile to assist in takedowns.
That Batmobile will really add a new dimension to getting around the city, as Batman has to fend off the latest plot against him and the city. In particular, who is the Arkham Knight and how does he know so much about Batman? Arkham Knight’s scheduled for release on June 2nd, coming to PS4, XBO and PC.
That’s all for today’s entry, but there are tons more games to come. Tomorrow we’ll be taking a look at some of the indie games set for next year, and don’t worry, they don’t all have pixel art.