The snow is on the ground and the turkey’s been stuffed and eaten, and that means the 2014 video game year is coming to a close. We’ve seen some great (and not so great) video game releases in 2014. Some franchises received a breath of fresh air (like Mario Kart 8 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare), while others were borderline flushed down the toilet (looking at you, Assassin’s Creed: Unity). The 2014 game of the year contenders aren’t exactly the ones we expected when we looked at the upcoming 2014 games last year at this time.
But with the year coming to a close, it’s time to look ahead to what video games are coming in 2015 — more specifically, which games we actually care about the most. We REALLY had to scratch some of these off the list to get it down to 25, so don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see one of your own most anticipated games on this list (because it’s likely we want that game, too). So without further ado, here are our 20 most anticipated video game releases of 2015.
1. Evolve (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – February 10
Turtle Rock Studios is no stranger to awesomeness. They’ve worked on quite a number of incredible titles in the gaming world, including Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, and Left 4 Dead 2 stuff. In fact, there isn’t a single flaw on their resume. And for that reason alone, you should be excited for Evolve. But I’ve played numerous matches in Evolve already, having played it at E3 earlier this year and then the beta last month. And, it’s a thrilling adventure everytime you play it, with no two matches having the same conclusion. Playing as the monster is incredibly gratifying, and playing as the Hunters trying to take down the monster is invigorating.
2.The Order: 1886 (PS4) – February 20
One of the biggest 2015 PS4 exclusives is a little number called The Order: 1886, which is an alternate take on London’s history in which an order of knights protects the people from half breed monsters. It looks delightfully dark, and the game has a horror mixed with steampunk feel, even teasing an “age of scientific marvels.” You’ll follow a group of four knights as they attempt to battle a powerful and ancient foe.
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – February 24
If you played The Witcher 2, you’ll likely agree that it was a good game, but it was held back from being great by its limitations. But now that The Witcher franchise is making its debut on the new generation of consoles, those limitations are no more, which is why I’m expecting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to be absolutely great. This go around, Geralt will take on an ancient threat to save his loved ones, and luckily you don’t have to have played the previous games in the franchise to understand and enjoy The Witcher 3. This game is sure to be a classic dark fantasy tale, although it will have a hard time topping this year’s Dragon Age: Inquisition.
4. Project CARS (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – March 17
Although I was mostly looking forward to the Wii U version of Project CARS — it has been delayed — the game still looks like it will be THE defining racing game for car-loving Xbox One/PS4/PC owners. Project CARS will not only have supercars and muscle cars, but will also have Le Mans prototypes and karts as well. Since Driveclub was basically a bust, and The Crew is less than impressive, many racing game fans will be turning to Project CARS in March 2015.
5. Bloodborne (PS4) – March 24
Bloodborne is another 2015 PS4 exclusive that looks to be an incredible single player experience. The game places you in a horror-filed gothic city setting in which you’ll have to survive horrifying creatures and deranged mobs using a unique arsenal of weapons. Also, it comes from From Software, the makers of Dark Souls. It’s basically Demon Souls II, but isn’t being called such due to Sony wanting a new IP for PS4. You’re not fooling us, Sony.
6. Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – April 17
It’s Mortal Kombat on the newest generation of consoles, and it looks absolutely ruthless. That’s all you need to know.
7. Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – June 2
After the latest Batman: Arkham Knight trailer, I’m more excited to meet Batman’s newest foe than ever before. Rocksteady is back to deliver the new generation Batman game, and they’re bringing the Batmobile along with them for the first time in the franchise’s history. Unfortunately, it’s the last Batman game in the series that we’re going to see from Rocksteady. Undoubtedly, they’re going to make it count.
8. Star Fox (Wii U) – TBA
Nintendo saw a breath of life given to the struggling Wii U console in 2014 with Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and Super Smash Bros, and their 2015 lineup is looking just as great. We don’t have many details on the upcoming Star Fox Wii U game, but we really can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for us with this game — the first Star Fox game in nine years.
9. The Legend of Zelda (Wii U) – TBA Pushed back to 2016
The only way that you missed the exciting reveal of the upcoming Legend of Zelda game for Wii U is if you live in a cave. Basically, it’s being nicknamed Zeldarim, since it’s an open world Zelda game resembling gameplay similar to Skyrim (at least, the initial reveal looked very Skyrim-esque). We’ll undoubtedly learn more about the game at E3 2015, and it’ll likely be released in time for Christmas 2015 (if we had to guess, that is).
10. Battleborn (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – TBA
Battleborn looks like a mix of Team Fortress 2 and League of Legends. It’s from Gearbox, the makers of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, and Battleborn looks like it is just as genre-bending. They’re calling it a “hero-shooter,” although apparently it plays more like a MOBA. Either way, it genuinely looks like a fun time. And, there’s loot. Lots of loot.
11. Below (Xbox One, PC) – TBA
We saw a lot of great indie games in 2014, and 2015 already has some great-looking games in queue, such as Below. Capybara Games’ Xbox One/PC darling is a top-down adventure game that puts you in the role of a tiny warrior exploring the depths of a remote island. Apparently, the game focuses on exploration and survival, which is said to be difficult by the devs. And if the trailers are anything to go by, the soundtrack will also be incredible.
12. DayZ (PS4) – TBA
You’d probably think that gamers are sick of all things zombies by now, but not this zombie-loving freak. DayZ is an open world MMO from Bohemia Interactive that started out as a mod for Arma II, but has blown up exponentially. The game has already hit early access on Steam and is in early alpha testing. It’s a hardcore survival game that isn’t for the feint of heart, and that’s what we love about it. We can’t wait to see the game push the PS4 to its limits, and apparently we’ll be able to at least jump into a console build late in 2015.
13. Dead Island 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – Spring 2015 Pushed Back to 2016
The first Dead Island was solid enough, but not as good as the trailers led us to believe; we were expecting one thing but given another. That’s okay, since the game turned out to be a fun romp on a zombie-filled island. But, it was clear that Dead Island was held back by the previous generation of console limitations. Now that Dead Island 2 will be for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC only, I’m excited to see if the series can become what it has the potential to be. Hopefully this second-go-around has more variation, more weapons and a bigger map.
14. Devil’s Third (Wii U) – TBA
The story of Devil’s Third takes place where a former Soviet force resorts to terrorism for a worldwide revolution. The world’s satellites have been destroyed, and all electronic equipment is useless. We have no idea why it switched to a Wii U exclusive (it was originally set for PS3 and Xbox 360), but we’re excited to see Nintendo get this sort of hardcore game for the fans. Hopefully, it turns out to be a formidable Wii U exclusive.
15. The Division (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – TBA Pushed Back to 2016
If there’s a single game on this list that we’d have to choose as our most anticipated game of 2015, it’s definitely Tom Clancy’s The Division. From the gameplay we’ve seen so far, it looks like an absolutely incredible game that all begins on Black Friday when a disease spreads, collapsing the United States in just five days. You’re a part of the Strategic Homeland Division (The Division for short), and you’re tasked with combating the threat in a broken New York City caused by the outbreak in a massive multiplayer online world, fighting AIs and other players. Seriously sounds so legit I can’t even contain myself.
16. Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One) – TBA
Sure, Halo: Nightfall might be a nightmare, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection is having severe online problems even still as I type this, but that doesn’t mean all Halo for Xbox One is doomed to fail, does it? Halo 5: Guardians will be 60 fps and will broaden the game’s scope to take full advantage of the Xbox One. We don’t have many details just yet, but it’s a new gen Halo, and we’d be curious to see what changes come to the Halo multiplayer side of things.
17. Mario Party 10 (Wii U) – March 2015
It’s not that Nintendo needs another successful Mario game for the Wii U, but Mario Party games are just generally fun. This time, with Mario Party 10, you’ll get to lose all your friends all over again, but in HD! Wahhhoooooooooo!
18. Mighty No. 9 (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, Vita, 3DS, PC, OS X) – TBA
This is probably the first Kickstarted game I actually have interest in. Mighty No. 9 very closely resembles the beloved Mega Man and is considered his spiritual successor. Beck, the main character, will take on 2D platforming with a 3D look while he attempts to take down the other eight “Mighty Number” units. Backers have already gotten into the beta and from the mumbles around the web, they loved the hell out of it. We have a feeling we’re going to as well.
19. No Man’s Sky (PS4) – TBA
Sony blew their E3 2014 press conference completely out of the water, especially when compared to Microsoft’s “meh” one. They announced a ton of indie games, such as No Man’s Sky, an exciting science fiction, exploration adventure game that will have a procedurally generated open world. The developers stated that the engine will allow for more than 18 quintillion possible planets, and we’ll be damned if we don’t play on every single one of them. Challenge accepted.
20. Quantum Break (Xbox One) – TBA
Quantum Break is likely going to be a game of the year contender, coming from Remedy Entertainment (makers of Max Payne and Alan Wake). You’ll be given the ability to manipulate time with three different characters that can do so in different ways. One can see into the future and another can stop time completely. It will be tied in with a television series, with Remedy saying “how you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game.”
21. Scalebound (Xbox One) – TBA
Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101 developer Platinum Games is making an action game unlike anything they’ve done before, named Scalebound. “Monsters, dragons, large action sequences” are the key theme for the game, according to the game director Hideki Kamiya. If you were to add pancakes and beer to that list, all of my favorite things would be included.
22. Silent Hills (PS4) – TBA The ninth installment of the horror franchise Silent Hill will include film director Guillermo del Toro and famed Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus; it sounds as though Silent Hills will be taking a more cinematic approach. Sony released the news via a playable teaser (you know, that whole P.T. demo that swept the web earlier this year). If the game is half as creative as its marketing, fans of the long-standing franchise are in for a treat.
23. Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – TBA
Star Wars: Battlefront will be the first venture for Star Wars on the Xbox One and PS4 consoles. It’ll use the Frostbite 3 engine and is set to come out late in 2015. We don’t know what the story entails, but it’s a Star Wars game, and that’s all that really matters. Hopefully, we’ll get more details soon.
24. The Tomorrow Children (PS4) – TBA
The Tomorrow Children is an oddity, because we don’t really know a ton about it, but the mystery is part of the appeal, I think. It was revealed at E3 2014 via a trailer, and all we were able to gather from it is that it is a sandbox multiplayer game with Minecraft-like building and a post-apocalyptic dystopia (apparently, you have to rebuild your city). We can’t wait to hear more about The Tomorrow Children.
25. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4) – TBA
Naughty Dog quickly became one of our favorite studios with The Last of Us. Now, they’re continuing the Uncharted franchise with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End which will be set many years after the events of Uncharted 3. Naughty Dog claims this is Nathan Drake’s “greatest adventure yet.” Let’s hope this proves to be true! Expect it during the holiday 2015 season.