Most anticipated games of 2016

Brian O'Kelly

“Dark Souls III” (March 2016)

After a hiatus from the series during “Dark Souls II,” Hidetaka Miyazaki returns as the director to the “Dark Souls” saga, bringing back the atmospheric charm he is known for. Many felt that without his direction, some aspects of what made the original game great would be absent from “Dark Souls II.” Promotional footage showed a return to the form that made the original stand out through fair, challenged gameplay that crushed beginners while rewarding veterans. Beyond that, the early footage shows a fantasy world that feels dark and full of character with large epic landscapes marred by foreboding colors and gameplay that is set to bring more rage, death and difficulty than its predecessors. Hopefully, the final entry in the saga will establish the franchise as one of the most difficult and rewarding series of all time.

“The Last Guardian” (TBD 2016)

Long, atrophied development cycles are rarely good. A nine-year development cycle plagued by changes in staff and rumors of cancellation left many wondering if “The Last Guardian” would ever come out. However, Japan Studio recently confirmed that “The Last Guardian” is set to come out in 2016. Gameplay teases reminiscent of Japan Studio’s critical success “Shadow of the Colossus” and breeds expectations for another epic masterpiece that will become a staple for the PS4. “The Last Guardian” looks to be a distinct title this year with its blend of puzzle adventure mechanics and surrealist fantasy that differs from the more established franchises releasing titles this year.­

“The Legend of Zelda Wii U” (TBD 2016)

Almost nothing is known about “The Legend of Zelda Wii U.” Even now, with only months until its release, players don’t even know what the official title is. Despite this, the game has already racked in massive amounts of preorders, which speaks to the franchise’s legacy and reputation. The new entry teases a massive open world, uncommon to the series. This, along with the promise to reimagine the franchise’s formula, is a strange precedent for one of the oldest and most established franchises in gaming.

“Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” (April 2016)

The final chapter of the Uncharted series, “A Thief’s End,” promises to provide treasure hunter Nathan Drake’s greatest adventure so far, a bold statement given that previous adventures have included a zombie-filled island, a trek to the fabled Shangri-La and the lost city of Iram. While the exact content is unknown, the story will center around the emergence of Nathan’s long lost brother who seeks to throw him into an Indiana Jones-inspired adventure. “Uncharted 4” is set to be the end of Nathan Drake’s fantastical escapades —— a bittersweet realization for long time fans.

“No Man’s Sky” (June 2016)

“No Man’s Sky” is huge — 18 quintillion planets huge. Hello Games’ upcoming indie title has certainly received massive praise for its bold ideas, attempting to make a massive procedurally generated universe that players can explore, exploit and control. The game boasts high promises that, if it manages to deliver, would not only be historic for gaming, but computation itself. However, “No Man’s Sky” is not the first game to make extremely ambitious claims that end up falling flat on its face. While players should approach “No Man’s Sky” with caution, the game’s attempt to reach for the stars is undeniably exciting for gamers.

“Final Fantasy 15” (2016)

The Final Fantasy series has had its unexpected moments over the past years, but characters reminiscient of a J-pop band roaming a fantastical countryside was a sharp turn for the series. While the Final Fantasy series has not been a stranger to rapid change in the past, “Final Fantasy 15” looks to be an aspiring entry into the series that has largely felt stagnant in recent entries. Along with the addition of a new action RPG combat system, “Final Fantasy 15” seeks to bring the series into the next generation with detailed graphics, exciting scores and engaging storytelling.