It's been a few weeks since the madness of E3, and now that we've all had time to digest the myriad of new releases that we'll be seeing over the next year or so, which game is it that you can't wait to play?
Perhaps it's something that's just around the corner, like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, or perhaps it's a game that's still a long way off, such as the recently-Kickstarted Shenmue III? Either way, we're interested to know which game it is you're most keenly anticipating.
While you decide which game it is you're most looking forward to playing, here's the USgamer team with their picks.
Like everyone here, I could enumerate about a dozen different games I saw at E3 and can't wait to play, so I'll spare you my agonizing and cut straight to the heart of the matter. I'm most looking forward to playing Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer.
Not what you expected, eh? But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's true. The Animal Crossing interview we posted yesterday with Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival director Aya Kyogoku set off a small firestorm of Internet anger, most of which seems to revolve around the fact that the Animal Crossing team is wasting its time not making a "real" Animal Crossing sequel. In other words, it boils down to resentment over the fact that this game is for a completely different audience than the sort of people who typically hang around on game sites and forums... and that's precisely what makes it so appealing to me.
I don't know that I'm exactly over the moon about Happy Home Designer, but I love what it represents: A game that very much gears itself toward non-gamers without being some brain-dead match-three pay-to-win piece of garbage. It's not about scoring or conflict or winning, but at the same time it offers a forum for creative expression and sharing. It taps into the same spirit as Super Mario Maker, but in a completely different way.
And for me, personally, I'm excited about the game because my wife is excited about it. You have to understand that she's not a video game enthusiast; she'll kill time with those aforementioned match-three iOS games, and when she's feeling a little more determined she really enjoys Igavania games, but neither of those are things I can really share with her. When she learned about Happy Home Designer, though, it immediately grabbed her attention — she makes a living working with home interiors, and here's a game that's entirely about designing homes. I foresee Happy Home Designer becoming a minor obsession for her… and, best of all, it's a game experience we can share.
I'm certainly excited for things like Horizon, Super Mario Maker, Halo 5, and so forth… but Happy Home Designer isn't about me immersing myself into a screen for hours on end. It's a chance to share my hobby and my work with someone I love on their terms, and that's pretty rare. That's pretty exciting.
Oh man. This is a nightmare question, because after E3, there's a list of games I'm looking forward to playing that's as long as my arm, and that's assuming I'm Mr. Fantastic having a particularly good stretch.
Distilling that list down to one game is nigh on impossible. I mean, There's No Man's Sky, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mad Max, Black Ops III, Halo 5 Guardians: Warzone… Okay. I need to stop at this point otherwise I'll simply go through that long-as-my-extended-gibbon-arms list that I just talked about. Point is, E3 had a phenomenal amount of amazing games on display, and there are so many I'm looking forward to playing. So instead, I'll simply talk about the one that's arriving fairly soon - and that's Everybody's Gone to the Rapture.
I've already talked about this game numerous times, but here I am again getting excited about what is essentially an experimental piece of interactive fiction. If you don't know anything about it, it's set in an English country village in the mid-80's and puts you in the middle of an apocalyptic setting that's unlike any apocalypse you've seen before. It's lush, green, beautiful and serene. No zombies. No bomb craters. No hideous mutants. But no people either - just you. The object of the game? Figure out what the hell has just happened.
That involves walking around the village listening to the after-images of what seem like ghosts that are talking about the events that lead up to when the game is set. There are small clues scattered around everywhere, and it's up to the player to put them together and make sense of what's going on.
Having played a couple of demos of the game, I was first deeply impressed by its graphics, but then I became completely hooked on its story. Influenced by "cosy apocalyptic" science-fiction books of the 50's and 60's, it's just incredibly intriguing. Set for release this Summer, it's my most-anticipated up-and-coming game. Sure, I also can't wait to play games like Shenmue III and The Last Guardian, but they're a long way off yet, and I've got plenty of time to get excited for them.
It took me awhile to come up with my choice, since there's a lot of great stuff on the horizon. Near-term, we're getting Rise of the Tomb Raider, Overwatch, Horizon, Persona 5, Mad Max, No Man's Sky, Mighty No. 9, Cosmic Star Heroine, and Heart Forth Alicia. Long-term, there's Bloodstained, the last vestiges of Phantom Dust, Crackdown, Project Bluestreak, Telltale's Marvel game, Unreal Tournament, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and so much more.
In my hearts of hearts though, the game I really want to play doesn't even have a name yet. It's one of EA's untitled Star Wars games being developed by Visceral Games. I've always been a huge Star Wars fan; I'm the type of guy that see six upcoming Star Wars films in six year and get excited. On the Visceral side, I loved the hell out of Dead Space 1 & 2. Even Dead Space 3 was an enjoyable game, even if it missed part of the feel of the first two titles.
Even better is Amy Hennig is a part of this project. While at Crystal Dynamics, she wrote and directed for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2, and Defiance. At Naughty Dog, she was the creative director and head writer for the first three Uncharted games. Now she's working on this new title. The game's director is Scott Warner, the lead designer behind Mercenaries 1 & 2.
Voice actor Nolan North recently said the game is in the style of the previously-cancelled Star Wars 1313, which looked great. The creative team has been teasing a lot of Han Solo-themed items and a pirate flag with a Stormtrooper helmet, so we're probably going to get a game about galactic piracy.
Basically, everything about this game sounds like gold to me and the more they talk about, the better it sounds. I cannot wait.
I have a handful of games I'm really looking forward to play this year, most notably Metal Gear Solid 5. But as of right now, my most anticipated game of the year is easily Persona 5, which is the latest game in what I've argued is now the preeminent JRPG series. With Final Fantasy diminished and Dragon Quest's appeal mostly limited to Japan, there is no series more dynamic and globally respected than Persona.
Persona 5 is a game some seven years in the making, with reports of its development appearing almost immediately after the release of Persona 4. But Atlus has taken their time with their long-awaited sequel, skipping the previous generation almost entirely and shifting it to the PlayStation 4 (granted, it will also be released on the PlayStation 3 to appease domestic Japanese audiences). The wait appears to have been worth it. The admittedly sparse amount of footage shown thus far is dramatic, with an artistic flair and a soundtrack worthy of the series.
Having played and loved Persona 3 and 4 (and Persona Q, too), I eagerly await Persona 5. The only question is whether it will actually make it out in 2015. Right now, rumor has it that Atlus will release additional details in August, with a global release date set for December. Even if it's not out this year, though, the wait won't be very long. Sega could use the money from the sales of the game and the merch.
Like the Final Fantasy VII remake and other highly anticipated products, Persona 5 may struggle to live up to the lofty expectations being placed upon it. But if there's an Japanese studio I trust to deliver on their promises, it's Atlus. Persona 5 is going to be great.
By far, the 2015 game I'm looking forward to the most can only be Metal Gear Solid 5--and it's just over a month away! I've written more than enough about that game, though, so to avoid testing the patience of our readers and the USgamer staff, I'll instead highlight my second most anticipated game: The Last Guardian.
Of course, we're all still recovering from the onslaught of amazing announcements that happened during and around E3, so it's hard to not have The Last Guardian on my mind. And since the confirmed existence of this third "Ico-verse" game motivated me to finally put together a Retronauts episode about the series, I've been replaying Fumito Ueda's previous two games with an analytical eye. Every time I return to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the cynical side of me takes over, and I think, "Okay, these games already worked their magic on me. I'm definitely going to see through the cracks this time." But once again, I'm finding myself caught up in these well-realized little worlds of Ueda's, despite the dated technology powering their moving parts.
As I've pointed out possibly too many times, we've been without a Fumito Ueda game for a decade, so, if anything, I'm interested in seeing how much he's grown as a developer since Shadow of that Colossus. That game represented a huge leap forward in terms of ambition when compared to the modest design of Ico, so I can only imagine the fantastical concepts that've been stewing in Sony's kitchens for the past 10 years. Yes, it's always possible that The Last Guardian could end up disappointing us all, but even if that happens, at least Fumito Ueda will finally be free.
At the beginning of the millennium, Ueda was one of the most exciting new talents in the industry. After standing by and watching a decade's worth of livelihood robbed from him, it's refreshing to know Ueda's not planning on a Howard Hughes-style descent into reclusive madness anytime soon.