This is the second part of our top upcoming games for 2015 and 2016, where we cover shooters and action games, including Unreal Tournament, Ghost in the Shell Online, Gigantic, Fortnite and more awesome games that you definitely have to keep an eye out for!
Epic Games is working on Fortnite but also on Unreal Tournament, the return of the classic multiplayer shooter series which was gone for many years, but clearly not forgotten. The approach that the studio is taking to development is nothing but praiseworthy, opening up to the community, asking for feedback and providing the tools for modders to create content for the game. This Unreal Engine 4 powered game looks… well, unreal, judging by the looks of the Outpost 23 map, and the gameplay is shaping up to be faithful to the legacy. As far as competitive FPSs go, Unreal Tournament is surely going to be a name to remember during the next years.
We will eat our hats if Ghost in the Shell Online actually gets released in the west significantly close to the original Korean launch – or in fact, if it gets a western release at all. But anyway, this is a shooter that is capable of being fairly good, mixing elements from Ghost Recon Online and Blacklight Retribution with the style of the manga. While such an IP definitely deserved a much more accomplished game, such as a full-fledged MMORPG, we can live with the shooting and hacking of Ghost in the Shell Online for the time being.
Vostok Games is keeping the STALKER heritage alive with Survarium, a free-to-play shooter that looks exactly like the cult franchise. While this is shaping up to be a solid multiplayer FPS, it’s the Freeplay mode, or PvE, that is getting us more excited. With only one life and a hostile world ahead, players will explore the map in search of valuable items, with the most dangerous locations only open to those with access to the best gear and who follow the story quest chain. You have neither allies nor enemies in Freeplay mode – it’s all up to you, but with a karma meter recording your actions between game sessions, your fame will precede you. STALKERS are bound to love this game mode.
Overwatch is Blizzard’s answer to Team Fortress 2, and yeah, Valve’s game is getting a lot of answers, or so it seems. The last thing we were expecting was for the makers of World of Warcraft and Diablo to create a multiplayer online FPS. Overwatch has some maps born from the ashes of the ill-fated MMORPG Project Titan and we have to admit it is looking quite frantic and exciting, with some cool sci-fi heroes and team-based gameplay. Blizzard isn’t sure at the time if the game will use a free-to-play model, and some news concerning the registered trademark may force the studio to change the name. We suggest Overseer. You’re welcome.
A lot of players really wanted Brink to succeed, but sadly it didn’t quite work. Splash Damage is taking another shot (pun intended) at the shooter genre with Dirty Bomb, a game that was horribly renamed Extraction for some good six months or so before reverting to the original name. While Dirty Bomb won’t be the pinnacle of originality, it does everything right – it’s a nice mix of Brink and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, a fast-paced, skill-based team shooter that seems to be perfectly balanced and enjoyable. Dirty Bomb is likely to be one of the big free-to-play shooters of 2015.
When it was first announced, Armored Warfare came as a total surprise – I mean, who would expect storytelling expert Obsidian Entertainment would develop a tank warfare game? But now that the dust has settled and everything is metaphorically in ruins, we are very curious about this CryEngine powered game. It looks great, should have some nice destructibility to the maps and customization is expected to be deep. How much of a rival this is going to be to the blockbuster World of Tanks is yet to be seen.
Somewhat surprisingly, Lionhead is taking Fable Legends into free-to-play territory. On the other hand, considering the massive decline in popularity after the two latest games, Fable The Journey and Fable Heroes, this move is probably seen as the means to revive a series that isn’t in great shape. Once again, the approach has nothing to do with the original game – Fable Legends is a 4 versus 1 action game with a MOBA twist, but the devs promise that it will be entirely free, with no areas behind pay walls or time limits. Planned for Windows 10 PC and Xbox One and supporting cross-platform play, Fable Legends is a looker but we hope that it is more than that – fun, challenging and fair.
If you were pleasantly surprised by the action game Sleeping Dogs, then you’re probably aware of this spin-off called Triad Wars. The studio is taking the franchise into free-to-play, kind of an MMO territory, so it’s not like they’re not taking risks – honestly, we have to commend them for not milking the original game with expansions and a true, by the numbers sequel. In Triad Wars your goal is to become a criminal kingpin in the triad underworld of Hong Kong. The game will offer a nice mix of open world action, RPG and strategy, allowing you to pick several routes to the top, including extortion, money laundering and smuggling goods. But in practice there will be a lot of running, punching, driving, riding motorcycles and shooting enemies, pretty much like in GTA. This is an asynchronous game, which means that you’ll be competing against a smaller set of players at any one time, so don’t expect hundreds of players in your game.
DUNGEON DEFENDERS 2
We’ve read somewhere that Dungeon Defenders 2 is bigger, better and more refined take on the original concept, and we’re forced to agree. This is tower defense done right with role playing elements that only add to the fun gameplay. The 4 player co-op is a blast, there are tons of items and levels even at this stage and this is early access done right – the game is already in a stable, playable condition and the devs really seem to care about it and listen to the community. It’s a good thing that they scrapped the initial idea of going in the MOBA direction, since there’s already too much of those out there.
Before we begin talking about Gigantic, we want to give a virtual art design award to developer Motiga. In fact, have another one, because you truly deserve it. In a world where every MOBA looks the same, Gigantic looks like a cartoon with beautiful characters that could be rejects from a fairy tale. It’s not just the usual 5 versus 5 kind of game – it’s in third-person just as SMITE and there are gigantic boss guardians that are the ultimate goal of the matches. These AI guardians are also visually stunning, ranging from snake-thingies to winged-bull creatures of some sort… and we can’t wait to see what else the studio has in store. Just like Fable Legends, it’s for Windows 10 PC and Xbox One only.
Fortnite is in development for so long that it has to be truly awesome to justify such a long wait. It was announced in 2011 by Epic Games and with a release date set for 2015, this Minecraft meets Gears of War’s horde mode has to meet the high expectations from wary players all over the world. It’s all very bright; sometimes a tad too much with all the flashy colors and effects popping everywhere and hurting your eyes, but it’s definitely unique and potentially playable and nerve-racking, when all the husks are invading your base.
Battlecry is Bethesda’s answer to Team Fortress 2, and it needs to be a damn good one considering the success of Valve’s shooter. Battlecry has its own weapons though, including creative director Viktor Antonov, who you might know from the lavish landscapes of Half-Life 2 and Dishonored, and the art style of Battlecry is definitely on page with that. As for the rest, it’s a bloody team-based combat game in which up to 32 players will have to understand verticality to surprise their enemies. We’re thinking of it as Nosgoth meets Team Fortress 2.
Another series to make the jump to free-to-play, Orcs Must Die: Unchained is a genre-bending MOBA meets tower defense that doesn’t take itself too seriously and seems to be doing the 5v5 thing right. There are hints of SMITE in there, but the traps definitely make for a different experience from your regular MOBA. It’s a fun game with more depth than it may look like initially, so it’s bound to be a great addition to the franchise.
Two’s company, three’s a crowd? We have to begin with this because it’s clear that Blizzard wanted to join Riot Games and Valve with its own MOBA, but while Heroes of the Storm’s main selling point can be really compelling, so far the gameplay is very much that of a light MOBA, a My First MOBA if you will. Sure, it’s hard to resist playing with characters from series such as Diablo, Warcraft or Starcraft, to name the most important ones, but the game still needs some time to truly grow and become a destination of choice. That being said, it still could be one of the big MOBAs of 2015, so we’ll see how it progresses.