Third and last part of our top upcoming games, where we delve into more niche MMO genres such as racing and strategy, but always checking only the most promising games. We also take some time to look at other great games that should already have been released but are still out there, probably in development limbo, such as Blade and Soul and Phantasy Star Online 2.
We can confidently say that racing MMO games are extremely unusual. Sure, there’s The Crew from Ubisoft, but that one isn’t free-to-play and, apparently, any good. But it’s great to see that genre experts Slightly Mad Studios are working on World of Speed, while a different team is developing the highly ambitious Project Cars. But as far as we’re concerned, it’s World of Speed that matters here, a game that the devs like to advertise as free-to-compete, and also as a triple-A game. The focus is on teamplay and the circuits are based on real life tracks. After the somewhat disappointing Auto Club Revolution, let’s hope World of Speed is the racing MMO we need.
World of Warships is the third game in the Wargaming series and one that is sparking a lot of interest from players all over the world. A tactical game at heart, World of Warships was announced in 2011 and entered beta testing in March 2015. The different types of ships will require different strategies from the battle groups and while many have cried and begged for them, there will be no submarines in this game. Maybe in a distant future some expansion brings them, but for now, you won’t be torpedoing the enemy ships from underwater.
TOTAL WAR ARENA
The Total War series is one of the most memorable names in the strategy genre, but the announcement of Total War: Arena was somewhat unexpected at the time. Even more unexpected was the reveal that Total War: Arena will add MOBA elements to the familiar realtime strategy gameplay. We’re still confident that this won’t sully the good name of the franchise – although some players will say that Rome 2 already did that – but we’re crossing our fingers for the gameplay to be similar to the main games.
Petroglyph deserves a few hit games; after the mess of End of Nations and the failed Kickstarter of Victory, the studio is trying its luck again with Victory Command, a free-to-play RTS that is looking really good. We know just how sketchy the words “free to play RTS” sound, but we want to believe that this game will get it right. It looks like a more colorful Command and Conquer, something that the studio knows really well, although it’s more of a battle arena, without any kind of building elements.
I WANT TO BELIEVE…
Ah, Blade & Soul. You’re like an old pal who is traveling the world and having a lot of fun, but we want you back home so we can party with you, like you promised us years ago. Anyway, Blade & Soul is kind of a vaporware thing right now, as far as the western versions are concerned, but there’s a glimpse of hope with the NCsoft’s job postings last October. Sure, it’s not a very good sign that a few years after the original announcement the studio is still looking for staff to work on the game’s development and promotion, but who knows – maybe 2015 will be the year after all?
… Well, probably not.
Phantasy Star Online 2 is another game that was officially announced and suddenly disappeared of the face of the earth – the western earth, that is. While you could play it with an English patch, it’s not the same thing as having the real deal. Sega hasn’t said much about it, but when the Polaris private server project turned up, they were quick to stress that “the game is delayed”. Suuuure. We hadn’t noticed it yet.
MONSTER HUNTER ONLINE
While it was created in Japan, the Monster Hunter series obviously has worldwide appeal and no episode should be exclusive to a particular region. Well, thank you then Capcom, for revealing Monster Hunter Online as a China exclusive, of all things. However, we’re still hoping for a western release not just because someone from Crytek initially let it slip – although they promptly corrected the alleged mistake – but also because of the benchmark tool for the game that was released in English. I mean, if it’s a China exclusive, why bother releasing it also in English? So, we’re hoping.
We don’t know what to think of Kingdom Under Fire 2 anymore. Not that the game isn’t good – it is, and that is in fact one of our major issues with it –, but the official release is still a mystery, something that is kind of odd for a game that was announced in 2008 and looked like it was finally back on track. While several Asian countries already have the game, we’re still left in the dark, even more knowing that there’s a PlayStation 4 version in development. Let’s hope someone decides to launch it in the west.
So many players are dying to get their hands on Soul Worker, and yet it looks like this anime action RPG has slipped back into obscurity once again. It’s been nearly a year now since the second trailer, the planned 2014 beta didn’t happen at all, and developer Lion Games is keeping hush-hush on the current development. For a change, it’s not a case of region delay, but one of pure, unadulterated development delay. Not that it’s any better, mind you.
Phew, it’s done! This could mean great things for 2015, especially after a year that was kind of dull in regards to quality MMO games, free-to-play or not. Here’s hoping that half of these games actually release during the year, or at least enter some kind of beta. Cross your fingers, and if the quality is indeed there, watch out for your wallets, you’ll be buying hats and alternate skins without even noticing it! All in all, have fun playing games!