It’s going to be a massive few weeks for gaming.
Releases in gaming are often like buses – big, red and full of drunks… no wait, that’s not right – and while you’ll sometimes see very little you’re interested for months at a time, there will come small windows where everything seems to come out at once. A perfect storm of release scheduling. A maelstrom of AAA titles.
Now is the time. It’s almost upon us. The biggest release storm we’ve seen in years is about to make landfall, and this is what’s in it:
23 October 2015 – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4, XBO; PC 19 Nov)
Ubisoft will no doubt be hoping that the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate release goes more smoothly than Unity did. Between the bugs and the review embargo (which is never a good sign) the fans, who have come to expect big things from Assassin’s Creed, were pretty mad. Let’s be honest though – if Syndicate some actually went any worse than Unity, we’d all be genuinely quite impressed. Unity did turn out well in the end, though, so here’s hoping they learned some harsh lessons for the sake of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
27 October 2015 – Halo 5: Guardians (XBO)
We’ve seen some Xbox One exclusives, like Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive and the Gears of War remaster, but let’s face it – this is the big deal. Halo 5: Guardians is the one everyone’s been waiting for. We’ve seen all the propaganda around the supposed fall of the Master Chief, and we know that the focus of the game is Spartan Locke’s pursuit of Spartan-117, but really everyone’s just desperate to get their hands on it and put the speculation behind them. It’s a crying shame that split-screen co-op has been lost from the latest entry in the Halo series, though.
3 November 2015 – Need for Speed (PS4, XBO; PC Q1 2016)
You might have missed this one, sneaking in between Halo 5: Guardians and Black Ops III, but Need for Speed is coming, and it’s going to be a full series reboot. We don’t know a great deal about the reboot, but it’s sadly not going to be the fabled reboot of Underground that many fans were hoping for. The PC version has also been delayed until (speculatively) Q1 2016 to give further time to work on the performance of the port. That being said, there will be no micro-transactions and all additional content will be available free of charge via DLC that will be provided DLC, which is nice.
6 November 2015 – Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO)
This is the first Call of Duty game that we’ve been collectively interested in since… since forever, actually. There’s no doubt that all the things that are traditionally wrong with Call of Duty will be in place – criminally short campaign, reliance on multiplayer for longevity, expensive DLC, horrible online community – but there’s lots to shout about for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. First of all, the single-player campaign looks genuinely interesting and you’ll be able to play the whole campaign proper in local split-screen co-op (with caveats) while the zombies mode – complete with celeb turns from Geoff Goldblum, Heather Graham and Ron Perlman – looks genuinely amazing.
10 November 2015 – Fallout 4 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Black Ops III is being touted as the most anticipated game of 2016, but this is the big deal. This is the one. Fallout 4 is what everyone has been waiting for. From the spectacular summer reveal to Todd Howard crushing it at this year’s E3, through the slow-and-steady reveals, the amazing videos, the brilliant mobile game and the genuinely awesome pre-order bundles… you get the idea. Fallout 4 looks to be everything we hoped, and appears to have addressed everything we didn’t like about Fallout 3 and Skyrim. Get ready to lose hundreds of hours into the Boston wasteland, vault dweller, because war? War never changes.
10 November 2015 – Rise of the Tomb Raider (X360, XBO; PC, PS3, PS4 Q1 2016)
This one is tinged with a hint of disappointment. You don’t so much mind a platform-only exclusive from an in-house team or a platform-only publisher – like Halo on Microsoft’s boxes, or Uncharted on the Sony trail – but timed exclusives from third-party publishers are particularly galling. It just takes some of the shine off what should be a triumphant follow-up to 2013’s well-received Tomb Raider reboot, and what Microsoft probably hoped would drive people to purchase an Xbox One console? That will probably just cause gamers to dig their heels in out of sheer stubbornness.
17 November 2015 – Star Wars Battlefront (PC, PS4, XBO)
If Rise of the Tomb Raider’s pointless timed exclusive is disappointing, then Star Wars Battlefront is a blaster through the heart. Why? Because it’s an enormous waste to not feature a single-player campaign. We played the Battlefront beta, and do you know what? It was fun. It played nicely. It looked awesome. It sounded sublime. It felt like Star Wars… and that’s a crushing waste of potential, because we have no desire to play it ever again. If it had a single-player campaign then Team Thumbsticks would be all over it, but without one, it’s basically teenage boys playing Battlefield with Star Wars character skins; such a sad way to end this release round-up.