Which games will you be playing in 2015?
As the year begins, Polygon has picked out a selection of games coming in the next 12 months. We've tried to choose games that are either due this year, or seem likely to arrive. We've focused on a selection of noteworthy console and Windows PC games, though there are some mobile titles. Generally, we consider Early Access availability to be a launch. On the whole, we've avoided platform crossovers and straight-up HD remakes, as well as DLC.
Space station disaster exploration
Adrift is a first-person exploration game that is light on combat and set in space. Created by Adam Orth (previously a leading name at Microsoft's game division) and his team at ThreeOneZero, it drops the player into a space station that's undergone a severe trauma. Think Gravity in virtual reality. Console versions are expected to be announced in the near future.
Greek combat in two dimensions
A side-scrolling combat adventure game with a really cool ancient Greek aesthetic, Apotheon comes from developer Alien Trap Games and offers a very different take on a familiar genre. The lovely Greek pottery look gives the game a unique style and pleasing ancient texture. You can go Greek when Apotheon arrives on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC in January.
Claymation successor to The Neverhood
Announced as a spiritual successor to The Neverhood, Armikrog is a point-and-click adventure that makes use of clay animation. Its story centers on the adventures of space explorer Tommynaut and his dog-like alien companion Beak-Beak. The intrepid adventurers crash-land on a planet and find themselves locked in a fortress. It's planned for Windows PC.
Historic adventuring in Victorian London
As yet unannounced, the new Assassin's Creed game is set in good old 19th-century London, where players will be able to indulge in all the usual traversal and combat, including, reportedly, fighting atop moving train cars and horse-driven buggies, and using a new grappling hook to get into the London swing. Most likely coming to Windows PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 late in the year.
Metroidvania with built-in glitches
Developed by Thomas Happ Games with help from Sony's Pub Fund, Axiom Verge is a side-scrolling action-adventure for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Interestingly, the 'Metroidvania' retro game offers up glitches-on-purpose as a neat gameplay mechanic that the developer says will "give players additional options to creatively tackle each obstacle."
Viking heroes on a turn-based combat quest
Following on from its successful and highly regarded 2014 entry, The Banner Saga, Texan developer Stoic is working on a new turn-based combat game set in a quasi-Viking fantasy realm. A new trailer was released at The Game Awards in December showing off the franchise's lush artwork, stirring score and heroic themes. Likely set to be released for Windows PC with console versions to follow.
A return to a bigger Gotham, in the Batmobile
Rocksteady's series of Arkham games have consistently won plaudits for their tight controls, convincing portrayal of Gotham and adherence to a franchise view that finds favor among die-hards. Arkham Knight attempts to offer a bigger, better, more significantly expanded playing area and a much bigger role for the Batmobile. It's due out on June 2 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Co-op shooting from Gearbox
Gearbox's "hero shooter" Battleborn will combine the hostility of first-person shooting with the nicey-nice of co-op combat. Set in the distant future, it will feature a variety of playable heroes in a narrative-driven, cooperative campaign, as well as competitive multiplayer matches and arenas. Battleborn is planned for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Multiplayer combat from Bethesda
BattleCry is Bethesda's online multiplayer action game for Windows PC in which up to 32 players battle in team-based combat. It's heavily stylized, class-based and full of colorful characters. Players battle each other with swords, crossbows and beefy metal fists. It's created by BattleCry Studios, led by industry veterans Rich Vogel (Star Wars: The Old Republic) and Viktor Antonov (Dishonored).
Military shooter takes on cop theme
Take hardcore military shooter sim Battlefield and set it in an urban environment of criminals and coppers. With a wary eye on current events, publisher EA stresses that the game is inspired by popular television cop shows. Demos so far have shown a surprisingly heavy reliance on stealth as well as standard gunplay. It's due out on PlayStation/Xbox consoles and Windows PC on March 17.
Mysterious dungeons from Capybara
Announced at E3 2013, and still without a firm release date, Below is nonetheless expected to appear this year on Xbox One and Windows PC. It's a distinctive and original-looking top-down dungeon-crawler with procedurally generated levels that are designed to surprise and, no doubt, infuriate. It's being made by Capybara, best known for Super Time Force.
Blood Bowl 2 is Cyanide Studio's newest adaptation of Games Workshop's take on fantasy football: a turn-based strategy game based on the sport of football, but with the fantasy setting from the Warhammer universe. It was also released on Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. Blood Bowl is based on Games Workshop's board game of the same name.
A new take on the Dark Souls formula
Directed by Demon's Souls and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki, Bloodborne is set in a lovely quasi-Victorian world of monsters and ghouls. Making use of sidearms as well as fantastical melee weapons, it offers a faster pace than previous games. Developed by From Software and published by Sony, Bloodborne is due out on PlayStation 4 on March 24.
Organic thingies in real-time strategy battles
Due out on Jan. 6, Boid is a curious real-time strategy game that eschews the usual complex hierarchies of military units for simple organic creatures, rendered in swimmingly neon hues. The primitive life forms mutate, adding complexity to the proceedings. It'll be interesting to see how that works. Developed by Mokus, it's coming out on Windows PC.
Return to World War II
Set on a modern battlefield, Call to Arms comes from Digitalmindsoft, the co-developers of the Men of War World War II games. The tactical maps situate two opposing factions and over 60 military vehicles for Windows PC. Players can command forces in real-time strategy mode or fight directly by taking control over an individual unit in third-person view.
A 3DS game to watch
Developed by Intelligent Systems, the creators of the Advance Wars and Fire Emblem series, Code Name: STEAM is a turn-based strategy game for the Nintendo 3DS. Combining the team's strategy know-how with an outrageously unexpected aesthetic, including an alternative reality Abraham Lincoln and other historical figures, the game is due out on March 13.
Inspired by 1930s cartoons
Cuphead is a platform-puzzle run-and-gun game from StudioMDHR. Really eye-catching is its inspiration, drawn from jerky 1930s-era cartoons. Planned for launch on Windows PC and Xbox One, it looks like an old cartoon in the style of Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop or Popeye. Players take control of the titular character or his friend Mugman and try to repay a debt to the devil.
Over-the-top zombie mayhem
Planned for the spring on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, this Deep Silver sequel takes zombie slaying away from its original locale to some well-known California hotspots, including the skate paths of Santa Monica. Developed in Unreal Engine 4, Dead Island 2 offers eight-player multiplayer in cooperative and competing modes with a variety of classes and skill trees to choose from.
Wii U slashing action from Tomonobu Itagaki
Devil's Third is a bloody shooter for Wii U from Tomonobu Itagaki, a game developer who is rarely shy about presenting us with some outrageous imagery. The game splits between first-person shooting and third-person melee action. This is the first game developed by Itagaki after leaving Tecmo in 2008 and forming Valhalla Game Studios.
Tactical role-playing from Japan
The next major entry in the Disgaea series will feature a completely new cast of characters for a tale of rebellion and revenge, according to publisher NIS America. Players will control a young demon named Killia and his army of rebels in an attempt to prevent the evil overlord Void Dark from enslaving the Netherworlds. This tactical role-playing game is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Open world role-playing in a connected city
The Division from Ubisoft is an open-world online role-playing game based in a ravaged post-pandemic New York City where, basically, everything is broken and no one can be trusted. Created by Massive Entertainment for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, it's aiming to merge traditional RPGs with online cooperative multiplayer at the core of the experience.
First-person horror in creepy black and white
Dollhouse is a first-person monochrome horror game for Windows PC featuring randomly generated areas to explore. It encourages the player to create their own narrative, presumably while being frightened witless along the way. Developed by Creazn, it is set in the 1940s. It takes place inside the mind of a traumatized woman who is unable to differentiate reality from fantasy.
Build an empire on mobile
Created by Brian Reynolds, whose strategy work includes Civilization 2 and Rise of Nations, DomiNations for mobile devices is a familiar mix of creating bases, advancing through technological eras, training armies and rampaging over enemy territory. Reynolds says he wants the game to pay tribute to the great turn-based strategy epics of the past.
Anime fighting with customizable characters
Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball Xenoverse will give fans of Akira Torayama's manga and anime series the chance to create and play with their own original, customizable character and so dive into Dragon Ball history with their own unique characters for the first time. The fighting game is due on Windows PC, PlayStation and Xbox consoles on Feb. 17.
Battlestar Galactica-style space warfare
Dreadnought is a space-age aerial armada action game from Spec Ops: The Line developer Yager. Players are thrust into the role of a mercenary spaceship captain, commanding their massive crafts in a futuristic battle against other epic battleships. If you liked Battlestar Galactica, you'll get the general idea. It's due out on Windows PC this summer.
Open-world zombie survival
Originally announced in May 2013 as a departure from Techland's other zombie action series, this free-running, open-world zombie survival game is due out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC on Jan. 27. The game employs traversal as a survival technique and a day-night cycle, each with its own dangers and opportunities.
A pretty tale of the end of the world
This lyrical first-person adventure comes from The Chinese Room, the makers of the haunting walking game Dear Esther. The developers say that this game, which is set in rural England during the apocalypse, will feature more interactive elements than its spiritual predecessor. You can expect some really pretty environments and an unusually vibrant script. It's due on PlayStation 4.
Multiplayer monster hunting
The best game to show at E3 last year, Evolve from Turtle Rock, is an asymmetrical multiplayer shooter in which teams of humans — each with very different strengths and weaknesses — hunt down a human-controlled monster while it seeks to evolve into a more powerful state of being. It's due for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC on Feb. 10.
Team-based fantasy co-op
Departing from its traditional role-playing roots, and the somewhat underwhelming sojourn to Kinect-land, the next Fable from Lionhead is a cooperative multiplayer adventure in which a team of four players work their way through levels of combat towards a group goal. An AI or human opponent leads the hordes of enemies. The game takes place during a heroic age prior to the series' original trilogy.
Squad combat in beloved realm
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a remake for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One of the well-liked PSP game released in Japan back in 2011. The game follows a plucky student squad as they take part in an intercontinental war. Publisher Square Enix says it wants the game to follow an adult theme, aimed at the more mature end of gaming's spectrum. Some of the trailers have been pretty dark and deep. It's out on March 17.
Smart-looking game about choice and isolation
Firewatch, currently in development for Mac, Linux and Windows PC, is a first-person mystery game set in the vast forests of Wyoming. Central character Henry is a forest lookout during the dreaded fire season. It's the work of Campo Santo, a studio that includes Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, both alumni of Telltale Games' acclaimed The Walking Dead series.
Looting and building from Epic
Fortnite is the new action-strategy game from famed Gears of War and Unreal developer Epic Games. The game calls for lots of group planning, looting and smart, strategic building in expectation of attack. Players work together to scavenge useful items, build sturdy walls and defend themselves from waves of zombie attacks. It's due out on Windows PC.
City-crushing tension relief
Announced during The Game Awards, Godzilla is being developed by Natsume Atari and published by Bandai Namco. Game modes will include 20 different missions filled with city-crushing mayhem; Diorama Mode allows players to place Godzilla in different settings to capture photos, and a King of Monsters Mode will see it fight the franchise's most memorable enemies. It's planned for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
First-person horror in the desert
Grave is a first-person survival horror title from Phoenix-based Broken Window Studios. Planned for release on PlayStation 4, Linux, Mac, Windows PC and Xbox One, it's a Slender Man-style walkabout set in a desert environment. Strategy relies on the game's day-night cycle as its driving force, with players gathering tools during the daytime so they can prepare to survive once the sun sets.
Huge survival MMO with zombies
H1Z1 is a new post-apocalyptic massively multiplayer online game from Sony Online Entertainment. Set in the aftermath of a devastating zombie outbreak, it tasks players with survival against the undead and (of course) other hostile survivors, with an emphasis placed on a large playable game world that's promised to get bigger. The game is set to arrive on Steam Early Access on Jan. 15.
Master Chief returns
The next Halo game is coming this year, featuring a post-Halo 4 Master Chief and lots of new abilities for Spartans including hover, climb, burst and slide, plus other military shooter-esque innovations. 343 Industries' new game will also, of course, be an Xbox One exclusive. Multiplayer footage was released at HaloFest in December, with a beta happening right now, showing just how much Halo is changing.
Now that Hatred has been given the all-clear by Valve, its opportunities to gross out players will be rejuvenated. Developer Destructive Creations is nothing if not tenacious. This one isn't going away. The game is a Postal-style shooter in which the main protagonist is hell-bent on murdering as many people as possible, in gruesome fashion. You have been warned.
Blizzard's take on the MOBA
Blizzard has taken a bunch of beloved heroes from Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft and other homegrown franchises and thrown them all together in a five-vs-five multiplayer online battle arena game (although the company won't actually call it a MOBA). Tested extensively during 2014, the game is going into beta later this month. It's likely to be pretty popular.
A spiritual successor to SOCOM
This tactical shooter game comes from former SOCOM and Rainbow Six: Patriots creative lead David Sears. Kickstarter-funded and destined for Windows PC and PlayStation 4, it switches between third- and first-person view as military squads seek to take down targets, or one another. Initially, the game is planned for 8-on-8 combat, with an emphasis on tactical realism.
Post-invasion America fights back
THQ's Homefront is back, courtesy of Deep Silver. Following the invasion of the United States, the citizens of Philadelphia settle down to the business of terrorizing the invaders through armed resistance. One of the most interesting aspects of this game is seeing the modern world altered in ways that can't be blamed on zombies. The game is set to be released on Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Sequel to much-loved top-down action hit
Due early in the year, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is a 2D, top-down action sequel to a much-admired 2012 original, in which stealth and violence were set against a backdrop of surreal 1980s references. Developed by Dennaton Games, it includes a level editor and an unlockable hard mode, both of which are likely to appeal to devotees. It's set to be released on Windows PC, Linux, Mac and PlayStation platforms.
A multiplayer shooter set in a dark future
Human Element is an open-world online shooter that takes place 35 years following a zombie apocalypse, with players attempting to rebuild civilization from scratch. It's created by Robotoki, the company set up by Robert Bowling, the former creative strategist at Infinity Ward. The game is expected out on Windows PC this year, with console and mobile versions undated.
Love song to a golden age of action-exploration
Kickstarted 16-bit action role-playing game Hyper Light Drifter has been accruing fans every time it gets demoed. Set for release on on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Xbox One and Wii U, it is inspired by the likes of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo — fine antecedents indeed. It follows the story of an explorer who journeys through underground ruins, discovering long-dead technologies.
Madcap multiplayer sports
At E3 2014, IDARB drew a constant crowd of interested players who all smiled from ear to ear as they bounced from the game's platforms onto other platforms and into each other. Imagine a video game as a wacky eight-player ball sport in which all sorts of shenanigans are possible — nay, encouraged. Created by Other Ocean with a heavy element of player input, it's due out in February on Xbox One.
Moody follow-up to Limbo
Inside is the next game from Playdead Studios, the indie developer behind the popular black-and-white platformer Limbo. Due out on multiple platforms, it's pitched as a spiritual successor to Limbo, with 2.5D levels in a moody world of muted color and sharp distinctions of light, which is an integral and important aspect of the game's mechanics.
Open-world fun and silliness
The next game in Avalanche Studios' delightfully chaotic open-world action series, Just Cause, is coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. This time players will be sent to the lovely blue Mediterranean to fight against a brutal island dictator, where they'll be able to play with a new and improved set of high-flying gadgets such as parachute, wingsuit and grapple gear. You know the sort of thing.
First-person horror on a mountainside
Kholat is a first-person adventure-horror game inspired by an event in Russia known as the Dyatlov Pass incident, in which nine skilled hikers lost their lives. The game plays with some of the theories and hypotheses that still surround the tragedy, tasking players with uncovering mysteries as they climb mountain paths and investigate caves. It's due out on Windows PC and Mac.
Free-to-play PS4 MOBA
Sony San Diego's Kill Strain for PlayStation 4 is a free-to-play, top-down action game with an unusual five-against-two-against-five competitive structure. Judging by its showing at the recent PlayStation Experience, it plays like a blend of League of Legends and a twin-stick arcade shooter. Expect to see more on this one in the weeks ahead.
Medieval European role-playing
Kickstarter-funded Kingdom Come: Deliverance from Czech developer Warhorse is a role-playing game that seeks historic authenticity, focusing on 15th-century Bohemia. Featuring realistic weapons, armor and even music, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is scheduled for a Q4 release for Windows PC, Mac and Linux with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions planned to come later.
Classic adventuring makes a comeback
King's Quest was one of the era-defining point-and-click adventure series of the 1980s, bringing deep storytelling and adventure to owners of the then-new personal computers. The new game is being developed by The Odd Gentlemen, and takes on a more platforming action focus. Shown at the recent Game Awards, King's Quest is slated for launch in the fall on PlayStation and Xbox platforms and Windows PC.
Wii U adventure has bags of stylus
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is the follow-up to 2005's Kirby: Canvas Curse, a Nintendo DS title in which players controlled the eponymous puffy pink ball with the handheld's stylus. The sequel, from HAL Laboratory, uses the same mechanic, except this time with the Nintendo Wii U's stylus. You'll be able to practice your penmanship when this colorful, fun adventure is due out on Feb. 13.
Wintry multi-mechanic murder mystery
Greenlit by the Steam community, Kôna is a game that throws lots of mechanics at the player, while it tells a murder mystery tale. Developed by French-Canadian outfit Parabole, the game takes place in a wintry rural environment back in 1970, as the player seeks to find missing persons through various mechanics, including driving, shooting and scene-searching.
Murder on Mars
Last Life is a three-episode sci-fi noir adventure about a murdered detective who is 3D-printed back into existence. He reopens his last case to uncover a conspiracy of corruption. Set to be released on Windows PC, Mac and Linux, and presented in a distinctive polygonal style, the Martian colony story has been given the thumbs-up by Double Fine, which endorsed its Kickstarter campaign.
The Legend of Zelda
Much-anticipated open world adventure for Wii U
This year welcomes an open-world update to one of gaming's most important and beloved worlds. What we have seen of The Legend of Zelda suggests just the sort of magic that producer Eiji Aonuma has used, to such effect, over the decades, to charm gamers with beautiful worlds and wonderful characters. This game may yet be the reason for you to buy a Wii U, if you haven't already.
Time-travel girl solves mystery
This five-part adventure game from Remember Me developer Dontnod Entertainment will be released Jan. 30 by publisher Square Enix. It will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The coming-of-age story focuses on a teenage girl named Max Caulfield who goes in search of a missing girl, and discovers she can manipulate time to her advantage.
Galactic search for a lost love
Love You To Bits is a visually endearing platform puzzler from a lot of the developers who made Tiny Thief (the team is a collaboration between Pati.io and Alike Studio, made up from former members of 5Ants). It's the story of a heartbroken character searching the universe for a lost love. Love You to Bits launches in mid-year on iOS, Android, PC and Mac.
Vehicular combat with melee and shotguns
Avalanche's post-apocalyptic shooter goes back to the original movie, in terms of an Australian feel and a reliance on grungy vehicles, melee combat and shotguns. It's an original story in which the player will need to upgrade a vehicle in order to stay ahead of the bad guys. Mad Max is coming to PlayStation and Xbox consoles as well as Windows PC.
Create your own Mario levels
Mario Maker was originally developed as a course-making tool for Nintendo's internal development teams, before senior Nintendo exec Takashi Tezuka figured it would make a neat game. Due out on Wii U, the level creation game allows players to make their own platform worlds, using a variety of assets and tools taken straight from gaming's most famous franchise.
Snake returns for more sneaks and takedowns
Kojima's follow-up to Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes continues the tale of espionage and stealth in the latter years of the Soviet empire and stars Kiefer Sutherland in the lead role. Players make use of tools at their disposal to evade enemy soldiers and take out targets. There are base-building and recruitment elements to the story, too. It will also come with versus mode via Metal Gear Online.
A platform combat game from the maker of Mega Man
When Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune took to Kickstarter to gain funding for a new game that would be explicitly inspired by his famous platform combat game, he found no shortage of supporters to bring the game to multiple platforms, including PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Wii U, 3DS, Mac and Windows PC. Mighty No. 9 stars a combat alien that works its way through 2D platforms and puzzles.
Telltale treatment for Mojang creative world
Minecraft has always focused on the creative, open nature of the game's world rather than trying to craft any kind of story-based single-player mode, but in December Mojang announced a deal with Telltale Games that will lead to an episodic game called Minecraft: Story Mode. The title will launch on Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, Windows PC, Mac and mobile.
Tons of crossovers as 3DS players go on the hunt for beasts
The Western release of Monster Hunter 4 comes with enhancements and a hatful of crossovers including Link, Samus, Animal Crossing, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and Taiko Drum Master. As the title suggests, the game is about hunting monsters, perfecting combat and upgrading gear, with publisher Capcom promising a solid story progression and an online multiplayer mode.
Fatalities, environmental combat and finish him
The 10th game in this venerable fighting series is being developed by NetherRealm Studios for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. Expect gruesome and highly entertaining fatalities (death moves) as well as an innovative use of environments and some very fun fighting action, as seen in the developer's successful Injustice: Gods Amongst Us released in 2013. Mortal Kombat X is coming April 14.
EA's racing universe is coming back
Unusually, there was no Need for Speed game in 2014, the first time the street-racing franchise has taken a break since 2001. Electronic Arts has not made an official announcement for 2015, but stated back in May that there would be a game "next year," the idea being to come up with some new ideas and polish, with a likely focus on the problem of social connections. That said, 2013's Rivals (pictured) was pretty damned good.
Galactic travel and other stuff
Now that we are past the first flush of enthusiasm for Hello Games' space exploration game, we can get down to the business of figuring out what it's all about. A recent trailer showed solar systems being discovered and named by players, plus spaceships, space dinosaurs, galaxies and more. Distinctively painted, this is one of the most intriguing games of the year, destined to be released on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.
Adventure and exploration from the makers of Myst
Obduction is developer Cyan's spiritual successor to its seminal, multimillion-selling adventure game Myst. Funded to the tune of $1.3 million on Kickstarter, the puzzle exploration game will once again seek to immerse players in the stories, characters and, above all, environments of the world. Set for Windows PC and Mac, the game is due out mid-to-late 2015.
Pretty cover-shooter set in Victorian dystopia
Set in an alternative Victorian London, this cover-based shooter is a very good-looking game for PlayStation 4. Players lead a disparate group of fighters against abominations and rebels in a world of complex hierarchies and rivalries, making use of steampunk weapons and locations along the way. Developed by Ready at Dawn, it will be released on Feb. 20. Let's hope it plays as well as it looks.
Intense platformer for Xbox and PC
Described by its developers as a coming-of-age tale about a forest spirit on a journey following a loss, Ori and the Blind Forest is aiming for a Super Meat Boy and Metroidvania style of play in which controls are pushed to the limit and players are expected to work for their progress. It's planned for Windows PC, as well as Xbox One and Xbox 360.
More high-school drama and exploration
Atlus confirmed that Persona 5 will be coming to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 during Sony's Tokyo Game Show press conference back in September. Teasers haven't given much away about the role-playing combat game's plot, except that there is a general theme of freedom and, no doubt, a high school setting, lots of angular personalities with complementing powers and weird plot twists.
Classic-style role-playing from Obsidian
The crowdfunded role-playing game from Obsidian Entertainment is paying homage to grand hits like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment. Prettily animated and painted, it will feature a party-based real-time-with-pause tactical gameplay and, like those venerable games of yore, a fixed isometric user interface against a pre-rendered backdrop. The '90s are so much better than they used to be.
Advanced driving sandbox
Project Cars is a crowdfunded simulation racing game from Slightly Mad Studios. It's coming to Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 17, with Wii U arriving later in the year. Unlike many other driving games, it allows the player to choose between a variety of motorsports and grants immediate access to all tracks and vehicles from the start.
Classic Japanese style in squad-based role-playing
Project Phoenix, slated for a mid-2015 debut on Linux, Mac, Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, is a squad-based action-strategy game combined with heavy Japanese RPG influences. Kickstarted by Creative Intelligence Arts, the game's developers include director Hiroaki Yura, composer Nobuo Uematsu and art director Kiyoshi Arai.
Eye-catching sci-fi sandbox survival
Proven Lands is a procedurally generated, sci-fi sandbox survival game. The five-episode game from developer These Tales follows working-class protagonist Teruo Nakamura, named for the Japanese Imperial Army soldier who did not surrender until 1974. In addition to weather and day-and-night systems, Proven Lands will feature AI companions, mod capabilities, classes and crafting.
Big narrative adventure from the Alan Wake people
Made by Remedy Entertainment, the company behind Alan Wake, this heavily scripted action game for Xbox One plays with the notion of time travel and, if trailers are to be believed, big setpiece disasters. In demos so far, the game has displayed a very Alan Wake feel, with dialogue scenes and cover-based shooting, albeit with looks that are appropriate for the new console.
Squads of defenders and attackers in hostage standoffs
In Ubisoft's Rainbow Six: Siege, two groups of human players take on the role of either the game's elite counter-terrorism soldiers or a group of terrorists. Those roles aren't just different looks for the same people with guns. This is a game of attack and defense and opposing strategies, as each team seeks to win a hostage confrontation. It's coming out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Due to be released on Feb. 17 in episodic form for PlayStation and Xbox consoles and Windows PC, Resident Evil Revelations 2 takes place between the events of Resident Evil 5 and 6. It stars Claire Redfield and Moira Burton, and as in the first Resident Evil Revelations, players can swap between the two characters. Revelations 2 is being developed by the core staff members of the previous entry.
Pretty island adventure, in the manner of Ico
Rime from Spanish developer Tequila Works takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which a once-powerful civilization has been brought to ruin. Set on a cursed island, it is highly reminiscent of PlayStation 2 classic Ico with a touch of Journey, and it looks an absolute treat. Tequila Works is best known for its Xbox 360 horror sidescroller Deadlight, though this is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Treasure hunt series is back in its stride
A timed exclusive for Xbox One, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be published by Microsoft when it's released at the end of the year. The stumbling and shambolic Tomb Raider franchise was rebooted in 2013 (pictured) by developer Crystal Dynamics, bringing an altogether more interesting and vital Lara Croft than we've seen in recent years, penned by writer Rhianna Pratchett.
Roller-coaster design and mayhem
ScreamRide will bring futuristic amusement parks to life on Xbox consoles in the spring. Set in the near future, players follow a RollerCoaster Tycoon model of building exciting, improbable and terrifying rides, but there's also a big destructive and crash element to the game. Players will also be offered an opportunity to share creations online, through Xbox One. The game is developed by Frontier and goes on sale on March 3.
Fox changes the weather to solve puzzles
Developed by Swing Swing Submarine, Seasons After Fall is a sidescrolling puzzle adventure starring a fox that travels across the countryside taking advantage of the changing seasons, which, usefully, it has the power to change. The game is being pitched as "a non-violent tale about the world around you." Seasons after Fall is coming to Windows PC, Mac, Linux and unspecified consoles.
Manga-inspired adventure from France
Shiness is a combination of a fantasy role-playing game and a manga series from French indie studio Enigami. The inspiration for Shiness is clearly drawn from manga and anime such as Naruto and Dragon Ball. The game's battle system draws from fighting games, with one-on-one fights that take place within the world, and support characters on the edge of the area can provide assistance.
Painterly shooter set to make a splash
In Splatoon, due out on Wii U in the first half of the year, players take charge of an ink gun-armed cartoon child that can turn into a squid. The four-on-four multiplayer game has players fighting not to take out the opposing team, but to coat as much of the map as possible with their color ink. The colorful concept doesn't just make the shooter more kid-friendly, it also delivers a slew of interesting concepts to an aging genre.
GamePad-focused flight combat
Shown for the first time early in 2014, but promised for 2015 by Shigeru Miyamoto, Star Fox is the newest game in the flight and combat series in which the eponymous hero battles other ships and tanks. The game is designed with the GamePad screen in mind: Players get a view from the cockpit of Fox's ship and must keep their eyes trained on both screens.
It's going to be a big year for Star Wars
Created by DICE, the studio behind Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront is a shooter with heavy vehicle elements, such as snow speeders and speeder bikes. To add authenticity, developers visited the original movie locations and Lucasfilm archives. It's set for release on Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC late in the year, around the time of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens film.
Corporation gangs face each other in polygonal world
Sub Rosa is a multiplayer first-person shooter about rival corporations. Featuring a distinctive polygonal look, it's described by developer Cryptic Sea as "a complicated game" where missions sometimes require teams of players to try to make tense trades of valuable goods — with all sorts of consequences. Sub Rosa will be available on Steam Early Access for Windows PC in early 2015.
Shooter with a timely twist
Superhot features a simple, unique mechanic: It's a shooter in which time moves only when you do. Although previously available as a browser game, it's now coming to Windows PC, Xbox One, Linux and Mac. The time element of the game changes it from a twitchy shooter to a strategy puzzle. The Superhot team launched a $100,000 Kickstarter campaign earlier this year and hit its funding goal in a day.
Fighting series is 20 years old this year
Tekken 7 is coming to arcade in February and, with it being the 20th anniversary of the fighting series, console versions are sure to follow. We played the arcade game earlier in 2014; visually, it is showing a number of enhancements over Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, with impressive lighting effects and particle effects. You can get a full lowdown on characters and moves in our preview here.
A game about faith
This is a short game about a family who has been through the terrible experience of losing a child to cancer. It's about togetherness and the pleasure of play, and it's about faith, loss and love. A demo released to media in December showed a very simple, heartfelt mechanic, with much of the experience at an ambient, emotional level. The game recently went through a successful Kickstarter.
Voice commands take lead role
Using voice commands in games isn't something that gamers generally get excited about, usually because the commands fail too often or because speaking at a screen makes players feel silly. Yet Los Angeles-based Iridium Studios decided to design an entire game to be played with voice commands, and it's a real-time strategy title to boot. The game also offers full support for a controller and for a keyboard and mouse.
Skateboarder takes another turn
We don't know much about this one, only that Tony Hawk is collaborating with Activision on a console game and a mobile game, both of which are scheduled to be released in 2015. A mobile game called Tony Hawk's Shred Session has been canceled in lieu of the new project. This year is the last in a 13-year deal Activision signed with the skateboarder back in 2002.
InXile once again updating an old favorite
Created by InXile for Windows PC, Tides of Numenera is the follow-up to 1999's Planescape: Torment. It raised over $4 million in a 2013 crowdfunding campaign, when such things seemed possible. The Unity-developed game is based on the Numenera tabletop universe. It is expected to focus on character interaction and story, with combat taking a supporting role, very much an InXile trademark.
Rome is falling apart
Total War: Attila follows on from The Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome 2 — the latest in a series that has been tinkering with a pleasing hybrid of real-time strategy and empire-building mechanics for almost 15 years. Due for release on Feb. 17 for Windows PC, it looks at the political scene as Rome began to fall apart, adding useful functionality and graphical tweaks.
PlayStation-exclusive adventure is back
It will have been four years since the last Uncharted game came out. The new PlayStation 4 adventure stars Nathan Drake on another globe-trotting journey of discovery, as he comes out of retirement to search for a lost hoard of booty and treasure. Developed by Naughty Dog, it's being produced by Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann, best known for leading The Last of Us.
It's like every teen horror flick ever
This PlayStation 4 horror game was once a PlayStation Move-powered PS3 title, now upgraded into a campy horror adventure in which a group of teenage victims are attacked in sequence by a creepy serial killer. Players try to stay alive by making smart choices, like 'don't go into the basement alone.' The game even takes into account the particular things that frighten you (clowns, spiders, tinfoil, whatever.)
Fantasy combat adventure from Europe
Due for release on May 19, the latest in CD Projekt Red's European fantasy series offers players the chance to take control of more characters than franchise stalwart Geralt of Rivia. In development on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is said to be an open world that is 30 times larger than previous games. The plot focuses on a blight that threatens to overwhelm the world.
A puzzle from the maker of Braid
Jonathan Blow, best known for Braid, is close to completing this discovery-and-puzzle adventure for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. It's a first-person game in which the player explores an island's structures and natural formations, which yield visual maze-like puzzles. Blow insists the game is more than just a sequence of logic puzzles. Given the rich nature of Braid, you can probably take him at his word.
Wii U RPG from Monolith
Monolith Soft's science fiction role-playing game, the successor to 2010's Xenoblade Chronicles, is coming to Wii U. In Xenoblade Chronicles X, small groups of survivors of an intergalactic war remain on Earth to fend for themselves in a beautiful yet hostile environment. The game will be open-world and will feature an upgraded version of Chronicles' combat system.
Belated Western release for gangland story
Sega's Yakuza 5 came out in 2012, but it's finally getting a Western release this year, albeit only for PlayStation 3. The decision came about after repeated petitions from fans. "After receiving so many requests from fans of the series, we have decided to bring Yakuza 5 to the US and Europe," said series creator Toshihiro Nagoashi. It's an open-world exploration and combat game set in Japan's gangland.
Nintendo dino in a new yarn
Yoshi's Woolly World is a yarn-themed adventure starring dinosaur Yoshi. Set for Wii U, it allows two players to team up for co-op platforming and puzzle solving. In the game, Nintendo's green buddy and his world are transformed into objects made of yarn, wool and more. Yoshi's tongue interacts with the world by grabbing and unfurling fabric as he explores the landscape.
Polygon will keep you up-to-date with these games and more in the year ahead, through news reports, reviews coverage and beyond. If we've missed any games you'd like to see mentioned, use our comments. Be warned, though, there are a lot of games in development that are unlikely to be released until 2016, at the earliest. Note also that, in all likelihood, a fair proportion of the games in our list will suffer delays of some sort.