Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Now that it’s December, 2015 is nearing its end. Along with preparing for the holiday season (and subsequently, the one-year anniversary of this site), Star Wars, and New Year’s Resolutions that I’ll probably stick to for five days, December also serves as a time to reflect on the year ahead.

This future-hype naturally finds its way into the world of video games as well. So as we all prepare to look back at the best games of 2015, we also look forward to our most anticipated games of 2016. And I am no different!

The following are my top five most anticipated games of 2016. They may look a bit different from most people’s selections, but for one reason or another, these games all have my attention. Let’s start with a runner-up then get to the top five!

Runner-up: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Honestly, I had six games that stood out that I could choose from, so I feel guilty about placing any of them as a runner-up. But since a “top 6” list just sounds goofy, someone had to take the fall. Since Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam comes out in January, I don’t have much more of a wait. So that bumps it to a runner-up on this list of anticipation (just go with it).

Aside from Paper Mario: Sticker Star, there hasn’t been a bad Mario RPG. Though Dream Team was a considerable step down from Bowser’s Inside Story, I have high hopes for Paper Jam. Being a crossover between Mario’s two ongoing RPG series, Paper Jam has the potential to bring a new sense of creativity to the Mario RPG formula.

I do have to wonder where Mario RPGs will go from here though. After you have both series cross paths, it seems like it would be a good time to give Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi a break, and maybe start a new direction for the Mario RPGs. But maybe that’s just me.

Now on to the top 5!

5: Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3

Platform: Multiplatform

Dark Souls is one of the better modern franchises in gaming (even if I kinda suck at it), and I’m really excited to die repeatedly play this new entry. I do kind of hope it adds more to the series than Dark Souls II did though. As great of a game as it was, I don’t want the third entry to just do what the first two already did. I hope DS3 can take all the good things from the series (of which there are many) and add some new twists into the mix as well.

What makes the Dark Souls series great is that it really feels like a modernized version of the kinds of games you’d play on the NES back in the day. It’s incredibly difficult, focused entirely on gameplay, and features a kind of progression that would feel at home on an 8-bit console. Yet it also feels brand new. The series has so far continued this trend through three games (remember, Demon Souls was the first game, Dark Souls was the second), and I’m confident it can repeat its success for a fourth time.

4: Star Fox Zero

Star Fox Zero

Platform: Wii U

Lack of multiplayer aside, Star Fox Zero looks to be the return to form I’ve been waiting for from the series. The gameplay looks like a modernized Star Fox 64, none of the weirdly sexualized characters from the subsequent games are present, and the story is going back to basics. It pretty much looks like the proper follow-up to Star Fox 64, which has somehow not yet happened in almost two decades.

If Star Fox Zero does indeed end up being this generation’s Star Fox 64, then it will be well worth the wait. Now I just hope the game’s delay into 2016 means they’re adding a multiplayer mode.

3: Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9

Platform: Multiplatform

Though the Red Ash Kickstarter fiasco might have put a sour taste in gamer’s mouths in regards to Keiji Inafune’s Comcept studio, I’m still super excited for Mighty No. 9.

It’s hard to believe Mega Man hasn’t appeared in a game outside of Super Smash Bros. for over five years. But if Capcom won’t let us have the Blue Bomber, at least we have a spiritual sequel to look forward to.

Mighty No. 9 really does look like a Mega Man title, and hopefully the gameplay and level design can live up to that heralded series. As a huge bonus, the game looks to feature several different additional modes to add some replayability and change up the experience.

2: The Legend of Zelda Wii U

Zelda Wii U

Platform: Wii U (but maybe NX)

The latest “proper” addition in The Legend of Zelda series looks to be the most ambitious entry yet. It could be one of the last great Wii U games, or one of the first great NX ones. Or both.

The Legend of Zelda is one of gaming’s greatest series, and a new home console entry is always a big deal. But this one in particular seems to be aiming to change up Zelda conventions, and hopefully, as we learn more about the game, that becomes more apparent.

Though I really wish Nintendo would give the series another art direction as daring as The Wind Waker, I like the new cel-shaded look. It looks a lot like a more advanced take on what Skyward Sword did visually. But while Skyward Sword used its visuals to guise the aging technology of the Wii, this new Zelda actually looks to be taking full advantage of its hardware.

My two great hopes for Zelda Wii U is that it really does change up the series, since Zelda games, great as they are, lack the consistent sense of newness of its sister series, Super Mario, and that the main adventure is only as long as it needs to be. I’m actually among those who loved Skyward Sword, but I admit that game would have been better if it were trimmed a few hours shorter. There’s no need to stretch a game’s length just for the heck of it. I’ll take a 10 hour game that feels complete over a 60 hour one that feels largely comprised of filler.

Anyway, it’s Zelda. Of course I have it on this list!

1: Yooka-Laylee


Platform: Multiplatform

Rare made some of the greatest video games of my youth. With a resume that includes the likes of Donkey Kong Country 2 (arguably the best 2D platformer), Banjo-Kazooie (arguably the best 3D platformer until Mario went to space), Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, and so many other classics, it’s a wonder how the developer has fallen so far from grace over the last decade.

Yooka-Laylee is something of a dream come true for me. The new studio Playtonic Games – founded by a small group of some of Rare’s finest former developers – debuted the game as a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series in a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. And so far, everything about the game is looking like a modernized version of the Banjo-Kazooie style of platformer.

Playtonic has been vocal in saying that the game isn’t merely a re-skin of Banjo-Kazooie, however, and that Yooka-Laylee is making the winning formula new again. The collectibles will all serve a purpose, the game will have a greater sense of freedom in exploration, and players will have some forms of customization in gameplay and progression.

After Nuts & Bolts more or less kicked Banjo-Kazooie fans in the… nuts & bolts, Yooka-Laylee looks like the proper follow-up to Banjo-Tooe that I’ve waited fifteen years for. It was even the first game on Kickstarter I’ve helped fund. The only other game I’ve funded since was Red Ash. And well, let’s just move on.

Yooka-Laylee simply looks to bring back a style of game that’s been all but forgotten in the last few console generations. Given the minds behind it, I have a lot of confidence they’ll be able to pull it off. Really, there’s no reason why Yooka-Laylee wouldn’t be my most anticipated game of 2016.


Author: themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

12 thoughts on “Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2016”

  1. Out of these, I’m somewhat looking forward to Zelda U and Yooka Laylee (is that confirmed to be a 2016 release?). I’m not too interested in the Paper Mario meets M&L rpg after being quite disappointed by Dream Team, and PM was never really my thing to renew my interest all that much.
    Dark Souls, I’m a bit tired off honestly. I didn’t really like Demon’s Souls when I played it, the first Dark Souls was great, and the second one was good, albeit a bit forgettable in level motifs and most bosses. But considering we had Dark Souls 2, Bloodborne (which may as well be a new entry in the series), and the third game coming all being released in a yearly basis, I feel the series is getting a bit fatigued, hopefully I’ll be proved wrong, but I currently can live without it.
    I’m personally looking forward to Fire Emblem Fates (despite some announcements that have irked me about it quite a bit), Persona 5 and Odin Sphere Leifdrassir from what we know is coming out next year, I guess Ace Attorney 6 is worth mentioning as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely understand franchise fatigue for Dark Souls. I haven’t played BloodBorne yet (perhaps why I’m still looking forward to DS3), but the series would be better off if it started slowing down.

      And yes, Yooka-Laylee is slated for October of 2016. It could get delayed, but as it stands, that’s the release date.


  2. I hope that Paper Jam ends up being good. The last Paper Mario game I really liked was Thousand-Year Door (Super Paper Mario was good, but I didn’t like it as much as its turn-based predecessors).

    Another Dark Souls isn’t a bad idea, but unless it does something new, it seems like the series could stagnate.

    The only Star Fox game I’ve played is Star Fox 64. It’s mostly because the sequels seemed to have strayed too far from what made it great. It looks like Zero might be the return to form fans have been waiting for.

    Considering your choices for #3 and #1, it looks like next year is looking good for the indie scene (both teams have worked in the AAA industry, but I think it still counts). It seems like it’s become something of a trend this decade with a lot of the talent having been driven out of the industry only to use their name to start independent projects.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, the Paper Mario series is in need of a jumpstart. Hopefully, crossing it over with Mario & Luigi (which could use a little boost itself, since Dream Team was good but disappointing compared to BiS) can bring new life into it.

      Agreed. Dark Souls is great, but it’s at the point when it needs to do something new.

      If Star Fox 64 is the only Star Fox game you’ve played, than you’re a wiser man than I. It really is the best the series has to offer. I really hope Zero lives up to it and gives the series a long-overdue second definitive entry.

      Next year does indeed look good for the indie scene (I’d say they still count as indy, seeing as the teams are only a few people and needed crowdfunding). Yooka-Laylee seems like the kind of game that could only be made by a smaller studio (or Nintendo) these days. I’m so glad those Rare developers left and created Playtonic, it seems like the only way to get the old Rare back.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve noticed that the indie scene is a lot stronger than it was in the 2000s. It helps that indie developers aren’t as reliant on the arthouse movement which defined early titles from the scene and started making games that are fun to play above all else. In this decade, the scene went from having a lot of shortcomings despite showing promise to being able to stand toe to toe, and even surpass, efforts from the AAA industry on a regular basis. Perhaps a key factor to this is how the AAA industry seems to have been driving out their most talented members. This results in both indie developers stepping up to fill the void that these companies left and the alumni starting their own projects, using their good name to get the funding they need. You say that the indie scene may be the only shot of getting the old Rare back, and I think that going on the way that it is, we could be saying that about a lot of companies or development teams over the next years.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree. Indie games in the 2000s tended to be too pretentious (there are some good art house games as well of course, but I only think a few of them could pull it off without just feeling full of themselves).

        Like you said, many of the great minds of gaming have more or less been brushed aside and have had to start anew. Keiji Inafune, Koji Igarishi, and Chris Sutherland and co. from Rare all made some of the most beloved games of all time, then the AAA industry more or less gave them the boot. Mega Man, Castlevania and Banjo-Kazooie now live on through spiritual successor’s on the indie scene. And I think more indie developers are looking more towards them for inspiration, as opposed to the more art house genre of yesteryear (I also suspect we’ll be seeing a Metal Gear Solid spiritual successor somewhere down the line).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am especially looking forward to Zelda U. Yooka Laylee I have mixed feelings for even though it has all the aspects and appeal that made Banjo Kazooie Great. I am quite interested in Star Fox Zero but still reserved, I would like to see what else it has to offer and what other game modes it contains to extend gameplay. Mighty No. 9 is another game I am hoping will surprise me as I was not really a fan of Megaman. 2016 does look like a promising year though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A great list you have compiled here! I’m debating if I should give Dark Souls III ago! I played Bloodborne this year and absolutely adored its punishing sense of challenge and its wonderfully realized world. The Gothic Victorian setting really sold me on that one. I’m not a very big fan of the whole fantasy, knights and dragons, setting which is why I’m put off by Dark Souls. Plus Bloodborne’s combat is far more visceral and engaging in comparison to Dark Souls. But considering that I enjoyed Bloodborne so much, perhaps I’ll give Dark Souls III a try.
    I actually never played a Star Fox game :/ I know, another shameful fact about me 😛 But I do mean to give Star Fox 64 a go, and I’m definitely intrigued by what Star Fox Zero has to offer! Do you know if the gyroscope controls are mandatory or are they optional?
    I also have never completed an entire Mega Man game :/ I really have some catching up to do 😛 Perhaps I’ll download some of the originals on my 3DS. But Mighty No 9 looks absolutely fantastic! After playing the excellent Shovel Knight, which was obviously inspired by the likes of Mega Man, I can’t wait to try out the originals and this spiritual successor!
    Who cannot be excited for the next Zelda entry? The world looks absolutely gorgeous and its vibrant nature is exceptionally alluring, taking notes from both Skyrward Sword and your favourite, The Wind Waker! I wonder if it’ll be released on the NX? To be honest, I’d be slightly disappointed if the NX were released next year as I love my Wii U and I don’t want to have to put it aside just yet. After playing Super Mario Maker this year, there is still so much potential for this underrated console and is still my favourite out of the three.
    As you already know, unfortunately I have not yet played either Banjo Kazooie or Banjo Tooie, so I may not have that sentimental attachment to Yooka Laylee as you do. But I’m longing for a traditional, modern 3D Platformer so maybe Yooka Laylee is what I’ve been looking for. I’ll definitely play the Banjo games before, that way I’m able to appreciate Yooka Laylee more.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: