Editor’s Thoughts – The 2016 Crystal Ball

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Editor’s Thoughts – The 2016 Crystal Ball

Welcome back to another year of Player2 fun. I thought I would kick things off with some of my predictions for the year ahead. I must warn you though that my track record for predicting things is spotty at best and that if you are placing any money on these guesses then I take no responsibility for the outcome (I will happily take 10% of all winnings if they are offered though). So I present to you in no particular order Hewso’s 2016 predictions.

Mafia 3 features heavily in GOTY discussions.

The first two Mafia games are great experiences but lack that something special that would push them into classic territory. In my mind Mafia 3 is looking to change that. A true open world with gang building activities, district control and an exciting perspective change (this time the game is played from a rival gang’s eyes as they try to take on the Mafia) are all pointing to a quality game. However the thing that has me clamouring for this game the most is the setting. The game takes place during the racially charged era of the late 60’s in New Orleans. I am fascinated by New Orleans and that time period has been largely unexplored in video games so this has the potential to be something truly unique. I just hope that 2k can bring all of these promising elements together because if they do we are in for one hell of a ride.

Release date fluidity.

I think this is the year when publishers begin to look at release dates with even more flexibility. Last year saw a host of big titles receive delays and I think that will continue into 2016. I have always said that a delay is better than a dodgy release and I think publishers are believing that too. As a result I can see publishers using terminology such as “release window” more and more often as they avoid giving triple A titles a firm release date. I am personally ok with this as I think with the nature of games development these days it is much better to be flexible to take on unexpected problems and using this terminology will hopefully reduce consumer backlash when the release is delayed. I only hope this approach leads to less instances of games making it to release with game breaking issues *cough* Tony Hawk *cough*.

The 2016 Crystal Ball
There is no doubt Tony Hawk needed more time in development.

Star Wars goes RPG

With The Force Awakens breaking every box office record under the sun expect EA to use that momentum to announce not one but two new Star Wars based titles. One will be a third person action title lead by Amy Henning and I am betting that a second will be a proper Star Wars RPG. While I would love to see a proper Knights of the Old Republic 3 I think that ship has sailed but there is still plenty of territory that a good ole’ single player Bioware style RPG could cover. The Extended Universe of Star Wars has been reset but there isn’t clear confirmation as to what happened in the Old Republic time periods. Something exploring the beginnings of the Sith or even Darth Bane would be awesome. There has been rumblings of a new Star Wars RPG and I am betting that 2016 is the year we hear about it officially for the first time.

The 2016 Crystal Ball
Darth Bane would be an amazing focus for an RPG.

Nintendo forgets about the Wii U

With the announcement of the NX and its expected late 2016/early 2017 release I expect Nintendo to forget about the Wii U almost entirely by the time E3 rolls around this year. If this is how things play out then it will be a massive shame as the Wii U has finally become a must buy system thanks to some great exclusives such as Super Mario Maker and Splatoon. I think the house of Mario will want to move on and hope that a new system can reignite interest in the brand and as a result the Wii U will get dropped quicker than the price on the Ouya. I seriously doubt there will be any more major releases announced for the Wii U in 2016.

The 2016 Crystal Ball
Zelda may well be the last major release for the Wii U.

Xbox chases Sony

Will the Xbox catch Sony in 2016? Not a chance in hell but what it will do is close the gap in a significant way. It is probably too late for Microsoft to ever catch Sony this generation but they are going to continue to make the Xbox a super attractive proposition. A great lineup of exclusives such as Scalebound and ReCore should help bring new players in and the fact that we are now at the point that many people, after having bought the PS4 at launch, are looking at buying a second console will also help. All of this along with Microsoft’s continued determination to make up for their abysmal launch should allow for a great year of sales and a lessening of the massive gap between the two systems.

The 2016 Crystal Ball
Scalebound is looking to be a great game to bring new players to Xbox.

So these are my wild predictions for the upcoming year. Whether or not they come true only time will tell. Let me know in the comments if you think I am off the mark or I am making a safe bet. Also let me know some of your own predictions for 2016 I am sure they will make for great reading.

Matt Hewson

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