Besides the spectacular graphics and (expectedly) awesome gameplay in Star Wars Battlefront — out in mid-November, but starting beta testing next month — that basically everyone is hyped about, there are many other great games to get excited about as cooler weather sets in and we're all spending more time indoors, controllers in hand. Here's a roundup of game releases a few Inlander staffers are looking forward to through the rest of 2015 and into next year. You'll want to add them to your Steam wish list right now:
King's Quest Chapter 2: Rubble Without a Cause (and three chapters to come in 2016)
Release date: Chapter 2 in quarter four of 2015; other chapters TBA
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3/4; Xbox 360/One
Game style: Single-player adventure
My love for video games can be directly traced back to King's Quest. Starting with the first text command-based game on my family's Tandy computer, I played every single one of the series' installments with my family as I grew up. They were clever and funny, filled with challenging puzzles and fairytale references.
Considering the company that made KQ released its last game in 1998, and (as far as I knew) was no longer a company, I never considered that King's Quest would come back. But, apparently, 2015 is the year of Video Game Miracles!
Developed by the Odd Gentlemen and published by the revived Sierra Games, the new King's Quest game is being released in episodic chapters. The first chapter came out in July 2015, and the second is scheduled to be released before the end of the year. I plowed through the first chapter in record speed, and loved every minute of it.
The artwork is beautiful, the quests and puzzles challenging (but not so hard that I couldn't figure them out) and the entire chapter is rife with inside jokes that really cater to people like me who have played all the previous titles. But don't let that stop you from trying it out if you've never played a KQ game — it's a fun game with hilarious moments for even the uninitiated. There are many, many choices to be made, and different story outcomes depending on how you decide to move through the game. The voice acting cast is top-notch, with Christopher Lloyd voicing King Graham, and Zelda Williams as the village blacksmith.
I am anxiously awaiting Chapter Two, but in the meantime I am going to replay Chapter One a couple more times, making different choices on each run-through. (ALISSIA BLACKWOOD MEAD)
Release date: January 26, 2016
Platforms: PC, PS4
Game style: First-person exploration puzzle
Fans of genius game developer Jonathan Blow (creator of the indie genre classic Braid) have been waiting for this title for SO. LONG. Originally announced back in 2009, The Witness has been in development ever since, but the wait is almost over. Coming out in January, fans are finally going to get to play the highly anticipated, Myst-inspired puzzle game set on an open-world island. The game is said to have more than 650 puzzles, which lead players around the island to collect visual and audio clues with little instruction, forcing the player to discover the rules and limitations of the world, in true J.Blo philosophy. Players won't have to solve all 650 unless they're so inclined, though it's safe to assume many players indeed will be. From what we've seen so far in one of The Witness' latest trailer, the world Blow and his small team have created is artistic and visually stunning. We want to explore every last pixel. (CHEY SCOTT)
Yoshi's Woolly World
Release date: October 16, 2015
Platforms: Wii U
Game style: Platformer
Yoshi's Island games have always been my favorite — I love playing them even more than any of the Super Mario titles, and that's saying something. The art style of Yoshi games is always fun and different, and this year's upcoming release is the series' best-looking game yet. But I'm not going to let the cute (and very beautifully rendered) yarn texture that covers Yoshi's Woolly World fool me. If this is anything like the previous Yoshi titles, this adorable platformer is bound to be filled with the rage-inducing, controller-throwing moments. (ABM)
Release date: Full release unknown; closed beta coming in fall 2015
Platforms: PC, OS X
Game style: objective- and team-based, multiplayer, first-person shooter (think Team Fortress 2)
Blizzard Entertainment is seriously on a roll these days. StarCraft II saga installment coming out next month? Check. Hearthstone making, like, $20 million a month? Check. World of Warcraft still holding steady? Check. Heroes of the Storm rising to the top of the MOBA genre? Check.
Next up in the unstoppable company's repertoire is Overwatch, a team-based shooter that is very similar to the objective-style play of Team Fortress 2, but with all-new Blizzard character heroes, each with their own abilities and classes. Overwatch is set to have two objective modes: payload (again, think TF2) and point capture. Blizzard's devs have said there will be more focus on the team aspect, and less on getting high kill counts — refreshing news for gamers out there who want to play in a less-brutal game setting. (CS)
Release date: Sometime in 2016
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Game style: Side-scrolling platform shooter, with single- and two-player mode
Of anyone who's caught wind of this innovative run-and-gun style shooter, who isn't excited about the incredible retro-throwback art style? Seriously, folks, we're livin' in the golden age of gaming right now and, to be honest, I really can't wait to play this game even if it ends up sucking (seems doubtful), simply because of the 1930s cartoon-style art and animations.
The game's premise is that main character Cuphead has lost a deal with the devil, and now he needs to repay his debts. In two-player mode he's joined by pal Mugman, and they team up to fight their way through level bosses on a RPG-style world map. The game's developers are a brother team based in Canada who've been working on it since 2010. We're willing to wait as long as it takes for this game to become polished and ready before its final release, though, and my own early predictions are that it'll be a game of the year for 2016. (CS)