STATE OF PLAY #2With 2016 set to be a huge year for gaming, we tap into the digital revolution to select the most exciting games, tech and trends coming your way over the next 12 months - Part 2
Get ready for shooting and strategy in two very different Halo experiences
Master Chief is missing. You could say he’s been AWOL for some time – two years have passed since the launch of the Xbox One and only now are we seeing an all-new Halo game – but given that Halo 5: Guardians is twice the size of its predecessor, we’ll let 343 Industries off. As players blast through huge levels set up for four-player co-op, the action switches between Master Chief’s Blue Team and Spartan Jameson Locke’s Fire Team Osiris, who are trying to track down MC and his crew. In the multiplayer Arena mode, due to be showcased at Halo’s first $1 million eSports tournament, four players can team up on one side, while the Warzone mode features massive 24-player battles. And that’s not all for Halo; in 2016, Microsoft will release Halo Wars 2, a sequel to the 2009 real-time strategy game. This one’s being developed by Creative Assembly, the team behind the Total War series.
Platforms: Xbox One (both), PC (Halo Wars 2)
ETA: Out now (Halo 5: Guardians); autumn 2016 (Halo Wars 2)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Following on from the classic PS3 action series, Uncharted 4 sees former treasure hunter Nathan Drake coaxed out of retirement by the brother he believed was dead to discover the conspiracy behind a long-lost pirate colony and its loot. An early look at one of its high-speed chase sequences has already built up a considerable buzz, and if the rest of the game is as exciting, this might just be Nate’s greatest adventure yet.
ETA: Spring 2016
Destiny: Year Two
Destiny: The Taken King kicked off year two of Destiny’s ‘10-year plan’ in some style. Fixing a few issues fans had with the original, Bungie’s third expansion features an improved story and fun new multiplayer modes. What’s next? Expect even more expansions next year.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
According to game director Martin Sahlin, the red thread that Unravel’s hero, Yarny, is made of symbolises love. And it’s hard not to fall in love with the little guy, who looks as if he’s just stepped off the Pixar drawing board. Yarny uses his trail of thread to swing, climb and even fly on a kite across landscapes based on the countryside around Sahlin’s home in Sweden.
ETA: Spring 2016
No Man’s Sky
From a tiny British indie studio comes the biggest game of all time
Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky isn’t only one of the most ambitious indie games ever created, it’s one of the most ambitious games ever created, full stop. Big and bold enough to show off alongside the blockbusters at Sony’s E3 show, this PS4 space adventure boasts a huge open universe with more than 18 quintillion lifesize planets to explore. Count ’em. Actually, don’t – apparently, it would take 585 billion years to see them all. Thankfully, then, the aim in No Man’s Sky isn’t to visit every planet, but to reach the centre of the universe in your ship, which you can upgrade. There’s no narrative, as the game is all about exploration – discovering new life on planets and sharing it with the world, trading resources, and shooting. Decisions have consequences, though. Attack too many creatures or spacecraft, or mine too heavily, and the police will be after you.
Platforms: PS4, PC
Some of 2016’s biggest films will be based on hit games, and with credible directors and actors involved, people’s perceptions of movies inspired by interactive entertainment could change. First up, for the kids, we have Angry Birds, an animated adventure from the creators of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. Next is Warcraft, from Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones, which tells the story of the origins of the conflict between the orcs and humans. Finally, there’s Assassin’s Creed, an original story that stars Michael Fassbender as the descendant of a 15th-century Spanish assassin.
ETA: Angry Birds, spring 2016; Warcraft, summer 2016; Assassin’s Creed, winter 2016
With the Xbox One and PS4 approaching their second anniversaries, don’t expect any new consoles from Sony and Microsoft in the next year. The former will entice more gamers with a new 1TB Darth Vader PS4, while Microsoft is releasing Xbox One Elite, which features a 1TB solid state hybrid drive and an Elite controller.
ETA: Out now
PS4 and Xbox One have a new rival in the living room
Imagine a new games machine with over 980 titles available at launch, some of them all-time classics. Say hello to the Steam Machine, which will change the way we play PC titles. Valve’s hardware enables you to play great games from the Steam store on your telly using a controller with clickable trackpads and buttons designed to appeal to console and PC gamers. And unlike consoles, you’ll be able to choose between boxes from different companies, all compatible with Valve’s OS. For example, AlienWare’s effort will entice gamers with its NVidia GeForce graphics and a bundle of games and in-game content out of the box.
ETA: December (AlienWare Alpha)