The 20 Most Highly Anticipated Games of 2016

The year 2015 was a surprisingly good one for gamers. In 2014, who would have predicted that a Bethesda game—Fallout 4—would lose out on Game of the Year to Witcher 3? Could anyone have guessed that indie RPG Undertale would turn the gaming world upside down? Yes, 2015 gave us a lot of gems. However, it’s now time to look ahead to 2016.

The gamers here at Ranting Dragon started with a list of forty games that are highly anticipated releases in 2016. First, a few notes on what qualified.

  1. No expansions. That left out things like World of Warcraft: Legion. These were excluded because, while they will introduce new content, they are not full games.
  2. Episodic games were not included if some episodes had come out already. This excluded things such as book 5 of Dreamfall Chapters.
  3. No remakes. Sorry, fans of Final Fantasy 7; this game has already been released—many years ago.
  4. Must not have come out anywhere in the world in 2015. While Fire Emblem Fates does look fantastic, it has already come out in Japan, therefore excluding it from this list.

Following those guidelines, we got as many votes as we could on our starting list of forty games. The twenty games with the most votes, plus our two honorable mentions, made the list.

With that established, let’s look forward to the 20 Most Highly Anticipated Games of 2016, starting off with our honorable mentions.

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Honorable Mention: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Uncharted games follow a treasure hunter by the name of Nathan Drake. In the past three games, he has found mythical treasures in adventures filled with puzzles, danger, gunplay, comedy, and even a little romance. The fourth is looking to be grittier than the others, and the title makes it sound like our hero might be in trouble. Fans of the series are looking forward to this one.

System(s): Playstation 4.
Developer(s): Naughty Dog.

Release Date: March 18, 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
Honorable Mention: Allison Road
In 2015, Konami did the unthinkable, firing legendary game developer Hideo Kojima and cancelling all upcoming products. Fans of survival horror games were angry at the cancellation of upcoming Silent Hills. Well, now they have cause to be excited again. Allison Road is being called a spiritual successor to Silent Hills and fans of the genre are eagerly anticipating this title.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Developer(s): Lilith Ltd.

Release Date: 2016
20. Lego Marvel’s Avengers
Lots of people love Lego games. Lots of people love the Marvel Universe, especially the Avengers. This one seems like an obvious gem waiting to be discovered. Since Lego Star Wars, the Lego games have always been great for kids and parents to enjoy together, covering many well loved movies. How can we not include this on the list?

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Windows.
Developer(s): Traveller’s Tales, TT Games, and TT Fusion.

Release Date: January 26, 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
19. Far Cry Primal
The Far Cry series has a strong following among fans of the first person shooter genre. Renowned for their good stories, solid gameplay, and cutting edge graphics, these games have always delivered. This one takes place in prehistoric times. Unfortunately, I don’t know much more about it myself.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal.

Release Date: February 23, 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
18. The Walking Dead: Michonne
The Walking Dead is one of the most popular forms of media today, spanning between comics, TV, and video games. It is notorious for being very emotional. This game will be three episodes following the enigmatic Michonne, who we know from the comics and TV show as the katana wielding badass. Little is known about her past, but maybe this game will reveal that enigma.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation Vita, Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire.
Developer(s): Telltale Games.

Release Date: February 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
17. Star Citizen
This game is difficult to explain. It will be partial space flight simulator, partial mining/trading game, partial first person shooter, and partial MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game. It will have both single-player and multiplayer campaigns and will feature Oculus Rift support. It’s a daring project, but is headed up by the legendary Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame. It looks promising.

System(s): Windows and Linux.
Developer(s): Cloud Imperium Games.

Release Date: 2016
16. Gears of War 4
This series was immensely popular on the Xbox 360, becoming one of the main franchises of the system alongside Halo. It’s a dark and gritty sci-fi shooter that emphasizes the need to take cover. The next title in the series is expected to do just as well as the first three games did.

System(s): Xbox One.
Developer(s): The Coalition.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
15. Horizon: Zero Dawn
This is a roleplaying game being made by the same company that brought us Killzone, a moderately successful shooter series. 1000 years in the future, Earth has been largely left to the robots. Few humans remain, struggling for survival. It looks very unique! It could be great or could disappoint. Time will tell.

System(s): Playstation 4.
Developer(s): Guerilla Games.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
14. Tom Clancy’s The Division
This is an open world third person shooter role playing game with survival elements. Previews show a lot of multiplayer squad based elements to it as well. The premise is interesting and a lot of people are excited for this one. Hopefully this one can deliver.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): Ubisoft Massive, Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections, and Ubisoft Annecy.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
13. Fable Legends
The first two Fable games were immensely popular, being some of the first games with what has now become a common morality system. Unfortunately, Fable 3 left a lot of fans very disappointed. However, with the introduction of multiplayer, the game may regain its popularity.

System(s): Xbox One and Windows.
Developer(s): Lionhead Studios.

Release Date: 2016
12. Torment: Tides of Numenera
In 1999, fans of roleplaying games were given a gem called Planescape: Torment, based on the Planescape setting of Dungeons & Dragons. 17 years later, Tides of Numenera looks to be the spiritual successor to the original Torment. Fans of the first game are looking forward to this one with great anticipation.

System(s): Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Developer(s): inXile Entertainment

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
11. Overwatch
For many years, any time Blizzard has released a game, it has been well received and sold well. Overwatch seems poised to continue that trend, even if the developer has never delved into the shooter genre before. Team based multiplayer is the focus, with several heroes to choose from and the ability to change heroes after each death.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): Blizzard Entertainment.

Release Date: Quarter 1 or Quarter 2 of 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
10. Dark Souls 3
The Dark Souls series is infamous for its extreme difficulty. Not since Battletoads has a game caused so many broken controllers. This fantasy hack-and-slash adventure game will no doubt continue to frustrate gamers everywhere and delight fans of the series.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): FromSoftware

Release Date: March 24, 2016 (Japan); April 12, 2016 (worldwide) Buy this book from Amazon
9. Dishonored 2
In the first hit game, you played as the Royal assassin Corvo, who was framed for the death of the Empress and abduction of the Princess. In this upcoming sequel, you return as Corvo, but also get to play as the Princess-turned-Assassin, Emily. You can look forward to more stealth and supernatural powers in what is likely to be a great game.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): Arkane Studios.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Sequels in the Deus Ex series don’t have a very good record, but this one looks to be done well and not just an attempt at easy money. You will once again play as Adam Jensen, caught in a moral civil war about cybernetics and ethical questions. Hopefully we get another great game in this gritty futuristic cyperpunk setting.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): Eidos Montreal.

Release Date: August 23, 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
7. Final Fantasy XV
Despite the numbering system, very few games in the Final Fantasy series are sequels. The fifteenth “main game” in the series looks to be graphically amazing, but that is normal for these games. I don’t know much about the setting or plot myself, but fans almost always love these games and are looking forward to the next entry with great anticipation.

System(s): Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
Developer(s): Square Enix Business Division 2.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
6. Batman: A Telltale Games Series
Telltale games are loved for having great stories and solid puzzle gameplay. This seems like a perfect match for everyone’s favorite Dark Knight. Little is known at this point, but most fans don’t need to know more than the title tells us.

System(s): To Be Announced.
Developer(s): Telltale Games.

Release Date: 2016
5. Pokemon Go
Everyone knows Pokemon. Travel the world, capture cute animals, train them to defeat other trainers, and become the best trainer in the world. People have loved these games for twenty years. Now, with Pokemon Go, you’ll get the next best thing to experiencing it in reality. You actually travel around the world to capture them this time.

System(s): iPhone and Android.
Developer(s): Niantic, Inc.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
4. XCOM 2
Squad based strategy greatness returns. You play as a squad of elite soldiers defending earth from an alien invasion. One of the appeals, and challenges, is that if a unit dies, it’s gone forever—making things very difficult if your most powerful unit is killed.

System(s): Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Developer(s): Firaxis Games and Feral Interactive.

Release Date: February 5, 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
3. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5
Explaining these games is like explaining the American Political system. It would take more time and space than I have in this article. In short, they’re part social simulator and part dungeon crawl roleplaying game. They’re very crazy, but also well loved.

System(s): Playstation 4 and Playstation 3.
Developer(s): Atlus and P Studio.

Release Date: 2016
2. The Legend of Zelda (working title)
Another series that has been popular for decades, it follows the adventures of Link as he tries to rescue the titular Princess Zelda from the evil Ganondorf. This will be the first game in the series on current generation systems, and will take the series into open world. Fans have been dying to get their hands on this game since it was announced in 2014.

System(s): Wii U.
Developer(s): Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development.

Release Date: 2016 Buy this book from Amazon
1. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Coming in as the most anticipated games of 2016 is the fourth entry in the Mass Effect series. The first three games were largely well received, right up until the incredibly controversial ending to the trilogy’s finale. Despite that, the idea of having more adventures with Krogan, Asari, Turians, and Quarians was enough to put this game at the top. Hopefully the series is redeemed in the eyes of the fans.

System(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Developer(s): BioWare.

Release Date: December 2016 Buy this book from Amazon

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We’d love to hear from you. What games are you particularly looking forward to?  Did we miss any?  Let us know in the comments or forums!

About Abram Bryson

Abram Bryson
Abram is a video game geek first and foremost. This list of upcoming video games is his second article for The Ranting Dragon after he wrote a similar article a few years ago—though he hopes to publish many more video game-related things for us in the near future. Abram is a 35 year old dude currently living in Texas.

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