2014 proved to be an eventful year for video games. Blockbuster titles like Assassin's Creed Unity, Destiny, Super Smash Bros. and Dragon Age: Inquisition all arrived just in time for the holiday season, while games like Titanfall and Dark Souls II delivered some great experiences earlier in the year. Indie titles like Shovel Knight, Transistor and more also continued to make a big splash in the industry.
There were, of course, a number of controversies (GamerGate, the broken state of many games upon release), but even if 2014 might not have been the best year gaming has ever had, 2015 is definitely looking bright. Next-gen consoles will finally be getting some exclusive games being built from the ground up for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and the latest installments of some of gaming's biggest franchises will be making a triumphant return. Let's take a look at some of the games to look forward to in the New Year.
Evolve (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, February 10)
Big-budget shooters are a dime a dozen these days, but Evolve brings a truly original concept to the table with its asymmetrical gameplay. A team of four intergalactic hunters must each use their unique class skills to bring down a massive creature controlled by another player. Cooperation is key in order to bring down the beasts, but you can rest assured that the player controlling the alien terror isn't going to make it easy. By consuming animals in the environment, the monster can grow in size and power, eventually turning the tables on the hunters and becoming predator rather than prey.
Bloodbourne (PlayStation 4, March 24)
From the creators of the Dark Souls series comes a brand new game that is Dark Souls in all but name. Featuring similarly punishing combat, a dark fantasy world filled with horrific creatures to defeat and co-operative elements, Bloodbourne is shaping up to be the PlayStation 4 exclusive to beat next year when it releases in March.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, May 19)
The final installment in the Witcher trilogy is looking to be one of the most beautiful next-gen games yet. Playing as professional monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, players will explore a massive open fantasy world filled with quests, characters and monsters as Geralt battles with the spectral army known as the Wild Hunt.
Batman: Arkham Knight (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, June 2)
Open world Gotham City. Batmobile. Those two features alone are enough to give video game and comic fans alike reason to pass out in anticipation for Batman: Arkham Knight. Add in the fact that the game will feature a brand new Batman villain created by Chief DC Creative Officer Geoff Johns, and June can't come soon enough for Batman fans. The previous games in the Arkham series are held as the best Batman games ever created, and so far we haven't been given any reason to doubt Batman: Arkham Knight will be any different.
Star Wars: Battlefront (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Holiday 2015)
In the geek world, 2015 might as well be renamed "The Year Star Wars Came Back." The seventh installment of the film franchise will land in December with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and along with it will be the return of Star Wars: Battlefront. The team behind the Battlefield franchise is crafting the Star Wars shooter of our dreams filled with speeder bikes, X-Wings and AT-ATs. What more could a Star Wars fan ask for? Though little is known about the game, anticipation and expectations are already sky-high. Here's to hoping the game delivers.
Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One, Holiday 2015)
Xbox's biggest franchise returns next year, and if the Halo 5 multiplayer beta is any indication, fans have a lot to be excited about. Multiplayer is faster and more fluid than ever before as Halo returns to its arena shooter roots. But Halo isn't all about the multiplayer. Many fans are anxious to see where the next chapter in Master Chief's saga will take them, as the Chief sets off on his own, only to be hunted by the mysterious Spartan Locke.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One first, then PlayStation 4, Holiday 2015)
A new Tomb Raider is a big deal. Rise of the Tomb Raider will be looking to build off the success of the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, which saw a younger Lara Croft transforming into the hardened adventurer fans have come to know over the years. The game has already created ill-will with some fans after it was announced the game would be a timed exclusive for Xbox One, but if Rise of the Tomb Raider can improve upon the formula established in the 2013 title then it will be worth the wait for Xbox and PlayStation players alike.
Final Fantasy XV (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, 2015)
This one has been a long time coming. Originally conceived as a spin-off to Final Fantasy XIII and announced way back in 2006, Final Fantasy XV is now officially a numbered entry in the franchise. Better yet, it looks like it might actually be released! A playable demo for the game is coming this year for those who pick up Final Fantasy Type-0 and promises an adventure that is an interesting mix of classic Final Fantasy (swords, monsters, magic) with the modern world (cars, business suits, guns).
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PlayStation 4, 2015)
An older and more grizzled Nathan Drake returns for one final adventure in Uncharted 4. Not much is known about the game, but it is sure to deliver the same kind of Indiana Jones-inspired adventure the series is known for. Developer Naughty Dog's last game, The Last of Us, won multiple game of the year awards. If they can channel some of that greatness in Uncharted 4, it could easily be the best game in the franchise yet.
Legend of Zelda (Wii U, 2015)
Little is known about the upcoming Legend of Zelda, but what we do know is enough to send any Nintendo fan to the moon and back -- open world. Sure, it's been done before in other games and even to an extent in other Zelda titles, but the idea of a gigantic open world Legend of Zelda powered by the Wii U and filled with quests and characters to discover is a tantalizing promise. Will we actually see the game release in 2015? Let's hope so.