Our GOTY and predictions for gaming in 2016

As we’ve slowly gotten back into the post-holiday workflow here at BeefJack, with our hangovers (mostly) cured, we’ve had a look around at the gaming industry. Having already been hit with Oculus Rift announcements (it hurt right in the wallet), we thought now would be a good time to go through all the gaming things to look forward to in 2016 — VR (of course), the rise of eSports and a few awesome games to look forward to. So my colleague Charlene and I we asked various members of the BeefJack team: what are you really looking forward to in games for 2016? Here’s what they said (and thanks to Charlene for helping me put together this post!)

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Shaun Leach, Founder and Creative Director:

Virtual Reality means the evolution — if not revolution – of games as we know it: games design will completely evolve for new and unique experiences.

E-sports should be interesting this year, although I don’t think it will peak. But Street Fighter 5’s arrival and its connection with e-sports will be interesting – and from what I played at EGX lastyear, the game is pretty fantastic too, as usual!

It’s also seemingly a good year for new and unique IP. Games like No Man’s Sky, Adr1ft, Firewatch, Worlds Adrift, all look stunning and offer truly unique experiences. It feels like we are going full-swing into the gaming renaissance, which are exciting times because we don’t know where the next big hit will come from. Even AAAs are getting in on it too, with games like Far Cry Primal for example. Gaming is finally starting to feel progressive, which presages for a good year.

Geoff Lewis, Managing Director:

It would be good to see some advances in VR, but with the Oculus price that’s not going to help… There are plenty of competing headsets though, so 2016 should still be a good year for VR. Game wise, I’d like to see Left 4 Dead 3 of course!

[Lewis’s note — Geoff is an absolute master of L4D and playing in Versus against him is basically totally depressing.]

Benjamin Howe, Account Manager:

For 2016, quite possibly the greatest list of PS4 exclusives ever: PS VR, No Man’s Sky, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4, Street Fighter V, Ratchet and Clank…

But outside of PlayStation content, I’m looking forward to Nintendo NX announcements, E3 2016, and EGX Rezzed at Tobacco Dock — partly for the cool venue.

Haley Uyrus, Digital Marketing Specialist:

VR’s entry into the market will mark 2016 — especially worldwide. AAA studios’ increasing use of women leads is refreshing (i.e. Dishonored 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, etc. And of course our own game release: Iron Fish!). My most anticipated games this year would be Dishonored 2, Firewatch, No Man’s Sky, Horizon Zero Dawn and Rockband for VR.

Lucie Prunier, Production Manager:

There are so many exciting titles to look forward to this year, including Mass Effect 4, Zelda Wii U, the full version of Don’t Starve Together (finally!), Day of the Tentacle: Remastered… I’m also quite looking forward to No Man’s Sky and Horizon Zero Dawn. Some game devs I know personally are releasing BFF or Die which should be loads of fun, and Dimension Drive. I have to stop somewhere, so the last one on my list will have to be Return of the Obra Dinn (Papers, Please’s Lukas Pope’s new game… Although I’m not sure whether it will be released this year — fingers crossed!

Andrew Jarman, Programmer:

VR is a huge talking point at the moment, but is it what PC gamers actually want? Recently there has been a huge drive in computer graphics for adaptive sync, which created a huge leap in graphic and monitor technology. Will adaptive sync plus wider aspect ratio monitors such as 21:9 at 3440×1440 be considered as a more acceptable increase in immersion? This would get rid of VR’s drawbacks (such as motion sickness) by tethering you head to your PC and not being able to see your keyboard or controller.

Dominik Mueller, Game Design Assistant:

am as well looking forward for all the big things, such as VR and all the new AAA titles, yet what I always find fascinating are the unknown competitors. Last year we witnessed quite a few small gems popping up and receiving tonnes of publicity such as Undertale or even Rocket League. I am looking forward to all the things we do not know about: small new games, new game design ideas and more adventurous takes on games, and I do hope that the indie wave keeps going strong. Additionally Dark Souls 3… I cannot wait to drive new players into tears when invading their world.

Peter Granfors, Web Designer:

came across this article a few weeks ago, about VR as medical treatment — I’d say that what interests me the most is to see how VR will be used and implemented. Gaming might be a big factor, but there could be so many other applications to it.

Fatih Gurdal, Lead Artist:

have noticed that game companies are slowly moving towards e-Sports. SFV seems to be focussing on that a bit. It is already the largest fighting game in terms of tournaments, it pretty much is the main event of EVO. Also Capcom Cup, which basically has contestants gather points all year, so they can enter and compete in the main tournament. Also with Epic’s new Paragon, it’s a ‘proper’ AAA. It’s a third person MOBA-type of game though, so it is a bit different.

Charlene Lebrun, Public Relations Assistant:

Although I am excited about the possibilities of VR, pricing and a relatively small number of VR games could make 2016 another year of the early adopter — but maybe the last one before we see VR and AR become part of mainstream games culture in 2017.

My games of the year will most likely be XCOM2 and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. There are also so many indie games to get excited about, such as Oxenfree (which was simply wonderful to play), The Wall Shall Stand and No Man’s Sky to name a few.

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Which I guess brings us to me. I think the race for VR supremacy is going to be the big one. But what I’m interested in is the direction the games take for VR. Will we find ourselves flooded with “virtual tourist” experiences — exploring imaginary places — or will we start to see someone really nail what VR game mechanics look like? My guess is that Valve and HTC will lead the way in terms of publishing interesting, creative, mechanics-driven content in VR, with the added fidelity and control flexibility that the Vive brings. But it’ll be a fascinating race, whatever happens.

All in all, 2016 should be incredibly interesting in games: new tech, long-awaited games, the line between indies and AAAs blurring further… All to be discussed again in a year’s time!