No Man's Sky, Bloodborne, Witcher 3: the games to watch in 2015

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Screen 2

There are already high hopes for 2015 as a major video game year.

From ambitious indie experiments like No Mans Sky to giant blockbuster instalments like Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, the stars are certainly aligning.

But what do game makers themselves think? After interrogating a group of designers and developers on their favourite titles of 2014, we asked what they’re most looking forward to in the coming year.

Charles Cecil

Co-founder, Revolution Software

I am hugely looking forward to No Man’s Sky. Hello Games has a great pedigree, and this looks like being one of the most innovative titles of 2015. It’s a hugely ambitious game written by a small team. I do have high hopes.

Ed Fear

Writer and designer, Mediatonic

Oh gosh. So many! I can’t wait to play the demo of Final Fantasy XV that comes bundled with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. I mean, that game has so much to live up to, and by the looks of things it might actually have a chance of meeting some of that expectation. What we’ve seen in trailers looks great, but how will it actually come together? How is it beyond the set pieces? I can’t wait to find out.

Beyond that... I’ve never been able to get into the Witcher series, but I’m hoping The Witcher 3 will be my gateway just as Dragon Age: Inquisition was for Bioware. I’m cautiously optimistic about Resident Evil Revelations 2, especially the episodic structure – it will be interesting to see if that’s deployed well, or if it’s just there because it’s zeitgeisty. I’m terrible at games but I quite enjoy the Souls series, so I’m excited about Bloodborne.

Is Xenoblade Chronicles X out next year? Tetsuya Takahashi is my Miyamoto. His incredible stories were the reason I wanted to get into games. He taught me that you can use games to tell stories about the human condition; that just because games weren’t realistic didn’t mean they couldn’t be real. His games are responsible for turning me from an atheist into someone with a hungry fascination of religion. If you cut me, I bleed the Xeno series. To see him return to his strength – metaphysical sci-fi – has me hugely excited.

Liselore Goedhart

Independent illustrator and game designer, co-creator of SimAntics

There are many games I’m looking forward to in 2015, but there are a few that make me very excited and giddy by just thinking about them. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (I live in Europe, so I have to wait a few days still) looks unbelievably adorable and Mario is one of my favorite game universes to gallivant around in.
Another cute game I can’t wait to play is Yoshi’s Woolly World. The amount of cuddliness and fluffiness is almost unbearable.
The ideas and atmosphere surrounding Night in the Woods intrigue me. It’s going to be like Wes Anderson and David O’Reilly had a love child.
No Man’s Sky makes me want to buy a PS4. This game seems like it will give me environments that are imaginative, colorful and dream-like, exactly the thing I’d expect from a explorative sci-fi game.
Plus:Below, Rime, Abzu, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, The Witness and That Dragon, Cancer.

Rami Ismail

Co-founder of Dutch games studio, Vlambeer

I just want to play No Man’s Sky.

Dan Marshall

Founder of Size Five Games, currently working on The Swindle

I’m really looking forward to Elite Dangerous – I realise it’s out already but I need to find a couple of weeks to really sink into it. Spaceships are always amazing.

I’m also hoping Satellite Reign comes out in 2015, its looking really strong and like a total contender for Syndicate’s crown. Hopefully it kickstarts a resurgence in that kind of game.

Rob Fearon

Independent game designer, creator of Death Ray Manta and War Twat

Whatever Matt James of Hermit Games is making for the PS4. Somebody letting him do proper grown up console work is long overdue and I’m genuinely excited to see what he comes up with – whilst still being annoyed that it’s taken this long for Valve to greenlight the amazing Qrth-Phyl for release on Steam, natch.

Gemma Thomson

Independent game designer, currently working on Mimic

Any other anticipation I have is dwarfed by my eagerness for No Man’s Sky. I respect Hello Games a great deal for bringing wonder back into games previews –my hunger to know more even had me buying printed games magazines again. I’ve enjoyed the teasing so far, and I adore any game I can just “be” in, with surprises borne either of player actions, or arising from the procedural game universe – not from stilted FMVs, or scripted events which end up revealed in trailers and previews anyway.
I’m similarly excited for Mike Bithell’s Volume, ever since playing the early demo at Radius Festival. I appreciate its visual style, and the stealth mechanics feel challenging without being punishing, something which personally puts me off many other games in the genre. Mostly though, I’m intrigued by its storyline and tantalising characters, which again are being kept teasingly under wraps.

Adam Saltsman

Independent game designer, creator of Canabalt, Hundreds and Overland

Hmm... there’s stuff like Cibele and some unannounced Zach Gage projects that I’m really excited about. There’s Alto’s Adventure, and Samurai Gunn finally coming to console. Luna and Wattam from Funomena, Firewatch, more Invisible Inc updates. Below from Capy! and the PS4 version of Tearaway... and whatever comes next from Kentucky Route Zero.

Dino Dini

Game designer and lecturer, creator of the Kick Off series

The continuation of Elite: Dangerous, so I can perhaps witness the evolution of the video game industry that was not to be, and perhaps might have an opportunity to be yet. It’s answering the question, what would have happened to video games if the creativity that was present in the late 80s and early 90s had been allowed to continue to express itself freely?

Gary Penn

Game designer and author, Denki

I’m liking the possibilities of Oculus Rift. Virtual reality at this quality is actually quite literally a game changer. Curiously, of all my many VR experiences so far, it’s Jeff Minter’s Minotaur Rescue VR that’s been the most compelling. He’s done a remarkable job of refactoring his original iOS game to make it possible to play an immersive and satisfying inertial Asteroids-style shooter with just your head movements. At times the connectivity is creepy. I’m yet to try VR TxK but from what I hear it’s quite the trip.

Bennet Foddy

Independent game designer, creator of Qwop, Girp and Get On Top

I’ve been playing early builds of Stephen Lavelle’s new game Sausage Roll, about rolling sausages around, and it’s already, unreservedly, the best game I’ve ever played. Imagine a puzzle game where each successive puzzle forces you to make deep new realisations about the game’s systems, and ultimately, about the nature of the real world.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to Million Onion Hotel, the new game by Chulip-creator Yoshirō Kimura that you could describe as “cute, deep Whack-a-Mole”, and of course I’ll also play the new one by Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. There, that’s an indie game, a mobile game and a AAA game.

Byron Atkinson Jones

Independent game designer

Star Wars Armada, because I’m a Star Wars fan and the models look fantastic. I have it pre-ordered on Amazon. Oh, you meant video games? Hmm, nothing has really grabbed my attention yet but my games will be out in 2015 so I’m looking forward to seeing them – Caretaker and A touch of Magic!

Nina Freeman

Independent game developer, designer of How Do You Do It

I played Naomi Clark’s game Consentacle at No Quarter this year. It’s a card game about sex and consent between a human and a tentacled alien. Each player is trying to become as satisfied as possible. You can gaze, lick or envelop each other, for example, but only if consent is granted. It’s a very interesting and fun experience in exploring the erotic comfort zones, negotiation and sexuality in general. The game is still in development, and I’m really excited to see where Naomi goes with it!

Zeke Virant’s Soft Body is an abstract twin-stick schmup about painting and dodging. I played an early version of it this year and was really struck by the elegance of the game – you roam each level freely, dodging bullets as you maneuver your two bodies through a minimalist landscape of shapes that you paint with your touch. I am a huge fan of decadent schmups by companies like Cave, and I am so excited to see a game that strips down that kind of game into a minimalist style.

Finally, the game that I’m working on now is called Cibele, which is being made by with myself and our team called Star Maid Games. Cibele is about a girl and boy that met in an online game. They are trying to meet up in real life for the first time to have sex. It’s also, like many of the other games I’ve worked on, a vignette game about my personal experience with an online relationship. You can read a little more about it in Cara Ellison’s piece about my work in her Embed With series. This game will be released in 2015. (There’s a mailing list for it at cibelegame.com)

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 31st December 2014 09.37 Europe/London

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