It may not have had a cash-intensive PR blitzkrieg, but The Witcher 2 – with its story quietly moulding itself around your actions and The Witcher himself refusing to conform to genre stereotype – generated endless word of mouth.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Xbox One, PS4 & PC
This outing will be larger, prettier and even more open-ended.
The Order: 1886
A steampunk vision of Victorian London where monsters roam, ready to be hacked to pieces by a shadowy organisation called The Order. It might involve a lot of coal-fired super-technology, but its setting and devotion to storytelling already stand out.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 & PC
Like last year’s Ground Zeroes, this will put grizzled antihero Snake into an open world, letting you approach objectives however you like. Snake now smokes E-cigarettes and is once again voiced by Kiefer Sutherland to no great effect, but judging by Ground Zeroes, this should be dazzling.
Nintendo turns its hand to multiplayer shooters with Splatoon, in which you fire volleys of brightly coloured paint at other players and also at the environment, with the team managing to paint-spatter the biggest floor area winning.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Set in pastoral England in the mid-1980s, this is an alternative take on the apocalypse, which for once doesn’t appear to feature either guns or zombies. As you might expect from the makers of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Dear Esther, it looks thought-provoking and eerily atmospheric.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
More deliciously wry story-driven adventures for Nathan Drake, the (naturally) American descendant of Sir Francis. The subtitle’s grim implication that this might be his swansong is about as likely as someone with a money-printing machine deciding to destroy it in a controlled explosion.
By the same developer as the exquisite Limbo, Inside looks as though it could be even more spine-chilling and emotionally affecting. Taking place after a cataclysm turns almost everyone into shuffling automaton-like zombies, you have to blend in with the mindless horde as well as avoiding faster-moving beasts.
Build your own Mario levels using a tool set that makes good use of the Wii U’s touch screen. Originally intended for use by Nintendo’s level designers, the richness and flexibility of this offering gives you access to enemies, obstacles and level furniture to create your own side-scrolling platform games.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Xbox One, PS4 & PC
More end-of-civilisation hijinks, as you team up with other players to patrol a decaying city in search of baddies to end. Ubisoft has had a few hiccups recently, so this will no doubt receive the full benefit of obsessive web forum-based scrutiny.
Quantum Break’s tale of a time travel experiment that goes tragically awry is being jointly made as an episodic video game and TV series. The last attempt at this, Defiance, wasn’t a total bust, but wasn’t great; could this one be the breakthrough?
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