When can you play the biggest games of E3 2015?
A lot of the games on show during E3 2015 were so beautiful that we wanted to charge onto the stage, snatch them up and carry them home with us immediately. Unfortunately most of them are still a long, long way from release, so we just have to sit here consumed with lust for the rest of the foreseeable future.
To make the wait more bearable, let’s look at just how long we’re going to have to wait to get our sticky paws on the sweet, sweet fruit of E3 2015.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Hype level: !
Wait time: Kept you waiting, huh?
New: I have absolutely no idea how I managed to forget this one. It's like there's a Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain-shaped hole in my brain. Obviously, this is one of the biggest games of E3 2015, and delightfully, it's also one of the first you can get your hands on. It releases on multiple platforms on September 1. Hideo Kojima has said it's the last one, and while he always says that, it's pretty clear that whatever happens to the franchise now that he's apparently parting way with Konami, The Phantom Pain is finally going to bring the series full circle and fill in the blanks. Fans, prepare to fangasm.
Destiny: The Taken King
Hype level: high
Wait time: depends
It’s hard to get really interested in Destiny reveals because all the information leaks out well in advance. For the couple of million players who don’t read gaming websites every day it’s probably much more exciting, but since all of us here already knew about the supers and whatever, we just want to know about the Raid and the new equipment which Bungie, predictably, isn’t talking about yet. Sighhh. How far away September 15 feels depends on your play style; some of my clan have all three characters at level 34 already, while others are still excited to be level 22 and haven’t even started The Dark Below or seen the Vault of Glass yet.
Hype level: rising
Wait time: laughable
Forza 6 has been on our radars since January so E3 2015 didn’t so much fan the flames of hype as gently feed them. It’s one of the Xbox One’s big exclusives this year, and launching just at the start of the rush season on September 17.
Hype level: higher than average
Wait time: sensible
FIFA releases every year around the same time, so talking about wait times is kind of silly - everyone knows when the next instalment is coming and whether they’re going to buy it or not. What makes it interesting this year is EA Sports is including women’s national teams for the first time. This has attracted a significant number of new fans - I personally have fielded dozens of queries from soon-to-be gamers keen to get on board. These proto-gamers aren’t accustomed to having to wait years for a product, so it’s a good thing FIFA 16 releases on September 22 (US), September 24 (Europe) and September 25 (UK).
Rainbow Six Siege
Hype level: limited but mighty
Wait time: comfortable
Rainbow Six Siege doesn’t have the mass blockbuster appeal of Call of Duty and Ubisoft’s decision to double down on a hardcore tactical approach means a bunch of the Xbox Live fans who flocked to the series in the Vegas days might not be back thanks to the considerable softening that comes with age and lack of time. For hardcore fans, though, this looks like the absolute tits, and October 13 can’t come soon enough.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Hype level: sulky
Wait time: psssh
Honestly, we really wouldn’t have minded if Ubisoft wanted to take a year off Assassin’s Creed, but it’s the publisher’s tentpole franchise so I suppose that was never an option. Longterm series fans (*raises hand*) are feeling a bit wary this time around. Assassin’s Creed: Unity was pretty good but um, not for several weeks (months?) after launch, and although the city tech made amazing leaps and the co-op was fun when it worked, the series itself is in need of a bit of a shake up. I’m quietly optimistic about Syndicate but I’m always quietly optimistic, because I’m an idiot. Look for it on October 23 on PS4 and Xbox One, and goodness knows when on PC, hem hem.
Halo 5: Guardians
Hype level: megalithic but very wary
Wait time: no problem
On the one hand, HAAAAALLLOOOOOOOOOOO, and on the other, gosh, The Master Chief Collection. Reception of Halo 5: Guardians has been mixed so far, with the very real worries raised by the last release inflamed by regular controversies regarding sprinting, aim down sights and other design details of central importance to the hardcore fanbase. Honestly though, don’t even front; everyone’s gonna buy it. So: expect this to be one of the hits of the holiday season. Halo 5 launches October 27.
Need for Speed
Hype level: um
Wait time: astonishingly short
Call me Sir Silly but I sort of feel that if you’re going to reboot a franchise as venerable as the once-annualised Need for Speed you ought to do it with a bit more fanfare than a reveal at the E3 just five months before launch. I’m not sure this rushed sort of schedule is enough to win back those who were fatigued by yearly releases. Still, it’s exceptionally pretty. Hopefully a few more info drops in the coming months will build some anticipation for the November 3 launch.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Hype level: predictable
Wait time: also predictable
There are people for whom every Call of Duty is the gaming event of the year - about 30 million of them, in fact -and nothing is going to change that. You can leave smug little "do people still buy these" comments if you like, but it is pretty damned evident that they sure do. If you want to shoot things in the face while talking shit with your mates, come on down to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on November 6.
Hype level: astronomical
Wait time: refreshingly minimal
Bless short PR cycles, that’s all I can say. People have been screeching "Fallout 4??" at Bethesda since about 15 minutes after Fallout 3 released, and this hype only intensified after the immense success of Skyrim. This very strong base-level anticipation, which saw every whisper and rumour go viral, did a lot of the marketing work for Bethesda, which worked in our favour. The publisher turned up on Day -1 and dropped an enormous bomb: Fallout 4 will be ours on November 10.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Hype level: medium
Wait time: negligible/intolerable
Tomb Raider was a pretty great reboot and we’re pretty excited to see where Rhianna Pratchett and the team at Crystal Dynamics take Lara Croft next. Nowhere nice, of course; that’s not her style. How you feel about the wait for this one depends on whether you own an Xbox One. If you do, great: it’s out on November 10. If not, you have to wait until Microsoft’s timed exclusivity deal ends, and neither Microsoft nor Square Enix will open their lips and let that information fall out.
Star Wars Battlefront
Hype level: the force is strong with this one
Wait time: so near and yet so far
Star Wars Battlefront is EA’s big 2015 shooter, and drops on November 17. That’s hardly any time, really, but every time we see a new trailer everyone goes absolutely librarian-poo with excitement. Put Battlefront just out of reach a grown gamer and they start straining and stretching and whining, like a dog trying to get at a strawberry shortcake. Try it if you can, it’s quite funny.
Just Cause 3
Hype level: should be higher
Wait time: frustrating
If I worked at Square Enix, I’d sit the marketing team down and speak to them very patiently. "Do you know what I like about Just Cause," I’d ask them. They’d shake their heads, wide-eyed. "I liked that it was just unapologetically stupid. I’m not sure why," I’d go on, "You thought a five minute trailer presenting it like srs bsns was a good idea, but it wasn’t. Are your shoes leaking? Are they? Yes that’s because you shot yourself in the foot." Then I would drop the mic and refuse even to look at them until Just Cause 3 launched on December 1. I’d probably get fired but it would be worth it. Maybe I’ll send my resume.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Hype level: depressingly low
Wait time: it’s a Christmas miracle
Wii U and JRPG fans have been jonesing for this one ever since it was first announced. it’s already out in Japan but given the history of slow JRPG localisations a December 4 release is astoundingly rapid - especially given it’s Nin "nah let’s not bother bringing The Last Story west" Tendo at the helm.
Hype level: well, my friend Raygun is really excited
Wait time: bewilderingly tiny
Like Need for Speed, Hitman is a reboot, and a big one. Apparently it’s IO Interactive’s most ambitious title yet, and yet we didn’t even have an inkling an announce was due. Perhaps we should have expected this given the new movie and all, but still: blindsided. The trailer was pretty good and Square Enix coughed up some decent looking gameplay footage eventually, so. We’ll see. It launches December 8 - just six months from announce.
Star Fox Zero
Hype level: how many Wii U owners are there?
Wait time: "Nintendo time"
It seems ridiculous that it’s taken Nintendo this long to cough up a Star Fox game for Wii U. The second-screen features seem so obvious, and Nintendo has been so adamant that those were the selling point of the console, that it probably should have been a launch title and kicked off a trend. Perhaps it was too busy not calling third-parties? Anyway you can finally do a barrel roll in the 2015 holiday period.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Hype level: fanatically high
Wait time: we’re probably fooling ourselves
The Kingdom Hearts fandom is aggressively keen and as far as I’m concerned Kingdom Hearts 3 can’t come soon enough, because then maybe they’ll stop sending me emails about it with fanart attached. (Don’t do this any more. Seriously.) There is some hope for a 2015 release date but since nothing was said at E3, ehhhhhh, you know? I’m not confident.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Hype level: powerful
Wait time: acceptable
Another entry in the "Q1 is the new Q4" category, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will be available from February 23. This is another of those cult properties we thought might never produce a sequel - or a prequel or a reboot or whatever it is - but eventually made it to production thanks to unceasing demand from the fan base. Good to see you again, Faith. May your return be all we hoped for and none of the things we feared.
Dark Souls 3
Hype level: so hard it hurts
Wait time: not harsh enough to trouble a Souls veteran
Souls players can endure any number of hardships, so a nine month wait for Dark Souls 3, which releases in early 2016, is nothing to them. We were a bit surprised by how quickly this one followed on after Bloodborne, but it turns out Hidetaka Miyazaki has been leading two teams, and Dark Souls 3 has been in production for two years.
Hype level: powerful
Wait time: desperate but tempered
We really, really hoped The Division was going to be a 2015 holiday highlight, but it’s not. Maybe that’s all for the best, since the holidays are already gonna be pretty crowded, but it’s not like March 2016 is looking much more clear. The only things making the nine month wait bearable are the December beta and the fact that after this long we’ve almost forgotten what it’s like not to be waiting for The Division.
Street Fighter 5
Hype level: SHORYUKEN
Wait time: Here comes a new challenger
Street Fighter 5 is coming out in March 2016 which is kind of amazing since Capcom only really started talking about it quite recently. It’s only in the last few weeks we’ve learned anything about it, and it is such a reasonable distance from us that we only just have time to dust off the old fighting sticks and remember how our fingers work. Plus there’s a beta in July to keep us busy in the meantime.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Hype level: building
Wait time: acceptable
Deus Ex: Human Revolution arrived in August, which is an unusual triple-A launch slot, so I’m hoping Mankind Divided’s "early 2016" window actually means January, a month of drought. Probably not, though; I’d bank on it adding to an already crowded March. It was good to get a bit of a look at this one during E3 2015 but I don’t think there’s been enough of it yet; expect that to change over the coming months.
Hype level: restrained
Wait time: acceptable
Keiji Inafune is one of our great treasures so we’re very keen to see what he’s getting up to with Microsoft, and that trailer was pretty great. Unfortunately it didn’t tell us anything at all about the actual game, so it’s hard to get particularly excited. Expect Microsoft to start talking about this one soon - maybe at gamescom 2015 - as it’ll be with us sometimes in the second quarter of 2016.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Hype level: practically non-existent
Wait time: unknown, uncared for
Ubisoft opened its E3 2015 with a pretty good trailer for its surprise reveal, and yet the announce has just gone under the radar. Nobody seems to care at all. I wonder if that’s why it hasn’t announced a release date yet? Pre-orders have opened, which is a bit cheeky, and retailers are pointing at 2016, so I’m gonna guess at Q2.
Hype level: moderate
Wait time: tolerable
DOOM is big business but the hype for iD Software’s latest has been tempered by a few factors. First, the really hardcore faithful had already seen most of what was shown at E3 2015, and second, we always knew we weren’t going to get it this year. The mills of iD grind slow, after all, although RAGE suggests they don’t always grind that fine. Anyway, DOOM is launching in northern spring 2016, so up to, what, 11 months to wait? What the hell, we’ve been waiting this long.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Hype level: pretty good
Wait time: worse if you read the comments
Uncharted 4 will take as long as it takes. Every Naughty Dog and PlayStation fan wants to see the developer squeeze everything it can out of its first real PS4 title. This is hard to remember when an Xbox fanboy is crowing at you about Halo and Gears and Forza and how PlayStation has no good exclusives. Try coughing "Master Chief Collection" and "holiday 2014" a few times until they get upset and go home. Look for A Thief’s End in northern spring 2016 - that's March through May.
No Man’s Sky
Hype level: dammit, I already used astronomical
Wait time: suspicious
Hello Games let slip that it intended to announce a release date for No Man’s Sky at E3 2015, but something went wrong. I’m going to assume, pretty confidently, that the schedule slipped; after all, Hello Games is ten people and No Man’s Sky is literally one of the biggest games ever. I’m gonna guess we were going to get this one either in the holidays or Q1 next year, and that it’s been pushed back to Q2. But we may be pleasantly surprised; maybe Sony just wants to make a noise at gamescom with an announcement.
Hype level: intense, but focused
Wait time: reasonable
It seems to be a general rule that if you liked Dishonored, you really liked Dishonored, and the thought of a sequel sends you into little paroxysms of joy. More of the same would have been enough, really, but a new playable character with new powers? Monocoles popped all over town. Bethesda had to reveal this one now, because it’s been leaking for quite a while and it will help drive sales of Dishonored: Definitive Edition, but even if it launches as late as December 2016 that’s still a pretty good turn around.
Sea of Thieves
Hype level: localised but elevated
Wait time: edging on painful
Rare is making a new game that isn’t about flailing your limbs! And it sort of looks like maybe something the people who grew up with Banjo Kazooie and moved onto Call of Duty but still hold Rare in their hearts might play without being totally embarrassed! For the Rare faithful, which is a large enough pool to more than fund Yooka-Laylee, this is incredibly exciting. Unfortunately Microsoft told us next to nothing, and we have to wait until the 2016 holidays.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Hype level: significant
Wait time: not too bad, considering
We only have a vague 2016 release date for Horizon: Zero Dawn, but despite springing upon us so suddenly we don’t have too many worries about it. Guerrilla Games has been working away at it since or possibly even before Shadow Fall, and the game is apparently playable on the E3 showfloor. I think the success of Skyrim and The Witcher shows there’s definite room for more enormous open world RPGs, especially ones with robot dinosaurs. Bring it on.
Hype level: surprisingly low
Wait time: nebulous
Perhaps the lukewarm reception to the reveal of Gears 4 comes down to us knowing about it since Microsoft bought the IP and devoted an entire recently-renamed studio to it. Perhaps the blip that was Gears of War: Judgment has cooled ardour. Or perhaps it’s just that the apparent title change isn’t pinging the right Google alerts. In any case, we’ve been surprised by how little stir this one has made. Then again, it’s only got the most vague of 2016 release windows, meaning up to 18 months wait, so perhaps it’s just too early.
Mass Effect Andromeda
Hype level: probably unjustified, to be honest
Wait time: unbearable
I love Mass Effect so much that everything with the N7 brand on it seems of deep and abiding interest to me. I and the rest of my brethren are breathless with excitement for Mass Effect Andromeda, despite the fact that all we got was a cinematic trailer and absolutely no hint regarding plot and character. Still, a bunch of planets to explore and a jumping omni-blade stab is more than enough to awaken the nascent Commander in us all and tamp down worries about a new development team, gameplay style and narrative. Roll on holiday 2016.
The Last Guardian
Hype level: EXTREME
Wait time: well, we're used to it
"2016" Sony said proudly at the end of the gameplay trailer re-introducing The Last Guardian. Unfortunately nobody gave Fumito Ueda the memo that his latest effort was scheduled to launch six years after its initial reveal; "We hope to launch in 2016," he told Pat, not promising to make that rather generous window. Great. Don’t hold your breath.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Hype level: muted
Wait time: ????
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is "like GTA and Far Cry with four people", Matt told me yesterday, which sounds pretty good. The trailer looked alright, hey? Ubisoft didn’t tell us very much, which always tends to keep anticipation levels down, because we’ve all been burned before. I think also the lack of any sort of release window is keeping expectations in check - I’m looking at you, The Division.
Hype level: broke Kickstarter
Wait time: LOL
This would be funny if it were not so flat out weird. Yu Suzuki talked Sega into giving him the rights to Shenmue so he could Kickstart it, proving there was demand for the project, whereafter the people who are really funding the game would slap down the actual cash required to pay for the damn thing, which is probably going to be somewhere in the realm of $20 million at the absolute least, I should think. Sony and Sega are likely the people holding the pursestrings, and yet Kickstarter backers are now being offered the chance to establish the project’s boundaries via stretch goals. This could all end in tears, but I suspect the stretch goals may have been very, very carefully configured ahead of time. We’ll see. Anyway, expect this one sometime in like, 2019. Maybe. This whole affair is probably going to end up making a lot of people very, very angry.
Final Fantasy 7 remake
Hype level: GALACTIC yet exercising adjustment disorder
Wait time: TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
Look, I’m not saying that a Final Fantasy 7 remake is such a ridiculous amount of work that Square Enix only gave in when it was desperate for something to sell PS4s. And I’m not saying every project Testsuya Nomura is put in charge of takes seventeen gazillion billion years to manifest, like Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3. And I’m not saying this project is in such an early stage that Nomura doesn’t even know what he’s doing yet. But all of those things are true and I’d say them if I weren’t afraid someone would shout at me. Expect this one just about three years after the stars die and all light, energy and hope fade from the universe, and then maybe you won’t be disappointed.