After a 2014 that was middling or deeply upsetting for many gamers, it isn’t a surprise that most are hoping for a strong 2015 and 2016 to ease the sting of disappointment. The first several months of 2015 offer a number of promising games, but it won’t be until E3 in June that we’ll get an idea of how many blockbuster titles are shaping up. While the lineup for E3 hasn’t been solidified, it’s simple to boil down the anticipated list for the event into a few releases.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U
Nintendo spent 2014 working hard with a string of heavy hitters to turn around the fortune of the struggling Wii U. While the jury is out on the legacy of the console, they presented a strong case with “Mario Kart 8” and “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” to make an investment. 2015 promises a multitude of potentially strong titles, but the biggest is the currently unnamed “The Legend of Zelda.” Producer Eiji Aunoma is looking to the open, exploratory nature of early “Zelda” titles for inspiration, but will that make for an adventurous romp or a huge, empty world padding travel between quests?
Kingdom Hearts 3
The long-awaited proper “big screen” sequel to the PS2’s Kingdom Hearts 2, released way back in 2005 between strings of handheld games, this entry has spent a long time in development limbo. While the public has only caught glimpses of protagonist Sora and his adventures with Disney characters, the now multi-platform series feels like the return of old friends for many, while offering a Disney popularity boost to bring younger players into the fold.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Following the departure of series creative director Amy Hennig from developer Naughty Dog and a slight drop in quality in the series’ third title, the newest “Uncharted” was on shaky ground before a teaser trailer rolled out and got the hype started. Now we can just hope for further evidence at E3 that Nathan Drake’s next (final?) adventure is a game that really fulfills the promise of the newest console generation.
Halo 5: Guardians
While the Halo community is still sore over the difficult implementation of online play in the recent “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” all could be forgiven if “Halo 5” delivers the goods. The tentative fall release date is not long after E3, so we can expect videos of polished gameplay to supplement the positive buzz of the multiplayer beta.
No Man’s Sky
As the only non-sequel on this list, there is a lot riding on “No Man’s Sky” by Hello Games. Concrete information is frustratingly scant on this procedurally generated open space adventure game. The screenshots are gorgeous, and unparalleled exploration is promised, but most of what we have to go by is our imagination. “What do you do in this game?” is possibly the most exciting question to ask about E3 and 2015 in gaming.