**Update 12/19/16: Just like how we like to make bold predictions, we also like to take a look back to see how we did. Last year, around this time, we crafted 12 predictions in the gaming industry for the year ahead, 2016. Today, underneath each numbered entry on this list, we’ve denoted whether we’ve earned a full point, half point, or no points for the prediction we made.**
Original Story Posted December 15, 2015:
With the amazing 2015 gaming year coming to a close, we’ve already begun reflecting on the year in video games. 2015 brought a lot of great open world games, new trends — both bad and good — and cool new ideas. But we can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next year when it comes to video games.
There’s a lot of obvious predictions we could make, like Nintendo NX being fully unveiled, another Call of Duty coming in the fall, and Steam Machines failing miserably. But what about the stuff that isn’t so obvious? We’re not afraid to go out on a limb.
2016 is going to be a huge year for video games, and there’s really no telling what to expect. But I’ve been covering this industry for so long that I can generally get a feel for what’s coming, simply by analyzing the leaks, the probabilities, the way the moon is positioned, and the mysticism of it all. With the majority of big news happening at E3, check out our round-up of all of the E3 2016 dates, times and news.
So without further ado, here are my 12 predictions for video games and the industry in 2016:
1. We won’t hear anything from Kojima
We spent a lot of our 2015 talking about Hideo Kojima, Konami, and the epic fight to the death between them. First, Silent Hills was cancelled, Kojima was on “an extended vacation,” he parted ways with Konami, and then he was unable to even show his face at the 2015 Game Awards. Now that Kojima has teamed up with Sony, we believe he’s going to take the entirety of 2016 with his head down, focused on whatever his next game ends up being. It’s likely that we won’t hear from Kojima at all in 2016, as he’ll want to maintain a hard work ethic to prove that he can make more than stealth games. So, we think 2016 is going to be a quiet year for Kojima Productions.
I’ll note that parting ways with Konami is definitely a smart move by Kojima, given that Konami stressed their shift in focus to mobile games earlier this year. Just had to throw that tidbit in there.
Kojima, in fact, revealed Death Stranding, which is now one of our most anticipated games.
2. Mass Effect Andromeda Will Be Delayed
Mass Effect Andromeda is already a gorgeous-looking game, but we don’t know a lot about it just yet. Its release date is set for December 2016, but it feels like a game that might be too big in scope to actually meet its December deadline. It takes place in an entirely new part of the galaxy and will have a new story, and its developers are aiming to make it the biggest game in the franchise, pushing the Xbox One, PS4 and PC to their limits. So, we’re fully expecting Mass Effect Andromeda to be delayed into 2017, simply because of the amount of fine-tuning and work involved. Until then, it’s still one of our most anticipated upcoming games of 2016.
Mass Effect Andromeda didn’t see the light of 2016.
3. Skate 4 Will Be Announced
Unfortunately, there still isn’t a quality skateboarding game on the Xbox One or PS4, excluding OlliOlli and its sequel (if anyone dare says that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is a quality skateboarding game, please just go ahead and sell your console(s) on eBay; you don’t deserve to play video games anymore). Skate 4 is a game that I’ve been predicting to be revealed for the past two years. Clearly, it hasn’t happened yet. But Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is proof that we need Skate 4. Of course, Black Box Studios is now defunct, so it would have to be placed in another developer’s hands. However, we think that there are plenty of talented development teams out there that could make the franchise their own. This feels like a mega E3 2016 announcement to us to help fill EA’s presser. For more on Skate 4, check out our Skate 4 wishlist.
We’re seriously up in arms about this one. Skate 4 or a Skate reboot should be in the works, but we’ve literally heard nothing from EA. There were a few apparently fake leaks of a cover, but other than that, zilch.
4. Red Dead Redemption 2 Will Be Announced
Rockstar hit it out of the park with the original Red Dead Redemption, bringing great western fun to our living rooms over five years ago. Rockstar has been deeply involved with developing new content for Grand Theft Auto V throughout the entirety of 2015, and we haven’t seen any other titles announced from the team just yet. 2016 is the year that we’ll likely see Red Dead Redemption 2 at least announced, likely with a Summer 2017 release date. The announcement will be made at E3 2016, and the crowd (and online viewers) will go absolutely nuts.
Red Ded Redemption 2 was, indeed, announced.
See Also: Grand Theft Auto 6 Wishlist
5. The Last of Us 2 Releases in Autumn
Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, the writer and creative director on the original The Last of Us, made some interesting comments in September 2015 about what Naughty Dog might be doing next, following the speculation (and accidental leak by voice actor Nolan North) of a sequel to the hit 2013 survival horror game. But Druckmann also noted that the team had some ideas for a sci-fi game, a fantasy game, and other prototypes and ideas. But, the obvious choice is a TLOU 2, and we expect the game to be announced during the PlayStation conference at E3 2016, and it’ll probably have a Fall 2016 release date.
It didn’t release in the fall, but it was announced at PSX 2016.
6. Nintendo NX Will Release
We all know that Nintendo plans to fully detail their upcoming console early in 2016, but we’re going to take it a small step further and suggest that the Nintendo NX is going to be in retail stores by the holiday shopping season next year. Although there are already a lot of great upcoming Nintendo Games in 2016, the company has a lot riding on the potential success of the NX, and although they claim they’re not going to abandon the Wii U in 2016, we think they’re going to push that NX out the door for a late 2016 release. All we know right now is that the Nintendo NX won’t serve as a Wii U 2. As far as NX launch titles, we’re expecting new Pokemon games in 2016, The Legend of Zelda to also release on the NX, and, of course, some new Mario (maybe a Super Mario Galaxy 3).
It’s likely that Nintendo will have an NX Direct to detail their new console earlier on in there year — say, March — and then they’ll unveil the slew of games at E3 2016 with a price tag and release date set for the fall.
So, it turns out I was way off on this one, and the Nintendo Switch (formerly NX) release date is set for March 2017.
7. VR Flops…Hard.
I don’t think companies realize how ridiculous they look with those headsets on. Virtual reality will never explode because there will never be a complete buy-in, meaning that there won’t be enough software for it. Although PlayStation VR had a fantastic showing at PSX last month, and there are some potentially great games coming, we have no idea about a price point, which scares most consumers. With consoles already costing what they do right now, buying another $100+ accessory isn’t an option for many gamers. And, without any major AAA titles in development for VR that we know about, it’s going to be a really tough sell in 2016.
I’m not sure if we could call VR a flop, but it certainly didn’t take off like Sony had hoped. Even at the lowest VR price point of $399, it still isn’t selling like hotcakes.
8. Dead Island 2 Continues Development Hell, Cancelled.
Dead Island 2 simply won’t be able to compete with the bar that Dying Light set in 2015, which is why it was delayed in the first place (even if Deep Silver won’t admit it). The original Dead Island game wasn’t good enough to continue the development of a sequel that probably won’t sell very well. Zombies are so 2015, and it’s likely we won’t see so many zombie games release in 2016. But in order for Dead Island 2 to actually be successful, the currently unnamed studio that is developing it (bad sign, much?) will have to change the game’s tone entirely. But with a new tone, wouldn’t Dead Island 2 essentially just be a brand new game? If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better for Deep Silver to change the name of the game entirely to distance itself from Dead Island? As it stands right now, the world doesn’t need a Dead Island 2. 2016 will likely see its cancellation. See more of the upcoming zombie games of 2016 here.
Still in development hell, not yet cancelled.
9. A New Star Wars RPG is Fully Unveiled At E3 2016
The success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars toys, and even Battlefront, shows that Star Wars fans want more. More everything. A new Visceral Games job listing shows the developer looking for those with a “love of Star Wars.” And although Star Wars 1313 is now shelved, it’s likely that EA could use those assets as the basis for a new Star Wars game. The job listing also indicates that it will be something more than a third-person adventure shooter, with terms like “class design” and “skills/progression.” These are all strong indicators that the next game will be an action RPG of some sort. We think at E3 2016, during EA’s conference, we’ll at least get a logo and a teaser trailer for it.
We also learned about a new third person Star Wars game in the works.
10. Overwatch Will Be More Popular Than Battleborn and Paragon
Battleborn and Paragon both look cool, but they don’t look as formidable as Overwatch. Who will rule the arena shooter in 2016? Overwatch, because it does so much to distance itself from the other two. In fact, we think Overwatch is going to be an even more popular PS4 game than Paragon, the PS4 exclusive. Neither Paragon nor Battleborn have shown us anything that makes us want to play them over Overwatch, and we have a feeling that all three of the games are going to be so similar that there won’t be room in our hearts for more than just one. And, it appears as though Overwatch could have the most staying power.
The numbers aren’t even close. Overwatch is, by far, the more popular game.
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11. WildStar Comes to PS4
Way back in 2013, I had an interesting conversation with former President of Carbine Studios, Jeremy Gaffney, about WildStar potentially being played on a controller. When I asked him if that’s something that could be done, Gaffney stated that they were looking at it. That was over two years ago, and although WildStar turned out to be ultimately a disappointing MMO, its recent switch to the free-to-play model has seen an uptick in player base. And, product director Mike Donatelli recently stated that bringing the game to consoles “seems to make a lot of sense.” What’s more, the game, at its core, is actually a great MMO (with its majority of problems occurring because of the initial drop in player base after players reached max level). But now that Wildstar is free-to-play, we’re wondering if it’ll follow the path that DC Universe Online took by becoming a PS4 exclusive on consoles. Admittedly, it’d be a tough sell, but with the right marketing, WildStar on PS4 could be a great a idea to further enhance a PS Plus subscription (which, in our opinion, pales in comparison to an Xbox Live sub). Bringing WildStar to consoles is also something that would grow its player base, so we could definitely see this happening.
Didn’t happen, and it’s a serious bummer because WildStar, at its core, was such a great game. It’s pretty much all but officially dead right now, though.
12. Xbox One Will Drop to $279 Holiday 2016
Xbox One is losing when compared to PS4 console sales. We are unbiased here at Nerd Much (each has their own benefits and weaknesses), but we think the trend of PlayStation winning is going to continue through 2016. The only logical solution for Microsoft to grab a bigger chunk of console sales would be for the Xbox One to see yet another price drop. This is why we believe that the Xbox One will see a price drop all the way down to $279 for the holiday 2016 season (or, $20 lower than whatever the PS4 is going to sell for). Competition is at an all-time high between the two hardware rivals, and Xbox One needs to find a way to sweeten the deal to make the Xbox One more appealing. We still think it’s too soon to see an Xbox One Slim in 2016, so dropping the price of what they already have is the next best thing.
It actually dropped to below $279.
*Bonus*: More Games That Will Be Announced in 2016
Battletoads (No), a new TMNT game (yes), the next Batman game (No), Superman by Rocksteady (no), Metroid (yes), Injustice: Gods Among Us 2 (yes), Legacy of Kain reboot (no), God of War 4 (Yes), Elder Scrolls 6 (no), Left 4 Dead 3 (no), Bully 2 (No), Darksiders 3 (no).
Points Possible: 12
Points Earned: 5
Stay tuned to Nerd Much later this week for our 2017 video game predictions.
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