Upcoming Sci-Fi Games of 2016
Arguably 2015 was not the best year for Sci-fi games. Fallout 4 was excellent, but not without flaws. Several games that were originally slated for release this year slipped into 2016. Some delays can be expected, games such as Star Citizen (scheduled for 2017) and No Man’s Sky are groundbreaking with their technical innovations. One innovation that has also slipped into 2016 is VR. Head-mounted displays such as Oculus Rift have finally reached the end-state of their development and soon users will know if they are worth it and whether games that support such devices do so with an added value to experience. So what games am I looking forward to the most in 2016? And what dates on the calendar should you mark?
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The 2011 sequel/reboot of the Deus Ex franchise, Human Revolution, is still one of my favorite single player games ever. The successful shooter with RPG elements (plus a healthy dose of Splinter Cell) had a very engaging story as users played protagonist Adam Jensen in unmasking a corporate conspiracy amidst the technologically insane future world of 2027. The next game in the franchise is Mankind Divided. After four years of development I expect there to be a healthy dose of innovation in the gameplay. So far the gameplay teasers have not disappointed, though I did frown at some of the apparent arcade style shooting. Mankind Divided is set 2 years after Human Revolution with the protagonist still being Adam Jensen. As the title may suggest, the future world of bionic implants has hardly made the place easier to live in with people being segregated. What is certain is that the visuals won’t disappoint. The cyberpunk themes world is astonishing. The screenshots and teaser with their detailed in-game decals might give readers pause and consider purchasing a new computer. Mankind Divided was originally schedule for a February release, but developer Eidos Montreal has led the date slip to August 23rd. So during the vinegar strokes of the summer you may yet enjoy what will arguably be the one of the best single player experiences of 2016.
Chris Roberts, developer of games such as Wing Commander, received quite a bit of criticism for letting the release date of Star Citizen slip yet again. Despite the sadness of the fact the full game has been delayed into 2017 it cannot be denied that Star Citizen is very ambitious. An space simulator MMO set in a persistent universe with seamless transitioning between the interiors of space stations all the way to the surface of planets. It has never been tried before, not even Elite Dangerous has managed it , and No Man’s Sky has yet to be released. You can be forgiven that the game has been delayed. Professional trolls such as Derek Smart should agree (they won’t, they are trolls) that the recent release of Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 release is a major step in the right direction. With the Alpha release the various disjointed modules have for the first time come together to form one experience. Early January I will do a write up of Alpha 2.0 and judge the state of the game.
Nonetheless, what many forget is that Chris Roberts also wants to release Squadron 42, the single player version of Star Citizen, in 2016. Officially, Squadron 42 is a separate game, that uses the game engine created for Star Citizen with story of the game is also set in this shared universe. The idea behind squadron 42 is understandable, with a game as ambitious as Star Citizen it is a lot easier to create a single player campaign. If it earns money, reviewer credits and experience all the better. Events that the player performs in Squadron 42 can however have repercussions later on in the persistent universe of Star Citizen. The game will be released as a series of episodes with the first supporters of Chris Roberts’s crowdfunding efforts getting early access. Squadron 42 will also feature tons of CGI film material with likenesses and/or voices of Gary Oldman, Luke ehhmm.. Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis and Gillian Anderson. For those buying into Star Citizen now will get free access to Squadron 42. As the deadline for both game’s draw closer more content will become available. I will keep you posted on their development progress.
No Man’s Sky
Ever since the trailer of No Man’s Sky was released in 2014 the frenzy has been immense. That only increased when developer Hello Games had to admit the release date slipped into 2016. The game is now set for June on PS4 and Windows PC. Despite the frequent trailers that have been released and the corresponding hype very little is known about the game. Players fly through procedurally generated universe and can land on any planet they come across. There, they will find procedurally generated environment and lifeforms. The main objective of the game seems to be resource hunting, but the space combat has also been much touted. The developers have also revealed players have the ability to share their discovery through an online Atlas. As the game can be played offline there is as of this moment no suggestion how they would accomplish such integration. No Man’s Sky has its detractors, though the visuals are strong there is doubt whether all the promises can be made true. Fans of games from developer Peter Molyneux will remember the risks when developers try to do too much. One thing is clear, 2016 will be the year of procedurally generated game environments.
Some time ago I did a preview of Remedy’s latest game, Quantum Break. Set in a near-future world in which time-travel is possible. The player plays as protagonist Jack Joyce who can freeze time, opposing Paul Serene who can see into the future. Remedy has also announced a web series starring Shawn Ashmore and Aidan Gillen. The game does have its detractors. Some have found the quality of the game lacking when it was showcased to the press. Without a doubt Remedy does have the skills, even if the game ends up being released almost 2 years after its initial release date. Quantum Break is set for release on April 5th. So far Quantum Break is an Xbox One exclusive.
Mass Effect Andromeda
If you are like me an can’t get enough of games such as Knight of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect games than I have some very bad news. You are going to have to wait at least another 12 months before you can play Mass Effect Andromeda. Also known as Mass Effect 4, Andromeda takes place in a galaxy far far away. Actually, in the Andromeda galaxy. Developer Bioware has already shown a teaser trailer for the game. In it we see new gameplay elements hinted, including base-building strategy besides the traditional action role playing. The game is built on DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine which was previously used for Battlefield 4 and recently on Star Wars Battlefront. We shall see if the engine is suitable for a game such as Mass Effect.
2016 certainly seems to be the year crowd-funded games are maturing. From NVYVE Studios we get P.A.M.E.L.A first-person shooter that combines elements from many genres including survival and horror. The game is set in Eden, a utopian city. The cities A.I called P.A.M.E.L.A awakens the gamer from cryonic sleep to take back the city from its former occupants who turned into ghouls. P.A.M.E.L.A started development in late 2014, since then the development team has grown to just 6. The game can best be described as an Indie game that strives to give an AAA experience. After favorable news coverage the game was posted on Steam Greenlight. It received the designation Greenlit after just 10 ten at the number one spot on October 1st 2015. P.A.M.E.L.A has a release date set for either Q2 or Q3 2016, though I suspect that could easily slip. I intend to give a watchful eye for this game. If 6 developers can put together a game that looks at gorgeous as it does in the trailer I will be most impressed. The game uses the Unity engine and scheduled to be released only for Windows PC.
Well, that was it for this preview. There are plenty more sci-fi games coming in 2016 but I had to make the cut off somewhere. An honorable mention should be Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Meanwhile I am already looking forward to 2017 and Cyberpunk 2077 despite the complete lack of details. This was Upcoming Sci-Fi Games of 2016. I hope you enjoyed reading it.
I have just updated the embedded Youtube code to not exceed the width of the page, many thanks to those that spotted it.