2015 looks set to be one of the most exciting years in gaming history.
MCV lists the biggest releases, events, hardware and trends that will shape the next 12 months.
1. PS4 vs Xbox One continues
The battle between Sony and Xbox raged on during 2014. After a strong lead from PlayStation, Xbox finally garnered some momentum in November. This year it will be the battle of the exclusives in what is expected to be a far closer fight.
2. The return of Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario and Zelda, is back making games with not one but three titles – Project Guard, Project Giant Robot and Star Fox. All three are due some time this year.
3. The VR revolution arrives
2014 was a big year for virtual reality: Sony unveiled its VR headset Project Morpheus at GDC while Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for $2bn. 2015 is expected to be the year that VR goes from prototype to an actual retail product.
4. The New 3DS launches
Nintendo is looking to extend the life of its portable by releasing a new version of the console. The New 3DS features extra buttons, a better screen, extended battery life and, best of all, an improved CPU for faster menus and online access.
5. A big year for Zelda
Two Zelda titles are coming this year. The first – a remake of the 2000 N64 classic Majora’s Mask – is coming to 3DS this spring. Yet the big one will be The Legend of Zelda HD (temporary title) – a new, open-world Zelda for Wii U.
6. FIFA vs PES
For years, FIFA has been leaps above Pro Evolution Soccer critically and commercially. But last year’s PES critically matched FIFA. Is the comeback on?
7. The first UK tax break-funded games
14 games have been approved for UK tax relief and we should see some of them this year. Titles include Pixelbomb’s Beyond Flesh and Blood and Chucklefish Games’ Wayward Tide.
8. Steam Machines bother to turn up
The Steam Machines represent PC gaming’s attempt to enter the living room. Xbox and PlayStation won’t be too worried, but it’s all about Valve’s new controller. The pad is designed to offer mouse and keyboard-style accuracy but in a more simplistic form. If it works, it should make PC gaming more accessible to a wider audience.
9. Halo 5: Guardians
As exclusives go, you don’t get bigger than this. It’s been a busy year for Halo, with remakes, mobile games and a live-action online series, but it’s really all leading up this. How can Sony compete?
10. Uncharted 4
Oh yes, with this one. 2013’s The Last of Us made Naughty Dog the most revered games developer in the world. And expectations are sky high for the latest in its Uncharted series.
11. Rise of The Tomb Raider
Lara Croft returns this Q4 in the sequel to 2013’s very good Tomb Raider reboot. This time she’s a temporary Xbox One exclusive.
12. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Last year’s Ground Zeroes gave Metal Gear fans a taste of what to expect from The Phantom Pain. This new one takes the series into an open-world for the first time.
13. E3 2015
Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will be rolling out their big hitters at this year’s E3. Uncharted, Zelda and Halo are all due to take centre stage. And of course, there’ll be surprises. Perhaps a new Fallout or Gears of War? What about Half-Life 3? (Oh who are we kidding?)
14. Gamescom 2015
The Cologne-based trade show returns between August 6th and August 9th and promises to be the biggest one yet. MCV will be there, complete with our daily magazine.
15. MCV Awards 2015
New awards and a new judging system are all part of this year’s MCV Awards, which take place on Thursday, April 16th.
16. Year of Star Wars
2015 is a banner year for anyone in love with A Galaxy Far, Far Away. The big moment is the movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but EA is also releasing Battlefront, by Battlefield makers DICE. This could be the biggest game of 2015.
17. Streaming comes of age
Streaming may be redefining movies, TV and music, but it’s yet to really work in games. Sony gives it a go this year with PlayStation Now, which streams PlayStation content to various devices. Playing Uncharted without the need for a console may be enticing, but Sony must overcome challenges around pricing and latency.
18. Loads of New IP
2015 is another year of big new IPs. Evolve, The Division, Bloodborne, Splatoon, Project CARS, The Order: 1886, Quantum Break… and that’s just to name a few. For a closer look at the big new IPs of 2015, head to page 22.
19. Another major year for the horror genre
The survival horror game made a comeback in 2014 with Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within. That continues in 2015 with the return of some icons, including Resident Evil HD, Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Silent Hills and Dead Island 2. There’s a few new IPs, too, including Dying Light and Until Dawn.
20. Battle of the brawlers
Fighting fans are spoilt for choice this year. There’s Street Fighter V due in Q4, while Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat X and Dead or Alive 5: Last Round are all scheduled to arrive in one form or another. Oh, and then there’s the bizarre Tekken/Pokmon tie-up Pokken. Yep.
21. Battlefield: Hardline
This one slipped from Christmas and is probably the biggest game of the first quarter of the year. Hardline is a new take on the Battlefield series, featuring a cops and robbers storyline.
22. Indies come of age
This year’s line-up of indie games is the most impressive yet, and the likes of No Man’s Sky, Below, Super Hot, Rime, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, Hover, Hotline Miami 2, Volume and The Witness could even help shift some consoles.
23. Console price cuts
Last year we predicted that Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U would get price reductions to win over a younger audience. Yet, much to our surprise, it was the newer machines – PS4 and Xbox One – that were slashed in price. This year we expect to see some price movement on 360 and PS3 (perhaps to that magic 99 price point), while Wii U should definitely see a bit of a cost reduction as Nintendo seeks to boost sales
24. Assassin’s Creed comes to London
The new Assassin’s Creed is always an annual highlight, but this year’s title has an extra special meaning for us in the UK – it’s set in London. Assassin’s Creed Victory takes place during the Victorian era, so think Oscar Wilde, Jack The Ripper and Sherlock Holmes (of course he’s real).
25. Batman: Arkham Knight
UK retailers voted this as their most anticipated game of 2015 in last year’s retail survey. It’s out in June, too, which will be a nice summer boost for retailers.
26. MOBAs go to battle
The huge success of League of Legends and DOTA 2 has seen every games publisher under the sun attempt a MOBA. It’s by no means a sure thing, MOBAs including Transformers Universe (Jagex) and Dawngate (EA) have failed. Yet there’s still a number of promising titles making a bid for that MOBA crown in 2015. Check out Smite, Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm and 2K’s first person shooter-cum-MOBA Battleborn.
27. eSports takes the UK
eSports has yet to really take off in the UK, but it is growing. eSports specialist Gfinity is planning to open an eSports arena in the UK, there’s an eSports sub-group that has even been set-up at UKIE, while we are putting together an eSpots B2B product next month called eSports Pro.
28. Homefront is back
It’s changed ownership twice, but now Homefront: The Revolution is finally set to arrive courtesy of Deep Silver. The dystopian open-world shooter sees the US face-off against Korean invaders.
29. The console market’s assault on China continues
The Chinese games market is one of the largest in the world, but for 14 years consoles could not be sold in the territory. That all changed last year and Xbox One was the first machine to reach the sector, shifting 100,000 units within its first week. The PS4 was due to arrive in China this month, but it’s been delayed.
30. Boxed games rebound
Now there are over 3m PS4 and Xbox One consoles in the UK marketplace, games retailers can finally expect to see an increase in software sales. Best of all, there’s a steady steam of blockbuster content coming down the pipe.
31. Video games at the big (and small) screen
There are a handful of promising films based on games out this year, including Hitman: Agent 47 in August and a Ratchet and Clank movie. But it’s not all about the cinema, perhaps the most exciting project is the Halo TV series, which is produced by Steven Spielberg and is due out before Christmas.
32. The gap between mobile and console gets smaller
There’s been an increase in console-quality games on tablets and smartphones – such as last year’s BioShock. Expect that to continue in 2015, particularly with EA describing iPhone 6 as being ‘on par’ with PS4. Whether these devices can win over the core gamer, however, is to be seen.
33. Top networking events
There’s a good spread of events this year for all walks of the industry. There’s Games Retail 2020 for retailers, the Games Media Awards for journalists, the marketing event London Games Conference will return, as will the Develop Awards and Develop Live for the UK’s top creators. Meanwhile, a new B2B content marketplace called Interface is scheduled for Spring. Oh, and the Game 5s football tournament, plus some pub quizzes and the Women of the Year Awards. It’ll be a busy year.
35. Rainbow Six: Siege
It seems everyone has a co-op shooter at the moment. But 2015 marks the year the grandfather of all co-op shooters – Rainbow Six – returns to consoles for the first time in seven years. This game sees a SWAT team face off against a group of hostage takers.
36. A year of major RPGs
Whether it’s hardcore RPGs like Bloodborne and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, or more mainstream fare like The Witcher 3 and Fable Legends, there’s plenty for the role-playing aficionado to look forward to in 2015.