What is the UK games industry excited for in 2015? We ask 36 execs

2015 looks set to be a big year for the UK games industry, filled with exciting brand new IP and sequels to widely-loved franchises.

Having previously explored the 36 things we think should be on your radar – including the arrival of VR, the coming of age for streaming and eSports’ growing presence in the UK, among many, many others – we then asked 36 members of the industry what looks set to pique their interest this year.

Take a look at their responses below.

Alex Simmons,Editor-In-Chief, IGN UK

Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain cannot come soon enough. I interviewed Hideo Kojima last year and he talked off the record about things that will feature in Phantom Pain that haven’t been made public. I’m a huge fan anyway, but hearing what Kojima has in store has me hugely excited.

Andy Payne,MD, Mastertronic

eSports getting bigger in Europe, and Arab gamers playing a bigger part in global gaming. I look forward to playing a small part in making this happen. 2015 is going to be great!

Antoine Molant, UK Head of Marketing, Capcom

Season two of The Missing and more news on the new Twin Peaks. Also being part of the industry’s on-going change. It’s an exciting time with the amount of options available to bring content to the consumer, and that’s a wave Capcom has started riding as we launch new Resident Evil titles and show more of Street Fighter V.

Craig McNicol, MD Northern Europe, Koch

This is the year we will launch Dead Island 2 and bring together one of the most creative game campaigns I’ve seen for a while. Personally, I’m looking forward to the Rugby World Cup in the UK.

David Firth, Gaming Merchandiser, Shop Direct

We are really looking forward to the great new software coming and the continued growth of PS4 and Xbox One. We will be intrigued by what Nintendo do – never write them off. Also, we look forward to the continued evolution of the industry, whether that’s new tech like Oculus Rift or gamers starting to stream, rather than own, games.

David Yarnton,Non-Executive Director, Gfinity

Although we have a very vibrant eSports community and great players, we’ve yet to regularly crack the top rankings of World Tournaments. My wish for 2015 would be to see some UK teams rank in the Top 10 of any eSports tournament and even better would be for someone to bring home a top prize and receive positive media recognition.

Debbie Bestwick, MD, Team 17

People in the cold North of England are most looking forward to a winter Escape. The joy of being able to escape from it all in February.And should we escape from The Escapists, what type of world are we escaping too? Hopefully one with zombies, a bit of scavenging and the fear of Dying Light. Or maybe a trip back in time to 1886 and Victorian London to meet the mysterious Order? It’s all a bit dark and scary so bring on the summer I say, and a chance to see real beauty, flowers, trees and fields. Let’s open our eyes, in fact lets go Beyond Eyes, as Tiger Squid and Team 17 blur the lines between gaming and art.

Ed Rumley,General Manager, Chillingo

I believe 2015 will be the year that wearable tech takes off in the mass market and I can’t wait to see how indie devs embrace these new opportunities. Closer to home, Chillingo is working with more UK indies such as Small Impact Games and iMPOSSIBLE on Mech and Street Kart respectively, so I’m really looking forward to seeing more UK indies flying the flag on mobile next year.

Fergal Gara, VP and MD, SCE UK and Ireland

I’m looking forward to a prosperous 2015. There is a good chance that consumers will feel the benefits of lower inflation and both feel more optimistic and help drive the economy forward via retail.

At this point of a new hardware lifecycle, we all look expectantly to the new IP that will define the generation. While we had enormous launches for both Watch Dogs and Destiny last year, it isn’t yet clear which titles we will look back on in a few year’s time as those that defined this generation. 2015 could be the year when we see those titles emerge or establish themselves more firmly as pivotal IP in the cycle.

Frazer Locke, Head of Vendor Management – Video Games, Amazon

Well, firstly, I got excited when I managed to pull together an A-Z of franchises for a customer research question related to the most anticipated releases of 2015, without drawing breath – exemplifying just how many great games are coming. Secondly, I’m looking forward to the continued explosion of digital gaming and how this is changing consumer behavior. Thirdly, I’ll be interested in seeing how virtual reality develops
and whether it can really capture the imagination of the general public.

And finally, the naive optimist in me is looking forward to QPR staying in the Premier League.

Gurdeep Hunjan,Games Buying Manager, Sainsbury’s

Industry wise, definitely VR headsets. Personal gaming wise, Uncharted without a doubt!

And finally, I’m really looking forward to what Liverpool FC plan to do to replace the void left by Stevie G.

Harvey Eagle, UK Marketing Director, Xbox

Halo 5, Harry Kane, Rise of the Tomb Raider, reduced load times for games, Windows 10, Whitstable Oyster Festival, wearables bling, E3, Below, Star Wars, Evolve, The Ashes, M-commerce, Quantum Break, Capital One Cup Final, VR.

Ian Livingstone

I’m looking forward to reading a front page headline of a national newspaper saying, ‘Games are good for you!’

James Cooke, Buying Manager, Argos

A slim next-gen console. Lots of Amiibos. The New 3DS. The word getting out on PlayStation TV. True sequels for Halo and Uncharted. Seeing what Rockstar will do next. Whether The Avengers 2 movie will send Infinity 2.0 through the roof? Two new Pixar movies in one. And most importantly: what J.J. Abrams will do to Star Wars.

James Rowson, Purchasing Director, ShopTo

The continuation of what is a heated next-gen war between Sony and Xbox.

There are amazing titles inbound for 2015 that may start to determine who wins this console fight in the UK.

John Clark,SVP Commercial Publishing, Sega

I’m still looking forward to the impact of Steam Machines and virtual reality as I was in 2014. This year should see the continued rise of eSports, with Twitch and YouTubers bringing competitive gaming and spectating further into the mainstream. In addition, it’d be great to see how the tax breaks increase productivity and creativity.

Dr. Jo Twist, CEO, UKIE

More games coming with their tax credit to help us showcase the UK as a global powerhouse. We also look forward to the General Election and are confident that the new government will be supporting us as an innovative and creative blueprint for the digital economy.

Lee Kirton, PR and Marketing Director, Bandai Namco

A positive new year is what I look forward to with hoverboards, extended Wi-Fi on the tubes, decent honest people who care about what they do, great games from talented studios getting more support, innovative genres in games and more risks being taken and England winning the Rugby World Cup, too.

Marilena Papacosta, PR and Marketing Manager Europe, Koei Tecmo

While trying to momentarily forget the surreal workload that comes with it, I’m pretty confident that 2015 will be a great year for Koei Tecmo, mainly because playing an array of fantastic upcoming titles on the 50” screen at the office and calling it ‘research’ is one of the best perks of our job. Outside working hours I am personally really looking forward to the – eventual – arrival of The Witcher 3. Oh, and is it too early to say that I’m looking forward to the summer sun?

Martin Defries, MD, Rising Star Games

The imminent announcement and then release of our major digital-only title – it’s been more than five years in the making. Months of electioneering. Limitless Citizen Smith wisdom from Russell Brand. The Rugby World Cup. Rezzed, GDC, PAX, MCM, E3, Gamescom, etc. the circle of life indeed!

Mike Fethers, Senior Buyer – Games, The Hut

Nintendo now has a respectable install base in the UK for Wii U, with 2015 starting with Captain Toad and leading into Zelda, it’s a good news story. Also, with Amiibo being a huge success, it’ll be great to see more titles take advantage of that.

Microsoft stepped up in the tail end of 2014 and customer feedback has been good. With the return of strong IPs like Crackdown, it’s going to be difficult for the everyday customer to pick their format if they haven’t already.

Personally, I’m looking forwards to more indie titles being picked up and turned into monsters. Hotline Miami 2 isn’t available for pre-order anywhere but it’s going to be one of my GOTYs.

Miles Jacobson, Studio Director, Sports Interactive

2015 is a very exciting year for us – not only will we have our annual game, but it will also see the release of Football Manager Online in Korea and possibly other Asian countries and, following the success of last year’s FM documentary, some other exciting projects, too. Some are games and some are not – starting with FM Top Trumps online.

I’m also looking forward to more levels for Best Fiends, more LEGO games, and titles that really show off PS4 and Xbox One.

Finally, I’m working on a charity project for release this summer that I hope all the readers of MCV will get behind – details to come.

Paul Jackson, CEO, Dovetail Games

The things I’m looking forward to fall into three categories. There’s the personal, which is seeing my beloved Gillingham stay in division one; there’s the professional which is catching a 40lb carp in Dovetail Games Fishing when it launches. And then there’s the personal and professional, which is getting to see some ‘real’ virtual reality.

Paul Sulyok, CEO, Green Man Gaming

This time last year I was hoping for Half Life 3 news… I’m still waiting – so much so I’m having to publish my own games. I can’t wait for IdolHands and Keebles to launch in early 2015 from Green Man Loaded.

Peter Stone, Branch Director, North Europe, Konami

Having a confirmed release date for The Phantom Pain, seeing how PES progresses next year, and Arsenal doing better than fourth in the Premier League. I should get at least two of those.

Phil Browes, Head of Games and Technology, HMV

In December HMV launched a new digital proposition, providing consumers with an extensive digital games offering from Xbox and Sony. We are looking forward to building on this throughout 2015 as we further enhance our digital offering. We are also looking forward to a host of fantastic games with Batman and Metal Gear top of my list.

Rob Cooper, UK MD, Ubisoft

Obviously, I’m looking forward to seeing England win the Rugby World Cup! From an industry standpoint, it looks set to be an exciting year in terms of releases. I do, however, think that these games will come with challenges. We have many opportunities to develop our communities and speak with them, but I think there’s still work to be done. In 2015, I’m hoping that as an industry, we can work on communicating more effectively – and transparently – with consumers about the challenges that developers face in delivering the kind of complex and detailed universes that new-gen games offer. Hopefully, this openness will encourage more positive engagement and constructive dialogue.

And, if Huddersfield could avoid relegation as well, that would be excellent…

Robert Lindsay, MD, Games Centre

2015 is looking set to be one of the best years ever in terms of triple-A titles, including some games we haven’t seen in a couple of years such as Uncharted and The Witcher. Throw in a pile of new PS4 and Xbox One customers and the industry could see its best year in a long time.

Rod Cousens, CEO, Codemasters

New games break through and the East embraces more Western content. Consoles surge on falling prices and digital revenues are meaningful. VR works this time round and is embraced widely. The industry-wide business model is a disciple of Steam and the odds of success on mobile increases. Above all, 2015 is a high growth year supporting higher investment in creativity and engineering, drawn from British talent produced by a reformed educational structure that’s relevant for tomorrow and appeals globally.

Roy Stackhouse, General Manager, UK and Ireland, Activision

Our industry continues to lead the charge in terms of pushing the boundaries of entertainment. With that in mind, along with the continued transition towards next-gen hardware, I’m looking forward to seeing the next ground-breaking games. Also, with the recent tax breaks in the UK together with the continued support of the government, I am looking forward to cementing the UK as a world leader in video games development.

Shahid Ahmad,Director of Strategic Content, SCEE

As a gamer, as a sci-fi fan, as someone who grew up reading Asimov and Clarke, it’s No Man’s Sky. That game touches a part of me I thought was never going to get touched again. And Hello Games knows that, and I hope they fulfil that vision for more than just the people it’s reached so far.

Shaun Campbell, UK Country Manager, EA

The thing that excites me about the industry is that it keeps changing. In the 11 years I’ve been with EA, it has changed so much in how we think about it and how we go to market. And that will continue. The younger generation coming in now is different in terms of how they consume media. But that on-going change is what really excites me.

Simon Kemp, General Manager, Nintendo UK

1. Amiibo has got off to a strong start with some characters selling out as fast as they can be replenished. In 2015 we will see Amiibo compatability on more games – on Wii U and 3DS – delivering more new experiences.

2. Splatoon. For me this was the star of the show at E3 last year.

3. …and Man Utd back in the Champion’s League.

Spencer Crossley,UK Sales and Marketing Director, Warner

The biggest year to date for WB Games, with Dying Light, Mortal Kombat X, Mad Max and, of course, Batman: Arkham Knight. Additionally with an array of titles yet unannounced alongside an eclectic portfolio of digital titles, it’s going to be an extremely busy but very successful year for the UK

Strauss Zelnick, CEO, Take-Two

We are looking forward to the launches of GTA V on PC and Evolve. We also hope to see the continued growth of next-gen platforms and the ongoing advancement of our art form through leading-edge technology, rich storytelling and deep player engagement.

Tim Woodley, SVP Brand and Marketing, 505 Games

The continued use of emotive storytelling. For ages, story has played second fiddle to gameplay, but last year showed that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Beyond that, I can’t wait for the ultimate Heist showdown between Battlefield Hardline and our 9m-unit-and-counting Payday when they go head-to-head.

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