2015 and beyond will be packed with sequels and annual franchise updates. What gets us really excited though is the new games. New IPs or gaming brands that we haven't seen before. Sometimes they'll bring in new ideas, or huge ambitions from small teams. There are already lots of sweet new titles to look forwards to and here our seven of the hottest up and coming contenders.
Dark Souls may be getting remastered for the new-gen consoles, but PS4 fans of From Software's brutal flavour of action RPG should be sure to pick up Bloodborne first. Set in a murderous Victorian London-esque setting, the new series gives you a choice of weapon styles such as scythes, dual swords, hammers, blunderbusses and pistols, with multiple stances available for some of the mêlée weapons. The dodge roll is your only form of defence, but if you immediately retaliate when struck, you can earn back any health you lost. This is very much a more aggressive take on the Dark Souls genre. With more responsive combat on offer, even I found I myself enjoying the recent beta, despite not being a fan of the Souls games.
Ninja Theory recently went on record saying that the game was not a sequel or spiritual successor to Heavenly Sword, but the character designs and title certainly led us down that path for a while. Little is known about the game apart from it is aiming for triple A production values despite a small dev team. With Heavenly Sword and DMC on their CV though, expect some slick sword based combat. We do know that Senua is based on the Celtic/Norse figure Sennuna and will be making her journey through Helheim. It's refreshing to be introduced to a game so early in development, but we're itching to see the game in action.
From the team that brought us Dead Island, this may end up feeling very similar, but fingers crossed it doesn't. Techland's new first-person survival title has a distinct advantage over DI thanks to a new free running overhaul that sees a heavy focus on climbing around the Haitian-like setting. I played demos of Dead Island 2 and Dying Light back to back at last year's EGX Expo and DI2 felt incredibly dated thanks to the stunted traversal abilities. Dying Light looks set to shake things up with the day/night mechanic too as the zombies transform after dark becoming faster, are able to climb and are generally best dealt with by fleeing for your life. As regular gamers, we're almost ready to catch the last bus out of zombietown, but maybe we'll hold on that little bit longer for this one.
This is the codename for Criterion's upcoming racer that they briefly teased last summer. Interestingly, the game is set to feature cars, bikes, ATVs, choppers and more in one of the most ambitious racing titles in years. The well-respected Burnout dev team has stated that they are focusing on the handling first over game's looks and are developing it at such a level that allows them to build multiple builds over the course of a single hour (!) in order to nail down models that have that ideal fun factor. Sounds like plan, Criterion.
Bikes have had a crappy deal in games. While we've had plenty of dirt bike and Moto GP titles, there hasn't been many road-based titles in a similar vein to Gran Turismo, DriveClub or Forza. Step forward Milestone, the developers behind the recent Moto GP titles and the excellent WRC games last-gen. As long as they ease up on the rather stiff-handling of the Moto GP series, we could be onto something special. As a biker myself, I'll be examining this one carefully, especially any claims to realism. The main obstacle with bike handling in games is that the tiny analogue sticks on controllers don't allow for delicate touches when steering. If realism proves too difficult -or not enough fun- maybe we'd prefer a Burnout Paradise-style approach to two wheels.
The teen horror movie genre may have all but disappeared and efforts to put it into gaming form have rarely been attempted. But is Until Dawn set to introduce the genre in style? Sony's title originally started out as a PS Move title (no, it's fine, Sony. I'll just play Sports Champions again), and had been written off as cancelled after numerous no-shows, but it's looking better than ever on PS4 with the DualShock controller instead. Think Heavy Rain's choices, crossed with your favourite forest cabin-based slasher flicks with lots of replay value and numerous characters you can 'accidentally' kill off with choices or mistakes. Oh and it has Hayden Panettiere in towel. See, a few years ago, that would have meant more too.
Perhaps my soft spot for the spooky adventures of Alan Wake has let the upcoming Microsoft exclusive slip in at the last minute, but apart from Lara Croft's desertion, this is the main game that has me eyeing up a Xbox One. Remedy Entertainment are very capable of spinning a good yarn and the time-bending mechanics look super pretty on the Xbox One hardware. Fingers crossed the rest of the game doesn't just descend into another third-person shooter, which I have a suspicion The Division is set to do (no room on the list for you yet).
So readers, what new gaming IP has caught your eye and hunting for pre-orders already. Here's some honorable mentions to get you going: Splatoon, Project Cars, Life is Strange, Rime, The Division, Wild, Deep Down and the Witness.