2015 is upon us and I’m happy to say that this year’s release schedule is looking pretty promising. It’s very exciting for me to have already found so many games to be hyped over. The dearth of quality RPG and Strategy titles coming out in the past couple of years has really refined my tastes for niche, indie, and kickstarted titles. So we’ll be seeing quite a few of those on the list.
When all is said and done, it’s probably impossible to predict with 100% accuracy which of these games will be great, and which will totally suck, but I’m dedicated to sharing with you my hopes and fears for each title.
Without further adieu – and in the order of the games I am least hyped for to most hyped for — I bring you my Top 10 Most Anticipated RPG and Strategy Titles for 2015.
10. Mordheim: City of the Damned
Release Date: Sometime in 2015
Description From the Developers — “Mordheim: City of the Damned is the first video game adaptation of Games Workshop’s cult classic tabletop game Mordheim. Set in the Warhammer World’s decimated Empire city, Mordheim: City of the Damned is a turn-based tactical game where you lead war bands into bloody and lethal skirmishes.”
What I hope it’s going to be — Fantasy X-Com of course! That’s what it kinda looks like right? If yer a big X-Com fan, it’s almost obligatory to want a fantasy version. While I don’t want an exact copy, a fantasy facsimile is definitely something I’d be into.
What I fear it may end up being — At this point, it’s not entirely clear what kind of single-player experience this game will provide, or how strong the story-mode is going to be… if there even is a story-mode. It seems like such a waste that a game with graphics this nice might simply end up being a monotonous battle arena, but here’s to hoping that won’t be the case.
9. Pillars of Eternity — Release Date: March 26
Description From the Developers — “Prepare to be enchanted by a world where the choices you make and the paths you choose shape your destiny. Obsidian Entertainment, the developer of Fallout: New Vegas™ and South Park: The Stick of Truth™, together with Paradox Interactive is proud to present Pillars of Eternity.”
What I hope it’s going to be — A modern and updated Balder’s Gate! That’s the vibe I’m getting from this game, and boy is it welcome. It seems RPGs are more and more being turned into fast-paced action titles. While this can be fun sometimes, it’s starting to feel like overkill.
What I fear it may end up being — For a game that I think is supposed to be a modern homage to a classic, the graphics already look a little dated and stiff. If low-budget design decisions and bad UI come into play, Pillars of Eternity may end up more like the original Balder’s Gate than anyone wants. A game like this is going to depend on a strong narrative, without which, its rougher edges are going to be all too obvious.
8. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt — Release Date: May 19
Description From the Developers — “The Witcher is a story-driven, next-generation open world role-playing game, set in a visually stunning fantasy universe, full of meaningful choices and impactful consequences. In The Witcher, you play as Geralt of Rivia and confront a foe darker than anything humanity has faced so far—the Wild Hunt.”
What I hope it’s going to be — This is a tough one for me. I never played the first Witcher game, and I had kind of a bad experience with the 2nd one on consoles (Load times on the 360 were unbearable), so I’m not exactly sure what to be hoping for here. I guess I’ll say that I’m hoping for stunning graphics and effects, and a story that doesn’t go straight over my head because I missed the last two games.
What I fear it may end up being — I did recently give The Witcher 2 another try on my PC. I didn’t get too far into it before I became distracted by other games, but I did make it pretty far in the 360 version. I fear this game may suffer from some of the pacing, navigation and UI issues I had with the previous title. If consoles are again plagued by loading screens, that might be a deal-breaker for some.
7. Shadow Realms — Release Date: CANCELED
Description From the Developers — “From the storytelling experts at BioWare comes Shadow Realms™, a new 4v1 story-driven Online Action RPG with dynamic co-op missions in a constantly evolving BioWare world. Join an ongoing adventure with new episodes released frequently. Experience the thrill of making your own choices as to the path you take through the story, uncovering new mysteries and revealing hidden twists unexpectedly as you progress. Fight as a modern-day Hero who suddenly awakens with magical powers and is pulled into a dark realm and centuries old battle. Team up with three other Heroes in adventures facing off against a fantastic array of demonic bosses and supernatural creatures in a raging war against the Shadow Legions to save all of humanity. Summon all your powers as you prepare to battle a player-controlled Shadowlord, who possesses the ultimate weapon – the human mind.”
What I hope it’s going to be — A groundbreaking game. I’m hoping for some dynamic player driven interactions from the unique 4 vs 1 multiplayer feature. Will this game be able to emulate a table-top Dungeons & Dragons adventure in video game format? That would be pretty fun. Though I’m not even sure that is what they’re going for here. Despite a few niggling complaints about some of their more recent RPGs, Bioware has become a name that I trust to release games I’ll play through.
What I fear it may end up being — Every time I hear the term Episodic Content, I pretty much take it as a threat. Will this game bring with it a half-finished story and bombard us with micro-transactions? EA has been especially sinful in this regard, so this is a huge worry. With not a lot of information to go off of, it’s easy to imagine a 4 vs 1 RPG falling flat on its face in terms of story. When trying something this different, there are major concerns that it simply won’t work.
6. Torment: Tides of Numenera
Release Date: Late 2015
Description From the Developers — “Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game set in the world of Monte Cook’s new tabletop RPG setting, Numenera. Torment continues the thematic legacy of Planescape: Torment, the critically acclaimed role-playing game from 1999 that’s considered by many to be a hallmark for storytelling in computer RPGs. With Torment, we’re creating a rich role-playing experience that explores similar deep, personal themes.”
What I hope it’s going to be — A True successor to Planescape: Torment. Planescape, was an absolute treasure that few gamers were lucky enough to experience. It is almost too much to hope that this new Torment can deliver such a gripping story, but I do anyhow! Indeed, Kickstarter delivered me the gem that was Shadowrun Dragonfall — a game I felt was better than its amazing predecessor in every way, so I know such a thing is possible for Tides of Numenera.
What I fear it may end up being — Living up to nostalgic fondness can be very tough. It’s quite possible that the writing in this game will not hold up to its predecessor’s, or at least my overly-rosy memory of it. Watching the video, I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with the voice-acting — if it gets much worse than this, it’s going to be a distraction at the very least.