Most Anticipated 2016: Steve's Picks

Shacknews Editor-in-Chief Steve Watts takes a look forward at the games he's most eager to get his hands on in 2016.

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Shacknews is starting the new year taking stock of the next 365 days. These are the games set to come in 2016 that we're most looking forward to playing.

Bravely Second / Final Fantasy Explorers

I had to pair these two because they appear to scratch a similar itch. I like the modern Final Fantasy games well enough, but the old-school charm of Bravely Default was really something special for me as a fan of the Super NES era. Bravely Second appears to maintain everything I liked from the first game, like the deep job class system and streamlining of traditional RPG mechanics, while also attempting to correct its predecessor's biggest mistake. If I can get another round of classic RPG action without the repetition of Bravely Default, I'll be one happy onion knight.

Meanwhile, Final Fantasy Explorers may prove to be something of a gateway drug. I've tried to play Monster Hunter games, but the systems have just felt too impenetrable for me as a newcomer. FFE is said to be similar mechanically, but the familiar trappings of Final Fantasy may be just the training wheels I need to fully embrace it. At the very least it shows Square is trying different ideas with the license, and I want to encourage more of that.

XCOM 2

XCOM was an absolute revelation, and even if XCOM 2 was simply more of that I'd be pretty happy. Firaxis seems to be quite a bit more ambitious than that, though, with a whole host of new features aimed at keeping us fighting aliens for some time to come. Procedurally generated stages promise tons of replay, the aliens have their own win conditions for a constant tug-of-war, and we've already seen lots of new alien designs with their own unique battle roles to make an even rougher mix. Pair this with an intriguing premise that assumes you actually lost in the first XCOM, and it looks to be quite the ride.

Fire Emblem Fates

2016 is looking to be a very strategic year. Just a few months after XCOM, we're getting Fire Emblem Fates. The dual release (along with a smorgasboard of Smash Bros inclusions) shows that this long-running strategy series from Nintendo has finally achieved the support and attention it deserves. I absolutely loved the rich story, character relationships system, and fulfilling but tough perma-death combat system of Fire Emblem Awakening. Fates looks to have all that in spades, alongside a new base-building mechanic to add another layer of military management. Time to lose another few dozen hours to formulating and executing perfect tactics, or at least keeping everyone alive.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

The original Mirror's Edge was an incredible concept hobbled by what we can only assume was trepidation that the audience wouldn't respond to a first-person game if you couldn't shooty-shoot. After years of lamenting this decision it seems EA agrees, and is rebooting the name after a single game. We're going back in time with Faith, and we've been promised that this time it's all about the free-running and smooth acrobatic combat. That's all we wanted!

Star Fox Zero

This inclusion is what you might call aspirational. I want Star Fox Zero to be good so badly. I walked away from my E3 demo unimpressed and more than a little disappointed, particulary grousing about the frankly poor visuals and incredibly awkward GamePad controls. It desperately needed a more distinct visual style, and a traditional control scheme option. Nintendo pulled the game from this year's line-up to make minor improvements, but my hope is that these small changes will have a big impact on how I feel about it as a whole.

The Legend of Zelda

Appearing on my Most Anticipated list for the second year in a row, the next console Legend of Zelda looks massive and gorgeous. Or at least, it did last time we saw it. Not only did 2015 not bring about the release of this game, we've barely even seen or heard any new information this year. Speculation has been rampant that it's been pushed to the upcoming NX, or at least that it will be a dual release a la Twilight Princess. Whatever the platform, though, I can't wait to wield the Master Sword once again.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

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    January 1, 2016 9:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Most Anticipated 2016: Steve's Picks

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      January 1, 2016 9:22 AM

      Is Nintendo ever going to make a Zelda game in time for the actual console on which it was developed?

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        January 1, 2016 9:46 AM

        You mean like Zelda 1 and 2, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker and Skyward Sword? Or how about Link's Awakening, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, or A Link Between Worlds?

        I think you meant Twilight Princess is the ONLY Zelda game that was delayed enough to be launched on a system it wasn't originally intended for. So yeah, they will ever make a Zelda game in time for the actual console on which it was developed.

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          January 1, 2016 9:52 AM

          Is this new Zelda game coming out before the NX?

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            January 1, 2016 9:53 AM

            With the current news we have? Yes. Nobody knows when NX is coming though.

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              January 1, 2016 9:54 AM

              GOOD. But if you don't know when the NX is coming, how can you say for sure?

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                January 1, 2016 9:57 AM

                I can't. Nobody can. It doesn't make your first reply any less ridiculous. Since, if the NX launches before Zelda Wii U, it'll be the second time it's happened in an almost 30 year franchise.

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                  January 1, 2016 10:00 AM

                  I suppose because I don't live in the past, I don't care that it did not happen on the NES. And while Skyward Sword was released before the WiiU, it came at the very very tail end of the console cycle. The sentiment is really less about whether it squeaked by the next console's release date and more about the incredibly long tedious wait for Zelda titles, or really, all first party titles. 5 years is a ridiculous amount of time to wait between flagship titles, and it seems to be getting worse and worse.

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                    January 1, 2016 10:12 AM

                    ALBW came out in 2013, that was coming up on three years ago. Skyward Sword was 2011. That puts them two to three years apart. There were two major reworks of two of the most popular entries in the franchise in that time span. I suppose you'll tell me that you don't count handheld entries since you don't care about them, and what you care about seems to be the major point in your argument.

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                      January 1, 2016 10:21 AM

                      Do most gamers consider ALBW to be a major Zelda game?

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                        January 1, 2016 10:21 AM

                        They should, because it is.

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                          January 1, 2016 10:23 AM

                          That's a funny way to duck a question.

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                            January 1, 2016 10:24 AM

                            I didn't duck it. I answered it. ALBW is a major entry in the Zelda franchise.

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                              January 1, 2016 10:29 AM

                              If you look closely at the question, I ask for you to measure the sentiment across most gamers about their opinions. Instead, you tried to avoid that specific question in favor of declaring that objectively, regardless of their opinions, that there is an absolute answer to the question.

                              There are two components here. One, do people consider a handheld game to be a major entry in a franchise? Two, is the scope and extent of a 2D topdown Zelda game considerable enough to be called a major entry? These are largely subjective questions, without an objective answer. If Zelda fans were polled on these subjective questions, they would most likely answer no to both, which is contrary to your own opinion, which may serve as the basis for why you chose to brush all that aside in favor of declaring those questions to be objective in nature and that the objective absolute answer to be equal to your own subjective stance on the matter.

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                                January 1, 2016 10:33 AM

                                As the seventeenth installment in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series and as the sequel to the 1991 Super Nintendo Entertainment System title The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,[4] its events take place six generations following the previous game's events.[5] The game was released worldwide in November 2013, and in Japan in December 2013.

                                It was released to critical acclaim, yielding sales of 2.18 million copies by the end of 2013.


                                It's the fucking sequel to LttP. It's a major entry in the franchise. There is no subjective debate on that. It does not matter what you think, or what you think the majority of gamers think. It doesn't matter what I think, or what I think the majority of gamers think. The fact is there. It is objective and quantifiable.

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                                  January 1, 2016 10:37 AM

                                  While I happily commend your passion about the game and the franchise as well as the passion with which you participate in this debate, I hope both for the sake of yourself and others, that your critical thinking skillsets are not crucial to the safety or well-being of people or important objects.

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                                    January 1, 2016 10:41 AM

                                    Sorry, sent too early by accident. I feel that if they had called it the seventeenth "major" installment, you could be correct. However, I feel that the lack of that specific distinction leaves that Wikipedia quote to be ambiguous. You're correct that it's likely a sequel to Link to the Past, which was a major installment. But the scope of video games have changed wildly since then, including both the scope of the content as well as the sophistication of the software and mechanics.

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                                      January 1, 2016 10:46 AM

                                      likely correct

                                      You can't even give up one concrete fact. You have to preface it with 'likely'.

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                                        January 1, 2016 10:49 AM

                                        Where did I say "likely correct"? Are you referring to "likely a sequel"? I concur. If I replace that with "it's definitely a sequel", does it meaningfully change the rebuttal?

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                                    January 1, 2016 10:41 AM

                                    And now you resort to backhanded insults disguised under commendation.

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                                      January 1, 2016 10:47 AM

                                      Apologies, that slipped out due to this day wine sipping. I take that back wholeheartedly. But by argument still stands and I am curious as to your opinions on it.

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                        January 1, 2016 11:08 AM

                        hell yes.

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          January 1, 2016 10:55 AM

          I think MM was supposed to require the N64 DD.

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      January 1, 2016 9:52 AM

      There's games I have the highest hype for, like the division, by have little faith in the quality. If predictions are true destiny 2 is on that list for me also. The problem is these games will probably be some of the biggest let downs.

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        January 1, 2016 9:54 AM

        The leaked footage of the Division look so boring and flat, like an ordinary piece of 5x10 sheet of Baltic Birch plywood

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        January 1, 2016 1:19 PM

        Yeah I feel the Division is going to get Watchdog'd.

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      January 1, 2016 11:05 AM

      Mirror's Edge !!!!!!!
      Can't wait.