We look into our crystal ball to see what’s in store for video games in 2016…
Some things about video games never change. EA will release another Madden game next year. A new Call of Duty will inexplicably sell eight bazillion copies. And Valve will continue to torture us by refusing to discuss Half-Life 3 for whatever reason.
But if the Terminator movies have taught us anything, it’s that the future is not set in stone. We aren’t as sure that the following five things will happen in 2016, but if Vegas were taking bets on video game news, these are the events that we’d put money on occurring next year.
5. The Nintendo NX Release Redeems Nintendo
The Wii U is selling much better now than its first couple years on the market, but it’s no secret that Nintendo is deep into development of the Wii U’s successor, codenamed NX. Third parties have given up on the Wii U, and it’s just too little too late. The NX is heavily rumored to be some sort of hybrid console-handheld at least as powerful as the Xbox One and Playstation 4. If that’s the case, and Nintendo can learn from its mistakes with the Wii U by building a modern online infrastructure and courting third-parties to develop original games for the NX, there’s no reason the console can’t be a success, if not the biggest console on the market. If the controller is as innovative as rumored, and the games hold up, the NX might even be as successful as the original Wii.
4. No Major Final Fantasy Games are Released
The last single player Final Fantasy, FF XIII, came out in the U.S. way back in 2009. Since then, Square Enix has announced that the game’s sort-of-sequel, Final Fantasy XIII Versus (which started development in 2006) is actually going to be Final Fantasy XV. A demo for FF XV was released earlier this year with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, but it didn’t run very well, and Square Enix even had to patch it. Supposedly Final Fantasy XV is on track for a release in 2016, but if the state of the game in the demo is any indication, don’t expect to see it on shelves until at least 2017. And the multi-part Final Fantasy VII Remake? Square doesn’t even seem to really know what the gameplay will be like yet, or how each game will be split up. It looks great in videos, but it’s probably still years away from seeing the light of day. Sadly, 2016 will probably not be the year of Final Fantasy.
3. The Toys to Life Bubble Bursts
You can’t walk through a Gamestop nowadays without tripping over a bunch of toys that work with video games. At first there was just Skylanders, which is actually a pretty good game for adults or kids. Then Disney jumped into the fray with its Infinity figures based on Marvel Comics and Star Wars. Now Nintendo has flooded the market with amiibos, and even Lego is getting into the fray with Lego Dimensions. In 2016 it will be five years since Skylanders first hit the market, and with four major toys to life franchises out there, there’s only so much gamers can take (and fit in their homes) before fatigue sets in. Expect 2016 to be the year it all comes crashing down for this fad, with lots of stores clearing these figures out at bargain basement prices by year’s end. It’s going to be like what happened with music games a few years ago all over again.
2. Zelda Finally Comes to the Wii U… and the NX
Nintendo is almost certainly going to release the NX in 2016 to recoup its losses with the Wii U, but what games will it launch with? A new Mario is pretty much a given at some point, but what would really sell systems is the Legend of Zelda game Nintendo showed off at E3 2014. The game looks fantastic, and even two years ago it didn’t look too far from release. But after showing off that initial video, all has been quiet on the Zelda Wii U front, except for Nintendo delaying it to 2016. Something is definitely going on with the title’s development, and the high level of secrecy (even by Nintendo standards) likely means that its being moved to the NX as a launch title. That doesn’t mean we won’t see a Wii U version though. In fact, we almost certainly will, but it might arrive later than the NX version and be missing a few features, similar to how Nintendo released Twilight Princess back in 2006. Whatever system it’s on, we just want to play it already.
1. We Hear the First Details About The Next Xbox and Playstation 5
In 2016, the Xbox One and Playstation 4 will both turn three years old. The consoles will be around for quite a few more years, but more often than not, new consoles are introduced about every five years. That would put both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 around the halfway point in their respective life cycles. And if the Nintendo NX is a hit, that will only put more pressure on Sony and Microsoft to put out more powerful consoles to compete. It’s highly unlikely we’ll see anything tangible from the Playstation 5 or Xbox Two in 2016, but don’t be surprised to hear a few rumors about early hardware development or virtual reality integration.