The year’s almost over. It’s been good to us, but it’s time to leave it in the past where it can sit poolside with the other years we’re slowly forgetting, drowning its sorrows in Moscow mules until it forgets the fact that it was one Konami short of greatness.
A handful of games is what kept the last twelve months from feeling like the teaser trailer that arrives a few days before the actual trailer. We’re going to forget about it completely the moment we’re given the real thing, but there was some excitement to be had.
This was the year that gave gamers the opportunity to step into the shoes of a needy Pamela Voorhees, as we pooled our resources in order to buy our son a first-class ticket so he would finally come home to us. It also let us know about the remakes we’ll be getting sometime around 2017 of Resident Evil 2 and System Shock, because miracles exist, apparently.
Oh, and System Shock 3. You know what? Let’s talk about how great 2017 is going to be. I can’t see Resident Evil 7 until then, and if 2016 is going to kick off the virtual reality revolution, then 2017 is about when they’ll start being worth their price tag. I’m so over 2016, you guys. I’ll still do this — I just want you to know that my heart’s not going to be in it. It’ll be far too busy wondering if 2017 will also be the year that gifts us with a third Condemned game.
Allison Road is a spiritual successor, of sorts, to the game you’ve forbidden me from whining over. Or, at least that’s how it began. Now, it’s its own entity, separate from the material that inspired it. This near-photorealistic scarefest looks absolutely terrifying.
Release Date: TBA 2016 (PC)
I don’t need to sell you on this. Outlast 2 is going to be like Outlast, only better (we hope). Red Barrels has proven adept at building a stunning world with a very specific goal in mind: to test our capacity for visceral terror. All I ask is for them to drop the tired asylum setting and populate this sequel with more villains that are as memorably traumatic as The Groom.
Release Date: Fall 2016 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Lunar Software was as surprised as we were when they realized their promising roguelike-ish sci-fi horror game Routine would take significantly longer to finish than originally expected. Everything we’ve seen of the game up to this point has pointed to its being well worth the wait. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too much longer.
Release Date: TBA 2016 (PC)
Big guns. Bigger demons. The Doom franchise has always been about what happens when the two are combined, and its latest incarnation isn’t likely to stray from that core concept. This is exactly the sort of bombastic horror game that id Software is brilliant at. The new SnapMap modding toolset that’s coming with it should go a long way in keeping players engaged, but the real question is whether or not the same can be said about its multiplayer offering.
The landscape of multiplayer gaming is as complex as it is competitive, ruled by a handful of renowned franchises like Call of Duty and Halo that have had time to perfect their craft. Doom will need to deliver something special if it’s going to compete with that.
Release Date: Spring 2016 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Technically, this spot is reserved for Telltale’s episodic series based on The Walking Dead, which is expected to grow considerably in 2016 with the arrival of two games. The first is a three episode-long spin-off titled The Walking Dead: Michonne that’s coming in the spring, and the second is the third season in the main series that’s expected to release in the fall.
And since we’re talking about it, there are two other games based on the wildly popular comic-turned-hit television series in the works, I’m just not convinced they’ll arrive before 2017. You might remember that memorably grim trailer for Overkill’s The Walking Dead that series creator Robert Kirkman seemed excited about. Then there’s Overkill’s The Walking Dead – The VR Experience, which is something different, apparently. Neither game has been given a release date, so consider them honorable mentions for now.
Release Date: TBA 2016 (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO)
As much as I enjoy playing games about the walking de-err, those shambling ghouls, their proven marketability among gamers may be why so many developers have chosen to make more games that star them, rather than give us something about dinosaurs, vampires, or aliens.
The Hum: Abductions aims to tackle that last subject and from what we’ve seen, it appears to be shaping up nicely. Set in a city that’s been invaded by aliens and the head-shaped vehicles they often favor, Abductions follows a lone mother who’s determined to save her infant son from the scrawny grey bastards that probably stole her husband.
Release Date: Spring 2016 (PC, PS4)
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is an expansion to one of the best games of 2015 that’s basically doing its own thing. It’s coming from the same team that brought us Until Dawn, only it’ll be less of a cinematic, story-driven tale inspired by the slasher film genre and more of an on-rails shooter built for virtual reality — specifically PlayStation VR.
Release Date: TBA 2016 (PS4)
This is the year that Resident Evil got back on track. The Resident Evil remaster and Revelations 2 showed a side of Capcom we hadn’t seen since their passion for the horror genre became all about getting a slice of that Call of Duty money pie. 2016 can keep that momentum going, or it can bring it to a grinding halt. The former is looking more likely thanks to Resident Evil 0 HD and the far-off Resident Evil 2 remake, but those are examples of Capcom sticking to what worked in the past.
I’m more worried about any original ideas they have from now on, since that’s what got us Resident Evil 6 and the half-assed Operation Raccoon City. Unfortunately, Umbrella Corps is the only new-ish thing we know about right now. Who knows? It could be fun.
Release Date: January 19 (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XBO)
Dying Light: The Following is another expansion that’s earned a spot on this list out of sheer ambition. Techland has done everything right with their latest open-world game about maiming the undead with the shit you built out of spare parts and a total disregard for how science works. It started with the smart decision to make Dead Island again, this time with parkour mechanics, and it continued with a year’s worth of support — much of it in the form of free content — that’s built the foundation for the game’s biggest evolution yet.
Techland is skilled at the art of making what worked well enough and making it work so much better. The Following and the ginormous patch thats coming with it are doing exactly what Dying Light did to Dead Island, only it’s not charging us $60 for the effort.
Release Date: Spring 2016 (PC, PS4, XBO)
It took a long damn time for System Shock to creep back into our lives like a malicious virus hidden inside a spam email, if that virus left you feeling woozy with anticipation. That’s a weird analogy. I’m going to try that again.
After a lengthy hiatus, SHODAN is about to burst into our lives like the Kool-Aid Man, if the Kool-Aid Man was breaking into homes so he could easily drag all those helpless children kicking and screaming into his torture room to waterboard them with tasty flavored beverages. That’s still weird, but I’ll stick with it because I like what it implies about the red liquid he’s made of.
Night Dive Studios, the new home of System Shock, did a fine job in remastering the original game. I’m sure they’ll be just as respectful with the remake they’re working on now. This series faded into obscurity long enough ago that an entire generation of gamers wouldn’t know what it is. Night Dive has been patient in their efforts to bring it back with a remaster that doubled as a reminder of what made this series so special in the late 90’s.
Oh, and we’re also getting System Shock 3, just not in 2016.
Release Date: TBA 2016 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Which upcoming horror game are you most looking forward to in 2016? And before you lambaste me for not mentioning a stab ’em up like Friday the 13th: The Game or Last Year, they didn’t make this list because that would be redundant.