Notable games arriving by the end of the year
Below, we list some of the most noteworthy games scheduled to go on sale this fall. Games exclusive to a single platform are marked below. All release dates are for North America unless otherwise indicated.
Of course, the list below doesn't include any of the highly anticipated titles that were expected to be released this fall but instead have been recently delayed into 2015. This group includes Batman: Arkham Knight, Battlefield Hardline, The Division, Evolve, The Order: 1886, Quantum Break, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Pre-Order From Amazon The Crew Watch trailer(s)
November 11 | Ubisoft | Racing/Open world
Ready to put your next-gen console through its paces to see what it can do? Why not take The Crew out for a spin. Developed from the ground up for the new hardware (though it will also appear on the 360), this new open-world game injects MMORPG elements (including the ability to collect parts and use them for upgrades) into the racing genre. The Crew is set in the United States, and by that, we mean the entire country: it'll take you 90 minutes to drive coast to coast, and you'll never need to idle for loading screens. The single-player campaign features about 20 hours worth of missions that involve infiltrating criminal organizations, but The Crew's online multiplayer is where you'll probably be spending your time, driving with and/or against up to 7 other players. Ubisoft has suggested that free content updates will arrive after the game's launch, though since the publisher is already describing The Crew as the "World of Warcraft of driving games," expect paid add-ons as well.
Pre-Order From Amazon Destiny Watch trailer(s)
September 9 | Activision | Action/RPG/First-person shooter
Calling Destiny the most anticipated game of the fall seems a bit of an understatement. Over 4.6 million gamers have already participated in this summer's beta, with over 88 million games played to date—numbers virtually unheard of for a brand-new IP. The reason for the excitement, of course, is that Destiny is the first post-Halo project for newly independent studio Bungie—which means it's also the first Bungie game in ages not exclusive to Microsoft consoles.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has spread out throughout the solar system but is now on the brink of collapse, Destiny is in some ways yet another sci-fi, first-person shooter, and, yes, there have been more than a few Borderlands comparisons. But its scope seems far more ambitious—we're talking "get Paul McCartney to compose the score"-level ambitious. The "shared-world shooter" (think Halo in MMORPG form) features a massive, constantly growing, online persistent world (and a timeframe spanning a full decade) for you to shoot your way through, either alone or by teaming up (though without Halo-style split screens) with other players online, as long as they are on the same console generation. (Don't worry; there's competitive multiplayer, too.) You'll also have a robotic companion, or "Ghost," voiced by Peter Dinklage, though his performance (since tweaked) underwhelmed those who played early versions of the game.
Bungie has also been on the defensive about the size of the game (which, in the beta, did not seem as big as gamers had hoped), but industry analysts are expecting Destiny to be the year's biggest game in terms of revenues, with 10-15 million copies sold, and it is already the most pre-ordered new title in GameStop's history. The first of two planned expansions, The Dark Below, will arrive in December. A PC version hasn't been ruled out for the future, but is not in Bungie's immediate plans.
Pre-Order From Amazon The Evil Within Watch trailer(s)
October 14 | Bethesda Softworks | Survival horror
The first game developed by Japan's Tango Gameworks, the new studio founded by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within is another survival horror tale, billed as a return to the genre's roots by emphasizing story and dread over action. The single-player campaign kicks off with a gruesome mass murder at an especially creepy insane asylum (you control, in third person, one of the cops at the crime scene, and he's having a particularly bad day), and takes about 15-20 hours to complete. (Here's one of those hours.) The vocal cast features Jackie Earle Haley, Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), and Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), and Carpenter's character will be playable in an upcoming DLC installment, one of three planned expansions available with a $20 pass.
Ori and the Blind Forest Watch trailer(s)
tbd late 2014 | Microsoft | Platform/Adventure
Microsoft's new "Metroidvania"-style 2D adventure platformer is the first release from new-ish indie developer Moon Studios, which has been working on the game for nearly four years. Early demos have elicited excitement (as well as numerous Super Meat Boy comparisons), with raves about the game's gorgeous visual design, responsive controls, and deep gameplay. Much of the game's story is still a secret, though Ori does feature a flexible, RPG-like character progression which finds your character (a guardian spirit named Ori who is forced into the forest alone after his mother is taken by an evil entity) gaining numerous abilities as the game progresses. An Xbox 360 version may follow in 2015.
Pillars of Eternity
tbd | Paradox Interactive | RPG
Funded in part through a successful $4 million Kickstarter campaign, Obsidian Entertainment's old-school fantasy RPG Pillars of Eternity takes the classic Baldur's Gate as a major inspiration in both design and gameplay. Unlike the latter game (and other inspirations like Planescape: Torment), Pillars will not be based on Dungeons & Dragons (either rules or content), instead utilizing a wholly original story and setting. Will this nostalgia-fueled approach win over today's gamers? We should find out soon if Pillars meets its planned late-2014 release window.
Pre-Order From Amazon Project Spark Watch trailer(s)
October 7 | Microsoft | Game creator
Consider it Microsoft's answer to LittleBigPlanet (or maybe Minecraft). Project Spark is the Xbox-maker's new creation tool that can be used to construct shareable games and movies. It appears more full-featured as a game creator than Sony's LBP, since you'll have a much wider array of possibilities for the type of game you wish to construct, and you can either begin with a blank canvas or one of several pre-designed templates. (You'll also be able to use Conker the Squirrel as a character, making this his first game in a decade.) Of course, you'll also be able to play all of the games uploaded by others in the community, which means that Project Spark should eventually double as a fairly extensive collection of casual games.
Pre-Order From Amazon Sunset Overdrive Watch trailer(s)
October 28 | Microsoft | Third-person shooter
Is Sunset Overdrive the game-changing Xbox One exclusive that fans have been waiting for since the console's launch? It just might be, if the game's excellent showing at E3 was no fluke. A fast-paced open-world shooter from Insomniac Games, best known for their Ratchet & Clank and Resistance series, this heavily stylized and irreverent game is set in the year 2027 and gives you parkour-like hyper-athleticism and a vibrant, extra-bouncy city which you'll need to defend against your fellow citizens. (They've turned into mutants, by the way—the result of an energy drink overdose caused by your employer.) Since you can only carry eight weapons at once, you'll want to make sure you have appropriate firepower, which ranges from the exotic (a teddy-bear-grenade-launcher) to the standard (an AK-Fuckyouup assault rifle). There's no driving, but that's no problem; you'll be spending most of your time going up and around. An online co-op mode allows up to eight players to tackle missions together.
The Witness Watch trailer(s)
tbd | Thekla, Inc. | Puzzle
Iconoclast game developer Jonathan Blow has gotten plenty of ink over the past five years as he toiled away at a follow-up to 2008's widely praised Braid. But will 2014 be the year when we finally get to see The Witness, the result of all that work? As of now, it still seems that a late 2014 release is a possibility, as Blow's team is currently in "finish-the-game mode." When it arrives, The Witness will be an ambitious, maze-oriented, 3D puzzle game (self-funded by Blow, and influenced by Myst) that has players exploring an uninhabited, abandoned island, solving over 600 challenges along the way to unlock additional regions and uncover more information about the island's (and the game's) mysteries. Audio logs scattered across the island will provide some clues about the overarching story, but you'll need to piece everything together yourself. Note that the planned iPad version will likely be available at a later date than the PC/PS4 versions.
- Ancient Space tbd for PC
- This story-driven real-time strategy game from Paradox Interactive asks you to command a space fleet on a scientific mission to the edge of the universe and features the voices of actors from Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and various Star Trek series.
- Arena of Fate tbd for PC
- Crytek's streamlined 5v5 MOBA features 20-minute matches and a more approachable design aimed at gamers frustrated with other titles in the genre. Choose your combatant from an array of fictional heroes, including Sherlock Holmes, Alice, Blackbeard, Little Red Riding Hood, and Frankenstein.
- Citizens of Earth tbd November for PC, PS4, Wii U, 3D, and Vita
- A failed Kickstarter rescued by publisher Atlus, this EarthBound-influenced JRPG (both feature an oddball Americana setting an goofy sense of humor) casts you as the Vice President of Earth, who must recruit various citizens (ranging from conspiracy theorists to baristas to bodybuilders) to fight for you after the planet's inhabitants go crazy.
- Driveclub October 7 for PS4
- Arriving a year after originally planned, this PS4-exclusive social racing game comes from the developer of MotorStorm but, unlike that game, features on-road racing. Online multiplayer is a major emphasis in Driveclub, which occupies the middle ground between arcade-style action and realistic, heavily detailed driving games, and features visually impressive environments and weather systems (even if its cars aren't quite up to Forza standards).
- Lords of the Fallen October 28 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One
- Often compared to Dark Souls—though intended to be slightly less brutally difficult than that game—this dark fantasy action-RPG is set during the Middle Ages.
- The Vanishing of Ethan Carter September 25 for PC
- A first-person open-world adventure inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft, this spooky mystery tale finds you playing as a detective investigating the disappearance of a young boy in the lush Red Creek Valley, with the help of some paranormal abilities. The violent but combat-free game comes from tiny independent studio The Astronauts, founded by some of the folks behind Bulletstorm. Though it will be available on PC only to start, a PS4 version is expected next year.
Sequels, remakes, adaptations, etc.
Pre-Order From Amazon Alien: Isolation Watch trailer(s)
October 7 | Sega | Stealth/Survival horror
Forget the last game to bear the Alien name. We expect a better outcome for Isolation, which comes from a different developer (The Creative Assembly, best known for the Total War series), uses the original 1979 film for inspiration, and (appropriately enough) moves into the survival horror/stealth genres, rather than serving as yet another shooter. In fact, this first-person game emphasizes stealth (or, more precisely, escaping) over combat, and can be completed without a single kill. Set 15 years after the events in Alien, the single-player game focuses on the character of Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda, who is alone and trying to remain alive while hunted by a single xenomorph. The tense, claustrophobic, and creepy Isolation will feature up to 15 hours of gameplay, while an upcoming DLC expansion will feature voice acting from much of the original movie's cast (including Sigourney Weaver).
Pre-Order From Amazon Assassin's Creed Rogue Watch trailer(s)
November 11 | Ubisoft | Action-adventure/Stealth
Yes, there are two new Assassin's Creed titles headed to stores this fall: one for the new consoles, and this one for previous-generation hardware. Rogue, the latter game, completes a North American trilogy that began with Assassin's Creed III and continued with last year's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The new game takes place during the mid-18th century's Seven Years' War (you may know it as the French and Indian War), but switches things up from the norm by giving you the role of a brash, arrogant Assassin who has defected to the Templars. Expect a significant chunk of the action to take place on water (your ship can navigate the frigid ocean as well as rivers)—as well as land-based settings like New York, Quebec, and the Appalachian River Valley—though don't expect any multiplayer: this is a single-player-only title.
Pre-Order From Amazon Assassin's Creed Unity Watch trailer(s)
November 11 | Ubisoft | Action-adventure/Stealth
Fall's higher-profile Assassin's Creed title is the one headed to next-gen consoles (and PCs). The result of work from 10 different development studios, Unity is designed to take advantage of the latest hardware (don't expect ports to 360 or PS3) as well as to serve as an entry point for newcomers to the franchise, with new characters (including a semi-major female character for once, though she's not user-playable) in a "complex" and "emotional" story set in a large, extensively detailed Paris during the French Revolution. The big story, however, is the addition of co-operative multiplayer for the first time in the series, with up to four players able to complete missions together. That mode comes at the expense of competitive multiplayer, which is absent this time around. Note that the game's release was just delayed a few weeks, and it will now come out the same day as Rogue (on November 11).
Pre-Order From Amazon Bayonetta 2 Watch trailer(s)
October tbd | Nintendo | Action
You're not mis-remembering: 2010's well-reviewed Bayonetta was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But this hack-and-slash sequel from Platinum Games is headed (to the disappointment of some fans) to Wii U as an exclusive, and it will come bundled with a new Wii U port of the original game. The sequel adds mechs to your arsenal in your battle against angels and demons, while also featuring a new online two-player co-op mode.
Pre-Order From Amazon Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Watch trailer(s)
October 14 | 2K Games | First-person shooter
The third major Borderlands release is a prequel to 2012's hugely successful Borderlands 2 (hence that crazy title) and focuses on Handsome Jack's rise to power. While prior Borderlands games took place on Pandora, The Pre-Sequel! heads to the planet's low-gravity, oxygen-poor moon, and features four playable characters—Jack's henchmen (henchpeople?)—who have all appeared as non-playable characters in previous games. Expect more dialogue than usual, as well as an Aussie sense of humor, as much of the development work was handled by 2K Australia. XB1/PS4 versions are not currently in development, but are possible in the future.
Pre-Order From Amazon Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Watch trailer(s)
November 4 | Activision | First-person shooter
Titanfall comparisons are inevitable (and already well underway) for Activision's latest Call of Duty title. Not only does that competing game come from former CoD developers, but both take the first-person shooter formula and update it a bit with futuristic technology, including powered exoskeletons and enhanced jumping and speed abilities. Advanced Warfare, from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Sledgehammer Games, also seems to share some elements with sci-fi shooter Crysis, including cloaking abilities. Still, with new console hardware and a three-year development cycle (rather than the usual two), expect a deeper and more visually (and aurally) impressive Call of Duty than ever before, while the new weaponry and 2054 setting should also make it something more than just another retread. (Voice acting by Kevin Spacey probably won't hurt, either.) Note that the Wii U will not get the new game, though it did get the previous two CoD entries.
Pre-Order From Amazon Civilization: Beyond Earth Watch trailer(s)
October 24 | 2K Games | Strategy
What's not to like? The long-awaited sequel to the 1999 4X strategy game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri in all but name only (mainly, due to legal reasons; rights to the Alpha Centauri name belong to another publisher), Beyond Earth also builds upon the hex-based, non-stacking gameplay of the most recent Civilization iteration, Civilization V. The turn-based game is set in the future and asks players to form an expedition to leave a dying Earth and colonize an alien planet. The planet you choose (and pre-orders will come with extra maps based on several potential real-life exoplanets discovered by the Kepler telescope) will have various alien lifeforms—which could be friend, foe, or neither—and, later in the game, other human players as well. Research will involve a non-linear "web" rather than the usual branching tree, while victory conditions will be mostly new (and a bit more complex than before), tied to the path you choose for humanity's future. Another way the game differs from the previous Civilization is the addition of an orbital layer, into which you (and your competitors) may launch satellites that perform various economic and military functions.
Pre-Order From Amazon Dragon Age: Inquisition Watch trailer(s)
November 18 | Electronic Arts | Action/RPG
Delayed a month from its planned October release, this third installment in BioWare's fantasy-action-RPG franchise follows the strong Dragon Age: Origins and its somewhat disappointing follow-up Dragon Age II. The developer calls Inquisition its "most ambitious game to date," and it blends gameplay elements of both prior releases in a world that is much larger than either predecessor (though still not as open as competitor Skyrim). Combat and romance have been overhauled, graphics are more detailed and impressive than ever before (on the new consoles, that is), and there will be more customization compared to DA2. Though the new game will feature 40 possible ending variations based on the decision you make, you can expect more DA games in the future, as Inquisition is not designed to bring all of the world's various stories to a conclusion. Inquisition will, however, be the first in the series to include multiplayer—specifically, a four-player co-op mode featuring 20- and 30-minute missions in procedurally generated dungeons that are separate from the main campaign.
Elite: Dangerous Watch trailer(s)
tbd | Frontier Developments | Simulation
With the full version of Star Citizen not expected until 2015 at the earliest, anyone looking for a Kickstarter-funded space sim this year will have to settle for Elite:Dangerous, though "settle" might not be the accurate word. ("This year" may also be inaccurate, though the game is still targeting a late 2014 release.) This Elite series dates back to 1984, but Dangerous is the first installment in nearly two decades, and is also the first MMO in the franchise. The open-world space sim is set in a realistic, 1:1 scale Milky Way galaxy (with a mere 150,000 star systems to explore) in the year 3300. The complex (and what appears to be insanely detailed) game provides opportunities for activities including trading, combat, salvage missions, piracy, and bounty hunting, all undertaken from the cockpit of your own spacecraft through a combination of set missions and free-form exploration (either on your own or with others). And there's support for Oculus Rift—in fact, it seems particularly well-suited to VR gameplay.
Pre-Order From Amazon Far Cry 4 Watch trailer(s)
November 18 | Ubisoft | Action-adventure/First-person shooter
Ubisoft's open-world action series heads to the Himalayas for this follow-up to 2012's excellent Far Cry 3, which has sold over 9 million units to date. The violent game is laced with dark humor and is set amidst a civil war in the scenic, mountainous, and often snowy region of Kyrat, where transportation options range from elephant to gyrocopter. (The elephant also doubles as a weapon.) Rather than playing as an outsider, as in past games, your character is Ajay Ghale, a Nepali native who becomes caught up in the battle against despotic king Pagan Min. Expect more multiplayer this time, including a two-player co-op mode. (The second player doesn't even need to own the game, though there are some limitations.) Missions are also designed to be less limiting and more complimentary of the game's open-world structure.
Pre-Order From Amazon Forza Horizon 2 Watch trailer(s)
September 30 | Microsoft | Racing
This sequel to the 2012 open-world racer Forza Horizon (this time, available on the Xbox One in addition to the 360) brings its racing action to the South of France (and northern Italy) with a world that's triple the size of the last game and filled with plenty of off-roading opportunities. (A music festival will once again be at the center of the action.) It'll be the first Forza release with a dynamic weather system, there's a new day-night cycle, and the game will include over 200 vehicles out of the box, ranging from classics (like the 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale) to 2015 models. The Xbox One version, from Playground Games, runs at 30fps at 1080p resolution, and is based on the Forza Motorsport 5 engine, while the 360 version comes from a different developer (Sumo Digital), runs on the previous Horizon's engine, and will be lacking some of the next-gen version's features.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series
tbd | Telltale Games | Adventure
After successfully turning The Walking Dead into an episodic point-and-click adventure game, Telltale now seeks to do the same to the world of Westeros. The first episode is expected to arrive this fall, with Telltale's Game of Thrones eventually spanning many episodes over multiple years—all the better to depict George R.R. Martin's sprawling fantasy saga. (The game will also use the HBO series as source material, after developers won over the cable network with a 10-minute demo.) Telltale has even enlisted Martin's personal assistant Ty Corey Franck to serve as story consultant, though the precise nature of the stories that will be told in the game is still under wraps.
Pre-Order From Amazon Halo: The Master Chief Collection Watch trailer(s)
November 11 | Microsoft | First-person shooter
While the next Halo game (Halo 5: Guardians) won't show up until 2015, Xbox One owners can play catch-up this fall with a new greatest hits collection that features graphically enhanced versions of all four previous Halo releases, complete with every multiplayer map and all add-on content. In honor of its 10th anniversary, Halo 2 received a full HD overhaul for the new set, while 3 and 4 underwent less extensive upgrades but will still run in 1080p at 60fps in their new versions. (The original Halo: Combat Evolved is included in its previously remastered Anniversary edition.) You'll have the freedom to mix-and-match missions from across the four games as you go, and all four games will have online multiplayer (a first for Combat Evolved) via dedicated servers. Oh, and the set will come with a nice bonus: guaranteed access to the Halo 5 multiplayer beta, beginning December 29th. Need more Halo this fall? Master Chief Collection owners will get access to a new, Ridley Scott-produced live action TV series, Halo: Nightfall, which introduces characters that will appear in Guardians. Watch a trailer for the series, which will also be available to stream via Xbox Live.
Pre-Order From Amazon Hyrule Warriors Watch trailer(s)
September 26 | Nintendo | Action
Want to take your favorite Legend of Zelda characters and have them hack and slash their way through Dynasty Warriors? This unexpected collaboration between Nintendo and Tecmo Koei allows you to do just that. Link will have his usual assortment of weapons to choose from, but they'll be put to good use: unlike most Zelda titles, this game is all combat, all the time. Other playable characters include Zelda, Impa, Agitha, Lana, and even Ganondorf, and though there's no online multiplayer, there is a two-player local co-op mode. If you prefer a more traditional Zelda game (i.e., puzzle-solving adventures rather than massive fights), you'll have to wait until next year.
Pre-Order From Amazon Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Watch trailer(s)
December 9 | Square Enix | Action
This downloadable title continues the Lara Croft-themed spin-off from the main Tomb Raider series that began with 2010's surprisingly strong Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Actress Keeley Hawes returns as the voice of Croft in Temple of Osiris, which will feature four-player online (or local) cooperative multiplayer (available, this time, at launch). In addition to Croft, the other playable characters are Egyptian gods Horus and Isis and rival explorer Carter Bell. Expect more puzzle-solving, combat, and explosions, as the formula hasn't changed much since Guardian. (And that's probably a good thing.)
Pre-Order From Amazon LittleBigPlanet 3 Watch trailer(s)
November 18 | Sony | Puzzle/Platform/Sandbox
Sony's first two LittleBigPlanet puzzle-platformers (2011's LittleBigPlanet 2 and 2008's LittleBigPlanet) scored big with critics and gamers who enjoyed its charming design and emphasis on user creativity, so this first next-gen installment in the series (also available on PS3) has a lot to live up to. While Sackboy returns from the first two games, he's joined here by three new playable characters, each with different abilities: the bird Swoop, the size-changing Toggle, and the speedy, dog-like Oddsock. Stephen Fry also returns as the narrator. The level editor returns (with a number of improvements in the PS4 version), and you can import levels from both past versions of the game.
Pre-Order From Amazon Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Watch trailer(s)
Sept. 30 (PC: Oct. 2) | Warner Bros. Interactive | Action/RPG
This single-player, open-world, action-RPG set in between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring could be the Lord of the Rings game you've been waiting for. Mordor is a major setting, and there are recognizable characters like Gollum, but the bulk of the game is an original story that takes place in the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien. The heart of the game is a new "Nemesis system" that creates dynamically changing interactions with NPCs based on the choices you make throughout the game and the customizations you make to your character. (Every NPC remembers its first encounter with you, and will respond to you in the future accordingly.) The player-controlled character, by the way, is Talion, a reanimated ranger who also has wraith-like supernatural abilities, and some of the choices you make will involve which of those two sides (ranger or wraith) to develop further. As you may have read, however, what your character most feels like is the protagonist of an Assassin's Creed game, as the game features quite a bit of sneaking around and even parkour elements. But it's also more than a mere AC clone, as the Nemesis system means that every action (and assassination) you undertake has consequences for how the game plays out. At least, that's the case on next-gen; may of the Nemesis features will be scaled back in the PS3/360 versions of the game.
Pre-Order From Amazon The Sims 4 Watch trailer(s)
September 2 | Electronic Arts | Simulation
EA has no-doubt learned from the mistakes made with reviving its beloved sim franchise Sim City, and would never do anything to alienate fans again with its other long-running series, The Sims. Oh, never mind. At least there's no always-online or forced-multiplayer requirements for next week's The Sims 4, the first major installment in the surprisingly compelling furniture-buying/TV-watching/house-cleaning/sleeping simulation since the arrival of The Sims 3 in 2009. No, your Sims 3 saves won't carry over to the new game, but Sims 4 does have a greater focus on emotions—with often amusing or downright wacky results—as well as simplified (in a good way) construction tools. (One warning: your Sim can now laugh himself to death.) Needless to say, expect numerous expansion packs in the near future ... and possibly a paid premium subscription service as well.
Pre-Order From Amazon Sonic Boom Watch trailer(s)
November 11/November 18 | Sega | Action-adventure
The latest in the decades-old Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Sonic Boom actually arrives as a pair of action-adventure games. Available for the Wii U on 11/18 is Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, while the 3DS gets its version one week earlier (as Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal). Each one is tied to the upcoming Sonic Boom animated series (debuting on Cartoon Network this fall), and each features four playable characters (all dramatically redesigned, to the shock of some longtime fans): Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, plus Amy in the Wii U version and newcomer Sticks (a female "jungle badger") in the 3DS game. Gameplay in the Wii U version is a combination of exploration, platforming (with an emphasis on speed), and combat, while the handheld version is a more streamlined 2D platformer with some puzzle-solving elements.
Pre-Order From Amazon Super Smash Bros. Watch trailer(s)
October 3 | Nintendo | Fighting
The first Wii U installment in the adorable-Nintendo-characters-beat-each-other-up series, the newest Super Smash Bros. game will be released concurrently for the 3DS, with both games sharing the same roster of characters (but no shared stages, and no cross-platform play—seemingly, a missed opportunity). Confirmed characters range from old standbys such as Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikmin, Sonic, Pikachu, and Donkey Kong, to newcomers like Pac-Man, Mega Man, Rosalina, and perhaps the fittest of the bunch (or perhaps the character you'd most like to punch), Wii Fit Trainer. You'll also be able to fight with your own user-created Mii characters. Both versions will also support Amiibo, Nintendo's answer to Skylanders that features figurines that interact with the game software via NFC. Note that the October 3 date only applies to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, while Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will come out on a still-unspecified date before the end of the year (likely in November).
Tales From the Borderlands Watch trailer(s)
tbd | Telltale Games | Adventure
Telltale Games has had a great deal of success in the past few years adapting comic books and TV shows into episodic point-and-click adventure games. Now, they will attempt to continue that success with a similar series, though one that's adapted from another video game created by a different developer. Tales From the Borderlands is based on Gearbox Software's irreverent Borderlands series, and its sci-fi-western-fantasy setting (Borderlands is basically is a playable comic book) should suit Telltale's formula well, though expect a far greater emphasis on humor rather than the weightier concerns of other Telltale titles. Patrick Warburton, Chris Hardwick, and Sam Witwer have signed up to provide voices in Tales, which will also incorporate some of Borderlands' loot collection and shooter elements. The first episode should arrive this fall, though Telltale typically reveals release dates only a week or so in advance.
Pre-Order From Amazon World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Watch trailer(s)
November 13 | Blizzard | MMORPG
As it nears its 10th anniversary, Blizzard's dominant fantasy MMO World of Warcraft is continuing to shed subscribers, losing 800,000 players this spring alone. Perhaps a new expansion will right the ship. Warlords of Draenor will be the fifth expansion to World of Warcraft, once again increasing the level cap (to 100) while adding the world of Draenor, original homeland of the Orcs. Character models will get a facelift, and you'll be able to build your own upgradable garrison. Players who pre-order the game will get an instant boost to level 90 for one character. And Draenor may feature a tribute to the late Robin Williams in the form of one or more NPCs.
- BioShock August 28 for iOS
- The full original 2007 BioShock game is headed to Apple devices today in a full port (though without the DLC) that'll run you $15.
- Chaos Rings III tbd for iOS and Vita
- This second sequel to Square Enix's mobile JRPG Chaos Rings will launch in Japan on October 16th; we're still waiting for a U.S. date.
- Dance Central Spotlight September 2 for Xbox One
- An Xbox One exclusive, this downloadable title is the latest rhythm game in the Dance Central series and adds an expanded fitness mode as well as other new routines. The $10 game comes with 10 songs (including hits from Lorde, Rihanna, and Pharrell), with others available as a separate purchase.
- Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition September 5 for PC
- The former Xbox One exclusive comes to PC (via Steam) in a new port that also includes DLC and support for mods.
- Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes September 23 for PC, PS4, PS3, XB1, X360, Wii U, iOS
- Disney's answer to the Skylanders juggernaut/cash cow gets its first major upgrade this fall with a number of gameplay enhancements and new playsets featuring characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and The Avengers. Additional characters (including Disney classics like Donald Duck) will arrive later in the year.
- Escape Dead Island November 18 for PS3, X360 (tbd for PC)
- It's not Dead Island 2 (that arrives next year); instead, this new previous-gen release is a spin-off from the tropical survival horror franchise, telling the story of the origins of the zombie-producing virus through gameplay that emphasizes stealth over combat. Comic book-style graphics are another new twist.
- Falling Skies September 30 for PS3, X360, Wii U
- The latest TV series to get its own video game spin-off is TNT's sci-fi drama Falling Skies. In its game version, Falling Skies is a tactical RPG that looks an awful lot like XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
- Fantasia: Music Evolved October 21 for Xbox One, X360
- This Xbox-exclusive motion-controlled rhythm game from Rock Band creator Harmonix is based (very) loosely on Disney's Fantasia films and features licensed music ranging from classical to 1980s pop/rock (Peter Gabriel, New Order) to more recent hits (Imagine Dragons, M.I.A.).
- FIFA 15 September 23 for PC PS4, Xbox One, PS3, X360, 3DS, Vita, Wii
- EA's annual soccer game (headed to every platform but Wii U) is intended to be the most realistic version yet—especially for the UK's Premier League, whose players, stadiums, and even broadcast graphics were meticulously copied for the new game. But FIFA 15 will be missing teams from Brazil's pro leagues due to rights issues. Note that versions on the older consoles will lack some game modes and features present on newer hardware.
- Gauntlet September 23 for PC
- Yes, the 1985 co-op hack-and-slash arcade game that gave the world the phrase "Wizard needs food ... badly!" is returning in the form of this new $20 remake with modernized gameplay and graphics. The release was recently delayed a few weeks for "fine-tuning."
- Grand Theft Auto V tbd for PC, PS4, Xbox One
- Rockstar's latest GTA game is headed to next-gen (and, finally PCs) this fall in graphically enhanced versions that developers say will blow you away. The PC version will also come with an advanced video editor. If you are already playing on previous-gen units, your progress will transfer to the new versions.
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number tbd for PC, PS4, PS3, Vita
- The final game in the retro-styled top-down 2D action series will serve as both prequel and sequel to 2012's Hotline Miami. In addition to concluding the ongoing story, Wrong Number will add a new "hard mode" as well as a level editor.
- Just Dance 2015 October 21 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, X360, Wii U
- The sixth entry in the dancing game series adds a new "Community Remix" mode that has you dancing against footage of your fellow players on the screen. A new mobile version, Just Dance Now, should also be out this fall.
- Killer Instinct: Season 2 October 15 for Xbox One
- The Xbox One exclusive fighting game will get additional characters this fall in the form of a new "season" of DLC. T.J. Combo and Maya are the first two characters announced for the new season, which will also add new game modes and improve the user interface.
- The Legend of Korra October 21 for PC, PS4, PS3 / October 22 for Xbox One, X360
- Nickelodeon's popular animated fantasy series (a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender) comes to consoles and PCs in the form of a downloadable third-person action game that takes place between the events of seasons 2 and 3. The game, from Bayonetta developers Platinum games, features a story from Tim Hedrick, one of the TV show's writers, with the show's vocal cast also reprising their roles here.
- Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution September 16 for PC, PS3, and X360
- This sequel to kinetic anime fighter Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 updates the fighting system and includes over 100 playable characters.
- NBA 2K15 October 7 for PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, X360
- Visual Concepts/2K Sports' annual NBA entry (their second available on next-gen) will presumably allow you to play basketball, though the major selling point so far has been the game's Pharrell Williams-curated soundtrack. Note that if you want the best possible graphics, grab the PC version.
- NBA Live 15 October 7 for PS4, Xbox One
- EA's annual NBA game, on the other hand, will only be available on next-gen platforms this year. That was also the case last year, and that was pretty much a disaster. At least the graphics should be better this time around; player models are based on 3D scans of actual NBA players, with at least 70% of the league scanned.
- NHL 15 September 9 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, X360
- EA's long-running hockey series heads to the new consoles for the first time, and the next-gen versions will feature greatly improved player and arena models. For the first time, the game will also replicate NBC's NHL broadcasts, and feature commentary from the network's Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk. The new consoles, however, won't get the NHL 94 Anniversary Mode, the popular 6v6 EA Sports Hockey League mode, or several other modes (though they do return on the older consoles).
- Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth November 25 for 3DS
- This RPG spinoff from the Persona Series is a dungeon crawler featuring characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4.
- Pokemon Omega Ruby / Pokemon Alpha Sapphire November 21 for 3DS
- Though technically remakes of the 2003 Game Boy Advance titles, these new 3DS versions will have some added features, including the ability to design your own secret bases. Pokemon fans can also look forward to an iPad port of the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online before the end of the year.
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 November 13 for PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, X360
- Konami's un-American football series comes to next-gen for the first time. PES 2015 takes full advantage of a new engine to improve presentation throughout, while developers have captured the look and playing style of over 1,000 real-life players.
- Ryse: Son of Rome tbd for PC
- This PC port of the Xbox One launch title will include all add-on content and newly upgraded graphics.
- Samurai Warriors 4 October 21 for PS4, PS3, Vita
- This hack-and-slash sequel to Samurai Warriors 3 is exclusive to PlayStation devices even though its predecessor was originally a Wii release. SW4 includes 55 playable characters and a new "Chronicle mode" featuring custom characters.
- Skylanders: Trap Team October 5 for PS4, PS3, XB1, X360, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, iOS
- The fourth installment in Activision's toy-based game series is a potential game-changer for the industry: it will hit iPads and Android tablets (in its full, and full-priced, version) the same day it arrives on consoles, a first for the series (and possibly for any series). A new line of smaller, cuter figurines ("Minis") will also be out this fall and compatible with the new game.
- Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition October 14 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One
- This remastered version of 2012's Sleeping Dogs includes 24 DLC packs in addition to upgraded visuals.
- StarDrive 2 tbd for PC
- The 4X sci-fi strategy game is expected to get its first sequel this fall. A notable gameplay change means that strategy will now be turn-based, but will be combined with real-time tactical battles.
- Story of Seasons tbd for 3DS
- This farming simulator is the latest entry in the Harvest Moon series (though it won't bear the Harvest Moon brand, since it will come from a new publisher lacking North American rights to the name). The new game adds a greater emphasis on "connectivity," which means trading and co-op farming.
- Tropico 5 November tbd for X360
- Already out for PCs, the latest Tropico iteration heads to Xbox 360 in November. (Unless, of course, you live in Thailand.)
- Valiant Hearts: The Great War September 4 for iOS
- Ubisoft's WWI adventure game is ported to iPhone/iPad with a new mobile-friendly control scheme.
- Wasteland 2 September 19 for PC
- Though it missed several planned release windows, this Kickstarter-funded sequel to the 1988 post-apocalyptic role-playing game Wasteland now seems to have settled on a firm release date next month.
- The Witcher Battle Arena tbd for iOS
- While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been pushed back to 2015, this free-to-play YAMOBA (Yet Another MOBA) set in The Witcher universe will land on Apple devices this fall.
- The Wolf Among Us November 4 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, X360
- This retail package collects all the chapters (previously released as five individual downloadable titles) in Telltale's adventure game based on the Fables comic book series.
- WWE 2K15 October 28 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, X360
- The first WWE game to appear on the next-gen consoles will have a new MyCareer mode (on the new consoles only).
What will you be playing this year?
Which games are you looking forward to this fall? Let us know in the comments section below.