2016 is going to be a banner year for the PS4. Last year Sony had some fantastic games in Bloodborne, Rocket League, and Until Dawn, but its big fall release, Uncharted 4, was delayed to 2016. That left the latter half of last year a little barren on the exclusive front, which proved to be a fairly inconsequential problem given the mass of high-quality, highly-anticipated third-party games. Not to mention the fact that Microsoft's big exclusives all but failed to equate to sales.
So the delay of Uncharted 4, and the overt quietness of Sony on the exclusive front, has led to 2016 becoming a massive year for the PS4. As of now, January 2016, there are over 120 games scheduled to release on PS4 this year. How many of those actually get released is a question I cannot answer, but the number is sufficient enough for me to say good times are ahead for Sony's record-breaking platform.
This list will showcase the top 10 games coming exclusively to PS4 in 2016. The games on the list all look amazing and should finally put an end to the nonsensical argument that the PS4 "has no exclusives." Sure there are tons of games that didn't make this list, and it really wasn't easy to choose, but these 10 highlight the insane depth of diversity and quality coming in 2016. So let's get to it!
While this is probably the most anticipated game for PS4 owners, for good reasons, we're all acutely aware of it and it's coming relatively soon - hence, it's high placement in this list.
Uncharted 4 is the alleged end of Nathan Drake's adventures. We obviously have no idea how the game will end, thus the story of Drake, but Naughty Dog is definitely suggesting our hero may meet his demise. However that seems unlikely; the Uncharted series is rarely that serious and dark in tone, and it's a series in which the heroes always make it out alive. I don't think anyone wants this series to end with Drake's death.
Regardless of ending, though, the game looks unbelievable. Just like it did the last generation, Naughty Dog is pushing the limits of the PS4 in terms of graphics. The water, the mud, the sunlight, and, of course, Drake and his clothes, all look mind-blowing. Naughty Dog is also throwing in some new features, including driving, a rope for climbing/swinging/killing, and much more open areas.
There's a reason the Uncharted series is as beloved as it is, and the fourth installment looks set to take its place at the top of the mountain. A way too early prediction: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is a serious 2016 game of the year contender here. We cannot wait.
Landing Street Fighter V as a PlayStation (console) exclusive is a huge deal for Sony. Unlike Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One, this game is guaranteed to bring players to the PS4 because it has a die-hard following. The game also allows for cross-play between PS4 and PC gamers, similar to Rocket League. This was a very smart coup.
But business aside, Street Fighter V looks like another excellent entry in the series. Street Fighter IV received critical acclaim, and so the newest iteration has a lot to live up to. But based on the revealed characters, gameplay tweaks, and DLC plan, have so far made fans very happy.
The game will feature 16 playable characters at launch, with a further 6 to be released throughout 2016. The roster includes four new characters to the franchise; Necalli, F.A.N.G, Laura and Rashid. All DLC characters can be purchased via real money, or in-game currency earned through playing - a popular, gamer friendly initiative.
Xbox One has had the fairly niche success of Killer Instinct, which has an old-school fan-base. 2015 saw the release of Mortal Kombat X, which was a massive success and brings in tons of more casual fighting fans. However, 2016 will see the release of the "purist's" fighting game, Street Fighter V, only on PS4. Tekken 7 will also be a console debut on PS4, presumably in 2016. So, fighting game fans have really only one destination in 2016: PlayStation 4.
Ni-Oh is an action role-playing game that we don't know a whole lot about. Amazingly, this game was actually first announced in 2004, by Koei Tecmo, and it was titled Oni. The game was then re-titled Ni-Oh and scheduled for a 2006 PS3 launch. It missed the launch date and wasn't heard from again until 2009, when it revealed to be still in development but no longer by Koei Tecmo, it was under the tutelage of Team Ninja.
Presumably, Team Ninja began development from scratch, because the game looks quite different than it did in 2006. The visuals in the two PS4 trailers thus far are incredible, and the protagonist looks a lot more like Geralt of Rivia, than he did in 2006. Despite the development hell that Ni-Oh endured, there is a lot of reasons to be excited. First and foremost, it's being made by Team Ninja, the people behind Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, Toukiden, and Hyrule Warriors. Ni-Oh is perfect for Team Ninja.
The game follows a Samurai in 16th century Japan, during the Warring States period, and is loosely based on real-life people and events. The game will have a fascinating story because the blonde-haired protagonist, William, is based on real-life William Adams, who was the first ever Western Samurai.
And another reason to be excited is that this has been hailed as Team Ninja's "take on the Souls series." This is pretty evident when watching the trailers, in which combat is heavy, brutal, and fairly realistic. It will also feature big boss battles with characters of Japanese mythology. It's Dark Souls meets Ninja Gaiden, meets Onimusha....' nuff said.
The Ratchet & Clank series both peaked and regressed during the PS3 era. With the second trilogy - Tools of Destruction, Quest For Booty, and A Crack in Time - the series reached new heights of awesomeness. But as quickly as it rose to prominence (again), the series began to dwindle due to games like All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault. It seemed like Insomniac lost sight of what Ratchet & Clank was.
A few years away and the impending release of a movie has seemingly refreshed Insomniac's view of the series, and they're wisely bringing it back to basics in 2016. The new Ratchet & Clank started out as a simple remaster but during development, Insomniac decided to take it further and expand the original classic into a much bigger title.
Ratchet & Clank is being marketed and treated by Insomniac as a brand new game. Even though the story beats will be mostly the same, the "re-imagining" will feature bigger and more open worlds to explore, Clank-focused gameplay, strafing, ship-flying sections, and plenty of zany new guns - including the Pixelizer, which turns enemies into 8-Bit versions of themselves. Throw in the incredible, movie-like visuals on display and you've got yourself a back-to-basics Ratchet & Clank that is a must-play.
If you need only one reason to be excited for What Remains of Edith Finch, it's the simple fact that it is being made by Giant Sparrow, the developer of The Unfinished Swan. The debut game from this very young studio was an incredibly unique experience about a young boy, whose mother has died and he follows her unfinished swan painting into an empty canvas. It's a very beautiful game in which you throw paint and water to unveil the world and guide your way. Easily one of the best PlayStation exclusive indie titles.
Since The Unfinished Swan launched, Giant Sparrow has been hard at work on What Remains of Edith Finch. The game is described as "a collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington State." You play as Edith, who returns to her family home and relives the memories of her family members who all tragically died.
What Remains of Edith Finch looks like Gone Home but more stylised and with a few horror elements. It's a striking game that is overflowing with mystery and intrigue. Giant Sparrow has been fairly secretive when discussing and showcasing the game, which seems like the best way to keep this game interesting.
No specific release date as of yet but Giant Sparrow has been working on What Remains of Edith Finch for about 3 years, and this is 2016, so official news should be arriving any day now!
Of all the games without specific dates on this list, this is the one I really wish had a date. We're all well aware of the development hell that surrounded The Last Guardian, and so a concrete release date would give us a lot more faith that this game might actually be released. That being said, I highly doubt Sony would have re-revealed the game without knowing it is near completion.
It's hard to disassociate The Last Guardian with its 5-year disappearance, although it's interesting that nobody brings that up about Ni-Oh. The Last Guardian is the spiritual successor to Shadow of the Colossus, which in turn, is a spiritual successor to ICO. Those two games, from genius creator Fumito Ueda, are some of the most beloved in all of PlayStation history, so it's no wonder that fans were supremely excited about The Last Guardian, and extremely disappointed when they thought it dead.
So, it was with open arms that the PlayStation community welcomed back The Last Guardian at E3 in June. The game was re-revealed with a gameplay demo that showed a nice section that should represent the moment-to-moment gameplay of the entire experience. Much like What Remains of Edith Finch, we know surprisingly little about The Last Guardian but, hopefully, we hear some news, including a release date, very soon.
If there's a single 2016 game with higher expectations, loftier ambitions, and the biggest chance of failure, it's No Man's Sky. Now I'm not being negative or a downer - I'm very excited for this - it's just that this game has insanely high expectations surrounding it.
Coming from a team of 12, 12, people at Hello Games, No Man's Sky is a procedurally-generated universe that you explore using your upgradable ship. There is an almost infinite amount of planets in the game, all of which can be visited and with no loading to boot! You will find alien planets, filled with bizarre creatures, rare resources, and exotic fauna and flora. Off of planets, you can trade resources for supplies, which help you venture further into the universe, or you can get yourself a badass ship and just bully others. This is a game all about options and potential.
The thing that worries me most about No Man's Sky is that it's being made by Hello Games, the team behind Joe Danger. Now I'm not knocking the team, or Joe Danger (best on Vita btw), but to go from a small game like that, to the biggest game ever, is a gargantuan task for 12 men and women. That being said, nothing they've shown so far has given me reason to worry, and the fact that Sony are so behind it make me think it really must be everything it claims it is.
And if that's the case we could be looking at one of the coolest games ever made and a universe that will be explored for years, maybe decades, to come.
Hellblade is from Ninja Theory, the same team that brought you Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC, and worked on some Disney Infinity 3.0. Ninja Theory is a very talented studio that thrives in creating unique, colourful worlds, with fascinating characters.
Enter Hellblade. This game was revealed back at Gamescom 2014 and is being described as an "independent AAA" game. And independent it really is; you can watch a series of developer diary videos from Ninja Theory on YouTube that give you amazing insight into game creation and Hellblade itself. Check out that link if you want to know more about the game, and are interested in the creation process.
Hellblade is the story of Senua, who is trapped in a "hellish underworld" which is manifestations of her own broken psyche. Senua is mentally ill and the game reflects that in a way that few others even attempt to. It's a very stylised, dark and beautiful game, with much more close, brutal combat than Ninja Theory's previous titles. Watching the dev diaries you can see the incredible visuals the studio is striving for, which will hopefully be realised in the final product - due for release on PlayStation 4 sometime in 2016.
Firewatch is the first game from Campo Santo and features the truly mind-blowing art direction of Olly Moss. In Firewatch, you play as Henry, a volunteer fire lookout in Wyoming, shortly after the Yellowstone fires of 1988. Henry's tower is ransacked while he is out patrolling and he must search the forest for clues, and his only interactions are with his supervisor via Walkie-Talkie. You choose what you say, or don't say, to the supervisor, which in turn affects your relationship with her.
Running on the Unity engine, and under the art style of the amazing Olly Moss, Firewatch is one of the best looking games ever. Moss has become famous for his great Star Wars posters, as well as countless others, but he also made the box art for Resistance 3 - one of the best box arts ever. The dialogue tree in the game is said to be influenced by Telltale's: The Walking Dead, while the walkie-talkie aspect is inspired by Bioshock.
Firewatch is a very interesting game that should be a joy to play through. It takes the evolving dialogue trees of Telltale Games and mixes it with the puzzle-solving of classic adventure games, as well as offering semi-open world exploration. The best part is, we don't even have to wait long for Firewatch, it releases on February 9th!
What else could it have been? Horizon Zero Dawn from Guerilla Games is one of the most exciting new IPs we've seen in years.
Guerilla Games worked on the Killzone franchise from about 2003 to 2013. Killzone: Shadowfall was a launch game on PS4, but truth be told the studio began working on Horizon Zero Dawn back in 2011, just after Killzone 3 released. Horizon is a far cry from the Killzone series, in just about every way.
The game is an open-world RPG set 1000 years after the apocalypse, and nature has all but reclaimed the Earth. You play as Aloy, a member of a tribe who must hunt and salvage the remains of machines that resemble dinosaurs. Sure it sounds like something a 10-year-old came up with but that is in no way a bad thing; this game looks and sounds incredible.
Horizon Zero Dawn is scheduled for release in 2016, most likely a fall release. We're hoping this game doesn't get delayed, and it shouldn't considering it will be well into its five-year development by then. This is easily one of, if not the, most exciting things 2016 has to offer!
And that's just 10 of the biggest PS4 games coming in 2016. There's quite a bit of diversity on that list, from giant open-world RPG's with mech dinosaurs to an intimate tale of a boy and his bird-dog, and everything in between. The year starts with Firewatch on February 9th, and then comes the exciting return of Ratchet & Clank, and then the monumental final chapter of Uncharted in April. We don't know many release dates beyond that, but we're sure to get some in the coming weeks and months. And you'll find all that news here on GameSkinny.
There are tons more games coming to the console this year, not to mention the very exciting launch of the new platform, PlayStation VR. All in all, 2016 promises to be the biggest year for PlayStation in quite some time, if not ever! But until then, be sure to check out our list of the best-reviewed games of 2015, as well as the worst reviewed games.
What game are you most excited for? Do you think 2016 will be the best year for PS4 yet? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to GameSkinny!