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With February just getting underway, you’re likely nearing the finish line in games you got over the holidays. The quest for new and exciting gaming experiences never ends!

Let’s take a look at the trends and ideas shaping gaming in 2015 and beyond.

The Vastness Of Space

Games like Spore and the X series have offered us explorable galaxies before. This year, space simulations 6 Space-Faring Alternatives To Eve Online 6 Space-Faring Alternatives To Eve Online Here are a few games that manage the same flavor of Eve, and that can satisfy Eve players burnt out by the MMO’s gameplay and vicious fighting. Read More will be more beautiful and ambitious than ever before.

Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is already out, but don’t be surprised if it isn’t on your PC gaming radar yet. This beautiful space sim launched in the second half of December without any presence on Steam to boost its profile, but fans of its hardcore complexity are having a blast exploring, trading, and dogfighting around an online Milky Way of 400 billion star systems.

Events and star systems in Elite: Dangerous are procedurally generated. That means there’s little in the way of developer intervention guaranteeing you’ll find excitement, but that’s actually a part of the appeal. There’s an authentic sense of discovery and wonder in charting your way across the lonely void, and when that rare system of great opportunities or dangerous space pirates shows up, you’ll know it’s because you dared to explore.

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Drifter


Drifter offers a similar pitch to Elite: Dangerous, albeit with a single player focus and a much more imaginative color palette. The developers expect to offer all of the space trading, fighting, and exploring you expect once the game is feature complete. It’s currently in Early Access on Steam I Promise Steam Early Access Isn't Ruining Gaming [Opinion] I Promise Steam Early Access Isn't Ruining Gaming [Opinion] Steam's Early Access program allows developers to sell Alpha versions of games currently in development. The system gives players the opportunity to speak with their wallets if they want to support a work in progress... Read More , so if you’re willing to take a risk on an unfinished game, you can play it right now.

No Man’s Sky

With its latest appearance at December’s PlayStation Experience The PlayStation Experience: The Best Announcements The PlayStation Experience: The Best Announcements Sony announced some awesome titles at PlayStation Experience 2014. If you missed it, here's the highlights. Read More , No Man’s Sky has continued to capture imaginations with its vibrant colors and catchy synthesizer soundtrack. The emphasis skews heavily toward exploration in this one, and developer Hello Games has promised not only a procedurally generated galaxy, but similarly assembled planetary surfaces, flora, fauna, ruins, and other features as you sweep down and disembark from your ship for adventure.

No Man’s Sky has only been announced for the PS4. It does not yet have a release date.

Star Citizen

Backers have contributed nearly 70 million dollars in crowdfunding for what’s almost certainly the most ambitious space simulation ever made. The feature set expected for Star Citizen makes every other title on this list look like a game jam project. A single player campaign, explorable ship interiors, first person shooting, planetside exploration, and a reactive persistent economy are all promised features alongside the standard procedurally generated space sim fare.

The hype for Star Citizen is so far off the charts that it’s nearly impossible to imagine it meeting every player’s expectations. We’ll find out what Roberts Space Industries achieves with all of that backer support on PC in 2016.

Two Great Tastes Together

Developers are mixing and matching the most successful ideas from the past in the hunt for exciting new experiences. Could genre fusion be the recipe for the next great game?

Overwatch (Name to be changed)

It has Blizzard Entertainment’s proven expertise, and the character and charm you’d expect from a Pixar movie. Overwatch looks like the house of Warcraft’s next stab at the eSports market. It blends a broad roster of unique characters you might find in a MOBA New To MOBAs? Here's How To Find Out Which One Is For You New To MOBAs? Here's How To Find Out Which One Is For You If you've not been gaming from under a rock for the past few years, you've caught on to the MOBA genre of games, or have at least heard of them. While there is a handful... Read More or fighting game with fast paced first-person shooting reminiscent of the ever-popular Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2: The Free-to-Play Steam Game You Must Play Team Fortress 2: The Free-to-Play Steam Game You Must Play Is Team Fortress 2 just a quick game to test graphics and performance, or is it a game worth playing repeatedly? Read More .

A release date for Overwatch has not yet been announced.

Minecraft: Story Mode

minecraft-storymode-1
When Microsoft purchased Minecraft last year, many wondered what they’d do with it to recoup their substantial financial investment. The answer, it seems, is to get the developers behind The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead games to bring a narrative to the brick stacking world. Minecraft: Story Mode will turn the building sandbox anyone can enjoy The (Latecomer) Beginner's Guide To Minecraft The (Latecomer) Beginner's Guide To Minecraft If you're late to the party though, don't worry - this extensive beginner's guide has you covered. Read More into an adventure game.

Minecraft: Story Mode is still awaiting a release date.

Chasing Giants

It’s time for a new twist on asymmetrical multiplayer.

Evolve


Are you a lone wolf, or a pack wolf? Either way, you’ll get a chance to shine in Evolve. Each round, one player plays as a rampaging beast that grows stronger with every creature it consumes. It’s up to four other players controlling specialized monster hunters to chase down and slay this one beast army before it grows into an unstoppable menace.

Evolve releases for PC on February 10th.

The Games You Made Possible

Thanks to crowdfunding, you have more power to decide which games deserve to make it to market. Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones you backed 5 Awesome Kickstarter Funded Games That Actually Released in 2013 5 Awesome Kickstarter Funded Games That Actually Released in 2013 Some small projects have made their way into player’s hands, and proven that crowdfunded games can be a hit. Read More .

Mighty No. 9


Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune is back in the saddle making a brand new 2D action game to scratch your nostalgic itch. Mighty No. 9 will claim the weapons of every boss he beats just like his spiritual predecessor. Expect this action packed, player backed adventure on PC and the latest consoles sometime this year.

Massive Chalice


Whimsical adventure game developer Double Fine is treading less familiar ground with this turn based strategy title, but Massive Chalice passed its funding goal with plenty of room to spare. The game promises to let you control an empire that spans centuries. Strengthen your heroes so they can pass beneficial traits down to their heirs, but you’ll have to cope with any less admirable features they hand down too.

Massive Chalice is available in Steam Early Access now.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong


The Kickstarter for Shadowrun Returns was successful enough to fund the game, and its first expansion, Dragonfall. Now the team at Harebrained Schemes is hard at work building another enthralling RPG set in the magical cyberpunk Hong Kong of the future. The funding drive is already deep into stretch goal territory at time of writing, so consider supporting this proven development team and unlocking more spectacular features.

The Best Is Yet To Come

Whether you’re looking for resurrected genres that once fell out of favor, or something fresh and new to try, the coming year will have something to pique your interest.

Which gaming trends and ideas are you looking forward to most? Share your most anticipated games with our community in the comments below!

Image Credit: The Thinker photographed by Ed Menendez

  1. Johnny
    February 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I haven't played a space game since Wing Commander 3 was new for DOS. Has there been anything worth playing since?

    • Robert Wiesehan
      February 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      I can personally vouch for Elite: Dangerous being entertaining. It takes a long time to cross distances, but the sense of mastery and simulation you get from flying your ship is extremely satisfying.

      If you're looking for something a bit less expensive to ease back in, try X3: Terran Conflict. It scales all the way from lone pilot in a single fighter to owning an entire fleet and economic network.

      http://store.steampowered.com/app/2820/

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Johnny
      February 4, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      X3 looks pretty interesting!

    • Anon
      February 5, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      If you don't mind the pixel graphics... that's one of the best indie games I've ever played:

      FTL: Faster Than Light
      http://store.steampowered.com/app/212680/

    • Sam
      February 10, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Freelancer is one of the best games I've ever played in my life. There's plenty wrong with it but so much more that's great. Graphics are of course very dated, but it's still a game I can fall in love with every time I reinstall. I've not found a space sim since that can compare.

    • Robert Wiesehan
      February 15, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      I'll second the Freelancer recommendation. Unfortunately it hasn't come to any digital distribution outlets that I know of. I have my old disc, but my DVD drive is toast and I'm reluctant to get a new one when that one game is literally the only reason I'd use it.

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