The beginning of a new school year. Presidential and local elections. The end of daylight saving. None of these fall events are more important than video games. Each autumn, the video game industry lets loose a devastating chain of high profile releases leading up to the holidays. This embarrassment of riches can often confuse and bewilder the average citizen, resulting in tragic (and often hilarious) metal breakdowns at GameStops across the nation. We’re not here to help. Rather, we completely intend to further cripple your ability to function as a normal human being by listing the most anticipated releases of the fall. This is not a gift buying guide. Forget about your loved ones. You need all the video games for yourself.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (October 23)
Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity may have disappointed fans and critics alike, but Ubisoft Quebec hopes to rectify that with this fall’s Syndicate. Taking place in the bustling streets of London during the Industrial Revolution, a pair of twins must rise from their impoverished beginnings and form the most dominant street gang in the city. Taking a cue from Just Cause and the Batman Series, Syndicate introduces the Rope Launcher, a grappling hook that allows players to quickly traverse to the tops of buildings and carriages. While we’ll still remain skeptical until the final product is delivered, the opportunity to run our very own parkoring criminal organization in Victorian England is too good to pass up.
Call of Duty Black Ops 3 (November 6)
There’s every other Call of Duty entry, and then there’s Black Ops. Once considered the B team in this annualized franchise, Treyarch’s Black Ops 2 remains one of the most beloved online console shooters in recent years. Borrowing from 2014’s Advanced Warefare, Black Ops 3 features a slew of science fiction based gadgets and abilities such as double jumps, wall running, and electrical weapons. But what really separates this year’s entry are the specialists, 9 classes of characters with two enhancements and items unique to each class. Four player online campaign co-op, a zombie mode starring Jeff Goldblum and Ron Perlman, and the most customizable online characters in the series are just a few of the many reasons we’re ready to answer the call.
Fallout 4 (November 10th)
It’s been a long time coming but Bethesda's follow up to 2008’s Fallout 3 looks to be worth the wait. If recent developer comments are anything to go by (and please take this with a grain of salt) Fallout 4 may stretch out to nearly 400 hours long. Exploring the vast Northeastern American wasteland won’t be as lonely this time around as your adorable companion Dogmeat will play a far more crucial role. But what really has us excited is the enhanced level of customization. Previously useless collectables are now crucial to crafting enhanced armor, weapons, and accessories. Players can even establish their own towns, create their own homes, attract shopkeepers, and even fight back against invading Raiders. Improved shooting and the returning vats system mean plenty of blood, guts, and explosions are to be had in Bethesda’s latest first person shooter role playing game.
Halo 5 Guardians (October 27)
It’s no secret that the Halo franchise has lost some steam in it’s popularity over the past few years with the well reviewed Halo 4 receiving the worst sales during the series Xbox 360 efforts. Last fall's’ Master Chief Collection further exacerbated this with a widely criticized botched release. Despite these issues, Halo 5 looks to be an exciting deviation from the series’ traditional gameplay with modern features such as sprinting and iron sights. A robust selection of online multiplayer options, the largests maps yet, and the return of player created maps with Forge makes this one of the most anticipated Xbox One exclusives of 2015. A mysterious single player story features the series protagonist Master Chief as a wanted traitor and hunted by the United Nations Space Command. Though some remain skeptic of this upcoming entry, the successful multiplayer beta and promising narrative have us ready finish the fight.
Metal Gear Solid Phantom Pain (September 1)
Patriots. Walking tanks. Cardboard boxes. These seemingly unrelated items are the cornerstone of the nearly thirty year long epic known as Metal Gear. With series creator/director/writer Hideo Kojima reportedly leaving Konami later this year, The Phantom Pain looks to be the final entry in this beloved and often confusing franchise. Taking place in 1984, Big Boss must rebuild his army while facing off against the evil Skull Face. To do this, players will explore a large open world, attached balloons to soldiers, vehicles, and animals to forcibly recruit them to the team. If that sounds silly it’s because it is, but Metal Gear has often straddled the line between absurd and poignant, often criticizing nuclear weapons and war. Collecting goats while stealthily infiltrating a military base is just plain ridiculous, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rainbow Six Siege (December 1)
After making a big splash during E3 2014, anticipation for this upcoming shooter has cooled in recent months. That’s a shame because the latest entry in the Rainbow Six series looks to be every bit as tense and tactical as we’ve come to expect. Players will take on the role both terrorists and counter-terrorists during a hostage rescue operation, requiring a blend of gray matter and trigger fingers. Heavily destructible environments mean every wall is a potential door for escape or attack. The return of the fan favorite Terrorist Hunt mode features waves of terrorists bombarding your team until the inevitable end. Ubisoft has remained mostly silent on the game’ single player, but the announcement of Angela Bassett playing a pivotal role in the story has peaked our curiosity. We’ll never get to play Rainbow Six Patriots but if Siege’s demos are any indication, we won’t care.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (November 10)
For nearly a decade, the Tomb Raider franchise failed to recapture the critical and sales success of it’s prior entries. Luckily for Lara Croft, 2013’s Tomb Raider restored the once celebrated franchise back into core and mainstream acceptance with it’s action heavy set pieces and solid character development. Now two years later, Crystal Dynamics is hoping to capitalize with Rise of the Tomb Raider, an Xbox One timed exclusive that brings the series more in line with it’s 1996 original. While combat has been bolstered with a crafting and stealth system, it’s the emphasis on puzzle solving and tomb exploration that makes this sequel feel like a worthy follow up. Advanced weather and a day/night system provide players with a plethora approaches for side activities. Square Enix has already announced a PC and PlayStation 4 release will arrive later next year but this fall Lara will rise exclusively on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Rock Band 4/ Guitar Hero Live (October 6/ October 20th)
Despite their different approaches to the music rhythm genres, Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live are a risky proposition in 2015. Considered a fad by some, the plastic guitar revolution came to a quiet end only a few years ago. Now Harmonix and Activision are hoping to turn back the clock and crank up the volume this October. Guitar Hero Lives focus is strictly on its new six button guitar, stacking three buttons to create the feeling of chords. It’s single player features video footage of live crowds bouncing or booing along to your riffs, while Guitar Hero TV will allow players to play along with livestreamed music videos.
Rock Band 4 sticks to it’s tried and true band set up of drums, bass, singer, and guitar. A brand new solo mode will allow players to create their very own solos with the signature five button controller. Still have a cluster of older plastic instruments lying around? Harmonix has promised that all previous controllers will work with the latest edition, though the Xbox One version will require an additional adapter. Only time will tell if the public is ready to once again host karaoke parties in their homes, but for those about to overdrive, we salute you.
Star Wars Battlefront (November 17)
So far the internet’s reaction to EA’s reboot of the popular Star Wars Battlefront series has been a mix of excitement and outrage. The lack of full fledged space battles has disappointed some but the prospect of 40 player online play across a dozen maps certainly sounds like the game we’ve been waiting for. Blasting away AT-ATs on the snow covered landscape of Hoth or zipping along Endor in a Speeder Bike looks stunningly faithful thanks to EA’s Frostbite Engine 3. Lucky players will have the opportunity to take control of popular characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, delivering devastating blows to anyone unfortunate enough to cross their paths. The promise of free downloadable content after release means this war will continue a long time from now in a galaxy far, far away.
Super Mario Maker (September 11)
The Mario franchise has been home to some of the most exquisite level design ever featured in a video game. Now Nintendo is giving Wii U owners the chance to make their own stages with the aptly titled Super Mario Maker. Utilizing the Gamepad, players will drag and drop pipes, question blocks, and enemies however they see fit and share them online. Better yet, stages can be designed in the Mario 1, 3, Super, and New style of physics and gameplay, adding an enormous amount of depth to this creation tool. If you’re not feeling especially artistic, simply go online and download the weird, difficult, and fun fan created stages. Xenoblade and Star Fox will also arrive later this fall, but for us Super Mario Maker is the most anticipated Wii U exclusive of the year.
Uncharted The Nathan Drake Collection (October 7th)
Next Gen remasters are all the rage now but few can match the inherent quality of the Uncharted trilogy. Named after the series protagonist Nathan Drake, this collection packages all three PlayStation 3 titles with a slew of enhancements. Developer Bluepoint Games, famous for their lavish ports with the Metal Gear HD Collection and Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection, will be handling this anticipated project. Added details in environments and models are paired with the new 60 fps frame rate, making these already stunning games look even more beautiful. Sadly, the multiplayer features have been removed, keeping these titles strictly solo. Still, these are some of the best single player games of last generation, providing dozens of hours of nail biting excitement for veterans and newcomers alike.
Are there any games we may have missed? Let us know in the comments and help others transform their lives into a mess of controllers and pre-order bonuses!