Sci-fi themed games, much like the science upon which they are based, tend to be the most ambitious titles around. It allows developers to create game worlds without limits; full of vast possibilities and endless space. At no point has this been more true than 2016, when two of the most ambitious space-faring titles of all time finally see the light of day. Representing brand new IP, they could well be the new faces of sci-fi gaming.
They’re joined by three of the most eagerly anticipated sequels of all time, representing beloved PC franchises. Whether skulking your way around a cyberpunk city, parkouring across rooftops, or trying to wrest back control of Earth from alien invaders, the most anticipated sci-fi games of 2016 will have you covered.
Where else to begin than No Man’s Sky. It ranks up there as one of the most bizarre development stories around, with the three-man team at Hello Games turning from the great but safe Joe Danger to the unending scale of No Man’s Sky. The team has since swelled in size of course, but the vision remains true. No Man’s Sky looks to be exploration in its purest form, letting players loose in a near-infinite universe, with galactic battles, planetary exploration and an unprecedented sense of discovery. Anticipation is reaching fever pitch for this one.
Star Citizen crops up in lists every year, but it appears as if 2016 is the year in which CIG’s monstrously formidable space-sim finally delivers. Oft-delayed and also the subject of numerous development hurdles, it’s definitely felt at times like Cloud Imperium Games has bitten off more than it can chew with Star Citizen. 2016 is the time to silence the doubters, with the launch of Star Citizen’s massive Squadron 42 single-player component, alongside the incredible persistent universe which will allow thousands of players online simultaneously, to live their lives as they see fit. Want to be a starship mechanic? Sure. Want to be a fighter pilot? No problem. Want to be a delivery driver? Not an issue. Want to be an elite FPS mercenary? The choice is yours.
Firaxis’ strategy sequel to the insanely good XCOM: Enemy Unknown is understandably being feverishly hyped. XCOM 2 is promising to be everything its predecessor was and more, with deeper research systems, additional soldier classes and alien types, as well as an almost limitless supply of procedurally generated maps.
But for that six-month delay, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided would be in our hands in a matter of weeks. But alas, the return of one of the most celebrated sci-fi series of all time, and a flagship for PC gaming as a whole, won’t be with us until 23rd August. Don’t let that dampen your hype though, because the DirectX 12-powered Deus Ex: Mankind Divided already looks like it’s going to be absolutely phenomenal. Set two years after the events of Human Revolution, Adam Jensen is working to stop terrorist attacks by fellow augs, but which side of this murky morality will you fall on?
The prospect of getting a Mirror’s Edge sequel seemed laughable in the extreme, but the rumours persisted regardless. Despite the original only shifting a third of EA’s project sales figures, it’s quickly established status as cult classic has seen DICE come back for another bite at the apple. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a total reboot, this time with a vast open-world, albeit one viewed from the vertigo-inducing skyscraper rooftops. There’s always been something achingly cool about Mirror’s Edge, and Catalyst looks no different. During a brief play session earlier this year, I think DICE and EA are almost certainly onto a winner here.