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This games column has in past focussed first and foremost on reviews. The thing is, being a gamer isn’t just about playing games that are out; it’s also about getting unreasonably excited about games to come. This week I thought we’d spice things up and take a look at two of 2015’s biggest upcoming titles.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is out soon, releasing on May 19. Anyone familiar with the series will know that you play the role of a Witcher, Geralt. Witchers are monster hunting mutated humans who have, from a young age, been accustomed to toxins which grant superhuman powers. Geralt the Riv is a Witcher famed across the land for his many vanquished foes. The Wild Hunt will allow Geralt to explore as the Northern Kingdoms, a fantasy territory reportedly even bigger than Skyrim.
The Witcher series enjoys a reputation for complex game mechanics, which can either serve or cripple a player. Preparing for battles beforehand with potions, using a series of magical powers called “signs”, and parrying enemy attacks, are all factors that need to be considered and then mastered if you want to have a hope in hell of surviving in this Scandinavian-esque fantasy world. The Witcher series is more than just common hack and slash fare.
Whilst The Witcher series has a deep lore, developer CD Projekt Red wants to make it clear that gamers need not have played the first two games before jumping into Wild Hunt. “The game has a great introduction that will make them feel right at home,” said developer Marcin Iwinski in an interview with IGN. Previous games have also been notoriously difficult, but Iwinski says the focus here is on creating the best experience for the immersion of the player, “We don’t have the ambition to be a Demon’s Souls,” he said.
Wild Hunt is sizing up to be one of the most gorgeous and expansive videogame experiences of the last decade. Screenshots currently available show jaw droppingly well realised environments. And you won’t be short on things to do in this world as CD Projekt Red has boasted that the game has well over a hundred hours of content.
If you are a self-described Star Wars fanboy, then Star Wars Battlefront is your wet dream. Star Wars Celebration was held on the 16-19 April. Here everything from Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens to gameplay for Star Wars Battlefront was unveiled. An in-engine trailer of the game gave fans a taste of what taking on the role of a foot soldier from a galaxy far far away might feel like on current generation hardware.
Battlefront is due to be released on 20 November in New Zealand, a month before The Force Awakens. It has been confirmed that on 8 December downloadable content called “The Battle of Jakku” will be released. This DLC will be set on the desert planet seen in the Force Awakens trailer. All this makes Battlefront the perfect complement to Star Wars VII’s release.
Developer Dice has elected not to include campaign missions. Instead there will be a series of short bit-sized missions. These missions will be playable alone or with local or online co-op and feature iconic moments from the films. There will also be the opportunity to play as iconic characters like Darth Vader and Boba Fett. The trailer actually depicted Darth Vader force choking a clueless rebel, as well as Boba Fett using his jetpack.
Dice has also announced that Battlefront will not touch on the events of the prequel trilogy (praise the Emperor). The game will focus on the world of the original trilogy. So we can all rejoice as X-Wings and Tie Fighters fly over an Endor battlefield swarming with ATATs (an ambitious scene brought to life at the unveiling). All dogfights will take place solely in orbit as Dice wishes to focus on the idea of “planetary warfare”. So it doesn’t seem like we’ll get to blow up the Death Star, but here’s hoping we’ll at least get to fly the Millenium Falcon!