PC exclusives used to be something people mocked as a dying vestige of play, but oh, how the tables have turned.
Now many look to the various rigs out there for a glimpse at the pinnacle of video games right now. As a result of this, as well as the arrival of fresh approaches to how games are made thanks to a thriving indie scene, successful game after successful game pours out of motherboards across the globe and into the hearts of everybody who loves a good pixel, voxel, or high resolution explosion.
It can often be hard to focus on exactly what’s going to be powering the PC zeitgeist in coming months though. That’s why this list of hotly anticipated PC exclusives of 2016 exists.
Video: Most Exciting PC Exclusives of 2016 | Fanatical Five
All of the games you’re about to see are – as of now – only planned to arrive on PC within 2016.
Most out there would probably check into an early retirement after being the driving force behind Gears of War’s inception and contributing to seminal first-person shooter Unreal Tournament. Cliff Bleszinski, however, decided to keep both feet firmly planted in the development world, forming Boss Key Productions to bring LawBreakers into reality.
LawBreakers – much like the aforementioned Unreal Tournament – is a first person shooter “all about skill, not streaks,” as Mr. Bleszinski puts it. It takes place a century into the future, where a shattering of the moon has lead to Earth’s gravity going doolally. As a result, the balance of power in society has shifted with ruthless gangs utilizing high-tech equipment to wreak havoc on the broken world. These ragamuffins – also know as Breakers – make up one side of the conflict. On the other side of the spectrum is the Law: skilled defenders of peace themselves wearing enough crazy gear to make Iron Man feel under-dressed.
Admittedly it does sound like standard FPS fare. That being said, there’s something particularly enthralling about LawBreakers that’s difficult to pin down. The promised eye-swiveling lunacy running hand-in-hand with the dynamism afforded by low-gravity combat and a wealth of different characters, it does genuinely appear to be a package well worth the time of any PC shooter fan out there. It’ll also be free to play, allowing absolutely anyone (with a decent rig) ample opportunity to dive in and break/enforce the law in the best way possible.
In a cruel twist of fate, the majority of people out there will only know of developer Yager because of its part in the development (and recent cancellation) of Dead Island 2. During that whole fiasco though, one of Yager’s other teams was and thankfully still is hard at work on Dreadnought.
No, not the new zone introduced by Destiny: The Taken King. It’s a game, and a damn good looking one to boot.
If Dreadnought rings a bell then you probably remember it from E3 2014, where the teaser trailer showed three ships splattering upon the front-end of a vessel magnitudes larger than themselves like bugs on a wind-shield. Like LawBreakers, Dreadnought is an online-focused multiplayer shoot-stuff-until-it-dies fest where small teams battle against each other in 10 minute skirmishes to the death. Why Dreadnought deserves a spot here is due to the unique ways in which you’re fighting.
Dreadnought slows everything down, affording players the opportunity to employee strategic approaches rather than showing off their twitch reflexes. As more and more games out there in the world start taking the same approach when manufacturing multiplayer releases, Dreadnought’s about turn in direction promises to be a fresh take on the extremely popular game type. With breath-taking visuals, thought-provoking action, and ships bigger than Trump’s ego, Dreadnought absolutely deserves to be one of the most anticipated games for space-flight fans and those who simply love shooting other people in the face digitally.
Total War: Warhammer
Okay this a no-brainer. Why it’s taken so long for Creative Assembly to be let loose with three decades of Warhammer lore at their fingertips is absolutely mind-boggling. Slamming together the warmongering races of Games Workshop’s franchise and the exceptional strategic depth of Total War is nothing short of a match made in heaven — in theory at least. While of course we don’t know how the full game will feel for a while now – especially since you can’t play as Chaos without pre-ordering the game – the possibility of Total War: Warhammer being a disappointment is rather minuscule.
Gigantic armies of Dwarves, Greenskins, Chaos, Vampire Counts, and Empire soldiers descending upon each other in fully rendered 3D combat is about as exciting as it gets for a Warhammer fan, and it’s unlikely to be a dull experience even for people who have never even seen a painted figure. It’s not going to be a one-trick pony either, featuring unique campaign elements for every race (such as the “Waaagh! for Greenskins) and flying nasties like dragons joining the fray. Bolt onto this a sizable campaign and the coming final result does indeed look to be an exceptional step forward into a new age of real-time strategy games.
Everything else you’d expect to see in a Total War release -such as city-building and diplomacy – will also be making an appearance in Total War: Warhammer when it strides onto PC’s around our delightfully boring reality on April 28, 2016.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Riding the coat-tails of the original’s success – both on Kickstarter and in the commercial battlefields – Larian Studio’s decision to begin development of Divinity: Original Sin 2 was about as surprising as opening up the shed only to find it full of spider webs. Striking out with another Kickstarter campaign in August 2015, which itself raised a respectable $2,032,434, Larian was able to pull together a whole host of further stretch goals to allow Divinity: Original Sin 2 to become an even bigger game than it was already destined to be.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 will bring the positively astounding turn-based combat of the primordial Original Sin alongside its revolutionary application of element-based interaction into a new setting and structure. In addition to this, combat’s going to be augmented even further with a cover system for ranged characters and a Source Skills system that’d take a good ten or twenty more paragraphs of rambling to fully explain. Basically, Source Points will allow characters to unlock monumentally powerful abilities, however you’ll likely only find one in an entire playthrough.
The visual buffet of incredible sights will also return to give your graphics card a run for its money. Divinity: Original Sin scratched that Baulder’s Gate itch so many PC folks have with the ferocity of a dog being accosted by the Cirque De Soleil of flea circuses. Divinity: Original Sin 2 stands poised to bathe that itch in camomile lotion, softly massage the affected area until you’re essentially custard, then take you off on another 100+ hour adventure into modern gaming’s pinnacle of turn-based western role-playing.
In a perfect world, XCOM 2 wouldn’t be on this list, let alone occupy the final slot. Why? Well the game was delayed by three months from November 2015 to February 2016, that’s why. It’s not a bad thing though. In 2012, XCOM: Enemy Unknown took the world by storm and it’s expansion Enemy Within wasn’t exactly awful either. The thought alone of dipping back into the harsh yet compelling world of XCOM gameplay is enough to set the loins of many a strategy fan aflame. So slapping a “2” on the end of it and offering up an entirely new experience with the exceptional gameplay of 2012’s reboot is utterly exciting.
It’s not going to be exactly the same game with different visuals though. Firstly, there’s the matter of continuity. When deciding upon the situation in which XCOM 2 would take place, Firaxis referred back to Enemy Unknown to see how players did. The majority of games started in the precursor ended in humanity losing to the aliens, so the developer simply ran with it. Rather than being the commander of humanity’s last line of defense, you’re instead going to be faced with a world in which the aliens control everything. The underground base has been replaced by a retro-fitted alien supply craft from which your soldiers stream out to do battle. From the screenshots and video we’ve been treated to so far, there’s a vein of alien-centric architecture running around the world for you to battle across too.
The alien combatants you’ll be up against have also changed. Sure there are familiar faces, but they’ve been made to appear more terrifying as adversaries. New threats pop as well, such as the malevolent Viper soldiers whose abilities include a Tongue Pull that’ll drag your forces directly into their fanged jaws. There’s even a massive shift in gameplay on the horizon as the phase where you would wander around until coming into contact with alien forces is turned on its head, allowing you to use stealth to your advantage rather than being up against nefarious ne’er-do-wells doing exactly that.
XCOM 2 is likely to be the first big hit of 2016 when it lands in February, and Firaxis has no intention of letting it peter out either. The company’s planning to bring incredibly detailed mod tools out with XCOM 2 as a way of giving fans what they want: a bunch more XCOM. As far as the most exciting upcoming PC exclusives of 2016 go, XCOM 2 is definitely deserving of its spot here.
There are undoubtedly tens if not indeed hundreds of other games not on this list which many will be up in arms about. Star Citizen is one such game, omitted from the list because the game’s seen so many delays in its individual models that even the most fanatical of fans (myself included) are skeptical of it hitting the intended 2016 date. However right now, as the world stands on the precipice of another long game-filled year, the PC exclusives above are absolutely worth getting excited about.