Looking Ahead to 2015 – Fifteen shooters to scratch your trigger finger

You had to expect this category. Shooters, like ’em or hate ’em, are a staple of the industry and an annual parade of these almost always equals required play time for millions of gamers around the world.  This year won’t be any different with at least fifteen jostling for a spot on players’ schedules — and their budgets.

One note: Call of Duty isn’t on the list mainly because no one outside really knows just what form that game will take next year. So little information is publicly available other than we can reasonably expect Activision to keep the annual schedule it set the series to by bouncing it between its studios like Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer. It’s also no secret that Advanced Warfare, the latest game in the series, apparently experienced a 27% dip in retail sales for copies in the US (though the figure excludes international and digital sales numbers). That hasn’t kept the game from hitting the coveted Number One spot for video game sales in places like the UK during Christmas, on the other hand.

As before, this is just a sampling of the genre and a general overview of what we can expect scrubbed from publicly available information. If there’s a shooter you’re interested in or just have something to share about the list, be sure to let everyone know in the comments!

Battlefield: Hardline – Visceral Games (PS3, PS4, Windows, X360, XBO)
March 17, 2015

What is it?
It’s cops versus robbers, Battlefield-style, which means it involves a lot of players, huge areas (in this case, bits and pieces of Los Angeles), and plenty of weaponry. It was delayed from its expected release towards the end of 2014 in order to build on the feedback reported back from a beta held earlier in the year. I was in the beta and didn’t think it was too bad, though at the same time, I also thought it was really strange for the criminals to have enough firepower to become their own PMC. Apparently that’s one of the things that they’re working on.

Evolve – Turtle Rock Studios (PS4, Windows, XBO)
February 10, 2015

What is it?
The makers of Left 4 Dead and its sequel are coming out with a new, multiplayer mash-up where one player gets to play a boss-like beast that can evolve into stronger versions in the hopes of accomplishing its objective before the others can hunt it down and kill it. All the beast has is its own wits, a massive pool of HP, and ridiculously powerful attacks (when they connect). As for the players, all they have are each other, the class specialties they’re focused on from medic to assault, and a bag of tricks to get the jump on the beast.

I’ve been in the beta on PC where looked great and it did feel pretty awesome when the team worked together to successfully bring down the beast. Turtle Rock’s been paying close attention to the feedback they’ve been getting from many others, delaying the game into this year for a February release.

H-Hour: World’s Elite – SOF Studios (PS4, Windows)
March, 2015

What is it?
A “tactical, team-based military shooter” with an emphasis on realism. In other words, every shot could be lethal thanks to the “most complete and authentic” weapons simulation made available in gaming. No regenerating health, no shields, just tactics and team play using both third-person and first-person vantages. This hardcore shooter was successfully Kickstarted and is expected to come out for PCs first on Steam and the PS4 at some later date.

Halo 5: Guardians – 343 Industries (XBO)
Q3/Q4 2015

What is it?
The next major chapter in the Halo series is slated for late next year, although it looks like the Master Chief is missing when colony worlds are attacked leaving it to a new Spartan to take up the fight. Little else is known about the main story only that it will relate to the “Reclaimer Trilogy”. As for the core mechanics, players who tried out the MP beta running from December 29th, 2014, to January 18th, 2015, got a taste of those in its “Arena” gameplay.

Halo: Spartan Strike – 343 Industries/Vanguard Games (Windows, Windows Phone, XBO)
Early 2015

What is it?
Spartan Strike is a top-down shooter that will take players through thirty missions as they lead UNSC troops against the enemies of Earth in a new story. Here, players take the role of a Spartan IV as they take part in a “classified ONI simulation of New Mombasa” fighting both Covenant and Promethean forces. The game will also only be available on Windows 8/8.1 devices apparently leaving Windows 7 and Windows Vista users behind.

Hatred – Destructive Creations (Windows)
Q2 2015

What is it?
A third-person, isometric shooter apparently featuring the main character as a mass killer targeting everyone in his way. The trailer and the subject matter sparked controversial debates from one corner of the ‘net to the other for the unabashed portrayal of what the developers have described as a rebellion against “politically correct” trends.

Homefront: The Revolution – Deep Silver Dambuster (Linux, OS X, PS4, Windows, XBO)
TBA 2015

What is it?
The sequel to Homefront, this title changed hands towards the end of July, 2014, when Crytek sold the property to Koch Media who then passed it on to Deep Silver and their newly formed Dambuster dev team. The game has been described as an open-world shooter taking place in Philadelphia, four years after North Korean forces have taken control of the United States, and it’s up the player to engage in a series of missions to spark a revolution. As it changed hands and little else has come out on the development of the game since then, it still remains to be seen if it will actually hit its 2015 date. We’ll probably find out more at E3.

Human Element – Robotoki (PS4, Windows, XBO)
November 2015

What is it?
Taking place “35 years after a zombie apocalypse”, players take on the role of survivors protecting their corner of a vast landscape from those that want what they have. Players will apparently be able to build forts, defenses, and scavenge, and drive, what they can in when the game debuts in November this year from the studio that Robert Bowling founded after the creative strategist resigned from Infinity Ward in 2012.

Killing Floor 2 – Tripwire Interactive (PS4, SteamOS, Windows)
TBA 2015

What is it?
The sequel sees the European Union reeling from deadly horrors released after the first game, twisted monsters that have sent everyone into hiding save for a few brave souls willing to destroy them. Featuring six-player co-op, a “proprietary, high powered persistent blood system” for gorier kills, new Zeds to destroy, more weapons, perks, and melee combat, the sequel promises to keep the floor wet with anticipation.

Space Hulk: Deathwing – Streum On Studio/Cyanide (PS4, Windows, XBO)
TBA 2015

What is it?
Taking place in Game Workshop’s Warhammer 40K universe, it sounds like players can choose to be a Space Marine equipped with the righteous weapons of the Empire or a Librarian wielding the powers of Psykers, both part of the elite Deathwings. It also looks like players will be raiding Space Hulks, titanic, abandoned warships derelict in space potentially filled with valuable relics and more often than not, horrors like the Genestealers. Points can also be earned and spent on skill trees to improve your chances of survival. Sounds like a bigger, more explosive update to the classic Space Hulk board game that 1993’s PC adaptation, and more recently, 2013’s, went on to crush the unprepared servitors of the Emperor with.

Splatoon – Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 (Wii U)
Q2 2015

What is it?
Third-person shooter which pits two teams of four apiece (along with online play) against each other with paint guns. The goal is to cover as much territory with your color to claim it all, using tactics, ingenuity, and crazy daring to win across the catwalks, towering tanks, open floors, and corners of Splatoon’s world. The Wii U’s GamePad controller is also used as a mapping device to help plan your next move.

Star Wars: Battlefront – EA DICE (PS4, Windows, XBO)
Holiday 2015

What is it?
The long awaited third entry in the Star Wars: Battlefront series featuring open-world warfare across massive maps inspired by the films, both in space and on the ground. So far, Hoth and Endor had been confirmed as playable maps for the game and the release is expected to coincide with the release of Episode VII in theaters. Snowspeeders, AT-STs, and a whole slew of weapons and areas are expected as players take part as either the Rebellion or the Galactic Empire.

Superhot – SUPERHOT Team (Linux, OS X, Windows, XBO)
June, 2015

What is it?
A first person shooter featuring stylized, 3D graphics where time moves only when you move that started out as part the 2013 7 Day First Person Shooter event. It then went to Kickstarter in an effort to become a full fledged game and was successfully funded. Superhot twists the FPS formula with a novel gameplay mechanic where accuracy is far more important than reflexes. Even bullets will hang in space, moving at glacial speed, until you start moving around, allowing you to plan your shots and perform impossible chains of one-shot kills while trying not to accidentally trap yourself between enemies’ shots. You can even play the prototype in your browser at the official page to get an idea of how it plays.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege – Ubisoft (PS4, Windows, XBO)
TBA 2015

What is it?
With the cancellation of Patriots, Rainbow Six was redesigned as the team-based Siege, going back to its roots as a far more tactics minded beast envisioning careful planning and a heavy reliance on team play for both friends and foes. “Procedural destruction” has also added a new dimension to the game allowing players to blow through floors and walls in addition to the drones, portable barricades, and array of firepower they’ll have packed away.

Tower of Guns – Terrible Posture Games (PS3, PS4)
TBA 2015

What is it?
The PS3/PS4 port of the indie FPS roguelike that hit PCs earlier in 2014. There’s no story other than to make it to the end while blasting everything in sight with whatever you can get your hands on. The roguelike part comes in with randomized levels and power up mods for weapons and yourself. It’s been called a “lunch break” FPS – sessions can last as short as you want them to be – but the completely random nature of the game ensures plenty of replayability for when you need to scratch that itchy trigger finger.

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