Looking ahead in 2016 – 16 Strategy Games for Commanders

Strategy has always been a staple of gaming since forever, digital or physical, covering everything from Chess to Cold War scenarios, fantasy empires, and beyond. This time around, players will have their picks ranging from a hotly anticipated sequel like XCOM 2 to something out of the ordinary for Creative Assembly’s Total War team with Total War: Warhammer.

Like the previous lists, this isn’t the ultimate in comprehensive collections – it’s just a big slice of information cross referenced between a number of sources from Gamestop to Wikipedia, and some games aren’t here at all due to a lack of information (or even a website to reference back to) or I just had no idea that X title was out there. Any dates that are for certain regions only will be tagged (like JP, for Japan). Like always, if you feel that this list is missing a favorite or two, be sure to let everyone know in the comments.


Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault – Aksys Games (PS Vita, PS4)
http://www.aksysgames.com/2015/10/28/new-game-announcement-aegis-of-earth-protonovus-assault/
March 29, 2016

What is it?
Known as Metropolis Defender in Japan, the game involves the defense of a city from giant monsters by rotating the city and aiming its weapons. Players can also prepare it by leveling up units, new weapons, and engage in over thirty “epic missions” spread across fifteen hours of action.


Ashes of the Singularity – Oxide Games (Windows)
http://www.ashesofthesingularity.com/
TBA 2016

What is it?
Currently in Early Access on Steam, Ashes is an RTS designed from the ground up to take advantage of 64-bit architecture and utilize up to four processor cores to deliver one of the sharpest AI experiences in a strategy game. Not only that, but it will also leverage that power into vast worlds with thousands of units under the players’ command waging a titanic war for control of a planet between an AI that wants to protect “post-humanity” by keeping them safe in their corner of the galaxy and post-humanity itself striving to push into the great unknown.


The Banner Saga 2 – Stoic (Windows)
http://stoicstudio.com/banner-saga-2/
TBA 2016

What is it?
Initially slated for a Winter release in 2015, the game was pushed into 2016. It’s the sequel to the tactical RPG based on Norse mythology where a Viking saga unfolds with a caravan of characters under your control and where every decision can have an impact on who lives and dies. Following the events of the first game, the sequel picks up right after the climax and will also keep the decisions you made along with who lived and died in your adventure. It’s currently listed on Steam with (as of this writing) a release date of Winter, though the developer is pushing it into 2016.


Battlefleet Gothic: Armada – Tindalos Interactive (Windows)
http://www.battlefleetgothic-armada.com/
TBA 2016

What is it?
While Warhammer 40k has gotten a lot of love from RTS series like Dawn of War, the space between its worlds has largely been ignored until now. The game is built with Unreal Engine 4 and will feature four major factions – the human Imperium, the green-skinned Orks, the ancient Eldar, and the unpredictable wickedness of Chaos. In addition to multiplayer, it will have a single player campaign and boast features such as being able to customize all of your ships from small frigates to battleships several miles in length. The developer’s track record with games of this type is a bit shaky (see: Stellar Impact and Etherium), but I’m hoping that this time will be the charm if the gameplay can be as good as the trailers make it out to be.


Blitzkrieg 3 – Nival (Linux, OS X, Windows)
http://en.blitzkrieg.com/
Q1 2016

What is it?
The next chapter in Nival’s Blitzkrieg series set once again in WW2 featuring three fully featured campaigns looking at major campaigns in the war. The game will also boast “asynchronous multiplayer” where players can set up their bases and fortifications in between play sessions as opposed to doing everything while both players are in the game together. It will have a full single-player campaign covering the WW2 period from 1939-1945 along with its MP component. You can check it out on Early Access on Steam where it’s currently testing things out.


Elder Scrolls Legends – Dire Wolf Digital (iOS, Windows)
http://www.elderscrollslegends.com/
TBA 2016

What is it?
Another collectable card game that has apparently been in development since 2013. This time based around Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls property. Not much information on it yet aside from an expected release date. A tweet by Bethesda’s Pete Hines indicated that it was being pushed into 2016 for additional polish.


Halo Wars 2 – Creative Assembly (XBO, Windows 10)
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/halo-wars-2
Fall 2016

What is it?
The RTS sequel to Halo Wars by the now-shuttered Ensemble Studios. Creative Assembly is using the first game as a jumping point, promising that the new RTS won’t be “a Total War: Halo kind of game – this is Halo Wars taken to the next stage.” I actually liked the first Halo Wars as it wasn’t a bad RTS on the Xbox 360, so seeing what Creative Assembly could do with the property has my interest piqued.


Hearts of Iron IV – Paradox Development Studio (Linux, OS X, Windows)
http://www.heartsofiron4.com/
TBA 2015

What is it?
The newest iteration of the Hearts of Iron WW2 grand strategy series where players can pick literally any nation on Earth to try and survive, conquer, or manipulate their way through the conflict. If this is anything like the previous games, this will have a staggering degree of detail to everything from researching period-specific war machines to negotiating trade as you try and make your mark on history.


Hex Heroes – Prismatic Games (Wii U)
http://prismatic-games.com/games/
TBA 2016

 

What is it?
A real time strategy game for the Wii U featuring support for 5 players, 8 unique classes, and a toy-like, cartoony art style. Successfully Kickstarted.


Homeworld: Deserts of Khaarak – Blackbird Interactive (Windows)
http://www.desertsofkharak.com/
January 20, 2016

What is it?
Initially started by former Homeworld devs as “Hardware: Shipwreckers”, it eventually became a prequel to the original 1999 Homeworld game by Relic Entertainment that takes place across 13 missions on the dying, desert planet of Khaarak. A “mysterious anomaly” has been discovered deep in the desert and an expedition is being sent out to find what it is, an expedition led by you against forces that don’t kindly to you stomping around in their backyard. The terrain, hardware, and other elements of the game promise a degree of tactical synergy hearkening back to the original Homeworld for fans and newcomers alike.


Langrisser Re:Incarnation -TENSEI- – Career Soft/Masaya Games (Nintendo 3DS)
http://aksysgames.com/langrisser/
April 19, 2016

What is it?
Strategy RPG where a young protagonist discovers a sacred sword and uses it to fight a tactical battle against an oppressive empire. There are three potential directions for the story to take depending on the player’s actions. It’s been years since the last Langrisser game so veteran fans that have missed the series might be excited to see the formula possibly returning to form with this new title. One hardcore Langrisser fan did pick up the Japanese version, however, and you can find their review here.


SpellForce III – Grimlore Games (Windows)
http://store.steampowered.com/app/311290/
TBA 2016

What is it?
The third major chapter in the SpellForce series blending together RTS and “top-down RPG genres”. It boasts a campaign of 30+ hours and takes place before SpellForce: Order of Dawn and no previous experience with the SpellForce series is needed to understand this one.


Stars Beyond Reach – Arcen Games (Windows)
https://arcengames.com/stars-beyond-reach/
March, 2016

What is it?
A 4x (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) sim where the player has crashed landed on a “hostile, sentient world” and must find the means to develop their way to escape by developing their own civilization. The game has four “acts” along with 14 different alien races to contend with. This hex-based strategy game has already set up shop on Steam, too.


Total War: Warhammer – The Creative Assembly (Linux, Windows, OS X)
https://warhammer.totalwar.com/
April 28, 2016

What is it?
The Total War series, for the first time, takes to fantasy with Games Workshop’s Warhammer series. Leveraging the strategic mechanics of a Total War game in with Warhammer orks, flying griffons, and the dark powers of Chaos pushing against the last defenses of humanity, Warhammer’s debut on the tactical stage in this fashion looks set to give The Creative Assembly both a new challenge and a fresh pass to go as crazy as the material’s magic will allow them to. And for fantasy fans looking to scratch that strategy itch, it could be what they’ve been waiting for.


Worms WMD – Team17 (Windows, XBO)
http://www.team17.com/games/worms-wmd/
TBA 2016

What is it?
It’s a new Worms game. Yes, really!


XCOM 2 – Firaxis Games (Linux, OS X, Windows)
https://xcom.com/
February 5, 2016

What is it?
The sequel to the tactical strategy game takes place 20 years after the events of the critically (and fan) acclaimed reboot, Enemy Unknown. Aliens have won and now rule the Earth through the ADVENT Administration who have convinced the world that the aliens had come in peace and that the war was a mistake. XCOM now only exists in the mind of the public as a memory, but it does exist as an underground resistance determined to free the Earth from alien occupation. Welcome back, commander.

 

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