2016 has been a cruel year all around: many beloved movies and music stars have died, phones have started becoming unimaginative, expensive and even explosive, the world has witnessed one of the worst presidential elections ever in the United States, and many anticipated releases have been a downright disappointment. While the last remark applies to video games too, as 2017 rears its head, it would be wise to look back at the many releases of 2016 and see what happened.
The start of the year was typical: several lackluster downloadable content packs for the triple A titles. Things started to pick up in May, however, as two of the best games this year, Blizzard’s new hero shooter “Overwatch” and ID Software’s fantastic reboot of the classic “DOOM”, have hosted beta events, and then opened to record-smashing sales. While DOOM‘s single player campaign impressed the entire gaming world with its fast-paced, gory action, the multiplayer failed to capture enough fans to maintain a healthy fanbase. In the meanwhile, Overwatch is in quite the opposite situation, as the hero shooter released without a single player mode, but has since grown to over 20 million active players and counting.
The summer of 2016 was fairly lackluster in terms of releases, as expected. The only major release was Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, another great title plagued with microtransactions and the curse of having a disappointing ending. However, the annual E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) press conferences took place in Los Angeles, with all “Big Three” companies showing off their new games, and, in Sony and Microsoft’s cases, their new consoles. Thus, this fall, the new Xbox One S and Playstation 4 Pro have been released, with an upcoming Xbox console currently named “Project Scorpio” coming at the end of next year, and packing a lot of powerful specs.
As the grand release season opened up, a plethora of titles flooded the market. From the new World of Warcraft expansion, “Legion”, which is so good that it restored the MMORPG to its former glory, to the annual triple A shooters (Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1) and action games (Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2). Surprisingly enough, most of the aforementioned titles have racked in decent reviews, with some of them being downright praised all across the Internet.
One of the biggest bombshells of the year, however, was Nintendo’s announcement of its next generation console, Nintendo Switch. The best thing about the announcement is that it was literally just a video dumped on YouTube, with more details to follow in January. The Nintendo Switch is a revolutionary hybrid console concept, being a home console that you can play on the go by detaching it from its dock and using small controllers on the console’s screen. According to insider sources, the console will feature specs similar to the current generation of Xbox and Playstation consoles, and while that may not feel next-gen at all, it is impressive when you take into account the fact that the console is portable. The Nintendo Switch is set to release in early 2017, alongside many new, unannounced Nintendo titles.
All in all, 2016 may have been the worst year in recent history when you take into account politics, world events, or just about anything else. But you can’t really say that 2016 was a bad year for video games.