We've already written about the games we're most looking forward to this year, but that small selection doesn't cover the wealth of games that are aiming to release in 2016. So, in posts separated by genre, we're going to try and collect together every single notable game due out in the next 12 months. First up: strategy.
A note before we begin: it's likely some of these may not end up coming out in 2016, so we’ve not worried too much about that. If we’ve missed something off, it’s either because we’re not aware of it or it’s not been even provisionally scheduled for this year. As for the genres: it is increasingly difficult to pigeonhole games into one genre or another, varied as they are. We’ve been broad with the categories, rather than getting too forensic about classification.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
Originally called Shipbreakers, this Homeworld prequel is a beautiful RTS from some of the original Homeworld team.
Firaxis’ sequel to the exceptionally good XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes place in an alternate timeline where you didn’t save Earth from alien invasion. Now, as the resistance, you have to take it back.
Total War: Warhammer
A match made in heaven: Total War: Warhammer has the finely tuned grand strategy mechanics of the Total War games and the rich fantasy armies of the Warhammer tabletop games.
Halo Wars 2
Ensemble’s RTS spin off for the Xbox 360 stands up as one of the best Halo games despite being such a departure from the original game. Microsoft has said very little about the sequel but when the silence breaks, I’ll be all ears.
Endless Space 2
Amplitude Studios is returning to its grand strategy space game and improving it in every way it can. What’s most exciting is the way the team is planning on handling intergalactic politics. More detail here.
The Banner Saga 2
Continues the story from the heart-crushing conclusion of the first part of the Banner Saga. I can’t want to get stuck back into the turn-based tactics and eye-catching artwork of this excellent series.
Paradox made its name with complex, deep strategy games–Crusaders and Europa Universalis stand as two of the best grand strategy games ever made. The publisher is now turning those skills towards space and is making a strategy game that spans the stars. What I've seen of the game in action looks extremely promising.
Democracy 3: Africa
Essentially, this is Democracy hard mode. Positech is taking the systems it created to capture the political machinations of Western nations and applying it to countries with much more extreme factions. You’ll have to deal with resource rich but politically weak governments, negotiate with many more border neighbours, and manage a nation that rapidly changes.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
Based on the Warhammer 40k spinoff that focuses on big ship combat. Battlefields are filled with slow-moving ships that look like weaponised cathedrals, covered in spires, autocannons, and torpedo tubes. Everything happens in real-time so you need to manage your whole fleet as it engages the enemy up and down the line.
Kickstarted back in 2012 and now two years late for its January 2014 release, it may be seem like a thin hope to pin on a 2016 release for Limit Theory. But Josh Parnell has been steadily working on the game for the past four years (except for a few months in 2015) and it sounds like we’ll be at least seeing the beta for the huge procedurally generated space exploration game in 2016.
Master of Orion
Originally released by MicroProse back in 1993. Last year Wargaming, the studio behind World of Tanks, announced that it had bought the rights to the game and would be releasing a sequel in 2016. From what I’ve seen of it, it's living up to the promise of the original game. Although it will have a lot of competition this year, what with Endless Space 2 and Stellaria.
Chronicle: RuneScape Legends
Jagex’s take on collectible card games is like no other I’ve seen. Using the Runescape world as a backdrop, players place down enemies and items in their own path, only attacking each other second-hand. So, you might want to place an enemy in your path that will level up your attack so you’re tough enough to take on an enemy later in the level. Or you could place a card that triples the attack of the monster your opponent just placed in their own path. You can read more about it here.
Clockwork Empires is to frontier settlers and Cthulu lore what Theme Hospital is to responsible medical practice. You are trying to construct a town on the new frontier while also putting down attacks from ancient gods, sea monsters, and raving cultists. The systems underscoring the game look to be lusciously complex and the whole setting is appealing. It's been in Early Access for more than a year but it's still got a way to go before it's finished.
Offworld Trading Company
A strategy game where you defeat your enemies through economics, not warfare. Each game starts with a spread of corporations laying claim to mineral deposits on a distant planet. Your research and expansion is all aimed at increasing profits and doing anything you can to destabilise your opponent's companies. If you can devalue their stock you can buy out a large enough stake to absorb them into your own business.
Maia puts you in charge of settling an alien world, building a colony that will keep your colonists safe in an unwelcoming environment. Not only do you have to keep them safe from environmental hazards but the work, loneliness, and stress of an alien world can send your workers into a deep depression unless you look after their needs.
The civilised world has come to an end, leaving you in charge of keeping a family alive in their small bomb shelter under the surface of a ravaged planet. As well as managing your supplies so your family don’t starve or get ill, you have to fend off bandit attacks and untrustworthy visitors.
A roguelike strategy game where you lead a party of adventurers as they delve ever deeper into a dark horror-infested dungeon. The real challenge in Darkest Dungeon isn’t mastering the turn-based combat but keeping your party sane. The monsters they fight and the environments they explore fill your troops with dread, sending them off kilter.
Man O’ War: Corsair
Based on the Warhammer tabletop game, Man O’ War is a game about ship-to-ship combat. As well as managing a fleet in battle against other, vicious species, you’ll need to manage your fleet, trading for resources, hiring new crew, keeping your ships repaired. It all sounds like a good deal of hearty, seafaring fun,
This War of Mine: The Little Ones
Console version of the harrowing but extremely compelling strategy-sim about living as civilians in a nation torn apart by war - now with added children to look after. Expect to have your heart broken and your mind broadened.
As well as making Elite Dangerous, Frontier is known for its Rollercoaster games. Planet Coaster looks to be a massive leap on from anything the team has managed before, though. You can design modular coasters that can be shared between friends, mould the world of your park, letting you design the theme park you’ve always dreamed of. We’ll be learning a lot more about later this year.
Hearts of Iron IV
The grand strategy game that lets you play and replot the machinations of nations in World War 2 returns. Among the multitude of changes is a new focus on intel and espionage, knowing where your enemy is attacking and keeping your own plans secret has a much greater impact on your campaign.
Hex: Shards of Fate
A collectible card game that aims to do for digital what Magic: The Gathering did for physical card games. Hex is a wonderfully deep card game that supports online tournaments, trading, clans, and even raids.
Build a town that will attract wandering heroes and then send them on quests to bring back loot for your burgeoning metropolis. RPG Tycoon sounds a little like a blend of Towns and Recettear.
More Games of 2016: