Fall is rapidly approaching, which for me always means a few things: beautiful autumn leaves, cooler weather, and of course, back to school time. Video game fans will also know that the new school year marks the beginning of the fall gaming bonanza where publishers roll out their most anticipated AAA games of the year. To keep you in the loop on what games will be the talk of the campus this school year, here are the top games everyone will be playing.
[Note: The below release dates are subject to change at the sole discretion of the game publisher at any time]
Forza Horizon 3
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Platform(s): Xbox One
Microsoft Studios and Playground Games’ Forza Horizon series is back for another exhilarating, open world racing extravaganza. Once again we’ll be transported to the Horizon Festival—this time in beautiful Australia—to have a rip-roaring time driving through the dusty Outback and other exotic locations on a map twice the size of Forza Horizon 2. There are over 350 cars to choose from, which includes the two pristine cover vehicles, the Lamborghini Centenario and 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. With its 4-player online campaign co-op, and plethora of game modes, this the game racing aficionados will be raving about come this September. Want to get in on the action early? Pick up the Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition to get 4-day early access to the full game, plus get the Forza Horizon 3 Car Pass, VIP Membership, the Forza Hub App, and the Motorsport All-Stars Car Pack.
For role-playing game fans, it doesn’t get any bigger than Final Fantasy XV. The legendary RPG series returns this fall with its biggest, most ambitious production in franchise history. Enter the world of Final Fantasy XV and experience epic real-time combat, and a massive, beautiful open-world that’s yours to explore. Every moment is brought to life with stunning visuals using the latest graphics technology, coupled with an unforgettable original soundtrack from iconic video game composer Yoko Shimomura. To immerse yourself in the total Final Fantasy XV experience, get the Deluxe Edition for PS4 or Xbox One that includes an exclusive dual-disc SteelBook decorated with artwork from legendary artist Yoshitaka Amano. Inside the SteelBook you’ll find a copy of Final Fantasy XV, and a Blu-ray copy of the ground-breaking movie Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. It also includes Bonus DLC content including the Royal Raiment outfit, a Platinum Leviathan design for the Regalia, and the legendary Masamune blade.
It’s been six years since the last title in the Mafia franchise, but it’s coming back bigger and better than ever before. Mafia III will immerse you in the 1968 city of New Bordeaux (a fictional reimaging of New Orleans) as you step into the shoes of Vietnam War veteran Lincoln Clay. Following an assassination attempt by the Italian mob, Clay decides to create his own criminal group to regain control of his city. Mafia III’s open world looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to start exploring it. The hype for this game will continue all school year long with continuous paid DLC that will expand the game in many ways, and you can get it all by picking up the Deluxe Edition for PS4, Xbox One, or PC (includes the Season Pass).
Gears of War 4
Date: October 11, 2016
Platform(s): Xbox One
Genre: Shooter, 3rd person action
From Microsoft Studios and Vancouver-based developer The Coalition comes the start of an all-new saga in the acclaimed Gears of War franchise. Gears of War 4 on Xbox One will introduce you to a brand new cast of characters on a mission to rescue those closest to them and discover the source of a horrifying new threat. Signature Gears of Wars Versus Multiplayer is back as well, and this time it’s more robust than ever with all-new moves, weapons, modes, and maps. You and your friends will have a blast trying out new moves leaping over cover and kick your opponent using the new Vault Kick, or pulling your adversary over cover leaving them vulnerable to the all-new combat knife finishing moves. There are a bunch of brutal new weapons too, such as the Dropshot, which fires aerial mines that hover across the battlefield and descend with explosive force, and the Buzzkill, a deadly shredding machine that deploys ricocheting sawblades. To make your friends ogle with envy, get the Gears of War 4 Collector’s Edition that includes a premium 19″ x 11″ statue of main character JD Fenix on a COG bike, or the Gears of War 4 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, which also packs in the Gears of War 4 Season Pass.
Go back to the dawn of large-scale warfare and experience the most powerful weaponry in the world from the front lines in EA’s Battlefield 1, coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Inspired by the historical events of World War 1, you and your friends can take command of the battlefield with visceral hand-to-hand infantry combat, or level your adversaries in a vast number of highly destructive armoured vehicles. Rage war on land, air, and sea, adapting your tactics to constantly shifting battle situations and environment-altering devastation. You can go it alone online in epic 64-player battles, or join a squad with your buds and experience large-scale warfare as a cohesive unit. To enlist early, grab the Battlefield 1 Early Enlister Deluxe Edition for PS4 and Xbox One and start playing the game on October 18, 2016—three full days earlier than everyone else. You’ll also get the Red Baron Pack and Lawrence of Arabia Pack containing themed weapons, vehicles and items. Plus you’ll receive five Battlepacks containing combinations of items, and new visual appearances for three of largest vehicles in the game.
The Last Guardian
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
The Last Guardian is the next game from director Fumito Ueda and Team Ico, the development team that gave us Ico and Shadow of the Colossus—considered to be two of the most artistic, compelling, and emotional journeys in all of video games. This absolutely stunning game has been in development since 2007, originally for PS3, and has now been moved over to Sony’s more powerful PS4 hardware. Team Ico games are known for creating richly detailed worlds with minimalist storytelling and a heartwarming cast, and this game looks to be their most ambitious yet. The Last Guardian features breakthrough gameplay where you’ll need to explore inventive ways to communicate with your gigantic companion Trico, a beast that is part cat and part bird, to navigate mystical ruins and overcome dangerous obstacles. You’ll need to use your imagination to capture Trico’s attention, from calling out with your voice, to using objects in your environment, to demonstrating actions for it to mimic. PlayStation fans have been waiting a long time to embark on the captivating and emotional journey The Last Guardian offers, and very soon we’ll all have this amazing chance.
EA completely blew the roof off their press conference when they officially announced the highly anticipated sequel to the multiplayer first-person shooter would arrive this October. To top it all off, it was confirmed that Titanfall 2 would also launch on the PlayStation 4—making this the first Titanfall game on the PlayStation 4. From all indications, it looks like developer Respawn Entertainment is going all out to ensure that Titanfall 2 builds upon the fast, fluid, and fun gameplay that made the first Titanfall so fun to play. The game will feature six all-new Titans, and this time they’ll have personalities and gender roles, which adds a unique twist to gameplay. If there was one thing missing from the first Titanfall, it was a full-blown campaign mode, but now we have one in Titanfall 2 that focuses on the deep relationship between man and machine; I can’t wait to give it a try. To get even more goodies on launch day, pick up the Titanfall 2 Deluxe Edition for PS4 and Xbox One, which includes instant access to exclusive Deluxe-themed Warpaints and Nose Arts, 2 sets of camouflage, and an exclusive in-game Deluxe Callsign.
Since 2003, Activision’s Call of Duty franchise has been the industry benchmark for hyper realistic, immersive, large-scale warfare and adrenaline-fueled battle experiences. This year, the creators of the original Call of Duty game, Infinity Ward, takes the franchise’s hallmark boots-on-the-ground action into a broad new setting unlike anything the series has seen before. For the first time ever, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will allow you to embark on an epic, high intensity, militaristic ride that takes place on the battlefields of Earth, and into the far reaches of our solar system. The world-class competitive multiplayer and fan-favourite Zombie mode both return and are better than ever. Multiplayer battles will bring back the popular chain-based movement system and emphasizes intense front-line engagements. Maps are designed to leverage the chain-based gameplay and rewards players for strategically using their surroundings to gain the advantage. The new co-operative multiplayer Zombie mode will take you on a chilling journey featuring unique gameplay features and mechanics. Double your fun by picking up the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition for PS4 and Xbox One, featuring Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, the most critically acclaimed Call of Duty in history. This remastered version will include the full campaign from the original game in high-definition graphics, with improved textures and revamped animations, along with 10 of the most iconic maps from the multiplayer mode.
The first Dishonored game was one of my favourite games from the last console generation, so it was exciting to see Bethesda has another game in the works. The game is set in a new coastal city called Karnaca where you take control of a new heroine, Emily Kaldwin, or her bodyguard Corvo Attano. Your supernatural powers have been improved this time around and a new skill tree upgrade system will enable you to develop your character the way you choose. You’ll have the choice to play this game stealthily, and some powers will have lethal and non-lethal variants. If you haven’t played the first Dishonored game, now’s the time to do so before this promising new entry arrives this November.
Ubisoft’s action-packed open world action-adventure third-person shooter franchise is back. This time around, Ubisoft Montreal has given us a bigger and more hackable world, a new protagonist (Marcus Holloway), and a reworked co-operative experience. After logging in some serious hours into Watch Dogs, I’m eager to get my hands on this epic all-new sequel this holiday season. One of my favourite things about Watch Dogs is the ability to hack items in your surrounding environment, and in this new version one of the new additions is the ability to use both flying and wheeled drones to scope out locations and hack remotely. Also new is the ability to hack cars and have them drive away on their own, causing all kinds of mischief. Watch Dogs 2 looks to improve upon its predecessor in almost every way, and it’s clear that Ubisoft Montreal is dedicated to providing a richer and deeper gaming experience than ever before.
With the Pokémon Go frenzy in full swing, Nintendo is preparing two more full-blown Pokémon adventures this fall for Nintendo 3DS. The launch of these two new titles—Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon—also marks the beginning of the 7th generation of Pokémon and coincides with the 20th anniversary of the franchise. The game will take you to the tropical islands in the region Alola, full of lush environments and tropical scenery. Details are still somewhat limited, but we do the game will include two new Legendary Pokémon, which appear on the box art for both games. On the box art for Pokémon Sun is Solgaleo, a lion-like psychic and steel Pokémon with a full metal body. He has a Sunsteel Strike, which blasts a powerful fireball towards his enemies. While on the other hand, Lunala, a bat-like psychic and ghost Pokémon with a Shadow Shield ability, graces the cover of Pokémon Moon. Both of these Psychic Legendary Pokémon look totally cool, and appear to be formidable companions (and adversaries.)
To wrap up, I hope you enjoyed this list of hot upcoming video games—I hope there are full on this list that interest you! I also recommend a browse through of Best Buy Canada’s video games pre-order section to find even more exciting games releasing soon.