2015 has been a top quality year for games, but 2016 looks to be a stunner. As is tradition at this time of year we've compiled a list of the most enticing games set to be released over the next 12 months.
As we jotted down all the titles that immediately sprang to mind, it became clear there's a lot heading our way, so we've taken our list of 50 releases and split it into five articles. We'll publish these each day this week (7-11 December) culminating in our ten most anticipated games on Friday.
In no particular order, let's get started...
Pokémon Go (iOS, Android)
Few video game announcements this year drummed up excitement quite like Pokémon Go. While we're yet to see it in practise, the concept sounds excellent. It's an Android and iOS game that brings the classic Pokémon experience of battling, collecting and trading 'Mons into the real world. It will struggle to live up expectation, but we can't wait to find out if it does.
Release date: TBA
Hitman (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Despite a fragmented, staggered release that we still find completely baffling, IO Interactive seems to be steering the Hitman series back in the right direction when it comes to gameplay. Massive open environments filled with possibilities and the ability for players to choose their approach. It looks absolutely gorgeous too, as is par for the course with this franchise.
Release date: 11 March
Some games on this list are bound to be delayed beyond next December, it's as inevitable as the tides. One which made our list last year and appears once more is Rime, a PS4-exclusive indie platformer developed by Tequila Works which looks like a spiritual successor to Ico and boasts a similar visual style to The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. Delays have not dampened our excitement.
Release date: TBA
XCOM 2 (PC)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is arguably the best reboot in video game history, it brought the cult series up to date but retained what made it tick and packaged it for a new audience. The challenge it presented and a lack of similar games on the market made it a huge success, and its sequel has a lot to live up to. You can watch the reveal trailer here.
Release date: 5 February
Unravel (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Nobody expected the cutest game announcement of 2015 to come from EA, but it did courtesy of Coldwood Interactive's Unravel. The game is a whimsical adventure about Yarny, a small character made of yarn, who is on a journey that's as likely to tug at the heart strings as adventuring tugs on Yarny's threads.
Release date: Q1
Overwatch (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Blizzard enters the multiplayer shooter arena with a game drawing inspiration from the enormous Moba scene, and squad-shooters such as Team Fortress 2. Players do battle across various arenas as you'd expect, but the kicker is in how each character plays. The differences can be huge, with characters offering varying weapon sets, abilities, and methods and speeds of traversal.
Release date: 21 June (if not sooner)
The Witness (PS4, PC)
Another PS4 exclusive that has suffered a few delays, The Witness is Jonathan Blows' follow-up to instant-classic Braid. It plops the player down on a colourful island full of challenging puzzles for them to solve. It's been a long time coming but there isn't long left to wait.
Release date: January 26, 2016
EA Sports UFC 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
THQ's UFC Undisputed games were phenomenal, but lacked a little bit of production value and polish. When the license moved to EA Sports that was the least players expected, and exactly what they got, but the gameplay was nowhere near as fun or robust as what came before. We hope EA Sports has learned a lot since the first game.
Release date: Spring
ReCore (Xbox One)
At E3 2015 Microsoft surprised the industry when a new Xbox One exclusive was announced from Keiji Inafune, the legendary game designer who has worked on Mega Man, Resident Evil, Onimusha and Dead Rising. This adventure game from his new studio Comcept is built around cores that power enemies and your ever-changing companions.
Release date: Q2
Umbrella Corps (PS4, PC)
Umbrella Corps, apart from having the most ridiculous game title this side of #IDARB, is a spin-off of the Resident Evil series. It's a multiplayer online shooter played in either the first or third person perspective. What makes it (mildly) interesting is the inclusion of the undead, who thanks to some kind of magic tech won't show interest in you, unless you open fire on them or an opponent. This could set up an interesting dynamic.
Release date: TBA