The year 2014 was one of the worst when it comes to shooters of any kind, there were few titles and even fewer worth playing. So this year should come as a redemption for this genre in front of its fans as they didn’t have much to play in 2014 and by the looks of it, it is going to be quite a good one.
Release Date: January 30
Dying Light is an upcoming survival horror developed by Techland using Chrome Engine 6 and published by Warner Bros. Games.
The action of the game takes place during a zombie apocalypse and is set in the open world city of Harran which is currently in quarantine. The player assumes the role of Kyle Crane, an undercover agent sent to this area to supervise the situation.
Dying Light is extremely similar to the Dead Island series with its major new feature being the parkour elements. This will allows the player to climb tall buildings, do incredibly long jumps and even slide and roll over zombies.
The combat system is very similar to that present in Dead Island, being focused on melee fights with over a hundred weapons to be used and more added through crafting. There will be firearms as well, but they will be quite rare with the scope of being used in more dire situations.
During the day time zombies are quite apathetic and their strength relies only in the numbers as the players can get surrounded if they are not careful. But during the nighttime the zombies awaken and become much more violent and aware of their surroundings, they are way faster and can jump and even climb buildings chasing the player. This day-night mechanic will add for some interesting gameplay, as during the day time the players can more easily complete missions and scavenge for goods but if they are caught outside of a safe zone during night time it will be quite challenge to get back alive.
The game features co-op mode as well with up to four players teaming up to complete missions and survive the zombie apocalypse the best they can.
Dying Light is not just a warm up for Dead Island 2, but a game with its own characteristics and mechanics that make it different in many ways. Those passionate about zombie apocalypse games could easily give both titles a chance.
Release Date: February 10
Evolve is an upcoming co-op and competitive shooter by Turtle Rock Game featuring an asymmetrical multiplayer of 4v1.
The players will either play as part of a team composed of four hunters or as a monster that constantly runs as he feeds on smaller creatures in order to evolve and have the necessary power to take on the hunter’s team.
A match ends when the hunter’s team takes down the monster while the monster has to kill the entire team that is hunting him or complete a secondary objective like destroying a power generator on the map.
The players can choose from a variety of both hunters and monsters, each with different equipment and abilities. A team of hunters is formed of an assault which is the main damage dealer, a trapper which is good at tracking and trapping the monster, a medic which can heal the team and a support which has various tools and abilities that can boost the entire team. Each class has multiple characters to pick from, which are gradually unlocked through an XP system.
There are four different monsters to pick from, Goliath is a tank like melee creature, Kraken is a flying monster with long ranged attacks, Wraith is focused on stealth and melee combat and Behemoth is available currently only via pre-orders.
The gameplay is very team oriented and I can say from my experience in the Alpha test that the hunter’s team will either work and fight together or die alone. There is no “I” in Evolve.
The game will feature a singleplayer mode as well, which takes the player through a total of five maps and presenting a short story, something similar with Left 4 Dead campaign mode.
Evolve was developed using CryEngine 4 and while it doesn’t look quite amazing on PC it manages to create a good atmosphere through great world design and nature representation. Evolve’s alien world has lush forests with dense foliage and is full of unknown and possibly dangerous life, the game has some of the greatest map design I’ve seen in a long while and this is a huge plus for a multiplayer title.
I’m not sure for how long this game will manage to keep players entertained, but I have to say that the concept behind it is very interesting and unique. If developers will continue to support their game with (free) content and maybe allow modding, Evolve could be quite a huge hit!
Release Date: March 17
Battlefield Hardline is a spinoff title to the Battlefield franchise developed by Visceral Games inspired by 80s cop movies (Miami Vice!!).
When Battlefield Hardline was announced fans started a big scandal stating that this game is not really a Battlefield title but rather more of a marketing scheme and to some degree they are probably right. This game doesn’t represent the series in any way other than using the engine that powered the last titles of the series and reusing some of the models, but this doesn’t mean Hardline can’t be a good game, in fact it looks like it has one of the most promising singleplayer campaigns in quite some time.
The story takes place in the city of Miami and follows Officer Nick Mendoza and his partner Khai Minh Dao as they fight crime and attempt to uncover big drugs supply lines. As their investigation moves further they come to realize the level of corruption inside the police department and the huge power they are up against.
The game will feature some interesting game mechanics for the singleplayer campaign. As an officer in the Miami Police Department the players will be able to flash their badge at people asking them to freeze and even arrest them. Case files can be built up against criminals and crooks by collecting various data during the missions, with these files the players will receive newer weapons and equipment that will make their job easier.
Stealth is a big part of the game, enemies can be distracted and taken down silently by hitting them from behind or even shooting them with a taser gun.
The singleplayer campaign is not the only mode that received attention, there are lots of new features for the multiplayer as well, fitting for the new setting.
Besides the more common Conquest and Team Deathmatch, Hardline has received some well suited game modes for its cops versus criminals action.
Heist will put the criminals in the position of infiltrating and robbing a vault while the cops’ team will have to put a stop to it.
In the Blood Money mode both teams run for a crate full of money somewhere in the center of the map and each team has to move the money from the crate to their armored truck, the first team to move five millions will win.
The Hotwire Mode depicts high speed chases as criminals run away with some stolen cars and the police must stop them by all means.
The last mode is Rescue where the police side takes the role of a SWAT team trying to rescue a group of hostages from their kidnappers within a set amount of time.
Battlefield Hardline has loads of new and cool mechanics behind it for both singleplayer and multiplayer. The game campaign looks quite interesting and might be the thing that will bring this franchise back in the competition, as DICE has unsuccessfully managed with their attempts at a serious campaign in Battlefield 3 and 4.
EA is paying amends for their past mistakes and after doing a good job with Dragon Age Inquisition, they didn’t take any risk with this game postponing it several months after the open beta test to fix the issues that the players pointed out.
Release Date: CBT Q1
Blizzard is expanding their approach to the free to play market with a team based shooter inspired by Team Fortress and combining ideas from both FPS games and MOBAs.
Overwatch was unveiled at Blizzcon 2014 and was the hit of the convention as nobody has seen this title coming from Blizzard.
The action is set in a near future on Earth after the Omnic Crisis in which humanity was threatened by the Omnic robots. To put an end to this crisis and protect humanity an international team of specialists was formed called Overwatch. The team remained active even after the crisis, guiding humanity to a brighter future of innovation and exploration, but it was eventually disbanded.
The game will feature team based gameplay in a 6v6 style. Players will be able to choose from a wide variety of heroes each with their own personalities, weapons and unique abilities. These heroes will serve one of four different roles: offense, defense, support or tank. A good synergy between roles and coordination between players will be the key to bring victory.
Developers acknowledged that some of the content in the game are parts salvaged from the Blizzard’s recently cancelled MMORPG named Titan.
There are multiple games this year following a similar style to this game and the competition will be fierce. But considering Blizzard’s huge fanbase and the company’s orientation for quality and simple but competitive gameplay, I’m pretty sure Overwatch will be a success.
There are a few Copyright problems with this game’s name and there is a possibility that the game will be renamed because of this.
Release Date: Q1
Unreal Tournament is the ninth installment in the series by Epic Games. The game is developed using the company’s newest and powerful Unreal Engine 4.
The game is going to be free to play and its most attractive feature is its crowdsourced development, which means the game will receive content from its fans in the form of maps, game modes and weapons that will be sold via the game shop. There are already volunteers working on content for this game and it is barely in pre-alpha right now.
The game mechanics are expected to be the same as those from previous titles with the six game modes we are used to: Assault, Team Deathmatch, Duel, Deathmatch, CTF and Bombing Run, but nothing is confirmed at the moment.
Unreal Tournament will launch without any microtransactions and the market for the community will be added after release. At first glimpse this seems quite unusual, but Unreal Tournament is probably the best marketing movement by Epic Games to promote their new graphical engine which was in development since 2003.
Dead Island 2
Release Date: Q2
The third installment in the series, after the stand alone expansion Riptide, Dead Island 2 is now made by Yager Development using the high tech Unreal Engine 4.
The action takes place several months after the original game in California, no longer the Golden State, now in quarantine as a zombie infested hazard.
The players can take control of a number of heroes who are immune to the virus and crazy enough to go fight the zombie apocalypse head on.
The base mechanics of Dead Island are still at the core of this game, with crafting playing an important role in creating all kinds of weird but useful weapons to kill the zombies in the most imaginative, spectacular and violent ways possible. Vehicles can be upgraded now for an increased level of fun while driving through the hellish hordes that run rampart on the sunny streets.
The world of Dead Island 2 is vast and could take a while to fully explore and it can lead to treasures or death. To deal with the never ending threat of zombies and make the exploration more enjoyable, co-op remains a major feature of the game and now offers the possibility to play with a total of up to eight players.
Dead Island 2 feels like the normal successor of the original games, following in their footsteps, but adding new features together, beautiful graphics, even more visceral combat and great physics.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Release Date: Q4
Star Wars: Battlefront is the re-imagining by EA DICE of a series made years ago by Pandemic Studios. The game is developed taking advantage of the advanced technology of DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine together with their Destruction physics engine.
Not much is known about this reboot except the fact that the action will present events from Episode IV to VI and it will take the players to the surface of planet Hoth and the moon Endor.
It is safe to assume that the game will have lots of vehicles to control and different units to choose from each playing a different role, but there are no details as of yet related to the game mechanics.
DICE’s experience with Battlefield series will help tremendously in developing this title as both series have many similarities. The game is expected to be released during Holiday 2015 about the same time with the new Star Wars movie.
Release Date: TBA, currently in CBT
Dirty Bomb is a free to play online FPS developed by Splash Damage, the studio responsible for the multiplayer mode in many games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Doom 3 or Batman: Arkham Origins, as well as few multiplayer stand alone titles like Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars or Brink.
With the game in the hands of a company with such a successful shooter multiplayer background (putting Brink aside) the chances for this game to miss should be slim.
The action takes place in an abandoned London after a mysterious disaster. The streets are now the battleground for Private Military Companies or PMCs who fight to control the last resources left in the city.
The player will be a Merc part of a PMC, chosen from a wide variety of mercenaries specialized in different roles and suited for distinct play styles.
The game focuses on competitive team versus team matches of 5v5 or 8v8 and initially will be launched with two modes: Objective which as the name suggests would require teams to complete certain objectives and the Stop-Watch mode which is an attack/defend mode on clock.
Dirty Bomb graphics are cartoonish and look pretty good, with detailed character models, beautiful environments and a slightly comical touch.
The game is advertised as fully free to play with no items in cash shop that will make a difference in combat (probably only cosmetic stuff, hats?!?!) and most importantly it will feature dedicated servers (apparently free to play games can have this, but for buy to play games it is an issue), which is great news!
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
Release Date: TBA
2015 must be the greatest year for e-sports if even a Tom Clancy’s title comes designed as a competitive game.
The game is developed by Ubisoft Montreal using the AnviNext engine (Assassin’s Creed franchise) with Realblast Destruction.
This title focuses heavily on competitive multiplayer featuring various scenarios in which a team of Special Forces goes against well prepared terrorists.
As seen at E3 and other live streams which presented a hostages scenario, the terrorists team has a set time to prepare in which they can barricade windows and doors, set traps and take defensive positions against the upcoming siege and assault from the Special Forces team.
The gameplay seems orientated towards close-quarters combat with a lot of coordination and team play involved. A huge feature to strongly enhance the gameplay and feeling of the game is the physics which allows for an incredible detailed level of destruction, from breaking windows and doors to even crashing down walls with the help of some explosive.
For the hardcore fans of Rainbow Six this game might seem like a detour, but despite being focused on competitive multiplayer it still seems to capture off some the feeling from previous titles by designing the multiplayer around tactics, coordination and teamplay.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege is one of the two very promising Clancy’s games of this year and if executed properly might have a chance to become an e-sport which will be quite a nice change for the competitive FPS games scene.
Homefront: The Revolution
Release Date: TBA
The development story of Homefront: The Revolution looks like a chapter from a dramatic book. The game was first confirmed by THQ in 2011 and it was originally stated that it is in development by THQ Montreal, as Kaos Studios, the developer for the first game was closed in the same year. Later on it was announced that the game is in development by Crytek UK, but THQ filed for bankruptcy in December 2012 and the fate of the game was uncertain. Crytek UK bought the rights for the title in early 2013 and later on teamed up with Deep Silver to publish the game together.
So here we are, in the year 2015 and despite the bumpy road Homefront: The Revolution is quite close to its release.
The story is set in the year 2029, two years after the events of the first game, with the Greater Korean Republic armies still in the USA, but loosing the western states to rebellion. The game’s action takes place in the city of Philadelphia which is now the GKR central base. The city streets are filled with Korean’s soldiers and the people are extremely oppressed, fear being the general feeling of the population. The resistance grows stronger and more determined by the minute with Ethan Brady leading it and preparing for a second rebellion against the dictatorial system.
A quite innovating feature compared to the previous title is the Revolution’s open world, in which the player will lead the rebellion against overwhelming odds through guerilla tactics like ambush, sabotage or infiltration.
The player’s actions will inspire the people living in the city to join the resistance cause and fight against the system.
Another great addition to the singleplayer is the co-op mode which allows players to form their own Resistance Cell and assist the revolutionary movement.
The original Homefront was a decent but very short and heavily scripted game with some emotional moments and an underwhelming multiplayer.
Homefront: The Revolution looks like a huge leap forward giving the player’s the liberty of tactical decisions and freedom of movement while showing some beautiful city landscapes powered by CryEngine 4th generation.
ARMA 3 Expansion
Release Date: TBA
ARMA 3 is one of the buggiest and poorly optimized games I have ever played and yet one of the games that I can’t quit.
Bohemia Interactive might not have a way with coding smooth games, but they sure do know how to make an intense and realistic shooter and give the community a platform for making it a better game by creating mods.
Not much is known at this point about the expansion except that it will be an actual extension to ARMA 3 base game and not a standalone title. The expansion will feature a new map with a different feel to it than those currently in the game and it will expand the gameplay through various new mechanics and features.
The expansion is untitled and is set to release this year and more details will be given by Bohemia in the future, until than we can only speculate. Meanwhile, the studio is working hard to fix and improve the multiplayer optimization and stability for ARMA 3.
Killing Floor 2
Release Date: TBA
Killing Floor 2 is a survival horror developed by Tripwire Interactive revolving around co-op gameplay in which players face waves of monsters (zed) which they have to completely eliminate.
The game can be played solo or in co-op mode with players choosing from a series of characters, each with different weapons and fit for a specific role. The objective of the game is to survive wave after wave of monsters, while upgrading the character through perks and weapons to increase the survival chances.
Killing Floor is quite a popular co-op game and the second installment in the series will respect the things that made the first game so great with the addition of new features to improve on its predecessor experience.
The tech in Killing Floor 2 has been greatly updated, the game looks better and its physics look amazing. Developers took inspiration from the violent and gory Soldier of Fortune and implemented a similar body damage and gore system into the game, called the meat system.
There are twenty-two different parts of a creature body that can be blown off and up to ninety different animations per creature depending on the exact body part that was shot. This can result in thousands of unique and gory deaths for each monster in the game.
Killing Floor 2 promises to come with more characters, more monsters, more weapons and basically more of everything for an increased fun factor and greater replayability.
Space Hulk: Deathwing
Release Date: TBA
Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first person shooter set in the Warhammer 40k universe developed by Streum on Studio together with Cyanide using Unreal Engine 4 (which becomes increasingly popular).
Despite its name, the game has nothing to do with the Space Hulk board game setting in which a squad a Blood Angels Terminators fights hordes of tyranids.
There are little to no information about this game, but according to the CGI trailer (and the title) the action takes place on a Space Hulk and has a squad of Deathwing Terminators, from the Dark Angels Space Marines Chapter, fighting hordes of tyranids (so much different!).
Streum on Studio are known for their E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy, a FPS which was inspired by 40k’s universe. Their experience with that game could help them a lot in developing Space Hulk: Deathwing.
Is not a good idea to get hyped in general, but this year looks great for shooters fans. Franchises are expanding with big singleplayer titles but there are also lots of multiplayer options for those with competitive blood running through their veins.
No matter if you are searching for combat simulation, gory fun, competitive madness or a meaningful and emotional story, the year 2015 surely has a shooter for you!