Civilisation 5 (October 21)
series is a bona fide classic. The turn-based strategy games popularised a genre known as 4X - "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate".
The basics of Civilization always remain the same: you build a civilisation from scratch, turning your first settlers and founding city into a sprawling, all-conquering empire. That's the goal, anyway. It's just as likely you'll find yourself getting steamrolled by a highly aggressive Ghandi.
But while developer Firaxis knows what its customers want and continues to deliver that, the company has also made incremental changes over time to keep things interesting. In Civ 6, players have to plan their city upgrades more strategically. New upgrades need to be built in the hex spaces around your city centre, and you can only build them if certain conditions exist.
This is a small change, but has a big impact on how you play, especially when the effects are stacked over hundreds or thousands of turns.
There are high expectations on Civ 6, especially considering the muted critical reaction to the last major entry in the series, Civilization: Beyond Earth. But given that I've sunk 250 hours of my life into Civ 5, I'm looking forward to starting fresh.
Fifa 17 (September 27)
A sports game is going to have a story mode and I can't wait. Sure the main reason to make a sports game is to play said sport but that can't just be it.
released later this month, will include a new story mode called
which follows a young player who works his way up from lower-league football to a Premier League side.
It includes all the off the field aspects of being a football star like press conferences, photoshoots and agents. EA have used some of the biggest names in the sport to make cameos. Usually the improvements for a Fifa game are minimal but this could be a gamechanger for the sports platform. Hopefully the gameplay is good as well.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (December 6)
Lord of the Rings
in their last game,
The Stick of Truth, South Park's
warped attention now turns to the glut of superhero franchises bogging up a cinema screen near you. This new game riffs on the classic and hilarious episode The Coon, which first introduced Cartman's Batman-apeing superhero alter-ego way back in season 13.
In the game you'll create your character (with female avatars available this time around), choosing from 12 superpowers, before joining his Avengers style team The Coon & Friends to take on rivals The Freedom Pals in a battle to score a big Netflix payday for the franchise rights.
With creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone once again heavily involved, writing the game's story and leading the project, you know it'll be smart, satirical and scatological - farts again playing a prominent role if you didn't gather from the puntastic title - and word is that the combat has been beefed up considerably. The turn-based combat now implements a chess style board with movement and range choices to make, giving battles a lot more depth. Of course it looks great, perfectly replicating the look of the show.
In my (comic) books, superheroes and South Park is an unbeatable combo.
The Last Guardian (December 6)
In development (hell) for 10 years,
The Last Guardian
will finally land this December and promises a mysterious, ethereal experience like its predecessors
Shadow of the Colossus.
The gameplay sees a young boy work with a giant Griffin-like creature to solve puzzles. Director Fumito Ueda says an emotional connection will be forged between the boy and the creature, which will presumably end in tears.
So much times has passed since the release of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus that The Last Guardian might have already been superseded by similar but more recent games such as Limbo, Journey, Inside, Braid and The Witness. While the first games were groundbreaking in their own day, indie releases have been pulling heart strings for years.
Early complaints about the game claim it feels and looks very much like a PS3 game (which it was developed on) and doesn't stand up against newer titles.
Ico impacted my tiny 13-year-old brain so much that I can't help but look forward to The Last Guardian whatever it brings, and I'm pretty sure I'll be crying by the time the credits roles.
Dishonored 2 (November 11)
Remember that feeling when you finished
The Order: 1886?
That shrug of disappointment, that cloud of emptiness, a yelp of what could have been?
In my mind, Dishonored 2 promises to rectify all that. And, possibly, a bit more.
The sequel to 2012's original promises a tantalising mix of Assassin's Creed stealth, The Order's steampunk weaponry, a touch of time travel, spooky supernatural elements, at least one strong female lead (is this progress?), and some good old fashioned ultra-violence.
Just look at those trailers! I should know - I've watched them so much I no longer care about any other games between now and Christmas. I only care about this one.
November 11 can't come fast enough. For me, that'll be the real Christmas Day.