Killer Instinct has been the sleeper hit in the fighting game community, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in a recent community funding event. Thus far, after a change of developers, the game has managed to develop and evolve into a strong little fighting game. Season 3 aims to be Killer Instinct’s biggest year yet – with the final three legacy characters being added to the roster, a totally radical guest appearance by a Battletoad and a revamped, more approachable combo system. It’s got some tough competition in Street Fighter V this year, but it’s exciting to see where Season 3 takes Killer Instinct next.

 

One of the more scattered exclusives for the Xbox One, Fable Legends takes the franchise in a new and controversial direction. It’s releasing digitally – but you can buy the art book for it in retailers right now. It’s free to play and multiplayer orientated, and releasing on both Windows 10 and Xbox One. It’ll support downloadable content but it’s assumed none of it will be substantial. It sounds like a project to approach with some apprehension on paper, but we’re holding out hope that the fantastical whimsy of the Fable universe will be enough to carry it when it releases later this year

CRACKDOWN 3
We’re not quite sure if Crackdown 3 will be two games or not, given Microsoft’s plans to release the multiplayer segment separately to the campaign. The multiplayer segment is releasing this year, and even though it’s coming first, we’re sure it’s the most interesting thing about Crackdown 3. Utilising the power of Microsoft Azure, Crackdown 3 let’s multiple players jump into an entirely destructible city and battle it out in typical over the top Crackdown fashion. It’s a bit disappointing to have the game offered piece meal, but if Crackdown 3 delivers on its promise to utilise the cloud in interesting ways it’ll more than make up for it.

GEARS 4

 

Gears of War was a franchise that needed to take a break, but with what little we’ve seen of the newest instalment it’s hard not to get excited. The short teaser shown previously introduced us to a slew of new elements. New characters JD and Kait look to be more interesting than the previous COG soldiers, and the new enemy shown looks gruesome and yet fun to battle. While we’re not sure if Gears 4 is going in a more horror orientated direction this time around, given its memorable creepy set pieces in previous games, we’re still excited to curb stomp and chainsaw our enemies once more.


When Halo Wars released seven years ago fans loved the different take on the Halo universe – and while Ensemble Studios didn’t put as much strategic depth into the game as their flagship Age of Empires franchise, it was still a pretty solid game. While we know little about Halo Wars 2 thus far, it’s still an exciting prospect. While Ensemble is long gone, we couldn’t think of a better developer to take over the reigns – Creative Assembly have an esteemed pedigree with their Total War series and it’ll be interesting to see how this translates to Halo Wars 2.

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Remedy Entertainment make their long awaited return with this time bending shooter. Aiming to combine the gunplay and time bending nature of Max Payne with the story telling prowess of Alan Wake, Quantum Break is possibly one of Remedy’s most ambitious games yet. The combat looks solid and looks like a natural development of the time slowing abilities the developer introduced (and made ubiquitous) with Max Payne. But what’s left to be proven is how it’ll integrate with it’s digital, live action companion series. Will it be substantial or will it be a pointless gimmick? We hope the former, but we know there’ll be a fantastic game behind it regardless.

CUPHEAD

 

When Cuphead was originally revealed in a Microsoft sizzle reel, it immediately stood out thanks to its striking aesthetic. Taking inspiration from and drawn in the style of 1930s cartoons, Cuphead is a run and gun game in the same vein of Contra while also invoking bullet hell conditions of games like Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun. The twist? It’s purely boss battles and nothing else. Given such a limited scope, it’s encouraging to see Cuphead’s combat be slightly more developed than your typical run and gun game. We’ve been waiting years for Cuphead, and hope it comes sooner rather than later in 2016.

SEA OF THIEVES

Rare haven’t put out an original IP since 2006’s Viva Pinata, and it was dripping with the charm and wit we’ve come to expect from the British developer. Now in 2016, Rare is bringing Sea of Thieves to both Xbox One and Windows 10. A multiplayer orientated adventure game, Sea of Thieves let’s players become a pirate and do all kinds of pirate things. Create your own crews, set out on a ship to find treasure with friends or just pilfer valuables from others – Sea of Thieves gives freedom to the pirate experience. We admittedly don’t know whole lot about Sea of Thieves, but the setting and premise combined with the developer’s sense of humour makes us think it’ll be a winner for Xbox when it releases later this year.

RECORE
Developers Comcept and Armature Studio admittedly don’t have the hottest pedigree behind them – but they do have the hottest talent and it’s hard not to get excited about ReCore for this reason. With the financial backing of a giant like Microsoft we’re confident that the guys behind franchises such as Metroid Prime, Mega Man and Dead Rising can deliver on ReCore. The game follows a young girl named Joule who explores a vast world with her robotic companion who can shape shift into all different kinds of forms. We haven’t seen much more than this, but we’re excited to see how ReCore shapes up.