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103

The PC Games Of 2016

Everything to look forward to on PC in the new year.

Featured post

Exploration games

Gone are the days where every game with a first- or third-person perspective is about simply killing everything you see. Now there are a growing number of games about the simple pleasures of exploration – whether the reward is story, or a beautiful vista.

Californium

Official site

Genre
Exploration
Release date
Early 2016
What is it?
Drawn from the works of the late American author Philip K. Dick, Californium is a strange and wonderful first-person game about a writer struggling to separate his hallucinations from reality. It looks beautifully surreal, yet at the same time quite terrifying.

All Californium posts.

Tacoma

Official site

Genre
Exploration
Release date
TBA 2016
What is it?
Fulbright’s follow-up to Gone Home is another non-combat exploration game this time set aboard a space station in microgravity. There are similarities to be drawn between it and its 90s domicile predecessor, say the devs, but there’s also fresh tech by way of audiologs and videologs to get your floaty mitts on.

All Tacoma posts.

Inner Chains

Official site

Genre
Exploration, Horror
Release date
TBA
What is it?
Inner Chains is a very pretty-looking horror-themed FPS spread across an ominous “biomechanical” world where fire sprews from the ground, industrial steam fogs the air, and dinosaur-like dogs roam around as if turned inside-out. If its substance lives up to its polish this’ll be a winner.

All Inner Chains posts.

Firewatch

Official site

Genre
Exploration, First-Person
Release date
February 9 2016
What is it?
Assuming the role of a volunteer fire lookout tasked with preventing blazes spreading in national parks, Firewatch is the first game from Campo Santo – the studio formed of ex-Double Fine, Telltale and 2K Marin devs. John played a bit last year and praised its sense of adventure: “Its reason to exist is to tell you a story, but to go to great lengths to ensure that your experience of that story is your own.”

Firewatch preview.
Firewatch feature.
All Firewatch posts.

The Witness

Official site

Genre
Exploration
Release date
January 26 2016
What is it?
Jonathan Blow’s first-person, non-combat, puzzle-cracking, follow-up to Braid that’s been almost seven years in the making IS coming out this year. In fact it’s expected on the 26th of this month. Unless you’re reading this after that date and it’s not out yet, in which case it’s not. And then your guess is as good as mine.

All The Witness posts.

Hac

Official site

Genre
Exploration, Driving/Racing
Release date
TBA
What is it?
A 90s road trip simulator set in Europe. “The closest comparison I’d imagine is Euro Truck Simulator with a narrative,” say the devs who also compare it to Blood Money meets Gone Home. Every update brings with it a distinct level of intrigue, from replacing the innards under your hood; to mundane, though regularly absent from videogames, tasks such as changing a tire.

All Hac posts.

Frontiers

Official site

Genre
Exploration, First-Person, Early Access
Release date
TBA
What is it?
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, and after arriving on Steam Early Access in late 2014, the guys behind Frontiers have very much adopted an ‘it’ll be done when it’s done’ approach to their first-person survival-cum-exploration game. As such, it might not even release this year but its lovely visuals and promise of exploration by land, sea or sky has us hoping it just might.

Frontiers review (early access).
All Frontiers posts.

Memory Of A Broken Dimension

Official site

Genre
Exploration, First-Person
Release date
TBA 2016
What is it?
Scary. And creepy. And scary creepy. Frontiers is a first-person puzzle game set in a glitchy black and white 3D space which can only be accessed by navigating a command prompt interface named RELICS. It looks like an old, dodgy, broken VHS where the tracking is permanently broken. If none of that made sense, read: terrifying.

All Memory Of A Broken Dimension posts.

Virginia

Official site

Genre
Exploration, First-Person
Release date
TBA 2016
What is it?
An exploration game/walking sim/interactive drama/non-combat wandererer/whichever synonym tickles your fancy that uses jump cuts to weave its X-Files and Twin Peaks-inspired narrative around its colourful, cartoony and scant textured aesthetic. The FBI seek to locate a missing child but there’s more to the story than what first meets the eye.

Virginia preview.
Virginia interview.
All Virginia posts.

Routine

Official site

Genre
Exploration, First-Person, Horror
Release date
TBA 2016
What is it?
News on the sci-fi horror System Shock-esque/Amnesia-in-space game Routine has been very, very thin on the ground (or in the air) since it was first announced in 2012. This unfortunately means it still has no release date. In fact, it made this very list last year whereby devs Lunar Software only managed two written blog updates. But it’d be nice if it managed an appearance this year, wouldn’t it?

Routine interview.
All Routine posts.

Somewhere

Official site

Genre
Exploration, First-Person, Stealth
Release date
TBA
What is it?
Inspired by the works of famous writers such as Calvino and Borges, Somewhere is a game about using photos to enter other people’s heads, seeing places in new ways, and uncovering a story about a fictitious city named Kayamgadh. It’s set in “a surreal colonial India” and looks positively lovely.

All Somewhere posts.

Aer

Official site

Genre
Exploration, Flying
Release date
Q1 2016
What is it?
Auk, the protagonist from Aer, can fly. Which of course, by way of virtual extension, means YOU can fly. In fact, Auk can actually turn herself into a bird and “reach even the most remote places in her homeland of flying islands.” So imagine climbing to such lofty heights against Aer’s beautifully low-poly, colour-splashed backdrops. Let’s!
Aer preview.
All Aer posts.

LEGO Worlds

Official site

Genre
Creative, Exploration
Release date
TBA 2016
What is it?
It’s LEGO! It’s like Minecraft! It’s like Minecraft but with LEGO! LEGO Worlds is an open-world procedurally-generated building game where you can build building, vehicles and creatures. A multiplayer feature is set to come and while it currently lingers in Early Access, developer TT games is evaluating a “release candidate in early 2016”.

All LEGO Worlds posts.

Terraria: Otherworld

Official site

Genre
Creative, Exploration, Sandbox
Release date
TBA 2016
What is it?
Not a Terraria sequel, we’re told, but a game with the same name that takes place in the same universe with the same style, same interface and same mechanics. But hey, sequel or otherwise, the likeness is welcomed. And there’s a story this time as you go up against a malevolent nature-corrupting force in an alternate dimension. Best grab your pickaxe.

All Terraria: Otherworld posts.

Shape of the World

Official site

Genre
Exploration
Release date
July 2016
What is it?
A procedurally-generated exploration game where the world itself grows around you, and where your presence is the “driving force” behind said evolving environment. Unlike other walking simulators where exploration serves to guide you towards pre-conceived destinations, Shape Of The World says exploration is about “intentionally getting lost and the joy of being found again.”

All Shape of the World posts.

Sea of Solitude

Official site

Genre
Exploration, Horror
Release date
TBA 2017
What is it?
Alice likes the look of this as it involves a protagonist who spends so much time in water that she becomes a monster. Not that Alice is a monster (I don’t think?) but she describes herself as “happiest in the murky waters, gently going numb”, you see. Shape Of The World is episodic and looks smashing. It’s also still in prototype phase, but we do hope it pops its head above the drink before the year’s out.

All Sea of Solitude posts.

Medieval Engineers

Official site

Genre
Exploration, Creative
Release date
TBA
What is it?
Castle-building sandbox from the devs behind Space Engineers, Medieval Engineers is less boundless space and more deadly mace. Rely on medieval tech to construct, maintain and demolish cities, holds and fortifications within the game’s creative mode and forthcoming survival mode.

Medieval Engineers review (early access).
All Medieval Engineers posts.

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