Ciaran’s Most Anticipated Stuff For 2016
With 2015 over and done with, I thought I would for once be positive and talk about some of the things I am looking forward to in 2016.
2015 was actually a pretty big year in terms of releases, and while I didn’t get to play or watch everything, I was pretty happy with the year overall, Undertale and Ore Monogatari being some stand outs for me. But those are old news by now, and it is all about 2016, the year of huge AAA games, highly anticipated Indie games and plenty of super hero movies.
AAA Games – Street Fighter V
If you are an avid reader of The-Arcade, you might have noticed I have been leading this hype train. As a huge Street Fighter fan, the lead up to Street Fighter V’s release has been torture, with a drip feed of info and character reveals for months. As a fairly recent fan of the series, I am excited to be there at the ground floor, figuring out the characters and learning the meta game alongside a learning player base. The one missing element from the game is the promised inclusion of a more fleshed out story mode, something that we have seen virtually nothing in the lead up to release. While there might be an eleventh hour change up or a surprise reveal of a full Mortal Kombat X style story, I would still be happy with a simple narrative driven story mode. With one of the strongest base roasters in a while(Alpha returns make my little heart so happy), a more adult cast and an aggressive and fast new play style, I cannot wait to get back into the fight with Street Fighter V.
Indie Games – VA-11 HALL-A
While 2015 really was the year of Undertale, 2016 has a far more wider spectrum of indie releases over the coming months. From kickstarter hopefuls like Hyper Light Drifter to the highly anticipated narrative adventure, Firewatch, 2016 is set to be a huge year to indie games. My personal favourite project of the year is something I have already gushed over, the premiere anime bartending simulator, VA-11 HALL-A. As I have already talked at length over why I am excited for this little gem, I will keep this short and sweet. VA-11 HALL-A is quite possibly the closest thing we will get to a modern day Snatcher other than a sequel to Read Only Memories. A cyberpunk setting can go a long way for me in games, and this one seems to be dripping with wet, neon soaked despair, and that is something I dig a lot. With a gameplay blend of Papers, Please and a visual novel, a fantastic soundtrack and 80s references galore, VA-11 HALL-A is on track to be my indie pick of the year, if it ever releases that is.
Anime – Berserk 2016
Okay, this one is personal. The word excitement isn’t a proper description for how I feel about the latest Berserk anime adaptation, its worry. Berserk has a long and sordid history with adaptations, from the classic 1997 TV series to the recent CGI film series by Studio 4°C. The issue with adapting Berserk is that both previous adaptations of the series conclude at the ending of the Golden Age arc, so everything after that is new ground. My worries about the latest project is that it is explicitly set after the Golden Age arc and will focus on Gut’s journey with the Berserk armour. The problem with adapting this story arc is that its pacing is completely different from the well known Golden Age arc, as it is less structured and without a clear ending. Fans of the series know that the Golden Age arc has a clear ending, so with this more dark, violent and visceral storyline, the series could fail miserably in the pacing department. The series has already run into problems, namely fan outrage at the continuation of using CGI animation, though I myself while would prefer cell animation, don’t scoff at the CGI film series. I’m looking forward to Berserk 2016, mainly because its more Berserk, but I am worried that something will go wrong. Colour me cautiously optimistic, because believe me, so much could go wrong.
Television – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2
As a long time 30 Rock fan and Tina Fey follower, I was happy to hear she was continuing to write more TV comedy, and what we got from that was Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a 13 episode comedy Netflix exclusive. While the bizarre and dark story of a girl being trapped in an underground bunker for her entire life by a crazed cult leader did originally put me off, when I got around to watching the series I marathoned it in 2 days, something I rarely do with television these days. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had me laughing at every ridiculous gag and surreal situations, keeping me coming back to see what Titus would say next. Oh I forgot to mention Titus, the best character of the show. Titus is one of my favourite gay characters in television by a country mile, as while he is a clear stereotype of the loud older queen, he doesn’t give a damn about what you think about him. He felt like an actual funny, lovable gay man who has his own thoughts and goals in life and wasn’t a corporate rewrite to seem inclusive, cough Modern Family cough. When Unbreakable Kimmy Scmidt was confirmed for another season, I was in two minds. While I was elated that Tina Fey gets to continue a fantastic show, I was sad of the thought of finishing it and wanting more again. I take that as a sign of truly great television, and why I cannot wait for the second season.
Movies – Hail, Caesar!
As I have previously stated, 2016 seems to be the year of super hero movies, as there seems to be one releasing almost every month at this stage. While I am sure I will end up watching and enjoying at least Captain America: Civil War, I could really care less for most action hero narratives coming out, colour me bored of these movies due to over saturation in recent years. While originally this place was going to be given to Zootopia due to my liking of the early character designs, when the first few trailers began to release I was immediately turned off due to some very unfunny writing. With nothing else on my radar, I turned my eyes to other releases, and found Hail, Caesar! The latest outing from the Coen Brothers, Hail, Caesar! tells a tale about classic cinema wrapped up in a kidnapping case akin to previous films from the two brothers. Not only does Hail, Caesar! seems to capture the pure wit and elegance of previous Coen Brother outings, but it includes a heavy sense of old Hollywood glamour, a stylistic choice I am very interested to see come across in a modern day film. With an all star cast, a fantastic 1950s flare and an intriguing story, Hail, Caesar! is the one film in a crowd of masked heroes that I am actually excited to see in 2016.
Do you agree with Ciaran’s picks for 2016? Let us know what you think in the comments.