There was a rumor yesterday that Sony was going to pull a Beyoncé and do a surprise release of No Man’s Sky later this week. (In the games industry that used to be known as “pulling a Saturn” and it doesn’t really have the most successful track record.) Of course that hasn’t happened (yet?), and No Man’s Sky is apparently still on track for a June release. If shock roll-outs like that did start to happen in games, though, that would make lists like this completely irrelevant. How could I tell you what games I am looking forward to if I don’t even know what games are coming out? It would be a catastrophe, at least within the narrow confines of this already dubiously valuable list. I hope game publishers keep that in mind if they ever decide to follow in the footsteps of Black Messiah and The Life of Pablo. I do know that the following games are coming out this month, and I also know that they all offer at least a semblance of noteworthiness. Perhaps they will be good? Perhaps we’ll both find out as this month slowly unwinds?
Release Date: 3/28
Yep, the retail version of the Oculus Rift is finally going to exist for real. It’s been available in dev kit form for a while, and it’s been almost three years since we first wrote about it at Paste. The first round of preorders should ship before the end of March, bringing the new wave of virtual reality to its largest audience yet. And although I won’t have one, at least for a while (Paste isn’t made of money, and my computer has aged about as badly in the last 8 years as Obama), it’ll be a mixture of excitement and relief to have this thing finally out in the hands of the (pretty well off) people. Will virtual reality finally succeed? Will these early adopters be happy enough with the tech and launch games to recommend the Oculus to their friends? We’ll start to find out as March fades into April.
Release Date: 3/28
Platform: PC, Oculus Rift compatible
Adr1ft was conceived for virtual reality, and is launching alongside the Oculus Rift, but it’ll also be playable on a standard computer (and, eventually, the Playstation 4 and Xbox One). It’s a game that might work best in VR, as it’s less about fast-paced action than exploration, as you try to figure out what happened to a devastated space station. It promises a focus on story and atmosphere that seems similar to games like Gone Home and Firewatch, while also sending you to outer space.
Release Date: 3/4
Platform: Wii U
Yes, this game is ten years old. Yes, it’s one of the lesser major Zelda games. Yes, um, I’ve been playing it for like a week. Still, if you sat me down at the start of the year and made me plot out this list far in advance, the Twilight Princess remake would be near the top. It’s not just a chance for me to give another shot to a game that disappointed me ten years ago, but an opportunity for Nintendo to rectify some of the issues that made it feel so flat on the Wii. If you want to check it out in action, take a look at our video preview.
Release Date: 3/29
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 3
If I didn’t have to constantly play games for my job it’s entirely possible that the annual MLB: The Show update would be the only game I played for about four straight months every year. Even with the Braves at their lowest point since the 1980s, even with them alienating a wide swath of Atlanta with their misguided move to the suburbs, and even with them alienating a chunk of those suburbs by making them foot much of the bill for that move, there will always be a part of me excited to guide them to one videogame World Series after another. Assuming I can make it that far: even after years of playing it, MLB: The Show is the one baseball game that’s never been a blowout. With its complex mechanisms for batting and pitching and its dogged pursuit of realism, it’s a game for people who love the sport and don’t just love the thought of winning.
Release Date: 3/11
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4
I’m more interested in how this is being released than the game itself. It’s rare for a big-name action game like this to get an episodic release. Hitman is one of those games that’s been around for what feels like forever, and the only time you really hear about it now is when it’s being turned into a cool-looking mobile game or releasing an idiotic trailer with “sexy” dominatrix nuns and gross man-on-woman violence. Or, you know, pulling surprising moves like this, cutting it up into chunks and testing whether this kind of episodic format can work for games that you’d normally plop down a single payment of $60 (less after two weeks) for at the Gamestop. Interest is tempered a bit by the open acknowledgement that this schedule was decided on after a traditional release was pushed back, in order to let the developers continue working on later content that simply wasn’t ready for release. That might be a bit of a red flag. But if this Hitman is a financial success it could lead to more games like this moving away from the one-time, high- price release.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games and comedy sections. Be nice to him on Twitter.