10 Upcoming Games Unlike Anything You Have Played Before

Breaths of fresh air.

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The development of blockbuster triple-A games is fraught with financial risk. With most new projects, the EAs, Ubisofts, and Activisions of the world must tightly balance fresh and original ideas with what has proven to be financially successful in the past. It's why Watch Dogs feels so similar to the latest Assassin's Creed and Far Cry games. It's why Call of Duty's yearly instalment is hesitant to change the formula in too many significant ways at once. And, it's why there's a chance you may be feeling worn out by the big games playing it safe. Here, then, are 10 games coming out this year which are the antithesis of this trend toward the safe and familiar.

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Adrift

Release Date: Q3 2015

Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The idea of a game being developed for VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus is still quite novel, considering the fact that such tech isn't available for consumer purchase yet. But it's something Adrift is designing for from the get-go. Developer Three One Zero calls the game a "first-person experience" in an effort to emphasise its focus on inhabiting the body of an astronaut who must pick through the wreckage of a damaged space station and locate survivors. Though it will also be playable without a VR headset, Adrift looks set to offer the kind of immersive experience that such hardware has promised since its inception.


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Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Release Date: TBA 2015

Available On: PS4

The Chinese Room has established itself as a major player in the first-person narrative game space after releasing the meditative adventure game Dear Esther, and taking its own spin on the Amnesia horror formula with A Machine For Pigs. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is the developer's next first-person adventure, but it's unlike its previous work for one key reason: it's entirely non-linear. You explore a world, in which every other human being has disappeared, by travelling between any available location at any time. The story you piece together will change based on the context you've already derived from the order in which you choose to explore each area.


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Factorio

Release Date: TBA 2015

Available On: PC

You've probably played tycoon games and city builders that let you create and manage everything from theme parks to hospitals to game development studios, but Factorio is the first to let you create a conveyor belt labyrinth of brutal efficiency. Beset on all sides by robotic arms grabbing and moving materials from one track to the next, your constructions in Factorio snake across the terrain between railway tracks that signal the arrival of locomotives ready to collect your factory's cargo. Not only do you need to build this industrial powerhouse, but you need to defend it from alien creatures that can attack and disrupt your perfect production line.


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Quadrilateral Cowboy

Release Date: TBA 2015

Available On: PC

Quadrilateral Cowboy is a first-person puzzle game about planning and executing heists by reprogramming security systems. You do this by interacting with a laptop and actually typing out code blocks to mess with the functionality of your target building's security systems. For example, you can disable security cameras and open doors for a certain amount of seconds by passing that number as an argument to the camera or door's function in the code itself. If that sounds complicated, don't worry--Quadrilateral Cowboy may actually teach you some basic principles behind coding itself.


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The Escapists

Release Date: February 13

Available On: PC

A prison breakout simulator that is played from a top-down perspective not unlike the early Legend of Zelda games, The Escapists models in great detail all aspects of prison life. At heart, it's a puzzle game that requires your character to conform to a routine schedule over a series of in-game days, lest they attract the unwanted attention of the prison guards. But within that structure are opportunities to slip away and talk to characters, acquire makeshift weapons or keys, and plan every step of your breakout by scoping out the prison itself.


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Splatoon

Release Date: TBA 2015

Available On: Wii U

At a concept level, Splatoon sounds like the kind of game that would come out of the Half-Life modding scene more than ten years ago. It's a crazy twist on the arena deathmatch formula in which you aren't trying to shoot your opponents directly, but are trying to cover as much of the level's walls and floor in your team's own colour of paint. The game is dripping with Nintendo's creative design, and it also works as a non-violent approach to third-person shooting. Add to this some interesting movement abilities by way of swimming through your own paint, and you've got a shooter that looks and feels unlike any other.


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There Came An Echo

Release Date: February 24

Available On: PC

Though Tom Clancy's EndWar attempted to solve the problem of making a real-time strategy game work on console with voice commands, the game wasn't deep enough to require much actual strategy at all. There Came An Echo takes a similar approach, as it can be controlled entirely through voice commands, but with a tactical depth that rivals the PC's most micro-heavy, mouse-controlled strategy games. Of particular note is the fact that the game allows you to customise the words that the voice command system recognises, so you can add your own slang or casual phrases into the mix.


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Classroom Aquatic

Release Date: May

Available On: PC

Like Adrift, Classroom Aquatic is another made-for-VR game, but its premise is far more bizarre. You play as an exchange student who is taking a test in a classroom populated by dolphins, but you haven't studied and so you must attempt to cheat by glancing at your fellow students' answer sheets beside you. There is a stealth element at play here in that you need to cheat without being caught looking at anyone else's answers, so you can throw stationery at classroom objects to create distractions. Taken as a VR experience that prioritises your understanding of space and manipulation of it, Classroom Aquatic sounds like more than just a VR gimmick.


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Boid

Release Date: TBA 2015

Available On: PC

If you've been put off the competitive real-time strategy genre because you feel you don't have the necessary reaction time and dexterity to maintain a high actions-per-minute rate, Boid could be the RTS you're waiting for. It takes the fundamental elements of strategy, by way of unit choice and positioning, and strips out all the elements that require quick reflexes and an encyclopaedic knowledge of statistics such as damage values and upgrade paths. By moving a swarm of units and a home base around a small map, Boid attempts to bring strategy back to basics in a way that feels like the complete opposite of current big-name RTS games today.


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No Man's Sky

Release Date: TBA 2015

Available On: PC, PS4

You've played individual elements of No Man's Sky before. You've warped across a vast galaxy in Elite and Freelancer. You've engaged in thrilling dogfights in Wing Commander and FreeSpace. But doing all of this while exploring a procedurally-generated galaxy, full of procedurally-generated worlds which you can seamlessly land your spacecraft on and encounter procedurally-generated wildlife, is unlike any game we've seen before. What also differentiates No Man's Sky is the sense of solitude; despite being a multiplayer game and a connected universe, you're unlikely to encounter many other players in your quest to reach the center of the galaxy.

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