Some healthy competition
It's that time of year again: the last big games of the season have hit shelves, Game of the Year has been decided, and you've hopefully finished all your holiday shopping (though we've got a few ideas if you haven't). Now, as visions of sugar-plum goombas dance in my head, I like to relax and think about all the good things that have happened over the last year and how freaking sick next year's gonna be. Holy shit, look at that list!
With so many heavy-hitters arriving next year, from Geralt to Batman to that dude with the awesome ax-saw from Bloodborne, it looks like there's going to be stiff competition for players' attention. Each release has something that sets it apart, but I suspect there will be games with just the right amount of similarities to spark a rivalry. And you know, just for fun, I'm gonna make my guesses right now. Place your bets, place your bets!
Lara Croft vs. Nathan Drake - Most Badass Adventurer
If this isn't the first thing that popped into your head when you read this article's headline, you don't know Lara Croft and Nathan Drake. Though they've never met, don't exist in the same universe, and were birthed from the minds of completely different developers, there's no denying that the rivalry between these two ruggedly attractive adventurers runs deep, and has shaped them both.
It wasn't always that way. Lara had been raiding ancient and holy structures for a good ten years before that whippersnapper Drake made the scene. But he brought with him a whole host of new ideas about scaling walls and punching stuff, which Croft clearly took to heart. They now compete for the title of Most Epic Action-Adventure Badass on a regular basis, and with Rise of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted 4 both dropping in 2015, this will be the first time they've both had an original release in the same year. And with both acting as console-exclusive daredevils on release? Things are definitely going to get adventurous.
Geralt of Rivia vs. Evolve crew - Best Beast Hunters
When looking up 2015's most anticipated titles in a sleep-deprived fugue state, I typed Evolve: Wild Hunt into the search and didn't realize my error for several seconds. It just seems so right, doesn't it? That's because Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the hunters from Evolve have the same important job: kill the shit out of some monsters.
Granted, the where, how, and why of the monster-killing is different for both. Geralt will use his Witcher abilities to hunt beasts in a massive open world setting, while the Evolve hunters will fight behemoths (indeed, one's even named Behemoth) to clear a far-off planet for human civilization in asymmetrical multiplayer combat. Still, the basic premise remains the same - kill that big thing before it kills you, for adventure and profit. But between a medieval magic user and grizzled futuristic warriors with a death wish, who is the ultimate predator? Only time will tell specifically the 365 day period beginning on January 1st. Yeah, that time.
Bloodborne Hero vs. Knights of the Order - Best Demon Slayers
We've got more hunters here, but these folks specialize in saving mankind or what remains of it. DUN DUN DUN! Set in different post-crisis cities, both The Order 1886 and Bloodborne focus on the struggle to combat a hellish blight that turns humans into demonic creatures. It's a rough job, but
Unlike the badass hunters from the previous slide, the hero of Bloodborne (currently codenamed 'That Guy') and the knights of The Order are more hemmed in when it comes to combat. Navigating the cramped streets of the gothic Y'harnam or alternate-universe London is no easy task, especially when they're full of human mobs and post-human Frankensteins that want to rip the heroes to pieces. Bloodborne dude and The Order's knights are going to need every ounce of wit and steel they can gather to survive, but the real question is, who's going to survive better?
Rainbow Six Siege vs. Battlefield Hardline - Best Cop/Criminal Switcheroo
In Rainbow Six Siege, you play as a SWAT team member tasked with saving a hostage from a team of vicious criminals. That's a pretty similar premise to Battlefield Hardline, where you try to keep the streets of L.A. safe from sophisticated career criminals who try to rob banks, start high speed chases and, yes, take hostages. The ultimate goal is to stop these evildoers from doing all that evil, which just goes to show that crime doesn't pa - oh wait. You can also play as the criminals in both games and ensure that their dastardly plots succeed. Well! Nevermind then.
As part of both Siege and Hardline, you'll flip between cop and criminal teams regularly, alternatively enforcing or thwarting the law. Both are intriguing in concept and leave little room for questioning the morality of hostage-taking, since you'll be the one doing the nabbing in about five minutes. But which one will have the upper, morally-gray hand? Keep your sights set on next year.
Big Boss vs. Batman - Most Grizzled Badass
You normally wouldn't try to equate an eccentric billionaire with a thing for cosplay and a grizzled veteran who likes taking selfies. But in the words of an insane clown, maybe they're not so different after all. While Big Boss has quite a few years on Batman in the video game protagonist department, Batman was doing the gruff pseudo-hero act before Snake was a twinkle in Hideo Kojima's eye. That gives each equal claim to the cranky-and-jaded-protag title going into 2015, when Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Batman: Arkham Knight kick it into gear.
Even taking into account their equally tragic pasts, there's no clear-cut winner. Both of these guys have grown thick calluses on their souls from exposure to the horrors of man, yet keep hoping that others will be able to ensure peace. Plus, there's the horrors of their personal lives: Batman may be able to play the 'dead parents' card (and boy does he ever), but Big Boss gets to mourn the fact that he was made to kill his mentor/mother figure as a pawn in a giant game of Illuminati chess. 2015 will tell who's the grumpiest, most ruined and noble justice-seeker.
Overwatch vs. Battleborn - Biggest Team-based Clusterfuck
Come 2015, it'll once again be time for a ragtag team of heroes to combat a vast network of foes with the most ridiculous array of weapons and powers you've ever seen. Blizzard is ready and raring to deliver just that with its team-based shooter Overwatch, and wouldn't you know it, Gearbox is also prepared to fill your clip with its team-based shooter Battleborn.
Crashing the house party that Team Fortress 2 started, both Battleborn and Overwatch are looking to build off those foundations and add their own flair to the dcor. Both have grand-scale narratives as their backdrops, with the Overwatch folks battling to bring peace to a vaguely chaotic world and Battleborn's crew trying to protect the last living star in the universe. Yeesh. This involves a lot of killing each other (though Battleborn boasts a MOBA-like horde mode as well). With an arsenal full of bizarre offerings from lightsabers to steampunk shotguns and the mighty fists of a silverback gorilla, both games look completely insane. But which one is MORE INSANE???! WE'LL PAINT THE WALLS WITH THE BLOOD OF MUSHROOMS!!!
Legend of Zelda Wii U vs. Starfox Wii U - Best Glowing Childhood Memory
Yes, both of these games and their beloved protagonists are the brain fruit of the same company. But you've seen Super Smash Bros - these guys fight all the time. And in 2015 Team Link and Team Fox have even more to brawl over, because both Legend of Zelda Wii U and Star Fox Wii U will be hitting store shelves and battling for the heart of every gamer's inner child. Yes, even the kids who played Sonic.
Each of these games has something special tucked in its corner to win player favor. The Legend of Zelda has had a relatively consistent release schedule over the course its illustrious history, particularly since the late 90s, giving the Hero of Time plenty of well, time to gain more fans. Fox hasn't been so lucky, since his last original title came out in 2006, but that just means fans are even more excited to see him back in action and barrel-rolling to his heart's content. It'll be a tough race for sure, but only one can be the TRUE VICTOR! I mean, unless people buy both. That could also work.
My beautiful enemy
The new year is fast approaching, and these conflicts will come to a head before you know it. But there's still plenty of time for more rivalries to blossom. What other matchups do you think we'll see next year? Which of these adversarial relationships gets your blood pumping the most? Tell me in the comments below - betting hasn't ended yet!
Want to hear more about 2015? Of course you do, because it may just be the best year in gaming history yet. Or if you're all about the rivalries, check out the Top 7 Classic gamer rivalries and the 8 best brotherly rivalries gaming has to offer.