The 20 most anticipated games of 2016

The late monsoon release barrage is upon us!

We've already had a great year for gaming, but the run up to Christmas is when things get totally insane.

Some of those games have already shipped in the last few weeks, including Forza Horizon 3Deus Ex: Mankind DividedGears of War 4, and all of the big PlayStation VR launch games. But there's plenty more coming between now and 25 December, along with the PlayStation 4 Pro console to boot.

Ready to whip your wish list into shape? Here's a look at what we think is still worth anxiously awaiting for the rest of the year, spanning consoles, PCs, VR headsets, and even Nintendo 3DS and mobile.

Given how late we are in the year, we've cut down the current list to 20 picks - but we'll be back up to a full stack of 30 when we roll over to 2017's most anticipated games before the calendar page falls.

1) THE LAST GUARDIAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

It's finally happening. Announced seven years ago and brought back into public view last year, Team Ico's The Last Guardian will release this October. At least, that's what they're telling us.

Like Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, you can expect another ravishing and heartfelt adventure, this time built around the companionship of a young boy and his winged beast creature. Our E3 hands-on stirred some familiar emotions, yet also prodded us with unresponsive controls and a rough camera. Hopefully the last months of polish help ensure that it lives up to the massive expectations.

Due: 25 October

2) Titanfall 2

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Titanfall made an awesome initial impact when it debuted in early 2014, although the mechs-and-infantry shooter had some first-game shortcomings: the lack of a proper campaign limited the appeal to some extent, and the community didn't stick around the multiplayer as long as we'd hoped.

But the second attempt could solidify its must-have status, as Titanfall 2 will have expanded multiplayer action including new Titans and a grappling hook, as well as a narrative-driven single-player campaign that looks to be something special. And this time around, it's coming to PS4 as well.

Due: 28 October

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3) Pokemon Sun and Moon

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

If there's one particularly essential reason to keep a Nintendo 3DS around, it's Pokémon – especially since Nintendo doesn't release the core entries on non-handheld systems. And there's a new one on the horizon, or two rather: Pokémon Sun and Moon.

It looks a lot like 2013's Pokémon X and Y - certainly not a bad thing - and we've got new monsters to choose from including Rowlet, Popplio, and Litten. More details are sure to follow, but for now watch the trailer above and pick a favourite new starter.

Due: 23 November

4) BATTLEFIELD 1

We expected Battlefield 5, but instead we got… Battlefield 1? Try not to think about the name for too long. What really matters is that Battlefield 1 is a welcome move away from the modern gung-ho action of the recent entries, instead embracing the lesser-explored era of World War I.

Otherwise, it's classic Battlefield: expect stunning multiplayer shootouts for up to 64 players, now with a different type of toolset. Expect flamethrowers, clubs, horses, and biplanes as you battle in the Italian Alps, Arabian deserts, and fields of France. And EA promises a much-enhanced solo campaign this time around, too.

Due: 21 October

Pre-order Battlefield 1 here from Game 

5) CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Not into Battlefield's flashback? How about an extreme flash-forward? Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare takes the series' recent future tilt to its logical conclusion, embracing a full sci-fi universe with starships and outer space shootouts. It's Call of Duty meets Halo, minus the silly-looking aliens.

There's a silver lining here if you love Call of Duty but don't dig the premise: Activision will also release Modern Warfare Remastered, an HD-updated version of the 2007 classic that brings a serious graphical overhaul and includes the campaign and 10 of the original maps.

Due: 4 November

6) the elder scrolls V: skyrim - special edition

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

It seems like no major last-gen game will rest until it has been remastered, but we can't be cynical about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's revival. This is one of the most beloved and utterly expansive role-playing epics of all time, and we can't wait to experience it all over again on new hardware.

As the last chunk of this video shows, the 2011 game has been dramatically upgraded with enhanced textures and artwork, lighting effects, and even the ability to use fan-made mods on consoles. If you loved The Witcher III or Dragon Age: Inquisition and somehow missed Skyrim, here's your next massive fantasy time sink.

Due: 28 October

7) The Walking Dead: Season 3

Platforms: TBD

Telltale Games has expanded its episodic storytelling approach to everything from Game of Thrones to Minecraft, but its biggest success to date – The Walking Dead – remains its best and most accomplished work. And it will continue its tale before the year's up.

While this spring's The Walking Dead: Michonne was a nice side story, Telltale says a proper third season of the core Walking Dead storyline is in the works. We're not going to get into spoilers, but the first two seasons were gut-wrenching and glorious takes on the zombie apocalypse. Get caught up now if you haven't played them!

Due: Late 2016

8) Dishonored 2

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

One of the last generation's finest stealth-action experiences is back next year in Arkane's sequel, which delivers a second playable lead – Emily Kaldwin in addition to Corvo Attano – and it's still possible to complete the game without taking a life.

Add in new abilities such as mind-blowing psychic grappling hooks as well as a fresh city to roam and Dishonored 2 is shaping up to be one amazing sequel. And if you missed the first Dishonored, it was remastered for PS4 and Xbox One last year.

Due: 11 November

9) SUPER MARIO RUN

Platforms: iOS, Android

Side-scrolling runners have thrived on mobile for years, but while Super Mario Run might not break much new ground, we're still excited to play a Mario platformer on iOS (and eventually Android).

It looks a bit like the great Rayman Fiesta Run, as you tap to jump and interact with the levels as Mario auto-sprints, and the great look of the console games remains intact. Best of all, it'll have one price tag within the free download to unlock all of the content.

Due: December

10) DEAD RISING 4

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Thank you, Capcom. After Dead Rising 3 traded away some of its trademark humour and visual panache, this winter's Dead Rising 4 is a return to the series' roots in more ways than one.

Not only does this open-world zombie-slayer look absolutely silly and more over-the-top than ever, it also brings back original hero Frank West, returns to Willamette, Colorado and takes place during the Christmas shopping season. Sounds like a concoction for hilarious nonsense, which we can't wait to savour.

Due: 6 December

11) STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR

VR headsets are opening up new kinds of play experiences, and here's a perfect example: Star Trek: Bridge Crew puts you in a first-person view as a Federation officer, dealing with threats that emerge.

It's so unlike the usual licensed action games we usually see, yet it's a totally perfect fit for the immersive nature of VR. Working as part of a four-player team with other headset wearers is such a spot-on premise – we can't wait to suit up.

Due: 29 November

12) SUPER MARIO MAKER

One of the absolute best Wii U games is coming to 3DS in time for the holidays, which means you'll have another engrossing handheld game to keep you busy alongsidePokémon Sun and Moon.

As on the console (shown), Super Mario Maker lets you create your own courses using the familiar blocks and power-ups of past games, plus you can share and download stages. And there are 100 pre-made stages already on the cartridge for you to dig into, as well.

Due: 2 December

13) batman: return to arkham

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4

You've got copious Batman options this autumn: Telltale's continuing episodic seriesBatman: Arkham VR for PlayStation VR, and now also Batman: Return to Arkham on PS4 and Xbox One. Originally set to release this summer, this last-gen dynamic duo will debut next month.

Return to Arkham bundles together two of the all-time greatest superhero games, Batman: Arkham Asylum andArkham City, complete with major graphics upgrades and all bundled DLC. If you're not into VR and you've already exhausted Arkham Knight, this might be the way to go.

Due: 21 October

14) STEEP

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Ubisoft's next open-world game breaks from the publisher's typical action focus and… well, surprisingly, it's a winter sports game. At least it's not just confined to snowboarding: Steep also lets you swap to skis, a wingsuit or a paraglider at any time, so you can explore the massive mountains however you see fit.

Steep is not only a surprising AAA franchise attempt in 2016, it's also hugely promising: Ubisoft has the ambition and tech to nail this vision of an open-world winter wonderland, so hopefully all the pieces will come together. At the very least, we'll be swooping in to experience the wonderfully insane first-person "GoPro view" with the wingsuit.

Due: December

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