Once upon a time, not so long ago, most of the year's biggest games came out right before Christmas. That's obviously no longer the case, and our wallets thank developers for the shift.
Some of these games were meant to launch during the holidays, but slipped into the new year. Others simply opted to take advantage of the early months, realising that gamers have plenty of money and time in spring and early summer, as well. And at least one totally flew under the radar, grabbing our attention recently out of nowhere.
Whatever the case, these are the 10 games that we've enjoyed the most so far in 2015, the ones that have stuck with us weeks and months after playing them.
Looking to catch up on the year's best games so far? The grab these.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
The Bat is back, and trilogy-capper Arkham Knight is amazingly the best entry to date in this spectacular comic series.
Rocksteady puts current-gen console hardware to great use with an immensely polished game throughout, whether it's the fluid fighting, engaging cinematics, or raucous Batmobile, which lets you whip through the gorgeous open city.
It's still a mess on PC, unfortunately, so tread lightly there. But on Xbox One and PS4, Batman is better than ever.
Kerbal Space Program
Platforms: PC, Mac
After years in Early Access, the full Kerbal Space Program just launched this spring – and it's awesome. But you wouldn't know it by looking at it: the simple, cartoonish graphics belie the impressively complex and open-ended space simulator it really is.
You're mostly left to your own devices to build up a space program and launch into the starry unknown, but it's better that way. It makes the experimentation and tinkering feel downright euphoric in time.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Bigger than Skyrim is one accomplishment, but also better? Now that's a serious feat. And The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt does just that, amplifying the role-playing series to new heights with the power of modern hardware.
The world is gorgeous and interesting, the combat is great fun, the story enthralls, and there are scares and laughs in surprisingly equal amounts. It's a setting you'll want to get lost in for dozens and dozens of hours – and the game is happy to oblige.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Question: do you love Dark Souls? You do? Perfect. Rush out and buy a PlayStation 4, if you haven't already, and pick up Bloodborne.
This exclusive adventure is essentially a gothic spinoff of that great series, and it's just as difficult – but also just as rewarding. You'll need tenacity and tactical play to push your way through this gargantuan quest, but it's worth it. And if you're not already a Dark Souls nut but the idea of a vast, impressively challenging quest sounds appealing, well… join the party, already.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Crowdfunded by more than 80,000 eager gamers and widely tested for ages before ever hitting a 1.0 release, Project CARS was ready to tear up the track when it released this spring. And that's exactly what it did, finally bringing a rich, complex, PC-like simulation racer to console players as well.
It's low on frills, laser-focusing its attention on delivering an impressively realistic racer, yet it's gorgeous and has optional assists for the less-hardcore among us.