If you can’t decide what video games to get this season, Fuse is here to help! From Kawaii ghosts and hammer kickflips to espionage and space epics, there are plenty of options to distract you from homework or pull your mind away from the office this fall. With apologies to games that missed the cut (sorry FIFA 2016, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Last Witness), here are 10 must-have games being released this fall. Summer’s done but the fun doesn’t have to end.
Written and compiled by RJ Cubarrubia
Release Date: September 1
Consoles: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows PC
Why We're Excited: Other entries in the storied covert ops franchise have been called “the last,” but this time, Elvis has really left the building. Legendary game designer and series mastermind Hideo Kojima had a complete falling out with Metal Gear Solid developer Konami earlier this year, resulting in the removal of his name from The Phantom Pain’s box art as well as the cancelation of the feverishly anticipated Silent Hills project. Coupled with Konami’s shifting focus onto mobile games and pachinko machines, all signs point to this truly being the end of Metal Gear Solid.
If The Phantom Pain does close the series, it’s a doozy: Kojima made a big design choice to move the stealthy gameplay to an open world for the first time, and reviews have earned overwhelming praise. Pick this up and celebrate one of gaming’s most iconic franchises and the passing of an era.
Release Date: September 11
Console: Wii U
Why We're Excited: Unofficial PC tools to create Super Mario Bros. levels have been around, but Super Mario Maker marks the first true game that allows players to make their very own Mario levels. The original Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo Entertainment System has been lauded as the definitive “Introduction to Game Design,” with every enemy and obstacle efficiently placed to teach the player what to do and how to do it—without giving explicit instructions.
Now it’s time to use what Nintendo taught us. Just tell your parents this technically counts as homework for your future career in game design.
Release Date: September 15
Consoles: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Why We're Excited: Despite lukewarm reviews upon release, Bungie’s ambitious MMO/FPS hybrid carried on with a reportedly robust player base. But many have griped about a lack of content, and with $40 expansion The Taken King, Bungie is packing in plenty for players: New story quests, weapons, enemies, maps, character subclasses and a challenging new Raid that will all shake up the game’s current ecosystem. And say goodbye to Peter Dinklage, as the Game of Throne's actor’s poorly received voice acting will be wiped from Destiny with The Taken King and replaced by video game veteran Nolan North. Still, there’s a lot of pressure on Bungie after they unveiled a 10-year plan for Destiny, and they’ve only (almost) made it through year one.
Release Date: September 29
Consoles: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Why We're Excited: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater broke open skateboarding in 1999 and thrust it directly into the mainstream, forever changing the industry and culture. Soon after, countless kids hit the pavement with their first pushes, Fred Durst and Avril Lavigne were rocking Osiris D3’s and Tony Hawk became a household name with a Bagel Bites commercial. Oh, and the series spawned nine (!) main games and plenty of offshoots in the 16 years since.
THPS5 is actually the 10th game of the main series and the first since 2007’s Proving Ground. The THPS franchise lost some ground to Electronic Arts’ Skate series as it laid dormant, but a fresh batch of skaters—which includes Nyjah Huston, Ishod Wair, Leticia Bufoni, Lizzie Armanto and Tony’s son Riley—and updated gameplay looks to reintroduce the series to a new generation of fans. As for skateboarding? It’s as mainstream as ever.
Release Date: October 6
Consoles: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Why We're Excited: Get everyone together for the reunion tour—the definitive party game of the 2000s is back. Rock Band developer Harmonix has teamed with Mad Catz for an all new batch of instruments, but has also said they’ll provide backwards compatibility for PS3 and Xbox 360 guitar and drum controllers. Rock Band 4 boasts cuts like Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” the Killers’ “Somebody Told Me” and Van Halen’s “Panama."
Release Date: October 20
Consoles: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, "select mobile devices
Why We're Excited: Guitar Hero Live developer FreeStyleGames looks to reimagine the entire experience with full motion video and a new six-button guitar controller. Guitar Hero Live features Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” Plug in and crank it up.
Release Date: October 23
Consoles: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC (in November)
Why We're Excited: Upon release, last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was a garbled mess of crippling bugs and hysterical glitches. Ubisoft hopes to make right with Syndicate, featuring a Victorian setting, the series’ most modern to date. A playable female character joins up with the male protagonist, Jacob Frye, and there’s loads of swift parkour action and stylish kills to keep fans happy.
This once groundbreaking franchise now arrives like clockwork each year and continues to spread the tendrils of its story further and further. Syndicate will be an indicator if gamers are oversaturated with Assassin’s Creed or if Ubisoft still has inspiration left for the historical sci-fi adventures.
Release Date: October 27
Console: Xbox One
Why We're Excited: A decade ago, Halo was synonymous with Major League Gaming. Those days are long gone, and though Halo 2 and Halo 3 defined an era of eSports, the franchise’s competitive stature has since slipped. Developer 343 Industries wants to resurrect those halcyon days of Halo with renewed focus on multiplayer, including a brand new multiplayer mode called Warzone. The raucous new game type pits 12 players on each team to battle it out against each other, as well as enemy AI. The Player vs. Player/Player vs. Environment hybrid also features different ways to win, and maps much larger than any in previous Halo games. Noticeably, Halo 5 has picked up a Teen rating, which might be a sign of bigger eSports things to come.
Release Date: November 6
Why We're Excited: You might be scratching your head right now, but Yo-kai Watch is massive in Japan. The wildly popular RPG series launched in 2013 and has sold millions of copies and basks in its own manga and anime adaptions and a sea of merchandise. And it’s only getting started, as Disney XD already plans to bring over an English version of the show later this year. Yo-kai are ghosts in traditional Japanese folklore, and Yo-kai Watch beams with adorable versions of these spooks. Players explore and befriend Yo-kai, allowing the player to summon the spirits to do battle, bond as they grow and help protect the town from more mischievous Yo-kai.
Don’t believe the hype? In 1996, a quirky little RPG for Game Boy dropped in Japan, became a runaway hit with its own manga and anime series and endless lines of merchandise. It took two and half years to come to America, but kids were immediately enamored with the game’s weird, cute creatures, evolving the game into an absolute media juggernaut with a community that still thrives today. You know it as Pokémon.
Release Date: November 10
Consoles: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC
Why We're Excited: The apocalyptic beloved sci-fi RPG series returns, and this time, players will roam the nuclear wasteland of Boston. Rabid fans have waited seven long years since Fallout 3 and five years since the spinoff, New Vegas. Developer Bethesda seems to be rewarding everyone's patience with meticulous attention to lore detail and tons of in-game dialogue (more than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3 combined).
While previous Fallout games began after a nuclear war, Fallout 4 starts the day the bombs drop. The player character takes shelter in Vault 111 for 200 years, emerging into a bottomed out Commonwealth. Fallout 4 seems to offer more looks into life in the Fallout universe before the nuclear war, tantalizing dedicated fans. And yes, the dog is back.
Release Date: November 17
Consoles: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC
Why We're Excited: A fanatic's fantasy, Star Wars Battlefront lets gamers fight for the Rebel Alliance or the Empire in huge battles on large maps with plenty of land and air vehicles. Developers DICE have said the focus will be on humungous planetary battles with support for up to 40 players in one showdown. And though the game looks toward the original trilogy for its settings, the free DLC Battle of Jakku will be key to the rebooted Star Wars canon and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens in December. Welcome to the new age of the galaxy far, far away.
Written and compiled by RJ Cubarrubia