Let's level with each other here: we all love sequels. Sequels don't trouble us with risk, but reassure us with familiarity. Sequels are the snuggly comforter we nestle into after a hard day wrasslin' hogs. Sequels get us up in the morning and sing us softly to sleep at night. They have elected presidents and will likely do so again in 2016. Truly, sequels, not religion, are the true opiate of the masses.
Micro- and Ubisoft understand, and thus have announced new entries in their Halo and Far Cry series, respectively, to stave off withdrawal until the next time the sequel carousel comes creaking around.
Halo 5: Guardians was announced last year at E3, but now it has a slightly firmer and later release date of Fall 2015, sitting alongside the live-action Halo TV series. Microsoft and 343 Industries promise it is a "massive and exciting project," but thus far will not reveal how much mass will be contained within the 13.5 cubic centimetres of material used to produce a Blu-Ray disc, nor how excited its molecules will be. Little is known about the story or gameplay, but judging by the title, we can expect one of four things:
1. Cortana joins an Avengers-esque group of folklore characters including Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy;
2. The UNSC Marine Corps must fight off an army of armoured owls;
3. Master Chief is hired to track down and arrest a group of quirky intergalactic outlaws;
4. Thanks to a series of time portals, a Covenant Elite finds him- or herself facing down atomic Hitler.
...all of which sound rather exciting, so count me on board for Halo 5.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's cousin Ubi has announced Far Cry 4, disappointingly without a colon or subtitle. This, I'm genuinely excited about. Far Cry 3, despite a lacklustre and somewhat dodgy story about a white man solving all of a tribal island's (whose residents all spoke in New Zealand Maori dialects) problems, had superb gameplay and a real sense of fun and empowerment. For the white guy, at least. Why would you empower non-whites in a video game? That's crazy talk, son.
This game's principal villain, pictured on the cover, is a blond-haired open-shirt douchebag, which will hopefully make the game stand out against the franchise's previous instalment, in which the hero might as well have been a blond-haired open-shirt douchebag. He's a self-installed despot in a fictitious region within the Himalayas, which suggests the cast of characters will be a similar blend of psychopaths to that of the last game. Maybe it's a statement about Western exploitation of the Sherpa people as beasts of burden for wealthy mountain climbers. Probably, it isn't. Regardless, I'm sure we'll all grit our teeth through the story in order to blow some shit up and hunt yaks.
If that excitement sounds tempered, know this: in addition to being the setting of Far Cry 4, the Himalayas are home to Bigfoot's fine Eastern cousin, the Yeti. If there are in-game yetis I will punch the air in delight. If they're friendly, I'll high five the TV. If they're pattable, I will do a little dance, film it and put it on YouTube. Are you reading this, Ubisoft Montreal? You know what you have to do.