Believe it or not, it’s been nearly seven years since the the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One kicked off the eighth generation of consoles. In that time, we’ve played some truly incredible and memorable titles. As we approach the end of the generation, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the best new IPs that have been introduced over that time.
To be clear, these are brand-new IPs that have had a large impact on the industry, and have a future beyond a single “one and done” title.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the most pleasant surprises of the generation. Guerilla Games, best known for their Killzone series, introduced a stunning new world and memorable new protagonist in Aloy. While Killzone never reached the “Halo Killing” heights it originally set out to, Horizon Zero Dawn had an impact immediately. It is now revered as one of PlayStation’s pillar franchises for the future, and Aloy has become a modern day mascot of sorts.
Featuring a gorgeous world filled with incredible robotic creatures and exhilarating combat, Horizon Zero Dawn easily grabs one of the top spots on our list. And with Guerilla Games focusing on Horizon Zero Dawn 2 development for the PS5, we simply can’t wait to see what they do next.
Another one of our favorites on this list, Cuphead took the industry by storm in 2015 when only a quick flash of gameplay was shown during an indie game sizzle reel at Xbox’s E3 conference. Ever since it was first shown, it has captivated audiences with its 1930s style animation and old-school shmup difficulty.
Since release it has sold over five million copies and done remarkably well in the licensed collectible market. The Delicious Last Course expansion is set to release this year which we are exceedingly anxious to play.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
The Battle Royale genre is now an industry phenomenon. While it technically wasn’t the first BR game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is certainly the one that brought it to the mainstream. The rise of the game was meteoric and at one time it held the Steam record for most concurrent players on the platform.
The idea of landing, looting, and surviving with each round being an entirely new experience captivated players (and the Seasoned Gaming crew), and it’s a still a regular in the rotation as we write this. The success of PUBG led to Epic Games creating the industry changing Fortnite (which we’ll get to) and other titles in the genre have released more recently in Apex Legends and Call of Duty Warzone. They have all seen resounding success.
Love it or hate it, there’s no argument to be had that Fortnite changed the gaming industry. Fortnite’s development history is long-forgotten now, but it’s funny to think this was a game designed around building and tower defense that was originally teased in 2011. But after the success of PUBG, Epic Games saw the potential for a mass-marketed battle royale title and jumped on the opportunity.
As we’re all aware, it was a global success and became an industry phenomenon still to this day. Accounting for billions of dollars in revenue for Epic and having tens of millions of monthly active players, Fortnite continues to be one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world.
When The Division was first shown at E3 in 2013, many players used it as an example of what next-generation could bring. It looked to be something broader in scope than anything we had seen before. In the end, it may not have reached those lofty heights, but it certainly has been a hugely successful and influential title.
By its second year, The Division had surpassed 20 million players and it, along with its sequel, have been some of the most successful major titles from publisher Ubisoft. The team at Massive continues to revise The Division 2 and its latest expansion, which takes players back to New York City, is arguably its best yet. The IP itself has also been picked up for a motion picture to be released by Netflix.
From Software changed the industry forever with Dark Souls. While “Soulsesque” games have become a constant in the industry, it was From Software themselves that took the formula to create something truly unforgettable with Bloodborne.
A stand-alone story and exclusive IP to the PlayStation 4, Bloodborne released in 2015 to critical acclaim and ever since, is widely regarded as From Software’s best work and the best “Soulsborne” game. It’s a remarkable title and one that we, along with millions of others, hope receives a follow up in the next-generation.
When Vince Zampella and his closest colleagues left Infinity Ward to form Respawn Entertainment, the obvious question was “What will they end up developing?“. The answer was Titanfall. And it was spectacular.
Taking their know how of fast-paced, engaging shooters and combining it with mech combat in open arenas, Respawn created something wholly original that took the industry by storm. Titanfall 2 refined the formula and included one of the most memorable FPS campaigns of the generation. Sadly as we’ve all discussed many times, it fell short on sales expectations due to a flawed release plan which negatively impacted its future. Regardless, Titanfall is an exemplary new IP and we hope Respawn has more in store for us in the future.
Watch Dogs is another new IP from Ubisoft that took well known gameplay concepts, but added just enough wrinkles to give players a new experience. While it forever lives under the cloud of not having met the lofty expectations set by its debut video, it went on to become one of Ubisoft’s most successful new IPs in history. Watch Dogs 2 was met with even higher critical praise and resolved some of the issues that players had with the original though again, sales were impacted due to a poor choice of release schedule.
Watch Dogs Legion is set to release later this year and Ubisoft is aiming to redefine how players approach open-world games with the capability to take control of any NPC that you may encounter. Whether or not it will fully deliver on the vision is to be determined, but there’s no debating that Watch Dogs has been an influential new IP this generation.
Before Fortnite changed the industry for good, Blizzard trail-blazed the competitive hero shooter with Overwatch. Releasing in 2015, Overwatch became an instant hit and quickly developed not only a passionate community, but a competitive league as well. It was reported that by 2018, the title had gained over 40 million players and the success of the Overwatch League was one of the core reasons for Blizzard building the Blizzard Arena in Las Vegas.
While it seems as though Overwatch has been on the slow decline for some time, Blizzard is doubling down with Overwatch 2 and hoping to rejuvenate the fanbase while bringing new players on board.
Ori and the Blind Forest released in 2015 without any fanfare but it was quickly recognized as one of the best 2D platformers in years. Moon Studios followed that up with an even better title (in our opinion) in Ori and the Will of the Wisps earlier this year.
Both games are beautiful, memorable, and contain touching moments with incredible art direction. We certainly hope that Moon Studios revisits Ori again the future.
Rainbow Six Siege
When looking for an example of a game that has built its community thanks to continued support and improvements from a developer, look no further than Rainbow Six Siege. Siege launched in late 2015 to mild fanfare but Ubisoft Montreal continued to improve and refine the title into one of the most successful titles of the generation. It recently passed 60 million registered players and has built a very strong competitive community as well.
Featuring highly refined class-based gameplay and tight map design, Siege has become a go-to team shooter for those looking for that competitive rush. With continued growth and a yearly pass system that has seen high levels of success, we imagine Siege carrying on well into next-generation.
Hellblade is another game that released to relatively mild fanfare despite being critically acclaimed. However, over time the game has earned its reputation as being an experience unlike any other. A small team at Ninja Theory went to great lengths to attempt to tackle complex issues such as psychosis, and created a game that has few peers (if any). That was further aided by first time performer Melina Juergens who captivated players in the role as Senua.
Hellblade 2 was teased at The Game Awards and will likely be a showcase for the Xbox Series X and PC upon release in the future now that Ninja Theory is part of Xbox Game Studios. We’ll certainly be there on day one.
As with movies, making a notable horror game is no easy task. Thankfully, the great Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, Dino Crisis) was up to the task with his new studio Tango Gameworks.
Evil Within felt like a return to “classic” horror and took players on a psychological journey that few games do. The sequel released in 2017 to a similar reception and introduced some new ideas in the game world. Though as we’ve commented on a few titles in this list, sales were generally considered to be a disappointment thanks to a terrible release date which landed it among several major AAA releases.
There aren’t many triple-A horror games so it’s nice to see someone such as Mikami still focused on delivering them with their next title being Ghostwire : Tokyo.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest new IPs this generation has been Destiny. When Bungie set out to create their first new IP since Halo, many were wondering if they could re-create that sort of success. Wonder no more.
Destiny, and its sequel, have grown a community of tens of millions of players thanks to its engaging combat, co-op gameplay, and carrot on a stick style progression. The Taken King expansion to Destiny set the universe up for long-term success while the sequel delivered the single player campaign fans were clamoring for. While not a full MMO (which we have a recent article on) it offers a broad enough world to keep players engaged and coming back repeatedly.
No, Cyberpunk 2077 hasn’t released yet don’t panic. But we’re adding this one at the end just to have a little fun.
The Witcher 3 is one of our favorite games of all-time and CD Projekt Red has shown that they are a premier development studio. Given that, the time in development, and what we’ve already seen of the game, we’re confident that Cyberpunk 2077 will be considered one of the best new IPs of the generation upon release.