Gamers are always complaining about a lack of innovation in the industry, but while some titles simple hone previously existing mechanics and ideas, developers are always trying new things. Here’s a list of some interesting features and concepts being explored in upcoming games.

What's special about it: Asymmetrical multiplayer and an expandable roster.
Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead set a new standard for cooperative play by forcing 4-person teams to work together in order to survive the zombie apocalypse. Evolve not only…well, evolves the developer’s work in the co-op space, it offers a new take on competitive play as well. The player who controls the monster has a completely different playing style, abilities, and view of the action than his or her four opponents. The monster’s extra strength balances the uneven teams, while still forcing the hunter team to work together.

Additionally, Evolve is being built to support an expandable roster, so Turtle Rock can easily add new monsters and hunters in the months and possibly years to come, each with their own unique abilities and characteristics – theoretically without splitting up the community between the haves and have-nots.   

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
What's special about it:
The Nemesis system.
Fantasy fans have seen plenty of Lord of the Rings games over the years, but none quite like Shadow of Mordor. The open-world action game from Monolith offers players a new character and story to discover, but its most promising feature is the Nemesis system. This feature randomly generates enemy orcs for the player to contend with, complete with unique faces, names, and characteristics. They’ll also remember your actions in the world and your previous encounters; burn an orc warchief during a fight and he may develop a fear of fire – in addition to a personal vendetta. 

The orcs in Shadow of Mordor also have their own dynamic hierarchy, which will shift and restructure itself as you take down opponents. Who knows, you may end up providing a lowly grunt with a much-deserved promotion – just don’t expect him to thank you for it.

What's special about it: Simple-but-powerful building mechanics. 
Epic Games is known for making action-packed shooters, but its newest title lets players create as well as destroy. Fortnite offers a new and simplified approach to building structures compared to games like Minecraft; instead of placing individual blocks to the construct the fort of your dreams, you lay down entire walls with the press of a button, and then edit them via a simple grid layout. 

Not only do the controls allow you to build in a matter of minutes (or even on the fly during intense invasions), the structures are more visually impressive than their blocky counterparts in other games. Players who are on the fence won’t have to invest much to try Fortnite out when it launches, as it will be a free-to-play title.

No Man's Sky
What's special about it:
A procedurally generated universe.
This ambitious new open-world sci-fi game from indie developer Hello Games already has fans drooling thanks to its lush visuals and proposed scope. Players take on the role of a shipwrecked cosmonaut, who must explore new worlds and collect resources to repair his ship. Every planet in No Man’s Sky is procedurally generated, complete with its own ecosystem and creatures. Hello Games says there will also be outer-space dogfighting, providing the full sci-fi fantasy to geeks like me.

What's special about it:
A new type of upgrading. 
Famed developer Bungie is doing a lot of exciting things in its new sci-fi franchise, including taking an MMO approach to a console shooter. What we’re most excited about, however, is the developer’s new approach to upgrades. Rather than having to level-up multiple characters, players choose one basic class and then level-up focuses. These builds can be switched on the fly for different circumstances, such as when you’re adventuring solo or playing as a medic with a group of friends.

Upgrades also extend to your equipment as well, including guns, each of which has its own upgrade tree. As a result, Legendary weapons aren’t just more powerful, but provide deeper skill trees to customize. Even if you and a friend are using the same weapon, they may function in completely different ways, giving players plenty of customization options when exploring Bungie’s new worlds.

Coming Up Next: More games that dabble in the art of procedurally generated content...