Battleborn's Randy Varnell Shares His Top Games Of 2015

by Game Informer Staff on Jan 06, 2016 at 09:16 AM

On the lead up to Game Informer's Game of the Year awards of 2015, we've invited a number of the video game industry's influential figures to share their favorite games of the year.

Randy Varnall is the creative director of Battleborn, Gearbox's upcoming first-person shooter. He also worked on Borderlands 2 as a Design Producer.

Here's Varnell with his selections for 2015 and his thoughts about them:

Games I Played A Lot Of In 2015

It's been a busy year of landing Battleborn here at Gearbox, and with long hours and lots of travel this year, my gaming choices felt a bit odd this year. I missed some big releases I would have loved to have play, and spent large amounts of time on comfort games or tinkering games.

1. Fallout
Best. Fallout. Ever. I've played them all, and I've already lost close to 70 hours on my FIRST playthrough of Fallout 4. Beautiful. Huge. Sandboxy. Cheeky. My kind of fun! I already have my second character planned, and I can't WAIT for the editor and mods. Gunplay is hugely improved and the settlements feature is like crack to me.

2. Ori and the Blind Forest
It's been a long time since I've cared about a platformer, but Ori made me a believer. Hauntingly gorgeous, this game threw impossible challenges at me and celebrated my victories with tender visual narrative. Brilliant.

3. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Seasons 3, 4)
Okay, okay. It's not a 2015 release, but the new seasonal content and challenges kept me coming back to one of my all-time-favorites. Greater Rift advancement is the best single-player raid-style experience I've had.  Man, I love tweaking character builds.

4. Rocket League
Profoundly simple and satisfying, this should-have-been-obvious blend of racing and soccer made me curse and cheer more than any other release in 2015.

5.Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines reinvigorated my love for city building games, and Colossal Order came out of the GATE with awesome mod support. Doesn't hurt that it's gorgeous.

6 .Dungeon Boss(iOS)
Mobile game, I know. But this little hero-based JRPG combat simulator sucked up many of my hours (and some of my dollars) this year.

7. ARK: Survival Evolved
You'll notice I love open-world sandbox building games? This one was cool, and frightening, and fun. Survival and base building vs T-Rexes (that you can tame and ride!)  This is also the PC game that coaxed me to upgrade my video card. Worth it.

8. Marvel: Puzzle Quest (iOS)
My second mobile game on the list, technically released in 2013. Frequent updates and interesting collection mechanics kept my attention through the year. It might be match 3, but their system of collecting and advancing my superheroes keeps me coming back.

9. Trove
Voxel-based vastly multiplayer RPG with a wide assortment of heroes to unlock and level, and a great mix of randomly generated adventuring and voxel base-building.  Did I mention Procedural loot?? Wowzas. Really great play to my obsessive collector instincts.

Technically, at late 2014 release - I built plenty of spaceships in this voxel-based sim. Awesome capitol-ship building features. It was a bit high on the learning curve in some areas, but really evoked a Minecraft-meets-Eve Online vibe that shows a lot of promise.

11. Mount and Blade : Warband
I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I've spectated a LOT of Mount and Blade Warband tournament matches this year. My son Graham plays this older game incessantly with a small but fiercely loyal community.

Games I Really Wish I Had Played In 2015

1. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Open world, mature engaging RPG. It had all the things I love - minus the time to lose myself in this game.  Don't worry - I'll be there one of these days.

2. Batman: Arkham Knight
Love this franchise, and wish I had time to spend with this one in 2015.

3. Metal Gear Solid V
I've not played a Metal Gear game since the NES. (Yeah, you heard it right.) This one, though, sounded incredibly interesting to me.

4.Star Wars: Battlefront
I loved the older titles in the Battlefield series and I am a lifetime Star Wars fan. Play this game, I will.

5. Splatoon
Heard so much great about this from friends, but never made the splash myself.

6.Super Mario Maker
I'm an old gamer, and really want to dig into the nostalgia offered here. I'm also a game designer and love games with lots of tweaks and unlocks. This will end up on my shelf eventually.

7Elite: Dangerous
Loved, loved, LOVED Elite back on my Commodore 64, and had really hoped to give this a spin this year.

8. Bloodborne
I watched my daughter Rachel spend hours here. I don't have much patience for super-hard games these days, but wish I did!

9. Just Cause 3
Just came out, and haven't had a chance to play yet, but looks like an amazing spin of stunt-based quest action, evocative of GTA or Saint's Row 4, with it's own spin of crazy.

10The Order
At E3, I was taken away by the beautiful art and the strong narrative. I really want to give this mix of Victorian Steampunk and Arthurian legend a go.