2016 is in the books and after a jam-packed holiday season with hits like Dishonored 2 and Pokemon Sun & Moon, everyone’s wallets are a little lighter. But moving into 2017 the releases aren’t slowing down at all. With huge console exclusives from all the big players and new hardware 2017 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years of the current console generation, if we still even have console generations anymore. So we compiled a list of the best, most awesome video games coming in 2017. Take a look!
Gravity Rush 2 (Studio Japan) – January 20th on PS4
What was on last year’s list of games coming out in 2016, it looks like Gravity Rush 2 is actually coming out now after being delayed a few more months for polish and fine tuning. I got a chance to play Gravity Rush 2 at Montreal Comic Con this summer and I was very impressed. After playing the original on the PlayStation Vita and the remaster on PS4, I was shocked just how much better the world looks running natively on PS4. With a new vibrant and colourful art style, Gravity Rush 2 feels like the natural evolution from what could be done on the PlayStation Vita to what can now be done with the processing power of the PlayStation 4.
Gravity Rush 2 picks up almost exactly where the original left off. Kat has a new friend in Raven who worked with her to defeat Atlas at the end of the first. They’re now travelling to a new town inspired by the bright and gorgeous towns of South America. There’s a new source of Nevi the two ladies must now fight off and possibly something much more sinister at work.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom) – January 24th on PS4, Xbox One & PC
Right off the bat Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is different in that it’s fully playable in PlayStation VR. A demo for RE7 released earlier this year and feels very, very different from the last couple Resident Evil games that have been disappointing fans. Most notably the game has gone first-person, marking a huge shift for a series that has always been third-person. Starring a civilian named Ethan (another step away from the traditional soldier character the series is known for) the game follows his search for his wife. He’s led to an abandoned mansion in the depths of the Louisiana swamp, a mansion that belonged to the mysterious Baker family who disappeared long ago.
First Impact: Rise of a Hero (Red Meat Games) – February 3rd on Oculus, Vive, OSVR (PSVR TBD)
This one is the first time I get to write about a game I actually had the awesomeopportunity help with. First Impact: Rise of a Hero is a superhero action RPG coming to all the big VR platforms in 2017, first to Oculus, Vive and OSVR and then PSVR a little later. First Impact is the superhero VR experience that makes up for every disappointing superhero game that promised to make your dreams of having awesome superpowers come true (looking at you Superman 64). Set on a tropical island with sprawling landscapes to fly over and city streets to save from thugs and villains, First Impact is going to be an incredible time for the VR veterans and new owners alike.
I had the absolute pleasure of touring major expos this past summer showing First Impact to people all over North America. I got to see people’s faces light up as they put on the headset and jump high in the air and begin to flyover cities. I saw people get weak at the knees as they felt the sensation of flying for the first time. I even caught a kid who began to fall after he started flying and when I asked him what happened he told me “I forgot I had legs.” That’s the awesome feeling of First Impact and it’s going to be a great second outing for Red Meat Games in the VR space after porting bloxiq to VR last August. If you want to add it to your wishlist you can head on over to its snazzy Steam page or check out Red Meat’s other work on their site.
Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall) – February 21st on PS4 & PC
One of the PAX 10 games at PAX West 2016, Night in the Woods is a new side-scrolling indie game with a focus on story and characters above all. With a cast of adorable animal characters living in a small town called Possum Springs, Night in the Woods stars Mae Borowski, a college dropout returning to her hometown after several years hoping to “resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind” (Source).
With a premise I can totally relate to as a university student who’s questioned his place in life and what he’s left behind, I’m really excited to escape into Possum Springs and explore the characters and story. Night in the Woods has a really lovely, cartoonish art style which begs exploration. It’s being set up almost as a mystery, everything is not what it seems when Mae returns home. People are acting differently, lights flicker, things move when they shouldn’t and there’s something in the woods…
Halo Wars 2 (Creative Assembly) – February 21st on Xbox One & Win 10
Xbox’s first big exclusive of the year, Halo Wars 2 is highly anticipated by the huge fanbase the original created back in 2009. Set 28 years after the events of the original Halo Wars and fairly recently after the events of Halo 5, players will assume control of the same team from the original game who have been in cryo sleep for almost 30 years. They awake at the ark, the manufacturing centre of the Halo rings. Unaware that the war with the Covenant has concluded, the team descends to the planet’s surface responding to a distress signal only to discover a hostile group of Covenant soldiers who split off after the war ended who still wanted to war with the humans.
With an interesting premise and a return to the real-time strategy gameplay that fans loved so much from the original, Halo Wars 2 is shaping up to be a big hit for Xbox. The game features redesigned, intuitive controls specifically designed for the Xbox One. The game also features great difficulty scaling options to ensure people who aren’t that good at RTS games or merely want to experience the story can still enjoy the game but also Halo Wars veterans will still be challenged. The game is also part of Microsoft’s “Play Anywhere” initiative meaning players who buy the game for either Windows 10 or Xbox One will get the game on the other platform and be able to move their save.
Horizon: Zero Dawn (Guerilla Games) – February 28th on PS4
Yet another game that was on our list last year but got delay after delay, Horizon: Zero Dawn looks like a huge departure from Guerilla Games’ bread and butter of first-person shooters (ie Killzone, Shell-Shock). Horizon: Zero Dawn is a third-person, open world experience set in a dystopic future where humanity has been overrun by sentient machine creatures that look like dinosaurs. The collapse of civilisation has forced humans to return to a prehistoric state of existence. In this new future humans are in a caveman state but with futuristic technology at their disposal. The premise itself has people excited (myself included) to dive into the world and learn what happened.
The game features crafting, a broad range of weapons from bows to spears as well as a massive open world for players to run around. Horizon takes full advantage of PS4 Pro’s HDR functionality allowing the developers to get some absolutely stunning visuals out of the environments. Probably the biggest PS4 exclusive of the year (that we know of), Horizon: Zero Dawn is definitely the most exciting of any confirmed first-party PS4 game in 2017.
Star Trek Bridge Crew (Ubisoft) – March 14th on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift & PSVR
One of the first PSVR games to offer up a cooperative experience, Star Trek Bridge Crew lets nerdy Star Trek fans realise their dreams of taking control of the bridge of a starship and work with their crew to tackle the interesting challenges of space exploration. Players take control of the Aegis, a U.S.S. spaceship just setting out on its mission to explore the universe. Players will be able to assume different roles on the bridge and work together to tackle the various challenges that they encounter. From the captain to communications to navigation, there is a great deal of variety in the roles that players will be able to fill to get the full Star Trek experience.
Yooka-Laylee (Playtonic Games) – March on PS4, Xbox One, PC & (maybe) Switch
The Kickstarter success from the brains behind Banjo & Kazooie is finally hopping onto consoles and PC early this year. After several delays, the game is actually coming to remind us all how great an action platformer collectathon can be. So, give your Chameleon a good hug and get ready to dive into the amazing world that this talented team has laboured over these past years!
Nintendo Switch (Nintendo) – March 2017
The next bold step for Nintendo’s home console business will release sometime in March with an information live stream coming January 12th at 11 pm EST. Unveiled in October 2016, Nintendo’s next hardware is a home consoles/mobile hybrid, seemingly replacing the company’s traditional practice of having two separate devices (ie Wii and DS, Wii U and 3DS). With very little actual information given in the reveal trailer, rumours are speculating about battery life, performance on the go, touch screen support and many, many more questions. We won’t have to wait too long to hear more and a little longer than that to actually get our hands on it. Needless to say, this is a big deal for Nintendo, many are saying that if the Switch flounders like the Wii U did, Nintendo should pull out of the hardware market and just make games for other platforms.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo) – March on Wii U & SwitchThe game that should’ve been out by now, it was ultimately delayed so it could launch on the Switch the same time as Wii U, pissing off all the Wii U fans who’ve waited years for it. The hype is still alive and well, however, and after a stunning trailer at The Game Awards teasing new areas and enemies, the excitement for Breath of the Wild has reached a fever pitch. Whether it will stack up against other bold open-world games like The Witcher or Fallout remains to be seen, it’s certainly the biggest Zelda game to date.
Persona 5 (Atlus) – April 4th on PS4 & PS3
Another game that was on our list last year got delayed to February and then April, Persona 5 is finally coming out in North America after years of hype and anticipation. Following Persona 4‘s commercial and critical success and the exposure, Persona 4 Golden gave the series to players who’d never experience a Persona game before and incurred a huge following especially in North America. Releasing on both the PS4 and the PS3, hopefully that the limitations of the PS3 hardware won’t hold back the title on PS4. Developing a game for two very different consoles in terms of processing power could result in the game not being as good as it could be, but hopefully the delays gave the team extra time to make sure it meets the expectations fans and critics have been building for the title.
Cuphead (Studio MDHR) – Mid 2017 on Xbox One & Win 10
Another title on our list last year, the Disney cartoon style platformer action game everyone has hyped at every convention and expo will finally be out later this year. After several delays, Cuphead has only received praise and love from people who’ve played it. It’s the first video game to approach the Saturday morning cartoon style of animation and that’s arguably one of the most defining features of Cuphead. But it’s also received a great deal of praise for its tight, difficult gameplay that reminds many of the difficulty of early NES platformers. We shouldn’t have to wait too long to jump into this fantastic world.
Full Throttle Remastered (Double Fine Productions) – TBD on PS4 & PSVita
After remasters for Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle, Double Fine is bringing back yet another beloved classic point and click adventure: Full Throttle. Cross-save once again between PS4 and PSVita, the game will feature remastered graphics and controls as well as a director’s commentary. I loved Grim Fandango Remastered and as someone who wasn’t even alive when these games were coming out it’s great to be able to experience these genre-defining titles on modern hardware.
Golem (Highwire Games) – TBD 2017 on PSVR
Golem is the first game from Marty O’Donnell, the legendary composer of the Halo series, since his abrupt termination from Bungie following the launch of Destiny. Now in charge of his own studio, Golem is a game that stars a blind child in a world where sound and music is key to the experience. Golem is positioning itself as one of the first expansive narrative experiences for Virtual Reality, especially for PlayStation VR.
Knights and Bikes (Foam Sword Games) – April on PS4 & PC
After an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, Knights and Bikes is a cooperative adventure game from developers who worked on Tearaway, LittleBigPlanet, and Ratchet & Clank as well as music from the composer of movies Steve Jobs and The Man from UNCLE. The game is also being published by Double Fine Productions! With such strong talent behind the title, it’s not wishful thinking to say that Knights and Bikes is going to be one of the best adventure games of 2017. With a great art style, an amazing soundtrack and a great cast of characters there’s plenty of reasons to get excited.
Little Nightmares (Tarsier Studios) – Spring on PS4, Xbox One & PC
An intriguing and very creepy new game from a studio known for LittleBigPlanet Vita and Tearaway Unfolded, Little Nightmares is pretty much the exact opposite atmosphere from these titles which were lighthearted adventures with a colourful, vibrant world. Pitched as “a dark whimsical tale that will confront you with your childhood fears” (Source), Little Nightmares features a creepy, almost disturbing nightmare world where grotesque, terrifying creatures roam the halls of the underwater vessel you’re seeking to escape.
Mass Effect Andromeda (Bioware) – March 21st on PS4, Xbox One & PC
Set 600 years after the tumultuous events of the original trilogy, Mass Effect Andromeda has humankind leaving the Milky Way and travelling to our neighbour galaxy, Andromeda. Players chose to control one of two twins, Sara or Scott Ryder, who are in charge of the expedition to find new planets for humans to colonise. With a new starship known as the Tempest with a landing vehicle called the Nomad (which is essentially the Mako from thefirst Mass Effect), Mass Effect Andromeda will be a return to form for the series that many fans have been craving since the somewhat disappointing conclusion of Mass Effect 3.
Andromeda is ditching the character classes that have been a main staple of the RPG franchise and is instead letting players freely assign their skill points as they wish. Skill points can also be reassigned so players can experiment with multiple styles without having to restart a new character. And from the gameplay reveal we saw at The Game Awards it’s certainly shaping up to be Bioware’s most ambitious game yet!
Outlast 2 (Red Barrels Studio) – Q1 on PS4, Xbox One & PC
I played theOutlast II demo on PS4 earlier this year and absolutely screamed several times. I even tried it in my PSVR and had a mini heart attack. It’s scary, really scary. With the runaway success of the first Outlast, the developers have time to really make Outlast II the game they want, they have a lot of cash in the bank. That’s probably why it got delayed to 2017, they originally wanted the game to be out by Halloween 2016 but made the decision to move it into “Early 2017.” So while the demo was promising, I had some serious issues with the first game’s use of mentally ill, “insane asylum” patients, a trope which reinforces very harmful falsehoods about mentally ill people. Outlast II seems to be heading towards a more cult themed, Southern baptist vibe which I’m totally down for… church is scary.
Sea of Thieves (Rare Ltd.) – Q1 on Xbox One & Win 10
Sea of Thieves is the next game from Rare after the Rare Collection in 2015 reminded the world why they’re one of the oldest, most beloved studios in the industry. Pitched as an open world, multiplayer pirate simulation, Sea of Thieves has received so much love from all the preview events that it’s certainly shaping up to be Xbox’s biggest game of 2017, Halo Wars 2 aside. The only issue with Sea of Thieves previews is that the game is largely dependent on multiplayer and as we saw with 2015’s Evolve, entirely multiplayer games preview very differently than when players are actually trying to play that same game with random people online at home. So hopefully Sea of Thieves can deliver an experience that is enjoyable in a party with your friends as well as playing with people you don’t know.
Tacoma (Fullbright) – Q1/Q2 on Xbox One & PC
Gone Home brought me to tears. When I climbed those stairs and read the last diary I was a mess of emotions. Gone Home’s brilliant story telling makes it one of my favourite games, and that is why I’m excited to get emotional all over again with Fullbright’s next game: Tacoma. Tacoma is a science fiction game set in a distant space station which is huge departure from Gone Home’s grounded, 1980s setting. I’ve read very little about the game as I’m sure it’s an experience that will be better going in blind, but here’s a trailer anyway!
Nidhogg 2 (MESSHOF) – TBD 2017
The first Nidhogg was AMAZING! The simple concept of battling for control of the camera 1v1 with swords worked brilliantly. The close quarters maps forced players to come at each other in quick and dirty fights that end in one player’s blood spraying all over the screen. It was a great game, a timeless game. So when they announced Nidhogg 2 I was a little sceptical. How could you improve an already brilliant formula? Well MESSHOF is making the bold decision to completely revamp the art style. Going for more of a cartoony, gory style Nidhogg 2 looks completely different yet somehow feels familiar to someone who played dozens of hours of the original. And that’s why I’m excited to hop back in and stab my friends.
Secret Legend (@dicey) – TBD 2017 on Steam
Secret Legend is heavily inspired by the original Zelda, hence the title. With a simple yet gorgeous art style and wonderful effects, Secret Legend is looking like one of 2017’s best indie delights. Featured at the Indie Megabooth at PAX West 2016, the developer showed off his game dressed in a fox onesie and a giant grin on his face. That picture alone was enough to sell me on this delightful game.
Below (Capybara Games) – TBD 2017 on Xbox One and Steam
Plagued by delay after delay, many are wondering if the next game from the beloved Super Time Force developers is ever actually coming out. However Capybara assures us it’s still coming, but they won’t announce another date until they are absolutely confident they can hit it. So we wait, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited. Below looks like everything I love about indie games in one package. No tutorial, no hand-holding, you’re thrown into this dark, beautiful world where the player’s life is more valuable than anything else. After getting hit, players will bleed until they can bandage or build a fire to cauterise the wound. It’s very dark and very interesting.
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Yacht Club Games) – Spring 2017
In what was undoubtedly the coolest trailer at The Game Awards, the prequel to everyone’s favourite indie hit Shovel Knight was announced to be The Specter of Torment. Taking place years before the first game, we see all the same villains from Shovel Knight and even Shield Knight herself. Why the Specter is travelling around to all the villains, we don’t know. All we know is this is the same incredibly talented team that’s shipped over 2 million copies of Shovel Knight and is widely praised for creating the best love letter to NES games of old.
Prey (Arkane Studios) – TBD 2017 on PS4, Xbox One & PC
An awesome trailer at The Game Awards gave us a sneak peek at what we’d be able to do in the reboot of the classic psychological thrillerPrey. We can control matter, giving us the ability to transform into an everyday object (like a mug) and interact with the world. It looks like it’s going to have a tense atmosphere, and it looks quite scary. With a so-so protagonist who doesn’t really seem interesting, the most exciting part of Prey looks like it’s going to be it’s creepy, derelict space station and all the awesome powers the player will have at their disposal.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Naughty Dog Inc.) – TBD 2017 on PS4
Revealed at PSX in December, The Lost Legacy is a standalone DLC and the next instalment in the Uncharted story. Set after the events of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, The Lost Legacy stars Chloe Fraser, everyone’s favourite getaway driver from Uncharted 2 and 3. We’ll follow Chloe and Nadine Ross as they search for ancient treasures in India, now ravaged by war. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the setting and story but from the reveal trailer at PSX I’m quite excited to dive in after Naughty Dog’s awesome standalone DLC Left Behind for The Last of Us proved Naughty Dog takes time and care with their add-on content, making small spin-offs rather than quick cash grabs.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games) – Fall 2017 on PS4 & Xbox One
This game really can’t fail. With billions in the bank after the success of GTA V, a ravenous fanbase who’s been begging for a sequel to Red Dead Redemption for years, the stage is set for this game to be the biggest game in 2017. I know that sounds like an exaggeration but it’s actually quantifiable. With the full marketing force of 2K Games and Rockstar, seemingly infinite amount of money and one of the largest followings of any video game studio, Red Dead Redemption 2 is ready to smash sales records and fans’ expectations alike.
From the teaser in October 2016, running on new hardware the Wild West has never looked better. We are a little sceptical given the first Red Dead Redemption‘s violence against women, poor representation of Mexicans and sexualized female characters which we talked about when the game was announced. Featuring new towns, a gorgeous new sky and contrasting desolate deserts and lush forests, everything looks amazing. We haven’t seen any gameplay yet but based on the short turn around for GTA V’s marketing we will undoubtedly get a steady release of trailers and screenshots until release later in 2017.
Xbox Project Scorpio (Microsoft) – Holiday 2017
In a video ending their 2016 E3 Press Conference, Xbox showed off famous developers like Todd Howard talking about the latest piece of hardware from Xbox merely titled: Project Scorpio. We know very little about what the console looks like or can do except that it will run at native 4K with ease and has the power to support VR. It also has “6 teraflops” or something, until I see what the hardware can do for games that the Xbox One couldn’t I’m not really that excited. There was talk of VR and after PlayStation took the first step in the home console VR market in 2016 the ball is in Xbox’s court to see if they will return.
Whoa, that’s a lot of games… and probably more that haven’t even been announced yet will wow and amaze us in 2017. With loads of awesome indies, grand AAA experiences and new hardware from Xbox and Nintendo it’s going to be a busy year for video games and I’m very, very excited. What are you most excited for? We’d love to read about it in the comments! 🙂