17 Games We Want to Play in 2017
Assuming they come out!
Well my gaming friends, what a year it has been. No Man's Sky actually came out. The Last Guardian actually came out. The Witness actually came out. Final Fantasy XV, lord even Final Fantasy XV, actually came out. 2016 was the year video games actually came out! Well... not all of them. Cuphead, Yooka-Laylee, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata and Tacoma didn't come out. They were delayed until 2017 despite (if not entirely in spite of) being in our "16 Games to We Want To Play in 2016" list, joining Persona 5, from our 2015 list, which, likewise, hasn't come out.
No sense getting hung up in the past, fellow game playing people. On top of those late to the party, there are even more video games to get hot and bothered about that may just come out in the new year! Here are 17 of those games pencilled in for 2017. And perhaps 2018. 2019. 2025. 2080. After I die and my bones have turned to dust.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo is hitting 2017 with a double shot in its drink: a new and conceptually intriguing Nintendo console, the Switch, mixed with a new and conceptually intriguing Legend of Zelda. Drink it up! Taking inspiration from the likes of Dark Souls, Skyrim, and Ghibli films, Breath of the Wild is set in an expansive Hyrule that allow players to find their own way to besting that cheeky asshole Ganon yet again. It also adds crafting. And reintroduces JUMPING. Geeze. While it seems like a steep departure from Nintendo's most tried and true formula, so did Wind Waker and Majora's Mask. So this mmmmiiiight just be something fantastic.
First Prey was an Art Bell-inspired sci-fi shooter from 3D Realms about a Native man being abducted by aliens and blasting his way out of a gruesome spacecraft. Then Prey returned, lead by Bethesda, as a seemingly open world project about an abducted US Marshal starting life anew as an alien bounty hunter. That was cancelled. Prey is back, again with Bethesda, now more unrecognizable than ever. Swapping X-Files for Twilight Zone, and Prey for System Shock for that matter, this Prey centers around an astronaut having an extremely strange day aboard an old space station, fighting against aliens that can disguise themselves as everyday objects. Think Decepticons whose specialty are desk fans. This Prey is being handled by Dishonored creators Arkane Studios, so even if it's radically different from its predecessor, it seems like everyone's going to win. Except for 3D Realms. They don't win. That's kind of the norm.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar's western Red Dead Redemption gave us an expanse, the feel and the grit of taming a steed and riding it into the sunset, dueling with the various outlaws and corruption, watching the fury of the railroad as the "Wild West" buckled to modernity, glowing in the warmth of a strange, extinct and essential American chapter. Given all of that, I am willing to overlook the fact that the third game in the series is being called "Red Dead Redemption 2."
My Summer Car
With Forza and Gran Turismo, it's clear that the gearheads of the game world appreciate their realism, but so rarely do we get a game that portrays the average relationship with an automobile. My Summer Car is not about luxury. It's about a brutally hot summer in Finland and the rustbucket jalopy you call your own. Having to maintain, invest in and, god willing, drive your car, you get to live through the most mindless season, dodging NPC drivers who are supposed to be drunk instead of merely acting like it.
Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 4 changed the trajectory of survival horrors for a generation, but Resident Evil itself hasn't changed at all since. Resident Evil 5 and 6, not unlike the undying Paul W. S. Anderson films, became entrenched in never ending action sequences and a storyline more brainless than the ghouls you fill with lead. Capcom seemed to take the hint from fans and critics that it was time to clear the table. Going first person with white-knuckling cramped environments, a bumpkin family horror that's a mix of Texas Chainsaw with American Pickers, and gruesome 3D photography techniques, the upcoming and mysterious Resident Evil 7 seems like the frightful grossout players have been waiting for. Mind you, one that seems to be capitalizing on PT's adoration, but that game doesn't exist anymore, giving Resident Evil 7, a game that does exist, the upper hand.
Night in the Woods
An anticipated "rust belt gothic" tale about sad cats, midnight mysteries and donuts, Night in the Woods takes a refreshingly Love and Rockets approach to adventure games. Centering around Mae's return to her small and shrinking home town, moving back in with her parents after dropping out of life, Mae discovers a supernatural element to her old haunts. She'll have to juggle the paranormal with the anxiety of a directionless future. You'll also get to smash some fluorescent light tubes with the rest of the cool kids for once!
Between Doom, Dark Souls III, Devil Daggers, and Thumper, it seems like some of 2016's greatest offerings were about relentless trips to Hell. Personally, I see no reason for this trend to end next year, or beyond! The most promising and brutal looking vacation to the twisted netherworld is Scorn, a grotesque Serbian horror game with no shortage of authentically Giger-y dread. In it you navigate through a forsaken world with weapons and puzzles that all seem wretchedly organic, perhaps the closest we've come to the game Jennifer Jason Leigh created in eXistenZ. It should pair nicely with Agony, a game I admittedly keep mistaking for Scorn, about a soul hopping from form to form looking for a way to get the Dodge outta Hell.
From Mode 7, the publishers of the cult Frozen Synapse series, comes an especially vibrant looking action game. Seemingly a combination of Monument Valley and the old Syndicate games, Tokyo 42 peers down from above at a busy and colourful metropolis that is by no means free from dark shenanigans. From rooftop to rooftop, you engage in all kinds of shadiness in broad daylight, plucking off targets and making your escape through a city in the clouds.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
It was never a question of if Mass Effect was going to make a return but when, and that when is 2017. Inside the Mass Effect universe, it has been much longer, 600 years give or take. The descendants of the N7 forces now have a new frontier to explore, the Andromeda galaxy, full of quests, danger and, if you're at all like my social media circles, new alien species to imagine kissing.
It may have been a big year for Doom, but JP LeBreton has a lifetime with the game to share. An autobiography of the BioShock level designer in the form of a Doom II mod, Autobiographical Architecture seems to be a humbling experience unlike any other, and one that should prove fascinating in the new year.
Don't @ me, it's true. Sonic has sucked since the 90s. After Sega tortured their needlemouse through embarrassment after embarrassment, the company has finally found the right folks to return Sonic to glory. Created by developers who sharpened their teeth with fan games, Sonic Mania looks like a shockingly authentic throwback to the good times of Sonic 2 and Sonic CD. I'm still reeling in excitement over the 'Studiopolis Zone,' a broadcast media-themed world that seems to have been cobbled together from Larry King's old backdrops. Finally, an excuse to publish my Sonic x Marshal Mcluhan slash fiction.
When David OReilly made a game called Mountain, it was about a mountain. A mountain that floated in the ether and spoke sometimes, other times getting hit by CDs and magician hats. For many, it became an obsession, watching their mountains in meditative states or hoping to view some of the floating rock's deeper secrets. David O'Reilly's next game, for PlayStation, is called Everything. It is about everything. Taking control of everything from the cosmic to the microscopic, the natural to the manufactured, and going on a metamorphic joyride. I wonder if that includes any mountains. I'd love a game about a mountain.
I may have jinxed Persona 5's release into a two year delay, but we couldn't risk it with the most anticipated RPG of our generation. A sequel to Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, an FF7-style dystopian epic that rightfully replaced dreamy anime whine boys with Charles Barkley, LeBron, Jordan, Bird, and robo-Vince Carter, Barkley 2 sadly drops the legendary basketball men to avoid pissing off the NBA, but remains set in a world desolated by the Chaos Dunk. The new Barkley will feature an open world, the developers described the game as being similar to the Way of the Samurai series, where the secrets to the universe can only be unlocked with hoopz.
It's wonderful that roguelikes, a once lonely genre, has received so much love in the last few years, but it doesn't solve the issue that for many it's still a confusing and intimidating thing to play. From the same charmers who made Hohokum comes a roguelike that seems to be the antidote to that problem. Visually translating the roguelike experience into something decipherable without becoming dull, simplistic or patronizing, the kooky space odyssey with looting-centric combat should reel in new fans and delight current roguelike rogues alike.
Despite a lack of training and dying in his early 30s, Srinivasa Ramanujan is considered one of most important mathematicians of the 20th century, plotting out infinite number series and number theory off gut instincts that were later confirmed to be true. Meanwhile, I rapidly approach the same age with a bachelor's degree and continue to write about video games. A point and click adventure mixing Ramanujan's mind boggling contributions with Myst's clockwork sensibilities, Antariksha Sanchar is looking like a vibrant game worth crunching.
Pony Island was a novel meta-adventure through a demon-made video game you had to play your way out of. From the same creator, Daniel Mullins, comes The Hex, a new metafictional larf that takes place deep within the game, this time for the player who wishes Wreck-It-Ralph was more miserable. Set in a tavern where various heroes cool their heels, the barkeep informs his patrons that among them is a murderer (outside of their respective games, I assume, where these protagonists murder all the time). Now the group of adventurers must explore the stormy estate looking for clues before it's game over and good night.
A sequel that's too surreal to believe is real, Shenmue is returning after a 16-year slumber. In its time, Shenmue was the most expensive game ever created (nearly fifty million), while the newest wrangled an otherwise impressive six million on Kickstarter. Shenmue III picks up where we left off on martial arts celibate Ryo Hazuki's magical quest for vengeance against crime lord Lan Di. That naughty, dedicatedly old school Lan Di is still stirring up shit it seems, and now joined by a new femme fatale, Niao Sun. Sega has given creator Yu Suzuki full control over the third chapter since the money was crowdsourced, promising a Shenmue that ought to be completely insane.