2016 was a fantastic year for gaming. So fantastic in fact, that I’m still playing catch up with all games that came out last year. We’re a few weeks into the new year, and we’ve already gotten a couple games that I’m sure were on a lot of people’s highly anticipated lists, Gravity Rush 2 and Resident Evil 7. That said, as much I’m intrigued by those titles (maybe not so much RE7), there are other games expected to come out this year that I’ve eager to get my hands on. In fact, there are a lot of them. Triple-A and indie studios are bringing out the bigs guns this year with both highly anticipated sequels and new IPs that have wowed gamers at conventions and conferences over the past several years. Without further ado, here are Bit by Brereton’s top 10 most anticipated games for 2017. A quick honorable mention to Behemoth’s Pit People, which while I’m super excited that it has gone into early access, it is technically is already out in some capacity. Still excited for the full version, though.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
I love the Mass Effect franchise. The combat, the characters, the setting, everything about it has made it one of the best all-time video game franchises. Even the lackluster ending of Mass Effect 3 hasn’t ruined my love of the original trilogy. So when it was announced years ago that we would be getting a new Mass Effect set in a new galaxy, I was certainly excited. Information was pretty scarce in the beginning, and the constant pushing back of the release date certainly didn’t make fans like myself feel any better. This past year, however, we’ve finally got a plethora of details about our quest to find a safe haven for both humanity and the other races from the Mass Effect universe. Most importantly, we finally have a concrete release date! On March 21st, you can bet that I’ll be downloading a copy to my PC and continuing my journey across the stars. That and telling people that I have to go.
As a Kickstarter-backer of Yooka-Laylee, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of Yooka-Laylee so far. Playtronic has certainly managed to recreate that magic which made the original Banjo-Kazooie titles so special on the N64. Every trailer I’ve seen and every demo I’ve played has me super jazzed for Yooka-Laylee. It’s due to be released on April 11th, and while I’m a little bummed that I didn’t get the special retro edition of the game case, I’m sure there’s going to be more than enough nostalgia to keep me playing this game.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
So technically the much-anticipated South Park sequel doesn’t have a release date within 2017. It was supposed to come out last September, but the studio’s desire to meet the expectations of fans pushed it back to this year. That said I don’t blame them for doing that. Not only does the delay give them more time to polish and fix any potential issues, but it also allows them to incorporate even more cultural references for us to enjoy. I really enjoyed Stick of Truth and both the new premise and new combat system are almost guaranteed to make me fall in love with this one too.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering we’ve had two significant delays and we only saw live gameplay footage back at last year’s E3. Still, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is finally coming out on March 3rd, not only for the Wii U but as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch. There’s not much else to say except to watch the most recent trailer if you haven’t already. It’s simply epic.
Horizon Zero Dawn
First announced at E3 2015, Horizon Zero Dawn quickly became one of the most talked about titles at the show. Horizon Zero Dawn is set years after mechanical creatures have taken over the world, and humanity has reverted to a tribal society. The game’s main character, Aloy, is eager to learn more about this world that humans have isolated themselves in. However, she soon finds that there’s more than just machines that threaten humanity. Taking place in an open world, Aloy uses a variety of tools and weapons to no only fight off hostile machines but also take control of them as allies. The game looks gorgeous and is Guerilla Games’ first new IP in years, so there’s a lot of pressure riding on this Ps4 exclusive. We’ll find out for ourselves if it’s worth the hype on February 28th, 2017.
When I was at PAX East last year, I waited in line for two hours to play the latest game to come from indie juggernaut Supergiant Games. That game is Pyre, and if you loved Bastion and Transistor then be prepared for a very different game. What is essentially celestial rugby, you play as “The Reader” who is helping a group of exiles trying to find their way out of the land of purgatory. To do that you must win matches called Rites to break free of their exile. If you’re curious about the game you can find out more in my post on the game here. The world is steeped in mystery and high-fantasy, and while I only played for about an hour, I was instantly hooked. Can’t wait for that to release at some point this year.
Night in the Woods
Another game I was fortunate enough to play at last year’s PAX East, Night in the Woods is an indie title from new developer Infinite Fall. Taking place in the troubled anthropomorphic town of Possum Springs, you play as Mae, a troubled cat who’s moved back and discovers that there’s more to herself than she realizes. Due to be released February 21st, Night in the Woods will be a change of pace compared to the rest of this year’s releases, and that could make it something truly unique. For more on the game, you can read my post on the game here.
While Nier Automata originally wasn’t on my radar, it’s quickly become one of my most anticipated titles. Though I didn’t play the original Nier, its sequel is far more appealing to me both in premise and in gameplay. I’m still hesitant as I tend not to be very good at PlatinumGames’ action title, but from what I played in the demo Nier Automata looks to break genre conventions in several ways. If you haven’t played the demo yet but are curious about the game, you should definitely give it a try. The game comes out on March 7th.
If you’ve ever wanted to play a game where Medieval Knights, Samurai, and Vikings fight to the death, then For Honor is the game for you. Combat is vicious and incorporates the different combat styles of each warrior, making it more than just hacking and slashing. There’s not much else for me to say about For Honor, other than there is a single player campaign and lots multiplayer modes. That, and you should be prepared for lots of arguments with friends over which faction to pick. Also, since the game comes out on Valentine’s Day, what better way to show that you care with swordfights and virtual bloodshed?
One series that missed the last generation of consoles was Persona, the critically-acclaimed spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei. Persona 5 was announced back in 2013 and was originally due for a 2014 release. After numerous delays and a change in hardware, Persona 5 finally got a release date of September 15th, 2016… in Japan. While we were supposed to get the game on Valentine’s Day, one last delay means that we’ll finally get our hands on P5 on April 4th, 2017. From what little we know of the story and gameplay from trailers and screenshots, the game is vastly different from P3 and P4 which most Persona fans are most familiar with. The protagonist and his friends take the role as thieves who make their way through the alternate dimension know as “The Palace.” While dungeon exploring and combat have gotten an overhaul, a lot of series mainstays are still in place as your abilities and skills are profoundly affected by the school-life aspects of the game such as socializing and extra-curricular activities. I’ve tried to avoid reading up on the game after its Japanese release, so I’m looking forward to going into it with relatively little knowledge.
As you can tell there’s a lot of good stuff coming out in 2017. Not all of it is going to live up to the hype, but I’m optimistic that most of them are going to be really good. That said, I get the impression that I’m going to be struggling to pick what to play more than anything. Not that that’s a bad thing.