The 20 Biggest Games to Play in 2017
By GameSpot Staff on
A New Year of the Biggest Games
2017 is going to be filled with an abundance of exciting new games across all the major platforms. From heavy hitters like Horizon: Zero Dawn to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there's a whole lot to get excited about. That's why we've compiled the 20 biggest games coming in 2017. Click ahead to see what's coming.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Yes, it's really happening: Rockstar's 2010 open world western will have a sequel by the end of 2017. Unfortunately, we currently know almost nothing beyond some big picture bullet points. For example, it's still an open-world game set in an expansive swath of the American south and the northern portions of Mexico. There's also a multiplayer component that will complement the story-driven single-player campaign.
The rest is up for speculation. The game may take place after the original Red Dead Redemption and star protagonist John Marston's son Jack--along with six other gunslingers, judging by the game's Magnificent 7-inspired key art. Then again, it might be a prequel. Or an entirely unrelated story. Regardless, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick promises Red Dead 2 will offer "incredible emotional depth," as well as a "big, sprawling, optimistic view of America."
Developer Rockstar generally plays it close to the chest but always seems to have an ace up its sleeve. Expect to learn more about this one as we get closer to release.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
At some point, Resident Evil stopped being scary. The fifth game introduced co-op, the sixth doubled down on action, and offshoots like Operation Raccoon City focused entirely on shooting. All of this felt like an unwanted detour for a franchise originally rooted in survival-horror. Now, finally, Resident Evil 7 is taking the series back to its roots.
Though it employs a first-person perspective rather than fixed third-person camera angles like the very first game, RE7 still revives several dormant concepts central to the series' identity: cryptic puzzles, collectible keys, limited saves, inventory management--even healing herbs return. Most importantly, though, what we've played of the game so far has been genuinely terrifying.
You play as Ethan Winters, who--unlike the musclebound, military-trained Chris Redfield--is just an average guy. While searching for his missing wife Mia, he's somehow captured and held captive by a grotesquely dysfunctional family on their derelict Louisiana plantation. And though he gradually collects weapons like a pistol, shotgun, and makeshift flamethrower, he still feels vulnerable in the face of the plantation's hidden horrors and stomach-churning bosses.
Ethan's search for his wife drives the story forward, but we've already noticed quite a few hints that something deeper and more sinister lurks within the swampy compound--and it may connect back to the series' long-running conspiracies. We'll find out soon enough since RE7 launches on January 24.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn's debut at E3 2015 was one of the most memorable moments from the show. Ever since then, we've been clamoring to hear more about its protagonist Aloy and her adventures across a post-apocalyptic world dominated by mechanical creatures. The setting creates an interesting juxtaposition of styles, blending elements of sci-fi and the pre-historic. In addition, it sports a mechanically rich combat and hunting system, allowing you the ability to methodically set up traps and fire various types of arrows and explosives at the robotic creatures that roam the lands.
Developed by Guerrilla Games--the creators of the Killzone franchise--Horizon: Zero Dawn marks the studio's first new IP in nearly decade. The game was initially set to launch in 2016, but it was delayed to 2017 to allow additional time to polish it to better live up to the standards of the studio's previous offerings. We're crossing our fingers that its launch remains in February, as we're eager to explore its captivating world to discover the array of secrets found in its beautiful vistas and countrysides.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
After multiple delays, Nintendo's iconic RPG series returns on console in 2017 with the long-awaited Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Due out for Wii U and Nintendo Switch, the game is set in what looks like a massive open world, bigger than any Zelda game before it, replete with all manner of deep, dark dungeons to explore and creepy enemies to defeat. Nintendo has said fans should forget everything they know about the Zelda series for this game, and we're excited to learn more about what that means. There is also Amiibo support, and the newest trailer teased that Zelda will appear. When Breath of the Wild comes out, the franchise will be more than 30 years old. After all this time, we're still as excited as ever.
Nier: Automata is the upcoming sequel to a cult favorite action-RPG released 2010. The fact it actually exists is a surprise given how the original's developer Cavia was absorbed by its parent company not long after it launched. However, famed developer PlatinumGames has stepped up to the plate to craft a continuation to this once ill-fated series, and it looks like one of the most promising games the studio has made yet. With members of the original team also working on it, Nier: Automata is the sequel that hardcore fans have been craving.
Taking place sometime after the events of the first game, the game puts you in the role of an elite android tasked with driving off an invasion of machine-like beings from another world. It's a simple set up, but the hectic, fast-paced battles that ensue are the major highlight of what this game has to offer. We simply cannot wait to wail on robots with oversized swords and katanas and once this game launches in March.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Larian Studios is following up on its acclaimed 2014 RPG Divinity: Original Sin with a direct sequel. Divinity: Original Sin 2 will allow you to make meaningful choices through your in-game actions and dialogue decisions. And the things you do will have consequences; NPCs will remember what you say and do, plus your origin story affects how NPCs perceive you. The turn-based combat system and breadth of abilities should make for intense tactical battles. And with witty writing and rich environments to explore, Larian shows promise in delivering another grand RPG experience.
One of the most important pieces of Original Sin was the ability play through its story in co-op mode. The sequel features four-player co-op that lets you seamlessly drop in and out of parties, and there is also a new PvP arena for up to four players with different game modes such as capture the flag, king of the hill, and deathmatch.
You can play a portion of Divinity: Original Sin II right now, as it is currently in Steam Early Access. The full game is slated for release sometime in 2017.
Halo Wars 2
It’s been seven years since the release of the original Halo Wars on Xbox 360, and for fans of the console RTS who've been eagerly awaiting a sequel, the wait is almost over. In February 2017, Halo Wars 2 will introduce a new enemy into the Halo universe, reawaken the crew of the Spirit of Fire, and introduce multiple new single-player and multiplayer game modes to the series. And in addition to releasing on Xbox One, the Halo Wars series will make its debut on Windows 10 PC.
The Halo Wars 2 campaign will reintroduce Captain James Cutter and his crew into the current Halo timeline. And upon their awakening from cryo-sleep, they will meet a brand-new villain named Atriox, who commands a dangerous army of brutes called The Banished. Fans of the original Halo Wars will also be happy to hear Blur Studios has returned to create the cinematic cutscenes for the Halo Wars 2 campaign.
As for Halo Wars 2’s multiplayer, in addition to the returning Skirmish, Deathmatch and Domination modes, the game will introduce two new ways to play. The first, Blitz, is a card-based RTS where you create decks composed of various unit cards. The second, Strongholds, is a fast-paced mode where you battle to see who can capture more control points before time expires.
Considering how long it's been since it was first announced back at E3 in June 2014, we still know very little about Crackdown 3. Two things we do know: It features online multiplayer and leverages cloud-powered technology that allows for large-scale destruction of its city.
As anyone with a history playing Crackdown (and a sense of imagination) can attest, that's more than enough reason to be thrilled for the possibilities in Crackdown 3. At its best, Crackdown is about freeform action: you're basically Superman with a gun--someone who is capable of scaling or leaping over buildings, picking up and throwing cars long distances, and generally doing whatever you damn well please. Taking a series that already lets you go around or over buildings and giving you the option to now go through them by knocking them down is a tantalizing prospect.
Without offering anything in the way of specifics, Microsoft has talked about offering the series' "most fully featured campaign" to date. That might not be saying much given the quality of the last two games' stories, but Microsoft has said that destroying things in the environment will generate reactions from the gangs scattered around the city. That bodes well for destruction being incorporated as a central component of the game and not just something that serves as a fun distraction between missions.
Prey, as a franchise, has had it pretty rough. The original sci-fi shooter launched more than a decade ago, and a sequel's been forthcoming ever since. Now, several developers (and IP owners) later, Prey has landed in the capable hands of Arkane Studios--the team behind Dishonored and its exceptional sequel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Arkane's Prey reboot combines thematic elements from the original Prey with gameplay clearly inspired by Arkane's own games.
Just like Dishonored's supernatural assassins, protagonist Morgan Yu has a wide variety of unusual abilities and inventive tools at his (or her) disposal. He can possess objects using Mimic in order to hide from enemies or maneuver through tight spaces. He can use a rifle that shoots foam, which immobilizes foes and hardens to create ramps, ledges, or whatever else you can think up. And when all else fails, he can break out a pistol and blast his creepy, amorphous alien adversaries into bits.
According to the team at Arkane, Talos 1--the derelict space station where Morgan finds himself trapped in some kind of scientific conspiracy--is fully open from the start of the game. It's simply up to players to figure where to go and how to get there, even if that means venturing out into space. It may not be the Prey 2 fans expected, but it's shaping up to be a cerebral, atmospheric shooter nonetheless.
Sea of Thieves
It's been a long time--over 10 years, dating back to Viva Piñata--since developer Rare had the opportunity to work on an original game that isn't Kinect Sports. Sea of Thieves feels like a throwback for the studio in the best way possible.
Much of the game remains under wraps, though a recent gameplay video showed off how it blends cooperative and competitive multiplayer. In the game, players set out to uncover a hidden treasure chest. The first step involves ascertaining its location by comparing a treasure map to a world map and then navigating to that location. From there, you use landmarks on the island to track down the precise spot to start digging.
That's when things pick up action-wise, as a rival crew can attack when the first attempts to abscond with the treasure. The person carrying the treasure needs to be protected so they can get it to the ship and hide it. Adversaries may also take the more direct approach, engaging in naval combat. This forces crews to divvy up tasks like piloting the ship, firing cannons, and boarding the enemy ship for close-range action. It's an exhilarating prospect for high seas adventure.
The Persona series has a track record of expertly grafting seemingly disparate things: a traditional, turn-based RPG in the mold of Shin Megami Tensei and a high school student simulator. The student part manifests itself as a blend of the mundane--you go to class and answer questions, get a part-time job, and so on--and the improbable, like taking part in a murder investigation only you and your friends can hope to solve.
Persona 5 continues that, but with new wrinkles. You still build social links with friends and acquaintances by going to movies, visiting cafes, and other things in the real world. But this time around, you're in the shoes of a high school student who leads a group of "phantom thieves" that set out to help change the world for the better. The dungeon-esque Palaces you visit now include environmental puzzles and new ways to navigate. Rather than the more confining layout of previous games' dungeons, you'll find things you can jump on to maneuver around enemies, and a cover system lets you stealthily bypass foes. Similarly, combat introduces new mechanics, such as letting you high-five a teammate to pass a character's turn and give your ally a boost.
Oh, and let's not forget the game's visual style. The menus are perhaps the most stylish in any game ever, and what you'll see in combat is no slouch either.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda's been on our radar ever since it was originally announced back in June of 2015, mainly because the original trilogy is just so damn good. Now that we have some real, concrete information about the game, however, our hype level is higher than ever. Even though Andromeda starts fresh--opting for a new setting (the distant Andromeda Galaxy), era (600 years after the end of the previous trilogy), and hero (Ryder, a Pathfinder searching for humanity's new home)--the spirit of the franchise clearly lives on.
The alien races, military institutions, and political complications central to the Mass Effect universe return, as do the series' trademark dialogue trees. The cover-based shooting and planet-hopping exploration return as well, though both have been updated considerably. Recent trailers show Ryder rapidly dashing across great distances during combat, adding a frenetic new pace to the action. We've also seen a glimpse of the game's interstellar map and six-wheeled Nomad vehicle, both of which suggest a slightly more open structure.
We've done our best to wring as much information as possible from the available material, but we may have to wait until closer to Andromeda's March release date to get a real sense for how it plays.
When Koei's Nioh re-debuted at last year's Tokyo Game Show after nearly a decade of being absent from trade shows, our collective jaw dropped. This once-dormant action game based on an unfinished script by director Akira Kurosawa started development internally at Koei for PS3, but then development stalled. Now under the direction of Team Ninja, Nioh takes the precise action elements from the studio's previous work on the Ninja Gaiden series and combines it with the tense, atmospheric dungeon crawling of Dark Souls.
You play as William, a foreigner who arrives in Japan during the Sengoku period in pursuit of a mysterious foe. While his journey has him crossing paths with famous figures in Japanese history, it also has him dealing with an infestation of demons and other monstrosities. Nioh's premise alone has us eager to play it: a Souls-esque game filled with Japanese mythological creatures is something we never knew we wanted until now.
From the two demos we've played, the upcoming action-dungeon crawler is shaping up to be a fascinating new twist on the Dark Souls formula. Its twitch-based combat system resembles the likes of Bloodborne, but its speed and flow are more punishing. We look forward to the struggle of rising up to Nioh's brutal challenges once it launches in February.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
When we learned that Disney chose not to renew its licenses with Capcom, Marvel vs. Capcom fans feared the crossover fighting game series would once again fade into obscurity. Imagine our surprise when Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was officially announced at PSX.
The latest entry in the series is making a drastic change by switching from the traditional 3v3 format to 2v2. This harkens back to the series' roots with games such as X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, while also drawing inspiration from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
This shift in dynamic is exciting for longtime players, who can look forward to digging into a new system of fighting mechanics and unpacking their intricacies.
Another interesting addition are the Infinity Stones, which can be activated mid-battle to bestow strength, speed, and other yet to be revealed boosts. These could potentially be utilized to completely change the playstyle of characters and create unique team compositions. Imagine Hulk, traditionally a powerful but slow character, using the Time gem to give himself greater mobility--terrifying.
And of course, there's the actual roster of characters. The game is reportedly aligning itself closer with Marvel's Cinematic Universe, which may come at the cost of Wolverine, Magneto, and other X-Men characters. But don't rule anything out just yet, as leaks have indicated some unexpected reveals in the future.
We've seen so little of Scalebound since its announcement that, at this point, we're excited more by the pedigree of its developers than what we know about the title itself. That might sound foolish, but we're talking about Hideki Kamiya and Atsushi Inaba here. As a reminder, those two are the minds behind Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Wonderful 101, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance--some of the finest action games that have been released in recent memory.
Of course, the game's premise is also plenty exciting. Players control a character that is accompanied by a dragon. Kamiya and Inaba are known for creating intricate, exhilarating combat systems that switch between different weapons and chain abilities together, so being able to command another character--a dragon at that--will no doubt lend further complexity to the combat. And that, in turn, means more over-the-top action and flashy abilities. That's pretty much everything a third-person action fan needs to get excited about a game.
Despite learning more in recent months about exactly how Ubisoft's upcoming action game plays, there's still a lot of mystery around For Honor. We know the game is a mix of hack-and-slash coupled with the more complex mechanics of a fighting game, but how will the game turn that premise into a compelling experience in both its single-player and multiplayer components? How exactly will the For Honor campaign play out? How will multiplayer work, and how will the game's announced factions play into the larger scheme of things? For Honor has us asking these questions and more, making it one of our most anticipated games for 2017.
Tekken 7 has been in Japanese arcades since March 2015, but it has yet to land on home gaming systems. That should change in late Q1 to early Q2 in 2017 when the game hits PC and console, which also marks the series’ first entry on PC.
One element to the Tekken formula that we know is getting revamped is the story mode. In previews and interviews, lead developer Katsuhiro Harada emphasized that Tekken 7 will have a cinematic look and feel that seamlessly blends into the fighting sequences. Some situations will pit players in matches with special conditions to portray the story’s theatrics. And Street Fighter regular Akuma is said to be integral to Tekken's story mode in some way.
Tekken has been a staple of the competitive fighting game scene and tournaments around the world have already taken place for Tekken 7. Bandai Namco sponsors its own King of the Iron Fist Tournament and the game has been featured at Evo since 2015. The audience and competition may grow even larger once the game hits shelves in the coming year.
The first Outlast was a surprise horror hit. Released for free on PS Plus after its original PC release, it terrified us here at GameSpot, and now this sequel looks even better. Outlast prides itself on its atmosphere and sense of foreboding--plus the occasional jump scare--and that doesn't seem to have changed with the second entry.
What has changed is the game's appearance: even the demo version of Outlast 2 looked more graphically impressive than the first game, which--though striking--showed its low-budget, indie roots.
Thankfully, even though its appearance has been upgraded, Outlast 2 is sticking to the original's brilliant camcorder mechanic, which allows you to see in the dark--until you run out of battery power. That pressure forces you to conserve battery; when your batteries are dead, you're plunged into darkness, which ramps up the tension even more.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Chloe and Nadine are two of the more memorable and mysterious characters in the Uncharted universe, so we were happy to learn at PlayStation Experience that Naughty Dog is devoting an standalone experience to the pair. We'll finally get to learn more about them next year with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy for PS4. The game will put you in the boots of Chloe, one of Drake's love interests from past games. We're interested to learn more about her backstory and how it connects to the evil yet sympathetic villain Nadine.
Naughty Dog has made single-player DLC before (like The Last of Us' wonderful Left Behind), but this is the first story expansion for Uncharted. All we've seen of The Lost Legacy is the trailer from PSX, but it captured our attention with its stealth and action moments.
Friday the 13th: The Game
Given its origins as a Kickstarter-funded game that has already been delayed to 2017, skepticism about the project can be understood. But the new Friday the 13th game is high on our radar for 2017 for a number of reasons. Indeed, the game appears to be delivering on that front, as an almost hard-to-watch death sequence trailer from earlier this year contained no shortage of horrific over-the-top action.
Series creator Sean Cunningham not only gave his blessing to the development team at Gun Media, he also reportedly handed over the rights for free because he believed in what the team was doing. An asymmetrical multiplayer game, Friday the 13th sees one side play as camp counselors at Crystal Lake, while the eighth player takes on the role of Jason Voorhees and hunts them down (a setup with obvious parallels to Dead by Daylight). The game will also have a single-player component, which is part of the reason why it was delayed to 2017.