The Biggest PC Games to Play in 2017
By Matt Espineli on
What's in Store for PC in 2017
2017 is going to be filled with an abundance of exciting new PC games. From heavy hitters like Divinity: Original Sin II to Halo Wars 2, there's a whole lot to get excited about. With so many to keep track of, we've compiled all the biggest games coming in 2017 (that we know of as of the end of 2016...of course, lots more games will be revealed in the new year). Click ahead to see what's coming to PC.
The first Outlast was a surprise horror hit; 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.
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.
As another year goes by without Xbox exclusive Cuphead arriving, suddenly everyone remembers Cuphead and how much they're looking forward to Cuphead. Cuphead!
The platformer was recently pushed to "mid-2017." And that's a huge shame, because it's a game we've been looking forward to ever since its announcement on Microsoft's stage at E3 2014.
Cuphead's main appeal is undoubtedly its aesthetic: it apes the 1930s "hose pipe" animation style pioneered by early Disney cartoons and the very first post-comic strip motion pictures. The olde-tyme style pervades the game's music too, with piano-laden tracks more commonly heard in pre-talkie films. Even its run-and-gun gameplay looks pleasantly aged.
If its cooperative gameplay and platforming mechanics can live up to the stupendous look, then we'll have one hell of a game on our hands.
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.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
2015's Star Wars Battlefront might have lacked depth for hardcore fans, but it was a fun, easy-to-play shooter set in one of the biggest and most recognizable franchises on the planet. For the sequel, DICE is working with Motive Studios to build what EA has described as a "bigger" game. Given that one of the loudest pieces of feedback around the first game was its lack of single-player (even Force Awakens actor John Boyega called it out), it will be interesting to see how EA responds to that criticism. Just recently, EA strongly suggested there will be a single-player campaign, so it appears that feedback didn't fall on deaf ears. EA has also said the sequel will feature content from "the new movies," which is exciting to think about with Disney's own plans to continue to build out the movie universe. Battlefront 2 is set for release in fall 2017.
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. First, the development team is forgoing a traditional publisher relationship, in part so it can create horror on a truly gruesome level. 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 fourth 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 utilised 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.
The follow-up to NetherRealm Studios' Injustice: Gods Among Us introduces loot, character customisation, and items that give their wearers stat bonuses. If you have any familiarity with fighting games, you'll know just how bold--and potentially upsetting--this decision is. On the one hand, it could introduce replayability that few other fighting games have by letting players create their own, unique versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and various other DC heroes and villains. On the other, if NetherRealm isn't able to properly balance the hundreds of pieces of unique equipment, the online multiplayer could quickly become filled with the same overpowered builds dominating anyone that dares to not use the "best" characters and equipment. It's going to be a challenge for its developer, and we're looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
The first Injustice is also one of the few fighting games out there that has a storyline worth paying attention to. The narrative was strong enough to spawn a critically acclaimed comic book spinoff, and for those invested in the story--yes, we exist--the sequel gives us the next chapter.
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.
On its surface, Nidhogg appears to revolve around head-to-head, side-scrolling duels, but in actuality, it's a tug-of-war with swords. Rather than simply killing your opponent, your real goal is to successfully battle your way across three screens and reach a final scoring zone before the other player respawns and stops you. Of course, your opponent has the exact same goal.
You can slash, punch, and divekick each other, but only the player who scored the last kill is allowed to run towards their zone. Naturally, this results in plenty of unexpected, last-second momentum shifts that turn the game into couch co-op magic.
Nidhogg 2 takes the same formula as the original game and amps up the presentation while altering the underlying mechanics very little. The game features a new, more grotesque art style, as well as a revamped soundtrack, new weapons, and a larger selection of stages. You'll even find online options and a single-player campaign of sorts that lets you battle AI and complete special challenges.
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.
Supergiant Games, the creators of Bastion and Transistor, is making a slight departure from the direction of its past two games. Judging from early gameplay footage, Pyre will play like a fusion of sports, strategy, RPG, and MOBA games. It’s conceptually akin to any sports game where an object must be placed in a goal, but each character has abilities similar to DOTA 2's champions. And the real twist: it’s wrapped into a story-driven RPG. It may sound crazy, but after playing through the game’s opening sequence, it’s easy to see how its gameplay elements will make for hectic, exciting battles.
There is strong familiarity in Pyre’s music and art style. The music harkens back to the acoustic trip-hop with a western flavor found in Bastion, but it incorporates an electronic touch reminiscent of Transistor. The hand-illustrated art style will make a comeback as well, painting a majestic picture of nomads traversing plains in search of a home...while battling in supernatural arenas. The game is set for release in 2017 on Playstation 4 and PC.
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.
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.
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.
Nier: Automata is the upcoming sequel to a cult favorite action-RPG released 2010. The fact it actually exists is a surprise in itself 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.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
We don’t know a whole lot about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, but the fact that it’s from the company who brought us The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead adventure games has us excited. The blockbuster movie was fun, and we can’t wait for Telltale to play around with the universe’s sci-fi lore and to create funny scenarios that involve Groot, Drax, and Rocket.
The movie franchise also has awesome 60s/70s music, which will hopefully get licensed over to the game, and it'll be interesting to see how the game relates to the two films.
What we know so far is that it will be comprised of five episodes and will come out on consoles, PC, and mobile devices. The developer also says that “players will take on multiple roles.” This most likely means that you, too, can be Groot.
Shenmue is a divisive franchise, but one thing that everyone who’s played through the games can agree on is that the story is incomplete. The second game ends on a massive cliffhanger and rabid fans want the series to return so much that they raised well over $6 million on Kickstarter for Shenmue 3.
Considering the first two titles are among the most expensive games of all time, the projects is going to need every penny. The original game released on the Dreamcast and pioneered open-world games. Not only did it and its sequel allow you to explore large cities in Japan and China, but the games were meticulously detailed.
The series is predominately about its story, however. You play as Ryo Hazuki, and in the original game, villain Lan Di beats you up and kills your father in front of you. On your quest for revenge, Ryo learns martial arts and becomes stronger along the way. Will Ryo become strong enough by the end of Shenmue 3 to enact revenge? We can’t wait to find out.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
There have been plenty of South Park games over the years, but it wasn't until The Stick of Truth that we really got to feel like we were inhabiting its world. The Fractured But Whole looks to continue that, offering an expanded, open-world version of South Park to explore--now with another few years' of the show's jokes to reference--and the added wrinkle that you're role-playing as a superhero.
The experience of writing The Stick of Truth will hopefully lend show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone with some additional expertise in crafting The Fractured But Whole (certainly, the name is a triumph). New developer Ubisoft San Francisco also looks to be shoring up some of the previous game's shortcomings, adding a crafting system (to make loot more worthwhile) and enhancing combat with new abilities that should help to keep battles from becoming a grind.
Lawbreakers is the creation of ex-Epic Games developer Cliff Bleszinski and his team at Boss Key Studios. The game channels the style and mechanics of classic multiplayer first person shooters, combining fast-paced shooting with gravity-defying maneuvers. But at the same time, it brings in distinctive ways to play the game via its wide array of characters.
From its high-flying grapple hook-equipped Assassin class to the offensive the brutal offensive of the Titan class, the game has a lot to offer in each of its characters. Lawbreakers has a lot to prove if it wants to stand a chance against its competitors. Regardless, we're eager to see how it turns out when it launches later this year.