2016 is almost in the books, and it’s had its awesome games (Overwatch, Uncharted 4) and its letdowns (No Man’s Sky). Now that 2017 is around the corner, here are some of the titles that gamers are most eagerly anticipating. Which of them will go on to be the hits of the new year?
1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U, Switch). Not only is this the latest installment in a venerable and beloved franchise, it’ll be an important sign for Nintendo’s future in gaming. Breath of the Wild will launch along with Nintendo’s new Switch handheld, so it should be an early demonstration of just what the Switch can do. The Zelda games have tended to be linear, but Breath of the Wild will bring open-world play to the franchise, letting you and Link explore a massive overworld freely.
2. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One). The Internet lost its collective mind when Rockstar finally announced RDR2 for release in fall 2017, and anticipation for this open-world Western RPG is only going to get hotter in the upcoming months. Rockstar is still close-lipped about details, but says the game will include both single-player and online multiplayer elements. Fans have noted that the trailer focuses on a group of seven men, and speculate that some or all of them might be playable characters in the game.
3. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PS4, Xbox One, PC). Capcom wants to take the Resident Evil franchise back to its horror roots with this game. Unlike most other RE games, Biohazard uses a first-person perspective to make the scares more personal — especially if you play with VR! And combat has been made more difficult to shift the emphasis back to just surviving rather than gunning your way through hordes of enemies. The last couple installments of the RE franchise have been disappointments, but it looks like Biohazard might be the shot in the arm the series needed.
4. Shenmue 3 (PS4, PC). The original Shenmue and DShenmue II were cult classics on the Sega Dreamcast, and after the Dreamcast died it looked like the Shenmue story was over. But Shenmue 3 raised $2 million on Kickstarter in nine hours, and now Ryo Hazuki can continue to hunt down his father’s killer. It will be interesting to finally see a Shenmue game that’s not based on 15-year-old game technology!
5. Mass Effect: Andromeda (PS4, Xbox One, PC). Fans may still be complaining about the end of Mass Effect 3, but that doesn’t lessen the expectations for Andromeda. Taking place long after the original trilogy, Andromeda casts the player as a colony scout searching the galaxy for planets for humans to colonize. One interesting aspect is that it does away with the class system used in older games in favor of a more freeform skill system.
6. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (PS4, Xbox One, PC). After the success of The Stick of Truth, this game promises to do for superheroes what Stick did for fantasy. The South Park characters have been recast as battling superheroes (just like in a certain movie!) and it’s up to your character to decide who to side with.
7. Yooka-Laylee (PS4, XBox One, PC, Switch). If you have fond memories of Banjo-Kazooie on the N64, you’ll want to check out this 3D platformer, which is designed by the same developers. Yooka-Laylee should feature the same goofy sense of humor, nostalgic style, and addictive gameplay that made Banjo-Kazooie a hit.
8. Scalebound (XBox One, PC). This action RPG lets you take the part of an unusual team — a human warrior and his dragon buddy. And yes, you can command the dragon, or even control it directly. The developers have put a lot of effort into making the dragon customizable, both in looks and in fighting style, so you can make the game your own.