Hype drives the video game industry, but it’s the kind of hype that’s based not solely on marketing or how many ad dollars a publisher spends. Hype blooms when the games are good, when the people creating them have proven their talent as artists, and its players spread the word one to another about what they love best.
As the year ends, Heat Street looks at 10 of the most highly-anticipated games that will grace our living rooms and are certain to engage us for too many hours in 2017. Be sure to finish your third playthrough of The Witcher 3 before getting into any of these recommendations.
Resident Evil 7
Capcom takes the Resident Evil series back to its survival-horror roots, away from the Michael Bay-esque bombast of the last two games. True to the series’ origins, it’s set entirely within the confines of a creepy old mansion. An ordinary man possessed by the belief that his dead wife is alive ventures deep into its haunted halls in search of answers. That sounds just like the Resident Evil we’ve all been waiting for.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
South Park has always mocked political correctness, and the upcoming game takes aim at both outrage culture and the Marvel movies by combining the two in a superhero-themed role-playing game . Preview trailers made a mockery of Marvel’s attempts to pander to social-justice warriors and their hypocrisy in doing so. Promisingly, the game features the writing of Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
Prey has nothing to do with the previous game of the same name. It shares the same license, but that’s where the connection ends. Its development is being led by the studio that brought us the Dishonored games and it takes strong cues from Ken Levine’s Bioshock and System Shock games—celebrated titles regarded as some of the most atmospheric games of all time. Sign us up.
For many years, I’ve wanted to play a strategy game with giant robots. There was Missionforce: Cyberstorm and MechCommander 15 odd years ago, but beyond that, there’s been a complete dearth of giant mecha strategy games. Harebrained Schemes and MechWarrior creator Jordan Weisman aim to fill that niche with Battletech.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Historical accuracy in a video game? It’s more likely than you think! Set in medieval Bohemia, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been controversial because its developer’s strict adherence to the history books. Progressive game critics in the social justice crowd argue that doing so makes the game “uninclusive.” I couldn’t disagree more.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Taking place in Monte Cook’s weird-future RPG setting of Numenera, Torment is Xile Entertainment’s spiritual successor to the cult classic RPG, Planescsape: Torment, which many regard as one of the best-written games of all time. Developed by the same people who created the original Torment, the new game explores deep, personal themes and asks: “What does one life matter?”
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I don’t own a Nintendo console, but Breath of the Wild might just be the thing to coerce me into making the switch. This new adventure promises to bring the Zelda series to new heights as Link, free from the constraints of Nintendo’s technologically-impaired platforms and gimmicky movement sensors, explores an all new world open for players to explore.
With Quake Champions going head to head against Overwatch, competition between team-based multiplayer shooters couldn’t be more heated. Id Software, the makers of DOOM, promise to deliver a fast-paced, ultraviolent competitive experience that’s certain to reignite the “twitch shooter” genre popularized by Unreal Tournament and Quake Arena so many years ago.
No list for 2017’s best would be complete without Destiny 2. The sequel to 2014’s Destiny, a game just as popular today as it was then, Destiny 2 promises to expand the already in-depth lore, offer even more engaging gameplay, and situate gamers in a more immersive environment. With a solid foundation to build on, Bungie can only build a better game this time around. Rumor has it that it might even be coming to the PC.
Red Dead Redemption 2
And finally, the sequel (or prequel, as it were) to Red Dead Redemption returns players to the Old West—a setting surprisingly neglected by video games. Little is known about who you’ll be playing, but Rockstar’s been teasing the game with silhouettes of characters reminiscent of Magnificent Seven. Judging from the released footage, gamers can expect to explore an open world. If there’s anything its creators are good at, it’s open-world games.