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These Are TIME’s 50 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2017

Jan 10, 2017

Every gaming year's most anticipated list feels like a mashup of aspiration and prudence, a medley of punchy independent efforts squaring off with titanic franchises designed to reel in loyal fans by the gazillions.

Not that sequels have to be stale. I can't wait to try Mass Effect: Andromeda, for example, after the triumphs of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Halo Wars 2 revisits the original Xbox 360 game's laudable, subversive approach to a genre generally inseparable from keyboard and mouse. The Persona games practically make reinvention their watchword. And does anyone really want to gripe about a Red Dead prequel?

What you won't find in this list are remasters of older games (like Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age and Full Throttle), if only to give new games the attention they deserve. I'm also not listing games thought to be coming but as yet unconfirmed (like "Destiny 2" or EA's Star Wars Battlefront followup). And I've left virtual reality stuff out because that'll be a separate list. You'll also find scant mobile games here, sadly, because they're so difficult to pin down (when they're pre-listed at all). If the games press has a platform blind spot, it's definitely mobile.

I've listed two Nintendo Switch games, but presume bucketloads are incoming. (We'll know more about Switch's launch lineup shortly.) We'll also see Microsoft's 4K version of its Xbox One, codenamed "Project Scorpio," somewhere in 2017's back half, though like Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro, games for Scorpio are supposed to work on the basic Xbox One, so there's no top secret barrage of launch goodies waiting in the wings.

Otherwise 2017 should tell us plenty about 2018 and beyond. It's the year Nintendo's post-Wii U plans go under the microscope, the year we'll start to see whether 4K gaming and virtual reality can deliver on 2016's lofty promises, and a year to begin gauging whether the industry can sustain this many rival platforms across a spectrum of interactive models, all vying for our hearts and wallets.

Where applicable, we have also included links to upcoming games' prequels, so you can get a handle on them before this year's versions are out.

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Rise & Shine

I'm not sure how much the setup matters — another peaceful planet threatened by space baddies? — but studio Super Mega Team's side-scrolling shooter/puzzler/platforming mashup looks to have plenty of novelty angles, including guidable bullets.

PC, Xbox One

January 13

Gravity Rush 2

SIE Japan Studio and Project Siren's full-fledged sequel to arguably the best game on the PS Vita handheld transports the series' gravity-bending gameplay to Sony's flagship console.

PlayStation 4

January 20

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

It's back to basics (and a break from gonzo globe-hopping threats) with all the gameplay in the seventh mainline installment of Capcom's venerable survival horror series transpiring in a single house.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

January 24; try Resident Evil 6 first: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Tales of Berseria

Bandai Namco's Tales of Berseria shares its setting with 2015's Tales of Zestiria and resurfaces the series' trademark realtime battle system with wrinkles like a "Soul Gauge" that incentivizes players to collect souls that govern special abilities.

PC, PlayStation 4

January 24

Yakuza 0

Tour districts based on parts of Tokyo and Osaka in Sega's open-world brawler that serves as a prequel to the company's decade old beat 'em up series about Japan's transnational organized crime syndicates.

PlayStation 4

January 24

Double Dragon IV

Yep, someone bought the rights to do a four-quel to Technōs Japan's old arcade beat 'em up about a pair of brotherly martial artists who have to cleave through throngs of adversaries.

PC, PlayStation 4

January 29

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World

Studio Good-Feel's mobile port of its adorable yarn-twirling Wii U platform game starring Mario's dino pal Yoshi adds Poochy Pups that follow Yarn Yoshis around to help players unearth secrets.

Nintendo 3DS

February 3

Nioh

If the Souls hack-and-slash roleplaying games traded their surreal settings for early 17th century Japan civil warring (but kept the brutally difficult gameplay bits), you might get Nioh, Ninja Gaiden studio Team Ninja's long awaited opus inspired by an unfinished Akira Kurosawa script.

PlayStation 4

February 9

For Honor

Knights versus samurai versus vikings. That's the premise of studio Ubisoft Montreal's brutal online hack-and-slash, which spotlights the tactical nuances of dueling with swords, katanas and axes.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

February 14

Halo Wars 2

Studios 343 Industries (Halo) and Creative Assembly (the Total War real-time strategy games) join hands to bring us this overdue sequel to defunct Ensemble Studios' 2009 original, which proved that gamepads and real-time multi-unit maneuvering could play nice together.

PC, Xbox One

February 21

Lego Worlds

Lego Worlds appears to be studio Traveller's Tales take on Minecraft's "creative mode" (there's no "survival mode" analogue as yet), allowing players to build Lego brick structures in a procedurally generated world.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

February 24

Horizon Zero Dawn

Flip the old Turok games about a time-traveling, gun-toting warrior stuck in the Jurassic, and you get Horizon Zero Dawn, an action roleplaying game set in the distant future starring a hunter who battles dinosaur-like machines with hacks, traps and acrobatic moves.

PlayStation 4

February 28

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Though odds are low it'll have the impact studio Black Isle's narratively avant garde Planescape: Torment did at the turn of the century, this spiritual D&D-inspired sequel — set in the distant future, starring a tabula rasa protagonist who was at one point possessed — boasts some of the original's key creators.

PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

February 28

Night in the Woods

Another Kickstarter project coming to fruition, Night in the Woods stars a cat named Mae who trips onto a mystery in a small town populated by anthropomorphic animals grappling with an array of socioeconomic issues, with visuals inspired by comics artists like Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library) and Mike Mignola (Hellboy).

PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4

February 2017

Nier: Automata

Bayonetta creator PlatinumGames helms this sequel to developer Cavia's action roleplaying original, retooling the high-action combat and shifting to a post-apocalyptic open world defined by war between the remnants of humanity and an army of otherworldly mechanistic invaders.

PlayStation 4

March 7

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands

Backpedaling from the last few Ghost Recon games' dalliance with futuristic scenarios, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands transpires in contemporary Bolivia, melding the open world dynamism of Ubisoft's Far Cry games with the more nuanced clandestine tactics of this longstanding Tom Clancy franchise.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

March 7

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Bioware's Mass Effect: Andromeda transpires six centuries after Mass Effect 3 in the eponymous Andromeda galaxy, sidestepping the brouhaha over the latter's ending, while punching the reset button on the backdrop and dramatis personae.

March 21

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Overload

The creators of the 1990s Descent series resurrect their "six degrees of freedom" (forward, backward, up, down, left, right) sci-fi corridor shooter in this spiritual sequel that will once more send players cruising and strafing down serpentine subterranean passages.

PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

March 2017

Persona 5

Studio/publisher Atlus' dark surrealist social sim turns six (Persona 2 was a duology), once more serving up a troupe of conflicted high schoolers who can project Jungian "personas" to do battle with everything from supernatural villains to their own insecurities and foibles.

PlayStation 3 & 4

April 4

Yooka-Laylee

Rare's colorful Super Mario 64 ante-up Banjo-Kazooie gets a spiritual sequel by way of several former Rare employees, here starring a chameleon named Yooka with a bat named Layle for its buddy 3D platforming hijinks.

PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

April 11

Rime

An open world game about a boy trying to escape an island by solving environmental puzzles, Rime may have been overhyped by some in the press as the next Ico or Journey, when in fact it may turn out to be a perfectly solid, beautifully illustrated, straightforward adventure.

PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

May 2017

The Bard's Tale IV

Never mind inXile's 2004 action-adventure reboot of this classic roleplaying series, the studio has hence opted to leap ahead by shifting backward with The Bard's Tale IV, returning to the original's first-person, party-based dungeon crawl set in and around the town of Skara Brae.

PC, Mac, Linux

October 2017

Shenmue III

I wouldn't count on it, but last we heard, this Yu Suzuki led sequel to studio Sega AM2's series of open world fighting games was due by year's end, and stars a teenage martial artist sweeping 1980s China for his father's murderer.

PC, PlayStation 4

December 2017

Absolver

Studio Slocap's debut online brawler Absolver lets players build decks of cards that dictate martial combat maneuvers, unleashed against other players in multiplayer matchups.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Agents of Mayhem

Volition runs the clock ahead to produce an open world action game that's set in its signature Saints Row universe's future, letting players switch between unique individuals in teams of super-powered agents who do battle with nation-destabilizing terrorists.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

BattleTech

If you grew up playing this classic 1980s robo-wargame, pay attention to studio Hairbrained Schemes' reboot, led by series co-designer Jordan Weisman in an attempt to deliver the turn-based tactical flavor that made the tabletop original so compelling.

PC, Mac, Linux

TBD 2017

The Church in the Darkness

Described as an "action-infiltration" game, designer Richard Rouse III's 1970s cult-inspired The Church in the Darkness serves up procedurally generated woodland camp compounds in which cult members' beliefs and allegiances change upon each restart.

PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Crackdown 3

With any luck, we'll finally get to play studio Reagant Games — led by original Crackdown director David Jones — three-quel, superheroes versus super-villains, open world, Microsoft Azure cloud-powered destruction game.

PC, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Cuphead

Studio MDHR's Cuphead looks as incredible now as at its E3 2014 debut, a 2D side-scroller in which you battle giant paranormal carrots, boxing frogs, angry birds, queen bees, gambling contraptions and not-so-little mermaids, and where everything's hand-sketched and animated to resemble a 1930s Max Fleischer cartoon.

PC, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Detroit: Become Human

Quantic Dreams' interactive psychodramas are an acquired taste, but if you're a fan of stuff like Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, don't let Detroit: Become Human's awkward name put you off this apparent Blade Runner (you play an android tasked with hunting down programming-deviant androids) homage.

PlayStation 4

TBD 2017

Divinity: Original Sin II

Belgian developer Larian Studios has been quietly putting out some of the finest traditional roleplaying games the medium's seen, and Divinity: Original Sin II, which transpires in Larian's ever-unfurling, tactically fascinating, fantasy trope-averse world of Rivellon, looks to be its finest effort yet.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Dreams

Right now all that's slated for 2017 is the beta release, but this is Sony subsidiary Media Molecule's (the LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway games) next big thing: a sandbox imaginarium that builds on LittleBigPlanet's create-play-share themes.

PlayStation 4

TBD 2017

ELEX

After the Gothic and Risen fantasy roleplaying games, German studio Piranha Bytes tackles a sci-fi themed open world that marries medieval fantasy paraphernalia like swords and magic items with futuristic jet packs and guns.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Ever Oasis

Studio Grezzo, best known for its work with Nintendo on 3DS games like The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, takes a stab at a roleplaying game of its own in which players complete missions to fund an ever-expanding oasis hub.

Nintendo 3DS

TBD 2017

Frostpunk

11 bit studios, the folks behind the masterfully doleful This War of Mine, shift gears to a different kind of survivalism in a steam-powered world that sounds redolent of the moral bleakness in Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

PC

TBD 2017

Gorogoa

Calling it 2017's The Witness is probably a stretch, but Jason Roberts' long in development puzzler strikes similar tones with its nonlinguistic conundrums posed as grid images players have to stack or combine to unearth enigmatic connection points.

PC, PlayStation 4

TBD 2017

Gran Turismo Sport

Series creator and GT Sport producer Kazunori Yamauchi calls studio Polyphony Digital's latest racing sim entry the start of a new generation, and it's also reportedly stuffed with more content than the "prologue" aperitifs of prior introductory Gran Turismos.

PlayStation 4

TBD 2017

Impact Winter

Studio Mojo Bones tries its hand at a survival-angled roleplaying game in which you play as the leader of team making do after an asteroid strike conjures an everlasting winter, with one twist: you've just received a radio transmission: "In 30 days... Help is coming."

PC

TBD 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

After three decades of acrobatically restrained Zelda games, Nintendo is about to upend a sacred tenet: Link, the series’ elf-eared, avocado-trousered protagonist, can finally jump, in the company's first open-world, go-anywhere take on this iconic fantasy franchise.

Nintendo Switch, Wii U

TBD 2017

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Ni no Kuni II continues Level-5's gorgeous Studio Ghibli-inspired fantasy roleplaying series, this time dealing with the travails of a young king who's been ousted from his throne.

PlayStation 4

TBD 2017

Outlast 2

A new survival horror game from studio Red Barrels, this sequel to 2013's acclaimed Outlast sees a journalist and his spouse separated after an Arizona helicopter crash, with the former tasked with navigating a village controlled by a cult that believes the end of the world is nigh.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Prey

Dishonored developer Arkane Studios takes the 2006 original portal-hopping shooter's name, but apparently nothing else in this full revamp's seemingly survival horror-themed exploration of a Moon orbital space station overrun with hostile aliens.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar’s said almost nothing about its next open world Western to date, calling it "an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland" and adding that its "vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience."

PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017; play the original first: PS3, Xbox 360

Sea of Thieves

Studio Rare's open-world pirate game imagines teams of players working together to plunder island archipelagos and wage ship-to-ship sea battles with others in tests of coordination.

PC, Xbox One

TBD 2017

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

A South Park roleplaying game seemed the unlikeliest mashup before 2014's South Park: The Stick of Truth proved it perfectly natural, and The Fractured but Whole is franchise newcomer Ubisoft's followup, this time thrusting players (along with Cartman and pals) into a cosplay civil war.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Tacoma

Explore a derelict gravitationally unsettled space station, unearthing animations of historical crew scenarios in an attempt to understand what went wrong in studio Fulbright's followup to 2013's acclaimed Gone Home.

PC, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Tekken 7

The Japanese arcade version of Bandai Namco's Tekken 7 (and ninth installment in the publisher's iconic fighting series) is already approaching two years old, recalling coin-op's halcyon days, when the arcade versions of a hit game preceded console ports by substantial periods of time.

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Thimbleweed Park

Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick return to the genre they helped pioneer with a crowdfunded point-and-click adventure, this time staged in the weird and wooly town of Thimbleweed Park on the heels of a murder.

PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Xbox One

TBD 2017

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Call it “standalone DLC” for TIME top 10 pick Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End if you must, it’s effectively a new PlayStation 4 Uncharted game from studio Naughty Dog that brings back Chloe Frazier, a character we haven’t seen since Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

PlayStation 4

TBD 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III

Relic's Dawn of War II was an exemplar approach to Games Workshop's science fantasy dystopia in 2009, and so anticipation is doubtless sky-high for the studio's circling back to the series (after dallying with a Warhammer 40,000 shooter and Company of Heroes 2), as well as Dawn of War III's reintroduction of base building.

PC

TBD 2017

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