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The 43 games we can’t wait to play in 2017

Zelda, Red Dead, Mass Effect, and more

We just wrapped up a busy holiday season full of plenty of new video games, which means it’s time to think about what’s coming next. And 2017 promises to be a very interesting year indeed. Nintendo will be introducing its Switch console / portable hybrid, virtual reality titles like Lone Echo and Star Trek: Bridge Crew will try to expand the audience for VR, while games like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Persona 5 will make their much-anticipated debuts.

This list doesn’t include every big game that will come out in 2017. There are many yet to be announced, and there’s a very good chance that a number of these games will be delayed into 2018 and beyond. (For an idea of how often that happens, check out our annual preview from last year, which includes many games also on this list.)

But even still, 2017 is shaping up to be a good year for games, with a big lineup of new titles and a nice mix of fresh ideas and familiar favorites. Here are 43 titles to get excited about.

Absolver (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Absolver is a game almost entirely about combat. It takes place in a dark realm where you compete against other players online in real-time using various fighting techniques, from sword fighting to hand-to-hand combat. And it offers a huge range of customization options, letting you tweak your fighter’s abilities however you prefer, while learning new skills as you progress.

Alto’s Odyssey (Platforms TBD)

We know very little about the follow-up to Alto’s Adventure other than, well, it’s a follow-up to Alto’s Adventure. But given the original game’s distinctly chill blend of art, music, and endless snowboarding, we’re up for whatever comes next.

Animal Crossing (Mobile)

Nintendo made its much-belated mobile debut this month with Super Mario Run, and the company has a few other titles coming to your smartphone in 2017 as well. Perhaps the best suited is a new version of Animal Crossing. With its real-time structure, daily activities, and focus on quick bouts of play, Nintendo’s life-sim could end up being a perfect fit for your phone.

Below (PC, Xbox One)

Below is a long-in-the-works adventure from Capy Games, the studio behind Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and Super Time Force. It puts a focus on survival and exploration, thrusting you into a strange world and forcing you to figure out how to stay alive. Below also features permanent death to make things more challenging, with randomly generated environments to ensure that every journey is different.

Crackdown 3 (PC, Xbox One)

It’s been a long time since there was a new Crackdown — the second game came out back in 2010 — and the latest in the series looks to one-up the madness of its predecessors. It’s still a sandbox-like open world game where you can go virtually wherever you want, but this time you can cause havoc on a massive scale with new destructible environments.

Cuphead (PC, Xbox One)

Cuphead is a brutally difficult action-platform game disguised as a classic cartoon. It may look like an animated movie from the 1930s, but it plays like a lot like an arcade game from the 1980s.

Divide (PS4 - January 31st)

Divide is the debut release from indie studio Exploding Tuba, and it’s a title that looks to scratch that same itch as games like Shadowrun. It features wonderfully detailed isometric visuals, a noir-esque story about corruption and corporations, coupled with with gameplay that lets you don a pair of futuristic glasses to hack everything from security robots to locked doors.

Dragon Quest XI (PS4, 3DS, Switch)

The next Dragon Quest is the first proper single-player game in the series since 2010, and the first to grace a home console since 2005. As with all games in the series, DQXI looks to be an epic-sized, yet light hearted role-playing adventure set across a vast fantasy realm. And while the console versions offer up beautiful 3D visuals, on 3DS you’ll be able to swap between modern graphics and old-school pixel art.

Everything (PC, PS4)

Everything is the latest project from David OReilly, whose previous game turned a floating mountain into a digital pet. His next release is even wilder, letting you inhabit any object in the game, turning everything from a stapler to the sun into a playable character.

For Honor (PC, PS4, Xbox One - February 14th)

Ubisoft’s latest action game takes place in a strange world where knights, samurai, and vikings live together in a constant state of war. Naturally, the game is all about fighting, using a combat system the developers describe as “art of war.” You’ll be able to pummel your way through a single-player campaign, as well as slice up your friends online.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands (PC, PS4, Xbox One - March 7th)

The latest Ghost Recon game combines the scale and variety of an open-world game with the strategy and challenge of a tactical shooter. It puts you in the role of an elite US soldier looking to eliminate a powerful drug cartel in Bolivia.

Gran Turismo Sport (PS4)

Gran Turismo’s PS4 debut has been a long-time coming, but — barring any more delays — it should be here soon. Gran Turismo Sport may not have a number in the title, but it looks to have everything else fans of the series are expecting, namely cars that look, sound, and feel like the real thing. It’ll even include a virtual reality mode, a first for the series.

Gravity Rush 2 (PS4 - January 18th)

The sequel to cult hit Gravity Rush doesn’t appear to change things too much. You’re still playing as a young girl named Kat who can control how gravity affects her body, letting her fly through the air, walk on walls, and more. But Gravity Rush 2 features slightly more intuitive controls and, thanks to a shift to the PS4, crisper and more vibrant visuals.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Platforms TBD)

Telltale Games had a great 2016, with fantastic renditions of both Batman and The Walking Dead. Now the studio is bringing its own particular brand of interactive drama to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. If nothing else, playing as Groot should make for some interesting dialog choices.

Gwent (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

When you weren’t romancing witches and battling monsters, one of the best parts of The Witcher 3 was the collectible card game Gwent. Now, it’s getting its own standalone release, that adds more cards, more options, and even a story-driven single-player mode complete with voice acting.

Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4 - February 28th)

There simply aren’t enough games where you can hunt dinosaurs, and there are even fewer that feature dinosaurs that are also robots. Horizon Zero Dawn is the rare game that has both. The open-world survival game puts you in a world that’s both ancient and futuristic, where you play as a human hunter trying to uncover the mysteries behind this strange land.

Lone Echo (Oculus Rift)

Lone Echo might just be the most intense zero-gravity game ever made. Using the Oculus Rift’s Touch controllers, the game lets you move about its weightless environments just like an astronaut would, using your hands to push and pull off of objects around you. It’s a game where you’re constantly in motion, and while it feels strange at first, moving without the help of gravity quickly becomes second nature.

Manifold Garden (PC, PS4)

Manifold Garden thrusts you into a world filled with impossible, MC Escher-style architecture, offering up a combination of exploration and puzzle solving. But before you can crack the game’s puzzles, first you’ll have to wrap your head around its unique take on gravity and physics.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Capcom’s long-running fighting game series is making a return, as are familiar favorites like Mega Man, Ryu, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel. We don’t know a whole lot about how the game will be different from past entries, but expect plenty of screen-filling special moves and impossibly high combos.

Mass Effect: Andromeda (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

The next Mass Effect kicks off a new storyline set six centuries after the original trilogy, and it all takes place in an entirely new galaxy. But despite the change of scenery, it looks to offer much the same experience as past games, with huge worlds to explore, lots of space shooting action, and a focus on branching dialogue and character development.

Nier: Automata (PS4 - March 7th; PC)

The original Nier has become a cult classic thanks to its distinctly sorrowful take on a post-apocalyptic future. The sequel looks to maintain that, while also fixing the original’s infamously clunky combat sequences with a little help from renowned action studio Platinum Games.

Night in the Woods (PC, PS4)

Night in the Woods is a game about being both a cat and a college dropout. The beautiful 2D adventure game is focused primarily on story, touching on everything from the challenges of growing older to much more supernatural themes.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (PS4)

This role-playing series started life as the video game debut for famed animation house Studio Ghibli. And while the studio isn’t on board for the sequel, Ni No Kuni II still has the original’s impeccable sense of style, making it look like you’re playing a gorgeous anime adventure.

Persona 5 (PS3, PS4 - April 4th)

It’s really happening this time — we hope. After a series of delays, the much anticipated fifth entry in the Persona series is finally launching in April. Like the rest of the franchise, Persona 5 will offer up a unique blend of life simulation and dungeon crawling, as you play as a seemingly typical high school student who also has the power to enter a mysterious dark world and battle powerful monsters.

Prey (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

The new Prey is a reboot that looks almost nothing like the original, but still offers up a very promising take on sci-fi horror. The game has you trapped on a space station overrun with aliens — thankfully, you’ll have plenty of superpowers to fight back.

Project Sonic 2017 (Platforms TBD)

Could this be the one? After years and years of failed attempts to return Sonic to his rightful place, Sega is trying yet again with the mysterious Project Sonic 2017. There’s not much information on the game yet, but it takes place in some kind of post-apocalyptic world and, more importantly, appears to focus on Sonic’s ability to go really, really fast.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One)

Rockstar’s first major release since Grand Theft Auto V sees the developer return to the Western-tinged world of Red Dead Redemption. The debut trailer for the game didn’t show much of the game, but instead set the tone, with a surprisingly chilled out vibe with a heavy emphasis on nature.

Resident Evil 7 (PC, PS4, Xbox One - January 24th)

After a few disappointing entries following the sublime Resident Evil 4, the franchise is going in a new direction. Resident Evil 7 will be the first game in the main series to offer a first-person perspective, and the change could result in one of the scariest games of the year.

Robo Recall (Oculus Rift)

Epic Games’ latest VR experiment is a surprisingly lighthearted take on killer robots. Robo Recall puts you in the role of a robot repairman who fixes defective bots with the help of an arsenal of guns and a good sense of aim.

Rock Band VR (Oculus Rift)

Rock Band has long let players live out the fantasy of being a rock star, and the upcoming virtual reality spinoff takes that idea a step further. Not only do you get to wield a guitar and play complex solos, you also get to do it while looking out at an adoring crowd from the stage.

Routine (PC - March)

Indie sci-fi horror game Routine has been in the works for several years, but its premise has remained intriguing the entire time. The first person survival game puts you on an abandoned space station infused with creepy, Alien-esque style, including chunky retrofuturistic tech and the constant feeling that there’s something bad just around the corner.

Sea of Thieves (PC, Xbox One)

Sea of Thieves probably isn’t what you’d expect from developer Rare, the British studio best known for the likes of Donkey Kong Country and Goldeneye 007. But it also offers something few games have before, letting you work together with other players to manage a pirate ship. The biggest challenge will probably be deciding who gets to take the wheel.

Sonic Mania (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

If the new 3D take on Sonic doesn’t pan out, we always have Sonic Mania. The new game takes the series back to its roots, with speedy side-scrolling gameplay and retro visuals that look ripped from the Sega Genesis era. It’ll even feature remixed versions of levels from past games, for an added old-school feel.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PSVR - March 14th)

Unlike its Jedi-filled counterpart, Star Trek is rarely about straight-up action. And the new VR experience Bridge Crew gets to the heart of that, putting you on the bridge of a starship, and forcing you to work with other players to solve dilithium crystal-related problems. This might be your one chance to say “Make it so” without looking stupid.

Tacoma (PC, Xbox One)

The follow-up to breakout 2013 hit Gone Home, Tacoma features a similar focus on narrative-driven gameplay, but moves the setting into outer space. This time you’ll be exploring an eerily empty lunar transfer facility, trying to piece together the clues of just what happened.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U, Switch)

The Legend of Zelda is finally going open world. Breath of the Wild offers a vast and open version of Hyrule for players to explore, and also introduces a number of new elements to the series, including a newfound emphasis on survival. You’ll need to hunt for food and craft your own weapons in order to keep Link alive.

Thimbleweed Park (PC, Xbox One, iOS, Android)

The creators of Maniac Mansion are back with a game that looks just like a classic LucasArts adventure. Thimbleweed Park features a text-based interface, chunky pixel-art visuals, and a quirky sense of humor, but also makes a number of modern gameplay tweaks to ensure it’s not as frustrating as it predecessors.

Tokyo 42 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

This top-down action game is described as “the lovechild of Syndicate and GTA 1,” and it looks just as wild as that sounds. Set in a futuristic and impossibly stylish version of Tokyo, the game puts you in the role of an assassin who must take out marks while trying to uncover a conspiracy at the heart of the city.

Vampyr (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Vampyr is a drastic departure from developer Dontnod’s previous game, the time-travelling teen drama Life is Strange. It stars a newly-turned vampire, who must come to grips with his condition. His decisions about how to feed and who to kill with have a big impact on the world around him.

Vane (PS4)

The Last Guardian finally released this year, but this 2017 release has a very similar vibe. Created by former members of The Last Guardian’s design team, Vane is likewise about exploring a mysterious world and discovering strange secrets. But this time you won’t have to worry about yelling at stubborn giant bird-dog.

What Remains of Edith Finch (PC, PS4)

What Remains of Edith Finch is the video game equivalent of a short story collection. You’ll be exploring the history of a cursed family — venturing into the lives of different family members, spanning from the early 1900s to today — and each chapter will offer a different kind of experience.

Yakuza 0 (PS4 - January 24th)

The Yakuza series is sort of like a much stranger, goofier take of open-world action titles like Grand Theft Auto. Yakuza 0 continues that trend, but brings the series back to the ‘80s in a fictionalized take on the seedy underbelly of Tokyo. You can beat up bad guys, collect lots of cash, and run multiple businesses on the side.

Yooka-Laylee (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch)

Great 3D platformers are a rare thing, which is why Yooka-Laylee is so exciting. The spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie — and created by many of the same team members — Yooka-Laylee is a bright, colorful, and playful adventure that fondly calls back to games on the Nintendo 64.

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