TA Top Five: Most Exciting 2017 Games

By Mark Delaney, 9 months ago
2017 has arrived, and with it comes all the renewed hype that accompanies another January. People spoke both jokingly and with grave seriousness about global events of last year, but if you isolate things to just the gaming world, the last twelve months provided a pretty awesome time. Games like Forza Horizon 3, Quantum Break and Battlefield 1 represented just a small fraction of the AAA titles that really made 2016 the best year the Xbox One has had yet. It seems the console and the generation are really hitting their stride, perhaps ironically with the Scorpio coming this fall.

With such a great year behind us, the one ahead has big console-shaped shoes to fill. Casting aside hypetrains from other platforms like Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild, we focused only on games coming to Xbox One and/or Windows 10, like we usually (but don't always) do. We perused the list of confirmed (and a few unconfirmed) 2017 titles and highlighted what has us throwing money at our monitors. Such a small list can only account for portion of the incoming excitement, so let us know what we missed or what wins your 2017 hype award.

Honorable Mentions

New Assassin's Creed

Navigation Vehicles

We don't know anything about this title for sure. We really don't even know if it will come out in 2017. Ubisoft has said their revamping process may take more than the one additional October-November window the series already skipped, but it does seem likely that it'll be revealed on or leading up to E3. Rumors currently point to an ancient Egypt setting, something that has been dreamed of by fans for as long as the series has been time-hopping.

More exciting than time and place is the idea of the franchise getting a much-needed facelift. The formula, at least for many, was no longer working. Syndicate was the highest rated installment in several years but still had plenty of detractors that grew weary of the constant high points and rinse-and-repeat nature that has been the games' backbone since day one. In what ways will this new one change the game? There are just so many question marks, and even if you're only morbidly curious to see the series continue to stumble, you probably still have an eye on how it's all going to turn out.

Crackdown 3

Crackdown 3 photo 4

Sam is a series veteran who wanted to display his excitement for the long-awaited threequel:
I loved Crackdown - I still consider it my favourite superhero game. Nevertheless, it never quite got to see its full potential. It's one of those games that was a lot of fun, yet lacked the staying power of some of its sandbox competitors. The closure of the studio was a big blow because I felt the series hadn't had chance to mature. I was very glad to hear that not only will Crackdown 3 be a reality but it will be made with the original creators, formed into a new studio.

Two of the biggest problems with the original were a fairly weak story and, for a game centred around having a vertical super-jump, a lack of creative verticality. Both problems have apparently been a focus for improvement in the third game. The world will still be full of those gorgeously addictive orbs - yes, I loved them - and the extra verticality should make for even more interesting treasure hunts.

What else could we need to get excited? How about some cloud-boosted multiplayer that should allow for destructible environments, Red Faction style? That sounds like it could be awesome… if Reagent Games can pull it off. I can’t wait to find out if they have.

Friday the 13th: The Game

Jason

How many of you, in the glory days of Modern Warfare and its sequel, improvised a game of "Michael Myers" mode with your friends in a private match? One person played the famous villain while others had to run and hide. Old School mode even allowed you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas on the map, making the chase all that more exciting. Those days were awesome. I look back on them fondly. I always wished Infinity Ward made the game mode a reality before I lost interest in the series.

Nearly ten years later, we now have that mode. Well, sort of. Friday The 13th gives us the world of Jason Voorhees, not Michael Myers, but it's the same asymmetrical mix of competitive and cooperative gameplay that was so fun and frightening, now with all the focus on making such a game work really well. Taking control of the team of Camp Crystal Lake counselors and working to run, hide, and thwart the tragic-turned-deadly and human-controlled villain looks awesome in the bits we've seen so far. It provides the tension of hiding for your life in a game like Outlast but does so in an online map where your teammates can either assist or sabotage you. After all, you don't always have to outrun Jason. You only have to outrun your friends.

Top Five

5. Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves 26

Rare's upcoming multiplayer game designates the pirate's life as the one for you, and looks to give you all the freedoms that come with buckling swash. Do you want to set sail for treasures unknown? Go ahead. Would you like to do battle with other nefarious types at sea? Please do. Maybe you just want to stay on shore getting drunk off rum. You can do that too!

The gameplay suite's loose structure still creates a bit of a mystery as to what sort of endgame, if any, Sea of Thieves will contain, but the fact that this talented studio is doing more than avatars and Kinect-required games means plenty of people are rightfully excited. Sea of Thieves is one of just a few recent games from the UK-based studio that doesn't require that ill-fated peripheral so many of us lack, and it's their first new IP in over a decade. The colorful imagery and social opportunities have us donning prop hooks and buying pet parrots in anticipation of setting sea later this year.

4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

RE7 screenshot

For years, a very vocal and apparent majority of Resident Evil fans have begged Capcom, "please, give us the Resi of old! We want horror!" Since Resident Evil 4 arrived on Nintendo GameCube the series has taken a decidedly action-oriented turn, much to the dismay of many. While others have surely preferred the new take and others still have enjoyed anything the series has put forth, countless fans have just wanted to Make Resident Evil Scare Again.

They finally get their wish, and in just a few weeks we'll find out if that wish was ill-conceived. Arguably the first big AAA title of the year is also one of the most anticipated. A startling demo for RE7 is out now and delivers tense first-person horror moments in a rundown shack of a house occupied by a deranged family that would make Tobe Hooper proud. Some caution would be best taken with RE7, as some 2016 chatter on the game said its VR capabilities were holding back the traditionally played version of the game in both the gameplay and visuals departments, but the demo assures fans that while some of the game has question marks, its fear factor has been ramped back up to compete with early entries.

3. Star Wars Battlefront II

Battlefront Content Update

Battlefront never really became the critical hit you might've — and EA definitely — expected back in the fall of 2015, though commercially it outgained the publisher's projections. Taking a year off for more Battlefield the team at DICE is now all-in on the sequel Star Wars fans have been asking for. A trend from earlier in the generation that involved a lot of games going multiplayer-only even when a story mode seemed like a good fit (see: Titanfall, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege) has been reversing somewhat as of late. Battlefront II hasn't had its official unveiling, but rumors right now indicate that the next game in the series will follow this same trend.

It seems borderline absurd for a Star Wars title to not offer story content, and maybe with games in the universe lined up for the next half-decade, EA thought Battlefront didn't need another campaign mode to go with those from Respawn and Visceral soon to follow. However, CFO Blake Jorgensen has teased several times that the next Battlefront will be "much bigger" with an "extremely deep" experience. Whether that means single-player content or just more of what the original lacked in maps, modes, and content, we can't say for sure yet, but it seems very likely that Battlefront II will be the droids game we're looking for.

2. Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda Tempest

Funny enough, Andromeda was featured in the same position in last year's version of this list. Of course, that never panned out. As I type this, we have just received official confirmation about Andromeda's release date. It's arriving very soon too, on March 21st. We haven't seen much of the game to date, which may alarm some, but the series' history dictates that we would probably be excited even if we had seen nothing so far, as that was the case for so long in the game's development.

A new galaxy awaits, with new races of aliens to discover, new squadmates whose loyalty will be tested — as will your own — and a brand new narrative in one of the industry's most illustrious and deepest story universes. How will BioWare fare with so many behind the scenes changes? What will fans think in the now distant aftermath of the trilogy's controversial ending? So many questions loom, but few games (see below) have more hype built around them than the latest in the Mass Effect series.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

One of the most requested sequels of all-time has finally been revealed to exist after years of rumors. Rockstar is getting back on the saddle and heading west for the unexpectedly titled Red Dead Redemption 2. Does that title, which was always expected to find some other alliterative final word like "revenge" or "retribution", indicate that the game is a sequel or prequel? Or is Rockstar just separating themselves from the series progenitor and spiritual predecessor, Red Dead Revolver? The studio is, as they often do, playing the quiet long game. It may be a long time before we see more of the game when it's not due til this spring, but look out anyone with plans to release a game this holiday season within a month of RDR2's release.

Unless Rockstar pushes the game to a later date, which both they and the industry as a whole have a habit of doing. Maybe it isn't right to put a game that history dicates will be delayed out of the year as our biggest game of the year to look forward to. But none of that really matters yet. As far as we know, the game is on schedule which means, as of right now, we'll all be enacting our manifest destiny sometime this holiday season.

These promising games and so many more grace the next twelve months of our lives. We could never cover all of what makes us excited, so let us know what else has you sleeplessly awaiting release date announcements and counting down the days.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is one of three voices on the TA Playlist podcast. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his fiancée and son. He almost never writes in the third person.