The best PC games ever The best PC games of 2018 so far Best graphics card 2018 Best free games Artifact guide Fallout 76 guide

99

The PC games of 2017 mega-preview

It's gonna be a good year

As Old Father Time grabs his sickle and prepares to take ailing 2016 around the back of the barn for a big sleep, we’re looking to the future. The mewling pup that goes by the name 2017 will come into the world soon and we must prepare ourselves for its arrival. Here at RPS, our preparations come in the form of this enormous preview feature, which contains details on more than a hundred of the exciting games that are coming our way over the next twelve months. 2016 was a good one – in the world of games at least – but, ever the optimists, we’re hoping next year will be even better.

The games are grouped into categories by genre, but genres aren’t quite as neat and tidy as they were in the days when games were all shooters and divided into the sub-genres “War” or “Aliens” easily enough. Our categories are broad so if you click the links below to peruse each of them, you should find what you’re looking for easily enough, and of course you can read about all of the games by clicking the arrows next to the image above, or using your cursor keys.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, READERS

Action
Adventure
Fighting
Horror
Platformer
Puzzle
RPG
Shooter
Simulation/Space
Strategy
Survival

The list isn’t comprehensive. Given how quickly things move in this future age, a hundred games have probably been released since you started reading this post. If we’ve missed something you’re particularly excited about, do let everyone else know in the comments below. We’ve almost certainly missed something we’ll end up being excited about, and who knows – maybe this’ll be like last year, when our eventual game of the year wasn’t even on our radar when we compiled our preview. That’s a splendid thought, isn’t it?

Action

For Honor [Official Site ]

Genre: Action, Fighting

Release date: February 14

What is it?
A trinity of historical warrior types – vikings, samurai and knights – come together to put their swords through each other’s bellies and find out who is the best anachronism once and for all. The singleplayer sees you hacking and slashing weaker mobs while getting into slower, more careful bouts with bosses. But the multiplayer duels seek to make every fight a toughie. You have to deflect attacks by guarding left, right or up, while also trying to land your own blows. Alec had a go at it and enjoyed the swordplay of multiplayer.

The Church In The Darkness [Official Site ]

Genre: Stealth, Action, RPG

Release date: Q1

What is it?
Top-down journey into a procedurally-generated jungle cult in South America to find your nephew. Developers Paranoid Productions say that the exact nature of the cult will change with each playthrough, sometimes they may be hardworking, decent folk and other times they will be harsh zealots, or have some mixture of attributes that leaves you conflicted about how you approach the rescue – lethal takedown,, stealthy creeping or diplomatic dealings.

Metal Gear Survive [Official Site ]

Genre: Stealth, Action

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Hideo Kojima may have moved on from Metal Gear but Metal Gear will never die. In its first release following the departure of its creator, the series has turned to zombies for its kicks, with an entirely new game that looks more than a little like The Phantom Pain’s undead cousin. Does it need the Metal Gear name? Probably not. Is chucking zombies at Metal Gear particularly inventive or in keeping with the strengths of the series? Not really. But – whisper it – early videos make it look like a laff.

Agents Of Mayhem [Official Site ]

Genre: Action, sandbox

Release date: TBC

What is it?
OK, the name sounds like a kid’s TV show from 1994, but don’t hold that against it. This is the creators of Saints Row taking their anything-goes sandboxery somewhere new – specifically, a futureworld of supervillains and interplanetary metahuman agencies. Though Saints’ DNA is very much in there, expect a very different affair – for one, you’re a heroic anti-crime group rather than gangsters with hearts of gold, and for another devs Volition this time hope to make an incredible action game first, then stick their trademark wit all over it. For all its other virtues, Saints Row has rarely been more than adequate when it comes to the jumping, thumping, shooting and driving side of things – Agents of Mayhem wants to be the best of the best in all regards. We shall see.

Toejame and Earl: Back in the Groove [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Action, Co-op

Release date: TBA

What is it?
A reimagining of the Sega MegaDrive “classic”, built by Adult Swim and indulging in all the ideas of what being cool meant in the 1990s, including but not limited to: flashing tiled backgrounds, bright pinks, backwards baseball caps, funk, ghettoblasters, splitscreen co-op, and chains.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk [Official Site ]

Genre: Action-adventure, manga, co-op

Release date: February 21

What is it?
Great name, but if you’re not down with Dynasty Warriors-style hacky-slashy combat and bewildering manga stories you might struggle. It’s based on a long-running Japanese comic series and is not the first videogame spin-off, but it stars someone named Guts, features man-sized swords and an egg with a human face nestled in a flesh nest. It looks pretty spectacular too, so let’s hope that – and the precision and excess of its violence – is enough to offset total bafflement for those of us who are not already deeply invested in whatever the hell it is that’s going on here.

Styx: Shards of Darkness [Official Site ]

Genre: Stealth adventure

Release date: Early 2017

What is it?
Styx: Master of Shadows was a solid 6/10 game. If you like unbending stealth games, you might go as high as a 7. That’s unusual for Cyanide, a development studio who tend to have interesting ideas but rarely achieve higher than a 5/10 in execution. Sequel Shards of Darkness is aiming even higher. You again play as Styx, a goblin who can climb up and over buildings, create and command clones of himself, turn briefly invisible and so on. You use these skills to avoid or do-in guards in a pretty world with a lot of verticality, and if you get spotted it’s often as good as game over. We haven’t played the sequel yet but you can read our review of the original here.

Crackdown 3 [Official Site]

Genre: Sandbox, sci-fi, action-adventure

Release date: Q4

What is it?
The series that did what Saints Row does now – and then some – long before Saints Row was truly Saints Row returns, and that means power-jumping, futurecars, building destruction on a massive scale and extremely broad corps vs gangs thrills in one big open world. The original Crackdown was a triumph of chaos in the early days of the Xbox 360, but the series struggled a bit since. With GTA co-creator Dave Jones returning to the Crackdown fold after his APB misadventures, there’s much to pay attention to here.

Echo [Official Site ]

Genre: Stealth, action-adventure, cyberpunk

Release date: TBC

What is it?
It’s a stealth game in which your only opponents are yourself. Specifically, clones of yourself that, allegedly, reflect your playstyle and choice of actions throughout the game. Avoid yourself, or fight yourself. This is somehow our first time posting about Echo, a sin I suspect we shall multiply atone for henceforth. Not only because the concept’s great, but also because it has amazing chandeliers. Visually, it looks a fair bit like Deus Ex: The New Ones, but pushing both the cyberpunk and the Rennaisancey stuff even further.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice [Official Site

Genre: Action

Release date: 2017

What is it?
Rooted in Celtic mythology, Hellblade will tell the story of Senua and explore the world through her eyes and ears. The latter is particularly important as Senua’s reality involves dealing with psychosis, particularly auditory hallucinations. That’s not to be glib – the team have been working with experts including Professor Paul Fletcher at the University of Cambridge to understand how to enfold psychosis into the character and the game, working it into the game alongside melee combat. It’ll be interesting to see how the game actually turns out and whether it manages to convert that research into a meaningful gaming encounter.

Lego City Undercover [Official Site]

Genre: Open world, action-adventure

Release date: Spring

What is it?
A belated PC port of a well-received but inevitably not wildly successful 2013 Wii-U game. Undercover is best described as ‘Grand Theft Auto for kiddywinkles’, parodying ’70s cop movies and TV shows. Expect gangs of punks, big boxes of donuts, deep cop funk, and villains with names like Rex Fury. And, coming as it does from the same stable as the something-for-everyone Lego Star Wars (et al) games, there should be a ton of giggles for grown-ups too.

Sundered [Official Site ]

Genre: Action, Platformer, Metroidvania

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Eldritch metroidvania from the pencil-filled desks of Jotun’s creators. The hand-drawn world has got a bit of procedural generation and is inspired by Lovecraft’s literary scribblings, meaning there’ll be hordes of stuff with too many appendages. But also big boss fights and “corruptible abilities” – whatever that means.

Megaton Rainfall [Official Site]

Genre: Superheroes, first-person action

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Talk about having yer cake and eating it. This is both a first-person, flying superhero game, of the sort it seems genuinely ridiculous we don’t have a dozen of already, and a large-scale, city-trashing alien invasion game. The prospect and the spectacle teased so far is magnificent, though what we’ve seen leans far more towards aliens than Superman. The dev’s also been a bit quiet since last Summer, having last broken cover to say that he was targeting PSVR. Let’s hope this doesn’t end up restricted to experential gamette as a result.

Nine Parchments [Official Site]

Genre: Co-op, action-ARPG

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Trine developers Frozenbyte remain in the realm of magic but switch from the serene to the chaotic, with this co-op wizard-blasting affair. They’re not shy about making comparisons to that other game of butter-fingered mages, Magicka, but are clear that it’s not a clone and will be very much its own game. It retains the beautiful colours of Trine, but should have a very different feel. After a couple of underwhelming games, let’s hope this gets Frozenbyte back on track.

Octogeddon [Official Site]

Genre: Cephalopods, action, wave survival

Release date: Early 2017

What is it?
Initial disappointment that this is not some apocalyptic follow-up to Octodad gives way to delight that it’s a new game from original Plants vs Zombies designer George Fan. You play as a giant octopus bent on the destruction of a fleet of submarines. Though the action starts slow, you’re quickly overwhelmed by faster and more numerous fleets of subs. Fortunately, you can evolve, and that means adding more and more mutant arms, such as spitting snakes and giant wasps. If that makes little to no sense to you as a concept, fear not, you can try it yourself with the free Ludum Dare version.

Rise & Shine [Official Site]

Genre: Shmup, side-scrolling action

Release date:

What is it?
A comical, band dessinee-lookin’ side-scrolling shooty-jumpy game, in the vein of yer Metal Slugs. Promises ‘ruthless gun based combat’ as though 99% of games don’t do that already, but it’s got Adult Swim money pumped into it, and has some lovely trashed-world environments with massive bosses. It is very much A Videogame, of the sort that isn’t often done with much of a budget these days, hence may well scratch a few itches.

Scalebound [Official Site]

Genre: Fighting, action

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Another Platinum Games joint, but unlike NieR, Transformers and Toitles, this time they’re back on their own turf, with their own idea – which, given the glorious excess of Bayonetta, might just be a very good thing indeed. It’s a game about a headphone-wearing young lad and his dragon pal duffing up nasties, including a giganto-crab, and evidence would seem to suggest we’re in for a co-op mode too. The bad news is it’s one of those Xbox Play Anywhere jobbies, so you’ll need Windows 10 and the fortitude to use its store if you want to play it.

Prey [Official Site]

Genre: Action, stealth, horror

Release date: Q1/Q2

What is it?
Depending on who you ask, it’s either that game where you can turn into a mug or the next step in Arkane’s mission to breathe new life into first-person games. Developed by a different Arkane studio than that responsible for Dishonored 2, Prey is a sci-fi game about exploring a space station, fighting shadowy, liquidy aliens, and, yes, turning into a mug. Early footage has divided opinions at RPS a little – some think the combat looks UNFUN – but we’re hoping for great things.

Tokyo 42 [Official Site]

Genre: Action, tactics

Release date: Q1/Q2

What is it?

What walks like Syndicate, shoots like Syndicate and looks almost nothing at all like Syndicate…it’s probably Tokyo 42. Isometric kills, thrills and spills in the most colourful cityscapes we’ve seen in a long time. Frozen Synapse studio Mode 7 are the publishers, but not the developers, of this gorgeous shootin’ and sneakin’ game that made us all stop what we were doing and gawk at the screenshots when they were first released.

Adventure

Sea of Thieves [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Action

Release date: Q1

What is it?
Swashbuckling cartoon collaboration with a crew of mates against other swashbuckling crews of multiplayer mates. Your handful of pirates has to divvy out tasks to keep your ship going – some people unfolding the sails, others steering, others calling out directions, others drinking beer below deck. But attacks from other crews will force you to man cannons, or patch holes in the hull with desperate planks. It’s a Windows 10 game though.

The Pillars of the Earth [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure

Release date: TBA

What is it?
A point and clicking adaptation of Ken Follett’s historical novel of the same name, hoping to tell the story of the not-quite-finished cathedral in a “new and interactive way”. It looks like they are going for an old-style animation look, which is okay with us if our feelings about the Banner Saga are anything to go by. Although, this being historical fiction, there’ll be less mythical men with sheep horns and more dying Thomas á Beckets.

The Sexy Brutale [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Puzzle

Release date: Q1

What is it?
Trapped in an endlessly-repeating day inside a casino called the “Sexy Brutale”, elderly priest Lafcadio Boone has to figure out how to save the lives of its patrons as they are killed by the mansion’s staff. Masks, murder and a mysterious marquis all in an isometric puzzle adventure. The developers, Tequila Works, made 2012 post-apocalyptic “survival platformer” Deadlight and are also working on the bright and breezy Rime.

The Wardrobe [Official Site ]

Genre: Point & Click, Adventure

Release date: January 26

What is it?
Five years ago you died when your best mate accidentally gave you a plum, killing you thanks to an allergy. Now you live in his wardrobe as a skeleton, cursed to watch over him. We’re told this is heavily inspired by ye olde adventures like Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle, and Monkey Island but also that it “isn’t shy about dealing with mature and non-politically correct themes”. So take that whatever way thou wilst.

Thimbleweed Park [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Point & Click

Release date: Q1

What is it?
“Adventure games suck,” wrote Ron Gilbert in 1989, before developing another 50 adventure games. Thimbleweed Park is another, following Dolores Edmund and four other playable characters within a small decaying town on the fringes of American consumption. Her grandfather’s factory once invigorated the town but now it’s dying (along with at least one of its inhabitants) in this “dark and humorous neo-noir mystery”. Did Ron change his mind about the genre? A bit, discovered Adam in this interview.

What Remains Of Edith Finch [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, First-Person

Release date: TBA

What is it?
As the last surviving member of the Finch household, you explore your large family home and learn about the lives and history of your relatives, playing as each of them up until the moment of their death. This is from the peeps who made The Unfinished Swan, an inventive paint-as-you-go allegory which was sadly restricted to PlayStation. No such limitation this time – hurrah!

Full Throttle Remastered [Official Site ]

Genre: Point-and-click adventure

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Full Throttle was one of the latter-day LucasArts adventures, written and designed by Tim Schafer. Now Schafer’s company Double Fine, who have previously remastered Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, are turning their attention towards Ben the biker and his world of big engines, sinister businessmen, and exploding bunny rabbits. These remasters tend to perform two main actions: one, replacing the expressive low resolution pixel art of the originals with smooth lines which look occasionally better and often worse; two, fixing any outstanding issues with the original games. In Grim Fandango’s case that meant better controls. Perhaps with Full Throttle it’ll mean making the on-bike combat section not intolerably tedious. If not, hopefully the creators will at least make fun of it in the included developer commentary.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series [Official Site ]

Genre: Talky adventure

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s lesser known and stranger comics, following a human in deep space, a talking raccoon, a talking tree, and a cast of colourful aliens. It’s the kind of stuff that tends to get cut out of the films – eg. all the weird space stuff from the X-Men – but which proved a surprise success when translated to cinemas a couple of years ago. We know nothing about Telltale’s take on the series other than what we can guess: it’ll likely follow the movie rather than the comics, and it’ll be about making choices in conversation which have less consequence than the game pretends. Hopefully there’s no awkward attempts to translate action sequences into quicktime events.

Night in the Woods [Official Site ]

Genre: Story-driven adventure

Release date: January 10th

What is it?
An adventure game set in a town of anthropomorphic animals, in which you run and jump between electricity cables, explore, and hang out with friends. Who you decide to hang out with shapes the course of the story by defining which events you see. There are also mini-games in which you dance with friends or play guitar with them, which adds to the sense that these animals are really a bunch of hip, introspective twenty-year-olds. It’s due for release really early in January and looks like it might be an immediate highlight of the year.

Tacoma [Official Site ]

Genre: First-person narrative

Release date: Early 2017

What is it?
Tacoma is a first person science fiction storygame from the makers of Gone Home. Like that game, you arrive in a location that’s deserted – in this instance a space station, not a suburban home – and must piece together what happened there by exploring, listening to audio recordings (now acting out via holograms), and rotating objects around. There’s been plenty of consideration put into its setting, with the design of spaces making use of zero gravity in how you move around them, but we don’t know a lot about the story other than that there’s a mystery as to what happened there. Last we heard, the meat of the game had also received an overhaul this past summer, with changes to how you interact with the world. Twist: that might mean everything we just wrote is no longer true.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles[Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Third-Person

Release date: Q2

What is it?
The island of Gemea is a nice place but it’s got a touch of the Murk. That’s what the mysterious evil presence in this Zelda-looking adventure is called. It passed through Greenlight recently and we’re told it sees your wandering character teaming up with the animals and Sprites of the island to become a Murk-busting champion. But exactly how it plays – jumping about with a sword or calmly wandering and pushing contextual buttons – we don’t know yet.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Horror, Visual Novel, Escape the room

Release date: March

What is it?
This is a collection of three visual novel/room escape games, only the third of which ever came out on PC. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma was that trilogy-ender, putting nine of its characters into a wretched facility where only three will come out alive, all based on the decisions you make. The Nonary Games is throwing in the previous two entries – the original Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and sequel Virtue’s Last Reward. As a boxset, recurring survivors of these surreal and deadly challenges might make a bit more sense to newcomers.

Hiveswap [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, puzzle, episodic

Release date: January

What is it?

An episodic pointer-clicker spun out of webcomic Homestuck. Though that technically means a whole lot of backstory, the promise is that none of it should matter, and instead we’re in for the theoretically accessible tale of rescuing a treehouse-bound from monsters. The superficial cutesiness gives way to some Chronenbergian horrors and even some dimension-hopping. Could be a welcome addition to the adventure game ranks, presuming it can keep the fanservice aspect under control.

Knights and Bikes [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure

Release date: 2017

What is it?

Knights and Bikes is one of those games which absolutely oozed childlike retro appeal when it popped up on Kickstarter. You play as adventurous kids, Nessa and Demelza, who are off to seek the truth about the island of Penfurzy’s legends. The tiny dev team say that the adventure is inspired by the likes of The Goonies as well as games like Earthbound and Secret of Mana and the scrappy spiritedness which infuses all of the gifs, images and writing the Foamsword team have put out about the game has been utterly charming.

Syberia 3 [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, Point and click

Release date: Q1

What is it?
Syberia 3 has the honour of being in our ‘Games of 2015’ lineup too. That’s because it has seen multiple delays and postponements, the latest being in October. But the developers promise it’s really going to be ready this year. The first Syberia was a refreshingly better-than-okay story of personal discovery and clockwork oddities in the frozen lands of Russia, if John is to be believed. This instalment follows lawyer Kate Walker on a journey to help some snow ostriches reach their breeding grounds. Not joking.

Memoranda [Official Site ]

Genre: Point and click adventure, magical realism

Release date: 25 January

What is it? ‘Magical realism inspired by the work of Norwegian Wood author Haruki Murakami’ is a bold and exciting pitch, and Memoranda’s got the looks to match too. The big question is whether dream-like oddity can translate well to point’n’click puzzles without falling into frustration – but fingers crossed there’s plenty of freedom to soak up its wonderful sights and sounds rather than spend hours working out which combination of bizarre items opens a door.

Outcast: Second Contact [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, shooter, adventure, voxels no more

Release date: March (probably not)

What is it? The 57th Best PC Game of all time is back, back, back! Er, again. Again. 1999 RPG/adventure/shooter/everything voxel-oddity Outcast has had an HD do-over and a failed attempt at a full Kickstarted remake already, but somehow the extremely purdy-lookin’ new version is happening anyway. Second Contact brings visual splendour to what was always a great-looking, if difficult to run, sci-fi game, but perhaps even more importantly it’ll replace the oh-so-90s controls and UI with something more human-friendly. We’re very fond of Outcast here, but do admit to some hesistancy about digging up its bones yet again.

Mosaic [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure

Release date: TBC

What is it?

The specifics of Krillbite’s upcoming game are rather thin on the ground although they have promised more info in 2017. So far we know that Mosaic is intended to be a different beast to their toddler horror Among The Sleep and that it intends to tackle urban and social isolation. If the trailer is representative of the art style you can expect greyish office-scapes and anonymous workers – at least at first, but Krillbite note that “one day weird things start happening and everything around [the main character] changes.” So far it keeps putting us in mind of Every Day The Same Dream.

Shenmue III [Official Site ]

Genre: open world action-adventure

Release date: December

What is it? An open-world action-adventure and sequel to a beloved series last seen on Dreamcast. The passion/ferocity of Dreamcast fans means there perhaps seems to be more of a frenzy around Shenmue than there really is, but it nonetheless rounded up $6m on Kickstarter, in addition to having some Sony funbucks and marketing support. Expect a combination of slice-of-life exploration and conversation, battles, murder-mystery and serpentine prophecies.

Finding Paradise [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure

Release date: Summer

What is it? It’s a poor year for games if there’s nothing to make our John cry so it’s a relief to know that he’ll be weeping through the summer months thanks to the release of this sequel to top adventure To The Moon. Two doctors insert themselves into their patients’ memories to help fulfil their final wishes. You direct them, mostly by wandering around and triggering hotspots, and chatting to remembrances.

Future Unfolding [Official Site ]

Genre: Exploration, nature, adventure

Release date: Q1-Q2

What is it? A beautiful, beautiful game of abstract nature exploration, which we’ve been waiting for for a good couple of years now. Best not try to pin anyone down on exactly what it is you’ll be doing in Future Unfolding, but instead to go watch a few videos and imagine the state of zen it will hopefully lull you into. It’s painterly and it’s about running around with animals – you probably already know based on that sentence alone if this is for you.

Lego Worlds [Official Site ]

Genre: Minecraftbut, building, exploration

Release date: 24 February (already out in Early access)

What is it? Lego’s belated official riposte to the ultimate tribute game, Minecraft, has been in early access for quite some time now. Though people seem fond of it, it’s struggled to make anything like the waves of its Notchian predecessor – perhaps February’s full release will change that. The wild variety of Lego is all present and correct, while recent updates have added online multiplayer and underwater exploration. Dangle it in front of your kid and see if it’s enough to lure them away from Creepers.

Fighting

Absolver [Official Site ]

Genre: Action, Fighting

Release date: February 14

What is it?
A skill-based multiplayer punch-up that is borrowing from the book of Dark Souls. As you traverse this martial arts world of mask-wearing AI fist-fighters, you can encounter others and either trade, team-up, or fight to the death. One neat feature sees you gradually learning moves from others as they use them against you, meaning you can purposefully teach others by sparring with them. Adam said it was one of E3’s best games this year Disclaimer: our own Alec has written some lore bits for Absolver.

Tekken 7 [Official Site ]

Genre: Fighting

Release date: Q1/Q2

What is it?
Tekken’s seventh Iron Fisted wave of brutal competition may have hit arcades (what are those?) last year but it is coming to PC alongside console – the first Tekken to do so. Importantly, all the good characters are coming with it: Master Raven, Bob, those two bears…

Them’s Fighting Herds [Official Site ]

Genre: Fighting

Release date: Q1

What is it?
A fighting game that’s not-quite My Little Pony for Hasbro-related legal reasons but nevertheless involves a lot of people from the My Little Pony reserves and mimics all the cartoon stylings of Friendship Is Magic. On top of the matches there’s a wee top-down town functioning as a “visual lobby” in which you can pester other players before getting fighty.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 [Official Site ]

Genre: Fighting

Release date: March

What is it?
It’s the same 3v3 fighting game that came out for everything else in 2011. But in lieu of us PC plebs getting Marvel vs Capcom Infinite next year, we’re also getting this. It’s set to include all the DLC along with “improved 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second”, if that sort of thing matters to you while you punch Iron Man in his goolies.

Nidhogg 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: Multiplayer fighting game

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Nidhogg was a tight two-player fighting game which had been floating around game developer circles for years before creator Mark Essen polished it up, paired it with some great music, added some online multiplayer and released it to the public. Now just a short while later it’s getting a sequel. There are plans to improve upon the original by making that online multiplayer not terribly laggy, but also new artwork, new weapons, and new levels. The new artwork makes the biggest initial impact – and it’s not clear that it’s better than the old clean pixel art.

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite [Official Site ]

Genre: Fighting, multiplayer beat ‘em up

Release date: Late 2017

What is it? It’s probably a minor miracle that this is allowed to happen in these carefully brand-controlled times, but hey, here you go – a massive, pile-up brawl between the House of M’s finest and a broad roster of Capcom types, spanning everything from Street Fighter to Megaman. Infinite’s six characters revealed so far are Ryu out Street Fighter, Morrigan from Darkstalkers, Mega Man X, Iron Man, Captain America, and Captain Marvel. Rumours have it that the Marvel side of things will focus on their Cinematic Universe rather than the comics – which probably means no X-Men or Fantastic Four, seeing as their filmic rights lie with other studios.

Horror

Call of Cthulhu [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror, adventure

Release date: TBA

What is it?
There are lots of Lovecraftian games, or Lovecraftian elements in games, but there aren’t all that many games that just slap a Cthulhu in their title. Call of Cthulhu is one such game and though details are still thin on the ground, we’re expecting to learn a lot more in the very near future. What we do know is that it’ll take place on a “backwater island” and involve stealthy investigative work. If it can expand on the exploration and panicking of Dark Corners of the Earth, it might be one of several strong scare ‘em ups in 2017.

Conarium [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror, adventure

Release date: Q1

What is it?
Conarium is that other class of Lovecrafty game. There’s no overt reference to ol’ HP’s work in the title – they went with a bit of the brain instead – but Conarium is a first-person adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness in all but name. The trailer suggests it’ll be heavy on the stealth and that’s as it should be. When you find that your consciousness may have been transferred into a new host having been transported to strange places and filled with strange thoughts that may be premonitions or memories. Either way, there are tentacles, blasphemous statues and ragged wings involved.

Tether [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror, Sci-fi

Release date: Winter

What is it?
The blurb for this makes it sound a bit yawn: science fiction horror aboard a Mars-bound spacecraft, where the protagonist is “forced to survive the psychological horrors of isolation in deep space”. But then we are told who that protagonist is: a mother who left her family to work as a research assistant, deeply upsetting them in the process. The story seems to be leaning heavily on that theme, meaning there may more of interest here than the average alien horror.

Hello Neighbor! [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror, stealth

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Not all horror games feel the need to throw tentacles and teeth in your direction. Hello Neighbor goes with a chin and a dapper moustache instead. You’ve moved to a new neighbourhood and become intrigued by the gent living just across the road. Your house is a dinky little thing and he lives in a manor. That manor has many rooms and your neighbour is hiding secrets behind the basement door. Your task is simple – break in, enter the basement, discover the truth. Only your neighbour stands between you and success. Unfortunately, he’s smart. And he learns from your every move. Or at least he will be smart, eventually. The current demo is a fun little thing, and being updated regularly, but the neighbor is an angry idiot.

Little Nightmares [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror, stealth

Release date: Q1/Q2

What is it?

2017 should start with a shriek thanks to the release of Resident Evil 7 so early in the year, but any horror fan who lets Little Nightmares slip past them when it releases might well regret it. We’ve only played a tiny bit of the game formerly known as Hunger, but what a horrible treat it was. There’s something of Playdead’s Limbo and Inside about Little Nightmares, and not just because of the tiny character that you guide through a scary world – the physics-based puzzles and stealth are also similar. It’s very much its own game though, and even a fifteen minute session was home to some deeply unnerving moments. If the creepiness and creative design stays at a high level throughout, this could be one of the year’s sleeper hits.

Agony [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror, adventure, survival horror

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Unreal-powered survival horror, big on the hellscapes and the fire and blood and the evil gods, giant boss fights and satanic boobies and slaughtered babies and everything that used to make newspapers upset. Also, most interestingly, a demon posession mechanic. It’s first person with a bit of stealth, such as crouching and holding your breath – all the better for avoiding demons. What’s been shown so far is extremely good-looking, in an absolutely horrific sort of way, and the videomen it’s been shared too have certainly done their exaggerated screaming thing in response, but until the thing’s in our hands the jury’s out if it can match that spectacle with substance.

Outlast 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror

Release date: Q1

What is it?
The asylum of the original Outlast is gone, replaced by cornfields and cults down in Arizona. A demo is already available and it shows that the strengths of Red Barrels’ first game have been retained – the camera, the night vision, the terror of turning a corner and meeting a murderer. It’s all a little stranger as well, on the evidence of that demo, with one particularly horrifying moment involving a tongue and a well, and some reality-shifting that drops a dollop of Silent Hill into the mix.

Resident Evil 7 [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror

Release date: Jan 24th

What is it?
Resident Evil goes first-person in this entry, which mashes together a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe with some found footage tricks and treats. The demo, which is now haunting PC following a period of PS4 exclusivity, has some smart scares along with the usual bumps in the night, but how it’ll all hold up when the usual Resi elements are introduced remains to be seen. Guns and inventory tetris are confirmed, but it’s not clear how much of the usual Virus and Umbrella talk will creep into the mix.

Routine [Official Site ]

Genre: Horror

Release date: March

What is it?
“Routine is a First Person Horror Exploration game set on an abandoned Moon Base”, says the official website. Although we wrote about the game in great detail many baseless moons ago, it remains a mystery. Amnesia in space, we called it back in 2013 when it was first announced. That was before Amnesia creators Frictional made Soma, their own Amnesia in space (though that’s a reductive description). In this age of pre-release featurettes and spoiler-packed trailers, it’s lovely to have a potential box of surprises waiting for us now that all the Christmas gifts have been unwrapped.

Platformer

A Hat In Time [Official Site ]

Genre: Adventure, platformer

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Will the heavily Zelda: Wind Waker-inspired, cutsey-funny jump’n’stab adventure arrived in the same year as 2016, the great Nintendo comeback? It had ruddy well better, given it was Kickstarted to the tune of $300,000 five years ago. The devs have been apparently active during that time, and maintain that next year’s the year. With the Switch heaping a whole pile of Marios and Zeldas and dear lord please a new Metroid on us, perhaps that’s bad time – but given how well Owlboy, another Ninty-inspired game that spent years in development, turned out, let’s hope for the best here.

Cuphead [Official Site ]

Genre: 2D boss-obsessed platformer

Release date:

What is it?
Cuphead was originally conceived as a series of boss fights, but has since expanded to include traditional platforming in between the encounters. Still, it will have to work hard to live up to its wonderful art style, which apes the style of early 20th century cartoons from its faded film stock colours to its sashaying, grinning plants. The trailers currently make it look a little too traditional on the platforming side of things, but the style alone is enough to make us eager to play it.

Yooka-Laylee [Official Site ]

Genre: Platformer

Release date: April 11

What is it?
A portal to a parallel universe opened and the only difference between our world and theirs is that they don’t have Banjo-Kazooie, they have this. Old-school 3D platforming playing as two buddies – a bat and a chameleon – where youi have to work together to overcome an ugly bad dude with a crooked smile. Think minecart riding, diamond collecting, casino levels, ice levels, jungle levels, underwater levels. The industrial grip of Big Nostalgia continues to tighten around our world. Wanna know more? Well, Pip spent some time with it.

Sonic Mania [Official Site ]

Genre: Platformer, Retro

Release date: Q2

What is it?
As a 25th birthday present to himself, the speedy blue hedgehog is getting a remixed holiday back to his youth as a 2D sprite bouncing along green hills and so forth. It’ll have slightly-altered versions of classic zones and enemies from the first handful of MegaDrive games, but also new levels that look as if they could have been a part of the original.

Project Sonic 2017 [Official Site ]

Genre: Platformer, 90s nostalgia

Release date: TBC

What is it? Sega’s next, presumably doomed attempt to finally outdo 1992’s Sonic The Hedgehog 2. No official name yet, but we know it’s primarily a platformer, it will once again involve ‘classic’ Sonic working with/against the somehow even more ridiculous ‘modern’ Sonic and that there will be big robots and post-apocalyptic cityscapes. This may be a lovely jumpy-runny game for everyone, or it may be fan-only madness in the Sonic Adventure vein. Next stop, a pay-to-unlock iOS autorunner, no doubt.

Puzzle

Chuchel [Official Site ]

Genre: Puzzle, point & click adventure

Release date: Late 2017

What is it?

The latest cheerful oddity from Samorost developers Amanita design. These folk have clear hallmarks despite every one of their games looking different. We know almost nothing other than it features a grumpy little git with an acorn on his head, but can expect a weirdo-wonderful, rhythmic soundtrack and exquisite animation – the Amanita seal of quality. The charming and the bizarre all at once, that’s them.

Gorogoa [Official Site ]

Genre: Puzzle, story

Release date: TBC

What is it?

On our radars since 2012, and in fact various bits of it have been released since that time, but it appears that in 2017 we will finally step through Gorogoa’s window. It’s part room escape, part jigsaw, part comic book, with the central conceit being that your actions change the contents or even nature of the painterly scenes you see. While there is a throughline of deduction, it’s also a super-chill experience – whether because you’re delighting in the gentle discovery of it all, or because you’ve memorised how it works and can play it as a flowing story of sorts. We’re big fans of the demo, and so excited to finally play through the whole, languid affair.

Snake Pass [Official Site ]

Genre: Puzzle, 3D platformer

Release date: TBC

What is it?

You’ll slither, wind and glide your way over or around obstacles as you seek out collectibles. Snake Pass started life as a tech demo inspired by the movement of a pet snake but graduated into a full game following an in-house game jam at dev studio Sumo Digital. The perky music and bright environments put us in mind of 3D platformers like Banjo Kazooie, but the real star is the slinky movement system and how your snake can use its body to manipulate bits of the world.

Shadowhand [Official Site ]

Genre: Puzzle, card game, RPG

Release date: TBC

What is it?

The follow-up to 2015’s glorious Regency Solitaire. Shadowhand is a prequel of sorts and follows the adventures of Lady Cornelia Darkmoor as she alternates between time as a fancy society lady and time as and adventurous highwaywoman. The game takes a similar form to its predecessor in that you’re playing rounds of solitaire to progress, but the actual mechanics have been revamped. You’ll be taking turns against various foes as you play and trying to charge up various weapons or earn more helpful loot as you do so. Regency Solitaire was one of the surprise hits of 2015 so we’re excited to see what Grey Alien come up with.

Loot Rascals [Official Site ]

Genre: Roguelike, turn-based strategy

Release date: Early 2017

What is it?

A delightfully cartoonish-looking hex tile exploration and card-fighting game. Loot Rascals is a turn-based experience which follows the aftermath of a spaceship crash and has you using cards to battle foes. Each time you move from tile to tile time advances and you can move onto tiles with enemies to attack them. The core attack and defence stats are governed by cards you gain by looting monsters and the like. What you do is organise them into rows and columns in your pack, trying to optimise how you position them to gain their bonuses. It looks joyfully straightforward to get to grips with plus the setting is upbeat and daft.

RPG

Hand of Fate 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, Card Game, Hack n Slash, Action

Release date: Q1

What is it?
Part card game against a tricksy git, part hacky-slashy action, this is a sequel to the original “CCG vs RPG” that both Adam and Alec quite liked. You play an increasingly deadly game of cards which switches to combat whenever you encounter a monster or enemy. This time the hooded jerk claims he is training you to defeat the protagonist of the last game, who has gone a bit wrong with power.

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book [Official Site ]

Genre: jRPG, sixteenth sequels, RPG

Release date: February 7

What is it?

A JRPG from revered-in-the-appropriate-quarters dev Gust, who are gearing up to re-release a whole mess of their hitherto console-only titles on PC. Kei Tecmo are publishing, so let’s hope some of the PC port sins they’re notorious for don’t haunt this too.

Atelier Sophie is launched day and date with another Gust game, Nights of Azure, and I rather suspect that a large proportion of its likely purchasers already plan to buy it. This is, wouldja Adam’n’Eve it, the seventeenth game in the Atelier series, but, from this distance, it doesn’t seem to have discarded many of the genre’s tropes. Sophie is, however, apparently the first part of a new arc for the wider storyline, so should be relatively accessible to series newcomers.

A House of Many Doors [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG

Release date: Feb 3rd

What is it?

The wait for Failbetter’s Sunless Sea follow-up, Sunless Stars, might take us into 2018, with the Kickstarter for the game launching on February 1st, 2017. Fortunately there will be at least one creepy, literate, narrative adventure next year, in the form of A House of Many Doors, a project that Failbetter have ‘incubated’, presumably in a hidden cellar beneath a ruined monastery, which is where I imagine they keep most of their favourite things. In Pixel Trickery’s game, you’ll be exploring a parasite dimension, that “steals from other worlds”. If it ends up anything like Fallen London crossed with Planescape, we’ll probably be very happy indeed.

Mass Effect Andromeda [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, Action, Guns and Conversation

Release date: Spring 2017

What is it?
It’s Mass Effect but on holiday. The humans, Asari, Turian and other do-gooders of the Milky Way have eloped to the Andromeda galaxy where more silly adventures await. As a frontiersman or frontierswoman called Ryder you are there to find a place for the colony to live. Expect arguments with people and then gunfights with them. But the old Paragon/Renegade dichotomy is gone, as BioWare hope to revamp the choice systems as something more “nuanced”.

Tales of Berseria [Official Site ]

Genre: JRPG

Release date: January 27

What is it?
Like the recent Tales of Zestiria, this latest in Namco Bandai’s long-running ‘Tales Of’ series has decided to grace the PC with its presence. You play as Velvet, a traumatised and vengeful girl with a magical left hand, travelling the land accompanied by a boy called Laphicet. One of them is the ‘embodiment of darkness’ and the other ‘the image of light.’ Guess which one has the least clothes.

The Bard’s Tale IV [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, Dungeon Crawler

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Kickstarted sequel to the distant Bard’s Tale series of the 1980s, set in a Celtic land of magic and poetic words. InXile are promising a customisable party, turn-based combat, first-person dungeon exploring, riddles, and the original city of Skara Brae. It’s one of InXile’s quieter games – we haven’t heard anything since September. But judging by its backers, there’s a decent amount of love for the old dog.

The Escapists 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG

Release date: TBA

What is it?
It’s the prison-fleeing sequel to the Team 17 published retro breakout. More of the same crafting, plotting, weightlifting, fighting and lunching is involved, except this time you’ll be able to do it with friends in both local and online co-op for up to four cons, as well as having a versus mode. The combat system will be given a retouch and you can tie a bunch of rags and sheets together to make a rope – for authentic escaping.

The Guild 3 [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, Simulation, Strategy

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Part familial management and part dynastic strategising, the Guild series is about taking your people to the top through the trade and politics of the old times. This one starts in 1400 and lets you join secret societies like the Freemasons or the Alchemist’s Guild, and developers GolemLabs say that all the little cyberfolk walking around have individual minds and will judge you based on their own personality.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG

Release date: TBC

What is it?
The sequel to the game that confirmed Larian’s position as one of the top RPG studios in the world is already available in Early Access and we like what we’ve seen so far. Building on its predecessor’s detailed interactivity and adding layers of complexity in cooperative/competitive multiplayer, it’s already looking like an inventive and exciting step forward for a studio that has been on the front foot for some time now.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky The 3rd [Official Site ]

Genre: JRPG

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Turn-based anime battling that came out in Japan one hundred billion years ago (2007) but is finally being localised thanks to the success of the previous two games in the series. You play as Kevin Graham, a priest with two first names, and his old friend Ries Argent, as they explore their own history in Phantasma, the “Land of Shadows”.

Vampyr [Official Site ]

Genre: Action, RPG

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Oh no, you’re a vampire! The makers of Life Is Strange have seemingly done a handbrake turn, taking their next game in a much more traditional direction, with combat and long coats and dark streets and moody men with big teeth. As a doctor-turned-vampire you have to decide who is best to eat and who’s best left alone while protecting yourself from London’s meanies with hacks and slashes and some Dishonored-like abilities. A disconcerting tonal shift from time-travelling teenage adventuring, but we’ll see how it goes.

Dauntless [Official Site ]

Genre: co-op, RPG

Release date: TBC

What is it? 4-player, co-operative monster-bashing and loot-crafting, citing Monster Hunter itself as an inspiration, along with Dark Souls and WoW. Perhaps the biggest reason to care is that Dauntless comes from a sort of super-studio, composed of former devs from the likes of Bioware and Riot – although, in fairness, you can probably find someone from one or both of those studios at most mid-to-big-sized developers these days.

The big question, of course, is whether it can conjure the bitter-sweetness of victory that characterises Monster Hunter and Shadow of the Colossus. Slaying these titans is an almighty achievement, but at the same time it’s a horrendous thing to do. Dauntless has a conceit whereby the big lads are steadily consuming what’s left of the planet, so perhaps it hopes to be purely triumphant.

Death’s Gambit [Official Site ]

Genre: action-RPG, side-scrolling, RPG

Release date: TBC

What is it? It cites a whole grab-bag of critical darlings – Souls, Colossus, ‘vanias – but to me it looks like Golden Axe and The Banner Saga had a beautiful baby. The side-scrolling, meticulously pixel-arted Death’s Gambit seems tailor-made for A Certain Type of Player, although the recent Salt + Sanctuary quite possibly got there first. Nonetheless, this enjoys the backing of Adult Swim, who plucked it off Kickstarter to ensure a full release.

ELEX [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, open world

Release date: TBC

What is it? Anything that comes from Gothic and Risen devs Piranha Bytes is worth at least sampling, even if they seem forever doomed to not reconcile ambition with execution. It’s good to seem them breaking out of their low fantasy rut and pursuing apocalyptic sci-fi with dinosaurs instead. There are jet packs, there are robots and, most of all, there is copious shooting – terra incognita for these decades-long purveyors of swords and unwashed men. It’s an odd thing to watch in videos – sometimes it’s this impressive science-fictional action affair, other times it looks almost exactly like Risen. It wouldn’t be Piranha Bytes if it wasn’t at least a little bit awkward, of course.

Expeditions: Vikings [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, turn-based, historical RPG

Release date: Q1 2017

What is it? Choosing the historical over the mythological, this is where to look if you prefer your roleplaying to be more Thronesy than Ringsy. You’re the newly-established head of a Viking settlement, tasked with uniting the warring tribes – or destroying your rivals. There’s plenty of turn-based argy-bargy, but this is very much a political game – about what you say and how you treat people, rather than the specific manner in which you beat them into the ground. We played a demo a while back, and while it’s a little on the clunky side, it’s also thoughtful and responsive, neither falling into ridiculous carnage or overly realistic tedium.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, historical

Release date: TBC

What is it? Dragonless Skyrim vs serious Fable. A feudal-age roleplaying that ditches the fantastical entirely, focusing instead on the complexities of swordfighting and the brutalities of a pre-technology existence. That this is a game in which you can only save progress by drinking filthy moonshine and then dealing with the subsequent, crippling hangover says a great deal about it. For those tired of goblins, magic and questing, the realistic combat, cruelty and rotting food of Kingdom Come is a shining beacon of roleplaying hope.

Lords Of The Fallen 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: Soulslike, RPG

Release date: TBC

What is it? Sequel to one of the more blatant, but sadly rather unlovely, ‘homages’ to Dark Souls. Where many games have folded in elements of Souls’ precision, agility and brutality, Lords of The Fallen was straight-up doing the whole kit and kaboodle, only not as well. The sequel comes from a different studio to the first, which could go either way, really. Development ‘changed course’ in 2015, losing its executive producer in the process, and the promise now is a more story-led affair than the first game.

NieR: Automata [Official Site ]

Genre: Action-RPG, RPG, slash ‘em up

Release date: TBC

What is it? Bayonetta/Revengeance/Transformers Devastation folk Platinum return with the sequel to 2010’s oddball action-RPG starring a pair of childlike warbots. This is the series’ first time on PC, and in fact Platinum weren’t at the reigns for the first one, so it’s difficult to say for sure what we should expect. Apart from lots of action, really big swords and more posturing than you can shake a Zoolander at.

Nights of Azure [Official Site ]

Genre: JRPG

Release date: 7 February

What is it? Stablemate of the aforementioned Atelier Sophie, and thus also a cult-hit JRPG receiving a belated PC version. Combat’s a lot more action-y and real-timey in this one, but we’re still in for yet another beautiful-but-deadly lady JRPG protagonist and all the thigh boots and heaving cleavage that seems to necessitate.

Pyre [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, party-based RPG

Release date: TBC

What is it? The creators of Bastion and Transistor return with another action-led RPG, but with its party-based structure and Eastern-themed style it seems have a little more Final Fantasy than Diablo in its blood. Storytelling and action are given apparently equal focus, and we’re told that we should grow attached to its ‘large’ cast of characters – that alone is a big change from the more lonely feel of Supergiant’s previous games. The theme is that exiled wanderers compete in rites of passage to gain absolution – and you get to dictate exactly who makes it.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG

Release date: Q1

What is it?

South Park: The Stick of Truth used its license well and Parker and Stone are back on board for The Fractured But Whole, though Obsidian have moved on to their own RPG worlds with Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity. Now in the hands of Ubisoft San Francisco, this new RPG moves from LARPing fantasy parody to superhero spoofing, and has a fancy new combat system that adds a little meat to the JRPG bones, with positioning on the battleground now tactically important.

State of Decay 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG, survival

Release date: TBC

What is it?

This zombie survival sequel is coming straight to PC (Windows 10, we hear), unlike its predecessor which was in console exclusive land for ages. It might be impossible to swing a dead cat without hitting an undead rotter in pop culture entertainment these days, but State of Decay 2 could stand out if it successfully expands on the original’s open world format. Oh no. This isn’t helping, is it? Open world. Zombies. Survival. State of Decay had something special though, honest, even if it was buggy and janky. And there’s four player co-op now as well.

Torment: Tides of Numenera [Official Site ]

Genre: RPG

Release date: Feb 27th

What is it?

Back in the day, you weren’t a proper part of the PC crowd unless you had a Planescape Torment quote tattooed onto your skull. And you better believe that the skull in question was a friend and companion that you dragged around on a leash rather than the bone bowl that keeps your own brains in place. Tides of Numenenananana (BATMAN) is a spiritual successor to the strangest of D&D RPGs, and it was Kickstarted for a healthy sum. What we’ve seen is a wilder and weirder take on the multiverse, though possibly without the heart of Planescape. The heart is now the tattooed pet on your leash.

Shooter

The Signal From Tolva [Official Site ]

Genre: Jim

Release date: Q1

What is it?
A science fiction robot shooter with a hint of mystery and definitely not made by Rock Paper Shotgun co-founder Jim Rossingnol if that’s what you’re thinking. Okay, it is. You take control of a robot chassis on a planet’s surface and drag other nameless bots into fights with enemies, all while looking for the origin of a strange signal. John describes its shooty combat as a bit like Far Cry’s, complete with foe-marking binoculars.

Aaero [Official Site ]

Genre: Musical shooter, not bubbly chocolate

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Billed as a musical rail shooter, you’ve got a fair old bit of Rez in there, paired with the big-poly, low-texture look that was so in vogue during 2016, blended with the 70s sci-fi paperback cover aesthetic that was also so in vogue during 2016. It’s a beautiful thing, and claims movement and action are synced with the soundtrack, so hopefully ears as well as eyes will be pleased. Question is, given we’ve got Thumper already, can this scratch a suitable different itch? Well, it’s got guns and giant space-worms, so: probably.

Aquanox: Deep Descent [Official Site ]

Genre: Underwater shooter, sequels no-one begged for

Release date: TBC

What is it?

Ah, Aquanox, the on-off noughties series that people who’ve long prayed for an Anachranox sequel were repeatedly discovered was, in fact, so-so underwater shooting. These things used to flog GeForces back in the day, but never built up the kind of following that many of their peers did. Deep Descent is a latter-day ‘reimaging’, set in a Costner-free world where the surface of the Earth has become uninhabitable and everyone who’s left lives under the sea. It’s big on ship customisation and factional conflict, and, despite how mealy-mouthed we were above, there’s been enough appetite for a new Aquanox that it clocked up almost $100k on Kickstarter in 2015. Nordic Games THQ Nordic have put some money into it too. It’s certainly a looker – but then so were the originals for the time. Let’s hope it’s got good bones under the skin too.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands [Official Site ]

Genre: Third-Person Shooter, Open World

Release date: March 7

What is it?
Ubisoft apply their iconoplast formula and binocular spotting to an open world Bolivia, where you and your (co-op if you like) team of Ghosts has to ruckus around murdering members of a drug cartel. It’s more classic Clancy: kill the narco-terrorists because they are bad and narco-terrorism is a thing and not in any way an invented evil comprising part of a complex and sometimes contradictory US foreign policy. Ahem, sorry. Adam played some of the co-op missions for us earlier this year. They were good!

Battalion 1944 [Official Site ]

Genre:First person shooter, multiplayer shooter, WW2

Release date: May

What is it?

That name is no coincidence, no. But before that, heed my words – 2017 will be the Year Of The Unreal Engine-Powered Games That Were Funded On Kickstarter in 2015. Unreal’s reached the point of price/accessibility where it’s eating into the Unity market, and we’re seeing a legion of self-owned devs with a bit of money in the bank making stuff that looks absolutely fluppin’ beautiful with it. Take the recent Space Hulk: Deathwing, which is a spectacular-looking game even if it’s a bit thin (and on the buggy side). Battalion applies Epic’s latest witchcraft to World War II – specifically a multiplayer shooter. With nostalgia/fear of the new at an all time high, there’s an enormous appetite for the age that Call of Duty and Medal of Honor abandoned, and of course Battlefield has recently returned to an even earlier variant of. Even so, many voices cry out for a return to classic Battlefield values, and perhaps this will be that. By jove, it even promises dedicated servers. 2003 lives! One thing Battalion will not, however, have, is any kind of singleplayer.

Strafe [Official Site ]

Genre: FPS

Release date: Q1

What is it?
What the heck is the best game of 1996 doing on this list? Oh, that’s a gag. I see. Strafe, which does indeed identify itself as one of the great shooters of the nineties, is looking absolutely fantastic. We played it at E3 and it is precisely what we’d hoped it would be: nineties in style, modern in design. Randomised levels that don’t feel like a mess of spaghetti, chunky guns and blood EVERYWHERE.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition [Official Site ]

Genre: First-person shooter

Release date: April 7th

What is it?
Bulletstorm was a fast-paced shooter which encouraged you to kill with style, by lassoing enemies into the air, chaining together headshots, and kicking the ragdolls into spikes in order to score points. It was colourful, inventive and had a story and characters that were obnoxious in the worst way. The Full Clip Edition intends to double-down on all of the above, making the game prettier with higher resolution textures, adding new maps on which to perfect your skill shots, and by adding Duke Nukem as a playable lead character in order to maximise the obnoxiousness.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: First-person shooter

Release date: TBC

What is it?
We know very little about Battlefront 2 other than it’ll be DICE’s big game release in 2017 (no Battlefield that year) and that it’ll be bigger than the last Battlefront. It received criticism for the relative lightness of what it offered – as in, it didn’t have a singleplayer campaign, and it’s unlock-less multiplayer with simple modes felt thin on the ground. Battlefront 2 meanwhile is confirmed to have a singleplayer mode, and post-release DLC already added complexity to the last game’s multiplayer. Note, also: it might not be called Star Wars Battlefront 2. We don’t know.

Get Even [Official Site ]

Genre: Shooter, survival horror, puzzle

Release date: Spring

What is it? Some of the folk behind Painkiller – and more recently NecroVision – try their hand at something more than straight-up violence, trying to fold detective work into the baddie-shooting. Get Even has been in the offing since 2014, and while it was initially striving the blur the line between singleplayer and multiplayer, it sounds as though it’s settled on more of solo affair. You are one Cole Black, following clues in the hope of finding a kidnapped woman strapped to an explosive. There appear to be feints towards the psychological, but also a whole lot of making do with limited ammo in gloomy place. Difficult to call this one, but fingers crossed it’s the next Deadly Premonition, eh?

Overkill’s The Walking Dead [Official Site ]

Genre: First-person shooter, co-op

Release date: TBA

What is it? When there are no more subtitles in hell, the studio names will walk the Earth. There are a great many Walking Dead things on the planet, and, taking the Telltale approach, the developers of Payday have tried to make an over-familiar title their own. The combination of their great experience at multiplayer/co-op shooting and the known quantity that is zombies should result in something slick and gigglesome, at the very least. Overkill owners Starbreeze are getting into the publishing side of this as of this project too.

Overload [Official Site ]

Genre: 6DOF, shooter, sci-fi

Release date: March

What is it? A spiritual sequel to legendary six degrees of freedom, spaceshippy shooter Descent, created and Kickstarted by most of the original devs. We’ve had official Descent sequels that didn’t really do the trick, we’ve had fan projects and of course there’s the whole Freespace arm of the family tree, but this is An Actual Proper Descent Game all over again. So far, it’s looking both shinier and gloomier than before. You can work out if it’s likely to be Your Sort Of Thing with the proof-of-concept demo that’s available via Steam.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 [Official Site ]

Genre: FPS

Release date: April 4

What is it?
Long-range warmurder set in present-day Georgia, where you can use your sniper rifle to take out targets and troops, or get up close to tag ‘em and/or bag ‘em. It’s set to have a little more realism than your average shoot-shoot but not so much that you could call it a simulator. A drone lets you mark enemies, for example, but you’ll still have to correct your aim for wind and distance when doing the actual snipesing. We sent Edwin to preview it, who dubbed it an “off-brand Far Cry game.”

Sniper Elite 4 [Official Site ]

Genre: FPS

Release date: February 14

What is it?
The other sniping game, ie. the one with the exploding testicles. It’s still set in World War II but this time you are off to Italy, where you’ll be killing fascists in the sun. By the looks of everything we’ve seen so far, it still has that x-ray vision when your bullet hits its mark, but also whenever you stab folks or lure them into a shrapnel-heavy booby trap. As much an action game as it is a stealth one, it looks like more of the same for fetishists of exploding organs.

LawBreakers [Official Site ]

Genre: FPS, multiplayer

Release date: TBC

What is it?

LawBreakers, the new game from Cliff Bleszinski’s Boss Key Productions, isn’t about breaking the law. Not directly. No GTA clone, this; LawBreakers has elements of Unreal Tournament and Overwatch, but our hands-on with the game suggested that its key strength is in channeling the energy of a real life sport into the mould of an arena shooter. Turnovers, final second scores, momentum shifts, and daring displays of skill and tactical elegance are all on show. It might look like it’s attempting to be 2017’s Overwatch, but that’s not the case. Let’s not call it 2017’s Rocket League just yet either, but don’t be surprised if it’s somewhere in between the two.

Simulation and/or space

Star Citizen [Official Site ]

Genre: Everything space game

Release date: TBC

What is it?
An in-alpha multiplayer space combat game. A 3D model shop for expensive spaceships you can’t do much or anything with yet. A persistent-universe MMO in which you can land on planets, get in and out of spaceships, and eat EVE Online’s lunch. A singleplayer game called Squadron 42 with FMV cutscenes starring Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman and Gillian Anderson. A horse to beat for people who don’t like crowdfunding. A horse to beat for people who do. Star Citizen is a lot of things, and it has been continually being released in one form or another for a few years now. 2017 should see more of it take form, including the first three episodes of the Squadron 42 singleplayer experience.

Dreadnought [Official Site ]

Genre: spaceship battles, simulator, shooter

Release date: TBC

What is it? I feel as though I’ve been writing about Dreadnought for most of my adult life, so the idea of an actual release looming is almost traumatic. Nonetheless, it does look like this should be the year for the formerly Yager-devolved game of giant capital ships at shooty war. It’s billed as a team-based combat flight simulator, and most recently (I say that because who only knows what it might ultimatey settle on) looked set to pursue the microtransaction/free-to-play strategy enjoyed by World of Tanks. Definitely room for a sci-fi alternative, and those enormo-ships remain a delectable prospect.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew [Official Site ]

Genre: Simulation, space, VR

Release date: 14 March 2017

What is it?

VR offers players a chance to edge ever-closer to manning a Federation starship of their very own with Star Trek: Bridge Crew. It’s looking like the logical VR conclusion of games like Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator and PULSAR: Lost Colony where you and your friends can take on different specialist roles aboard a space vessel and strike out into the unknown. This particular title obviously has the added appeal of the Star Trek branding and a mission steeped in the Trek universe as you seek out a new homeworld for the Vulcan people and attempt to keep the peace as you encounter the Klingon Empire. The need for several VR headsets might make this an incredibly niche prospect but if the devs manage to make it work we can try to take the good ship USS RPS Treehouse where no Horace has ever gone before.

Birthdays The Beginning [Official Site ]

Genre: Simulation, sandbox

Release date: May 2017

What is it?

The latest project from Harvest Moon creator, Yasuhiro Wada. Birthdays The Beginning offers you a plot of land and then lets you tinker with it in order to spawn new life forms for your collection. From what we’ve seen so far it’s somewhere between Pokemon and Viva Pinata with cheery animated creatures pottering about for you to collect, but also a certain amount of predator/prey ecosystem info to work with if you keep an eye on how the population levels fluctuate.

Strategy

BattleTech [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, turn-based tactics

Release date: Q1

What is it?
“The first turn-based BattleTech game for PC in over two decades”, say developers Hare-Brained Schemes, who have already made waves with their revival of Shadowrun. Jordan Weisman, creator of BattleTech and MechWarrior, is on board for this new game of tactical mech clashes which stomped through its Kickstarter goals in late 2015. We’ve already spoken to Hare-Brained about their hopes for the game, and though we’ve known it was coming for a good while now, its Q1 release date seems to have crept up on us like only a gigantic military robot can.

Halo Wars 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: RTS, Strategy

Release date: February 21

What is it?
Halo Wars never appeared on PC back in 2009, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense, seeing as that’s where RTS games belong. But development of a Windows 10 sequel has been put in the hands of Total Warmongers Creative Assembly. They say they are making it an “action RTS” with an accessible mode for those who can’t strategise at one billion clicks a minute. They’re also bundling the original game in an Ultimate Edition, so you can enjoy that – seven years late for 30 extra dollars. Thanks, I guess.

Frozen Synapse 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, tactics

Release date: TBC

What is it?
Top-down tactics with a twist. The original Frozen Synapse was all about combat, teams facing off with all manner of firearms using a system that involves inputting orders and then watching those orders play out alongside the enemy’s. It’s what us strategy nerds call a WeGo system; everyone chooses what to do and then we all go together. Frozen Synapse 2 expands on the original’s skirmishes by introducing persistent procedurally generated cities, occupied by AI factions and filled with dynamic missions. Oh, and there’s a threat from an unknown outside force as well.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of war III
[Official Site ]

Genre: RTS

Release date: TBA

What is it?
Space Marines, Space Elves, Space Orks – the endless spacewar continues. Relic want to combine the large scale of the first Dawn of War with the specialist units from the second game, and judging by the stompy mechs, the Super Units and Elite Units, that
Adam saw when he had a hands-on with it they appear to be on the right track.

Aven Colony [Official Site ]

Genre: City builder, management, strategy

Release date: TBC

What is it?
A citybuilder in space, man, I always wanted these things to go into space, man. It’s big on the danger of off-world colonisation, from atmospheric woes to Duney sandworm strikes, though has also folded in SimCity staples such as crime and pollution. This is the balance Aven will have to strike – can it feel suitably sci-fi while clinging onto genre norms?

It’s had a decent run in beta – you can pick it via itch yourself if you like – so hopefully feedback has pointed it in the right direction. It’s a lovely concept, but any citybuilder walks a tightrope between grand designs and micromanagement, and lobbing an ambitious theme into mix is going to make that balancing act harder. Aven is exactly the sort of thing quite of few of Team RPS would thrill to – in theory, anyway.

Constructor HD [Official Site ]

Genre: Management, strategy, tycoon

Release date: 31 January

What is it? Yep, that HD suffix means this a remake. Of 1997 tycoon game Constructor, to be specific, which claims to have had something of an influence on the Sims. Much of the original team is returning for this building and management game, and the plan is a faithful remake – but with massively enhanced graphics and interface, some ‘rebalancing’ and new modes. With antagonistic units such as Thugs, Hippies and Clowns to contend with it may face something of a battle to feel contemporary – or perhaps such simplicity is welcome in such complicated times.

Xenonauts 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, Tactics

Release date: TBA

What is it?
The first Xenonauts was a homage done for X-COM purists but developers Goldhawk want the sequel to be at least a little different, and they are starting by moving it from 2D to 3D. But they also want it to be more challenging. Alien behaviour is set to change, air combat is becoming turn-based and less frequent, and the world map will offer “more strategic choice”. While the restraints of making a tribute were firmly in place with Xenonauts 1, they say: “this time we can be more innovative than before.”

Iron Harvest [Official Site ]

Genre: real-time-strategy, alt-history

Release date: TBC

What is it? Calls itself ‘dieselpunk’, but don’t hold that against it – it’s an alt-history WW1 real-time strategy game, and that’s a sentence tailor made to scratch certain itches in long-time PC gamers. Levels incline towards the sandbox, and purportedly there’s an XCOMish element to it (despite not being turn-based). The big draw, however, is mechs stomping about rural 1920s Europe – based on some beautiful paintings by Polish artist Jakub Rozalski, and which have already seen a boardgame spin-off named Scythe. Men of War meets Mechwarrior? We can but pray.

Kingdoms and Castles [Official Site ]

Genre: Citybuilder, real-time strategy

Release date: TBC

What is it? A hybrid of town management and real-time battles, including fending off invading dragons. It would seem to have a fair bit in common with The Settlers, although if anything leans a bit harder on the simulation elements – for instance, you’ll have to deal with seasonal climate changes. Most of all, it’s a beautiful thing – if it can look as good in practice as it does in clips, we’re in for a citybuilder that looks like a hybrid of boardgames and early Zeldas.

Star Control: Origins [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, RPG, Action

Release date: TBA

What is it?
A galactic explore-and-grab-and-talk-and-shoot-and-fly ‘em up following in the footsteps of its forefathers, Star Control I and II. Stardock picked up the rights to the series when the Creature Wearing the Skin of Atari came into ascendance. The developer, mostly known for its straighter space strategies, began work, promising multiplayer and confirming that it is a prequel to its ancestors. For more on the originals, see Rich Cobbett’s retrospective.

SpellForce 3 [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, RTS, RPG

Release date: TBA

What is it?
It’s an RTS in a fantasy world where transferring resources means you need to send a cart full of goods from one encampment to another, while keeping magical enemy troops at bay. But you’ve also got a customisable hero who grows as you go and learns more skills. Announced in 2014, it’s been some time since we heard much about it.

Phantom Dust [No official site]

Genre: Everything, CCG

Release date:

What is it? An action/strategy/third-person shooter/roleplaying game with CCG elements, so hey, your guess is as good as ours as to what genre this should be stuffed into. In any case, it’s a remake/remaster of a 2005 Xbox game now, getting spit’n’polished for the ol’ Xbone and Windows 10. It’s going to reuse many of the original assets so don’t expect miracles – and don’t expect a sequel either, as plans for that got put on ice. Phantom Dust is considered a little ahead of its time, and the original release has been crippled by the closing of Xbox Live servers, so perhaps 2017 will be its year.

Overland [Official Site ]

Genre: Roguelike, strategy, rpg

Release date: TBC

What is it?

A post-apocalyptic roguelike roadtrip that sees you bumbling across a United States that has fallen to pieces. The source of the calamity isn’t explained but the giant bugs that crawl out of the ground and try to eat you are probably to blame, though it’s possible the markets crashed and the sun scorched the land even before they arrived. Currently in alpha, and coming to Early Access on Steam in 2017, it’s a beautiful and clever puzzley-roguelike, with turn-based single screen gas-grabbing as you try to keep your heap of a car moving, collecting human chums and dog friends along the way. Our last in-depth examination showed there’s still work to be done to balance the difficulty.

Oxygen Not Included [Steam Page ]

Genre: Strategy, management

Release date: TBC

What is it?

RPS favourites Klei, creators of the fantastic Mark of the Ninja and Invisible, Inc., are working on a colony management sim. Aside from the art style, which is most reminiscent of their survival game Don’t Starve, we don’t know a great deal, but this is a studio worth paying attention to, wherever they choose to tread. An hour long stream gave us the best look at the game so far, and Graham had this to say, “ It appears to be a scifi Dungeon Keeper, or a cutesy Dwarf Fortress, or an underground RimWorld”.

Sudden Strike 4 [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, RTS

Release date: Q1

What is it?

An RTS veteran returns to the battlefield. The WWII tanks and troops strategies of yesteryear return in Sudden Strike 4, which isn’t quite the traditional RTS you might expect. Like its predecessors, it’s more concerned with tactical combat than base-building and unit-churning, and you’ll mostly be tackling its sizable maps with a predetermined set of vehicles and soldiers. We’ve already had a play and it seems like slow and steady may indeed win the day.

Urban Empire [Steam Page ]

Genre: Strategy, citybuilder

Release date: Jan 20th

What is it?

A citybuilder that’s more concerned with politics than placement of zones and buildings, Urban Empires follows a fictional European city across two hundred years of history from 1820 to 2020. As the leading family you’ll have to navigate the turmoil of war, industrial revolution, economic upheaval, social change and all manner of other events. We haven’t played it yet but we’ve had a good long look at its voting systems and building bits.

Disgaea 2 [Official Site ]

Genre: Strategy, JRPG, tactics

Release date: Jan 30th

What is it?

Get ready to put your nose, the rest of your face and then your entire skull onto the grindstone: following the years-late arrival of Disgaea on PC last year, the 2006 sequel is finally making its way across. The Disgaea games are turn-based tactical RPGs that love nothing more than megabig damage stats and hitpoints, and more levels than you can shake a +1,000,000,000 stick at. The port of the first was shoddy but received helpful updates, so hopefully this one will be smoother at launch.

Survival

The Wild Eight [Official Site ]

Genre: Survival, Co-op

Release date: TBA

What is it?
You and seven other passengers of an airplane have crashed in a snowy land where you have to bunch together to collect, hunt and craft what you need to survive. There’s a singleplayer option, of course, but it is reportedly built for a more co-op feel. The Kickstarter mentioned that one of the players may turn out to be the secret “psycho” set on cannibalising the others, but this feature doesn’t appear to be mentioned in subsequent descriptions. It’d be a pity if it was dropped, however, since it is the standout mechanic.

Conan Exiles [Official Site ]

Genre: Survival, multiplayer, open world

Release date: February (early access)

What is it?

Funcom’s second piece of the Conan pie, after their earlier attempt at a WoW-beating trad. MMO didn’t pan out as well as hoped. Of course, back then there was huge appetite for more Conan, but these days we’ve had a lousy remake and an Arnie-starring sequel is a plausible reality. We’re not starving any more, is what I mean. Continuing Funcom-Conan’s Johnny come lately tendencies, Exiles does the sandbox survival thing that Steam Early Access loves so well, but this time transposed to a world of sand, swords and sweaty biceps. It’s a fine setting for living off the land and some of the gigant-o-monsters are spectacular. But what is best in life? Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the sound of a man punching a tree forever.

Frostpunk [Official Site ]

Genre: Survival, management, post-apocalyptic

Release date:

What is it? Not the bitter exclamation of a caught-red-handed Nixon, but rather an icy, post-apocalyptic survival game which means to fold concepts of empathy into the usual scavenging and building. This is perhaps no surprise, given that it comes from 11-Bit Studios, they of harrowing civilians-in-wartime game This War Of Mine. It seems as though they’ll be exploring the tricky balance between looking after yourself and looking after others – or actively exploiting/harming them for your own benefit. Betcha an arm it’ll feature PAINFUL CANNIBALISM-BASED DECISIONS.

Impact Winter [Official Site ]

Genre: Survival, post-apocalyptic

Release date: TBC

What is it? You may dimly remember this from 2014, when Kickstarter was still a thing for games that weren’t remakes or spiritual sequels. Things have changed quite a bit for Impact Winter since that time – devs Mojo Bones have picked up a publishing deal with Bandai Namco, and there’s been a major redesign that sees it move from tood to threed. It remains, however, a post-apocalyptic survival game set in a new ice age, which seems to be the go-to setting for end-of-the-world games in 2017. This is a singleplayer, story-infused affair however, not one of those ones where Johnny Random stabs you in the back of the head while you’re busy punching a tree to make planks.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

If you click our links to online stores and make a purchase we may receive a few pennies. Find more information here.

Who am I?

RPS

Hivemind

The all-seeing eye of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the voice of many-as-one.

More by me

Support RPS and get an ad-free site, extra articles, and free stuff! Tell me more
Please enable Javascript to view comments.

Comments are now closed. Go have a lie down, Internet.

Advertisement

Latest videos