This article was first published at Den of Geek UK.
There are many big video games on the way next year, including a raft of new IPs that have helped to make 2017 a highly anticipated year for gaming. Among these titles are some very important sequels that are set to bring previously huge series back to life, and in some instances, sequels that have a heavy weight on their shoulders, having to make up for previous instalment’s failings.
We’ve taken a good look at next year’s releases, and we’ve picked out the best. These are games that are either very important, set to revive old franchises, or simply games that we just can’t wait to play. So, without any further ado, here are the most anticipated sequels:
2017 | Reagant Games | XBO
A breakout hit on the Xbox 360 when it arrived – despite many buying the game for the Halo demo included in the package – Crackdown quickly became a fan favorite. The open-world sandbox with superhero touches was an all-out blast, with a simple, but tight design, and some addictive collecting and power-up mechanics.
The sequel was a bit of a flop, sadly. It made the game bigger, but not better, and it failed to recapture the spirit of the original. The gun-toting, crime-stopping magic just wasn’t there. Fans were left cold, and for a very long time, there was no news of any planned sequels. That came to an end with the reveal of Crackdown 3.
Set for release in 2017, with no exact period specified at this time, the third game is already looking like it could be a major hit, partially thanks to what looks like a very ambitious use of the cloud.
This feature, which was placed at the forefront of the reveal, will utilize the power of cloud computing to deliver a superior level of destruction, utilizing the extra power for improved physics and persistent destruction. We’ve seen massive skyscrapers being toppled, and a level of demolition we’ve not seen before. Quite how well this will work without breaking the game we’ll have to see, but the technology behind the game looks very interesting, and we really look forward to a sequel that brings back the magic of the original. We’re ready to obsessively hunt for orbs again.
2017 | Bungie | XBO, PS4
Surely one of the most critical sequels ever for Activision. Destiny has been a massive success, but it’s a game that has had a lot of criticism leveled at it. Even hardcore players have strong opinions on the shortcomings of the game, and Bungie has a very steep hill to climb with the second game. It really could make or break the series.
We don’t know a great deal about what Destiny 2 will deliver, but we do know Bungie is planning more populated and dynamic worlds with a big focus on making the worlds of Destiny more lifelike, with towns and other settlements within the actual game world, not limited solely to public spaces, and more NPC interaction. Whether this will mean more story content, and an improvement on the storytelling as a whole remains to be seen. Given the heavy tide of complaints about this for the first game, Bungie would be crazy to ignore this.
One thing is clear – Destiny was a good game, with solid mechanics at the core, it just lost its way in terms of content and story, with lackluster support for free content after embracing much loathed microtransactions, and some of the paid DLC was less than impressive. Destiny 2 has to be a big improvement out of the gate, or Bungie could find itself in trouble, losing a lot of loyal support.
God of War
TBA | Sony Santa Monica | PS4
The jury is still out on whether this is going to be a sequel or a reboot. Officially, it’s designed to be a reboot of sorts in the gameplay department, but the story would seem to take place some time after God of War 3, meaning it’s a continuation. It’s a bit confusing, but regardless, it was one of the most impressive reveals at E3 2016, and the shift in gameplay style looks great.
The new direction is undoubtedly influenced by Dark Souls in terms of combat, as well as other games like Uncharted and The Last of Us when it comes to exploration, storytelling, and character interaction. Hopefully it’ll introduce its own unique blend of features into this mix to create something more in line with the series, but to see Kratos as a character with more depth and personality, and not just a walking bag of anger and murder, is refreshing. We’ve got high hopes for this.
Halo Wars 2
February 21, 2017 | Creative Assembly | XBO, PC
Although the original Halo Wars wasn’t the best example of the RTS, and wasn’t as well received by fans, this hasn’t stopped Microsoft revisiting its flagship series to develop a sequel. 2017 should see the arrival of Halo Wars 2, which will continue where the first game left off. It’ll obviously expand on the world to include the new elements we’ve seen in the main series since the first RTS dropped.
Microsoft has also confirmed that the game will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title. This means you’ll only need to buy it once, but will be able to play it on Xbox One or PC, and your saves and progress will synchronize across devices.
2017 | NetherRealm Studios | XBO, PS4
With the movie world going bananas of late over superhero movies, and both Marvel and DC putting in the work to bring their franchises to the silver screen, the gaming world is following suit. We’ve had some great superhero games over the last few years. One of the surprise hits was NetherRealm Studio’s Injustice. This fighting game successfully mixed the mechanics of Mortal Kombat with a gritty DC Universe, which made for a great combat experience. It may have been eclipsed by 2015’s Mortal Kombat X, but now the superhero fighting game is set to return with a sequel.
Injustice 2 still remains a bit of a mystery, but the footage we’ve seen shows the various heroes utilizing new armor mechanics. These will apparently bestow different statistics and abilities and improve upon the fighting style system seen in Mortal Kombat X.
DC has had a rocky journey in movies to say the least, but we’re hoping Injustice 2 can do the comics justice next year.
Kingdom Hearts III
TBA | Square Enix | XBO, PS4
It’s a game fans of the series have been longing for for way too long. If reports are accurate, we cold see the return of Sora, Donald, and Goofy sometime next year.
We’ve been assaulted with crazy-titled spin-offs and remasters, but the sequel the fans really want is strongly believed to be on the way in 2017. As is to be expected, not much is known about Kingdom Hearts III at this time, although it’s been confirmed that new Disney licenses Tangled and Big Hero 6 will be featured. Although not confirmed, rumors have also spread that titles such as Frozen, Toy Story, Wall-E, and even Star Wars may make an appearance. Pinches of salt at the ready, though.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
2017 | Nintendo | Switch, Wii U
Although we’ve seen hints of a new Mario title, a title that’ll no doubt be big news, Zelda is where Nintendo’s most visible hopes are settled in terms of software. Coming for both the Wii U and the newly announced Switch, the latest Zelda game takes a lot of what fans love from the series and adds many new elements as well.
Breath of the Wild will boast a much larger and open world, and from the footage we’ve seen so far, there’ll be various new abilities and mechanics. Obviously, some of these will utilize the extra capabilities of the Wii U’s controller, as well as the Switch’s radical design. We’d say there’s no more important release for Nintendo’s software teams in 2017.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
2017 | BioWare | XBO, PS4, PC
A titan in the upcoming flurry of sequels, BioWare’s next Mass Effect game is a sequel of sorts to the critically-acclaimed space opera trilogy. Andromeda changes up the story, not continuing directly from the last game, but instead taking place a long time after. It’ll introduce a new protagonist and a new galaxy, as human civilization moves out of the Milky Way. Despite this, BioWare has said the game is not considered to be the start of a new trilogy. It’s also been confirmed that no original crew members will appear, nor will the Reapers.
Mass Effect may have kicked up a lot of controversy with its infamously mixed reception of the initial trilogy’s ending, but no one can deny the overall quality of the space opera RPG. BioWare crafted one of the most impressive universes ever seen, rivaling that of Star Trek and Star Wars in terms of lore and sheer scale, and it also delivered a solid action RPG that took elements of other genres and mixed them into a winning formula.
We’ve only seen a couple of trailers thus far, but BioWare has claimed that these are rendered in-game and are not CG movies. If this is the case, Mass Effect: Andromeda could well be one of the most visually impressive games we’ve seen, and the new story, which looks to introduce a new big bad, is very intriguing.
In terms of actual gameplay, little is known other than the fact that we’ll be creating our own new characters who can use similar powers and tech as before. We’ve also seen the Mako-like ground vehicle, which would suggest a return to the open exploration of the first game.
March 7, 2017 | PlatinumGames | PS4, PC
The next game in the Nier series, the original of which is now a cult classic, Nier: Automata will boast a totally new story that revolves around Android 2B and her companions as they fight against an enemy army of automatons. Humankind has been driven off-world to the moon by an alien race, and their robot army, the YoRHa, are sent to Earth to fight and defeat the invaders.
If the original Nier is anything to go by, we’ll have another very unique RPG with a dark, solemn tone, great characterization, and novel combat. Hopefully it’ll mix game styles as well as the first game, and deliver a story as absorbing. For some, this release is even bigger than the recent Final Fantasy XV.
Outcast: Second Contact
March 2017 | Appeal | XBO, PS4, PC
Like Shenmue 3, this is another Kickstarter-backed project, and like Shenmue 3, it’s for an old title. Unlike Shenmue, however, there’s a very good chance you’ve never heard of it.
The original Outcast was released by Infogrames back in 1999 and was a third-person action adventure that made excellent use of its Voxel Engine technology to render it’s impressive visuals. This was managed without the need for hardware acceleration, a big factor at the time.
The game’s story saw protagonist Cutter Slade journey to the alien world of Adelpha. Here, he had to speak to inhabitants and do battle with foes, utilizing third- and first-person exploration and combat. It had an open world and was a technical triumph for the time.
Now, thanks to Kickstarter, the series is coming back. Second Contact will be an up to date, current-gen remake of the original. If you’ve missed the first release, you can find it on GOG.com.
Already very successful in Japan, this will surely be huge overseas too when it lands next year. Persona 5 has a very large and rabid fan base who are watering at the mouth for this, the latest entry in the series. So keen are they to play it that many of them have imported the Japanese version of the game, even if they don’t know what’s going on.
The series is among the most praised JRPGs of late, and it has a lot of the features fans of the genre love, along with a whole collection of unique ones that set it apart from the competition. There are simply no other RPGs that feel like this title, and its unique collection of characters and world settings make it a true poster child for the JRPG in modern gaming.
2017 | Arkane Studios | XBO, PS4, PC
Although this one may not technically be a sequel, arriving as it does out of the ashes of the promising Prey 2, it still deserves a place on this list, as it’s a very interesting title that promises to mix shooting and some very atmospheric, System Shock-inspired elements.
Not much is known about the game at the moment. Protagonist Morgan Yu will find himself alone on an alien infested space station, all the while battling to keep his own sanity in check.
It’s coming from Arkane, the same team behind the excellent Dishonored series, and it could be a big hit next year.
Quake Champions (PC)
TBA | id Software | PC
Already injecting some classic FPS action into the game industry with the fantastic reboot of Doom, id is set to do the same for arena combat next year with Quake Champions, an online competitive FPS for PC.
Taking some inspiration from the more modern online FPS, Quake Champions will feature a range of unique characters with their own abilities, but this will be supported by the same, 90s-style shooting fans loved so much when Quake III: Arena was one of the most popular titles around. Keep a close eye on this one. If it’s on par with Doom, it could be brilliant.
Red Dead Redemption 2
2017 | Rockstar Games | XBO, PS4
There have been many rumors and reports that Rockstar was planning a return to its western series, and thanks to the recent reveal, we now know this is actually happening. Red Dead Redemption 2 is set to arrive in 2017.
Rockstar hasn’t exactly been generous with details, beyond a simple logo and short teaser trailer. The trailer depicts a group of cowboys, which heavily hints at a multiple-character story a la GTA V. There will also be an online component, which is no surprise given the huge success of GTA Online.
Rest assured, Red Dead Redemption 2 will undoubtedly be one of, if not the best-selling game of the year, and given the quality of the original and Rockstar’s open-world titles in general, we’re looking forward to it already.
Resident Evil 7
January 24, 2017 | Capcom | XBO, PS4, PC
There are few long-running series as successful as Capcom’s Resident Evil, and there are also few series that have fallen so hard, so fast. In recent years, the zombie action-adventure series has hardly set the world on fire, and has spawned some mediocre to downright awful sequels. What the series needs is a Resident Evil 4-sized evolution, and that’s just what many feel Resident Evil 7 is going to deliver.
Already revealed to players, thanks to the Beginning Hour demo, it would appear as though Capcom is channeling the likes of P.T., Amnesia, Outlast, and the hugely popular first-person horror genre that has grown quickly over the last few years. After playing the demo, we’d have to agree that this was a good idea, although it was a very short sample of what the final game could be.
Further reveals have introduced more of the characters in the game, as well as other elements, such as combat, puzzling, and exploration.The VR capability may also help make this a very different and hopefully much better Resident Evil, an entry the series really needs right now.
2017 | Neilo & Ys Net | PS4, PC
It’s been far too long coming, but thanks to Kickstarter and Sony, fans of Shenmue are finally getting a third instalment in the cult classic series. Announced at 2015’s E3, and followed by a collective meltdown by the internet and fans, it was a major coup for Sony, and became one of the fastest ever funded Kickstarter projects.
The Shenmue series is a very unique RPG adventure with martial arts and QTE elements. The original games were technical masterpieces for the time, even holding up by today’s standards. They brought a realistic world to life on the Dreamcast, and let users virtually live the life of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunted for Lan Di, his father’s killer. It was replete with deep and novel gameplay, and even though some criticized the game for being slow and sometimes boring, it was a really immersive experience, and the sequel only improved on it in almost every way.
Information on the third game isn’t all that available, but we do know it’s going to continue directly on from Shenmue II, and it’ll continue Ryo’s journey. It looks like the setting, at least initially, will be more rural than the the previous games, and with the current generation of tech behind it, we’re anticipating Yu Suzuki’s team will create a truly impressive RPG.
Sniper Elite 4
February 14, 2017 | Rebellion Developments | XBO, PS4, PC
If you like your action stealthy and with a hefty sprinkling of gore, Sniper Elite 4 has you covered. Carrying on the trend of long-range lethality from the previous games, the fourth game is set to up the grotesque element even more with the most detailed X-ray killcam yet, as well as toting a much improved artificial intelligence that’ll respond much more realistically to player’s actions. The game will also have much larger levels, with more room for players to come up with their own approach, including the ability to shoot out light sources during night missions to cover their movements.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
2017 | Ubisoft San Francisco | XBO, PS4, PC
Following on from the successful first game, The Stick of Truth, this new title will continue the blend of traditional RPG and the crude humor of South Park that fans of the series loved so much.
The new story won’t be focusing on the fantasy D&D theme of the first game, and will instead switch to a superhero-themed adventure. Players will play as the new kid who wants to become a part of the series’ infamous gang.
2017 | Bandai Namco | XBO, PS4, PC
One of the big favorites in the fighting world, Tekken 7 is already out in Japanese arcades, and will arrive on consoles next year. The seventh iteration of the popular series is set to be the the biggest yet, with familiar faces accompanied by newcomers, along with the expected visual overhaul and game mode tweaks.
New additions will include Rage Arts, a new critical hit system, and a new stagger system which allows the extension of combos with more hits following the stagger. This should open up the game for more fluid and fast-paced battles.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
March 7, 2017 | Ubisoft Paris | XBO, PS4, PC
The Ghost Recon series isn’t really that prominent anymore. The Advanced Warfighter series on the Xbox and Xbox 360 was the last major hurrah for the licence. However, Ubisoft is set to bring the name back with a bang next year.
Leaving the advanced technology behind, Wildlands will bring the game back to more current day warfare and will be set in Bolivia. As seems to be the case with almost every Ubisoft IP these days, it’ll move the series into the open-world genre, with a large map in which to exercise your inner commando. Team-based combat will still be the order of the day, only in a more open world with more of a realistic theme.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
2017 | Relic Entertainment | PC
Brought to us by Sega and Relic, Dawn of War III will continue the large-scale RTS action that only Warhammer 40,000 can bring. It’ll come with all manner of new units, like giant war machines, and a range of new strategic options. It promises to deliver a strong single-player campaign, as well as online multiplayer. The multiplayer element will apparently support both online and offline features.
The Last of Us 2
TBA | Naughty Dog | PS4
Let’s just say: want. A lot. And in the next few years, we’re finally going to get it… The sequel will focus on Ellie this time. She’s out for revenge and will stop at nothing to get it. Neil Druckmann, who is writing the game, said that while the first game was a story about love, this sequel is a story about hate. Sounds like we’ll be going to some very dark places.