A strong year of video game releases is behind us, but don't fret; an equally impressive year full of awesome video games is just ahead.
With the PlayStation 4 Pro in circulation, Microsoft's mysterious Project Scorpio console set to launch in less than a year and new video game franchises and anticipated sequels releasing in 2017, gamers should definitely be excited for what's in store.
Here are six highly anticipated games confirmed or expected to launch in the new year. “God of War,” Insomniac Games' Spider-Man title and other recently announced darlings aren't included because they likely won't launch until 2018.
“HORIZON: ZERO DAWN”
At the top of nearly everyone's can't-wait-to-play list is “Horizon: Zero Dawn.” The premise alone is tantalizing: In an open, post-apocalyptic world, a tribal woman with red dreads hunts robot dinosaurs. What more do you need to know?
For those still not convinced, the game reportedly has solid combat mechanics and controls, role-playing elements and skill trees, a variety of weapons and ammo, an enormous explorable setting and more. I could see myself pouring dozens of hours into “Horizon” when it launches at the end of February.
“Cuphead” is the unusual result you get when developers try to turn old-timey cartoons into a video game. Imagine the original “Mickey Mouse” episodes in gaming form and you have an idea of what “Cuphead” at least looks and feels like.
The environments and art alone are enough to make “Cuphead” a standout title, but previews show it should be a solid game, too. “Cuphead” will be a punishing experience that focuses on challenging boss battles. Cooperative multiplayer will only add to the fun.
Imagine a competitive multiplayer game where two teams duke it out, but instead of using guns as in most multiplayer games, players use swords. That's “For Honor,” and it's awesome.
Players can reportedly choose to play as knights, samurai or Vikings and take to battlefields with precise third-person controls to take down easy, computer-controlled enemies. Of course, other players will be on the map, and bouts turn into deadly sword duels where each swing has weight. It looks thrilling, and I'm excited to give it a try for myself when it releases in February.
“WE HAPPY FEW”
“We Happy Few” is already out on Steam early access, but the final game will presumably launch this year, I'm curious what all the hubbub is all about.
Based on trailers from E3, “We Happy Few” looks like a “BioShock”-inspired game that toys with the idea of psychology. In a setting that looks like a dystopian 1960s England, residents take pills called “joy” that make the world appear much happier than it actually is. The protagonist of “We Happy Few” stops taking his pills, and as the false reality crumbles away, everyone becomes his enemy. It's an interesting concept, making “We Happy Few” worth keeping on your radar.
“THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD”
I don't own any Nintendo consoles besides my handheld 3DS, and I'm not buying one for a single game, but the next “Legend of Zelda” game, “Breath of the Wild,” looks stellar.
It stars the same Link we've known and loved for decades, but “Breath of the Wild” looks to expand on the series' mechanics while staying true to what makes it a “Zelda” game. Combat looks better, the world is open and explorable, and the game seems to feature more role-playing mechanics than previous games in the franchise offered. It remains to be seen if “Breath of the Wild” will launch in 2017, but here's hoping.
“RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2”
“Red Dead Redemption 2” is a return to the Wild Western setting Rockstar gave us years ago, and fans are stoked.
It's all but confirmed that “Red Dead 2” will be a prequel, possibly starring protagonist John Marston and the gang he had left by the start of the original game. All I know is the trailer shows a breathtakingly beautiful setting I can't wait to explore on horseback.