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2017 Gaming Preview
From the return of familiar faces like Link and Sonic to the arrival of new alien races and robo-dinosaurs, 2017 will be jam-packed with big-budget sequels and smaller original experiences. Here are 17 of the hottest games we can’t wait to get our hands on in the coming year.
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1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch, Wii U; TBD 2017)
A new Zelda game is always cause for celebration, but Breath of the Wild looks to breathe new life into the franchise with a gorgeous open-world Hyrule that can be explored any way you like. If you see a mountain in the distance, you can travel there (trusty steed Epona should help speed up that journey). Breath of the Wild will release on both Wii U and Nintendo’s upcoming console-portable hybrid Switch, so you can continue Link’s adventure at home or on the go.
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2. Red Dead Redemption 2 (Multiplatform; Fall 2017)
We don’t know much about Rockstar Games’ sequel to the 2010 hit (and EW’s game of the year), Red Dead Redemption, but all it took was a tweet of a red Rockstar logo in October to light a spark. The one-minute reveal trailer released several days later set the internet on fire. And though we also don’t know if main character John Marston will return, or whether the band of cowboys galloping on horseback at the end of the trailer are friends or foe, we do know that the open-world western is stunningly gorgeous — and that we can’t wait to play it this fall.
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3. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4; February 28)
After spending years in the dour dystopia of Killzone, developer Guerrilla Games is crafting a lush new world where nature has reclaimed a blighted civilization. You play as Aloy, a young hunter battling fantastical robo-dinosaurs to discover … does it really matter? Oh Horizon Zero Dawn, you had us at robo-dinosaurs!
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4. Mass Effect: Andromeda (Multiplatform; March 2017)
Five years after wrapping up the Mass Effect trilogy in, ahem, controversial fashion, Bioware is returning to the ME universe. Set 600 years after the events of ME3, players can choose between siblings Sara and Scott Ryder as they adventure around the Andromeda Galaxy. Expect lots of tough moral choices and hot alien romancing as you explore brand-new open world environments, a first for the series.
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5. Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (Multiplatform, January 24)
The Resident Evil franchise had drifted from its survival horror roots over the last decade, and 2012’s overstuffed, bombastic RE6 was arguably the worst entry in the franchise. So Capcom is going back to basics with RE7, in which you play Ethan Winters, a normal man searching for his missing wife in a creepy derelict mansion. For the first time in the series, RE7 is played from a first-person perspective to bring the horror up close and personal — and it’s also playable on PlayStation VR for those who really want to face their fears.
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6. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Multiplatform; Spring 2017)
Ubisoft’s second South Park RPG, The Fractured But Whole (say it out loud), takes on superhero movies when Cartman’s Coon and Friends take on the Freedom Pals in civil war. As the New Kid, it’s up to you to craft your own superhero costume and superpowers to become the hero South Park deserves (and the one it needs right now). Once again written and voiced by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, expect The Fractured But Whole to be as outrageous as its name implies.
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7. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (Multiplatform; Late 2017)
Capcom’s characters will once again take on Marvel’s superheroes in the fourth game in the ridiculously flashy fighting game series. As the title implies, the game will feature Infinity Stones with different powers that affect each match. Capcom’s Ryu, Mega Man and Morrigan have been revealed, while Iron Man, Captain America and Captain Marvel are batting for Marvel. Expect many more characters, both mainstream and obscure, to be announced leading up to the game’s launch at the end of the year.
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8. Injustice 2 (Multiplatform; TBD 2017)
DC Comics is also getting in on the fighting game action with Injustice 2, which pits DC’s greatest heroes and villains against each other in a cinematic story mode. Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios will once again make Batman v Superman look like child’s play with its brutal super moves. And the new Gear System will let players customize characters to fit their playstyle. In addition to Justice League mainstays Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, the studio has announced newcomers Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Deadshot, and many more will join the comic book carnage.
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9. Yooka-Laylee (Multiplatform; April 11)
When a group of former Rare developers started a campaign to fund a spiritual successor to Banjo & Kazooie in 2015, it became the fastest video game in Kickstarter history to reach $1 million. Almost two years later, Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat are finally almost ready to play. Yooka-Laylee looks to revive the cutesy 3-D platformers that dominated the Nintendo 64 but have largely been missing in recent years. Unfortunately for Wii U owners, that version was canceled, but developer Playtonic Games hopes to release the game on the upcoming Nintendo Switch, in addition to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
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10. Sonic Mania (Multiplatform; Spring 2017)
Sonic the Hedgehog turned 25 this year, and he’ll be racing into 2017 with a new 2-D game that will attempt to recapture his '90s glory. Sonic Mania lets you play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles in remixed versions of classic 16-bit levels and brand-new zones with original bosses. It’s been a while since the blue blur had a must-play game, but this retro throwback looks like it could hit all the right nostalgic — and classic Sonic gameplay — notes.
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11. Cuphead (Xbox One, PC; mid-2017): An action-platformer that looks like a classic 1930s cel-shaded cartoon.
12. Prey (Multiplatform; TBD 2017): A reboot of the 2006 sci-fi shooter, from the creators of Dishonored.
13. Sea of Thieves (Xbox One, PC; TBD 2017): Rare takes to the high seas in this multiplayer pirate adventure.
14. Gravity Rush 2 (PS4; January 18): The PS Vita handheld cult hit gets a gravity-defying PS4 sequel.
15. For Honor (Multiplatform; February 14): Ubisoft leaves assassins behind for the battle between Knights, Vikings, and Samurai.
16. Tacoma (Xbox One, PC; spring 2017): Explore an abandoned space station in this narrative adventure from the creators of Gone Home.
17. Crackdown 3 (Xbox One, PC; TBD 2017): The open-world orb-collecting action game was supposed to be released in 2016 but hasn’t been seen, so fingers crossed it makes 2017.