December is a time often dedicated to reminiscing upon the triumphs and tribulations of the past year, with weary games journalists gathering in pubs across the country to debate the greatest games of the now rapidly waning year. Here at CubedGamers however, we want to shed the cloak of fatigued reflection and instead gush endlessly over the games that most excite us in the year to come. So, without further ado, here are some of our most anticipated games of 2017
Mass Effect Andromeda
Put on your spaceboots and get good at driving the Mako again, because we’re going back to the Mass Effect universe with an all-new cast, an all-new ship and an all-new, all-different galaxy. Full details about the plot are still kept under wraps, but what we know so far is that Andromeda is set 600 years after Commander Shepard’s last stand on Earth in ME3. You play as a human Pathfinder, a half-solider-half-space-pioneer tasked with the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy in a multi-species effort to colonise new territories.
Mum was the word for Bioware for about 4 years before the first gameplay footage came out and up until now, the studio has been drip feeding us more and more details about the game. What we saw so far from the gameplay trailers looks very, very slick – with new combat and non-combat mechanics wrapped in classic Bioware concepts. It doesn’t hurt that the game looks absolutely beautiful, too. Exploration and resource-spotting are words thrown around a lot in the publicity of this game, so here’s hoping that Andromeda plays more like No Man’s Sky’s outer-space surprises rather than the slow slog through Dragon Age Inquisition’s Hinterlands.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Mine is a choice I suspect many gamers will share: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Mind you, it isn’t just the promise of a staggeringly large world map, full to the metaphorical brim with sights to see, beasts to slay and trinkets to hoover up, that excites me. Nor is it the intriguing new story direction, which sees Link awake from a thousand-year slumber with nary a memory to guide him. It certainly isn’t the inclusion of Tingle, which, let’s face it, while not having been officially announced, is going to be in the game; Nintendo have an unhealthy fixation with shoving their resident leotard-wearing miser down our throats despite the fact nobody west of Japan actually likes him. No, it isn’t any of that.
What most excites me about Breath of the Wild is what it signifies. What it ushers in. The latest Hylian crusade marks the beginning of a new era for Nintendo, heralding a gradual transition from traditional home console formats to a more portable, ‘out and about’ style, as demonstrated with the on-the-go gaming offered by the impending Switch. Many may scoff and accuse Nintendo of pandering to modern smartphone culture, but these people need a good dose of reality. The times they are a-changin’, and if Ninty hopes to stay afloat, this is exactly the right kind of direction they need to be going in. Sure, it may not be for everyone, but if we get to spend our bus commutes atop Epona, riding towards the distant horizon, who are we to argue? Roll on 2017.
Stonehearth, by Radiant Entertainment, is a game I’ve been eyeing fondly from afar after backing their kickstarter almost four years ago. A promising sandbox, town-building, strategy game; the creators have made great use of the whole “everything is a cube” theme to create a unique, detailed aesthetic which couldn’t be further away from all the low-quality Minecraft clones we saw popping up back in 2012.
The game plays similarly to how a modern era version of Dwarf Fortress might. Players must guide a group of ‘Hearthlings’, who are plopped right in the middle of nowhere, and aid in their creation of a sustainable and safe place to live. Alongside the developers are a passionate fan-base who make their own moddable content for the game and greatly diversify gameplay.
Development has been going steady since those humble Kickstarter days, which has attracted the interest of League of Legends developers, Riot Entertainment, who subsequently took the small indie studio under their wing. Cha-ching.
Detail after detail has been added to Stonehearth, and is partly what makes me so excited for this game. But most of all, it’s clear that Stonehearth is a true passion project that has been injected with the resources needed to see it fully realised, and I can’t wait for the finished product.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew VR
Due out on March the 14th for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, Star Trek: Bridge Crew VR is a cooperative Virtual Reality game. Set on the U.S.S. Aegis NCC-1787, the game will take place in what is known as the Kelvin timeline, as shown in the last three Star Trek movies.
This also appeals to my passion for Star Trek. Any fan would say the chance to be in an official episode of a series you love, something which until now has been for most of us has been impossible, now with the progress of technology to almost rival Star Trek in some areas has opened now possibilities for what can be done.
As I mentioned before, I am incredibly hyped as it appeals to my interest for the emergence of Virtual Reality in gaming — the immersion offered is truly unparalleled. Fortunately, as footage of the game released so far has shown the player sits down, nausia shouldn’t be an issue.
My most anticipated game of 2017 would undoubtedly have to be Persona 5, a game that I firmly believe will usher forth an outstanding future for a genre that has been mired in stagnant mediocrity for the last five years or so, the JRPG. While Final Fantasy XV has undoubtedly reignited the western world’s passion for the eccentric flare that encapsulates the soul of Japanese gaming culture, its reliance on drawing upon tropes from the western market have ultimately corrupted its once unwavering sense of national identity. Persona 5 looks to not only recapture the unique and bizarre nature of the Japanese way of game development, but also build upon it to create something truly magical.
Not don’t get me wrong, the hybridity of Final Fantasy XV is a great step forward for both the series and the Japanese games industry as a whole, but what I love about Persona 5 is that it is establishing a modern, triple-A standard for the Japanese industry, one that resolutely harbours its own unique sense of identity.
Almost everything about the game screams Japanese, but in a way that is resoundingly polished to a degree that few games, even of the triple-A western variety, can achieve. What defines this sense of brilliance is the sense of pure style that percolates throughout the entirety of the game’s essence. Everything from the turn-based battle systems to the very menus themselves radiant a stylistic quality that is unlike anything I’ve ever set eyes upon. Give the already brilliant nature of past games’ narratives and gameplay sections alike, this added stylistic flair has the potential to catapult the Persona series into the mainstream gaming consciousness. Expect Persona 5 to be one of the biggest breakout hits of 2017.