As we continue through the first month of 2017, we here at Darkstation have put our heads together and come up with our list of fourteen games that we can't wait to play in 2017. With our first part of the two part series we will be looking at the first seven games to make that list, many of which you may not be all that aware of.
By Michael Hoover
Last year, the runaway success of Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank was a powerful testament to the continuing viability of the 3D platformer, a genre that needed more attention from developers across the industry. And of those developers, none could’ve been happier than the people of Playtonic Games, who’d only just begun development on their crowdfunded, collect-a-thon darling, Yooka-Laylee. A spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series, which they worked on during their time at Rare, Yooka-Laylee aspires to emphasize the unique strengths of its forbears while modernizing the pacing. If it succeeds, we’ll have a fantastic throwback brimming with colorful worlds, quirky characters, fun challenges, and of course, things to collect. Gaming history is rife with examples of spiritual successors that just don’t recapture the magic, but extensive preview footage has me unusually excited that Yooka-Laylee will.
By Grady Penna
Persona 4: Golden was arguably the single best experience I had on my PlayStation Vita, and after my third of fourth time through the lengthy 40-60 hour campaign, it became one of my favorite games of all time. While it feels like a long time since that game released on the Vita, it’s been even longer since the original Persona 4 released all the way back on the Playstation 2, making the wait for Persona 5 feel like an eternity. Even if Persona 5 only has a sliver of the style, charm and character that it’s predecessor has I would still be excited for it, but based on all the trailers and gameplay shown thus far, the game seems to exude charisma with great panache. If the narrative and characters hold up as well as the previous entries, this could very well be the best Persona game in the entire series, and possibly one of the best games of the year.
By Mike Takahashi
I would describe the original Nier as a brilliant work of art. It's a mediocre game, unfortunately, primarily due to its wonky combat. The ideas were there, but the execution left something to be desired. With that being said, the story, setting and characters made for a fantastic overall experience. As far as I'm concerned, Nier’s sequel, Nier: Automata, has the potential to be one of the best games ever made. Nier's only notable fault was its core gameplay, so the collaboration with Platinum Games looks to not just remedy its weakest area, but to propel it to new heights. Yoko Taro’s ridiculous storytelling and artistic vision hasn’t been coupled with a truly strong gameplay experience up until now. Similarly, Platinum Games – and Hideki Kamiya in particular – have consistently delivered great action games that lacked a really compelling narrative. While there’s no guarantee that this fusion of talented developers will deliver, Nier: Automata has a ridiculous amount of potential that I can’t help but be excited for.
Birthdays the Beginning
By Jon Fisco
There are going to be a lot of big titles coming out in 2017 and we’re all going to hear a lot about them. I could probably make a list of 10-15 games that may, or may not, come out this year alone. That’s why I wanted to focus on a game that has gone criminally unnoticed so far. Birthdays the Beginning is a title from the mind of Yasuhiro Wada, the creator of Harvest Moon. As someone who fell in love with Stardew Valley, my personal game of the year in 2016, it’s easy to understand why a game from the Harvest Moon creator would get me excited. Unlike Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, Birthdays the Beginning is a much different game. There’s no farming simulation or village relationships to worry about. Instead, the game focuses around creating a cube-shaped world, something akin to Minecraft, where players create new forms of life. The game promises the wonder of watching the birth of an ecosystem as you start with nothing and move into a vibrant, diverse world filled with all kinds of creatures that react differently to temperature, geography, and so on. This game has the potential to be a big surprise for many people in 2017, but since it’s coming from Wada it really shouldn’t be too surprising if this game ends up being as incredible as it looks.
Amy Hennig’s Star Wars Game
By Allen Kesinger
I’m not sure if this counts, exactly, and I’m totally prepared to have my entry switched to Joel’s favorite Digital Sports Game(™) 2017. I will carry on, however, because of my obsession on wanting to see what Amy Hennig, one of my favorite industry peoples, is doing with Star Wars. From what I understand, the game is still a ways off but I’m hoping that 2017 will be the year we get some glimpse of what the crew at Visceral is up to. Will it be Star Wars 1313 reborn? Will Nolan North play a wise cracking smuggler with the heart of gold? Will Troy Baker play his brother? Will they be Ewoks? Anything is up for grabs right now which is all the more reason I’m hoping to have some light shed on the mysterious project soon. And if that doesn’t work out, then, hooray for the digitally reproduced local sports team!
Editor's Note (Joel): Although this wasn't part of the rule set (we were looking for confirmed 2017 games) I will let this by because Allen is really saying he wants a new tennis game in 2017.
By Jukka Piira
Even reading the description of the town Thimbleweed Park takes place in gives me chuckles. That's how wound up I'm for the point-and-click adventure by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, the dynamic duo behind the cult classic Maniac Mansion. In this time and space when classic graphic adventures are all but dead and turned into dreary walking simulators (I hate them, I really do), it takes some nerve to develop and release a game taking its idiom from the golden age of point-and-click adventures from the late 80's and early 90's. But these guys, if anyone, can... WILL pull it off. I'm convinced Thimbleweed Park will be, if not the best game ever, at least the best adventure game of all time. The development blog is a great read. Ron Gilbert and his co-developers are passionate but honest. There's no glorifying or empty bragging, creating an adventure as complex as Thimbleweed Park is hard and relentless work. I feel like I'm already at home in the town of Thimbleweed Park.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
By Jonathan Miley
I’ve played through the original Mass Effect a whopping 13 times. It’s possibly my favorite game ever. I played second game 5 times, and third 3 times. While I’ve loved the entire series, the first game has always held a special place because of its focus on exploring a new, never seen galaxy. From everything I’ve seen about Andromeda, it looks like they’re leaning hard into that exploratory vibe and after Dragon Age: Inquisition (Bioware’s last game) deftly combined the best elements of its predecessors while also adding to the mix, I’m more than confident that Mass Effect: Andromeda is going to be a stellar title. Like, out of this world and cosmic in its spectacularity. Is that a word? It is now. Mass Effect deserves its own word and well as all the space puns we can muster. To infinity and beyond!
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to try and bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.